November brought the close of an especially productive gardening season. For the first time, we planted a serious fall garden consisting of multiple varieties of lettuce, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage. By far the most exciting process was making sauerkraut from our abundant cabbage crop (we had nearly 30 heads of cabbage with the largest weighing 8 pounds). I just finished the last batch to complete a total of five gallons of kraut that will hopefully last a several months. I fermented the kraut in the croc, then packed it into quart jars where they should keep for months in the refrigerator.
This process of lacto-fermentation was one of the major ways of preserving food before canning was popularized a couple hundred years ago. Apparently, the history of sauerkraut goes back at least 2000 years. The cool thing about sauerkraut is that it’s filled with healthful enzymes and probiotics that will bless your gut with an abundance of wonderful flora. Be sure it is raw though– Nearly all commercial sauerkraut has been canned and hence is missing all those enzymes and little good guys.
I Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Life is rolling along. Nearing my 23rd birthday, I consider the potential that at least a third of my life is behind me. I see how incredibly short life really is, especially compared to the eternity to come! With that realization, it makes me want to constantly reassess my priorities in life so that I might make a greater eternal difference. And I love backpacking, but getting out to do it just doesn’t materialize very often. Spur-of-the moment trips seem to be the typicality. This is okay though, because it keeps my mind from being kidnapped by the planning process of grandiose excursions.
Wanting to be proactive in living my life in a more eternally-relevant fashion, I felt the desire to consolidate my backpacking gear into a kit that would have more utility rather than specialty. For a backpack, this meant find a pack that would function for overnights, family trips, fishing trips, and even as an airline carry-on bag. I liked the looks and specs of the Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus backpack. But paying the price of a new MLD pack wasn’t worth it to me, especially with a few sewing projects under my belt. I also preferred the wing belt w/ hip belt pockets of my former Six Moon Designs Swift pack. So came the excuse to search for a heavier-duty sewing machine (so I wouldn’t have to subject my mom’s machine to pack cloth) and to have some fun sewing up my first pack. After a few weeks of patiently monitoring the local Craig’s List ads, the Lord blessed me with a steal-of-a-deal. I found a Singer 500A (manufactured right down the road in Anderson, SC) at an estate sale for a mere 50 bucks.
I openly disclose that the design of my pack was made primarily by reverse engineering. I fully credit Mountain Laurel Designs and Six Moon Designs for most of the ideas and inspiration in this design. And I hope that my imitation is indeed flattery. I did however spend a day making cardboard back-panel models to determine my exact torso length, and the best shoulder strap placement and shape. I’m particularly thrilled that the fit turned out really well.