Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Of Yogurt And Independent Thought

 One of the greatest things lessons I have learned over the years on independence and thinking independently is simply the practice of learning to do things for myself.

My biggest example for this is yogurt.

For the last two years (except when traveling), I have not purchased yogurt.  I have made my own.  Yogurt is just about the most easy dairy product to make and takes about two days:  one to heat the milk and inoculate and let it set, one day to drain off the whey.  Although my kitchen scale does not go high enough, my estimation is that a gallon of milk will get me about 1 to 1.5 lbs of yogurt.  That will last me for about a week, at which time I will get a new gallon of milk and heat it and introduce some of the culture from the previous yogurt into this one (such culture will acidify over time, so I do have to start with new starter culture every now and again).

To a lesser (much lesser extent) I can do this with other dairy products like cheese (but my friend, Rain, is an actual master.  Her, you should follow).  And one can make the argument that on the whole, I am probably not saving a great deal of money - for yogurt, I think I save a little.

But that is not really the point.

As one provides for one's self in any aspect - yogurt or vegetables or car repair or sewing - one is doing something much more valuable than just providing a product: one is training the mind.

The mind is being trained to think and act for itself in its own provision, rather than constantly having to go to an outside source to provide for it.  One realizes that one can do things:  I can make yogurt or cheese or darn socks or make something out of leather, something that is useful and productive.  Will I necessarily save money?  No.  It will at best be a wash and at worst cost me more.

But in doing these things, I realize a truth.  I can provide for myself.  And as I learn to provide for myself, I find that I am learning to think for myself.  My first reaction is not "Where will I find this?" or "Who will do this for me?"  It is "How do I do this?" or "How do I find out how to do this?"  I am looking to myself to do the thing or get the information, not relying on someone to provide it for me or tell me what to do.

In a way, I think this is why Our Political And Social Betters disparage the concepts of doing for ourselves and really only encourage those sorts of things that make us look to them as the fount of all supply and wisdom.  To do for ourselves is to remove their power, and to remove their power is to make them obsolete.

Want to start someone down the route to independent thought and self determination?  Teach them to make yogurt.


  1. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Having skills which expand your independence from others is not a bad thing. I definitely agree that our government appears to be forcing citizens to trust in them more than themselves. Too much thought is bad for you I guess they think.

    I'm not sure if making yogurt in our household in in the cards. Two kids - the jug is emptied pretty quickly. But one of them likes yogurt - we may be able to make a case with her.

    1. There is almost nothing in which I can think that Our Political And Social Betters area encouraging independence in economics, philosophy, or thought. The great push is always "Trust us. Rely more on us".

      I just chose yogurt because 1) It relatively easy to make and 2) requires minimal equipment (for me a crock pot, a colander and pot, cheese cloth, and a thermometer). But it really could be anything: bread, jerky, dried fruit - anything that someone makes and uses. Because I think that is a key link. I can convince people to try many things, but the ones that will stick are the ones that the benefit from.

  2. Excellent post. Independent and self-reliant. That was taught to me from the time I was a pup. Being dependent is unsettling and foreign. And that has been my lot since July. I utterly hate it, and I'm not good at it.

    1. It’s amazing STxAR. I went to visit one of my blog readers the other day to barter and trade supplies with… and I swear, he can make tools the same way you can in your shop. He refurbed an obsolete progressive reloading press. He made his own leather stamps. He put UFO LEDs on another press so he could peer down into the cases to check powder charges.

      TB is there a way to make yogurt NOT disgusting?😉 What is your recipe?

    2. Yogurt is GREAT, Glen. You just can't be reading Quartermain's comic books while eating it!

    3. Thanks Glen! I'm up to barter for some of that top notch leather work you do. Just let me know what you need!! I'll get it vaxxed and on it's way post haste. ;)

    4. STxAR - You are a marvel, and I hope you are back to it soon.

      Glen - The yogurt I have come like is Greek Yogurt, which is much firmer (drained for more time to remove more whey). You can accomplish this by purchasing Greek Yogurt or getting regular yogurt and draining it through cheesecloth.

      You might also check out Skyr, which is a yogurt-like substance from Iceland.

      Yogurt is great and loaded with protein! Watched the flavored and sweetened stuff as it can be high in sugar.

  3. I've been making Kombucha for going on three years now. Kombucha costs almost $5.00 a 16oz bottle here. Making it at home, it costs .50/gallon. I drink a bottle every day. ANYONE can make Kombucha!

    Poverty makes a great teacher. I learned how to fix my first car. I fixed that car more than I drove it. In return, it "fixed" my mind. If I could fix this mechanism, I why not that one? And if that one, why not another? That's how it works with pretty much everything. ...And I did it all WAY before Google. There's no excuse for not picking up something new these days! Doing so may save your life!

    1. That is the American mindset. I learned to swap transmissions exactly the same way. Just did it. How hard can it be anyway? Learned a lot the hard way, but those lessons don't leave quickly either.

      This whole mess of "trust the experts and authorities" is just petting a cat backwards to my mind. It only irritates me and causes me to go look it up. I had a super star specialist tell me my doctor was doing something that wasn't a valid treatment. I found a 2017 paper in less than 5 minutes that proved the super star was ill informed.

      At this point, if I don't have a track record with the expert, it requires verification. And I usually double check my proven sources nine ways from Sunday anyway.

    2. Pete - I just got my daughters a book on brewing kombucha as it is not much less here (I, myself, have not yet caught the fever).

      Poverty is indeed a great teacher - as is simple interest in something that can be too expensive if not done by one's self.

    3. STxAR - That is the American mindset, you are right. Maybe rightly or wrongly, it sure feels like we have lost it.

    4. We haven't lost it, TB. Many have though. When I see a perfectly healthy young man standing by his car on the side of the freeway, spare tire leaning against the fender as he waits for AAA, I shake my head. Same goes when I see the line of cars containing people waiting to pay $5.00 for a cup of Scarbucks coffee, I shake my head again....

    5. Pete, it is worse than that in some ways. State will actively encourage you to wait until the "government fixit truck" shows up to do it more quickly than waiting for the roadside service you pay for.

      Coffee not my own is a treat for traveling, not an everyday occurence.

  4. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Thank you for another stimulating post TB.

    One of the sailing channels I follow on YouTube features a couple living in a tiny 30' yacht known as a Clansman 30. They are living off the grid, travelling around Australia living mostly off what they can catch, grow onboard and buy in bulk at farmers markets. Metho stove, old diesel engine, 12 volt power and minimal refrigeration available. Living simply and having incredible adventures. Pascale made a batch of yogurt on board a few episodes back. Seems very, very easy to make and looks delicious.

    It's posts like this one of yours, and stories I find on YouTube and reading sailing books that inspire me to get out of my comfort zone and LEARN. This is REAL LIFE. It helps me to remember that my life is a gift and I am truly the helmsman of my own life. Despite all the storms and reefs appearing around us, I can make decisions on the course I steer.

    I am facing mandatory "experimental gene therapy" at work and have until the end of January 2022 to have received both doses, or I'll lose my job. Honestly I can not believe my country has come to this.

    It has a way of concentrating your mind when facing such an imminent (and literal) "deadline". It is because of my mortgage I need my job. If I sell my house, I won't need a mortgage - or a job. Troy and Pascale have been living in their miniscule 30' yacht for the last 4 years. It's not the acres in the bush I'd prefer, but it gives my wife & I inspiration there IS a way out - for the short term until more is known about the "therapies". We can keep our health, live a more simple life and still enjoy the basic pleasures of life such as home-made yogurt.

    So once more I find myself saying - thank you for an inspiring post. I'll report back on how I go making my own yogurt! It's a small first step.

    Warm regards,


    1. KA - Yogurt is probably one of the easiest intros into doing food yourself I can think of (dehydrating food is another).

      The boating sounds fascinating. Some time ago someone sent me a link to a Swedish man who makes his own boats and sails around the world. The idea of living on a boat is a true experiment in minimalistic living!

      I am sorry you are reaching the point that have to make a decision on The Plague - sadly, many people here are facing the same. But, it our job numbers are any indication, many people are also taking the opportunity to really question their lives and why they do what they do. I am hopeful that this opens up a whole train of thought and potential action for you (and others, of course).

      I am looking forward to the yogurt report. In my opinion, significantly better than store bought.

  5. I agree with your assessment of learning new things and becoming self sufficient. For me though, the big reason is just doing things myself gives me self satisfaction and probably keeps me from more expensive pursuits, like say golfing, or racing cars, etc.

    1. Ed - These sorts of things keep of the streets and avoid me from living in a cardboard box, much to The Ravishing Mrs. TB's relief.


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