As I write posts and find myself sharing on Facebook homesteading and self sufficiency groups I have people asking me how I wish to be 100% self sufficient and how that isn’t really possible these days. I guess I should explain what I mean by being 100% self sufficient and we can start from there.
To me this is what being 100% self sufficient looks like:
All your meat comes from your own animals
All your produce, fruit, berries, herbs and medicinal herbs come from your own gardens
Using solar panels, wind turbines and a well to be “off the grid” of society and also remove those bills
Using rain water, swales, trenches and gray water to be useful on your property for watering to cut down on use from the well
All your food intake comes from somewhere on your farm or possibly bartering with nearby locals doing the same with resources you don’t have yet
Being 100% debt free, maybe aside from a mortgage
Making your own clothes and bedding
Having the skills to hunt for meat, not for sport
Having the skills to survive in the wilderness for a week with just a backpack if you had to
Having the skills and equipment to protect your home and land
Having a way to make your own ammo
Having a general understanding of how electricity, plumbing and building structures all work
Having a GOOD understanding of how to care for your livestock animals for their health and your safety
Using medicinal herbs or homemade essential oils for all medical treatments
Having enough general knowledge AND equipment for most first aid or medical safety skills to not need a hospital other than a life threatening emergency
Making all your cleaning agents and personal hygiene items yourself so that you know there aren’t toxins or heavy metals in them
Using all glass dishware to avoid the hysteria of possible toxins
Knowing how to do laundry the pioneer way for when it is necessary
Knowing how to play at least 1 instrument…(hey, we all need amusement, right?)
Having all the basic tools you need to do any task for the home or on the farm, even if it’s harder work or more physical labor, as long as it gets the job done
Knowing how to take care of any issue in your home yourself without having to call someone for help or hiring something out
Now THAT is a long list but I think I about covered it. Now in the ways that we cannot be TOTALLY self sufficient unless I didn’t have to work and we rarely ever left the house…I’d still need to buy gas for the car to go places and general maintenance and upkeep on the car. But I have to say, to be frank, if I never left the house again and we survived financially and healthfully I think I’d be okay with that. Of course, I’d still want to go see family and friends and we’d have to use our transportation to go barter for items. But I do hope to one day have a road side farm stand where I can sell our excess produce in season and also sell my homemade hygiene items for the health conscious people and maybe even sell some quilts. But those things I can do from home. I would still have to have our satellite internet so maybe that is what people say when they say I can’t be all self sufficient. But I will say, I want to do what I want to do for a couple of reasons.
The reasons I want to be AS self sufficient as possible are because:
It makes me feel good, strong and capable!
It makes me feel like I’m teaching my son invaluable lessons he can’t learn elsewhere or wouldn’t learn in society
It is very affordable to live if you’re producing all your own stuff
You have less bills when you don’t need all the “extra stuff” like cable, multiple computers, video gaming consoles, etc.
It reminds me of an old way of life that has always intrigued me.
Maybe I was born in the wrong era…
I want to not have to have a day job of any kind and still be able to have our homestead because the few “bills” we have to pay for I can supplement with the items we sell from the homestead.
So now that I’ve said that I want to share what we’ve been doing and the things I’ve been working to begin our SLOW but steady MIGRATION to one day NEAR self sufficiency homesteading!
What we have been working on the last 6 months:
Stopped buying ALL frozen food EXCEPT Riley’s damn chicken nuggets =/ *grunt, roan* (will explain later in another post)
Started stocking up on all “pantry essentials” that thrifty single Mom’s usually don’t keep.
Making homemade cleaning products
Homemade facial products
Not using paper towels or napkins, instead dish towels.
We hang dry all of our laundry
We recycle items
Burn trash instead of using trash service
Redirecting gray water to be useful in gardens
Homemade spider killing spray
Homemade bug repellent
Homemade anti itch spray
Monthly preventative septic treatment instead of hiring a pro once a year
Fixing small plumbing issues ourselves
Bartering with neighbor for fresh chicken eggs
Selling unused items to have additional funds to go back into the homestead
Homeschooling instead of relying on the public system
Find a reuse for everything we possibly can. Thinking twice or 3 times before putting something in the burn pile.
Making homemade dog food
Buying all of our grocery items in bulk at Sam’s club
Prepping homemade meals and freezing them so they’re just as easy as store bought frozen meals
Doing a TON of research on how to make and cook as many homemade things as possible, with the least amount of preservative type items in it.
Stocking up on Mason jars and glass bottles to use and reuse.
Working on getting rid of most of our plastic storage containers due to the potential toxins when heating
Buying organic meat and produce until we have our own to fill our freezer and pantry with.
Finding new uses for old warn out clothes we’d otherwise just donate
Working adamantly to pay off my one car loan so that I have one less debt…and possibly something big to barter with!
Continuing to teach Riley how to shoot a gun and a bow and arrow with efficiency, part of his home schooling “life skills”.
Teaching Riley how to drive so that when we have a tractor or quad he can be my go to man if I need him, even though he’s only 11 (useful farm skill).
NETWORKING with a large variety of people nationwide but also in our backyard to help teach us about raising animals in Az, homesteading do’s and don’ts from people nationwide, joining local bartering groups, etc. All in an effort to get “in the know” with the homesteading thing and hopefully learn from others! Which has already happened tremendously!
What we are researching to do next:
Doing a TON of research on how to make and cook as many homemade things as possible, with the least amount of preservative type items in it. (This is a huge thing for me and I’ll do a whole other post to go into this and what all I’ve learned that is just plum fascinating!)
Research which seasonings we need to buy and keep in bulk for cooking until we can get the herb garden going.
Currently researching homemade soaps, shampoos and deodorant to get our hygiene products 100% homemade.
I have spent COUNTLESS hours researching the most effective way to garden productively and “with nature” in the low desert with our hot summers, year round cross winds, small predators and late summer monsoon rains. Researching this BEFORE setting it all up to make the first trial run as effective as possible, assuming there will still be some stumbling involved.
Researching how to dig a root cellar since I’m going to need somewhere to store all that canned goodness.
Researching how to grow wheat and what plants and trees I need to grow to one day produce all of our own oils and flowers used in cooking, baking and skin care.
Also researching what types of solar power and wind turbines will be useful and efficient on our specific property and how to set those up.
Researched how to get the house on our private well so that we can be off city water 100% and that project is in the works, easier than I thought. So then we’ll have 1 less utility bill.
If you have any insight, advice, suggestions or anything at all to share PLEASE DO! Consider me an eager baby bird ready to be fed knowledge from any source I can find it in because that is just about how I live my life 24/7…always learning! Thanks for reading!