Saturday, April 28, 2012

Outside the Box, Inside a Nutshell

First off, I know that many of you read this blog because you are already self sufficient or at least already on the path to join the ‘movement’. It seems that, lately, with all that’s been going on in our world, folks are beginning to realize that in truth the only people you should rely on are yourself and your immediate family.

Now, this is not meant to be a ‘doom and gloom’ statement. It’s meant to open your eyes to the beautiful life and bounty that self sufficiency can provide. There is a certain amount of freedom in knowing that you have provided for your loved ones and that you have done it yourself.

When I was a kid, back in the 70s, we had a very small garden and a few fruit trees that provided a little bit of food. We took one major shopping trip each month and we bought things like milk and eggs locally. We even had a guy who lived about a mile behind us who let us scrape fresh maple sugar off the top of his vats.

Back then, I was ashamed, more often than not, of how ‘poor’ we were. I was the oldest of three at the time and somehow I still managed to own mostly hand-me-down clothes. I had maybe two pair of comfy socks but all the rest had those uncomfortable bunches in the toes and on the heals where my mom had sewn up the holes. At least once, and usually twice, each week we would have leftover night. All the unfinished food we had went into a pie, a casserole or a stew.

As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. Today I see the value in all that. Except the sock thing. Honestly I will never sew a sock to be re-worn unless it is an emergency. I so hated those things. I can find other uses for them. Anyway, today it’s society that is ‘poor’. I don’t know the dollar number of what we lived on back then but I’m willing to bet that I live on not too much more than that now. Only now it’s called frugal.

Ironically, it’s still outside the box of most folks comfort levels. But, here’s the nutshell ~ reread the third paragraph above. Tell me, in all honesty, how simple is that?! I am now grown with a family of my own and a home of my own. I am growing a garden that will be large enough to provide most of our veggies and, I hope, enough extra to be able to barter for eggs, milk and meat. Next year, I plan to have chickens and maybe some rabbits. I have also discovered that, to those pies, casseroles and stews, I can add pizza.

I live in a small town about 40 miles from a major city and 25 miles (both one way) from a town with a grocery store. We do have a small market in our town but they don’t have a large selection. They do, however, provide local meat, which we absolutely love. The cows we heard mooing over at the edge of town last week are the hamburgers we will be eating next week.

We live outside the box and in a nutshell and we love it. There is a certain serenity to it. I could never live in a big city again. These days, when we take our monthly shopping trip into town, I almost feel sorry for the folks that have to deal with that hustle and bustle all the time. Out here, life is slower, fresher and involves so much less stress that I don’t know how I dealt with it all those years living in a city.

I’m not saying you have to move to the country to enjoy this peace. But, you do have to change your mind. Even some of the folks in my small town have not figured out that ‘change’. I walk everywhere. Anything I need is within about five blocks of my house. Ironically, in all the walking I do, the only others I see walking anywhere are the kids. The parents almost all drive. I don’t get that. I certainly understand a little bit of laziness or pouring rain or zero degree temps or even thirty mile per hour winds, but ALL the time? This is one of those ‘mind changes’. Walk if it’s nice out.

Those of you who live in the cities can enjoy almost the same life that I do. I mean, you’re in a city and most of what you need is most likely within a half mile of your home. You can still grow veggies in containers and on balconies or porches. If you’re in the suburbs, you can do the same or even have a small garden or greenhouse in the back yard.

All of this can help add to peace of mind in that you have food available to you at all times. If I were to lose power, I could last at least two months with the food I have right now. That does not include what is sprouting and growing as we speak. Once the garden is back to producing and I can get back into canning, I will have at minimum six months worth of food and most likely about a year’s worth. All without a huge amount of effort and almost no stress at all.

You can learn quite a bit about this life of self sufficiency that I enjoy with all my heart by joining my group on Facebook called “Kaya Self Sufficiency” or by ‘liking’ my community page of the same name or by simply following this blog. I also have a website (once again, same name) where you will find many good books on the subject and a page full of links to other companies that can help you get a start. You will also see some of those links on either side of this blog. Enjoy!

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