Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Controlling Our Self-Sufficient Lifestyle Dreams


 How am I possibly going to get all this done? Self-sufficiency is overwhelming. Articles, blogs and documentaries make it seem like the simple life. It is not.  Have you noticed those featured as examples of self-sufficient are always someone who is single, a couple, or at the most two adults and two children, -- never a family of six. When I look carefully at these do it your-selfers, I notice there title of self-sufficient refers to only a few activities.
Does anyone really do it all themselves? The word self denotes just you but in truth we do not create anything ourselves. We use wood that a tree created or eggs that a hen created. Maybe a more correct term would be to organize or orchestrate at its simplest form but I get where the name comes from. The question then becomes, 'How will we define self-sufficiency?'

For us it is doing as much as possible ourselves. We have spent years gaining skills and in that learning we have come to realize we can't do it all? There is just not enough time, money or energy. That is when realization dawned. We need to simplify. We need to decide what we can do without? How can we substitute one thing for another. What exactly do we want, and are our wants realistic? The answer is a process of experimentation over time. It will mean thinking long and hard and putting those thoughts down on paper. Then changing theory to fact.

The first step in simplifying is to look at each category of what we currently do and decide what we can do without. How can we utilize each aspect of our plan to a greater capacity? More from our gardens, more from our livestock, and more clothing production and remolding ourselves. To do this we need to set up a permaculture and more efficient methods -less labor to create the same product. The goal will be to eliminate the need for as many outside products as possible. In using fewer outside products it includes learning to substitute and doing without. The whole point of it all is to be less dependent and remove ourselves from the toxicity of the world. Along the pathway we need to trim costs? 

Within the categories of self-reliant we are determining how big of an impact financially and health wise will each area of our plan make? This creates a priority list from which we move on to deciding what goes and what stays and what areas most of our efforts should be focused in. The determination is that gardens are more important economically and health wise so they need to take priority over livestock. Reality tells us that priority and time are not always the same thing. Livestock need to be taken care of all year but the garden work slows considerably in the winter months. We have to keep in mind that some things are not as important as others but still necessary emotionally or physically.

By virtue of the task, some things may take more time, even more money. Meat is more expensive to produce than vegetables but we live in Wyoming. Get it? We can't grow much in the winter. Individually we have different needs also such as my husband and I have physical needs of more protein. I have a need of high calcium levels. Livestock fit the bill and emotionally they are necessary also for us. It does not mean that we will be raising a large herd but instead we want to put more effort into a  larger garden, put in greenhouses, cold frames, and increase the size of our indoor winter garden.
In gaining a measure of self-sufficiency, we have discovered that we are capable of doing many things but should we? So them we question, is it best to purchase an item because we seldom use it? Should we buy something because we can not create the quality, or is it just too time intensive to do it ourselves? We are busy, busy people. Last but not least, what amount of enjoyment will this task bring into our lives? That means doing the task and enjoying the product. Sometimes mostly just enjoying the product.

In the least populated state wa....y up north,there are a great many things that you can not purchase or they are out of our price range. We have need of producing more than others simply because of our location. If you want a home produced product you can forget it. And who really knows what they are doing compared to what they are saying. Calling me a pessimist but I've learned to be leery. It is interesting how often our friends and family say, "I don't like this but since you made it I'm going to try it." It is not to make us feel better but experience has taught them that our home product and the stores seldom resemble each other in quality or flavor.  The superiority is worth the effort to us. 

What I'd like to know is how the title Self-sufficiency has come to be anyway connected to the simple life. Simple has nothing to do with it.


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