March 25, 2011

Back To Basics :: The Road to Self Sufficiency

The only three tomatoes I got from our tiny (failed) attempt at gardening last year.

Self Sufficient
–adjective to supply one's own or its own needs without external assistance: The nation grows enough grain to be self-sufficient.

One of my big goals this year is to become as self sufficient as possible.

One reason is to save money to pay off our debts, and save towards future goals.

Another reason is that I think we, as a society, have lost the "art" of taking care of ourselves, and now rely on others - be it grocery stores, department stores, fast food restaurants, government, whoever - to take care of us. I don't know about you, but the idea of needing to rely on someone else makes me uneasy. I'm not saying getting things from other people is bad, I just think it's not a good idea to rely solely on others and not on one's self.

And being self sufficient goes along with my thinking of "the fewer steps it takes to get into my body, the better". Super cooked, super preserved, and super processed foods just... ick me out.

So along with the bread making and scratch cooking, I've already been doing, there are a few things I'd like to try, or have started trying, in an effort to support ourselves for - need and enjoyment. Because I really do like being an old fashioned "homesteader", if you will.

Cheesemaking - I've already started this with a small batch of Ricotta. I created a batch of buttermilk last night, and I'm starting a batch of yogurt as I type this. I've ordered some rennet so that I can start making "hard" cheeses. I'm very intrigued by cheese making and I'll be posting progress, as well as price comparisons as I go along.

Bread (and other "grain") making - I am already pretty good at basic breads. I'd like to expand and get better at french bread, try my hand at some other rustic breads, and start making others. Tonight, I'll try homemade corn tortillas, and I need to try flour tortillas and pasta again - it's been a few years since I've done those. I figure the more I can make, the more I can take off our grocery list. (In fact, I have a pasta attachment for my kitchen aid that I really need to figure out how to use.)

Gardening - This is the year! Ben told me "Oh no, we are getting a garden this year!" when I started talking about waiting until next year. I have plans for a at least large tomato crop to supply our tomato sauces, dry shelling beans (like pintos) to dry and eat in soups and other dishes, and then the ridiculous amount of other veggies to eat fresh. I am hoping to not really buy much but dairy and maybe the occasional meat once our crops come in.

Sewing - I don't really sew. I made a Halloween costume when I was 17, and I can patch jeans, and sew a straight line if needed. But I'd like to start making more of our things around the house. Like pillows (and pillow cases) maybe try making a few t-shirts for the boys. It's a basic skill that I need to refresh on and have around, just in case.

Do you have any plans for becoming more self sufficient?

Happy DIY,


Kessie said...

One thing I wish I had done last summer is get seriously into jam-making. I don't think I'll be able to do it this summer, either, but I would love to sneak in some batches of strawberry jam. I hate having to buy it, because it just doesn't taste right and it's always sweetened with corn syrup. I'd love to buy some of the gorgeous stuff down at the farmer's market and make jams and jellies out of it.

I hate being dependent, too, but I think for some things, we always will be. Remember in books like Little House on the Prairie, they went shopping once every, what, six months? And they'd buy beans, and flour, and sugar, and coffee. Real basic stuff they couldn't make themselves.

Meg said...

Hey, you might be able to do stuff this year. You never know. Could be a really quiet kiddo. :)

I don't mind buying the staples, since I know it would be silly to think we don't have to. I just like the idea of being able to make everything BUT the staples.

Farm Girl said...

Oh you guys it is fun. Getting back to basics always makes life so nice.
I will help you all that I can and you of course could use some of my books. :) It has always bothered me to even use electricity and water. :)

Allison said...

Well, without my parents nearby and my hubby's parents not very involved in our lives... we have worked hard at being a self-sufficient family that is full of love and happiness. We live in a town where everyone is really tight-knit, so it has been hard for me to be without close family ties...except for my sister-in-law and her family. So our family "self-sufficiency" takes up much of our energy... but has been worth all the effort! ;D

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by! I enjoy reading every comment and I will try to get back to you if I'm able.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...