I get questions all the time-how do you do it? and is it really possible to be self sustained in this era? I just always smile and shake my head. Sometimes trying to explain to people is an exercise in futility. Not everyone is tho, some folks get it right away and those people end up being aqaintances for a while.
What is it that I do that makes my lifestyle so different from everyone elses? Well, I guess it's because I spend almost all my time in the pursuit of feeding myself and bettering the world around me. Not with expensive consumer goods but with down to earth, useful items that will help me feed myself and my family in a more efficient manner. We don't spend our free time walking around the mall or shopping, we don't even go to the grocery store unless we need some sugar or salt and pepper.
Living self sustained isn't for everyone, that's for sure. If you must go to a job for 8 hours a day and spend an hour or so driving back and forth to that job, your day is consumed already and there's really not much time left to plant 5 acres of crops and tend livestock. Even baling hay would be out of the question. I did the rat race working for others thing and I'm not saying working for yourself is any better because it's feast or famine here all the time, but I spend most all my time outdoors and out of those horrid flourescent lights and filtered air, I never have to dress up in uncomfortable clothing or shoes and the livestock does not even care if I brushed my hair before coming out to work! LOL goats don't care if your coat matches your shoes as long as you have a bucket of grain in your hand!
Living self sustained takes some serious mental and physical sacrifices. I gave up television(how refreshing that is!) I gave up fast food(and lost 10lbs) and I don't drive anywhere that isn't necessary to the workings of the farm so I'm consuming less fossil fuels. I've also forgone the commercially produced foods, I can my own tomatoes, vegetables, grow my own potatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and butcher my own meats. I learned all this a little at a time, on my own thru books and the internet. Trial and error were also good teachers. Not every crop I plant even now goes the way I plan for it to go. I have finally gotten the bread baking and the cheese making down pretty well. Every batch is slightly different but it's all consistently good now. I always hear the arguement "everybody needs somebody every now and then", well, that is true, that's why I married a like minded man. Between the 2 of us, we can easily handle anything and everything that comes along. We actually prefer to do it ourselves. Now, when we get old enough, we might need help, but until then, we're doing it all by ourselves and it's working.
The only challenges left for me is to be completely solar and to process my own diesel fuel. Maybe next year.....
Okay, remember the ice cream I was going to make? Well, I got side tracked and have not had the chance to make it yet. A neighbor came to me with a little work. He needed some help getting some sick calves up to the barn and some round bales moved out of a fresh pasture. He wants to turn his cows out in it and doesn't want them to tear the winter hay supply up before winter. Can't blame him there. All I had planned was to bake a little bread, make some pork sausage, do a batch or 2 of cheese and make that ice cream. Didn't got any of that done! I spent 13 hours working for the neighbor instead. A good day, I got it all done for him but today I'm sore and tired! Those calves were pretty darn big! Tomorrow hubby and I will fix a tractor for the same man and move some hay from another field he has to closer to his barn. We got the water bill paid with the money he paid us plus he gave us an old hay wagon that needs a new deck on it. It will be a good winter project for us and we can hook it right to the back of the square baler so we don't have to pick bales up off the ground. I'm not as young as I used to be and the walking thru the field picking up the bales off the ground wears me out. The hay trailer is a very good thing.
I've got about a third of the materials I need gathered up to build the corn crib. I've got the bottom of the crib built, just scrap 2x6's cut 4' long with boards on each end to finish the box and 2 short pieces of plywood, butted together to make the floor. The plywood was scrap so it's not perfect but good enough to hold corn. The crib isn't super big, it's just 4' long and roughly 2 1/2' wide but it should hold all the corn I grew with some room left over. I still need some slats to finish it, the pallet wood only went a foot up the sides.
Ah, I can't wait to get the home computer fixed, Polar Bear is growing like crazy! She's a smart little dog. I hope she turns out to be a good farm dog.
Well, Iv'e reached the end of my time at the public library on their computer, see you all again real soon!
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