Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thoughts on Self Sustained Living

The weather is going back and forth here, making my poor back ache. I'm not feeling real spunky today so I've been just hibernating and thinking.

LOL, can you see the smoke coming from my ears? It is and the thoughts and ideas are rolling... I am the complete opposite of normal folks that are consumer based. Folks that buy everything they need, all the basic necessities of life-food, water, light, heat, etc. I have built my life around the idea that I can produce all those things for myself. That whole concept is made easier by living on a farm. But, living other places can be just as good as living on a farm too. Granted, you can't raise a steer in your backyard, but you can still keep rabbits and a few chickens. You can still grow a good portion of what you eat. That qualifies you as a homesteader no matter where you live. Homesteading used to be a term that was reserved for our more adventurous ancestors. Those people that braved the wilds of the west and created a life way outside the confines of the cities in the east. Some made it and some didn't. Now, we have the luxury of hindsight and modern appliances to help us homestead. The very definition of homesteading now is one that works to produce at least some of their needs, especially food. So, planting a garden, even if it's all in containers makes us homesteaders. Absolutely everyone can become a little more self sustained by just taking the time to grow a little food. Neat, huh?

The government says that 37.2 million people are receiving food stamps. Did you know that the food stamp program covers the purchase of garden seeds? Anyone receiving food stamps can buy seeds with them. It's a program to combat hunger so that makes sense. So, why don't more people grow their own food?
I'm a big fan of tomatoes. I use a ton of tomatoes when I cook. Tomatoes are full of nutrients and anti oxidants and there's hundreds of delicious recipes you can whip up with them. From tasty Italian style dishes to beef stew. Just one 5 gallon bucket with 3 tomato plants in it can provide a good amount of tomatoes to feed you. That same 5 gallon bucket can easily hold pepper plants, cucumber plants and a wide variety of other tasty veges. I've even grown cantaloupes, watermelon and pumpkins out of 5 gallon buckets.
Think outside the box and don't let a city setting hold you back from being a homesteader. Work with the space you have and grow a little food for yourself. Save a little money and eat healthier, you'll be glad you did!


  1. I really think everyone should be educated about gardening like they did back in the day.I love that FS covers seeds , and I try to tell everyone I know about it , I just wish it would cover shovels and hoes as well. :(

    I did peppers in buckets last year , I made the mistake of over fertilizing them and got some really weird peppers for sure !!

  2. Good post, MM!I didn't know that food stamps covered seeds! That's amazing (and makes sense!) I wonder if anyone actually uses them for seeds?!

  3. Thirty years ago I had small children, my husband wandered off and I ended up having to be on food stamps for about 8 months. I used food stamps to buy seeds and bedding plants (broccoli, cabbage and the like) I had a HUGE garden! I traded some of my produce to a neighbor that raised rabbits for a breeding pair of rabbits. A friend had chickens and gave me some eggs to hatch. YAY! I had chickens for eggs and meat! By the end of 8 months, I was able to go down to the food stamp office and tell 'em I didn't need their help anymore--one of the best days of my life!

  4. Great info and will be using them as well as passing it along. Thank you

  5. I receive food stamps and buy not only seeds but also started food plants and have for the last couple years. I try to tell everyone I know that they can do this and even grow the items in buckets but mostly it falls on deaf ears.

    I almost had my brother and his family convinced last year but they kept wanting to plant items in my (for once) almost all in the ground garden. I could foresee problems so just kept trying to talk him into buckets. Next year I plan to be more active and actually make him up a couple of containers.

    I think it helped last year because a lot of the shelves in the local Walmart had little tags on them saying you could pay with food stamps and many plants that were designed and packaged for container gardening. I know it's not the best way to go about being self sustained but it's a start for alot.

    On another note - I live in west central IL and have actually came across a problem with keeping animals in my backyard in town. I was shocked! Jacksonville has always been known in the area for not allowing pigs in city limits but "supposedly" everything else was fair game - not so. You have to keep livestock type animals housed at least 200 feet away from neighboring houses - that's darn near impossible in almost all city lots!

    I know of a person in town that quietly keeps rabbits and doesn't adhere to these codes but they are also kept out of sight from main roads also. I do not have that luxury where I am currently located. My father-in-law has agreed to let me "kennel" all my farm-like animals at his place outside of town till we can have them in our backyard.

    Sorry didn't mean to write a book here but I too have been thinking and that helps words flow a bit too easily =)

  6. _ it's okay to write all you want here, I'm glad you shared! I too have trouble convincing people it's easy to grow stuff, even in buckets. When in lived in Berwyn/Cicero(suburb of chicago) it was okay to have critters if you lived in the spanish areas but not in the main stream areas, go figure. It's good you have family that will help out!

    Your welcome Diane, thanks for stopping in!

    Way to go Lamb! I had a hubby run off with a chick he met on the internet while I was working and he was sitting on his arse... I had to use the food stamp program myself for a short time. Was glad it was available at the time. Your thoughtfulness and creativity to be self sustained is admirable, good job!

    Gen, I hope more people start to use them for seeds and plants. They will be healthier for it plus all the other benefits from growing their own food...

    Happy Hermit, don't feel like the lone ranger, I've done it too! Keep going with the container growing, it really adds to the harvest and you can go anywhere with containers.

  7. Sounds like all good advice here today! Boy, you got me thinking real hard about doing some containers this coming year...!

    See what happens when I have too much time on my hands?


Comments always welcome