Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Ponderings

This morning, I had an email asking me to put a link on my blog to an editorial about frugal living. The title of it was 10 famous penny pinches that teach frugality. Frankly, the article was pitiful and offended me from a self sufficient and frugal viewpoint. Going to Bloomingdales on double reward days, buying food from the Cheesecake Factory and stockpiling hotel soap is frugal? WHAT???

I learned several years ago that I would never enjoy the easy life. The luxuries so many people take for granted like running hot water, cable tv, telephones, air conditioning, new clothes or vacations weren't something I was going to get no matter how hard I worked. Yes, it upset me, but I learned to deal with it and go on with life. My family decided I needed hot water so they helped out with that. The rest of it, the only thing I really miss is the air conditioning. It really gets miserable in the summer here. I choose to go without because having it would create a debt (electric bill) that I could not pay for.

Once again our farm is suffering from the low side of life. There isn't anyone to blame, we didn't get lazy and quit working. We didn't develop an alcohol or drug problem. One can not predict or prevent a physical illness. Through all the bad times, we've come perilously close to losing our home. More than once in the past few years due to physical illness. As anyone who has been down and out knows, once you're down, it takes a long time to get back to breaking even and even longer to get up over it. We never got that chance this time. So, I reached out for help and some great people stepped up to help us. For that I am very grateful. For me, it's not even close to over, the bad news on the health front just keeps rolling in.

The other day I wrote about the words “self sufficient”. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, esp. with regard to the production of food. Emotionally and intellectually independent. Let's look at this definition a little bit. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, especially with regard to food. That's right, this farm is self sufficient in regards to food. I do that for us. I also do that for my farm animals. The animals that help to feed me. Emotionally and intellectually independent. It is my opinion that I qualify with this as well. I do not choose to follow along blindly. If I did, I would be eating store bought food and collecting a welfare check for my disability. Emotionally independent, for the most part I am. I don't think asking for prayers qualifies as emotionally needy.

All the work I do around this farm in my efforts to feed us is all being done with, old, used equipment. Nothing came to me new. I make it work. That's part of my job. For the things I can't do around here, I barter with neighbors and other farmers close by to get what I need done. Most of the time, it doesn't come cheap and I end up giving more than I get. Sometimes, it's just how it works. I just deal with it.

The hours I spend tending the gardens and the animals is a labor of love. You can not do this-feed yourself- and hate what you're doing. It just doesn't work. The people out in the world that think they can just throw some seeds in some dirt and feed themselves are in for a huge surprise if and when they ever really have to grow something to eat for themselves. The hours of labor and the gallons of sweat during harvest time are something your average office worker can't even begin to imagine or relate to. Not to mention the feeling you get when you get covered with anything from the business end of an angry cow, or the bruises on the back of your legs from that baby goat who was just dying for his bottle and you took too long.

If you really want to be frugal, try your hand at baking some bread or making your own soap instead of buying it from a store. Nurture a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket and make your own salsa once in a while. Better yet, go to your fuse box and turn off the main breaker for a weekend and learn to live in a more simple fashion.


  1. MM,
    Wow can we totally relate, not so much in the health department, as well, PTL, have all been well but in the time and energy it takes to self sufficient. We too make due with old cast off equipment and barter for help( having to do that for some swathing this year, our swather is down and beyond repair), even if we have to pay to get it done it will be far cheaper than buying hay and we know how our hay was raised. Same goes with animals and produce. Hang in there, chin up and here's a big homesteader HUG for you :o) Wish we could monetarily help you but we're in a tight spot too and praying Dh's outside job holds up. *sigh*
    Hugs, prayers and blessing being sent your way,
    Kelle ( I wasn't signed in with blogger, sorry)

  2. Can there be a middle road in being self sufficient? Is it either you are or you aren't? How do you measure where your at?
    If it is by percentage and I mean 100% being really self sufficient and not needing any outside help of any kind from anybody which I feel is no way possible anymore, then I give myself a miserable 8 to 10% as a whole.

    I need to buy everything for maintenance on the vehicles including gas, oil, tires and replacement parts. I have to buy all my own office supplies for the home office. I need electricity for the incubators, brooders, AC and refrigerator. I cannot make my own toilet paper, or repair my computer with grass and chicken bones. The list goes on and on of the stuff I have to buy that someone else produces.

    Now if you are able to break down each area then the numbers would of course go up on some and down on others.
    You my be at the point of 98% self reliable for your food, but I am only at around 25%. That number increases and is going up year by year. If "IT" happened then I could be at 100% for about a year, but that 100% is from storage of other bought foods. I have the ability and equipment to make my own corn mill and flour but I would then have to buy the raw produce from somewhere. I would not be able to grow enough.

    I am at 3% on electricity because it is cheaper to buy it off the pole than it is for me to make it. The 3% is gauged when the electric is out and I live on lamps for light, fireplace for heat and cook outside for food. That brings up something else, the lamps and the oil were manufactured so does that bring it back down to 1%?

    For water I am at 10%. I have rain water harvesting systems in place but I could not last more than a week or so without rain. Then I would be going to the river and filling buckets for water.

    Please do not take this as bashing or me being a butt head. These are real questions I have and I admire what you do and I admire the people that have a lot higher percentages than I do. I am working towards raising every one of mine every day.

    I am not real proud that my storage room is full of processed store bought stuff but on the other hand, I am thankful it is there and it will keep us alive if I grew it or not.

    The difference between you and me is, you are living as if "It" has happened and I am living as if "It" will happen. Does that change my title from working to be "Self Sufficient" to being "Self Reliant" or to being a "Survivalist"?????
    I guess if I had to name what I do my title would be "Living To Live On" or
    "A Self Suffrelialist" (That's funny) I made that word up if you could not tell.

    You are right it is a choice and a lifestyle to live self sufficient and it is our choice to live that lifestyle to the level we feel we want or need too. I live mine at around 10% and try and raise it every day. You live yours at a much higher self sufficient percentage and I applaud you for it.

    Sorry for the long comment but your good post brought it out of me, plus I get to rambling on this topic some.

  3. LOL, now I'm all talked out but I need to do a post of my own and don't know what to say.

  4. Thanks for your post, you inspire those of us who are still in training wheels to do a little more each day with a little less $$ We are at around 40% of what we eat that we grow, can, dehydrate or freeze ourselves. I buy what we don't/can't grow or raise ourself from local farmers who have the know how and space to do it right. I still have to purchase many things from the grocery store but only on sale with coupons ans stock up when te deals are good. We are learning that taking on a more frugal life isn't dull and boring but challenging and exciting. It is refreshing to see more and more folks who are getting on board to becoming more frugal and self sufficient, they are not waiting around for the goverment to decided what they need for their family. On the hotel soap; my hubby travels a lot for his job, he best be bringing home that free hotel soap for sure!!

  5. Thank you Kelle, I knew you would know exactly what I was talking about. Ah, I'm just tired of being dissed because I won't take the "easy" route.

    MDR, I love you comments! You always give me something to think about. I read your blog, you don't have anything to worry about, you are working on living the life and have a good hold on it.

    Hey Debby! LOL on hubbys hotel soaps(good boy, LOL)! The article I was talking about used Tyra Banks and her 75 mil net worth as an example of frugality. Yah, i wish I had that problem, eh?

  6. Haven't read the artical you are talking about but I wouldn't trade her life for mine for any amount of money!!! I wouldn't mind however tading you a super cute apron for your sweet little lucky!!!

  7. LOL Debby, he's a hoot for sure! He sulked tonite tho, he's been munching my taters and he got locked up.

  8. Hi Kat!
    I've been reading but I haven't posted in a while. Your comment about gtowing a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket got me thinking about something my hubby said a while back.
    He saw me planting some peppers in a pot & told me not to do it that in a pot they would use up all the nutrients and wouldn't have any where else to pull from. Is this true? I think I know the answer but I wanted to ask you anyway.

  9. Hey Stacey! If you use good composted soil to begin with, you have half the battle over. The rest is just watering with bunny poo tea (the water from soaking the rabbit droppings) or if you prefer, some other type of fertilizer. It's easy to burn a plant up with a chemical fertilizer, that's why I like rabbit so much. I hit my bucket plants as they start to put on fruit and then again about half way thru the growing season.


Comments always welcome