Becoming self-sufficient is not only the prudent thing to do, but it is also a rewarding journey full of adventure and hope, that lasts a lifetime and provides a sense of accomplishment that nothing else quite compares to. Being able to go out your back door and pick fresh tomatoes that you have grown yourself instead of going to the nearest grocery store for veggies that have traveled for miles across country is a source of pride for us country folk.
So, let’s talk about this exciting adventure, but before we do, I would like you to think about this:
What if you woke up in the morning to discover that your bank account had been wiped out, your cupboard contained food for only a week or so, the electric bill was due as well as the mortgage payment, car payment, and credit card bills? What do you do?
The time to think about such things is before they happen, when you have time to learn new skills and prepare. Therefore, let’s discuss the path to self-sufficiency, one step at a time.
Food, shelter, water, and heat. We cannot do without these four things. Therefore, learn to grow your own food now, as there is a learning curve that cannot be mastered overnight. If you are in an apartment, start growing tomatoes in upside down containers and hang them in front of a window. Plant herbs in pots and create trellises on your patio for squash. Soon, you will start to get the hang of it, and might even notice that your thumbs are getting a bit green. Learn the basics of food storage, as you will need these skills to keep your stored food from going bad (I’ll give you some easy to use tips in my next article).
Next, plan for a shelter where you can live without a mortgage payment or an electric bill. With the economy the way it is, land and home prices are going down. Try to get a piece of property with enough land to grow and store at least a year’s supply of food and to house a goat and some chickens or geese. Goat milk is highly nutritional, and you can make cheese from it. Chickens and geese will provide you with a daily supply of fresh eggs.
This property should either have a well that is shallow enough to use a solar water pump, or have a surface water supply. Good soil is a plus, but you can always condition the soil with organic matter such as manure, cut vegetation, and leftover veggies from the table. Raised garden beds are excellent for containing good soil.
Plan to go off the grid with a free energy source such as solar or wind power, as this will supply you with unlimited free energy without a monthly bill. Once your home is hooked up to a free energy source, your heating and cooling issues are taken care of. The amount of electricity you can use depends on the number of solar panels you have, your battery back-up system, and/or the size of your wind generator.
Some other things you can do to prepare are:
- Purchase a used vehicle and pay cash. You now have a car without payments.
- Pay off your credit cards. Late payments incur charges that will quickly lead to an increase in the balance of your loan that will become impossible to deal with.
The time to prepare to become self-sufficient is now, before a crisis hits. We need to become more independent and wean ourselves from going to the grocery store every other day and shopping for things we simply cannot afford. By becoming more self-sufficient, we not only become healthier and stronger, but better prepared to meet any financial crisis.
Barbara H. Peterson