Greetings from Burnaby BC Canada

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Jin_DIY, Feb 26, 2016.

  1. Jin_DIY

    Jin_DIY Member Premium Member

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    Hello everyone! My name is Jin from Burnaby Canada.
    I found this site while googling for self sufficient/DIY communities and great to have found SSC!
    I have always dream about having a homestead and living a self sustaining life but that was just a dream for me. I have no idea how to achieve it because most things in my life so far have already been taken care of. I have graduated college for 3 years now, have been working as a bookkeeper for 2 years but I don't feel satisfied. Not that the job is bad but I feel I am not becoming more independent and I have very limited freedom because I have to rely on others, from my parents, to large corporations. From the food that I eat, to cooking the food, to repairing, to health, I have to rely on others. Why work and make money to buy them when I can do it myself I ask? Now I want to start and take control of my life and learn to be more independent and self sufficient.

    But as I have mentioned, most of my life things have been taken care of by my parents. I want to really start and get my hands dirty. I am thinking of switching career and get into a trades apprenticeship and to slowly work towards my goal to start my own homestead and growing my own vegetables. Any suggestions as to which trades would be most related to my goal? Carpentry? Plumbing? Electrician? Carpentry seems to be really helpful to craft your own tools and supplies. But plumbing would also help setting up your own sprinkler system. Being an electrician might help in setting up solar panels? They all seem very important, which career should I go for? Or any other suggestions?

    I am not sure if this is the right place to ask this. I am passionate about being more self sustainable but I just don't know where to start.

    Cheers!
     
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  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Hi Jin, I love your attitude already and thanks for joining our online self-sufficient community!

    Personally, I let my career get in the way of living a more self-sufficient lifestyle but sometimes we have to be patient in life when working towards our goals.

    However, as soon as we finally had an opportunity to buy a property reasonable enough to realise our dream but still suit our practical situation we took the plunge and never looked back.

    There's huge satisfaction in living a more sustainable lifestyle. Yes there's the health aspects, exercise, control over where your food comes from, etc but the feeling of achievement or mental benefits of self-sufficiency can't be underestimated.

    I was a soldier for over 2 decades (a jack of all trades master of none) this experience has helped me work the land but having a background in a certain profession or trade whilst helpful isn't a prerequisite for success at self-sufficiency.

    Having said that, any trade working with your hands constructing, growing, fixing, etc will help you in the future on your own property. So if a trade interests you then go for it and choose the one that most excites you. Most trades have some cross pollination anyway so you're bound to pick up a ton of useful skills for the future.

    The best attribute in my opinion to be successful at self-sufficiency is mindset and a willingness to learn or have a go. You seem to have this so my bet is you'll get there eventually.

    Hope you enjoy SSC feel free to ask as many questions as you like :)
     
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  3. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    +1 on a healthy attitude for some hard dirty work.
    I have done something similar to you but many years too late. I also grew up in the city, pretty sheltered, and never had to do much physical labour in my life. I admit that I don't have the build to do much on the land with hand tools, but I keep hearing that if there is a machine to do the job for you, you'd be mad not to use it.

    All of those trades you mention are excellent manual life skills to have. I often find my ignorance in the field leaves me at a great disadvantage; tradies see me as fresh meat and don't hesitate to slap a high figure on the cost of getting reasonably simple (but individually very difficult) jobs to get done around the plot. If there's any suggestion from my point of view, it would be to learn the basics of all of the trades (it's okay to be a jack of many trades and a master of none). You can have a career in something else, where you can excel at, but I'd recommend learning the 'tricks of the trade' (excuse the pun). Learn how to use a power drill. Try your hand at building a vege patch. Then perhaps build a chicken coup. Learn how to treat soil ready for planting a new tree. All of these skills and more are featured on this forum.

    Some things you will have to leave to the professionals (like setting up solar panels/hot water system, or hardwiring lights/air conditioning units, etc). But the small handyman jobs, that's the way to go.

    Enjoy.
     
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  4. Jin_DIY

    Jin_DIY Member Premium Member

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    Thank you Mark and Ash for all the helpful inputs. They really help me figure things out and motivate me to making that one step to actually try doing things by myself.
    I understand now and I agree 100%, self sufficiency is a mindset, it's the self-efficacy to believe in one's self in the ability to do so and complete a task or tasks. It's not about what career or what trades I should get into although getting into a trades might help breaking the barrier to actually get my hands dirty and achieve something.

    Before this epiphany I talked to my parents about considering switching career and get into trades.
    I explained to them why I want to get into trades, is the want to live a more self sufficient life and obtain more skills that would help achieve my goal to grow my own vegetables and have a homestead.
    Their reactions:
    1). It's fine if you have such dreams and goals. We have similar dreams too when we were young. But you don't have to be a plumber or electrician to achieve that goal, that's really odd to have such thought.
    2). Don't try to change your career into something that you don't have passion or you don't really like just because you think that will help you achieve your goal. You have to live with your career for 20-30 years or even more so choose something you have passion for and we don't think plumbing or carpentry are something that you have passion for.
    3). Growing vegetables and having a homestead, that's things that you can afford to do when you have money and time, usually when you retire. You don't even have your own piece of land, think about that when you actually have your own property and you'll learn the basic skills to take care of your own property as time comes. No need to become a plumber or carpenter, and definitely no need to change your profession.
    I think their logic is mostly correct, a logic in which a normal parent living in the cities would have. In reality, it is true that land and property is expensive especially in cities. But self sufficiency is a mindset, not exactly having a homestead or a piece of land to grow food, but to use what you have most efficiently to your knowledge to make your life more sustainable.

    After all this I think I can clearly state that my sudden wish to change career is not that I don't like being a bookkeeper, but the discomfort of being humiliated in the future for not knowing how to use the power drill at age 30, or how to fix the faucet when I actually have my own property. Hence, I want to learn now. But since most of the repair and replacements of household utilities were the responsibility of my father because well it's his house (he'll do it if it's simple if not he'll pay someone to do it), but more so because he doesn't want to bother me when I work mon-fri 9-6 and by the time I come home he could've fixed it by himself, and he doesn't want to bother me in the weekends. So in conclusion, for me to learn to "do it myself" either I take that responsibility from my father, or I move out and live an independent life which is another big topic. My parents will probably say it's economically inefficient to pay extra utilities and have two sets of furniture when you can have one blah blah blah. But that's what I'll be figuring out.

    Sorry if it takes so long but that's what I experienced when I try to find my own way to a more self sufficient life. I have put some thought into this and I admit that although not all of the young adults of my generation are like me, but quite some of us choose to live with our parents, leading to us not having to take responsibilities which we should have if we have moved out and live independently, this leads to permanent adolescence, low self esteem, and eventually the erosion of self efficacy. And it's often these matters, these barriers that I have to sort out before actually getting my hands dirty into fixing things, growing veggies, and learn to do it myself. I know many will laugh at me to not know how to do this and that or just think that this is none of their business, but if I can help even one person in the world by posting this, I'll post it. And I won't blame my parents and think that my parents are shielding me from growth, the only one that's holding me back is myself. If you really have the passion to learn and become self sufficient, then start to take responsibility of your life. Moving out? Or starting to take care of household utilities and the garden? you name it, I'll do it, because I love to and I'll prove it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I think you have summed it up nicely.

    Time is on your side and the truth is you've probably got many skills already that can help you become more self-sufficient.

    Developing a small vegetable plot is a good start and there's no rules saying you have to own the land to get into food growing. Plenty of people have found ways to be more self-sufficient without actually owning land - the allotment culture in the UK and Europe is a prime example of that.

    I knew very little about growing my own food, building stuff, fixing things, keeping poultry, etc when we first started dabbling in self-sufficiency; however, it's surprising how fast you can learn by just doing it. Sure, I made mistakes and still make them but I mark it down as experience. I'm not saying a person should always find their own way on everything, "a smart person learns from their mistakes but a smarter person learns from other people's mistakes" is a top saying; although, sometimes there are more than one valuable lessons learnt through having a go yourself first.

    Start small and pick a project that is achievable in your current circumstances then commit to it and have a go you'll be surprised at what you can do.
     
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  6. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Welcome to the site Jin! It's sounds like an exciting time for you :cheers:

    Do you have a yard now where you live? Big enough to start a vegie garden? You can make a garden the size to suit the available space, get involved with a community garden?.. that will get you out and mixing with other people with the skills you may be interested in learning.

    I live on a small suburban block and dabble in a bit of everything, small garden, small irrigation system run by water tanks and offgrid solar power, it's fun. I think of it as learning all the skills on a small scale so one day when I get a block of land i'll have some kind of idea how to set it up. You can do a lot on a small block though.
     
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  7. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Don’t over think the situation, you will learn stuff as you go. You just start small from container gardening, to raised bed and go from there. The thing is when you are actually gardening you will start picking up stuff from that experience and use it again or improve it. Those skills will stay with you;

    There are heaps of inspiring gardeners out there that are doing just that, growing food right outside their house. You don’t need a big block of land to start. Make do with what you have and grow from it. Whatever you want to know about, just google it and go and see how people do it. Check Youtube and garden groups or anything of interest on Interest groups.

    I have a lot of awesome garden friends on youtube and facebook. I am forever learning something from them. I have a few friends in Canada too, and I often pop in to check what they are growing since their growing season is short, yet they always manage to grow and harvest something each time.

    I have a garden friend Kim, from California, she did a video to show people how to install an irrigation system. I thought that was neat. Mark, our host on this group, did something similar on a smaller scale for his plants on the water tank. I think it’s a solar setup or something. If I ever want to learn how to do that I will go find his video and watch it. I remember a while back Mark did a video on using chook fence or something like that and logs around the bottom of his chook pen to keep the predators at bay. His method works for him and what a great idea. It’s simple and effective. There’s a guy on here, if I remember this correctly, he used an electric blanket to help his seeds to germinate. I have never thought of that. So, there are many things you can do or learn now to equip you for that future goal to be a homesteader. You don’t have to start with a drastic change. But then, if you have the means to do it, then go for it.
     
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