What is the best self sufficient thing you've done?

Discussion in 'Other' started by Mark, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    If I had to pick the best self sufficient "thing" I've done it would be the establishment of my vegetable gardens. This initial first leap into self sufficiency, helped give me the confidence to develope my skills in other self sufficient areas like building, landscaping, keeping animals for food, preserving, and the list goes on.


    I/we started with a small 1.5m x 1.5m vegetable/herb garden in the middle of a courtyard and through that success came the confidence to expand and develop our property to what it has become today. Begining with a humble GYO in a small vegetable garden is a great way to start a journey into self sufficiency and this is what fed my desire to expand into other areas and learn more about self sufficiency as a "culture."


    That's my story about the best self sufficient thing I've done - what's yours? :eyebrows:
     
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  2. becky3086

    becky3086 Active Member Premium Member

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    Well, I really don't know what the best things was. I have been at this self sufficiency things for a long time now but I can tell you my best accomplishments this year. I learned how to carve wooden spoons, I learned how to make my own ham and bacon from pigs I raised myself, and I learned how to make wine. It has definitely been a good year. :)
     
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  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Making your own bacon and ham is awesome and a huge achievement. I've seen lifestyle shows when people have done this and I always find myself wishing I could do the same. Unfortunately, we live the subtropics and I'm not sure if curing ham could be done successfully. We'd have to learn how to raise and keep pigs first though and that would be a real challenge for us and on our property.

    I haven't done wine either... yet, but I'm definately going to make my own wine one day. My cousin recently made a batch of wine from passion fruits and he said it turned out great!

    Looking back on a self-sufficient year and recounting accomplishments over that 12 months is something I do also - it's probably a better way of describing "the best self-sufficient thing you've done," TBH.
     
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  4. mouseinthehouse

    mouseinthehouse Active Member

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    The best self sufficient thing we have done is make the decision to make the transition to being more self reliant in as many ways as possible! :)
    The vegie garden was/is still the biggest achievement and an ongoing project. We cook with our own produce every day and that is a joy and a big saving.
     
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  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Great stuff! :D
     
  6. becky3086

    becky3086 Active Member Premium Member

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    I cured my bacon and hams right in the refrigerator then smoked them in the smoker. A lot of the wines I have made have just been from frozen juice. Very easy. But I did make some from cranberries and lemon balm as well. So far all have turned out pretty good except the lemon balm and I have to taste that again as I think I just didn't let that one set long enough. I still have 4 bottles of it anyway. The others that I have made from juice have been: apple, grape, pink lemonade(my favorite), apple raspberry, mixed berry, cherry pomegranate, and right now I have pineapple in my primary (a bucket), that is about to go in jugs (plastic juice jugs I got for free at work- my secondary fermenting containers). I might try squash as I have a couple still sitting under the table.

    We also build a lot of stuff from pallets this year. We made a new duck house, pig house, a table for the back yard (it holds my fountain), and fenced in the whole back yard. Those pallets he got free from work really came in handy :)
     
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  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I don't know if you can call it self sufficiency because I bought all the gear, but I think the best thing I've done is my little offgrid solar system. It provides a lot of my power and also makes you think about what you need, what you buy and how you're going to power it.
     
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  8. David Trees

    David Trees Active Member Premium Member

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    Great question Mark...

    Some great responses too so far. Passionfruit Wine... Mmm. Interesting.

    Well, being stuck in the UK until we sell the house these past 12 months has been very frustrating, tearful (when our aging folks took really ill) and exhilarating too.

    We made a conscious decision to learn to be frugal without being silly, tight or wearing rags. We rarely go out for meals now as we want to know where the produce comes from so we mainly eat in. I love cooking and have learned how to make bread and create my versions of recipes from Mother Earth News and Grit.

    I cook most meals and use at least 40% to 60% organic produce. We decided to adapt our eating habits before we return to Australia so we are eating things in season and different types of foods which we will grow when home. I was not a big salad leaf eater as I thought it was rabbit food and not filling. I was wrong. :) I ate Rocket for the first time this week and it was excellent. It's on our grow list now.

    I have learned these past 18 months how to repair door locks, decorate properly, plaster small areas, lay turf, repair fencing and other things rather than buying new, when it is more cost effective to repair. I lined a large garden shed and made it into an office and did the electrics ( I was a qualified sparky early in my working life) and it all passed inspection...Bonus!

    I've been watching hours and hours of YT videos, rather than only TV at night. I make myself do at least 1 to 1.5 hours or research/self study on Permaculture or Organic Gardening principles and practices daily (except sunday night). I've read pages and pages of opinions, studies and stories to get a handle on what it means to be self sufficient. It's been my dream since I was 15 to work the land and provide for myself off the land. So, at 50/51 it's time to do it.

    One of my best and most rewarding decisions/actions has been to begin to make friendships / network with like minded folk, like yourselves, globally.
    I decided with my wife (Colleen) to now connect mostly with Aussies as this is where we can be a support in the days ahead and I am sure it will be visa versa. I've had a bit of land experience but it's been quite piece meal and bitty.

    So, making notes, writing questions to myself then answering them has been part of the process too I guess. It's all good and worthwhile for me.

    Finally... I gave myself permission to be able to learn by making mistakes. This for me was a big thing as I was raised in a home where perfection was the only goal... So I was always afraid to try new things and learn in phases. Hence, I did not try things. So now when I make a mistake and something doesn't go as planned... I just say, David how do we fix this. My wife thinks I am a total nutter having this "convo" with myself and agreeing how to fix things..:ROFL:OL.

    Hey it works for me!

    Thanks for reading... :) Cheers from Rainy Manchester... well it's rainy for now!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
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  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks for that incite into your self sufficient quest - what a great read!

    Sounds like you're doing all the right things (research, trials, etc) to have a good head start for when you get back to Oz.

    I'm also funding out what an awesome platform youtube is to learn about self sufficiency.

    Making mistakes is fine and I totally agree with you... Well said :)
     
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  10. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Umm, I would say, growing more food, saving seeds and learning how to preserve. I started my fruit forest inspired by your orchard Mark. Before I only have a small orange tree and a unknown peach that I grew from seeds. Now, I have another peach tree, nectarine, plum, feijoa, nashi, apricot, unknown apple, mulberry, mandarin, avocado and figs. I am yet to get a lemon and lime tree and other fruit trees.

    Saving seeds is fun. I try and use them the following year or the next and I also share it to family and friends including garden friends online..

    I only just learned how to preserve, well, nearly two years now. I enjoyed making something from what I grow in my garden. Each time I take a batch out of the water canner, I cannot believe that I made it.

    Oh, not forgetting utilising my kitchen and garden waste.
     
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  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That's awesome Mary :)

    I can so relate to this... gyo is one great step but preserving my own produce to enjoy over an extended period very satisfying
     
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  12. David - coona

    David - coona Active Member Premium Member

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    Selling up in Sydney, and moving onto land without power, water or sewerage.
    Living our dream
     
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