Sunday, October 5, 2008

Independence Day Challenge

I am still doing this challenge. I've been doing it since May?  I think. Why have I been doing it this long and why do I feel that it is important for me to still follow this challenge? Well; because, although many of the items on the list I would be doing anyway, I feel it is important to me to have a discipline around concerns of preparedness.  There have been times when  I had to give up a meal to make sure my older son could have something to eat.  There were times when we had very low heat because I couldn't pay for the electric heat we had. Maine winters can be cold and long. There were times I waited in line for free day old bread at a local church.  If I had known then what I know now we would have had an easier life.

I don't think this was a personal failing. It  isn't that I hadn't worked really hard most of my adult life or that I didn't try to keep my son and myself off of welfare.  For quite a few years we were very independent ( by today's standards).  We paid for our our own health insurance.  We paid our own rent and utilities.  We ate really well.  But life happens.  And sometimes it happens in very hard ways.

Simply enough, I got sick with  Multiple Sclerosis.  So my ability to work hard and my ability to provide for myself  and my son were severely compromised for several years. Fortunately, I learned to slow down and got healthy and ...learned some valuable lessons in self sufficiency.

Now, our nation is walking the footsteps of a financial crisis.  For now, it still seems far away. I can still go to the grocery  store and buy my Factory Farmed chicken and strawberries from Argentina.  I can go to Malwart and buy poorly made shoes from China.  But ...the soles wear out quickly on those shoes.  An economic system that is only based on growth ends up eating itself.  How long can this go on?  Well, it seems to be eating itself now.  I need to wrap my mind around the fact that some day,  I may not be able to find chocolate at the grocery store.  Or someday..the heating fuel of my choice may be too expensive for me to purchase.  Someday, inflation may price me out of the formal economy. So simply enough I take the "wealth" I have now and invest it items I will be using in the future.   If nothing happens, well, then,  we eat what we have, we use what have.  My children's feet will still grow and they will wear the shoes I have put aside for them.  If nothing happens, well, my husband's income is still not going to grow dramatically.  So it makes sense for our family to grow most of our own food, cut our own firewood, and live as frugally as possible so we can live comfortably.

Plant: 111 garlic bulbs.  Transplanted rhubarb with the hope it will like its new home better.

Harvested: leeks, turnip, apples, spinach, corn for the pig

Preserved: spinach, dried pears, pear sauce, dried apples, amaranth

prepped: stocked upon baking soda, yogurt cultures, kitty litter ( it was on sale big time this week).  I have started an emergency cash fund for under the "mattress" .  It is never too late for a Rainy day fund.  I am a newbie a vermicomposting and the little guys are thriving.  I am such a proud worm mama.

local foods:  a  friend from church has provided apples from organic trees for folks at church.  plan to dehydrate these,  farmers market twice this past week.

managed reserves:  building a new compost pile from garden waste and the first fallen leaves.  I hope to have at least one more pile made this fall to have a good jump on next years compost. Wrote out an inventory of the home canned food and will post it on the blog.  I will post the frozen foods this week after that is tallied. Working on a list of the last few things I think we need to stock up on  for the winter with regards to dry bulk goods.  My hope is to be at the point where we are just buying butter and milk from a local farmer with occasional purchases of grains, coffee and chocolate. ( yeah ,I know, not very  local but we get them fair trade from our church).

learned something new:  I learned how to felt a hand knitted project.

cook something new:  dehydrated pears and pear sauce....YUM YUM YUM.....if we eat them all now I don' think they can considered preserved but what the heck they are good.


Wendy said...

I love the point you made here - if nothing happens .... That's what I've been trying to impress on my husband. So, okay, I build a solar generator to have just in case ..., but even if the world doesn't end, we still have this solar generator that we can use when the power goes out, because it does, at least once a year ... usually in February :).

Thanks for being able to articulate so well the point I've been tryiing to make and missing. I should probably find a new way to express it ;).

Fleecenik Farm said...

Well, it seems that something is happening. What that will mean for us is yet to be determined.

You would have earned back the investment of the solar generator in '97 when we got hit with the ice storm in Maine. Many folks were without power for 3 weeks. With the solar generator you could lessen your dependency on the grid. That is always a good thing.

risa said...

Under "cook something new," I did pear sauce too! :)


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