Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Independence Day Challenge Year 2

I began this blog last year in response to a very smart woman's challenge.   The Independence Day Challenge follows the spirit of Carla Emery's approach to growing and preserving food.  Plant something every day, then preserve something every day. Last year my family was faced with diminishing income.  One choice, at the time, was that I could go back to work full time, we could pay someone else to care for the wee one. The teen could go to school instead of being homeschooled. In the end it didn't seem that we would be any better off.  The wee one would not be better off.  Our hope for what we could accomplish on our little homestead would be diminished.  The other choice was that I could approach the filling  of the larder as a full time job.  This would require growing and preserving most of the produce we eat everyday. We grew another pig for the freezer,  grew chicks for the freezer and eggs. We began food storage of grains, beans, oils and sweeteners.

The result of last years hard work was that for many weeks this past winter all we had to do was buy milk, cheese, butter and eggs ( because the girls weren't laying).  And in the end we realized that we did not need that extra income.   My "pay" from my new job was time with my family, a sense of security that comes from a full pantry, and the increased efficiency that comes with working with food storage.  Menu planning, eating with the seasons and a more local diet were  the fringe benefits.

Fortunately, when the decision to take on this new "job" was in the forefront, Sharon Astyk was beginning her Independence Days Challenge.  At the time oil was climbing over a 100.00 a barrel. The idea of Peak oil was hitting the mainstream media.  Bear Sterns was toast and the economy was beginning its free fall. There were other reasons to participate in the challenge other than what was happening in our own life.   There are forces outside my control but participating in the challenge has changed the way I think about the challenge. At the time it seemed like a good idea because it would provide some insurance for own circumstances. In the end the discovery has been that it is probably a wiser way to live.  It put the actions of living a simple life in focus. 

So this is the second year of the challenge which is good 'cause I need a kick in the pants...

Care to join the challenge?


Anonymous said...

I think we all need that kick in the pants.. I sure do..
BTW you do know that you can freeze eggs? Just whip them first, place in container and then freeze.. their good for 6 months and that would take you through the winter. taste great scrambled or in baking.

Anna M said...

I really needed your post today. Our income has dropped by more than 50% and it's not an easy thing to deal with but we made the choice you did to look at this garden we are planting as a full time job. We won't be raising meat this year but hopefully the income from the farmer's market will purchase what we need. If I can get close to a net zero grocery bill I'll be pretty dang happy. Of course right now my aching back says it's NOT WORTH IT *lolol* I'm sooo not listening, liniment and mint tea will help.

English Animist said...

I am definitely joining in this year. I am heading to see Sharon at a book signing tomorrow night. Can't wait! Here's to a successful year for us all.