Saturday, July 9, 2011

Homesteading ~ Self Sufficiency

I had no idea when I started this blog, that the homesteading movement would begin as a small wave that would turn into a very large one like it is now.  More and more people are jumping on board and realizing the need to be more in control of their world by growing food and getting more self sufficient.  There was the back to land movement back in the seventies, but I was too little to know much about it.  Many people now want some control of their food, not just fruits and vegetables, but their meat and dairy too... I'm one.

We're tired of buying food we don't know where it came from, and how inhumane the animals were treated.  We're willing to learn what our ancestors knew for thousands of years.  Meat is special, not for everyday, but for occasions that we can share it, and know where it comes from.  There is a need to learn the ways of old, and to be keepers of the home.

Butchering a fatted young rooster was for a Sunday meal.  Breadmaking was done one day for the week.  Seasonal eating was the norm, and asparagus was a spring treat, just like strawberries and cherries were summer sweets.  Honey was extra special, and herbs were for healing.  Homemakers knew how to make cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream.  Cheese was often made in the spring when the grass began to grow lush and long, and the cows had rich milk. 

There was no boxed cereals, or packaged foods.  We used to know the source from where all our food came from.  Life and death on the farm was normal, and the kids participated in all aspects of it.  They knew the pig was going to be butchered in the fall, and good ham and bacon would be on the menu.  Everything was fresh, dried, fermented or canned.  Even refrigerators and freezers are new to this era. 

We need to go back and learn, I'm speaking to myself, my squeamish self, that has never butchered an animal, letting my son do the deed.  I want to get meat chickens and raise them for our family to be ready for Fall butchering.  You see I'm learning too, how easy it is to buy meat in cellophane and not think about the animal that used to be alive, where did it live, in what kind of conditions...I want to know.

If you've ever read Michael Pollen's "Omnivore's Dilemma"  you'll get a glimpse of what grocery store food is like.  Corn is the base of many products, way more than you'd ever imagine, even the animals we eat are fed corn.  In reality the best thing for most animals to eat is grass, fresh greens, things that are alive and full of vitamins and minerals.  The ability to be free and live without stress in a small farm with love is what I want to achieve for my animals.  I'm willing to learn, right along with a whole generation who have forgotten how it's done. 

My dream is to be more self sufficient, we're still a ways off, but are on the right track.  I appreciate talking and learning from others and see what small steps they're taking.  Some of you are raising cattle, pigs, and sheep, I'm not there yet, but we are raising animals on a small scale, like chickens, rabbits, and goats for milk.  These can be raised even in most cities now, as more people want grow their own food.

How can you start?  By doing a little every year, perhaps you could start by growing a garden, planting fruit trees, and learning to make bread.  If you're in an apartment you can grow sprouts, possibly even get rabbits.  Shop at farmers markets, source local raw honey and fruits and vegetables.  Know where you're food comes from, meet the farmers and growers.  This could set you on a path to moving to the country and starting your own homestead, or a whole new lifestyle change for the better.  It's exciting to sit down to a meal and know much of it came from your own land.  That is richness to me.  I'd love to hear what you're growing, raising and doing to be more self sufficient?


jdmsmith said...

I like what you have said here. Makes us think and hopefully we are doing a little more every year to becoming more dependant on ourselves than to the grocery stores. Love your blog!

Jewel said...

Thanks jdmsmith, it's nice to know there are others out there thinking similar thoughts and doing a little bit more every year towards self sufficiency. That's how I'm doing it, and after 5 years, you can really look back and see how far you've come.

Anonymous said...

Good blog, thank you! I really love it!

bluetick said...

Julie...very well said I couldn't agree more. We are also trying hard to become self sustainable and learning along the way. I remember growing up in the 70's where my family grew everything we ate and it was the normal. Now my grandchildren know very little about where food comes from other then the grocery store. I am trying to teach them that walking through my garden and being able to eat anything they want is a treat and most of their friends couldn't do it. I love how you too are changing the bad habits we all have adopted over the years just like we are!

Jewel said...

Hi Tracy,
So nice to hear you're teaching your grandchildren how to eat from the land. , they will have such great memories of your farm and garden, and will probably want a garden to eat from too.

I read the weather today for your part of the country and heard you're having a heat wave. Sure wish a little heat would come our way, and we could share some of the cool temps we're having.

bluetick said...

A heat wave to say the garden has all but died and I am a bit bummed. Our sandy soil just can't hold enough moisture to keep things growing very long without constant watering and our well just won't handle that during a dry spell. So yes please send cool weather and some much needed rain to my house:) Everything looks so green at your house I love looking at your pictures...reminds me of PA where I grew up. I bet your nursery job this spring added some nice new plants to your gardens I can't wait to see them.

Shonya said...

We have had a delightful situation for several years now, raising our own beef, chicken and pork, vegetables and fruit trees, making our own cheese, yogurt and butter. While I'm looking forward to living closer to family, I'm not looking forward to starting all over again! Oh well, guess that's part of the "adventure"! lol

Nancy from the Weathered Pane said...

Okay, I've read through many posts and I love your blog! I'm not a farmer or a homesteader. I don't raise chickens, goats, or rabbits. I do grow a small garden and the best part is watching the little grandkids grab a swiss chard leaf or celery to eat. Or hunting for peas and strawberries. I'm glad more and more people are thinking about the way animals are raised and what they're fed. It's a good time to think self-sufficient living.

Jewel said...

Hi Nancy, Welcome and thanks for reading. It's always nice to hear from others, and what their doing. A vegetable garden is a huge part of living more self suffieciently, and teaching your grandchildren about where their food comes will carry on in them forever. Thanks for the nice comments :)