Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here I sit, surrounded by hounds. A basset to the right of me, a beagle to the left, and a hot cup of coffee in is good. Today I spent the day climbing up and down ladders and through an attic, so tonight I decided I needed to take a break. I've been reading and relaxing since I got home.

After writing my last 2 posts, I've been thinking non stop on ways to become more self sufficient at home. I'm not only trying to think of ways to save money, but also thinking of ways to not need it. That's always a huge issue that people don't understand. They get this puzzled look on their face when I tell them I am working toward a time when I dont NEED much money. "But you always need money" is usually the response. Those who don't get it shouldn't comment, but thats their right, so I just smile and nod as I TRY to explain.

I have come up with a few ideas. One will be talking to my friend Jim about using some of his land to grow wheat, straw, and possibly corn. He has 17 acres and does nothing with it but tell people he has 17 acres. He likes living "in the country" and having all the "old time" things around for decoration, but doesnt get any of what I do. What a prime opportunity...unused land 10 minutes away. Plus maybe he can learn something...who knows. He's a great guy, but definitly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Other steps will be adding to the chickens and rabbits. More meat and egg production at minimal cost will be a big benefit. I want to get 1 more doe for the Californian buck I have. That way I can alternate litters (hopefully) with 2 does. I also want to get 3 New Zealand Whites, same thing, 1 buck and 2 does. Rabbits are just too easy NOT to. They're easy, feed cheap, make NO noise, produce a lot, and are a very good meat. (see chart above) Next will be to add more chickens. Not necessarily more layers, but to get meat birds. Red meat just doesn't agree well with Lisa's stomach most of the time, so she eats a lot of chicken. She makes all kinds of recipes with it, and has me eating more myself. So why buy it when I can just raise more? I know what they ate, I know where they came from, and I know what's in the meat. It just makes sense on both counts. I also want to hunt and fish more. I grew up with and enjoy both. It's not just the "food" sense, or the sport of it, it's different. When I'm alone in the woods or sitting in the boat in the middle of the lake, I'm at peace. I have to stop working around here every single day and give myself a break and time to enjoy something. It's gotten more into my head with both since I put this room together. At this very moment I am sitting here staring at my first pheasant, my first mallard, my first wood duck, my first squirrel, and my first bass. (Uncle B has my first deer) I just miss it. And hey.....if it helps keep the freezer full, I'm all for it. Fish, squirrel, rabbit, duck, goose, venison.....mmmmm. I'm making myself hungry lol.
These aren't HUGE steps, but they aren't tiny ones either. They won't happen overnight, more like over the winter. But they will happen. Little by little we are getting there, but sometimes the urge comes to do more, like it has this week. But this week it's hit harder for some reason. Maybe it's because I have this room all together and can see all the books, notebooks, catalogs, files, and papers all at once that used to be scattered throughout the house. Maybe it's because the kids are gone and we have the freedom to do more now without hearing grief about being "wierd" having the utilities drop by probably 75% will help. It's almost time to start plotting out next years garden. Time to make a material list for rabbit hutches and a new chicken coop for meat birds, time to lay out the whole place and decide what areas get bigger next year, what stays the same, and what will switch around. Time to get out the seed books and figure out what to order for next year. Time to order plants for timely delivery. Time to decide what crops did well and will replant, what didn't, and whether we will try them again next year. But...we have all winter to decide and plan..... it's only October.

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