"Pic-Of-The-Week" Homemade doughnuts by AL
Sufficient Self Forum
Living a more Self Sufficient & Sustainable Lifestyle
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Hello! My name is Diane, and I have lurked on this board and its sister sites for a while now. Guess it's time to start a journal and begin keeping track of all the great things I'm learning!
Plus, I just relocated from Colorado to Oregon. That means a new house, new yard, new foraging areas, new weather patterns, new produce options, new laws... you get the idea. LOTS of changes goin' on!
Here's my questions and answers list-
1. What state/province/country are you in and what is your climate like?
I am in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The climate should be moderate and rainy, but I haven't been here long enough to know if that's true!
2. How many people are in your family? Marital status?
Newly married. Just the two of us for now, more would be welcome.
3. How would you define self sufficiency?
I'd define it as not trying to depend on the undependable, at least as a regular thing. Being able to put up things (like canning veggies) so you don't have to rely on shipping schedules or a particular year's weather patterns, for instance. That definition is quite variable depending on what day you ask me, though.
4. What would you do with your spare time if you had any resources you needed?
I'd have a houseful of kids! I was a foster parent in Colorado, and expect to do it again once I have enough resources saved up.
5. Have you ever built a house , or other types of building? Do you want to?
I've built a small chicken coop, does that count? I'd love to build something bigger, but never had the need.
6. Can you weld? Steel, aluminum, MiG, TiG, stick, Oxy-Acet?
I welded in shop class many (many) years ago. If it comes with instructions I could figure it out.
7. Who or what inspired you to become more self sufficient?
I started with a garden, because of high produce prices in the grocery store. Then added chickens when I realized how much better those eggs tasted. Then added rabbits when I got into spinning but didn't like it that angora fiber wasn't always available. Then meat rabbits because I watched documentaries on slaughterhouses and the meat industry in general and realized I either needed to become vegetarian or raise and process my own meat. The final kick in the butt was quitting my corporate job to accompany my husband here to Oregon, so frugality is the way of life now instead of the name of the "game". And so on. It's been a long-ish process getting me to this point, and I'm sure it isn't finished yet.
8 Cloth or paper?
For what? For writing on - paper. For covering walls - cloth. For sacking groceries - both.
9. In what ways are you self sufficient now and in what ways would you like to learn more?
I'm not completely self sufficient in anything yet. The garden isn't big enough, I don't have enough chickens or rabbits yet, etc. I'm open to learning pretty much anything! That's why I love this board so much, I can find such good ideas that I hadn't even thought of yet. Got the supplies to make my own laundry detergent today!
10. In what way(s) will you never choose to become self sufficient?
I do not understand electricity. I flip a switch and it comes on, that's all. So I am unlikely to do anything with solar panels or electricity storage in batteries or the like.
11. Are you interested in stocking up for future needs?
Yes. I'd love to learn to can something other than jam!
12. Where do you end up when you sink into yourself, away from the outside world?
Usually with my nose in a book somewhere.
13. Can you drive a farm tractor or a semi?
Never tried. I can drive a large moving van that's towing a car, but that's the closest I've gotten.
14. Do you make crafts or useful items? Would you want to teach others how to do these?
I can spin my own yarn. And I can make a couple types of lace - not crocheted lace, the real stuff like teneriffe.
15. Can you have legally livestock where you are at? Do you have any? What kinds?
I can legally have two chickens and a "few" rabbits. They are currently (officially) not enforcing the two-chicken law, and I interpret a "few" rabbits to mean whatever I can keep healthy, non-smelly, and otherwise non-bothersome to my neighbors. So in Sept I am getting 4 chickens, and I have 8 Angora rabbits and currently one (soon to be three) meat rabbit breeders.
16. Can you operate a lathe? Metal, wood?
Nope, but I'd love to try a wood lathe!
17. Do you like to garden? If so, what do you enjoy growing?
I do like to garden, and don't really care what I grow so long as it GROWS. It was hard in Colorado, being so dry and desert-like, but in Oregon it ought to be easier.
18. Do you fish? Bait or explosives?
I do fish, using bait. Although I do have relatives in Kentucky, so maybe I'll learn to fish using my hands!
19. How much space/land do you have or rent? City? Country?
I rent my home in Oregon, but the landlord doesn't care what I do to the back yard as long as the pretty and useful plants stay there. I walked into a rental house that already has blackberries, grapes, honeysuckle, and roses full grown and blooming everywhere! The lot is small, but so's my family, so it might just be big enough for me to figure out how to handle everything before finding somewhere bigger.
20. Are you a Novice, Technician, General, Advanced? ARRL?
21. What is your self sufficient specialty? Or what one would you like to learn?
I want to learn to can my produce. I've done parts of it before, but not the whole shebang by myself.
23. Do you do wood work? framing, finish, cabinet?
I can do wood work, like making a shelving unit to fit in a particular corner, but nobody would mistake it for something professional. Looks better than shelves held up by cinder blocks, though!
24. Are you interested in herbal medicine?
Yes, but as of now I don't know much at all.
25. If you could live any place you chose, where would it be?
Right now, Oregon. Time will tell if it stays that way.
26. Do you use a wood stove for heating or cooking?
No, don't have one.
28. Are your family or friends also interested in self sufficiency?
A few are mildly interested, but not enough to do anything. Just enough to ask me about my latest adventures.
29. Do you like to cook? Are you interested in whole foods and natural foods? raw milk? farm fresh eggs?
I LOVE to cook! And I do prefer natural and whole foods. Better for me, and so much more forgiving about cooking recipies and times and temperatures than processed stuff is. I cook by smell, not by recipe. Never tried raw milk, but that's only from the lack of opportunity. Bet I could drink that even though store milk doesn't agree with me.
31. Do you forage or hunt for part of your food needs?
Yes, if you can call scouring Craigslist for stuff "hunting" or "foraging". :-) I get free roosters all the time, for instance.
32. What skills do you have that help you be more self sufficient?
A great desire to learn more about it, and to try the techniques I learn. A belief that living this way is possible, and desirable.
34. Do you have solar panels? Plans to use solar energy?
Nope. See #10. I like the idea of a solar oven, though, and of course laundry lines instead of my dryer!
35 What is the mass/weight ratio of a European swallow carrying a coconut from the tropics to England?
Just throw me off the bridge now, I've always had too many questions about THAT! (Age of the swallow, which section of the tropics, species of coconut, maturity of the coconut...)
36. Have you ever lived completely off grid? Would you like to?
No, I haven't. I would like to for a short period of time, like a week or two of vacation. Check with me after that to see if I'd like to continue to do it.
37. In what do you trust?
In God. Surely not in money!
38. Do you make things yourself to save money?
Yes. Plus if I make it, then it's original and not something everybody else has. I like being unique.
39. Has trying to be more self-sufficient changed your attitude or habits about money/spending?
Yes, I think it has. Money isn't reliable. It changes - or at least what you can do with it changes - from day to day. It isn't stable. Work and knowledge feel more reliable. The ability to grow food (or repair a vehicle, or cure a headache) is the ability to grow food (or repair a vehicle, or cure a headache) - that doesn't change. Better than relying on society to put a monitary value on that work and knowledge that you can then trade in for food, or a working vehicle, or a pill. The trade-in value changes, but the actual value doesn't. Hope that makes sense.
If you have more questions for me, by all means ask. I'm looking forward to figuring out how things work in Oregon, and to learning new things. I'll keep my lists of things I learn here so I can refer to them again next year. If I try to keep them on paper, I'll get buried under the mass of notebooks I'd collect. :-) Hopefully soon I'll have learned enough I can start commenting on other people's questions, and otherwise giving back.
Last edited by DianeS (02/25/2013 1:22 am)
Hi Diane! I'm new also and learning so much!!!!
Did you bottle up some Colorado sunshine to take with you??
I'm happy to report that so far the sunshine here is fine on its own. That was a pleasant surprise.
My in-laws are in the Willamette. Great growing climate!
Today was our first full day in the new home. It's beautiful! At least it is to me - definately needs a lot of work. We're just renting it, so what we can do is limited, but the landlord is being rather permissive of things like that.
Today I did not get outside until dusk. In the hour between then and dark I picked two pints of blackberries, and cleared about 2-3 cans of brush and weeds (the cans are the big 39 gallon trash cans). I also untangled a lot of vines. There are big beautiful blackberry vines that are so deep my arm doesn't reach all the way in, tangled up with grapevines. I'd like to save all of them if I can, but get them to where they are all able to be harvested, so that means a lot of manual untangling and sorting. We're making some arbors to go overhead so the grapes hang down instead of being hidden by all the blackberries. That will be nice for shade, too.
I also cleared the brush that was covering the door to the chicken run. It may have been used as a dog run by some previous owner, but the fact remains it is solid 4x4 construction with 2"x1" welded wire covering it, and it's 5 feet tall and at least 8'x8' inside. I'll have to add one more foot to that, and roof it over, but it's nice to have such a nice start on the run already! In there I'm removing blackberry vine because of the size of the thorns and chance of injury to the chickens, but the rest can stay and the chickens will eat it. I can 't quite see to the back of the run yet, I had to stop when it got too dark.
Off to eat the blackberries! I'll eventually need to know how to store large quantities of them (frozen? I guess that goes in another forum I'll search out in a minute) but for now the amount I get is edible at once. It's just the start of their season, too! I'll have to get some pictures to show you.
berries can be freezed, dehydrated or canned...notto mention all the yummy blackberry jam (jelly?) youll be able to make!
they say the thornier the berry bush the sweeter the berries!