Showing posts from April, 2005

Making food and firewood...

Went ahead and planted the garden this morning. It's not quite as big as I wanted to have, but I was running out of time (I should've started much earlier) and just got plain tired of digging. Tried to use a borrowed tiller, but the sod has been in place so long that the tiller didn't do a thing.

We've got a friend who is letting plant more stuff at her place, so I don't need a big garden here. Even though I wanted to. But that's okay, better to start off small, I'll work into more garden here next year.

The next step that I'll be writing about is reducing our reliance upon utilities. Part of doing that is using a woodstove for heat. I'll talk more about it later, but we cut down a couple of ash trees so I wanted to write about that now.

There were several small ones coming up out of an old concrete foundation that were blocking the sun to my neighbor's garden and he'd asked if could cut them down. I'll be wanting to put in a shed on top…

Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping

Once-A-Month Grocery Shopping

"I have discovered that grocery shopping once a month is one major way of saving money. Particularly in combination with other activities, monthly shopping can save a heap of money.

This was a gradual process for me. When I decided to make the move, I was shopping weekly because I had a very small freezer. Now I have a good-sized chest freezer. I started by dropping back to visiting the supermarket once every two weeks. Even though I allowed a budget of double what I had previously spent each week, I found that I seldom needed to spend that much. Shopping less often certainly reduced the impulse purchases. It seemed relatively easy to work out how much of each item I needed to last me two weeks. Some things were already packaged in quantities that would last me longer so I wasn't buying every item each shopping trip."

This is where we're at now. We were going to the supermarket at least once a week, usually two or three times a …

Mixes in a jar. Best brownie recipe and more

Nick writes: In step one, we discussed cancelling the trash service. One of the things that change when you cancel the trash service is that you learn to reuse most of the items you used to throw away. Well my wife, Noel, has taken this to heart by reusing mayonnaise-type jars to store dry mixes in. Dry mixes are good things in and of themselves as well. So I'll let her tell you all about it! So without further ado, I introduce my wonderful wife, Noel

For those who like the conveniences of mixes like I do, don't think that you can't have them if you buy in bulk or stop buying prepackaged foods. The ideas for making your own mixes are unlimited. This weekend, I started putting away some dry mixes. It was just a start, but it got my juices flowing on all the kinds of things I could make ahead of time. I like to use mayonnaise jars or canning jars because they are easy to store and you can see at a glance what is inside. One of the things I made was some pudding mixes. Now …

Camp fires and barn owls...

We got around to putting some old bricks in a circle for a fire ring last night.  So we  gathered up some wood and got ourselves a little fire going.

It was nice. The weather yesterday was much cooler than it had been, so the fire felt good. We sat there till dark enjoying the fire.

After awhile, we heard some owls off in the distance. You'd hear one of them screech, then the other would make a sharp staccato chirping noise. Well soon they were flying right over head. You could just make out their white underbellies and wings in the darkness. Silently flapping their way about.

Sreeeeeeech then chirp chirp chirp chirp.

I don't know if they were mating or fighting or what, but it was neat to watch.

More thoughts on self-reliance. Television...

After I finished writing "The first step," I started thinking that maybe I should've made cancelling television service the first step.

So I've been pondering that this afternoon and I've decided that cancelling television service isn't really a step on the path. Because, I believe, if you are still paying someone to pump that crap into your home, you are not ready to even think about the first step.

Granted, there are a few programs on that I like to watch. But they become fewer and fewer each year, and even the ones I do enjoy are just about ruined by the commercials. And I sure will not pay for that when I can get it for free.

If you have to have television, get an antenna. You'd be surprised how good the reception is. I live more than 60 miles from the nearest stations and many times I get them clearer off the air than when I had cable.

The path to self-reliance. Step 2: Make your own food.

Step two on the path to self-reliance and independence is making your own food. This step is actually four-fold.

If you've taken step one, you know how difficult that step is to take when you're purchasing your food from the grocery store. By nature, almost everything in that store has to come prepackaged. And it is generally packed in small quantities. And what you have left are a lot of empty packages that you have to do something with.

The solution is simple: Stop buying your food from the grocery store!

Here are the four folds of this step: Veggies, bread, meats and what I refer to as the dairy category (milk, eggs and butter).

First off, make a garden. If you've got any amount of dirt that you can take a shovel to and dig up for a garden, do it. It doesn't matter if it's 5-feet-by-5-feet or an acre, just do it (but smaller is better your first time). You don't need a tiller, get yourself a shovel, a digging fork, a hoe and a garden rake (not a lawn rake). …

The path to self-reliance. Step 1: Cancel the trash service.

This is a guest post written by Bear.

Step one on the path to self-reliance and independence is cancelling the trash service.

If you continue using a garbage collection service, it will be difficult for you to realize the impact of what you are throwing away.

My entire way of thinking changed when I cancelled the trash pickup. Because suddenly I had to deal with any garbage that my wife and I produced. The nearest landfill is about 60 miles away and we currently do not have a working pickup truck, so hauling our own trash off was not an option (not that we wanted to do that anyway).

Do a simple excercise yourself, the next time you go grocery shopping. When you're at the register, look at all the food you've purchased, and see what kind of packaging your items are in. Then think about how much extra you're paying to buy those foods in their fancy packages. Now think about how you're going to go home, use the product, and then pay someone else to haul the package away. …

The path to self-reliance

The most important step on the path to self-reliance and independence is getting out of the city.

I say that this is the most important step for many reasons. Things are simply cheaper in the country. There aren't so many taxes. Utilities just aren't as expensive, generally speaking anyway.

I don't number this step because, while it is the most important, some folks just won't be able to do it right away, if ever. And there are steps that you can take while still in the city.

Plus, when you live out in the country and it's a five mile trip to get into town, you think twice before going to eat out or to see a movie (especially with gas prices going up like they are).

The second most important step is to get to know your neighbors. This applies in the city too, but especially in the country. Through our neighbors we have learned quite a bit. We found our source for eggs, milk and butter through one of our neighbors. Our neighbors have also helped us out a few times w…