06
May
08

Frugality and Self-Sufficiency…

Self-sufficiency in the food department….

It is the time of year in Kansas when things are just starting to produce.  Early foods we begin eating this week from our garden:

Spinach

Lettuce/greens

Collards

Green onions

Soon to come:

Potatoes

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Peas

Cabbage

Foraging:

Although I have never actually “foraged” before, I fully intend to try:

Dandelion greens

Breaded Dandelion flowers

Morels (I think we missed them this year, but fully intend to try next year)

Foraging later in the year:

Mulberries

Sand plums

Currents

I sometimes struggle with the inner battle of “organic vs. frugal.”  Anyone else have this problem?  I want to buy everything organic, but then I have a feeling of regret that I’ve over spent and not used our money wisely.  There has to be a balance.  I justify my non-organic purchases with, “I cook from scratch, so if I don’t buy EVERYTHING organic I’m still doing better than most.” 

So, with that being said, Randy and I also take advantage of the farming in our area for free corn on the cob and free wheat from nearby family fields.  No it’s not organic, yes it’s laden with chemicals, but it’s free and corn isn’t really all that good for you to begin with and we eat it in moderation (don’t you love how I justify my choices).  The wheat (if we purchase a grain mill) will be just enough to get us by for a couple of months, and then we will purchase it from a nearby bulk food store (organic).

I also struggle with the need for supplements in our daily routine.  These have proven to prevent ailments and sickness, so it’s hard to eliminate something that is working so well for us.  However, I want to try to cut back on some of the expenses.  We buy supplements for our two dogs as well.  For the price of the supplements I feel they will save us on vet bills over the long run (our small dog has severe allergies) just the same as I feel it has saved us on doctor bills as well.  Still I will try to trim, trim, trim.

We have also put some major purchases on hold and are currently brainstorming ways to get by without:

A tractor to move round bales for our sheep

A new roof on our house

New permanent pasture fencing (goat fencing)

A vacation to the Northeast in the fall

Here’s my idea for the tractor.  We can line our round bales up outside our lots in the winter and place electric netting extending from the lot out around one round bale at a time to allow them to eat the one bale.  When that bale is gone we can move the electric netting around the next bale and so on until spring arrives again.  This year my Dad had to drive his tractor 5 miles (roundtrip) to move a round bale into the sheep lot for us whenever they ran out.  Not very feasible with the price of farm diesel and not fair to him to have to take time to do it for us every other week or so.

We plan to patch the old roof as needed and save until we have enough money up front to do the roof without having to finance it.

We ran one strand of electric fence cable ($300) around our existing fence using the existing posts and not replacing the entire thing with goat fencing ($4000).  Granted this is only temporary, but it saved us $3700 for now.

A vacation to the Northeast to see the fall foliage will just have to wait.  We love our farm and can enjoy fall at home instead.

Homesteading, self-sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, whatever you want to call it does take sacrifice and a little ingenuity.  If it were easy everyone would be doing it. 

I just had a discussion with Randy the other day about what he would sacrifice to not have to commute 2 hours a day and go to work 40 hours/week?  I would sacrifice A LOT!  He’s a little resistant to some of the changes, eh hem, Dish Network is his life, literally.

Some of the silly (IMO) expenses we have that could easily go:

Dish Network

Dining out (we’ve gotten kind of bad about this lately)

Non-necessity food and beverages

Extra vehicles

Everyone has places they could trim.  It’s just a matter of prioritizing the important things in life.  To me TIME and our HEALTH are the most important things in our life and the two things lacking in most lives.

I enjoy going out to eat, but with the price of fuel, the cost of going out to eat, and the unhealthy food we will most likely consume, wouldn’t it be just as fun to pack a picnic lunch and go sit by one of the ponds nearby, or under our big cottonwood tree, or even just on the patio at our fun little bistro table?  It’s about spending time together and it doesn’t have to be expensive to make it memorable.

The cost of living is definitely on the rise.  I am evaluating and re-evaluating our spending more and more as prices continue to increase.  Some of the most valuable traits you can have in today’s world is to be able to:

Grow at least some of your own food

Cook from scratch

And be thrifty with what money you have.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

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Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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