This is traditionally the time for introspection, for resolutions, plans, goals, etc. We usually spend what ever quiet moments we find talking, thinking, and planning. This year has been no different except for our focus. That’s been a bit more intense. We find our goals all falling with in a pretty narrow band, and find ourselves already taking action on some of them. The reason for this intensity happened on the 21st. We had great plans for celebrating the solstice and my birthday. Instead we came face to face with how dependant we are on income generated from off the farm. We got the opportunity, the gift of taking a hard look at what would happen if that income suddenly went away. Not a happy place to go, and I know many have had to walk that road recently.
I guess the surprising thing for me was how very dependant we are. We have been developing our homestead for a few years now, and felt we were quite independent. We produce all our eggs, milk, most of our cheese and butter, most of our own vegetables, and about half of our meat. We heat primarily with wood gathered locally, and live pretty frugally. We have a very small mortgage on the house and farm, and no other debt. Sounds pretty independent. Right up until we had to face the prospect of no income. Then we remembered that without money to pay the bills there would be no electricity (including the freezer full of food), no water, no fuel for the car, no winter feed for the livestock, no flour, sugar, yeast, oil, coffee, etc. If very short order the bank would come move us out of our home, and we would be without that as well. Not the independent souls we thought we were.
So our projects for the new year are focusing on increasing our independence. Making our home, and family less dependant on the whims of some company, and more secure in our ability to meet our daily basic needs.
The first thing we are doing is assessing what we have, what we produce, and where the gaps are. We are starting with food, and rather than just making a list of what’s in the pantry, we are just pulling the plug. We are going to try living on what is here for a month. No trips to the store, no eating out, no ordering pizza, etc. That should show us the gaps in a big hurry. We are still discussing other steps we will take. I’ll fill those in as we go. I’ll also update our food experiment each week. Should be interesting.