December 9, 2015

5 Things I Did This Year to Be More Self-Sufficient


As the year winds down, it's time to take a look at our homesteading goals and see how well we did. Some of my goals are to fix a building or a fence, to declutter our home, to get organized. I also have a list of things I want to do, acquire, or learn - things that will help us become more self-sufficient.

To me, self-sufficiency means being able to produce as much of our needs as possible. I prefer to grow our fruit and vegetables, to provide our own milk, eggs and meat, to learn as much as I can about herbal medicine, and so on. For instance, I want to grow the spinach I add to my green smoothie each morning, not buy it at the grocery store.

Here are the five things I've crossed off my list this year.



1. Restocked our chicken coop - We bought 15 chicks to replenish our empty chicken coop. We were down to just one pair of chickens that free-range in the barnyard. It was hard to find our only hen's eggs, plus free-range chickens may or may not have a long life span here on Oak Hill. It was time to get serious and start over.

We now have four black sex-links, two speckled Sussex, two dominique, five buff orpingtons and two buff brahmas. The speckled Sussex came from a bin of straight-run, or unsexed, chicks. Hubby was hoping we'd have a rooster, but both of them ended up being pullet (female) chicks. We're on the lookout for a rooster for our new flock. Our free-range roo is a docile, gorgeous boy, but I want more than one rooster.

We also rebuilt the chicken run.



2. Raised pigs for the freezer - Our two Hampshire-cross gilts are now in the freezer. This was our third time raising pigs.

I'll be canning some of that pork very soon. I'm also researching how to cure hams and bacon; we have plenty to practice with.

 


3. Doubled the size of the garden - Well, I'm fencing and preparing it right now, but it won't be planted until spring so I'm not sure if I can say I actually "did this" in 2015. Then again, the hard work is in the preparing of a garden, and it's the project I'm working on right now, so yes, I did it this year.



4. Continued acquiring the seeds and plants I want for our "victory garden" - comfrey and other medicinal herbs, walking onions, a new variety of garlic, elderberry seeds, and so on.



5. Education - One of our local colleges offered an educational seminar for small agricultural producers. Even though I'm not producing products for sale or planning an agri-tourism business venture, I am a "small producer". I enjoyed the day, learned a lot, and met some like-minded people. Making contacts is always a good thing. I plan to attend the second annual seminar next year.

Education is one of our best tools. Our projects and experiments begin with an idea, but along the way we learn a great deal, either by reading, learning from others, or by experience. Knowledge can never be taken from us.

What do you plan to do next year to become more self-sufficient? What do you hope to learn? Leave a comment below and let us know.



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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24 comments:

  1. Great post!! I think those of us who live this lifestyle are always striving to find more ways of become self sufficient. Two things we did this year were we built a larger pumpkin patch to have more to sell. We also added to our laying hens for our use and to sell. Already have a few things in the works to extend our vegetable garden in 2016!

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    1. Selling pumpkins sounds like a great homestead income. I hope your garden extension goes well.

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    2. Your left over pumpkins are a great supplement for your small livestock if you have any. Chickens, goats pigs even my dogs love chunks of pumpkin! Plus the seeds are a nice natural wormer for the chickens.

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  2. If you make it up to Tulsa at all in the next month or so, I will probably have an extra Australorp rooster that you could have (unless we eat him first, but I don't really have the supplies/know-how to butcher him myself). Both of my roosters survived my hatchery order (I was really hoping the one that died in transit was one of the roos, but it was evidently a pullet), and I just don't have enough hens to go around I think. They're 26 weeks old currently.

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    1. Rebekah, thank you for your gracious offer. I'll checK with hubby and look at our schedule. :-)

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  3. Learned what crops grow best in raised beds despite weather extremes and what varieties thrive and which dont. Continued to learn from our beehives and have 4 now. Perfected simple cookies to my family's and friends' preferences. Learned to make great scratch biscuits. Learned how to involve with city commissioner meetings about local community issues. Learned about a wealth of resources available at public library. Planted Bolivian sunflowers and sweet potatoes as permaculture plants.
    ~Robbyn

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    1. Those are great accomplishments, Robbyn. Bees are on my list too.

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  4. You've had a productive year! I haven't done as much in this area of life as I'd like to. I should probably set some goals for next year

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  5. Jamie, a list of goals is a great plan. A list keeps me on track and mostly prevents me from being sidetracked. What would you put on your list?

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  6. Kathi, we've had busy year. We added American Gunina Hogs to the farm, upgraded our radio antenna towers, built a greenhouse and filled it with plants, started an outdoor kitchen that we need to finish, got one goat butchered and now need to do 3 more, raised a butchered a number of chickens with about 40 more growing out now. We didn't get everything accomplished we wanted to, but we made a good dent. On the list is completing the rain catchment system and installing the solar panels.

    It looks like you have accomplished much in spite of some medical challenges. Good for you!

    Fern

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    1. You've accomplished so much, Fern.

      Yes, I think we've done pretty well, considering. Hubby has to take a lot of breaks but he's still pushing himself pretty hard.

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  7. We are in the process of restocking our chicken coop, and getting more livestock for milk and meat. I love the idea of adding comfrey etc. to your garden, I'll have to add this to my list for next year!

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    1. Thank you, Carol. I've had a list of plants I want but this year I got serious about acquiring them.

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  8. I am hoping to grow a lot more of our own food, and hopefully plant some fruit and nut trees. Thank you for sharing what you've done :-)

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  9. Gwen, those are great goals. Fruit and nut trees are such a blessing, they keep giving year after year.

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  10. A very productive year, indeed! Congratulations on all of your efforts. That lettuce looks scrumptious!
    Thank you for adding your wonderful outdoor post to our link up on The Maple Hill Hop!

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  11. Thank you, Daisy.

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  12. Thanks for adding this to FromTheFarm..this is one of our featured posts this week! Hope to see you again soon!

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    1. Thank you for featuring the post, Heather!

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  13. This has definitely been a year of accomplishments, Kathi, and I like how you have demonstrated that small steps make a big difference towards self-sufficiency. Pinned and shared this excellent post. Thank you for being a part of our Hearth and Soul Hop.

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  14. Thank you, April. Small steps are doable; we can all take that first, little step toward a goal.

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  15. Thank you so much for being part of the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop. You are being featured this week! I look forward to reading what you share this week!

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    1. Thank you, Mindie. I enjoy your hop each week.

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  16. Those are some great things you've accomplished! Thanks for linking up to the Country Fair Blog Party!

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