November 21, 2012

Free Food - Preserving Food - Eat Local - Frugal Living - Survival Homestead

Our first year was so lean, with 2 extra mouths to feed, that it was necessary to learn about the wild food available. I would search for them then put them in paper lunch bags and staple it to the wall of our shack to dry. I was amazed over 50 different plants we identified and preserved to the winter. I truly believe that the medicinal properties of these plants and mushrooms help sustain us through the tough winter.

It is not natural to buy nutrition from countries far away. 
I bought some cinnamon the other day, it was such a bargain. I threw it out as soon as I got home, compared to my other cinnamon, it was cut without a light coloured substance. I am not a paranoid person, but I wonder if a country can put white poison in baby formula, what is stopping them from slipping it into food destined for unknown privileged tables.

Herbs and seeds dried for spices, are the perfect example of how easy and free preserving food can be. Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, and mint should be grown and dried in every household.  They grow like weeds and pound per pound more nutritious than vegetables. Their flavors enhance any recipe. It is my job to save money and I do it at all costs. This time of year money is particularly tight as winter stores of rice, coffee, sugar, flour and the like are purchased. We buy in bulk at wholesale saving 80% of store prices. We also buy a beef and pork from other farmers in the fall. At just over $2 a pound for both steak and hamburger, clean meat is a bargain. Mostly we grow the only vegetables and fruit consumed during the summer for the winter. All our meals our whole foods as fresh as possible, cooked at home.

After 10 years, the farm produces without needing money or bringing money in. Of course one could argue that it is part of my mortgage cost. Money was also used to pay for the infrastructure and upgrades here. Fencing, pens, raised beds, soil, energy efficiency upgrades costs eventually pay for themselves in returned savings.

I could tell you we have 10 mature nut trees, 30 mature fruit trees, 12 mature grape vines, a large raised garden and all the food they provide and you could be all impressed. I wouldn't tell you of the hazelnut orchard with 100s of trees growing wild on the hill (no doubt the work of squirrels), or how easy it is to grow a new grape from a cutting, or how one of the biggest jobs in the orchard is to keep the self-seeded saplings cut down. Packed away is 5 pounds of seed saved for planting. We have vinegar and too much wine. Wild herb and mushrooms fill my apothecary cabinet. This time of year clean lake fish fill the smoker. The wood grows here that  heats our home. The cats get the rodents and the dog the predators. There is enough weed seeds and worms to feed enough chickens to keep us in eggs and crispy fried all winter. I haven't bought a chick in 7 years. This year alone more than 30 chicks were born and raised without intervention from me. (No really, free ranged in the yard with the mom I didn't even need to feed or water them.) All this is available every year, with variance but without fail.

We used to raise our own pigs and goats too. It is impossible to do this for only one family. A family will eat a couple of pigs a year. A mother pig can have a dozen piglets 3 times a year! A good goat will present over 2 litres of milk twice a day. Even if one makes cheese it is far more milk than can be used in one kitchen. The goat only has milk after pregnant. To maintain these animals you must keep a male and female. They are herd animals and thrive best if you can keep a little herd. They must be fenced always and monitored to protect them from predators. They must have fresh feed available all year all year and their health maintained daily. You can see where the expense of time and money would make total sustainability prohibitive for a single family. I don't have the time or the money to feed, raise, process and market this many animals.

You can see this patch of nature we've nurtured for years can produce enough for 3 or 4 families. Nature certainly does her part and I do mine by reaping what was sown. 
I am shocked to finally realize, without a doubt, what is missing to make this farm self-sufficient is people. If only I had the seed to grow a community, hmmm . . . . .

November 08, 2012

How to Find Peace? SHTF Survival 2012

Life could be seen as a raft floating down a river on your way to the great ocean. 

We can fear getting snagged to by the bushes on the edges, be uncertain of those who ride with us and anxious of the turbulence which may lie ahead for us.

Inadvertently, in our ignorance, selfishness and panic lured by attractive little streams that promise what appears to be a shortcut or easier way. 

Naturally, unfortunately and inevitably, we always have to come back to our rightful place on the river. And, why is it somehow the stream back is never quite as alluring? 

We are not the raft, we are the river, the raft the conscience manifestation of life.

How to start again? SHTF Survival Homestead Help Me Please

And so now it is time to begin again . .

How to start again?

1.  Try to relax.  Even in our worst crisis we can still hear the self voice.  We don't want to, we want to be totally justified in our frustration and sorrow.  The voice says, now let it go, know this will pass, just float in the flow. Truth is even when we have everything we have no control.  When you have nothing you are thankful for this.

2.  Do what is in front of you to do.  Hungry, then find food.  Sick, then go back to bed.  Lonely, then go help someone.  We are not here to work to extinguish the world with our consumerism.  Without the consideration of money, you can see where you want to be in life, and you don't need money to walk that path everyday.

3.  Be kind to yourself.  Don't accept negative or condemning thoughts. Let them pass like farts because they are only the gas of the mind and should have no bearing on your life.  Feelings of guilt or remorse should be like thoughts of memories and then let go too.  Don't let anyone use guilt to make you do something you don't want to do, this is abusing yourself unnecessarily.

4.  Take care of your body.  This vehicle is your equipment to survive the journey so keep it  healthy.  Feed it, clean it, clothe it, exercise it, pleasure it, enjoy it, share it, love it.  Don't wear things that don't fit.  Don't subject it to the incessant damage of toxins in food and in your environment.    Don't allow someone else to exploit your body by using you as a money making machine, if you do you will pay with your body on another day.

5.  Look only forward.  There is a reason we forget the days so quickly, how they just evaporate from existence,  It is because they do.  Holding on to the past is like trying to catch farts.  What's the point?  This second is the most important in our minds, that is because each must be experienced to the fullest.  And then, similarly, let go to make room for the next.  Everything changes all the time, be available for what life's gifts ahead.

Regardless of what we have or who you have, know you are right where you are to be in the history of the world.  Listen to the voice who whispers what you need to do to live a satisfying life.  Consider it predetermined.  Consider all you will need will be there when you need it.  Consider you are important to the world in this second, otherwise you would not be here.  Consider everyone doing what they should be doing to make this life a blessing to the world.