Hi all, I have to admit that I have dreamed of having a self sufficient farm since I was a young boy. Since I am now having "anniversaries" of my 38th birthday that has been a long time. I was an Army brat and then joined the Navy after college (Clemson - Go Tigers!) so it has taken me a long time to settle down on our "dream" property. Now I am altering it to be able to make us "self sufficient". But I have to say that everyone seems to have a different definition of what that means. To me it is silly to think I will go out and spend $20000 on solar panels that cost me more than the electricity I pay for from the power company (for the next 20 years!). It is not windy enough here for a turbine. So I am stuck on the grid and I am ok with that. To me self sufficiency means that I raise and eat food produced (or traded for with food to another person) by myself on my property. We are just getting started (moved in July 1) and even though I can't believe it has only been 2.5 months we are making progress. On 16.5 acres we plan on raising chickens (of course - buff orps and silver laced wyandottes) for meat and eggs, a few head of cattle (hoping for belted galloway if we can find any), a half a dozen pigs (berkshire), ducks (arriving Nov, - black swedes), geese,(american buff), goats (nubian for milk), rabbits (californian or american chinchilla for meat), bees (for honey and pollination) a really large garden, and just planted 9 fruit trees. I want to do it all now but there is no way I could afford it even though my wife and I have good jobs (a tractor costs almost as much as a car - even a used one!). So I guess what I want to know is what is a realistic definition of self sufficiency to you? What does it mean to you? How far are you from your ideal? Any suggestions you can make to me or anyone else to become more self sufficient? Thanks everyone!