What does being "self sufficient" mean to you?

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by Workinthedream, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Workinthedream

    Workinthedream Out Of The Brooder

    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!
     
  2. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Self sufficient to me would be providing all of my food needs from my farm, which I could honestly do, but I'm lily-livered and don't want to slaughter LOL! I am way far away from my ideal. I haven't even been able to can my produce. It sounds like you are on to an excellent start. [​IMG]
     
  3. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is almost impossible to be totally self-sufficient, and I wouldn't want to live that way anyway. Family farms in the 1800s provided much of what the family needed. But the family would still need to sometimes buy farming supplies, building supplies, and some groceries at the grocery store.

    It seems you are well on your way to creating a small farm that will supply most of your food. It will take a few years for the fruit trees to produce well, though. If you can grow feed for your animals and grow most of the food you eat, that is what I would call self-sufficient.

    Here is a 1958 Case tractor with a diesel engine in Norfolk, Virginia, for $900. http://norfolk.craigslist.org/grd/4067223784.html
    Of course you would have to buy some implements, such as a plow, tiller, and cultivator, for the garden. You would need other equipment for bailing hay. You could buy them as you need them.

    By the way, it is not that expensive to have solar power. Here is a guy who built a small house and runs it on less than 1,000 watts. (You could easily set up a 2,000-watt system with several deep-cycle batteries and a power inverter for about $3,000. You could do it for a little less if you stay connected to the grid. You need solar panels, wire, and a grid-tie inverter.)

    http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCymqbXEQ6qfPi5v8DUZr6dA
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  4. Grammypammy

    Grammypammy Out Of The Brooder

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    We too would like to be self-sufficient. But for now are settling for healthier. We spend a lot on feed from my chickens. We used to have goats when the kis were little- but having an animal on a milking scheduled REALLY ties you down. You have to be there every 12 hours without fail. I do enjoy canning and freezing what I am able to. A lot of time I am lucky enough to have somebody give me excess of their produce so then it really helps save money. I do have a little garden- I am still working- it is easier to manage a small garden than to have huge garden that gets away from you becauseyou have to work each day. To hear our kids tell it, wenever went to the store when they were little- we grew it all. Not true but we did what we could. I have said a million times, it is really important for kids today to realize where the food they eat comes from and how it is grown and harvested- veg, or meat. It is also really important to know what is in your food. I don't trade bolts of muslin for rawhide lacing or anything like that, but I make sure that nothing goes to waste that anyone has grown.We don't kill anything we don't plan to eat And if we went back to harder times than we are living with right now, I think we would make it somehow. We are a practical version of sufficiency, still working on a goal of nearly self sufficient.
     
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are right that it is good for kids to learn where food comes from.

    My grandfather was milking his cow one day when a school teacher and her students came by. One kid asked, what are you doing? My grandfather replied, I am milking this cow. The kid replied, milk doesn't come from a cow. It comes from the grocery store. :)

    My grandfather asked the teacher, what are you teaching these kids? :)

    That always makes me laugh.
     
  6. Workinthedream

    Workinthedream Out Of The Brooder

    Hey everyone thanks for answering. I think a practical self sustainment is what we are going for as well. I like the IDEA of self sufficiency but I also want to have the pool, air conditioning, etc that I couldn't support with a 1000 or even 2000 watt system of solar panels. I know that is selfish but I won't apologize since I have worked hard my whole life to attain everything I have (as I am sure everyone else has also!). Besides my wife would divorce me!! I've read all the books and will get closer all the time but I will never be 100% self sufficient unless something drastic happens i.e. total collapse of government and infrastructure. Then we would all have to be self sufficient,
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. SillyChicky

    SillyChicky Out Of The Brooder

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    I think it's awesome and I'd love to be more self sufficient. Heck we don't even have a garden lol. The husband tried to til one up this spring but the ground is just so hard and dry like clay, we need to order a truck of topsoil next season.

    We have plans for a large garden and I'll be canning a lot of the produce from it. The chickens we got as chicks in the spring aren't laying yet, but soon we won't have to buy eggs from the store. We're building/fixing up an old shed for meat chickens next spring, and we'd love to get a milk cow (with baby at side) for two people we don't need much milk and don't want to be tied down by every 12 hr scheduling. BUT a bred cow or heifer is not cheap, I'll probably find something cheap(ish) and breed her to the neighbors big hereford bull.

    Husband is going hunting this fall for meat for our doggies, better than that dry kibble crap any day.

    Oh, when I find freshly dead mice I freeze them for our corn snake. That's self sufficient! lol
     
  8. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, don't start the Doomsday Preppers stuff. Those people are nuts.

    You can have a grid-tied solar system with whatever amount of solar power you want. It will at least reduce your electricity bill, and it will pay for itself within a few years.

    I'm not giving up air conditioning either. :)
     
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For me personally self sufficiency is more like zen--not something completely achievable with a set end goal but more of an on going process of continual learning. My goal is not to live off the grid in a yurt but I do want to try to do as much for myself as I can and whether that is deciding to try meat rabbits or figuring out how to replace the AC in my car myself then it all falls under that category to me. I love urban farming and DYI culture and try to constantly ask myself -- can I make that? Can I do that? What would it take to learn that skill?
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the cow has a calf that is taking milk, you wouldn't have to milk every 12 hours. You could milk once a day, and maybe even skip a day now and then.

    As you said, two people do not need a lot of milk. You can also feed milk to other animals, such as pigs and chickens.
     

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