We’re still plugging away at becoming more self sufficient and resilient. I would love to have an amazing garden that produced all of our organic produce, but that’s still a long way away. Still, you have to start somewhere and we’re making baby steps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing!
The tomatoes are still producing! It was in the 80s all this week and our Early Girl tomato plant went crazy. It has about 20 green tomatoes and started a whole new plant from a sucker or piece of vine. The cherry tomatoes are also blooming and producing. The basil is looking raggedy, though.
We’ll try to baby the cherry tomatoes through by covering with blankets. The low is supposed to be 35, which is above freezing so I hope they’ll be ok.
The chard is coming up and look! Nasturtium. This is the bed where I tried to grow zucchini a few months ago and I planted nasturtiums along with it, hoping they’d come up. They didn’t grow then but now that it’s cooler a few seeds are germinating.
I ordered a lot of toys from Amazon to start Christmas shopping. I’m not sure if that’s more sustainable or less; UPS has to come to my house but on the other hand, I’m not driving to several stores. We are trying to get the kids low-tech and no-tech gifts that don’t need batteries or chargers. We want toys that are fueled by imagination!
I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while so when Amazon offered a book coupon last week I went ahead and ordered it. I can’t wait to dive in! I’ve really attracted to Permaculture (as you may have guessed from my Pinterest boards). It’s a no-till, less work method of gardening that aims to create a permanent “food forest” in which all the plants work together. A less labor intensive organic gardening method? Sign me up!
There are patches of clover popping up in the yard and I couldn’t be more pleased. I had actually been looking for clover seed to broadcast in the grass, but now I don’t need to order anything. Why clover? It’s pretty, green, and useful.
Two days after Thanksgiving, Tom got a killer deal on mushrooms at Kroger. Just .99 for 16 oz. packages! He cleaned them out and brought home 15 pounds. We ate some in turkey soup, and the rest we sliced up and put in the dehydrator. Now I can make Cream of Mushroom soup anytime!
Mushrooms are really easy to dehydrate. Wash, slice, put in dehydrator or a low oven for 6-8 hours until they are crispy dried. You want to make sure that it snaps when you try to bend it, and that there’s no water left.
This is the dehydrator I have and it’s worked well so far.
Just a warning- it smells very mushroomy when you dehydrate, so you might want to put it in the garage or something. It’s not as bad as onions, though.
How does that help us be more self reliant? Well, it helps us keep the food costs down, and adds to our pantry meaning I have non-perishable food available in case we can’t grocery shop. Keeping a deep pantry is very important no matter what your family size. You never know what could happen- an illness could keep you homebound, a blizzard could close the roads, or unemployment could make your food budget non-existent. Food is security. At the minimum, follow the FEMA and Red Cross guideline of making a 72 hour kit- food included.
We haven’t done much on the energy front around here. We had the AC serviced, and the technician noticed we had those fancy, anti-pollen, allergen reducing filters and told us not to waste our money. He recommended just getting the very basic, cheap filters (under $1 a piece) and replacing them every month, instead of the $15 allergen ones that are supposed to last 90 days. He says that most homes have very gappy duct work, so any allergens and pollens will still infiltrate the system despite the filter since the duct work isn’t air tight.
We have managed to cut our electricity use (and cost!) by 25% or more by having the AC serviced, using the different filters, adding a shade to the outside compressor, and switching electric companies. Here in Houston we use our air conditioner up through November and December, and August and September are the heaviest use months for our family. Hopefully we will continue to see savings through next summer too.
I did order a bunch of seed catalogs though! My friend Angela over at Untrained Housewife has a great post listing heirloom and non-GMO seed companies with free seed catalogs so if you are planning your garden, head over there! She knows what she’s talking about. She’s the author of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)
Have you done anything to become more self reliant lately?
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