So here we are. Just over a year ago today (7/10/10) a 3-tonne truck filled with almost everything we owned heaved itself up our very steep and rocky 1.5km driveway. Felice was driving, the truck was tilting alarmingly, and we were both giggling inappropriately, probably due to the effects of 72 hours of packing.
We were moving in to our newly-purchased MO site in northern NSW, Australia, to work towards being as self-sufficient as possible. (Here’s why).
It’s been a year of getting off the grid and growing our own food etc. I can honestly say it’s been the best year of my life, and I can’t imagine living any other way now. There have been challenges, of course, which is part of why we’re finally getting off our arses to write a blog.
In particular, when we first contemplated moving here, neither we nor anyone we knew had any idea how to go about self-sufficiency. We had a million questions (how do you know how much to plant so you have enough food? how do you sharpen a hand brushcutter? what does “canning tomatoes” mean?) but to our immense inconvenience, knowledge that would have been commonplace only a couple of generations ago had almost disappeared from the meme pool of our entire acquaintance.
What had replaced it were thoughts like these:
1. More often than not, when we tell people we are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible, they respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s hard work!”. Really? Both of us are finding that we worked harder (longer hours, and more intensely) during our periods of paid employment than we do now. But the hard work response is so astonishingly common that now when we hear it we can’t help but smile.
2. One friend, it transpires, won’t eat eggs from backyard chooks “because they come out of a chicken’s bottom”. Supermarket eggs are OK, though, because “they come out of a box”. She’s knows she’s being facetious, of course, but she still won’t eat eggs that don’t come from a shop.
The point is, hardly anyone we knew even wanted to know how to be self sufficient. But we did, and that left us with a very practical problem: how do you go from knowing nothing about how to be self sufficient, to doing it competently?
There are books and websites, of course, and talking to old people who remember. But mostly we’ve found it’s just a game of guess and try.
So this blog is to chronicle our guesses and tries (and victories!) so other people:
- have access to a more nuanced description of self sufficiency than the one-dimensional “hard work!” response
- don’t have to repeat our mistakes
- can have a good laugh at our wrong guesses
Hope it’s useful, or at least entertaining.