When I started this blog about a month ago, I sat around for a long time coming up with a title using available domain names. I wanted something to do with my attempts to be self sufficient. “My Self Sufficient Home” made sense (and was available) because this is the place where I write about my efforts to be self sufficient.
… Then the stars aligned and I got a part time job and worked out a deal working on a farm as an intern. One of my first learning experiences here is that it is nearly impossible to be self sufficient. In fact, the self sufficiency isn’t even necessarily the goal.
Let me explain…
The farm where we are has the potential to be self sufficient. We could grow adequate food to sustain our families for the entire year. The farm doesn’t grow a whole lot of grains, so the diet would be loaded with potatoes and green vegetables. We have eggs and milk for protein and can store the milk as cheese.
It sounds pretty good, and really it is, but we regularly need wooden boards to fix things or grains to eat or feed for the animals in the winter. We may have the space to grow those things, but we don’t have is the manpower to harvest it and maintain the farm.
So far I’ve been talking about ‘we’. I don’t even own the farm. I’m an intern that is here to learn and lend a hand. I do quite a bit of work around here and I still always feel behind and like we don’t have the right crops in or harvested or whatever needs to be done to prepare for the next season. To grow grains and timber on top of what we are already doing would be beyond impossible.
The ultimate point that I am trying to make here is that ‘self’ sufficiency isn’t the goal. The goal is community sufficiency. Providing enough of what is needed for the community. We get a wood from a guy up the way that makes cedar boards. When he processes the logs, he ends up with ugly ends and we get those. They aren’t pretty, but they do the job. We sell food at the farmer’s market and use the money to pay bills and buy feed for the animals in the winter. I think it would be better if we could trade for stuff rather than dealing in cash, but it works.
So my blog should have been entitled something along the lines of ‘building a self sufficient community’. And still there is this ego in me that wants to do it myself and have everything be mine. I don’t know why. I don’t like that desire in myself, but it’s there. I’m learning to build community and establish working relationships that benefit everyone involved.
P.S. Nate, thanks for the comment on nutrition. You pointed out that it is primarily epidemiological evidence that relates saturated fats to heart disease, and we know that it is an inflammatory disease that could just as easily relate to omega-6 fatty acids. I have been so indoctrinated with the idea that saturated fats cause CVD that I didn’t even think of that. I think there is a lot of benefit to the way we are eating, despite the quantity of saturated fat that it contains. I am eating more vegetables every day than I ever have. And I’m eating a wider variety. And I’m working my tail off and struggling to maintain my weight. I think when you add those things together it makes the saturated fat content of the diet insignificant.