self-sustainability for everyone: revamp

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A while back I did a series on self-sustainability for the every-day-joe. It was a great idea, but it was kind of lame, and maybe a little too scattered. I would love a do-over, and since this is my blog…I can do that! Ha!

I believe the first step on that path to self-suffinciency is to figure out your reason you are doing it. Here you are in good company. About 10 years ago I met my husband, and he and I started talking about doing just this. It started off as an idealistic dream, but now that we are into six years of  marriage, we are fleshing out that reality more and more. It is looking more and more like a reality, and less and less like the fantasy it appeared to be way back when.

If you are interested in this way of life, and are yourself planning to take on the “self-sufficient life,” you may be looking into seeing what is involved, what it will cost you, and if it’s really a worthwhile endeavor. I’m here to tell you there is a lot to the process, it will require a huge sacrifice of yourself (one that I’m still having a hard time with if I’m being honest), but if you truly want this for your life and you can make the sacrifice, it will be worthwhile.

I am far from having arrived at “self-sufficiency,” and everyone who has is doing it a bit differently. I can merely offer you my thoughts. These thoughts are for folks who want to live a simpler life where they are…right…now.

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Where to Start: Find Your Reason

The first step on the road to self-sufficiency is to find your reason. I find our list of reasons for becoming self-sufficient are piling up. I don’t know if I have even had the chance to write them out before this. This is a short list of what matters to my family.

  • To not be dependent on modern luxuries / /  The words “self-sufficient” indicate independence. We would not need to be dependent on government hand-outs, grocery stores, fossil fuels, electricity, sewage, import/export of commodities, modern technology, public or private education, etc. I’m not saying that we would never take advantage of any of these things, but they are luxuries and not necessities.
  • Spiritual/Environmental / /  For me, being a Christian makes the environment a spiritual issue. If you read the first version of this series, you know that I used text from the Bible to show why I believe this. God charged humankind in the beginning of the world to take dominion over the earth (air, land, water, plants, animals). As a Christian, I take that to mean that we should practice responsible stewardship and use only what we need. The things we don’t use should be tended to, and cared for. We should treat animals humanely, not pillage the earth by over-farming with monoculture (the same thing in the same soil year after year strips the soil of its nutrients) and drilling for oil, keep our waters clean for the life that lives inside of it, and also as drinking sources, etc. It would seem that a lot of Christians have not been taking this charge with much seriousness, but it was the very first job ever tasked to people, and deserves our much needed attention. I believe that it is possible to renew the earth and with enough generations of responsible living, the earth could potentially be brought back to its original Edenic state. “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
    • As a Christian, I believe in a world created by God and not by happenstance. Its cool if you don’t. You don’t have to see the world the way I do. But it certainly affects the way I treat environmental issues.
    • This can very easily bunny trail into Christianity’s perspectives on the apocalypse, but for the most part I reject the eschatological doctrines that teach that there will yet be an AntiChrist/False Prophet, that the world will go to hell in a hand basket, and that the Christ swoops in at the last minute to Rapture His people from tribulation. For those who care, I take the postmillennial mindset.
  • Finances / /  Startup for most things takes a substantial monetary investment. However, the tools you need to sustain your investment can last indefinitely. In this throwaway world, its hard to transition into a mindset of having something forever. You might even think to yourself, “I’ll try this self-sustenance thing, but if it doesn’t work out, no big deal.” However, if you can invest in quality tools, and learn the necessary skills, there are very few things that you will need to continue to purchase. Being content to do without may be a huge sacrifice in the short term, but end up padding your wallet in the long run. For example I plan to have my cast iron skillets forever. Hand tools will require the upkeep of staying clean, and some of them sharp, so learning the skills to use and maintain your possessions will help you become more and more financially secure. Also, get yourself out of debt as soon as possible. Owing money to a lender is not self-sustaining.
  • Health / /  By growing, raising, and hunting and/or trapping your own food, you will find your diet improve greatly. As an added benefit, the hard work your body will be putting in will be a great work-out, and all the planning required from year to year will strengthen your mind. Win, win, win!
  • Education / /  This is two-fold.
    • By getting away from a lot of the conveniences this world has to offer, we will need to/get to relearn and teach ourselves and our children old-world skills. A lot of these skills were lost when people started relying on machines, modern technology, indoor plumbing, etc.
      • For example: crop rotations, threshing and grinding grain, soap making, hand-milking, hand-shearing, spinning, basic carpentry, seed saving, and a multitude of other things.
    • Good parents do the best they can for their children. Part of being a good parent is to make sure your child has an education that will help them succeed at life. For us, that education is homeschooling, and homeschooling is also a self-sufficient task.
  • Legacy / /  A self-sustained life isn’t something we are doing exclusively for ourselves as a hobby, a whim, or a romantic dream. We are doing these things in the hopes that the skills we learn, and the benefits we obtain might be passed down to our children, grandchildren, and many generations to come. We want them to know the task of setting the world right lies in their hands, and that it is a big responsibility. We want them to be equipped to take on that responsibility with the necessary knowledge, skills, and values. We also want them to be equipped with these abilities as a safeguard for the future. With the corrupt governments of the world (our own included), and not knowing if hard times are theirs to face, they will be far more capable to get by in the event of a economic collapse.
  • Community / / When you endeavor to do a thing, find the community of people who are doing that thing too. If you are learning to knit, find other knitters to talk to. If you are learning to hunt or trap, find other hunters and trappers. If you are trying to figure out how to indoor garden because you rent an apartment, find other people who are doing the same. Someone is going to be there to offer a tip or help you out along the way, and when your practice becomes “perfect,” you will be there to help a person out who needs advice. Community is one of the best things about trying out a new thing. Community is one of the things we were made for, and without community there is something missing our lives. So whatever route you take on the path to self-sufficiency, find your community.
  • Your Reason Here / /  Your reasons and my reasons for going down this path don’t have to be the same as those I’ve listed. You may not even have the same vision of what self-sufficiency is to you. Whatever your reasons, figure out what they are, because that is what will motivate you. If you don’t have a good enough reason to go for it, then you will end up giving up.

Over the next while, I’ll try and come up with some easy tips to motivate and inspire you do this self sustained life right where you are before you have it all together!


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hello 2017!!

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Hello? Is anybody out there?

Gosh its been a long time since I’ve been in this space. It’s now 2 years later we have finally purchased a new computer. I almost don’t even know what to do with it now that it’s here! How do I use a keyboard?

So tell me, friends, what’s new?

Here at our still-non-existant-homestead, we have had a pretty productive year in terms of meeting our goals, and we have added a member to our ever-growing clan.

  • Soren Henry was born September 1o, 2016 by natural home birth
  • We have almost achieved our out-of-debt status once again, and Joe’s barber school loans are entirely paid off.
  • Joe has become an animal trapper (for reasons of offsetting our cost of meat in our grocery budget – wild caught meat is natural and organic)

Since we are in a new year, there are some resolutions I’ve made for myself (though, I’m doing kind of a crappy job accomplishing them so far.

  • Lose the baby weight
  • Knit more (thats right, MORE)
  • Write “thank you” cards (I’m so bad at remembering to do this)
  • Improve my handwriting and learn hand lettering
  • Become a better time manager
  • Become a minimalist
  • Incorporate the kids into my tasks and visa versa
  • BE MORE PATIENT

 

But for today, we’re all taking a sick day.

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2015

it’s a little far into the year for another blog post, but I’m pretty much out a computer and Joe’s tablet is all I’m able to use for any internet use.  It’s not the most convenient medium.

Life updates:

– joe has completed barber school and has a profession now. Exciting times for the Corridoni.

– our apartment is expanded and we are no longer living in the close quarters of a single room for our entire family.

– our family has expanded to 5! Welcome Allistair Gregory!

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– we’re starting to get our homesteading act together again. If you ask joe, he’ll tell you how behind we are, but I think we’re much further ahead than any year previous, so I’m optimistic. We already have some of our seeds germinating in flats, chicks, and have bettered our garden plan and strategy. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of a no-till no-water garden. For more info, see http://www.backtoedenfilm.com

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– I’ve gone sugar, gluten, and for the sake of the bbaby, dairy free. I’m following the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan, and find that as a result, I’m eating the healthiest I’ve ever eaten in my life. It feels so good!!

– bridget turned 2 at the end of March

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I believe that is the major updates from our place! Until next time.

starting at the beginning, part 1: take dominion

Since I vented a little last week, I’ve been struggling at where to begin my newly acquired, long list of posts. Today I just decided I would start where it makes sense: at the beginning.

As homesteaders and Christians, we turn to the Bible to instruct us on what we should do in all parts of life (or at least we should). So what does the Bible first say about homesteading? To the very first man and woman, who he created in a garden full of vegetation and animals, He gave this charge.

Genesis 1:27-28 (ESV)

“So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Then God destroyed the earth with a flood, preserving one man and woman and their progeny. Again, He charged them,

Genesis 9:1-3 (ESV)

“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

Later on, the Psalmist, David, would sing in praise of the mandate God has placed upon mankind.

Psalm 8:3-8 (ESV)

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.”

The prophets prophesied about what manner we are to respond to the creation, fellow man, and the Lord.

Micah 6:8

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

What can we learn about homesteading through these verses?

“…subdue it, and have dominion…”

When we think of the words “subdue” and “dominion,” several thoughts may come into your mind. You may be thinking of “dominance,” which may in turn cause you to think of “abuse” and/or “slavery”. I believe this is a very toxic way of viewing this mandate. God did not charge mankind with abusing and enslaving the earth, men, and animals. However, since sin entered the world, it seems as though that is exactly what mankind has done.

We have seen how barbaric some of mankind has been. Over the course of history up until present time we have seen slavery in many forms, and toward many people groups, along with various kinds of abuses including prostitution, human sacrifice (both child and adult), fighting to the death, warfare, etc. Testing, fighting, and other kinds of abuses in the name of both science and entertainment have been inflicted upon animals. Finally, there is earth abuse which we can see plainly from landfills, oil spills, air pollution, radiation, nuclear warfare, etc.

This is not dominion. This is sickness.

Christians should be the remedy instead of contributing to the problem.

Dominion comes from the latin dominus, ‘lord, master.’ In other words, humankind is to take charge of the earth and all that dwells therein. Furthermore, God destroyed the earth with a flood when men became corrupt and wicked, preserving the one man, Noah (and his family), who still obeyed Him. God wants His people to obey his mandate; to be benevolent caretakers of the earth He created. “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly…

It’s sad to say that the tree-hugging hippies and environmentalist pagans are doing a better job advocating for “mother earth” than the Christians who were given this charge.

Jesus told this parable:

Luke 12:35-40

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Do you think Christ, at His return, will be impressed at that you were waiting at the door of your house reading the book of Revelation? Or do you think he would rather return to His people who are working hard at obeying all the commands of His Father who sent Him.

Love God above all (obey him, not man)

Love others (do justice, love kindness)

Take dominion

Be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth
(have sex and babies! make sure there are more babies than parents – this is how multiplication works in case you forgot. if you can’t make babies, adopt!)

Make disciples of all nations (not just witnessing, but training)

more to homesteading.

So far as this blog has been concerned, I haven’t talked a WHOLE lot about my spiritual beliefs. For the most part, I wanted to keep those kind of things off the blog to make it more accessible to to the masses. I haven’t shied away from talking about my faith completely (I did have Thursday Thanks going for a while), I just chose not to make this the forum for talking about faith.

I didn’t want to offend people by my beliefs and get hate/controvercial comments. I was afraid I would end up making enemies of the people who like me based on what they don’t know about me.

I believe this was a mistake.

For a while I was able to make this blog work. Talk about farmy things, talk about family things, talk about kitcheny things. Blah, blah, blah.

The problem is that my faith is the essence of who I am. The way I look at farming, family, food, my entire world is based on what I believe (or don’t believe) about God. Without connecting my life with my faith, my world seems duller to me; uninteresting. When I connect my life to God, my world becomes beautiful and alive. By disconnecting the two, I ran out of things to write, and the motivation to write.

My apologies to those who like to read my blog. I will be writing more, and the content will become skewed to my moral biases. You can continue to read if you like. If what you read offends you, makes you mad, and you don’t like it, well… 3 things. 1) You can talk to me in a kind way about it, and my mind may change, 2) you can talk kindly to me about it and my mind may not change, but we can agree to disagree, or 3) you can stop reading this stuff that upsets you so much.

The things I will talk about:

  • This is a homestead blog after all so I will write about the earth, and what we believe our responsibility is to it from our Christian perspective
  • The home, and what we believe our responsibilities are there. Homeschooling, housework (cooking/cleaning/playing),
  • Marriage
  • Gender roles, which I believe are equal in importance, but different.
  • Eschatology (how we view the future)
  • Probably other related stuff that I can’t yet think about.

People will get a good look at how abnormal of a person I am. But you know what? Who wants to be the same?

is it really 2014?

Well I’ve decided to crawl out from under my rock and once again give this blog thing a go. I mean, I really do love my blog and want it to work out. 2012-13 was so uninspiring.

Well…not totally uninspiring.

I had my beautiful baby, Bridget, last March and now she is almost a year old.

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How can that be!?

Being mom to two kiddos is both entirely rewarding and such a blessing, and also entirely demanding on a mother’s time. I have knit very little (I try, I try…I still have overdue Christmas gifts. Yikes!), read almost nothing, and it seems only now is my home getting cleaned.

Here’s what’s new on the “homestead.”

  • Things are changing for this little family. Joe has started a better, full-time job commuting to Boston to work construction, and this summer he may even have construction jobs closer to home which means he may have much more time to be in the garden!!
  • One of 6 pigs has been felled and put in the freezer. Hoping today to put some of it in the meat grinder for sausage.
  • Joe and I are another year older (birthdays were celebrated) and as I mentioned above, Bridget is on her way to being a year old.
  • Joe will be starting barber school, hopefully at the end of the summer, and so I have taken up my old “hobby” of couponing to try and stock up on food and non-food essentials for when he’s not employed for those few months. We should also have veggies from our garden and meat from our pigs. Fingers crossed that it all works out perfect!
  • I’ve lost 10ish lbs since Christmas…well…New Years. I’ve talked about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) before, and I’m hoping to start posting my progress. Medic ally I was overweight by about 26 lbs, and I’m just trying to get to what medically is a healthy weight for my size. And I’m not “dieting.” I’m changing my eating lifestyle. I want to talk about the way I’ve tweeked the way I eat, because realistically, not much has changed at all. It was just a little tweeking.

I want to have a plan for writing so I can motivate myself to write, but honestly I’m just going to write what I want. because I can.

And I finally got my pegboard (EEE!)

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a little harvest

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We were able to pick some green beans and peas from the garden this week. I have to say it’s very exciting to not be pregnant and have the energy to put up food this fall. Piper enjoys being outside, and there’s a little Baby Led Weening on and off with Bridget (she still can’t sit up on her own, so I’m really waiting for that to happen before I commit to solids) while I get things done.

The pigs are getting bigger, and I am looking forward to the meat we will have in the freezer again. Which reminds me, I must CLEAN OUT the freezer to make room!

It’s been getting colder here in Maine. We had such an unseasonably warm week last week with climates in the 70-80’s, and then this morning I turned on my heat because it was 34 degrees outside! Oh Autumn, you are here.