Fast Forward to 2011. This is the year to embrace self-sufficiency.

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 4, 2019
Fast Forward to 2011. This is the year to embrace self-sufficiency.

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The first day of 2011 has come and gone and with it, a renewed energy to continue to focus on self sufficiency and personal independence here at our island cottage. Not that we are roughing it by any sense of the word. Instead, we actually live in a pretty nice, some would say posh, area surrounded by natural beauty and many conveniences just a short walk away.

Clearly, however, personal independence and the ability to take care of one’s needs without reliance on others is a mantra that can exist anywhere, including cities, rural communities, farmlands, and remote outposts. And so, for 2011, I plan to get serious about creating self-sufficiency here at my island abode.

It is time to take an inventory of my personal preparedness. What about you? Are you ready?

Small YardTaking a stroll around my tiny yard, I took in the available garden space. Not so good. Growing fresh vegetables should be a cornerstone of self-sufficiency. This has been a struggle for me from the get go since we are plagued with a miniscule amount of space, low light conditions, and a short growing season.

The good news is that my yard includes a fabulous, cast iron fire pit that is rated as a cooking device. In this area that means I can use my fire pit for heat and cooking even when there is a county wide burn ban – a frequent event in our neck of the woods. I also have a large barbeque, fueled by propane.

Moving on to the garage: food, paper goods, and toiletries. A mini Costco right here in the garage.  As a matter of fact, since December 7th, I have been living off this stash with my only purchases being a box of apples, oranges, some broccoli and fresh milk. Still, I have no serious inventory system and no plan to insure I have the right food items to sustain us during an extended period. In the positive column, I had fishing gear of all sorts. The is not much salmon to harvest from the sea anymore but our lakes are full of trout.

Dec 094

Next comes the water. Three cases of bottled water set aside for emergencies. Oops, they are not dated so how will I know when they should be rotated? No water barrels but a large bottle of plain Clorox which can be used for purification. There is also a source of non-potable water but it is not operational.

Power. The heat in our home is fueled by propane. The power went out last week for a few hours which gave me an ideal opportunity to check on utilizing our gas supply without the benefit of electronic starters. The upstairs fireplace was no problem since the starter system is battery operated. No electricity required. Thumbs down on the other fireplace. No electricity = no go. The cook top in the kitchen was no problem once I took a match to the burner. So far so good. But wait, in my garage treasure hunt I found a half dozen cylinders of propane as well as two butane stoves and a dozen or so bottles of butane. Not bad.

Transportation. Two mountain bikes in good shape and hiking boots for walking. Also a motor scooter that uses very little fuel but no spare fuel. Getting around may be a problem but with the mountain bikes we are probably okay.

The Bug Out Bag, or, as I call it, my G.O.O.D.Y. (get our of dodge yesterday) bag. My bag is pathetic. Yes, I had some food and utensils. I had medications. But what about batteries, flashlights, first aid items, and copies of important documents? There is so much missing that if the big quake hit, I would be in very poor shape.

Cripes. This is depressing. My preparedness inventory has proven to me that I am not ready to become truly self-sufficient. Yeah, I have done a few things right here and there and surely I have enough food and water to eat and drink. But my food and water is not transportable nor is it well-thought out and organized.

So much can happen: our transportation system could disrupted, the long predicted big earthquake could hit, and yes, there is even a possibility of anarchy and civil unrest if our economic challenges slide further into a depression.

My work is cut out. Over the next months I will share my progress. What about you? Have you taken your own preparedness inventory?

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!


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6 Responses to “Fast Forward to 2011. This is the year to embrace self-sufficiency.”

  1. As old stock starts to get close to its expiration date, donate it to the nearest food pantry…it won’t sit on those shelves long…and you can go out and get some more to start the dates again…

  2. You’ve got a good start! There are so many great websites that provide lists of essentials to have. We’ve been building up our food supply gradually…but prices keep
    going up so time to accelerate that program! One thing to consider…if you have room on your property, put in some type of hidden storage where most of your supplies are kept. We’ve thought of burying old refrigerators or something similar. That way, if people from town come looking for food (and they will be desperate!) all they’ll find is what we have on hand in the house. It’s an idea. We are still considering this. Luckily, we live in the mountains…the closest town is 25 miles away. We are in the process of putting in solar…I’d still like to have a backup wind generator, but we’ll see how far the money goes!
    Got an extra propane tank for fuel, plus we have two woodburning stoves and wood is plentiful here. Next project is a good sized greenhouse this spring. We also have a short growing season, a dry climate and rocky soil. We have tried raised beds which work as long as we amend the soil and put up protection against the wind. We also have to enclose the garden area with hardware cloth to keep out the gophers…those darn little critters ate our whole crop of potatoes last summer!
    Oh…when you’re storing your food supply, don’t forget the toilet paper, soap and shampoo, laundry detergent, plenty of matches, etc…If you have extras of those items they will be good for barter!
    Another project to initiate…raising rabbits! We have several friends who have chicken and goats…they are messy and you have to have a large food supply for them, too. Rabbits are cleaner, take up little space, the meat is good and the supply comes fast. One male and two females is all you need to start…plus shelter and a small space in which to keep them.
    If you’re rural folks…or even town folks…get involved in your community! Get to know like-minded people. Community is important in lean times. Everyone has a talent to share, barter or trade. It’s amazing how we’ve found so many in our rural area in two short years. We both volunteer at our local fire station and it’s been a wonderful way to meet people. We live in a very caring community…most live on from 2 acres to 40 acres. It’s a big part of our advantages in this fast declining economic situation!!
    Happy planning to all!

  3. Interesting article and rather oddly, it coincides with my family’s efforts this weekend at our “retreat” in the western side of the hill country region of Texas. Our needs/availabilities are a lot different as we don’t suffer the snow storms/ice storms so heating really isn’t an item. Fortunately we have a water well and having relocated our base of operation from the Houston/Gulf Coast area, we tested our generator and ran out the wiring harness to test run the portable air conditioner/refrigerator and some fans and lights. Our emergency food stocks are in abysmal shape and I realized that our available “shelf” space is severely limited. We live near a river fed lake and have a well functioning water well, (another reason for the generator) so I’m not too concerned about water at this point. Firearms comments are interesting; we have a shotgun, but rather than a handgun, I’ll probably consider a good hunting rifle instead because of our “locale” and terrain. Our area is overrun with Deer so the rifle makes more sense than a handgun.

  4. With the losses of crops and weather this year food prices will soar and might have shortages of certain products, One way to save dry products is to go to your closest bakery and beg,borrow,or steal their food grade buckets with thir sealing lids, do NOT use soap or or othe pails just the food quality ones, We save rice,lentals,beans,flower and dryed peas, if you have a vaccumm sealer the sealed packets in meal size will last almost forever and the pails cut down on storage space as they can be put out in out of the way spots
    If you know anyone wo attends gun shows MREs are for sale in quite a few of them they have matches and toilet paper stored in them and are highly portable we keep a case of them stored also.
    As we have been quite miserly in our spending we owe no debts which at this time is the most valuable survival tool, due to what we call a government it will eventually bankrupt this nation and I suspect that inflation will be the avenue that they will take to pay off the debts ( in multi trillions and still growing, A trillion seconds equil 22ooo years ). A good hand gun and a rifle or shotgun and ammo for both is a prudent investment also.

  5. Thanks for sharing your preparedness inventory. Glad to know not everyone is perfect. My haphazard supplies are unorganized and some are probably out of code due to lack of rotation. The problem is that we don’t eat a lot of canned or packaged food on a normal basis, so can’t really rotate it as we use it.

  6. Gaye,
    Nice topic, nice article. was just up to jump-start
    tge wood stove. Checked email and look what was
    waiting for me. I’m back to bed so I can get some
    sleep. will be back in few hours.
    the young homesteader

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