Self Reliance Challenge




The kindest thing I can say about 2018 is that it was a challenge.  So many things happened that by December, my head was spinning.  I didn’t know what direction was up. But even in the darkest days, I knew there was a reason for all of it.  Now?  I don’t know for certain, but I have a good idea.


New Year – Different Challenges


As of January 31st, I will be completely unemployed off farm.  I may pick up a short job here and there, but overall, I will no longer have to leave the farm to earn an income.  At first, that was a very scary thought.  But the more I prayed, the more my heart began to lift.  During one tear-filled, shaky-breathed prayer, a tiny light of realization began to glow.  I. Was. Out. Of. A. Job.  And believe it or not, I finally figured out that was a good thing.

Is money still going to be tight?  About as tight as a lariat rope wrapped around the feet of a calf.  Was it going to be easy?  About as easy as draining our pond with a teaspoon.  But instead of being scared, I grabbed hold of the verse from Joshua, Chapter 1, Verse 9.

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

  And I realized that this wasn’t a bad thing.  It was actually a perfect opportunity.



New Goals


My biggest goal overall is being as self-reliant as possible. Although we do okay at it, I can now take it to the next level.  The Country Boy and I discussed our plans at length and came up with a restructured set.  The new ones follows along with all of our original plans, but a few will now be taken off the back burner.  Here are some of the things you will find me working on in 2019:

  • Adding to the garden: We will till up a bit more space to plant more of what we love – tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, okra, English peas, corn, green beans, purple hull peas, and lettuce. If there is enough space, I also want to add red beans, great northern beans and pintos. However, I don’t want it so big I cannot manage it comfortably. I will also have to do quite a bit of succession planting.
  • Building up my bee hives: We currently have one successful hive, which will be split this Spring. I am also wanting to add more bee friendly plants that will bloom in fall and winter.
  • Research hoop houses: Hoop houses are a great way to extend your garden season into the fall and winter.  They can be small enough to cover a row or two of lettuce, or 100’ in length.  From what I understand, they work best with greens and root crops, which will be perfect.  I want to add garlic, onions and carrots to my list. If all goes well, I may have one by fall.
  • Expanding my canning and preserving. With all that produce, I want to can and preserve enough to provide for my family and friends from harvest to harvest.  I also want a wider variety so things don’t get boring at meal time.
  • Improving my bread baking skills: Primarily this will be focused on sourdough breads.  Right now, I have already gotten three starters going – Vlad (a rye starter); Olaf (a wheat starter); and Big Jeff (white flour with honey). Now, if I can just remember to feed these hungry mouths on time, I may have half the battle won.
  • Raising pure bred chickens: We want to start small, with just three breeds – Barred Rock, Leghorns and Americaunas.  These three breeds sell well in our area, so we decided to try those.  If at all possible, I also want to figure out how to raise my own Cornish X for meat birds, but have already hit an obstacle.  Finding Standard Cornish chickens is difficult. And that is just the starting point. But I am not deterred.  I know I can figure this one out.
  • Clean up/Rearrange/Rebuild/Repair: There is always plenty of normal, everyday chores to do on a farm, and I hope to get some of them done.  Especially working on building a compost bin – I am going to need all I can get with the garden space I will have.



Plans for the Future


I also have a few plans for The Farm Wife.  My goal is to build her up on line, but I also have some ideas for her offline.

  • Improve readership: I have recently joined a couple of online groups – one of which is this Self Reliant Challenge – 2019.  These are some fantastic people who are working towards many of the same self-reliant goals that I am. If I need help, all I have to do is head over to any number of websites.  If I still can’t find it (which is doubtful – I cannot wait for you to see all the great information on these sites!), all I have to do is ask. The other group is strictly for bloggers, and they are available to help with the technical side as well as sharing of posts.  It’s a win/win for all who are part of it. When you see a post from any of us in the Challenge, be sure to comment and share!
  • Talks: I love to talk almost as much as I love to write.  And if the subject is self-reliance, then I am overjoyed!  My goal is to let folks know that I am available to speak to their groups on any subject that pertains to living a simple life on the farm – gardening, cooking/canning/preserving, living with livestock, mentoring, creating by hand, or just living a simple life in general.
  • Classes: I often speak about being a mentor and teaching others.  I want to put that into practice.  I know I have to start slow, so I have decided to teach children the ages of 9 to 15 how to weave with a hula hoop or other small looms.  Several women I have spoken to about this have shown interest in taking classes, so I will design a few for them.  If these classes are popular, I will expand them to other things – like baking breads or canning.

There will be a few challenges, a few setbacks and a lot of work involved in achieving my goals, but I am definitely stubborn enough to push through. If I haven’t learned anything else, I have learned to take it one step at a time.




What are YOUR Goals?


Have you set your Self Reliance goals for 2019?  I would love to hear what is on your list.  Better still, there are 15 other bloggers involved in the Self Reliance Challenge 2019 who are eager to hear what you will be working on – and they are also on standby to help you over any hurdles you may have.  Jump on over to the main Self Reliance Challenge – 2019 page and click on their links.  Here are some of the things you can learn about:


  • Gardening
  • Raising herbs for culinary, creative and medicinal use
  • Learn to make your own bath and beauty products
  • How to raise livestock
  • Cooking / Menus – and some great recipes!
  • Canning & Preserving
  • Handmade Crafts



And these are just the tip of the iceberg, so don’t hesitate.  Grab yourself a cup of coffee, a glass of lemonade or some iced tea, and go for a nice visit.  They are all eager to meet you.  Just tell them Julie over at The Farm Wife sent you!!!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. It sounds like so many of us have had a challenging 2018. Good riddance. Take the lessons it taught us and make 2019 a wonderful year. I look forward to reading more of your projects and experiences on the homestead.

    1. Author

      You are so right, Stephanie! 2018 was full of challenges, but I am just going to look at those as a strength building exercise that will help me
      to make 2019 even better!

  2. What a hard year 2018 was for so many and so much hope and hard work coming in 2019.. I wish you the very best on reaching your goals this year,,

    1. Author

      Thank you! I am eager to get started on my goals, as well. Now, if I can just figure out how to work around all this rain!! 🙂

  3. Julie, congratulations on losing your job! I know that sounds really strange but I can see that that’s where you heart is: at home. As you said, what an opportunity. You have a lot of plans and will surely stay busy. I see that we have many of the same plans (bees, garden expansion, etc.) Here’s to a successful and memorable year.

    1. Author

      I had to laugh, Kathi, and very quickly accept your congratulations. It is going to be a great thing, and I am looking forward to it. I am already putting my money where my mouth is and have gotten at least one big step taken. I will be keeping up with your on our like-minded goals. Hopefully we can help and encourage each other as we put them in motion!

  4. Ohhh bread baking–I need to get back to that and improve my skills too! That’s on my agendy for 2019 as well! Good luck with all your plans, homestead, blog and otherwise!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Kristi! I am going to look forward to your progress as well.

  5. Congrats to you on becoming a full-time-farm-wife! I think more and more people are going to start realizing how much better small farm grown food is, and will shift their buying habits over that way. You’re getting in on the ground level! Can’t wait to follow along and read about your journey this year!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Lacey. I am hoping that shift does happen, as I have a feeling I am going to love staying home and
      taking care of my farm. I am loving visiting your site and reading all the great posts!!!!

  6. I am having such a great time reading everyones goals and thinking of how they apply to mine. It is so nice to see so many homesteaders on the same path for 2019. I hope you accomplish all your goals this year!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Sheri Ann – I hope you accomplish yours as well!

  7. Readership is a huge 2019 blog goal for me as well. I have so much in the works. I swear we just need a few more hours a day, right?! Great goals!

    1. Author

      I would love having about four more hours in a day, Bethany. You’ll do great on your blog goals – but if you
      need encouragement, just let me know!!!

  8. Julie,

    These are great goals! I admire you for stepping out on faith and leaving the “rat race” as I call it. It is scary I know. I remember when I left the job and started homesteading full time. It’s been 4 years now and I’ve loved every minute of it.

    You’ll so enjoy it. Good Luck!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Dianne! I know I will love it. I am actually looking forward to it. Now, if I can just keep from going too crazy, I’ll have it made! 🙂

  9. Wow, Julie! You’ve got a lot going on!!! 🙂 I hope you’ll share later on how the speaking and teaching goes for you, as it’s an area I’d like to maybe try one day. I know how it feels to be out of a job. Scary. Strange. But OH, so freeing!!! I hope you have an awesome 2019!

    1. Author

      Thanks you, Heidi! I will definitely keep you posted on the speaking and teaching aspect of my goals. And after reading some
      of your posts, I think you would do great doing the same. Let me know if you start, and maybe we can compare notes. Happy
      New Year and an exciting 2019 to you as well!

  10. Hi Julie! It is scary to go from a regular job to homesteading and blogging! I know this from experience. 🙂 But I am sure that you will do great…you have a great list of goals and I can tell you’ve got a great mindset!

    I can’t wait to hear more of your adventures!

    1. Author

      Oh, Lisa, is it ever scary! But for some strange reason, I am very calm about all these changes. Actually, I am excited.
      And I credit these two groups for giving me the confidence to jump in with both feet. I am loving this, as it truly
      moves me out of my comfort zone and gets me moving!!!

  11. HI Julie,
    I love how you express yourself. This article is very inspirational to me. with how you put your faith into being God and have faith that all will work out and I sure it will – maybe not exactly the way we plan sometimes but as they say Faith can move Mountains! Thanks for sharing your faith and your ideas on how to be more self reliant. I hope you are able to accomplish all your goals and increase your garden, find more classes to teach.
    You always seem to somehow put a smile on my face – I am so happy you joined our group Natural Living Bloggers Helping Each Other.
    Have a healthy, happy & blessed New Years!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Marla, for your kind words! In all honesty, it is my faith that keeps me going. I can sure make God laugh sometimes,
      but He always sticks close. I do have a lot of goals, but know that the important stuff will get done and anything that isn’t
      doable will get moved to a back burner – and it will be for a good reason. I, too, am glad I joined your group. I am loving
      your site, and have already shared it with a couple of people who are interested in aromatherapy and herbs!

  12. I do so enjoy reading everyone’s goals and getting ideas fro you

    1. Author

      I do too, Candy. Actually, I don’t know whether to ‘borrow’ some of their goals or keep my sanity and stick with what I have! 🙂

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