I know this is a lot of information to take in, but please don’t give up just yet. Any dream worth having is worth working towards. A dream can quickly become a passion, and a passion is just an end goal that is more than worth the effort it takes to reach. So, if I haven’t scared you off yet, here is the rest of the road map you will need for your journey:
Go back to that list you created. There is always something you can do to put yourself on the right path.
a. If it is starting a garden, but it is Autumn, you can still do something. Determine the best location – one that is sunny most of the day. Go ahead and till it up. Start getting out all the grass and weeds. Add compost if you have it, or have access to it. Cover it with wheat straw or a mulch of leaves.
b. No matter what is on your list, figure out what you can do today to get started – then get busy. It may be that there are five things on your list that you can do today. If so, set up a list and calendar and schedule time to work on them.
Write it Down
If you are like me, your brain doesn’t retain detailed information from one day to the next. The best advice I can give you is to write it down.
a. Keep a Journal – each evening, write down what you did that day. Note dates and times. Jot down what the weather was doing. What went smoothly? What went wrong? How long did it take you? How long did it take from seed to sprout? Also jot down what you thought, how you felt and anything else that may help you in the future.
b. Keep Records – Know the seeds you planted, where you ordered them and the cost. With livestock, note the bull, the cow, the date of birth, weight and description. Most cattle growers use a system of numbered ear tags, which can cut down on confusion. Keep a record of hay, feed, supplies, equipment, costs, dates, etc. All of this information is going to help you with budgeting and other future decisions. If you keep good records, everything you need to know is close at hand at any given time.
Do It Yourself
One of the biggest budget drains is to hire a professional to do the small jobs you can do yourself. Please don’t misunderstand me. Unless you are a certified electrician, don’t start re-wiring your house or barn. But you can learn to do simple things like replacing blown fuses or changing out sockets and light switches. The same with plumbing, sewing, cleaning, and other small jobs around the house.
If you don’t know how, find someone who does that is willing to teach you. Get a book and start reading. If you have to, go ahead and add a line item in the budget to purchase one or two of the lesser needed tools – like a plumber’s snake or pipe wrench. The cost of the tools will be far cheaper than the invoice from the plumber.
Easy vs. Fulfillment
Don’t ever confuse the two. Living a simple self-sufficient life isn’t always easy. But if this is your passion; if you truly love this lifestyle, then it is a rare day that it will be less than fulfilling. In the beginning, you will spend more time in a sense of frustration. The learning curve is a broader arc. The mistakes and failures will be multiple. But with every disappointment remember that you are now one step closer to success.
Learn from the mistakes. Take the failures in stride. Always know that it was just the method that failed, not you. Be willing to face all the hurdles head on, and learn to jump. Know that you don’t have to touch the sky, you just have to jump high enough to clear the hurdle. Then move on to the next one.
As much as I would love it, a garden doesn’t grow from seed to harvest overnight. It takes time and dedication to start from scratch to being an ‘expert’ (sorry, but I don’t believe there are any true experts out there. All of us still have something else to learn). Just take it one day at a time. One project at a time. Learn all there is to know about it, then learn some more. Gain the wisdom to know that there is always more than one way to do something. Listen to advice, and then determine what will work best for you.
Don’t try to do it all at once. Trying to set everything up at the same time will only set you up for giving up. Each project will get a little bit of attention, but not enough to make it successful. Give yourself time to get one major project up and running smoothly before you start another. And always give yourself credit for all that you do – including if it just means you tried.
One thing that you need to understand about this chosen lifestyle – it is a journey that will never be completed. Yes, you may wake up a couple of years from now and discover your pantry and freezer is full of 90% of the food you eat, and you grew it all yourself. You may look outside and see weed-free gardens, healthy livestock and a picture-perfect panorama of all your hard work. Your savings account may be a little fuller, and your house may be 50% lighter of unnecessary things.
But you are still on your journey. There is more to do. More to learn. More to share with others. And hopefully, one of your goals is to learn as much as you can so you will be able to pave the road to make it easier for someone else to pick up where you left off.
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Are you interested in learning more about self-sufficiency, homesteading or self-reliance? Here are a few things I may be able to do to help:
Visit me in the Book Section of the Product Review Page for several books on subjects ranging from Weekend Homesteading to Financial Management and Recordkeeping.
Visit me in the Kitchen for some easy and delicious recipes.
Head over to the DIY page to learn how to do a few simple projects.
Check out my Self Reliance Challenge 2019 page. There you will find a list of other websites with like-minded homesteaders who are traveling this same journey. They will be happy to answer your questions.
For a bit more detail on things you can do to begin your journey, visit me at my 30 Days To Self-Sufficiency page. And if you still have questions or need information, just drop me a line in the comments. If I can’t help you, I know plenty of people that can!