Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Attempting (a bit of) Self Sufficience

Sometimes I think about depressing stuff like this: if something went terribly wrong with our country's infrastructure, I'd be out of luck trying to survive. Without grocery stores, without easily prepared food, without electricity, without donuts (oh come on - I'm totally kidding -everyone knows that the world couldn't exist without donuts), would I be able to help our family get by? Probably not. I know nothing about self-sufficiency, and I suspect most of the people in our country are in the same boat.

We'd be fish out of water if our basic needs stopped being met for us, and that worries me. Things that my grandparents would have known because they grew up seeing it every day, are becoming more and more removed from our knowledge. Because grandparents don't last forever. Their lifetimes of built up wisdom is lost when they themselves are gone.

How/when do you plant/harvest crops, and where would you get water for them? How do you preserve meats when there's no freezer handy? How do you build a structure that could safely house your family during bad weather? How do you take cloth and convert it into wearable clothing? How do you bring a fever down without Tylenol? How do you make your own soap? How would I stay sane without central heat and air conditioning? I could go on and on, but the point is that I want to have some knowledge of how to do things for myself, I want to be able to learn something useful in the event that it's needed.

So, in a very tip-of-the-iceberg sort of way, I attempted a new skill this week: The science/art/confusion of canning.

My tomato plants have produced so many tomatoes that the obvious choices were to either give them away or preserve them, so I bit the bullet and studied up. I bought a canning kit Monday and determined that before the day was over, I'd have canned tomatoes.

However, it took me so long to gather enough courage to begin that the bulk of the work coincided with my dinner preparations. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, a giant batch of canned tomatoes, plus my rowdy late afternoon kids made for some very tense moments.

I was in way over my head.

(Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. Aren't you just dying to know what happens next?!)


  1. I have had the exact same thought many, many times before! I would love to learn to be more self sufficient but I just don't know where to start! Maybe with canning...I'm anxious to hear how that went for you!

  2. I have had the same thoughts about self-reliance (well, our lack of it) many times. Very interested to read Part 2!

  3. Ditto here! I actually left my husband a message this morning and told him to goggle, "how to plant a tree." Seriously, is that even goggle worthy? I don't know nothing about anything. :)

  4. I find post-bedtime to be ideal for projects such as these! It saves me from screaming out loud! ;)


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?