|I am including some garden photos with this post.|
The new pumpkins I am trying this year
(long pie pumpkins) are taking over part
of the bottom garden.
My first post in my 'new & possibly-improved' blog came about from an article I read about 'Why New Homesteaders Fail'. Now we do not consider ourselves as homesteaders, but as off-gridders striving for self-reliance. You may ask What's the difference? and if fact these three terms - homesteading, off-the-grid and self-reliance are often used to mean the same thing, but there are differences. I am a fan of Venn diagrams and maybe this will will help illustrate what I mean:
It's about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you. "
While the term 'off-the-grid' has been defined as living without reliance on one or more public utilities. Under this definition there are varying degrees of being off-grid based on how many public services you choose to forgo.
|This Roma has more tomatoes than leaves,|
hopefully it can sustain itself until they all ripen.
Last count was 14 tomatoes on this one plant.
Back to how reading an article on failure prompted my contemplation of our own venture to date. First off, no, I do not think we are failing. We are thriving and still enjoying the adventure. I did however find it insightful to reflect on the three reasons brought forth in the article and how they pertained to our endeavors. Oops, I did say these blogs were going to be shorter, well actually I said I wasn't going to ramble as much, so on to the three reasons the article stated as to what causes new homesteaders to fail, all of which can apply to anyone striving for a more self-reliant lifestyle.
|I was experimenting with using small paint brushes to|
transfer pollen from the male to female blossoms on the
squash and pumpkin vines, but these little guys
were doing a much better job.
There are so many aspects to self-reliance and so many paths you can travel down, you must choose your priorities from the myriad of projects you feel pulling at you from all directions. In our case, we made severing the grid ties a number one priority. In fact, we severed all those ties in one fell swoop by moving to a property that broke all of our ties to public utilities and services. That in turn meant our priorities remained focused on establishing our own alternatives through solar power, rainwater catchment, etc.
At the same time we did 'tinker' with other areas of self reliance we wanted to explore, such as gardening, but we were careful not to spread ourselves too thin in too many directions at once. This is the fourth year for our gardens, which we have expanded each year, and it is the first year that I feel they are really becoming abundant producers. I still consider them to be in the experimental stage of learning what vegetables are the best producers, especially for the least effort and square footage of garden space - more about that in another post.
|This Betalux tomato plant also has about a|
dozen tomatoes on it. The yellow arrows show
the twine and clips I am using to support
branches on most of the tomato plants this year.
Reason #2 - Failure to Have Backup Plans
Often people plan for years for when they will have the property of their dreams and the lifestyle they have imagined that will go with it. They scrimp and save and as soon as they have just enough they invest all they have and take the plunge only to realize they are flat broke with lots of things that still need to be bought to make their dream anywhere close to becoming reality. Wow, that sounds depressing, but what I am trying to say is make sure you leave some wiggle room in the budget for the unexpected.
|Most of our strawberries are 'Ozark Beauties',|
but I just picked up a couple of these 'Berries
Galore' this year and they are amazing! About
the size of a Peanut M&M but very sweet.
- products or technology has changed and there is a better solution for what you are doing
- the land/home you have does not lend itself to your initial plan
- time has passed, you are older, you may not need some of things you planned a few years ago
- time has passed, you are older, you may not be able to do some of those things you planned
In other words, be realistic in your goals and expectations, be flexible and roll with the punches and do not take on more than you can handle at one time.
|Very excited that our grapes are producing for the |
first time this year.