Be Self Sufficiant

Being truly self sufficient encompasses much more than working a regular job and putting food on the table. Paying bills and keeping up with a nine to five job and family lifestyle are things that have become commonplace in our daily lives.  While they can be cause for stress, bills and jobs are not something we would ever consider not having. Grocery stores for instance are largely taken for granted. Consider in your grandparent’s and parents youth that grocery and department stores being available and not far away is something they hadn’t experienced. Back in those days, families were self reliant. They grew gardens, raised rabbits and chickens for food. They made their own soaps and washed their clothes without electricity. Oil lamps or candles were used at night. They didn’t have the luxury of flipping a switch for electric lights or flushing the toilet of the indoor plumbing. A person would have to go outside to do their bathroom business, even in the dead of winter.

To us that all might sound dreadful but those people got a certain satisfaction knowing that they provided for themselves. At that time they didn’t give the lions share of their earnings to big government and corporations the way we do today. Even if they were dirt poor, our ancestors were much better off than we are in the twenty-first century in the sense that they could truly provide for themselves. Over the past fifty or so years Americans have become dependent upon convenience and easy living compared to those who came before us. Many people around the globe still live in this fashion. Most people in America would be in big trouble if they were flung into this sort of situation today.

Companies like Monsanto wouldn’t be a problem if somewhere down the line we hadn’t stopped paying attention to what was and is being done to our food supply. As important as our food and water supply is to our health and well being, I find it hard to believe we have become so lax in paying attention to where it comes from, what’s in it, and how it is managed. Some of the things we’re being sold for consumption are laced with poisons, genetically modified and harmful to our bodies. If you do a little snooping online you can easily find some disgusting reports about the daily foods many Americans enjoy on a regular basis.

It has become painfully obvious that the corporate and other entities that are in charge of making sure our food is safe to eat has become more concerned with higher profits than public safety. Taking control of your food supply now will ensure that in the event of a disaster you and your family will have something to eat. It will also help you regulate the amount of hidden poisons you are consuming on a daily basis. Sure it’s not the easy way, being self reliant never is, but in the long run you will save money and your whole family will be healthier for it.

Growing and raising your own food will be a huge benefit in the event of an economic collapse or other disaster that may leave you and your family without transportation to a grocery store, or in the event that the shelves at the store are suddenly empty and there is nothing to buy. Having a stockpile of the basics supplemented by your garden and or food animals will likely keep you alive. It is also a good idea to make sure you have a solid clean water source and way to filter dirty water for cooking and drinking purposes. Being self reliant in the old days meant you carried water from a stream or well to the house in a bucket. In today’s world, any water you might get from a stream, river or open well needs to be checked to be sure it’s sanitary before drinking it.The odds any water from public sources outside of a bottle or natural spring may well be polluted and will need filtered There are a few methods for doing that I’ll discuss in a later post, but having a source of clean water is detrimental for your survival though bad and emergency situations. My point here is that self reliance entails providing the needs of you and your family far beyond paying bills and working a regular job.

Here’s another hypothetical query. What if the power grid went down tomorrow? Would you have lights? Would you have a way to cook food? Would your water work? A local power outage can cause all kinds of issues and is normally only an inconvenience for a short time. After a bad storm it may be out for 2 weeks or more but then everything goes slowly back to normal. But what if the power wasn’t coming back on in a hurry, or at all? How would you power your heaters in the winter? How would you keep your food in the refrigerator from spoiling? A back up power system is vital in survival instances even if it’s only a small source for lighting, radio for news and other small items but a generator or a decent solar system with good power output would be more suitable. A wood stove for heat and a good supply of seasoned wood will help to ensure you can stay warm and cook during the winter. In the event of a utility outage, wood may be your only option for heat and cooking. You don’t need to convert your home entirely to wood heat but having a working stove installed somewhere, a garage, shed, back porch or other suitable area can provide a safe warm place during the winter if the power goes out.

Being  truly self reliant means providing the needs of you and those around you. Society has tricked us into becoming dependent upon convenience and big corporation for most if not all of our needs. Each day they find new and interesting ways to get more and more of our hard earned money, all the while paying us less and less of fair market value. Becoming self reliant may not only save your life in the event of an emergency or disaster, but it will save and potentially generate money in the sale of excess items you can sell or barter with your neighbors and friends.

The basics of life we as humans need are food, water, shelter, fire and clothing. There are many more things you may feel like you cannot live without but our ancestors lived sometimes with these very basic needs. In the event of a terrible situation we may also be reduced to this sort of living. It’s not something we like to think about but it’s better to be somewhat prepared than caught totally unawares.

My overall intent on this blog is to share the basic living, self sufficiency and sustainable ideas I know of and am currently researching with anyone who is interested in traveling the road with me to real self reliance. Not the kind where you run down the the corner grocery and buy dinner and a movie for the family. This is the kind of self reliance your family will know they can depend on when the going gets tough. How to make tasty food from scratch, how to clean and prepare animals for food, how to use basic materials to build comfortable shelters and how to grow and raise food, even in the winter. There are a ton of topics I plan to cover on this blog. Many of them will save you money now and put you on a steady road to self reliance. You don’t know what tomorrow may bring and that’s all the more reason to get yourself in the right frame of mind and begin preparing immediately.

Make your own things, save money, prepare for hard times, These are the ways of true self reliance.

The following video was made for 2012 viewing but its message is as much true today as it was 2 years ago, if not even more so. The ideas portrayed in this video are hypothetical but not impossible and it is full of good information and tips for self reliance and survival in the event of catastrophe.

There has never been a better time to prepare for the worst. It seems the worst may be right on our doorstep.

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Who I Am And Why I’m Here

RogueWriter40 Freelance Writer Creative Author
RogueWriter40
Freelance Writer
Creative Author

Hello readers, I’m Scott Williams (one of many) aka the Rogue Writer 40. I’m a retired construction worker, self employed tinker of interesting things and aspiring author, writer and freelancer. My main intent for this blog is to share things I find interesting and useful to normal people. I really don’t care for the state our world is in and I feel like we should be doing something. I am, as I can. I have great interest in recycling. One mans trash is another mans treasure so they say. It’s true in fact. I find lots of useful things people have tossed out. One of the ideals we’ve adopted in our home is to try and live more simply. Cut out some of the unnecessary expenses in  life and resurrect some simpler techniques used by our parents, grandparents and the generations beyond them. We would like to be as independent and self sufficient as possible. With the state of the world it  can’t hurt to be prepared. Better somewhat prepared than none prepared I guess. In the meantime we benefit from things like making our own laundry soaps, burning wood instead of using expensive electric heat (we cut down dead trees, clear debris and take any wood we find at the local dump to burn our stoves). We grow a big garden and can our harvest. This year we intend to try some winter gardening techniques we’ve been looking into. We raise rabbits for meat and their furs and chickens for eggs and meat. We live in a small rural town in eastern Indiana and don’t have a really big lot. We make as much use of good space as we can and still have projects under development. We will continue to incorporate new and interesting off grid style innovations as we can afford to. I’d like to share these topics with you as time passes and maybe I can make some friends with similar interests. If solar or alternative power, off grid water, raising animals or growing gardens, green recycling projects or simple techniques like canning and simple bread, biscuit and cake recipes sound interesting, I’m very much interested in your input and ideas. Stop by and say hello and I’ll try to put up some interesting and engaging content. Eventually I would like to write and consolidate all of my interests and hobby’s into an off grid or survive all type manual for publication. Writing as an eBook how to sort of series seems like may also be a good idea. Both projects have a lot of reading and writing between me and any finished products so for today I’ll begin here, with my blog. If I’ve peaked your interest feel free to stop back by. Insights, comments, thoughts or ideas gladly accepted.

Spiders Of Indiana.. Good And Bad

Large Spiders Commonly Found In Southern Indiana And Through out The Midwestern Regions Of the USA

There are many different types of spiders in the southern regions of the United States, some native to Indiana. Some are poisonous, some are harmless and some eat the insects living around our homes. It’s important to know which ones can do you harm.

Wolf Spiders

1. Wolf Spider…If the spider has a leg span of about 2 inches, is brown with a dark gray/black Union Jack or cross pattern on its back, and it is very furry and bulky looking, then the spider is most likely a wolf spider. These are rarely found indoors and only mildly venomous. Their bites will usually only cause itching.

 

Fishing Spider

2. Fishing Spider…If the leg span is around 3 inches long and the spider is a dark-brown color with light and dark gray markings, it could be a fishing spider. These spiders enjoy living near water or dark, damp places. They can run across water to hunt for prey, do not maintain a web and are just poisonous enough to cause minor redness and necrosis near their bites.

 

Yellow Garden Spider

3.Yellow Garden Spider…Check to see if the leg span of the spider is about 2-1/2 inches long, and look for yellow and black markings with a white area near the head. If your spider fits this description, it is likely a yellow garden spider. Bites result in only mild itching and swelling for a couple days, though it is believed their bites could inject a small amount of neurotoxin as well.

 

Yellow House Spider

4.Yellow House Spider…Look for a yellow-green color on the spider’s body and a darker color on its legs. If this coloration is present and the spider is about one-fourth of an inch long, then it is probably a yellow house spider. These spiders cannot puncture the skin and are only mildly venomous.

 

Hobo Spider

5. Hobo Spider…Look closely at the spider to see if it is brown in color with smooth light-brown legs. If it is, then this spider may be a hobo spider. This spider is sometimes confused with the brown recluse spider, but a hobo spider lacks the violin-shaped dark marking on its back. The bite of a hobo spider can be painful, and it is only slightly less poisonous than a brown recluse spider and just as aggressive.

 

Triangulate Cobweb Spider

6.Triangulate Cobweb Spider…Check the spider in question to see if it is brown with triangle-shaped tan markings on its back. If it is, then this spider is most likely to be a triangulate cobweb spider. These spiders are not dangerous to humans, but they do hunt brown recluse spiders and black widows, so they are nice to have around the house.

 

Black Widow Spider

7.Black Widow Spider… Look at the coloration of the spider and see if it is black with a red hourglass-shaped pattern on its underbelly. If it is, then it is almost certainly a black widow. These spiders have extremely poisonous venom and commonly hang upside down from their rough, messy webs.

 

Six Spotted Orb Weaver Spider

8.Six Spotted Orb Weaver Spider… If the spider has a leg span of about 1-1/2 inches long with a very round body and six (or eight in rare cases) black spots on the abdomen, then the spider is most likely a six-spotted orb weaver spider. It is easier to tell when these spiders are around, because they weave huge webs up to 6 feet in diameter to catch flying insects outside. These spiders are nontoxic to humans.

Though Many of you may have the Natural Response to Kill these Spiders. Remember first that they are a natural part of your Local Ecology.They are Bugs that Eat Other Bugs, and in the Case of the Triangulate Cobweb Spider, could be Handy to have around….

 

Be Nice to Nature and it Will be Nice to You!!!

 

Our Huge Backyard Farm Project

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Building a backyard farm in rural America is a daunting task. The ground is hard and full of clay suitable for cob building applications(we haven’t gotten to that yet) and there are weeds aplenty. People say there’s not much to do out in the country but out here we have tons of stuff happening.

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Our backyard farm project is growing and we hope to see a nice return in the way of fresh veggies and animals (rabbits and chickens) to process for meat. Our goal is to become as self sufficient as possible to ease our living in these poor economic times.

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We have many other ideas besides the general farm were building. Alternative energy, homemade soaps and candles are on our to do list as well as making home made wine and spirits and locating forgotten wild edibles and other forages that we can use to our advantage.

We’ve been hard at work on this project since the beginning of March and we are starting to reap the benefits.

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Things are progressing quite nicely. We’ve already had our first salads from the garden and our animals, chickens and rabbits, are getting regular green snacks out of there as well. Personally I’m waiting for the fresh salsa.

We have other ongoing projects that are well under way. Each day brings a new set of challenges with new projects and the extra work they make for us, but the money we’ll save in the long run is more than worth it. The feeling of self sufficiency is very nice too.

Here’s a sneak peak at another project that still needs a little work.

Hopefully my videos will get better with practice.

 

Life Is Better With A Dog.

I say this with surety, for it is something I know all too well. Dogs are awesome. They comfort us when were sad or blue. They get excited for us. No one is ever happier to see you than your dog. I really love my dog Rufus. He’s the best. Sure he’s often a pain and he’s definitely a lot of responsibility but he’s my little terd bird. Well, maybe not so little.

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Rufus was born to my brothers dog Asia in my coveralls with his litter mates. One day when my brother was over with Asia and his girlfriend, Asia disappeared. When we found her, she was nestled in my winter coveralls halfway thru her delivery of 6 little baby pitt bull terriers. Needless to say she stayed with me for the next 7 or 8 weeks. Little Rufus has been following  me around ever since.

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He loves to play tug of war. When I take him for walks he grabs the leash in his mouth and leads me out of the yard. He walks me at least as far as the road or the alley out back to be sure we’re really going for a walk and he’s not getting tied up on his chain. He weighs about 60 or 65 lbs so he generally leads me around with me giving him a tug every so often when he’s going somewhere he’s not allowed.

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He really loves to go down the old railroad tracks so I can let him go to run. Often we will spend a large part of the afternoon out there running and wrestling. Rufus spends a lot of time munching on wild strawberries and tasty looking blades of grass.

Once I get him (and me) all worn out we’ll make our way home where Rufus knows ill have a snack waiting for him (and me) because all that exercise makes us  hungry.

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Rufus eats dog food of course but he always gets a portion of my meals. I purposely make extra for Rufus. He sleeps in my bed and trails me all day inside and out. He likes being outside unless it has  rained or is raining. He hates going out in the mud.

He’s my spoiled little terd bird. I love him and he loves me. Too bad all relationships weren’t this simple and easy to maintain.

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Choosing The Plants For Our Garden

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We’re still preparing our garden plot but we are getting near to the time to be thinking about getting plants and starting seeds for our food garden project. It’s important to consider the right plants for the right climate and amounts of sunlight that will be available in our turned up plots for growing.

Partial Sun:

Some plants only require partial sunlight to fully mature.
Some plants only require partial sunlight to fully mature.

Photo credit : www.gardeningknowhow.com

We have a number of spots that will only get partial sun, about 4 to 5 hours per day. We want to be sure to make the best use of our space and we’re planning plants suitable for partial sun for these areas. With a little research I found that the best plants for these shady areas is going to consist mostly of salad mix.

shade tolerant plants

It is generally considered that plants that are grown for their stalks or leaves do well in partial sunlight

Lettuce and other leafy vegetables are great for areas with partial sun.
Lettuce and other leafy vegetables are great for areas with partial sun.

Lettuce, spinach and other greens such as kale, mustard or collard greens do well in partial sun .

Some bush and vine bean plants such as green beans and peas only need partial sun.

Large leaf plants like cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and leaf lettuce are well suited to partial sun.

Bulbs like onions and garlic, along with chives, scallions and green onions are also good edibles to grow in partially sunlit areas.

These veggies can be grown in shady areas.
These veggies can be grown in shady areas.

Photo credit : www.ifood.tv

Other spices that can be grown in partial sun are thyme, coriander, parsley and mint.

Some fruits like strawberries will also do well in partially sunlit areas. You should test the plants in partial sun while still potted by placing them in these areas for a few hours a day before planting to acclimate the plant to its new home. If it begins to look wilted or like its not doing well you might want to consider another spot with a bit more sun.

These sweet babies can be grow in shadier areas.
These sweet babies can be grow in shadier areas.

Photo credit : www.howtogrowstuff.com

There are many places around our home that we can take advantage of these commonly grown edibles and use extra space for something useful. This is a nice list that can be grown in most of the growing zones or even inside near sunlit windows or on balcony’s that don’t get much sun.

Full Sun:

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Plants that bear fruit or vegetables generally need full sun for the fruit to ripen. Tomato plants are a perfect example of this. There are a wide variety of plants that can be grown in moderate growing zones and we intend to make use of more than a few of them.

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Plants that bear fruit such as tomatoes, different kind of peppers including bell peppers, jalapeno’s and banana peppers need full sun for the fruit to fully ripen.

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Photo credit : www.dreamstime.com

Root edibles like potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, radishes, turnips and beets will also flourish with many hours of sunlight.

Vine plants like pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and various kinds of squash also require full sun for their fruits to gain any size and maturity.

Corn plants will require a lot of sun and a nice area all to themselves so they have room to grow and produce ears of sweet corn for us to enjoy this fall.

There’s a lot of options for growing your own and it’s up to you which veggies you put into your garden and your eventual diet.

Fresh vegetable

Unconventional Plant Options:

We’re going to plant some sugar cane and some peanuts in our garden plot. The idea of being able to make our own sweetener and peanut butter is too tempting not to give it a shot.

This looks easy enough.
This looks easy enough.

There are also some wild edibles native to our area that we plan to try to cultivate and process for use. These would be wild raspberries, wild grapes and mint. We already have some raspberry bushes and mint growing, we’ll try to find some wild grapevines and transplant them to our garden plot in a spot chosen just for them.

Wild raspberries
Wild raspberries

The mint is already here and cultivating that will consist mainly of cutting it back as mint is very invasive and will take over if you let it.

Growing our own food will allow us to monitor the amount of harmful stuff that goes into our bodies. Commercial food producers seem to have forgotten about safety standards in my opinion and with companies like Monsanto in charge of the commercial food supply I’m thinking growing your own is a better idea than ever before.

Food dependency isn't healthy
Food dependency isn’t healthy

With a garden full of fresh veggies your food options will be abound with fresh (not packaged) options for family meals and snacks. It will most certainly take some effort to make tomato sauce and salsa from tomatoes and pickles from cucumbers but I think the benefits of doing so speak for themselves.

Storing the excess you grow will also come into play as you will soon realize you’ll need to can or freeze the surplus to be able to make good use of it and not let it go to waste. Growing food and other food sustainability ideas are on the rise., and growing your own has never been more popular.

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Photo credit : www.doityourself.com

Gardening is an interesting and rewarding hobby and growing your own veggies can increase your household food supply at a much reduced cost than purchasing commercialized foods. The health benefits of growing your own are endless and with a little practice you can be growing your own in no time.

Whether you have a large yard or are limited on space, there’s a way to bring a vegetable garden into reality for you and your family.

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There’s no time like the present, Spring has sprung and food sustainability is in my future.

What will you be eating this fall?

Spring Has Sprung…..Breaking Ground for a Big Garden

We should all grow food.
We should all grow food.

Photo credit to primephysique.com

So today we began tearing up a spot in the backyard to plant a big garden. To begin with, we’re tearing off the top layer of grass to expose the fertile soil directly underneath.

We have decided to stack the strips of sod(we’re cutting them out in semi-uniform shape) into a sod wall that will completely surround the garden to help keep out unwanted pests.

Once we have all the grass up and the soil exposed we’ll turn the soil (by hand with a shovel) and get it ready to distribute our seeds and starts.

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Were planning the regular garden staples, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, cucumbers and some other edibles that we can make good use of (good use being eat them lol).

Choose veggies according to your grow zone for best results
Choose veggies according to your grow zone for best results

Photo credit to 365barrington.com

We will also be trying some unconventional plants for our area or growing zone. Were centered in the breadbasket of America so we have many options for garden veggies and other edibles.

We planted a smaller garden last year and did well with lots of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, melons and a bunch of other fresh green goodies. We had an overabundance of fresh salsa, homemade tomato sauces, pickles and spices.

Throw some tomatoes, onions, peppers and a little spice into a food processor and Bam..Salsa
Throw some tomatoes, onions, peppers and a little spice into a food processor and Bam..Salsa

This year we intend to have a larger crop, with enough surplus to store and make use of through the winter months. One of the new plants we intend to try this year is sugarcane. We aren’t sure yet how we plan to process the sugar out of the cane but we’re thinking maybe we can boil the inner stalk into a molasses or sweet syrup we can use as our household sweetener.

We want to try sugar cane but not yet sure how we will process for use.
We want to try sugar cane but not yet sure how we will process for use.

Photo credit to www.picstopin.com

The idea of having a garden and the self sustainability it can help to provide is enticing to say the least. Free food, well it’s not free, as many hours will be spent cultivating the crops and harvesting, not to mention processing and making them ready for use(eating). Gardening is a lot of work and a big garden is sure to take a big work effort to ensure its success.

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Photo credit www.barnesandnoble.com

We’re all set and have already begun. So what about you? What are your thoughts on gardening? Are you putting out one of your own or helping someone else with theirs? Will you enjoy the benefits of your own home grown fruits and vegetables this fall or will you continue to buy them at your local supermarket?

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Growing your own will ensure you know exactly what you and your family are eating. It takes some effort but real effort will pay off with edible rewards.

Happy Growing and Eat Fresh, (Not that fake Subway eat fresh) Really Fresh, the old school way.