Three Steps to a More Self Sufficient Life

What is the difference between being self sustainable and self sufficient?  The definitions of both are as follows.

Self sustainable means;
to be able to provide for your own needs without help from others; “a self-sufficing economic unit”
Self sufficient means;

to be able to provide for or support oneself without the help of others
I’m a’ thinking that they both mean the same thing!  But, what do these two words mean for you?  How are we able to provide for or support ourselves without help from others?
The obvious would be to become self-employed.  This is a goal that my husband and I are striving for.  But, what do we do in the meantime?  How can we make our farms and/or homesteads more sustainable?  Unless we have a lot of time on our hands and a good bit of money, it will not happen overnight.

Baby steps, people.  Yeah, I know.  I don’t particularly like those two words.  I am not one who does well with waiting.  But, realistically, this is the best advice I can give you.  We don’t have a lot of money and we sure don’t have a lot of time, so we are forced to take baby steps.  What kind of baby steps, you might ask?
For one, our first priority is paying off debt.  This is definitely not going to happen over night, but each bill that gets paid off is a step in the right direction of becoming more self sufficient.  Only with baby steps can we make this happen.
Our second priority is investing in our farm with future self-employment in mind.  Whether it is investing in more fruit trees or buying livestock that will contribute to farm income, we never go in to debt with this.  Cash only.  True, we probably could have a full-time business by now if we went into debt by obtaining a loan, but we believe that going in to debt would be too risky!

And lastly, we are to be creative with what we have.  Take a look around your farm, homestead or backyard.  How could you use every square foot for something that would give you a return?  

This year, we are planting a crop of forage turnips and mangel beets(large beets with a similar protein amount as grain) for winter feed for our goats.  This will replace some of our grain usage, which, by-the-way, is not getting any cheaper!  A small step?  Yes, but something worth trying seeing as how our grain is getting pretty expensive!

Another little baby step is planting sweet corn in the paddock where our pigs and bucks were.  This paddock is loaded with nitrogen from two different species’ manure, so corn should grow well there.  With our sandy soil, it was almost impossible in the past to grow corn.  We never seemed to have enough nitrogen for it.  
After we harvest the corn, we will put our pigs back in the paddock to clean it up.  They will get the leftover stalks and corncobs, which, in turn, means that we will not have to give them as much grain.  They will re fertilize the ground and after we take them to the processor, we will plant a fall cover crop on the same patch of ground, getting it ready for next spring.  One more small step in the right direction!

Simple, little baby steps keeps us from getting overwhelmed too.
Let’s recap on this. Paying off debt is a huge step towards a more self sufficient lifestyle.  Also, investing our time and money for potential farm income without going into debt is another non risky venture towards self sufficiency.  And lastly, the more creative we are with what we have on hand, the quicker we can reach our goals!
How about you?  In what ways are you moving towards a more self sufficient life?

Linked to:  Common Sense Homesteading

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12 comments on “Three Steps to a More Self Sufficient Life

  1. Love the baby steps! Any impulsive action seems to cost more! This was a hard lesson to learn for two highly motivated plan attackers! Any time our family has gone into a plan with research, thought, and most importantly prayer, we have been very blessed. Building our goat barn for $250 is what I go back to when I feel impatient for progress. Going slow, and thoughtful allows for wise decisions.

    Early this year you inspired me to look into the CSA way of earning an income. My husband got excited and now, slowly but surely the hoop house is in progress. A plan is slowly, thoughtfully taking shape. Anyway, thank you for Money Making Mondays! I wish I could write for you, but we haven't completed our success yet!!

    Farmers market! Here we Come!

  2. We are moving in the same direction with our farm. We have 5 acres right now, but we're hoping to use this as 'practice' while we pay off debt and save up for a nice 10 acre plot that is better suited for the type of farming we want to do.
    We're planing beets and turnips this year, as well as overseeding the pastures we're not using this year with a mix of alfalfa, oats, rye, radishes, clover, and others. I found a seed mix designed for hunters who own land that want to grow big bucks. We're hoping it will help rejuvenate the pasture after last year's drought. We're also planting alfalfa where our pigs were, hoping to reduce the cost of hay and feed.
    Should be a fun adventure!

  3. I just visited your new website! Wow, your soaps look almost too scrumptious too eat! My daughter and I were looking through it together!

    Might you offer an affiliate program in the future?

  4. I bought a smoker this year and have learned how to use it. I also have learned how to make sausage and cure bacon. We got out first two pigs to raise and do intend to butcher ourselves. I also intend to try making wine this year. I have almost all that I need for that (except time, when I get some, I'll do it). Our little garden was converted into all raised beds and already we are getting more produce from it. I have a grape vine, blackberry and blueberry plants to plant plus I just planted 30 new strawberries. I am sure I am not done yet, it is only the beginning of the year 🙂

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