You do not have to wait to start Self Reliant Living!
Here are several things you can be doing today that will move you along your journey of self reliance, freedom and off grid life if you want to go that far. Some of our friends shared they felt they could never be self sufficient or afford a lot of land so they had given up on trying to make a homestead. I quickly reminded them you can start today and move forward at whatever pace you can. I told them to remember they already have a “homestead” if they simply change the way they think and make different choices. Homesteading is where your heart is and Self Reliant Living is where your head is!
When most folks think of homesteading and a self-reliant life, they conjure up some mental image of a place “away” where you grow all of your own food, drink water from a well, and live life off-grid and safe from whatever chaos and storms might be on the horizon. I have to remind folks that most of us will not get to this point, but that while it might be a good goal, a better one is to learn and practice the skills of self reliant living!
Self Reliant Living Skills to use anywhere, right now!
Our friends live in a small house they own in town. Most of us start out that way, but even if you rent and apartment, and even if you live in a big city, there are several things you can do to move yourself and your family towards more freedom and self reliance. We find these skills to be useful and fun too. They are easy to learn and share and you can put them into practice immediately. Do not forget that helping others and building a community is at the heart of making self reliant homesteading easier and more pleasurable.
Get Outdoors and Reconnect with Mother Nature
This not mowing the lawn, sunbathing or walking around the block. This is getting into nature, being surrounded by it and usually to start overwhelmed by trying to live in it! We mean learning something about back country skills and survival. This does not mean you pack a bag and head out into the wild for a week… oh no far from it. That would be a great end goal but try these things to test your skills and learn new ones.
If you are new to getting out into nature, start by camping with your vehicle at a nearby campground. Make an educated guess what you will need for food, drink, clothing and living for a day or so away from your house. When you start doing this you will begin to learn which things are more important and how you need to look at things in a new way. Take a day hike and really reconnect with nature and the wilderness, whether that is a forest or a lake or stream. Eventually you can work your way from vehicle to tent camping and from campgrounds and hiking to true backpacking.
There is nothing like heading out into the back country with only the bare necessities to teach you what is critical and what is just a waste. Gaining the skills of foraging and true self reliance with just the basics, could mean enjoyment or discomfort or even life and death in chaotic times. Building a fire and keeping it going, making good shelter and thinking about the weather, purifying water to stay hydrated and not being to warm or cold will serve you well. Some folks combine this with fishing or hunting which certainly compliments these skills. Think about how easy it will be the next time the power goes out for a couple of days or a water pipe bursts and there is no clean water. You will have a much easier time. That brings us to our next set of skills and preparation.
Prepare for the 72 Hour Disaster
I read recently that emergency preparedness is like car insurance. How true. None of us plan to drive down the road and get into an accident, but if you did, you would be thankful you had insurance to handle the issues. So emergency and disaster preparedness is a great set of skills to have. It is rather inexpensive to put together the essentials your family would need if you have to get out of your home for a few days. Chemical spills, wild fires, regional power outages, earthquakes, floods and more could be the reason. Getting away quickly before the roads get filled up is important too, so having things ready to load and go in a matter of minutes means you have and easier time than most.
A related set of skills for disasters and accident prep is basic first aid. Most towns have free or cheap classes to learn and practice first aid and CPR too. Having these skills will always be useful. You never know when helping someone else survive might in turn let them help you. Remember that community and sharing mentioned earlier? Everyone should have a “grab and go kit” or a “bug out bag” and practice loading your vehicle too. This way you can have shelter, food and a way to make clean water. Of course your back country skills can make this 72 hour disaster scenario feel like a camping trip!
Health and Wellness on the Homestead
While knowing first aid and CPR is great for accidents, we should be working towards staying healthy and healing quickly. Ignoring issues, letting our health deteriorate, and then going to the doctor is just not the best way to live. Eating better, exercising and purify our bodies and minds is the best preventative medicine in the first place. We all know the merits of organic foods we grow, the fresh whole vegetables and livestock we might have. Being self reliant means embracing some alternative healing skills and supplies both to keep us healthy and help us recover more quickly. Doctors have their place for accidents like broken bones and systemic issues, but find a good one that will work with you and your family and is willing to support your own recovery.
Of course nowadays there is the issue of “super bugs” and a world wide pandemic. With air travel we Have seen just how fast things can spread. The Butterfly Effect and Six Degrees of Separation is very real in the world. These versions of flu, resistant to antibiotics, are most harmful to the weak, so stay healthy. Increase your stamina, your resistance to “bugs” and treat symptoms early. Of course the idea of getting out of town for a few days works too! Now you can see how your self reliant skills are beginning to be useful all the time. You can garden in your backyard or even in containers on an apartment deck or up on the roof of the building in a city. Growing herbs and whole fresh foods will always serve you well.
Do It Yourself Homesteading
Growing your own food and medicinal herbs is probably the simplest and most common form of DIY. Adding some form of renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal is a close second. If you live in an apartment, use your deck for container plants and a small wind turbine or solar panel. Even if you can only power your computer, modem, recharge a phone or tablet and a lamp, think about much freedom that alone would bring. Using those skills above will let you learn to fix and repair most things as well as improve your homestead whether it be a full acreage off grid or your house in town or an apartment.
Repairing things saves money but it gets to the heart of self-reliance. It also prevents so much waste both before and after the manufacturing process and it helps to use old items in the repair. The ability to create things you need is the penultimate of DIY (Do It Yourself) and much of it can be done by repurposing or upcycling as we like to call it today. Taking broken or what is perceived as “useless” items and turning them into some “useful” is simply the best form of Homestead DIY. You can find many ideas here as we share more and in other communities on the web.
Sometimes the skill to fix something is beyond your scope or tools or requires some very specialized skill or experience. You can always turn to other Homesteaders for help and pay them or trade out your skills for theirs or barter for some produce or herbal medicine or some nice item your repurposed. Offer to assist them to keep the price down and learn from them at the same time. It is in our nature as humans to teach and share. The fact that we can help sustain the planet at the same time is just a bonus.
So do not wait until you are thirsty to start digging a well. Get yourself on track to making the Homestead you want right now and living the Self Reliant Life. As you begin this journey you will find is most rewarding. Doing things yourself holds much reward and you should be proud of what you have done. Learn, Do, Share and Grow! Be happy in all that you do and look positively at future challenges. They are simply stepping stones to a self reliant life on your own homestead!