Monday, August 29, 2011

Homesteading Efforts

For several years, Country Boy and I spent a weeks vacation going on mission trips to the jungles of Honduras and Nicaragua to help the locals build a church for their village.  We loved it!  We enjoyed every minute of the nine hour ride (to go 20 miles or so!) sitting on five gallon buckets (or whatever you could find!) on the back of a flatbed truck!  We enjoyed bathing in the river, sleeping on army cots in tents, getting our drinking water from the river (upstream from where you bathe, of course!)  I digress though... what pure joy it was to work alongside the locals, language barrier and all, and help them build a church that they could worship in.  These villagers had no electricity and several generations lived in a house about the size of a large shed here in the States.  They were happy!  Such a simple lifestyle where everyone pitched in and looked out for each other.

Country Boy and I have a deep desire to get back to a simpler lifestyle.  While neither one of us would be able to talk intelligently about the economic situation of our government we have a 'gut' feeling that things are not good nor will they be any better any time soon.  We feel it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families rather than relying on and waiting for the government to fix what is wrong or to take care of us.  We have a strong desire to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on things such as store-bought food, fuel resources, electricity, etc.  We want to grow our own food, conserve energy, be debt-free and live with less.

While we have a L-O-N-G way to go, we have started making some small efforts here and there.  I decided to make a list of some of the changes we have incorporated into our daily lives throughout this year because I was beginning to feel as though we haven't done anything towards meeting our goal and I thought a list would help reinforce our efforts and give me confirmation that we are headed in the right direction.

So, here's our list:

1.  I purchased a 50' retractable clothesline that I use to hang the laundry on to dry.  I LOVE laundry days now!  And, our electric bill has been greatly reduced!  The only load I dry are the towels (I like my towels soft!)

2.  I purchased a $9.00 glass jar with a lid to use in the kitchen for food scraps.  Since we don't have chickens anymore, all food scraps go into the jar.  Once the jar is full, I take it out to the compost bin.

3.  Our old bathtub was repurposed into a compost bin.

4.  We planted a vegetable garden although our crops were not great this year due to wild animals eating the plants and our sandy soil.

5.  We gather rain water in empty kitty litter buckets to use to water the plants.
6.  We are using more 'green' and homemade cleaning products rather than heavily chemical-laden products.
7.  I go to town once a week and do all my errands, grocery shopping, etc. that day.
8.  We are eating out less and eating more home-cooked meals with seasonal vegetables.  YUM!  Much easier on the wallet too and better for your health!
9.  We are reducing our monthly bills.  We disconnected our satellite service.  Paying a monthly fee to watch only a few channels was not worth the expense.  By going to town once a week, we've reduced our gas bill.
10.  I have learned to distinguish between wants and needs.  When I used to go to the local superstore I was tempted by all the wonderful 'things' that were on display.  I was always able to rationalize why I needed a particular item that wasn't on my original shopping list!  Now, when I go to the superstore, I can walk past it and not think twice about it because it doesn't have a purpose in my ultimate homesteading goal.
11.  I am going through the house and cleaning out the clutter and the items that are just taking up space and get no use.  I've donated items, listed other items on ebay and tossed other items.  What doesn't sell on ebay will eventually get donated.

It's not a very long list, but, by making a few small changes here and there, we've noticed differences in our electric bill, gas bill, health, etc.  It's also a very satisfying and rewarding way to live knowing you're making a difference and striving to become self-sufficient.  We are enjoying this homesteading journey and are excited about what's in store for our future!

Linking up with

Till next time,


TexWisGirl said...

really good for you! streamlining, simplifying, focusing. great job!

Joy said...

We're doing the same thing, trying to become more "self-sufficient." We just have one acre, but we've been so inspired by all that can be done on one little acre! We're working on it one little step at a time. :)

Mary said...

Right on! Clothesline, check. No eating out, check. Once-per-week-to-town, check.

Now if I can get my hubby to cut down on the clutter, we could be twins! haha!

Great going. I'm proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Hooray for you guys! Every little bit helps, doesn't it?!

Flat Creek Farm said...

We've been doing much of the same also. I have to say, we've been homesteaders (in some folks' opinion!) in a lot of ways for a very long time.. but there are always ways to improve. Our electric bill just arrived in the mail, and let me just say.. I am NOT a happy camper. I'll be doing an energy audit very soon :) -Tammy

Lynn said...

Good for you! Every little change just makes you feel better:@)

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

Very cool! Congrats!

Tracy said...

One step at a time is what we say...once we cross off things on our sustainable lifestyle list we create more items to work on.
It is such a great feeling knowing you are taking care of yourself and are not so tied to the all mighty superstore!

Great Job!

Jenny said...

In The Netherlands most people hand their wash outside to dry, inbetween the rains. It is amazing to see. I love to photograph the clothes blowing in the breeze...brings back memories of my childhood when Mother sent me outside with a bag of clothespins and wet laundry. xo Jenny

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

I've recently come to terms with the fact I'm a list maker-- Although I'd let if fall to the way side for the last couple of years...List keep me sane.
I love your list of all the ways You've changed your lifestyle to up the sustainability factor in your life! Maybe I need to make my own list, because well, I haven't been able to see my way through it lately...wondering if indeed it all makes a difference. Some days I wake up and think what exactly am I doing?

I enjoyed your post~ You've given me something to think about, don't be surprised if you see my list pop up on your radar! Pat

Samantha said...

Fantastic job!

~Kristin~ said...

Great job and I am so with you!
Keep going!

CountryDew said...

I think this is an excellent list.

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