Self-sufficiency is personal, it begins with one’s self, and it has no real benchmarks of achievement or completion but rather is just an idea that guides your actions. This being said, this article and any following are just a written form of my own ideas. Take them, use them, and morph them into your own. In the end, self-sufficiency is a journey and I am your, less than properly working, GPS that gives you a good sense of direction but can’t get you all the way to your destination. I’ll get you going, you finish the job.
I break self-sufficiency down into two main groups: Hunting and Gathering. Sure there are some fringe groups like lumber sourcing, natural cookware making, and so on, but in my mind everything more or less falls under hunting and gathering. My focus tends to shift based on the seasons, as most of our ancestors in this geographic area did. Summer is all fishing and farming, fall transitions to fishing, hunting, and harvesting. Winter is predominately hunting and some ice fishing (if you’re into that), finally winter gives way to spring (although that is up for debate this year) where you have fishing, once again, and some early gathering/harvesting. These are not the only activities that happen during these seasons. For example, you can grow winter greens in window boxes, but these are the most common and easiest activities.
For me, self-sufficiency is a very primal calling almost. I never really purposely set out to become more self-sufficient it just kind of happened. At three years old I began fishing, and that is where it all started. I was hooked. At five I began starting seeds with my mother and grandfather for the garden. My tenth birthday gave way to my first squirrel hunt (yes, squirrel, they are everywhere and they are delicious). From then on I began reading, listening, and learning more and more about providing for myself. I took full advantage of my newfound freedom in high school and began fishing and hunting on my own. Finally we move to college, where my passion has blossomed even further. College gave me hours of potential study time that was rather devoted to learning more about my craft. I learned how to make flower out of acorns in my room in Massasoit, learned how to make a delicious desert sauce out of kousa dogwood fruit (little red berries on the trees all over campus) in Reed, and an amazing ground cherry jam in the townhouse kitchen that were picked next to our very own lake Massasoit. What I discovered through all of this is that self-sufficiency really is the art of learning, adapting, and repeating. Rarely will you do the same thing exactly how you did the first time. You learn how to make things easier and much more efficient.
My passion has given me purpose. Above you will see that originally it was about providing for myself, but it is so much more than that now. It is about providing for me, yes, but it’s also about providing for my fiancé, and the security I find knowing that my family will never go hungry. It’s about sharing with others, teaching them a new skill, and ensuring that the art never dies. Moreover, the more self-sufficiency one takes part in, the heathier they are, the better their food is, and the better the environment becomes. We have been blessed with a world, weather you believe it is by accident or design, that longs to provide for us, and all she asks in return is that we respect and care for her.
So that’s it, that’s my introduction to self-sufficiency. Remember whether you try one or all of the afore mentioned activities, your are living out your own journey, embrace it, enjoy it, and never stop learning!