So, I sold that farm to a neighbour who had a lot of cows and could use the extra pasture, and went forward to find a different place. I was running out of time to create a home though. Originally, the plan was to build two monolithic domes, one house and the other a garage with a living space above. I did find this farm in the mean time, flew out in February and purchased it and have been working to repair it for the past three years. Without the input of huge amounts of money, it will never be off grid, nor self sustaining, however; I can become self reliant, and that is the next best thing.
Already, I do not shop for toiletries. I make soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and skin creams,butters and lotions. It is amazing how much that eliminates from a grocery bill! I quit decorating myself with cosmetics, can make them and have, but choose to no longer wear them at all, eliminating the dollars spent there.
I have tried to grow a garden for the past three years here, with marginal success, more this year than in previous years. Next year should be even better. So, some of the vegetables will be produced here. The meat, for the most part, already comes from this farm, inadvertently from raising animals for other purposes, because they multiply and the excess (what a way to term it) become food. I find that I only have to go the grocery store once in two weeks. This winter I will be sprouting seeds for greens, both for my own consumption and as fodder for the animals who are always desperate for something green in the middle of a cold snowy winter. I really hope it is warm enough in the newly finished porch this winter. Last winter, after the poor contractor completed it, water froze in the dog's dish on the floor, so no sprouting occurred.
So, my dream of being self sustainable is gone, and my goal is to be self reliant. With the tremendously heavy workload here, that is not so easy and I find myself scrambling to get things done, even feeling the pangs of guilt when I stop for a half hour coffee break. The added chores associated with the cow have tripled that work load for now, but a kind lady who raises dairy cows, promised to come tomorrow to help me put the calf to the cow, at least alleviating the three millings a day. Elsie has started a course of antibiotics and hopefully her mastitis will not cause any permanent damage.
I think if we all aim to be more self reliant, the world would be a better place. In the city, growing a garden and canning, fermenting and preserving food would be a great start. If chickens are permitted, adding three hens for egg production and waste management (they are excellent composters and fertilizers) is another idea. There is no reason why a city dweller could not learn to make toiletries such as soaps, lotions and laundry cleaners. My next goal is to get a real clothes line so I cut down the dependency on the dryer. Hanging out laundry in the city can even be done on a balcony, if that is all the space one has. Being more self reliant is actually very freeing and makes one feel accomplished and even a little proud. Maybe you are ready to try it?