You can’t become self-sufficient by simply waking up one morning and saying: “Alright, today’s the day!” …though I would say that my own moment of enlightenment happened in roughly the same way.
And as much as I wanted to stop going to the grocery store and start cooking my own homegrown food right away, I begrudgingly acknowledged that the food had to be planted, harvested, preserved and stocked up before either of those things could happen.
I also realize now that there are some staples we just aren’t yet set up for to make ourselves.
Flour, for example. We bake a lot of bread, buns, biscuits, crepes, tortillas, pizzas…the list goes on. But since we don’t have the equipment to grind our own flour (though it’s something I would love to do one day), we are reliant on the grocery store for our supply. Same with the grains, legumes, and dairy products we eat (Fabien is a stereotypical Frenchman who seriously loves his cheese!)
It’s all about making a plan and deciding on realistic goals. When you achieve what you set out to do, however small it may be, the feeling of success is incredible.
Last year we focused on a single goal for our garden: to grow enough vegetables to keep up with our daily need for soup in the winter. These soups generally include the following variations: potato and leek, potato and green bean, potato and any other vegetable we have, and tomato. (Blame the Frenchman again…he loves his soup aux patates!)
We ended up growing enough green beans, peas, potatoes, leeks, tomatoes and zucchini to last us for the year. I was thrilled! We also enjoyed lettuce, radishes and cucamelons (so cute and delicious!) for the short time they were in season.
This year we’re excited about moving into animal husbandry and expanding our small flock of chickens to also include pigs, possibly sheep and maybe a few turkeys. But again, it’s all about goals: what are we hoping to achieve this coming season, and how can we work to make it happen? The jury is still out on our’s, but I’ll let you know when we decide!