I grew up in a family that would, in today's vernacular, be considered green. My parents were older and had lived in homes where their parents either made or grew everything they needed—and if they didn't or couldn't, they didn't need it! Throughout my childhood, we always did the same thing. My mom made most of my clothes, we recycled and reused as many things as we possibly could, and my dad planted a huge garden so we could can or freeze food. There were multiple fruit trees, livestock animals and plenty of family members with cows and chickens—in other words, we were very organic.
During my younger years, I remember complaining about all the work I was forced to do. I mean, what 10-year-old wants to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning to pick cucumbers and okra? And why did I need to know how to sew? Or crochet? Because of my irritation, I begrudgingly worked and didn't learn nearly as much as I should have.
My latest foray into "make my own"—crocheted dishcloth. Photo by Amy Greene.
Fast forward to present day. After being married for almost 30 years and having four children, I can look back on those years fondly and with gratitude. Although I didn't learn what I could have or should have, I still learned enough to help make a strong start on our journey to becoming self-sufficient. Much of what I learned all those years ago—canning, freezing and dehydrating—have been put to good use during my adult life and our efforts toward having our own mini-farm.
One of my favorite things to do is walk out to my storage shelves and look at all the delicious canned goods, and realize that I made those. Yes, the grocery store might be convenient. Yes, it is hard work. But the satisfaction of seeing the finished product, and serving it to my family or giving it as gifts to friends, is worth more than any amount of money.
Some of the canned produce from our garden—green beans and pickled peppers. Photo by Amy Greene.
I am now passing along my knowledge to my children—boys and girls alike. I want them to know how to preserve food they harvest from a garden; how to fix things themselves without immediately calling a repairman; how to make things from scratch whether it is food or clothes; in short, I want them to be self-sufficient. Right now, they sound about as enthusiastic as I did all those years ago, but at least, if they need the information at any point in the future, they will have it and be able to utilize should the time come.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you, my successes and my failures, the latter in hopes that you won't have to make the same mistakes. Be sure and leave any comments below—feedback is always great!
Amy Greene is a wife, mother of four children and three dogs, and homesteader from North Carolina. She loves to learn about homesteading and self-sufficiency. Her family plants a large garden, preserves as much as possible, and has high hopes of someday fulfilling their wildest homesteading dreams!