Sunday, April 6, 2008

25 Steps You Can Take Today

25 Ways to be More Self Reliant Today
By Marye Audet

Why Self Reliance?
Self reliant living has always been an important skill. From the Pilgrims to our grandparents that lived through the depression and World War 2 the ability to survive and thrive during times of intense hardship can mean the difference between life and death, freedom and slavery. Sometimes we become self reliant because we want to and sometimes because we have to. It is, in my opinion, better to be self reliant before we are forced to. There is nothing in this world that is guaranteed. Things change rapidly. Stock markets rise and they crash, you may have a job today and yet be unemployed tomorrow. It stands to reason that the more independent you can be, the better off you are and the better quality of life you will have overall.

25 Steps You Can Take Today
Becoming independent is not an overnight thing but everything starts somewhere and this is no different. The small steps you take today can change your life, even save your life, further down the road.
1. Come up with a plan to get out of debt. This really isn't that hard. Put up the credit cards and don't use them. Begin to pay an extra five dollars on your lowest balance, more if you can. When that balance is paid off add the amount you had been paying to your next lowest balance, and so on. When you can pay more by all means DO! Debt costs you money. If you really want to see how much it is costing you add up your finance charges every month. $50? $100? what could you be doing with that money?
2. Learn one homemaking skill a month. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting would be my top suggestions and then from their move to soap making and spinning. With these skills you can clothe your family or even make a little money.
3. Make simplicity a habit. When you need to get your nails done, get your hair done, have the newest technology the lack of these things will leave a huge void in your life. If you create a life without things you don't miss them when they are gone! Learn to enjoy an evening board game with the family rather than dvd's or video games.
4. Invest in books. No matter what happens if you have books available you can find the information you need. If the Internet goes down, if power goes off, you won't be able to get your information from your computer however if you have a good collection of books; reference and good literature, you will always have both entertainment and instruction. You can homeschool your kids pretty thoroughly with only a good set of encyclopedias.
5. Learn cooking skills. Bread baking, canning, making sour dough starter, and even making things like wine and vinegar are useful abilities.
6. Invest in reusable personal items like cloth diapers and cloth feminine hygeine products.
7. Plan a vegetable garden. It doesn't have to be extensive. Good things to plant would be:
green beans
There are, of course many other vegetables to try but these are the most reliable and prolific for the beginner.
8. Plant herbs. Culinary herbs should include basil, oregano, dill, lavender (mixed use), mint (also mixed use), rosemary, sage, and cilantro. But don't stop at culinary herbs, there are many herbs that make important medicinal teas. Lavender is soothing, mint calms a queasy tummy. Alfalfa cleanses the blood stream and lymph system.
9. Plant fruit. Not everyone has the space for an orchard but there are new varieties of miniature and dwarf trees that stay five feet tall or less and yet produce fruit. Usually you need two varieties of each fruit tree for proper pollination. By planting fruit trees as landscaping you will have s guaranteed supply of fruit in hard times. Strawberries, black berries, and grapes are other good choices.
10. Consider bee keeping as a fun hobby and a way to ensure that your sweet tooth gets fed.
11. Consider dairy goats. Depending on where you live you can keep a couple of does for far less than you will pay for milk. If your space is very limited consider Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats. They are about the size of a Golden Retriever or Lab and are sweet tempered with good milk production on minimal feed. You can even use the large Igloo dog houses as shelter for them.
12. Chickens can provide eggs and meat. If you keep a rooster or two you can ensure your ability to continue to produce both eggs and meat as long as necessary by breeding the chickens and allowing them to hatch their eggs. Chickens, if allowed to free range, need little in the way of supplemental foods.
13. Pick up hand tools. Battery operated and electric drills and saws are great normally but what if the grid goes down and you need to fix something? Not only do I have hand saws of various types but I also have my dad's old hand plane, auger, post hole diggers and other tools that you can pick up for pennies at garage sales.
14. Have a plan. This sounds easy but few people do it. Spend a few minutes thinking about what would happen in a financial crisis, national emergency, or weather related emergency. List some things you would need, plan what steps you would take.
15. Have a first aid kit handy and learn about homeopathics and herbs. These were used for centuries before antibiotics and have a place in home health care today. Colloidal silver can be used as eye drops, nose drops, ear drops, external antibiotic and an internal antibiotic. Keep a reference where you can get it quickly.
16. Buy a hunting rifle and learn to use it safely. There may come a time when that adorable rabbit that nibbles the clover in your backyard may make an excellent stew.
17. Learn to forage for wild foods.
18. Change your mentality about money. Working a 9-5 job is only one way to make an income. There are many more from tutoring, selling produce and eggs, to cleaning houses, mowing lawns, and blogging.
19. Start a reference library. Books that have instruction in important survival skills are a great investment.
20. Keep some MRIs handy, about 1-2 weeks worth per person. This will give you time, in an emergency, to come up with a plan to feed your family.
21. Install a wood stove. Whether it is in the den or somewhere else a wood stove will provide heat and cooking surface if need be.
22. Exercise. Keeping yourself healthy will enable you to be strong in times of stress.
23. Keep some cash at home. 500.00 is a good start. If something happens you have cash to use as you need to.
24. Learn about alternative energy and begin moving toward solar power panels.
25. Have a well drilled that can be utilized without an electric pump.
By doing these things you can feel confident in your ability to lead your family through hard times with a minimal discomfort.

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