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For Christmas my husband jokes that he got me a library, but in actuality that is the truth. I had many books on my Christmas list this year and couldn’t wait to dive into them! I am currently reading a book by Joel Salatin, the man the New York Times calls “the high priest of the pasture”, called Folks, this ain’t normal. If you haven’t heard of Joel Salatin, you should immediately google his name or just watch this because he is not only hilarious, but he is a very smart man. I HIGHLY recommend reading this book. In Folks this Ain’t Normal, he talks about how we have changed the way we think about and make food so much in the last century that what we are living now isn’t “normal”. At the same time (because I just couldn’t wait) I’m reading Angela Enland’s book Backyard Farming on an Acre (more or less). I have said for about 5 years now that I want to live on an Amish farm and learn how to garden, farm and live self-sufficiently. This probably won’t happen anytime soon, so I will have to resort to the many resources out there. There are so many I could read for decades before taking a single action step, so we are starting today in our journey to become self-sufficient.

So as this New Year starts what does this mean? We are taking small steps, gradually increasing our skills. I have written about how I make our own skin care products from deodorant, lotion, chapstick to baby products (more on that to come). This didn’t just happen over night. I have always been passionate about health and nutrition, but not until 2 years ago when I watched Food Inc. and read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivores Dilemma did I realize this problem is way bigger than I ever thought. So gradually over the past 2 years we are a family who cook from scratch, use natural cleaning products, drink raw milk, don’t buy processed or packaged foods, eat grass-fed beef and free range pork and poultry and pretty much don’t trust anything conventional wisdom or the FDA has to say.

So, the next step in our journey to self-sufficiency is a vegetable garden. Now I have heard over and over about how easy gardening is, “anyone can do it, just plant seeds and water”. Well I know there’s more to it than that because I have killed off my fair share of herbs and those are supposed to be fool proof! I also heard when my husband and I got married that the crockpot is the greatest thing ever (which I now know to be true) you just throw anything in there and 6 hours later you have a meal. Well, my response was “well I can’t just throw anything in there, so tell me what to put in there!”. Hopefully this will be a place those people who need a little extra help, especially in the gardening area, can come and hopefully see how easy and rewarding it actually is. I will say, if I can do it, anyone can. So follow our journey and it just might inspire you to start a backyard garden for yourself. Our goals are start small and keep expanding and adding.

First action step: Composting!

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