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A Resource or a Liability

January 24th, 2012

Risa, from Stony Run Farm, brought up a great thought in the comments a few weeks ago when we were discussing why you grow your own. If your neighborhood/community got together in tough times to categorize people as liabilities or resources which would you be? Do you think the resources in your community could support the liabilities?

The biggest problem would probably be that many people would consider themselves resources. While that may be true in good times, their skills/talents might not be what is needed to survive during the tough times. I’ve thought about this as I strive to learn to grow some of my own food. Mainly, I do it for healthy food, because I enjoy it and to save some money, but I also want to have the skills necessary should a time every arise when we need to for survival.

Being able to grow food is a skill that most people should cultivate, whether you believe you will ever need it or not; sadly it’s not a skill many people see as necessary. On the most basic level, to survive you need: food, water, and shelter – everything else is really a luxury. Many of the skills we posses and use for our day to day jobs are for luxuries and not for necessities. This is true of my job, I produce a luxury. As a result, I feel the need to be able to produce my own necessities so I don’t have to rely on someone else. If things ever go pear shaped, my job/skills/income would be gone. No one needs a photographer/writer/videographer/blogger to survive, you can’t eat those things – so I would be considered a liability if I didn’t have any other skills.


Luckily, I have worked hard at learning/developing a lot of skills and I’m continually striving to broaden my skills that will come in handy should things every get rough.

Here are some of the skills I have:
growing food
foraging for wild food
winter gardening
seed saving
plant propagation
dehydrating, curing, canning
maple sugaring
sewing/mending
cooking/bread baking
herbal remedies
building
rain water harvesting
Mr Chiot’s hunting is also a good skill

Some skills I’d like to learn:
keeping & breeding chickens
dairy & beef cow husbandry
meat rabbit breeding/rearing
pasture management
butchering meat
smoking and curing
weaving
hone my knitting/crochet skills
root cellaring
cooking with wood heat
first-aid & herbal healing
foraging, wild harvesting


Taking some time to think about what would happen in tough times and working on learning a few skills that will come in handy for you family and your community is something we should all do. It’s kind of like having a spare tire in your car, you hope you’ll never need to use it – but you want it around just in case. Learning a few basic skills will give you a sense of peace knowing that should you ever need to, you could survive.

What can you provide/bring to the table when times get tough?

Great resource books to keep on your shelf:

Lessons from Natural World

December 23rd, 2011

I’m continually amazed by what I see going on in the natural world around me. Last week, after making some kimchi using a savoy cabbage that I got from a local farmer, the core was left sitting on the counter by my compost bowl. A week later, the cabbage was growing fresh new leaves.

At first I didn’t make anything of it, but then thoughts of struggle came to my mind. In nature, the main goal is to reproduce to continue the species; this cabbage is no different. If I planted this core in a pot, it would grow roots, leaves, and it would begin to flower in the spring. It would then produce seeds, scatter them around, and then tiny cabbage seedlings would pop up all over my garden. I’d have a bumper crop of cabbage in the coming years!

This is the same reason that spinach and lettuce plants will bolt when they get stressed by heat or dryness. Often, when a plant comes under so much stress that it’s survival is threatened, they’ll expend the last bit of energy they have to produce flowers and then seeds, thus ensuring the survival of their kind.

It got me thinking about something Mr Chiots and I have talked about at length. When you look back at your life, the times that were the most difficult are the periods of the most growth, if you allow them to be. Many people don’t sprout new growth when difficulties arise, they simple wither and die; others fight by doing everything they can to survive, thrive and prosper. This moment in our lives is looking like it’s going to be a season of much growth, spurring us on towards something bigger and more beautiful than what our lives are today. Perhaps this is the nudge we need to make a few changes. As I grow older, I’ve learned to embrace these times because so much growth occurs and I know good things will come from it.

Have you found that difficulties produce the most growth in your life?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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