Ten years ago, if asked how I envisioned this time in our lives I would say. WE are going to travel. WE are going to go on long drives and if we get tired, we will find a place to stay for the night. WE are going to be free spirits with a home base to return to when we needed stability.
I never envisioned the chaos and uncertainty of the last couple of years. I could never have imagined being stopped while crossing state lines that we have crossed our whole lives. I never anticipated a life where grocery stores were not freely entered, and shelves were bare. It was a rude awakening to see just how dependent we had become on convenience and how lax we had let ourselves get on preparedness. These were some of the events that grounded our free spirit dreams and changed the course of our lives forever.
The state of fear that panicked some, frightened us for a few months but did not paralyze us. We watched as people fought over food and household supplies. Warehouses were running on short staff or shut down and trucks had nothing to deliver. The news said this was short term, just long enough to “flatten the curve.” This did not look short term.
Long term shortages began to look real. Reality had given us a wakeup call. Nowhere in our life’s handbook was there a chapter on nearing retirement age and having to learn how to live without modern convenience. I would have remembered that chapter. It was time to take that call seriously.
We decided to use the extra money that was being handed out to move our lives in a completely different direction from the masses. We increased the main vegetable garden area. We experimented growing different vegetables in pots. I began studying herbs and planted a medicinal herb garden so that we will not have to rely on over the counter or pharmaceutical drugs.
With shelves remaining bare and prices rising I began sourcing milk and meat locally. I still bought from the store when I ran across a sale, so that we could build up reserves, but I vowed to never become dependent on the commercial food system again.
We traveled the internet instead of the countryside. I became a regular visitor to Carolyn and Josh Thomas, Melissa K Norris, and Jill Winger’s websites. I studied up on cooking from scratch, food preservation methods and we learned as much as possible about increasing our food production.
With all the free time at home I ventured into bread making. It was not always pretty or edible as bread but with the help of my dehydrator, I was able to stock up on breadcrumbs from the disasters.
When yeast became impossible to find I jumped onto the sourdough bandwagon. Over the last couple of years, I have managed to kill a couple of starters, but I think I am getting the hang of it now.
As life appeared to begin to return to semi normal, we did not revert back to our convenient life. We continued to expand our growing area and our knowledge.
It is hard to believe that our journey into self-reliance, self-sufficiency, or food independence, which ever term you choose to use, began just three years ago. WE have made huge advances and show no sign of waning. WE cannot do all that we would like, but as economic stability continues its downward spiral, WE are taking a proactive stance when it comes to the control over our own lives. It is never too late, and you are never too old to take responsibility for your own welfare. Start small if you have to but start. The peace of mind it brings is worth a lot more than the conveniences you may have to give up.