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HomeLifestyleSelf-sufficiency for beginners, Part one 

Self-sufficiency for beginners, Part one 


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“Freedom is the greatest fruit of self-sufficiency.” ~ Epicurus

I don’t think I could have found a more apt quote than this one, considering the reason that a lot of people are looking at the self-sufficient lifestyle now is from the lack of freedom we have in society these days. It is because of this that many are choosing to turn to the “old paths” and get back to basics. 

I also like how the Bible puts it “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. …” I don’t know if it is specifically speaking about living the ‘olden days’ lifestyle, but I love how it seems to infer that the old ways are better and that by walking in them you will find rest for your soul.

What better earthly way to find rest for your soul than to live a life knowing that you are leaving the matrix of consumerism, fakery, deadlines, and traffic jams for a simple, humble lifestyle where you are your person.

This is a sentiment echoed by the author of ‘The Concise Guide to Self-Sufficiency’ – “it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is fresh and organically grown, for the health of body and peace of mind which come with hard, varied work in the open air, and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully.”  

So, what is “self-sufficiency” anyway? In a nutshell, it means someone or something that is “able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aidcapable of providing for one’s own needs” ~ Merriam Webster dictionary online.

Of course, most people will have their own version of what self-sufficiency is and it will look different for everyone. Some people are completely off-grid while others try to make do whilst renting and don’t have much space. Some people have a lot of skills and trades behind them, while others have none and learn on the go.

I have a myriad of books at home and have found several books on self-sufficiency at op shops or for sale online so I will be referring to those, as well as information I glean online and from some hands-on experience myself. I also have a plethora of herbal/natural remedy books, books on natural health, etc, and will refer to those along the way also. I may even touch on home-schooling as well, as we home educated for several years, and many people have made the move to home education over the last 2 years.  

To start off this introductory article in the series, I just want to look at the basics of what self-sufficiency is about and where to start on the journey to becoming more self-reliant.

In the book ‘Practical Self Sufficiency – An Australia Guide to sustainable living’ by Dick and James Strawbridge (a father/son duo) they say “What are the basics for life? We’re lucky that life in the 21st century is easier than it has ever been at any other time in history, but convenience can come at a price, and many people now want to get back to basics.

So, what are the basics for life? Food and shelter are the simplest answer, but we are looking for a good quality of life, too, and for that, we need comfortable shelter, quality food, and a good amount of pleasure.”
So in order to start your journey, you will need some land. If you are already renting or own your home this won’t apply to you, but there might still be some things you will need to consider, so please keep reading.

You will need to decide how much land you can afford, but just as importantly, you will need to be realistic about how much you can maintain on that land. You will need to account for the size of the dwelling you are going to live in, what kind of foods you want to grow and how much space you’ll need for that. Then there is food and water, do you want chickens, pigs, goats, or other animals. Then do you want a dam, a shed, rainwater tanks, etc? 

You will need to decide if you are going to go off-grid or stick to mains power, water, waste (toilet and shower water), heating cooling, the climate (does it rain a lot, is it hot? so will you need trees and what kind of trees) and let’s not forget council or shire approval for buildings. All shires will have their own rules so you will need to approach them with any plans you have.

Other things you will need to think about are fencing (especially if you have pets as there could be dingoes or foxes), neighbours, the orientation of the land, if there is a source of water nearby, what wildlife is around, and last but not least, one huge lesson I learned when I moved to the country is to find a town/area that welcomes new people and has plenty of community spirit and opportunities to work or volunteer if you are wanting to earn some money and or socialise.   

I think that just about covers the basics for now. The following articles will focus on one or two topics at a time, so if there is anything you would like to know more about, if I have missed something, or you have any knowledge you’d like to share, feel free to comment, as we can all learn from each other. 



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