Do you ever wish you had certain self-sufficiency skills to live a more simple life?
Self-sufficiency skills are also known as hobbies, to most people these days. This is because our society has become so dependent on retail as a way to obtain goods and services needed to live.
But what would happen if these supermarkets, malls, and Wal Marts all vanished into thin air? Would we survive without easy access to the necessities?
My family would survive.
I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a family where self-sufficiency mattered then and still matters today. My mother taught me self-sufficiency skills I can pass on to my daughters.
My mom learned from her mother (my grandmother). My grandmother learned from HER mother (my great grandmother). How wonderful the chain of knowledge is when we can learn from those before us! I value this knowledge so much as it helps my family and me on our journey to self-sufficiency.
Here are 5 main lessons in self-sufficiency my mother taught me.
Gardening & Preserving
No doubt there were many things I’d rather be doing than living in the garden all spring, summer, and fall. But I learned so much from my mom. I learned different techniques to grow the perfect garden vegetables.
I learned different ways to use up the excess garden produce.
Mom always kicked off the harvest season with creamy new peas and potatoes. We ate many bushels of green beans, sweet corn, and squash. Dad taught me the art of using lots of cheese in recipes to improve the taste of them.
I remember long days and nights freezing sweet corn and canning green beans and tomatoes. It was a lot of work. I can finally appreciate the skills I learned from her to make the most out of my garden produce.
Since my siblings and I have left their nest, mom got rid of the vegetable garden. That spot is now a pond with beautiful landscaping grasses and flowers for her and dad to relax and enjoy. Luckily, I can help provide them with fresh vegetables and fruits during the growing season when I visit.
Cooking from Scratch
In the world of convenience and fast food, where did cooking go? If I asked you if you could cook from scratch, would you raise your hand?
I admit, when I went to college, I ate a lot of convenience food. Not because I didn’t have the time to cook, but because it’s what college kids did.
Since returning to the farm, I’m back to cooking from scratch again. Using farm fresh ingredients I grew here on the land the way my mother taught me.
And using many of her recipes, too. I’m thankful I can call her up sometimes if I need help with a recipe to make it just like she always did.
This is a skill I never had patience for. It is one I wish I would have paid more attention to when mom tried to teach me.
I can’t necessarily construct a complete quilt, but I can work the basics. I can patch or hem a pair of jeans. Which is more than I could say for most women.
Mom was patient to teach me that much!
Future goal: I would like to be able to learn more with this skill. Right along side my daughters.
Save & Reuse
I also want to teach my daughters to save and reuse items. This skill has saved us money in our efforts to become more self-sufficient.
Knowing how to save money and reuse items has helped us to reach our own goals and get what we want.
My mom taught me that I could have anything I wanted if I had the resources to be able to get it. I learned to save money to get what I wanted.
It takes a lot of discipline to be able to save. It can also turn into organized chaos if you aren’t careful.
But, it’s easy to confuse “saving” as building clutter or hoarding. Mom taught me to prioritize what I saved. Make sure there’s a plan for it.
You could reuse old magazines or buttons for craft projects for the kids. Or those old wooden spoons would make awesome garden markers! Think outside the box with this one.
Organize reusable items into labeled totes or containers. Every few years, go through these items. Sell what you don’t need for some extra money. It’s a win-win!
Be sure your old things has a possible purpose before you keep them around.
The Purpose for Livestock
My favorite self-sufficiency skill by far is caring for livestock. I received my very first calf and bottle lambs at an early age. The first skill I learned was caring for these animals as they were my own.
As I became older, I learned that animals have a bigger purpose once they reach the stage of their life. Feeding us a delicious and healthy protein to nourish us.
I did learn this the hard way. But, my mom taught me that we all have a purpose in life. When we full fill that purpose, our time on Earth is over.
Livestock’s purpose is to feed us. I now fully understand this purpose. And I will remain a carnivore for many years to come.
I can raise and feed chickens, goats, calves, pigs and lambs to harvest. We harvest the chickens ourselves, but send the other animals to our local locker plant.
Future Self-Sufficiency skill to learn: I want to learn to harvest my own larger animals here on the farm.
The Broken Chain
I learned 5 self-sufficiency skills from my mother, who learned them from her mother. This is a chain that used to be very common among mothers and daughters.
Unfortunately, that chain has been broken in our society. Daughters don’t seem to be learning self-sufficiency skills from their mothers anymore.
Somewhere down the chain, my mother’s and my generations have lost sight of needing to learn and pass down self-sufficiency skills.
I want to take the time to thank my mom for continuing the chain. Thanks for teaching me to provide for my family, mom!
~ Much Love ~