Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chris's Questions: My Answers

Another blog I follow pointed to yet another great blog that had the following questions on it. I really enjoyed reading the answers other people gave so I thought I'd take a run at them too! Hope you enjoy my answers as much as I've enjoyed others.

If you want to get them for yourself, the One Acre Homestead in Ohio is the original author and has the original versions easy to copy and paste. Let me know if you do so I can read yours! Hey, I'm nosy. ;)

Basic Questions About You
1-What is the biggest goal of your lifestyle?
Improving self-sufficiency and independence, being sustainable in a real way (not the faddish TV way), having clean and healthy food that actually tastes better, being less of a consumer and more of a creator.

2-When did you start this lifestyle?
It grew on me. Since I'm still near the urban center/edge of the suburbs, I'm very limited by local ordnance what I'm allowed to do. I've been increasing my capabilities over the past 2 years conciously and drifting that way for years.

3-What was your main motivation?
If you had to boil it down to one single motivation, I would have to say fear. That is a bit embarrassing, but true. Food contamination, lack of control over prices and availability, utter dependence on our consumer system really sort of freaked me out.

4-Did you have any previous experience in anything you're doing now?
I come from a long line of farmers, but really nothing that I did myself. I never graduated from the "little helper" stage in my Great-Grandma Elma's or my Grandmommy's garden. Even as a teen I was still being directed due to lack of interest. Canning and preserving and hunting and fishing and the cleaning of catches were done under duress. I wish, oh how I wish, I would have been more pro-active. They told me I would regret it....

5-Does your spouse/signifiacant other (if you have one) share the same ideas?
Alas, no spouse ::sigh:: but my family is sort of half and half on it. One sister shares my "green" ideas and also gardens and the like for health but no one else. I really think they think I'm a bit of a nut job.

6-Do your friends and family understand and support these choices? What about your kids?
My best friend is very supportive even though she doesn't share my passion for it. Some family support in the form of not making actual fun at me, most of the time, but no one to really share the journey with or enjoy the accomplishments. The kiddles, my sister's, really have no interest save the youngest who thinks the wonderful rich compost/dirt mix smells and feels nice to play in. (I agree.) She also likes to see things grow. I have hope for her!

7-How happy are you with your achievements so far?
Pretty happy. I wish I could do more. I'm always reaching for the next thing to do or learn. Really can't wait to move into the country!

8-Are you more of a gardener, homesteader, prepper, health concience, "green"' or a combination of several?
I would say all of the above since they all sort of lean on each other or come from or go to another. Being a gardener gives an urban homestead capability that allows prepper-like food independence that is more healthy and certainly more green!

9-Has this change of lifestyle affected your personality?
I'm not objective enough to judge my own personality changes. I'm me every day. BUT, I do think it has changed my views enough so that it must show in my personality. Every single day I get at least one moment of max happiness and that is good for your sunny side. It also means I see more of the "lack" in the world in independence, responsibility and just plain common sense. That, I think, has made me a bit less sympathetic and I'm sure that shows in my personality at times. I'm also less daunted by new things or skills because I have learned new things I never thought I could do. Now, I'm more of a grab a bull by the horns sort of person. (No actual bulls will be grabbed this way!)

10-Has it changed your view of your life before?
Pretty much as in Question 9.

11-What about how you view others that don't understand it or naysay?
Sometimes I feel like I should try to change their minds, mostly if I care for them. Other times I feel like such total idiots should not be reproducing. It varies. Many times, I just feel sorry for their kids, growing up to be just one in the zombie horde, dissolving their brains with TV and junk food.

12-If you could convince someone to live the way you do in ONE sentance, what would you say?
If you've ever actually seen what e-coli or salmonella can do to a kid, you might want to start a bit of a garden.

Other Questions-
1-How large is your vegetable garden?
I do Square Foot Gardening with some side beds and herb gardens. I couldn't really give a square footage since I am opportunistic in where I put plants. They are everywhere! And I use dozens of giant to medium sized containers too. Just look at my 2009 garden plan for the plant listing to get an idea, I guess.

2-Do you grow any fruits, and what and how many?
Some blueberries from a couple of bushes and strawberries. I have apple and olive trees but the apples won't produce for a couple more years. Ditto with my newest fruit dwarf trees that I keep in containers.

3-Do you have any animals and what are they? (other than pets)
Nope. City laws allow NO chickens or poultry and no other animals not "commonly" considered pets. Pshaw! I'm working on it!

4-Do you can/dehydrate/freeze/store your own produce?
Yes, Yes, NO and Yes. I don't do very much freezing of excess produce because it is energy dependent. In a major emergency or hurricane, I couldn't keep it frozen. I can or dehydrate or just plain store (root veggies, etc) almost everything.

5-Do you work with mainly power tools or hand tools in your gardens and others? (wood cutting, splitting, tiller vs. broadfork etc...)
Because my home borders the wetlands, I can't do anything with power back there. It completely sucks. You ever tried taking down a 30 foot high wall of invasive japanese honeysuckle, poison ivy and multiflora rose with a pair of hand clippers? Yeah...great....

6-Do you compost?
Yes, but I'm a miserable failure at it to this point. It just won't break down! I'm keeping on trying though. I'm gonna get one of those fancy spinner ones this year.

7-Do you recycle?
Absolutely! However, I never take the labels off the cans because I'm lazy and I don't like touching slimey cat food. (Before anyone says anything, my cat has IBD and has to have a special pre-digested food. I've have him 14 years (as of the 15th of February) and love him so I give it to him.)

8-Do you consider yourself energy consience? (conserving to save $)
To some extent. I've really tried by unplugging things when they aren't needed and replacing all the non-critical lightbulbs with CFLs. Places like the kitchen and bathrooms though, I just can't stand that yellowish light so they have regular bulbs. I have been doing really well keeping the thermostat much lower this winter than in previous years and simply not wearing shorts 365 days a year.

9-Do you make any of your own household cleaners?
I've recently begun doing that again. I used to years ago because I was so poor when I first went out on my own. So far, I'm limited to vinegar for window cleaner (it really does work better than Windex!).

10-Do you make your own bread?
Yes, 100% of it for the last several months. For Christmas my best friend and her dad got me the ultimate in bread machines, the Cuisinart stainless steel rolls royce of bread machines, so that I could do it even when I was simply too busy with gardening after working all day. I gotta say, it really does free me up to do a lot of other things and uses a LOT less energy than firing up the big oven.

11- If in an emergency situation, are you able to not leave home for a week? How about a month? A year??
Yes for a week or a month. No for a year however that is the goal. I think at 3 months I'd be hurting. And milk...I'd probably be sweating bullets for a glass of cold fresh milk by the end of the first week. I would have to have power though to do it at this for anything longer than a week if in winter or full summer.

12-Are you tired of answering questions yet?
Nah..this is fun.

13-If you prep, what do you consider to be your most useful tool/items
Hmm....Propane grill/stove probably, because I can do so much with it from cooking to canning to baking to sterilizing water in a pinch. You'd be amazed what you can do with a good one!

14-Are you able to heat your home without gas or fuel oil?
No, since I live near the wetlands and in a pretty protected area, I'm restricted in what I can do. I built the house to be super energy efficient, meaning all electric also. I've got propane based support to a limited extent.

15-Are you able to cook without gas or electricity?
I can for so long as my propane bottles hold out. I can also use my solar oven for some things if there is sun. If no one is checking, I can also build one heck of a campfire!

16-Again, if in an emercency situation, could you live in the wild or out of a tent? ( camping,hunt/fish, cook,etc.)
That depends. Not here because there isn't enough wildlife to eat nearby without a vehicle to get to them. I could fish in my river, but I'd have to be pretty darn hungry to eat out of it since it runs all through the suburbs and urban environment. I am a pretty good camper in general though.

17-Have you ever practiced your prep skills? (turning off main power for a day or 2) How did you do? (this can include a power outage due to weather as a test)
I have had to practice it when a water main broke for a couple of days and once when the power went off for about 24 hours. Other than that, I've really limited my practice to individual things. For example, trying to figure out how to clean clothes if I had no power or having no power to cook, etc. Given my heavy work schedule I really do have to work around "modern life" at this point.

18-Do you have the knowledge & skills (plus tools) to hunt and fish for food?
Limited at this time. I do have some skills, but I really need to find someone this year who will take me hunting since the last time I did it I was a child. I'm a crack shot (I've got the chest candy to show it) and have some skills with human powered projectile weapons as well.

19-If you don't prep, why not?
NA. I do prep.

20-Do you or can you sew your own clothes and make your own bedding?
Yes! I love to sew and can sew everything from a full authentic Elizabethan gown to modern pajamas and make my own patterns too. I wish I had more time to do it at the moment. I can crochet but what I don't know how to do is knit. That is one of the skills I've got on my list for this year.

21-Can you field dress a deer, drink a coffee, smoke a cigarette, make a cell phone call, light a fire, AND answer all of my annoying questions at the same time? lol thanks for playing!
Ahhh...no! Wish I could do all that and whistle a tune at the same time.

12 comments:

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Interesting list! I enjoyed reading your answers.

Aimee said...

Very cool. I really enjoy seeing what everybody is doing. We all have similar goals (live lightly, be prepared) but concentrate on different aspects according to taste and interest. I sure wish I could sew!

Holly said...

Ok Sister, here are my answers to your questions. Love you lots and for the record; I make fun of you for your flaring nostrils, NOT your gardening ideas! Lol!


Basic Questions About You
1-What is the biggest goal of your lifestyle?
I would say my biggest goal is to simply provide more for myself and teach my girls how to do it too. I don't really have a bigger goal than that. I try to live by the standard "you should give more than you take". That's a hard one so I just do the best I can.

2-When did you start this lifestyle?
Actually I think the idea's were there all along. Remember my tomato and pepper plants in the back of the Dove Run house Christy? I taught myself to sew (I made barbie clothes out of old sheets) and also taught myself to crochet and knit. I always wanted to be "Laura Ingalls" when I grew up so the mind-set was always there.

3-What was your main motivation?
Like I said before, no real motivating factor. It is just in me. Some people are driven to jog or clip coupons. Me? I try to do things like the pioneers did it.

4-Did you have any previous experience in anything you're doing now?
Christy had most of the time with Grandmommy and Grandma Elma, I was raised a "city girl" in an apartment. There was a park behind the apartment building and I used to catch fish out of the pond with my brother and bring it home so Mom could cook it. That didn't work out well and she never failed to scream and tell us to get it out of the house immediately! Lol!I also remember planting my apple cores to see if a tree would grow. I also dug up wild onions in the park for Mom. (It was the only thing I recognized in the wild). She didn't scream with these and actually told me she cooked them in our dinner. I think she actually threw them away though for fear they were poisonous. Then at the age of 9, I was matched with Carrie through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and her family lived on a farm in a small town near by. They took me in and made me a country girl. I lapped it up like a cat with a saucer of cream. After that it was all trial and error.

5-Does your spouse/signifiacant other (if you have one) share the same ideas?
Absolutely! He wouldn't have wanted to marry me otherwise. In all honesty, when I moved in with him I had more plants than furniture. Lol. He knew what he was getting into!

6-Do your friends and family understand and support these choices? What about your kids?
Like I mentioned before, I'm just me and so they expect the choices I make. I have ALWAYS had these ideas. They are just more popular now.

7-How happy are you with your achievements so far?
I think you have to be a hopeless optimist to have sustainable ideas. Everytime you take on a new challange or put a plant in the ground, you are in essence putting your faith in something in which the outcome is unknown. And even when it fails, we still go out and try again and again and again. If that isn't optimism I don't know what it! So to answer the question is yes, I am happy. Every step I take is a step in the right direction. And every time I try (and success or failure is irrelevant) I learn something I didn't know before. Who wouldn't be happy about that?

8-Are you more of a gardener, homesteader, prepper, health concience, "green"' or a combination of several?
I have no idea what I am! Lol! I have been all about recycle and reuse since childhood. (remember when Aaron and I would go dumpster diving and have those "garage sales" in the park with all the stuff we pulled out of the trash?) Like I said before, it isn't something my family did or even had much of an opinion about, I just did it. A lot of those terms have only come around in the last decade. Before that the terms used to describe me were "tree hugger", "hippy", and "eccentric". That's cool though. I guess I still think of myself in those terms anyway. Lol!

9-Has this change of lifestyle affected your personality?
See all above answers so I can quit sounding like a damn echo! Lol!

10-Has it changed your view of your life before?
Yup you guessed it: What change?

11-What about how you view others that don't understand it or naysay?
I have never met a true naysayer. I have heard people make excuses like "I have no time or energy for that kind of thing" or "I kill every plant I touch", but no one acts negatively towards me. Most people admire my efforts.

12-If you could convince someone to live the way you do in ONE sentance, what would you say?
Do what you can, when you can, in which ever way you can.

Other Questions-
1-How large is your vegetable garden?
You mean square feet? Guessing I would say like 4 feet by 8 feet maybe. I am putting in a secong raised bed this summer and then I have other spots that hold herbs and then there are the fruit trees.
2-Do you grow any fruits, and what and how many?
I have an orange tree and a grapefruit tree. We planted a Mango tree last year but I am scared it was damaged beyond repair in the crazy frost we had last month. It is a wait and see game at this point.

3-Do you have any animals and what are they? (other than pets)
No. I would love to have chickens and a pygmy goat but they are considered "farm animals" and not allowed. I am hoping I will figure a way around the law at some point, but until then....

4-Do you can/dehydrate/freeze/store your own produce?
I can (very badly) and freeze (very well). Another thing I am teaching myself to do so I am not too worried about my failures. I'm still learning. Christy gives me good advice though! :)

5-Do you work with mainly power tools or hand tools in your gardens and others? (wood cutting, splitting, tiller vs. broadfork etc...)
Me? Power tools? Really? You obviously have never met me. I still have all my fingers and toes and would like to keep them so the answer is definitely - all hand tools.
6-Do you compost?
Absolutely! I LOVE compost. I love the smell and feel of it. It is the one thing I think I would do even if I didn't garden anymore. I would just compost for the sake of composting!

7-Do you recycle?
once again Absolutely!!! As a child I would get cans out of the trash and recycle them for candy money, then I recycled as a young women out on her own. (Mostly beer cans and wine bottles. LOL!) Then I moved into a house and had the luxury of the city picking the recycling up at the curb. Now I am back to bins on the back porch we have to lug to the recycling center again. I couldn't throw a plastic bottle or alluminum can away if I tried.

8-Do you consider yourself energy consience? (conserving to save $)
Of course. Years ago we did it because we were poor, now my husband is just plain cheap but pulls the "environment" card when I complain it is too hot or too cold in the house. Lol. He knows how to get me!

9-Do you make any of your own household cleaners?
Some yes, some no. I use vinegar and baking soda alot. My oldest daughter hates it though because she thinks vinegar stinks. I'm not anal about it though.

10-Do you make your own bread?
No. My bread sucks.

11- If in an emergency situation, are you able to not leave home for a week? How about a month? A year??
We had to live without it for 3 weeks when the hurricanes rocked Florida. And we also went without electricity for 1 week in the winter in Kansas City after a particularly bad ice storm. We did fine. We really didn't have much trouble. You do what you have to when you have to do it. In fact I could go so far as to say we had fun, it was like camping. We didn't have to go to work and played alot of games, barbecued for all our meals, had fires at night and told stories. We napped during the hottest/coldest part of the days and spent a lot of family time.

12-Are you tired of answering questions yet?
Not yet. :)

13-If you prep, what do you consider to be your most useful tool/items
What does Prep mean? I guess that means I don't do it... whatever IT is.
14-Are you able to heat your home without gas or fuel oil?
We live in Florida, therefore my husband believes we don't need to use our heater. We have not turned it on in the 6 years we have lived here. Not even once! It does get cold in central FLorida, and Aj's reply is "put on a sweatshirt and grab a blanket". In his defense, the cold never lasts long and we have never really been uncomfortable. It just sounds crazy. But that's why I love him! :)

15-Are you able to cook without gas or electricity?
Of course! We do it all the time!

16-Again, if in an emercency situation, could you live in the wild or out of a tent? ( camping,hunt/fish, cook,etc.)
That is what we do for vacation. Lol! We don't hunt but love to fish and our favorite thing to do is visit the local farmer's markets and eat the local foods. They just tastes better.
17-Have you ever practiced your prep skills? (turning off main power for a day or 2) How did you do? (this can include a power outage due to weather as a test)
Never on purpose.

18-Do you have the knowledge & skills (plus tools) to hunt and fish for food?
Nope. Never been hunting and don't even know how to fire a gun. I guess I would have to be a vegetarian if I were put in that situation.

19-If you don't prep, why not?
NA. I still don't know what that means.

20-Do you or can you sew your own clothes and make your own bedding?
Yes. I also love to sew but not nearly as good as Christy. She is amazing with a sewing machine!

21-Can you field dress a deer, drink a coffee, smoke a cigarette, make a cell phone call, light a fire, AND answer all of my annoying questions at the same time?
Lol. I only wish!

ChristyACB said...

OMG Holly! You actually answered all of those on the comments block! Bravo!

And thanks for your sweet words, sis! :)

I sure hope you are going to put those answers up on your own blog.

Kristina said...

Christy-- great post. As far as #3 goes, I'm right there with ya. It's hard to admit, isn't it, that the technological advances so eagerly embraced by many in our society have folks like us running for the hills. Literally! For my own part, I prefer to think of my motivation as resistance to alienation from the land, rather than fear. But boiled down, fear's at the heart of it.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I too love reading other people's answers. I think fear is also motivating me a lot right now - I hadn't really considered it until I read what you put. I really like the line you said you liked "being less of a consumer and more of a creator." That's awesome. If you want to get your compost really going, find somebody with a rabbit, guinea pig or hamster/gerbil type pet. Get some of their poo. It will speed up your compost so that it cooks fast! And, then you won't need a fancy roller one.

Angie said...

This is a great post, it really makes you stop and think about what you are doing and not doing!

fullfreezer said...

Great answers. I hear you on #4. I learned a lot as a child by having to help. I just wish I had paid more attention and/or come to this decision sooner. What a lot of years and opportunities wasted.
Judy

Peggy said...

loved getting to know you better through your list!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

#12- ewwwwww!

I love your #9 answers. :)

Hey. Thanks for stopping by my blog with all your kind encouraging words. You cheered me up a little bit.

Take Care,
Lisa

littlefish said...

christy, caught your comment on BCBG over @ zero hedge -- nice to see some other greenminds also enjoying the ensuing carnage.

re: compost -- have you tried throwing woodash in there? how about strips of newspaper? also consider throwing some soil in.

think of making compost like lasagna -- layer of this, layer of that, layer of something else.

also make sure it's getting enough oxygen.

i've got one up here in brooklyn just using an garbage pail with holes drilled in the side and it's working extremely well.

try that before you buy the spinner, so as not to fall in the consumerist trap unless you absolutely need it.

time to starve the beasts so that it all can decompose and something else can grow in its place, yes?

best ~~><,'>~~~

ga.farmwoman said...

What a great post!
I enjoyed reading your answers and the questions.
It does make you think, or it did me.
You are doing a great job on all of it.
Keep up the good work.
Pam