Hey, All! We’re greeting October in about 12 hours and I can’t believe that Fall is here. I know this is the case because everything is officially flavored in Pumpkin Spice style. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite season because in the Summer months we tend to be busy, then revive and cozy in before Winter. That being said, there is a ton to do in the ol’ personal life and this made me think of today’s memo and blog topic: holistic living.
One thing I haven’t talked about here at FSW yet is how we’ve been developing our self-sufficiency. I’m not talking about prepping per se – though, hello, COVID – but building areas in our life where I can use my intuition and develop levels of wisdom which makes life better for our family or for others. And I’ll tell you, a pandemic really makes you think about what is possible and getting creative.
I wouldn’t call us experienced “farmers” right now. Shoot, I still get excited when the critters are even alive, People. Each morning you hear their chatting and go, “Victory! They’re still kicking!” To date, we have five hens, two ducks, a goose, and a sheep. Each animal has its purpose: the hens provide eggs, the ducks forage, the goose keeps them all generally protected, and the sheep is introducing us to the possibility of future fiber farming. To be fair, Engineer was a little hesitant about obtaining livestock; their thinking never went beyond housepets until yours truly showed up. Even yesterday, they commented on how loud our new lamb is… I can actually hear the Fuzz Ball now as I type. Thank goodness the neighbors aren’t that close.
In a picturesque way, I’ve always wanted a cottage, garden, critters, and a view of the sunset. In very practical terms, after graduating with an M.S.W. during the recession of the 2000s, without a job lined up, one can see the bonus to growing food to fill the belly. Over the years, I was committed to growing food in containers, then in a community garden, and later on my own property. No doubt, our crops and animals have blessed us with lessons on how to stay curious, present, or generous. They’ve also provided experiences with general mutinies, shelter considerations, and better fence building.
What’s crazy is that this COVID situation has made many of us rethink how we depend on infrastructures, other people, our own abilities, and the learning opportunities we have to grow. To boil that down, being self-sufficient has many looks and definitions: cooking your own food, living off-grid, being debt-free, homeschooling, sewing, learning a different language or skillset, etc. I heard once from an individual that they thought real farming was “Big Ag” style and what I was doing was “hobby farming…”
Let’s unpack labeling and chat about growth mindset:
- Others’ labeling aside, farming, or working with plants and animals is whatever you make of it. Hell, I give a person credit if they’re trying to keep mint going on their windowsill if this is all they want to focus on. They’re trying to do something for themselves or their home. Bravo.
- The label of “hobby” can feel diminishing or not as worthy, depending upon what the intentions are. Don’t worry about “how good” your initial skillset is: you’re on a journey to learn about what works, what doesn’t, and this is useful information to gather.
- Having a growth mindset allows any of us to develop skills and put our energy where it counts. This Psychology Today article describes it from one vantage point, but consider for a second the value of opening your mind and heart to new, sustainable experiences regardless of what the outcome may be.
The takeaway: With COVID, people started to grow their own food, changed careers, or altered their lives in small to large ways. Even though we’ve seen or heard messages that activities can only be done one way, or we fail, there is room in life for flexibility. Yes, there are obstacles and parameters sometimes, but utilizing a growth mindset and creating a holistic, balanced life, can be very rewarding. And sometimes we need each other, but sometimes we’re ready to come out of our cacoon by living from what we already know or are able to learn.
Friends, forget what others say for a moment: put aside the doubters and the rigid thinkers. Have you had a “gut feeling” lately that’s telling you how to become more self-sufficient? What would be meaningful for you? What would add to your life?
Leave a comment below or if you want to process this via email contact me here. Whether you want to grow some supplemental food, learn how to cook, figure out how to patch a shirt… you can develop skills, and walk on a journey of literal (and figurative) growth right now. Let’s just start somewhere and know that I’m here with you!