Greetings, fellow citizens of Earth, and congratulations on surviving the recently forecasted apocalypse. It's wonderful to be here, and now that the world hasn't ended we can all breathe a sigh of relief and move forwards. While the doomsday predictions proved inaccurate this time, we can take them as a wake-up call and realize that the time to live our best life is now. For me, that means turning my back on the Rat Race, a way of life that was exhausting for me, and for our planet's resources as well.
Each item we buy as consumers represents a dollar value that as soon as it leaves our hands, embarks on a long, uphill journey to those at the top of the food chain. Take that coffee and sandwich you buy for lunch while at work. You hand over your meal's total, in this case, ten dollars. Imagine that sum as a burlap money bag with ten loonies inside it. Has kind of a nice weight to it, doesn't it, those ten shiny coins sliding around in that sack? Kind of too bad you had to part with it: in comparison, doesn't your paper bag of starchy bread and foamy processed chicken seem like the far less desireable thing to have?
Yet because you have purchased it, that small bundle of cash has begun it's ascent up the escalator. Now I don't know who's up there, waiting to collect it, but whoever they are, the chain of events they've set in motion in order to position themselves at the recieving end of the money bags all of us down here send up to them involves some pretty damaging procedures: the carbon-emitting transport trucks that bring goods from supply plants, for example, and the chemical processes that convert raw materials into cups in the first place. Now I know that those processes provide people with jobs, and I used to be one of them. It's not for me to say whether the system is right or wrong, I'm just doing whatever I can to get out of it. Our whole way of life is built on the principle that anything goes as long as there's money to be made, but that isn't sustainable. It's a race to the end of the resources, and nobody's really talking about what happens when we get there.
If you are, like me, concerned about these things, I strongly encourage you to become as self sufficient as possible. I'm talking about financial self-sufficiency, as you will see below, but I am also talking about taking active steps to produce your own food to reverse some of the upward flow of money. In the event of a devastating recession or natural disaster that interrupts our food supply, wouldn't it be nice to have a nice little cushion of self-sufficiency to fall back on? Follow me over the next 52 weeks as I update you weekly on how successful my attempts at self- sufficiency become in the following categories:
The Vegetable Patch:
In this section, I will update you with photos and progress reports of food bearing or perrennial plants, a variety of which I am starting from seed in the first few weeks of the year. I hope to chart the success of the different varieties and different growing spots inside my house. Because electricity is a commodity and using it to aid in growing would send some of my money back up the escalator, I am only using the natural light that exists . To grow the seeds, I will be re-purposing yoghurt containers which I have been washing and saving over the past few months. This project begins with my strawberry seeds. In the spring of 2012, for $1.27, I purchased a small strawberry plant from a local nursery. The variety was 'everbearing,' and I took it home and stuck it in a pot on my deck in direct sunlight. I watered it a little, and to my surprise, it produced delicious and tasty strawberries from July until November. I was quite impressed by the yield of this one little plant. Every few days I would get a handful of berries from it. I wish I had weighed each yield, because I'm sure that a tally would have showed that I harvested at least two pounds of berries. At the end of the summer, I took the plant out of the pot and split it into two, which I then planted directly in my garden.
I also kept the last ripe strawberry. I let it dry in a saucer on the windowsill, then I broke it apart and put it in a container in the freezer. On Jan. 1, 2013, I took it out and scraped the seeds off onto a wet paper towel.
Sandwiches All the Way:
To give people a little background, my family is able to get by (barely) on what my husband's job brings in. Now that I have given up my 'day job,' I only bring in what I earn as a freelance writer. I don't have a regular income any longer, but I do have the luxury (now) of devoting much of my own time to becoming self sufficient. In other words, I'll be managing my own time, and I plan to use it to save as much money as I can. In 2012, when my husband and I were both working full time, he bought his lunch every day, five times a week. These amounts varied from around $6 to around $20 depending on where he ate. Since I have time now to see to these things, this year I will be sending his lunch with him to work. Thanks to the wonders of internet banking, I can go back and track how much he spent in the corresponding week of 2012, then tally up the total cost of the lunches I send with him in 2013. I should arrive at a weekly total, which I plan to track in this section. I have other money-saving projects in mind, which I plan to implement over the year, and when the savings from those things come in I will record those totals as well so that by the end of the year I will have a lump sum amount of the total money I have funneled back down into my family's pockets. In other words, it will be the amount of money I've taken off the up escalator of the capitalist system.
So. In his first week back to work in Jan. 2012, my husband spent $24.77 on restaurant lunches, and he only worked three days. This year, he's only working two days this week, so stay tuned next week for the total dollar value we've saved by my sending his lunches from home.