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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:28 PM
Original message
How Self-Sufficient Are You?
Energy: Are you "off the grid"? Use biodesiel, or "pedal power" to get around? What do you do to conserve?

Healthcare: Do you practice preventative health care? Use natural remedies? Eat right & exercise?

Food: Do you grow/raise your own food, or buy from local growers?

Construction: Are you a green builder? Are you handy? Do you fix things most people would just throw away?

Consumption: Do you buy things you don't need? Do you recycle? Buy used? Shop at Wal-Mart?

I'm asking because I'm thinking of all the things people can do to relese themselves of corporate and government dependency. I feel like we're all just spinning our wheels looking for political solutions, and the best thing to do is just say "screw it" I'm going to "be the change I want to see in the world."

Soon I'm moving to a house with a yard. This Summer I hope to have fresh tomatoes & peppers for the neighborhood. It's not much, but I'm beginning to think that it may be little things like that which will bring change quicker than this grand hero or revolution everybody's waiting for.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. Lets see.... $50k of solar panels and infrastructure
$200k + existing equity to buy a new house with enough roof area

$100k for acreage & machinery

Big trust fund so the wife & I can farm instead of work.....
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Again, my question: How SELF-sufficient are you?
It's not about throwing money & technology at the problem. it's about creativity, ingenuity and learning new skills.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
15. It's easy to be self-sufficient of you're independently wealthy
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. Thoreau wasn't.
I'm certainly not. But nobody's suggesting to go whole hog on this. Maybe a better question would be: "To what degree are you self-sufficient?"
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
16. I'm not all that self sufficient
now
But I know alot of skills like preserving food,making soap from grease ,making my own candles,fitrring pottery in a firepit,tanning skins,sewing my own clothes,casting metal,making shoes(I even got a treadle machine) hunting(out of practice badly tho and my eyesight has gotten worse),herbal medicine,plant identification for herbal medicine,identifying wild plants to eat in my area,basic first aid,flintknapping/arrow making,
weaving (wicker,beads and cloth),
basic woodwork,basic shanty shelter making,and I walk.
I know "weather" by observation.
My folks in appalachia taught me how to do a root cellar,how to raise animals.My father who was Indian taught me alot too.

I'm useful but not all that self suffcient now.

If the shit hits the fan I know I'm probably toast..and frankly I don't give a shit anymore about it, I can't control what other people do,or don't do.I can do my best to persuade and help,but beyond that what happens happens regardless of what I think want or hope... I am no self generating self made god in control of my reality or anyone else's. I am in a world where I have little control over this shit so I roll with it,I got no other choice,beyond how I cope.

So I'm either getting the hell out when the resuers from the stars come to get people who aren't scared of the unknown and know to go, or I die in the coming melee and cosmic catastrophy.I'll take it as it comes and do what I can do,and help whom I help and fuck it all otherwise. I don't love my life here enough to put up with too much misery and chaos past a certain point. Death is not a fear for me.EZ come EZ go. Nothing is worth living through torture for. My brain has already been fried by trauma and authoritarians already..don't care to go there again.Death is a choice and if things get too crazy I'll just off myself rather go to some prison camp to be tortured by ignorant fuckheads again..But I will get a dig in first and I'll take a few fascist bootboys with me it's the least I can do.

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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. nice post
can you create a thread that discusses root cellars? What are they? :kick:
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. An underground refrigerator basically
My aunt lucy had one.
You dig a big hole in a hill about 8 or 10 feet down,and make steps..to get to it
you build a sod roof over it and a door over the steps and you put shelves all around the walls and in winter you pack the center of the room with ice.It stays cold all year.
http://waltonfeed.com/old/cellar4.html
http://www.tribwatch.com/rootcell.htm
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #23
28. Got a thread in GD going
With the same links and a new link to plans ect.
Enjoy./.The more you know...
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. thanks!
now...make bush come clean about his war! :)
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Coexist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. 2, 3, 4 and 5
Edited on Sat Mar-04-06 01:36 PM by FLDem5
to some extent.

1 - not at all. (on edit - I allow myself one tank per week only - and have requested this http://www.terrapass.com/index.mmc5B.html?utm_source=ko...
for Mother's Day this year - does that count?)

2 - yes, a lot - I am a vegetarian, and although my family is not - they eat a lot of meatless meals because that is what I prepare. I like to prepare fresh (thanks, Martha!) I exercise - my kids are REQUIRED to participate in one sport (of their choice). In Florida, we also have outdoor recess every day, thankfully.

3 - I have a small garden and an herb garden - but I live in Florida where you can do that easily. Not enough, though.


4 - DH is in construction and fixes EVERYTHING!!!! Sometimes to my frustration.

5 - NO Wal-Mart -but I do shop at Target. No Sam's for me either. We have a small community recycling program which I use. Not enough though.

I do a little, but I could do a lot more.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Just how long will those tomatos and peppers last you? One week?
Edited on Sat Mar-04-06 01:35 PM by HypnoToad
Or is it a big yard that you can spend the entire day tending to, like back in the 1800s when our economy was farming-based?
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Back to
Eden



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0940985101/102-4128576...

ehtro Kloss was a true healer and crusader for nutrition, personal rights, freedoms, and herbalism. This huge book was his lifes work and deserves to be celebrated for what it is: a lifetimes gathering of intense study and dedication to the good of man.

He discusses everything he can think of here. While some of his viewpoints and procedures are now frowned upon - and a few of the herbal remedies taken to the degree he suggests now believed to be dangerous - the large bulk of his remedies and procedures is still regarded as safe and, in some circles, preferable to things available in modern medicine and society.

Everything from his personal life and influences, to farming techniques, crops, growing fruits and vegetables, an extensive listing of fruits, veggies, minerals, vitamins, the history of herbal medicine, herbs, their uses, the body system, the health benefits of water, fish, fresh air, exercise, sleep patterns, oatmeal, fiber, breads, salts, milk, etc is included here.

He even gives his favorite baking recipes, natural ways to make breads, cakes, soups and more, as well as hints on preserving vitamins, cooking utensils to avoid and use, not to mention desserts and beverages.

One really fascinating thing about this book is the large section devoted to water and hydrotherapy. Here we get a rundown of the history of the water cure, various ways to use water to treat - from saunas to foreign bath treatments - temperatures to use when a person is ill to fit their condition, and much much more. Excellent!

This massive bible of sorts ends with various enemas and their purposes, charcoal, guides for people wanting to be a nurse, and different massage techniques!

Sure, a little of it is outdated but most of it stands true today and shall forever. The man is to respected, and his remedies and treatments are invaluable.

Many of his formula is similar or almost identical to the great Dr. John R Christophers, another pioneer of herbal medicine, the modern Dr. Schulz who has a following of his own, and several other herbalists, naturopaths, massage therapists, hydrotherapists, and nutritionists.

And, even more incredibly, it's under 10 bucks to own - amazing considering its offering.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. OOh thanks!
Since we are still waiting to get that house built on the farm I have been thinking about some of these things. I need to learn more than I know. We will have a big garden once we are there and I know how to can but this book looks very useful.
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OhioBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. If you can them, they can last all year
of course - it would be more in the form of tomato juice, sauce, spaghetti sauce and pickled peppers...

We have plenty of pickled peppers but ran out of the tomato juice...
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Coexist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. I make freezer jam -strawberries are right cheap now.
and soooo good.

We also pick blackberries in season and make jam, but nothing that would really count towards self-sufficiency.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. I suppose I could can 'em in one weekend.
but then I probably wouldn't have enough to share with the neighborhood.

Even a raised bed garden will produce a decent amount of food.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. You could also make it
a neighborhood co-op garden if you do not mind sharing your yard.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I'm thinking that sharing is the key here...
nobody can be completely self-sufficient, as illusrated by the $50K solar panels, but a small community can come close - with each member filling in a piece of the puzzle.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Just posted #21
It is the only way to do it as far as I am concerned. As much as some people dislike the idea, a small community can be everything one really needs to live and live well.

My venture into farming and ranching has proved this to me over and over again. There is nothing that can't be done by someone close by and there is nothing that they will not do to help you. You just have to respond in kind. It is a lovely kind of welfare, one reason I think that big city people do not understand why country people often don't like welfare programs. They don't understand it at all, they don't need it. Education on both sides could easily clear this problem up but nobody really wants to do it.

It is a lovely way to do things.
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OhioBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'm not very...
I did wake up to the evils of Wal Mart a few years ago and refuse to shop there and try to instead by quality things from locally owned retailers. I also try to get furniture at yard sales.

I am amazed that I never woke up to it before - I have a particle board POS TV stand that I paid $50 for at Wal Mart. Compare that to a beautiful, wooden, buffet that I got at a yard sale for $40... What the hell was I thinking???

We do raise some things in a garden and trade canned goods with friends and family, we also recycle.
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. Those were reason I bought a small farm,
However, growing food for a family is not as easy as I thought it would be. This year and last year the efforts have increased to find a solution. I became a Master Gardener and learned a lot. Also, looking at food that are easily grown rather than foods I've eaten all my life but are hard to grow.

I can heat my house myselft. Have lots of trees and a fireplace.Use to be handy. Got too old.
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
10. I've been trying, as a matter of survival.
Energy: I work at home, husband walks to work, so we drive infrequently. Heat with wood.

Healthcare: Recently discovered that running is more effective in combatting mild/moderate depression than medication. And better side effects...

Food: Large garden. Still have to buy a buttload of groceries. :-(

Consumption: I make a lot of stuff and get a lot of stuff used. My biggest Target-type expense is the endless socks and underwear and sneakers my kids go through.

Wish I could do more. Maybe we'll move to the sticks and become homesteaders...
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
12. Not.
I can't even bathe or feed myself.

OK, so that's not true, but if push came to shove, I COULD survive. And that's the key word, "survive", NOT "thrive".

Hell, maybe I'll watch "Witness" again and start to develop a dislike for everything "Of the English".
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
17. Honestly, I don't think about it much but
a lot of the things I do have become second nature. I don't live off the grid, but I do heat with wood and my water is gravity fed spring. My house has lots of passive solar and good insulation. In the summer I keep a veggie garden, gotta admit though I'm way into my perennial flower garden. I buy meat from local sources. In the summer, same for other foodstuffs I don't grow. I belong to a co-op. Don't go to Wal-Mart, do buy used a lot. Recycle. I'm not very handy, but I rely on handy friends. I don't really think of the way I live as political in any form, it's just the way I live.
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OhioBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
29. I didn't think of it as the way
I live as political either - but after I read your post I thought about that stupid ant/grasshopper e-mail that I got right before the election talking about the ant being hardworking and the grasshopper as fun loving.... The ant being the R and the grasshopper being the D....

It should probably be turned around - the R lives off of the hard work of the D and parties it up like a Hilton while the D works the 9-5, comes home tends to the garden, makes purchases with frugality and a social conscience....
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
18. Not as much as I could be
Energy - bike. But still on the grid. However, I do enjoy my darkness, and I put a sweater on if it gets cold. I'm only 27, so that helps.

Heathcare - I try not to get hurt or sick. Not taking any pills or medication. I get exercise with the bike. Again, only 27, so that helps.

Food - don't buy enough from local growers.

Construction - I can be handy when I need to be. I'm no architect though. I'll fix the things that people normally just chuck out.

Consumption - I'm not a things guy. I've never gone into Wal-Mart. I re-use things as much as possible.

No cell phone, but I do have this contraption that I'm typing on.

I know these little things I do won't make much difference, because there are 6.5 billion people on this planet. Granted, most don't even have a choice, but still. It's my small, and most likely pointless, way of sticking it to the system. I can do better, but then, isn't that the mind set that got us in this mess in the first place?
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
19. interdependent , not at all self sufficient
but low maintenance. :kick:
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
21. Getting partially off the grid
with our new house. We are putting in geothermal and are planning the structure to add solar panels as soon as we can afford them. We have abundant water and some springs to tap if we need.

Planning a big garden, I can can and will have a place similar to a root cellar. I am learning as much as I can about organic gardening.

My husband frequents the doctor. Other than my bouts with pneumonia the only doctor I have seen in the last 10 years is my rheumatologist and I have figured out a way to live without those meds and him. Putting in a sauna will help a great deal.

Right now I am driving a lot but that will stop when we move to the farm. I raise horses so if the shit hits the fan we will have a way to get around.

I can fix about anything given enough time.

I have plans on things to do if it gets nasty, community gardens (small farming community so we will be able to trade for just about anything), lots of ways to become what this country once was, self sufficient. I will probably get started long before things get that bad though.

I like the idea of becoming self sufficient.

Walmart? Not without a gun to my head.
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
25. Well, this is what we do.
Energy: Not off the grid, but am losing my employment so we can't afford to do that right now. We insulated our home well and weatherproof windows and doors each winter. We open windows in summer and reserve the air conditioning for the hottest and most humid days. Flourescent bulbs in all fixtures and lamp. Only one light in the room on at a time and turn it off when you leave. Use charcoal and grill food in summer. Wash all clothing in cold water, have a high efficiency washer and dryer. Dry clothes outside when weather permits. Programmable thermostat which adjusts temperature of heating and cooling systems for when we are home and away. Wear layers of clothing in the winter and snuggle under throws during cooler hours.


Healthcare: Try to eat healthily most of the time and to get exercise. Take vitamins and wash hands frequently during cold and flu season. Use natural remedies that I am familiar with, there's a lot I don't know though.

Food: Use rain water for watering garden, not tap water. Grow many of the vegetables we use in our garden. Freeze summer veggies for winter use. Usually the garden get us through the winter. Only need to buy fruit, lettuce, and cabbage. We purchase meat on the hoof and usually end up paying about $1.40/lb for enough meat to get us through most of a year. Buy store brand a lot and in bulk. Purchase rice in 20 lb. bags and store in a bin. Purchase pasta in large quantities and store in bins. Basically, we purchase eggs, milk, and cheese weekly. Could keep chickens but our commute times haven't allowed for us to be able to tend them properly. May do this at some time in the future though.

Construction/Consumption: I'm going to lump these together. We do all of our own major repairs, quite often recycling parts. My husband is an avid "professional" dumpster diver (or so he claims that title), and we've done stuff like built a gardenseat with trellis from a discarded futon base (it's very cool). He's knows how to do everything, and I'm his assistant. We have a riding lawnmower that is 30 years old and he keeps it going. Our yard is way too big to mow with walk-behind mower and we're getting to old for that, especially in the heat of summer. I'd rather pay for the gass than have a stroke for that task. I have very few items in my house that were purchased new. Many have been reclaimed and made better. He also finds plenty of discarded electronic equipment, vacuum cleaners, lamps, microwaves, computer parts, etc. and will clean them up, service them, and make sure they are in working order. Some of them we donate to different charities and get a small tax deduction for them, others he'll take to consignment stores, and some we might use ourselves. It gives these things a second life and keeps them out of the landfill. It also keeps him off of the streets and out of trouble. Man lives in the basement. I toss him down a bit of food now and then and remind him that he needs to shower, change clothes, and sleep once in a while. We don't really profit much from this effort because he needs to buy parts. Kinda break even and it's a hobby for him. We also recycle cardboard, glass, plastics, metal.

Actually we live pretty frugrally. Our biggest need is for health insurance since we both now have developed some chronic health issues that will require annual labs and medications for the rest of our lives. He could probably do okay for quite some time on a reduction in his prescription, but without mine, I will die. I worry about this more than anything.


Consumption: Do you buy things you don't need? Do you recycle? Buy used? Shop at Wal-Mart?
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Boojatta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Is it worth it?
Grow many of the vegetables we use in our garden. Freeze summer veggies for winter use.


We have a riding lawnmower that is 30 years old and he keeps it going. Our yard is way too big to mow with walk-behind mower and we're getting to old for that, especially in the heat of summer. I'd rather pay for the gass than have a stroke for that task.


Taking into account the original cost of the lawnmower, the cost of gas for the lawnmower, and the time it takes to (1) keep the lawnmower in a state of good repair (2) mow the lawn, and (3) grow the vegetables (time that could be spent investigating investment possibilities or earning money in the labor market), does owning a yard provide any net financial benefit for you?
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Sure it's worth it.
It save quite a bit on groceries. For the the few dollars for seeds and sets each year (usually less than $40) and the fresh and dried herbs I get from the herb garden (know how much herb cost), we save quite a bit. It just takes a little work weeding and hoeing and some cleaning and chopping time. I've also put up jams and freeze our raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Nothing like a taste of summer at Christmas when I bake a couple of berry pies or a batch of turnovers.

We paid $200 for that old mower and my husband has serviced the engine and it works great. We can mow the lawn several times on a gallon container of gasoline. It takes a few minutes each year to pull off the blade and sharpen it. If we paid the man for all this, it would be costly. AND we get the pleasure of work well done, knowing that we have done it ourselves, and the satisfaction of smelling and handling the earth. The sight of the herbs flowering and the veggie sets greening the earth and then putting out their fruits is priceless. Can't be measured entirely in terms of monetary value. It is a gift of the earth to us and we, in turn, care for her.

I love my yard and gardens. The road out front is the only paving in our little village. No one even has a paved driveway. I love the wind coming across the prairie behind the yard, bearing the scents of soil and the grasses and the leaves. I love watching the snow blow into drifts in the winter. I love knowing that this all was here long before us, and that our little town of 200 souls is the only mark on the prairie for miles, with the exception of a few farm fields. We still have common lands and cows graze freely on them. I see wild turkeys come in, and deer, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, geese, ducks. People still keep chickens in their yards here. Ah, yes, it's worth it.
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OhioBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. plus - it keeps you young
my grandma has mowed her lawn and grown a garden for every year I've known her. She's 92 - still mowed the lawn last year (riding lawn mower of course).

It also calms the soul - I would much rather mow a lawn and grow a garden than investigate investment opportunities (which I would probably end up getting screwed by in the end anyway). I do have some money in a 401k and in a retirement plan, but I don't spend hours trying to guess what mutual fund would be best....
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Skidmore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. LOL. We have an little-bitty 89-year-old lady down a few
houses who mows her front lawn with a push mower and her back lawn with a rider. She also walks 2 miles each day except when it's icy. She's going to outlive us all. Came to live in the town back in 1930 after she married one of the local boys, and says she's still considered a newcomer. Just seeing her makes me happy. She's a joyous and wise soul.


Don't you wish we could eliminate some of this garbage that has built up around money and turned it into a market all in itself? I just want to simplify my life. There's not reason why everyone needs to be able to reach me everywhere at any time. There's no reason why everything has to be done instanteously. And there's no financial transaction that's worth your soul in exchange.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
26. Be sure and plant some zucchini & some beans too
They grow well and are prolific.. I planted bush beans (sorry..that's what they are called since they are bushes..not pole beans)..very tasty and easy to grow..

watermelons are easy to grow too, and they are fun to watch as they grow.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
31. Good for you!
When the bird flu is over, raise chickens. Even four hens give you four eggs a day. That's a lot, and they don't make any noise. Just don't get a rooster or your neighbors will be unhappy!
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tinfoilinfor2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
36. Live on a boat on a tropical island.
I catch fish, shrimp and lobster. Plenty of fruit trees around to barter for fresh fruit. Don't really need heat or a/c with the tropical breezes.

Having said that, we usually stock our fridge and freezer with meat and produce from the nearest grocery, and liberally run the a/c when the temperature rises. But it's nice to know we could survive pretty well without these things.
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