9 years from 2014 I’d like to have enough skills that I can call myself “self sustaining.” That’s a lofty goal but a fair amount of time in which to accomplish it. I’ve chosen to break up the 9 years of time into segments that each have a sub-goal that gets me to learning skills.
Here is the list I’ve compiled so far of the things I want to do or learn in order to become self-sustaining. This is a dynamic list – it will change often as I add more skills and post links to skills I’ve learned and blogged about. I’ll revise some of the vague items to make them more specific (as I figure out how to define the specifics). Some aren’t skills but just things I want to do. Some make sense and some might seem super random. It’s going to be a crazy list!
Late 2014: learn to cook and shop for food
- Learn to properly cook cuts of meat and poultry.
- Learn to properly prepare cuts of meat (cutting fat from a roast, de-boning a chicken, etc).
- Learn at least 10 side dishes/meatless dishes to cook from scratch.
- Learn to bake using our new diet restrictions.
- Learn bulk food preservation.
- Find a source for quality, bulk meat buys and other foods we can’t grow ourselves.
- Develop reusable meal plans and know how much food we consume in a typical week.
- Organize recipes and write down recipes that we like.
- Learn to prepare foods in advance to reduce mealtime chaos.
- Serve a six-course meal.
Not really fitting into a time but I want to do NOW: get organized and reduce expenses
- Understand how much we consume: how much of specific foods do we eat each month, the paper products we use, cleaning products, etc.
- Make a budget and actually stick to it. Find ways we can eliminate expenses.
- Make soap and other personal care products (like toothpaste!).
Also not really fitting into a time but wanted ASAP: Reduce waste and energy use
- Reduce, then eliminate kitchen paper use.
- Build a clothesline and use it instead of our clothes dryer (we’ll need an outside one and inside one since we live in the Pacific Northwest).
- Figure out how the fireplace works and use it, also befriend a chimney sweep.
- Reduce our food waste; compost as much food as possible and learn to use the discarded parts of foods (squash guts, carrot tops, bacon grease, etc).
- Maybe even learn to use a wash tub, wash board, and hand-wringer. Find one for free.
2015: Grow more food
- Garden planning pre-season. Learn about what to plant, companion planting, planting styles, how to identify plants, plants pros/cons/usefullness/etc.
- Fertilize early.
- Start plants from seed indoors.
- Learn tool use and maintenance, weeds management, pest control, soil cultivating.
- Learn seed saving.
- Figure out how to harvest year-round (winter gardening, greenhouse, hydroponics, etc).
- Indoor herb garden. Outdoor herb/medicinal garden.
2016: The year of Community.
- Take classes, find groups of people with similar goals.
- Join a gardening group.
- Learn to barter.
- Learn to ask for help.
2017: Textile skills
- Learn to crochet, weave fabric, some kind of textile skill.
- Learn to sew.
- Learn to make shirts, jackets, pants, skirts, scaves, mittens, hats, socks, and bags. (Maybe even underware!)
- Learn to change our own oil and other light car maintenance.
- Learn to rewire a light switch and electrical outlet.
2019: Health care
- Learn about remineralizing teeth and “crunchy” dental care.
- Learn herbal and food-based remidies for common illnesses.
- Learn herbal remindies for aches (muscle, tummy, head, etc).
2020: Home maintenance and repair
2021: Alternative energy sources