In trying to be more self sufficient and develop a homestead here in Webster, NY I have read alot of books, visited a lot of websites and put a lot of sticky-notes on the pages of a lot of magazines. So many ideas of ways to do everything from make your own soap to growing veggies all year round to re-using t-shirts. There is a lot of info out there and I got overwhelmed really fast. But after alot of reading and thinning out, there have been a few sources that I keep going back to.
Books that fostered the evolution (just a few of many):
Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman
Made From Scratch by Jenna Woginrich
Stronger Than Dirt by Kim Schaye
The $64 Tomato by William Alexander
O Come Ye Back to Ireland by Niall Williams (yes, it seems a bit strange but this book inspires me to put myself in a situation where I will make due with less).
Mother Earth News and Countryside magazines are always laying around here with pages marked as they are a continual source of information.
And, the blogs. I find that I only return consitantly to very few blogs. Here are the ones I really, really like:
Cold Antler Farm - by far one of the most interesting and informative blogs around
Throwback at Trapper Creek
Carpe Diem Acreage
It was a slow evolution in coming. But the more I read, the more I heard, and the more I thought about things, it seemed like the only sensible thing to do. We grow our own vegetables, and what we don;t grow, we get at our farmers market. Why pay a little less for an apple if it means that it was shipped all the way from South Carolina? Where is the savings in that?
We heat with a pellet stove and wear a sweater in the winter instead of heating the house to 80 degrees in January. Why would I want to miss having bread dough rise on top of the fire place or getting to curl up in a warm afghan? And the dog likes it better - she's happier on the cool side.
Use less electric, buy everything you can locally, do we really need all that cheap, plastic China made stuff from Walmart? Who wants to flip an egg with a 99 cent spatula that melts to the cheap frying pan with the bits of metal coating coming off onto your food? Spend the money once and get green pans and wooden spoons.
We are not fanatical or anything and we will not be cursing the government and creating a compound our anything like that. We want to be healthy and happy and enjoy doing what we like to do. I like to crochet and to sew and to garden. We like to have a low electric bill. We like spending time at home, having campfires, and planning our garden and future livestock possibilities.
I just don't see the point of eating the cheapest food because it's, well, the cheapest. I would rather have a nice, warm scarf and pair of socks that was knitted by my Grandma or my mom or myself. I hate looking at something and seeing "Made in China" all over it. I want to be able to finish an afghan and curl up in it right then, rather than buy a blanket from the store, get it out of it's plastic wrapping and have to wash it three times before the smell goes away.
So the evolution from the "get things cheap - throw things away" mentality has been replaced with a much better view of "do it yourself, grow it yourself, make it if you can." It might cost a little more but in the long run it feels better and it lasts longer.