Your Guide to The Self Reliance Challenge ~ Week 1

My Self Reliance Steps ~ Week 1

There were days during the first week of my self reliance challenge when I felt a little overwhelmed. There are so many tasks that need to be completed in the garden, wild edibles are growing like weeds (shocker, I know!), the baby chicks have outgrown their brooder box and needed to be moved to the brooder room, I have baby turkeys coming this week, thunderstorms hit pretty hard the other day and all that rain is making the plants take off…and I suddenly remember my plans to have a garage sale and paint the house this month. Hmmmm, what on earth was I thinking?!

It’s all good…a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step…right? I’m thankful that I don’t have a thousand miles to travel this month!

Baby chicks getting a drink of waterWhat Have I Done So Far?

I recorded my daily self reliance tasks completed. These projects are in addition to my normal chores. And added a few thoughts about life on my homestead at the end of each day.

Day 1:

  • Made 1 quart of Easy Homemade Yogurt
  • Made sun tea ~ first of the season
  • Fed chicks and cleaned their brooder box
  • Dug and prepared garden bed (whew…toughest job of the day!)
  • Planted potatoes, onion sets, peas, turnips, Swiss chard, collards, lettuce, & kale
  • Cooking from the ‘pantry’…used frozen mixed veggies in dinner.

Saw my first Baltimore Oriole and Phoebe of the season. Cleaned the jelly feeder, filled it with grape jelly, and hung it from the deck railing for the Oriole. Last year we had 3 families coming to the feeder!

 

Stinging Nettle plants in early spring
Stinging nettles

Day 2

  • Fed chicks and cleaned their brooder box – they are really growing fast!
  • Foraged Stinging nettle and curly dock
  • Ate foraged greens with lunch and dinner, blanched and froze the rest for winter
  • Made brownies from scratch for my husband to take to work

Our first male Rose-breasted Grosbeak visited up today. The buds are opening on the trees and my apple and cherry trees have flower buds swelling. Rain is forecast overnight and my garden really needs the moisture.

 

homemade granola

Day 3

  • Fed chicks and cleaned their brooder box, they will need larger accommodations soon!
  • Harvested dandelion buds, washed and stashed in the fridge
  • Made a loaf of bread with bread machine (forgot yeast…fail!)
  • Made Cinnamon Raisin granola

Our first thunderstorm of the season rolled in overnight and thoroughly soaked the garden…I fell asleep last night to the sound of thunder. More storms expected later tonight. I feel so silly after forgetting to put yeast in my bread machine! Btw…I know that using a bread machine doesn’t sound very self reliant. I do enjoy making bread the old fashioned way, but I don’t often have time for that. The bread machine is also better when the weather is warm because it doesn’t heat up our kitchen as much as the oven. I will try again tomorrow…with a note to remember the yeast! (We’re eating the unleavened bread anyway…it’s not that bad.)

bowl of dandelion buds

Day 4

  • Fed chicks
  • Cleaned out hummingbird feeder, made DIY Nectar to fill it and hung it next to back door
  • Cleaned out brooder room in chicken coop
  • Set up heat lamp and spread bedding in brooder room
  • Moved chicks to brooder room, they were starting to fly out of their box
  • Cleaned and sanitized larger water containers for chicks, they are going through water really fast
  • Set up a compost bin next to back door of chicken coop and dumped chick bedding in it
  • Made another loaf of bread…I remembered the yeast this time!
  • Cooking from the pantry and from the ‘wild’…I made stir fried dandelion buds with rice and home-butchered and canned chicken

We had a nice meal this evening made with dandelion buds I harvested yesterday, rice, and chicken. I raised the chickens several years ago and butchered around 10 young roosters with my Dad. We roasted them on a grill over an open fire. The next day I picked the meat off the bones, put all of the bones in a stock pot and cooked it all day to make bone broth. The broth and meat were pressure canned to eat later. I’m trying to use up all of the canned chicken in my pantry this year…I’ll be canning more chicken again this summer when the meat birds are ready to process.

 

hummingbird

Day 5

  • Fed chicks
  • Put straw mulch down in garden
  • Pulled weeds
  • Put down tarps down to suppress weeds in back part of garden
  • Cleaned and sanitized brooder box and small water dishes
  • Made a large batch of homemade, baked mac & cheese to take to a farm party tonight
  • Went to visit Trogg’s Hollow Farm for a fun party!

We had a nice evening visiting with friends at Trogg’s Hollow Farm! The Kishwaukee Ramblers serenaded us for the evening. I bought some locally raised eggs (it will be a while before we have our own eggs again), ground beef, and blueberry preserves from some local farmers. The baked mac & cheese was a hit. 🙂

apple blossom bud

Day 6

  • Picked asparagus, French sorrel, and Egyptian walking onions from garden
  • Cooked up eggs with fresh picked veggies for lunch
  • Spent time enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon and the company of my husband 🙂

Sundays are a time for reflection and simple joys, like spending time with family, friends, or enjoying the wonder of nature. The blossoms are about to pop on my fruit trees…apple, pear, peach, cherry, and plum trees will hopefully give us some fruit this year!

 

Day 7

  • I’m taking care of some phone calls and paperwork this morning…the garden beckons
  • Took my dog, Rocky, to the vet’s today ( found a strange lump on his shoulder over the weekend), set up surgery for Friday to remove a cancerous tumor 🙁
  • Finished eating the wild edibles collected over the weekend
  • Made yogurt
  • Set up the brooder box for baby turkeys coming soon (cleaned, tested heat lamp and hung from ceiling, put down pine shavings)

I am feeling much less self reliant right now. Rocky is the life of the party here at our house. He is energetic, always happy and ready for an adventure. Finding out he has a cancerous tumor today is a real blow…and a reminder that we are not as self reliant as we’d like. I am thankful that the doctor feels the tumor is not the worst kind and we may be able to remove all of the cancerous cells. Meanwhile, I still have a lot of chores to take care of in the upcoming week.

wood stove
Rocky when he was a little pup from the rescue.

Here is my to-do list for the 2nd week of the challenge:

  • Transplant strawberries to new bed
  • Pick up baby turkeys from farm on Wednesday
  • Help friend with shearing day on her alpaca ranch
  • Prepare more beds in garden
  • Harvest more stinging nettle for freezing and try dehydrating some for tea
  • Clean out my little greenhouse and prepare it for seedlings
  • Buy fishing license and clean up gear
  • Make a new batch of gardeners’ hand salve

 

curly dock leaves, blanched and ready to freeze

What Is This Self Reliance Challenge Of Which You Speak?

Starting May 1st, a group of bloggers (including me) started a challenge to be more self reliant for the month of May. We are each doing our own thing and then sharing our posts about self reliance each week. Read some wonderful self reliance posts by my blogging friends:

AnnMarie – 15 Acre Homestead

Nancy – Nancy On The Homefront

Kathi – Oak Hill Homestead

Robin – A Life in the Wild

Candy – Candy’s Farm House Pantry

Farmgal – Just another Day on the Farm

Ashley – Practical Self Reliance

ShawnaLee – Homegrown Self Reliance

Frank – My Green Terra

Maria – Maria Zannini

And, of course, yours truly, Lisa Lynn!

curly dock omelette
Omelette made with curly dock and Romano cheese.

 

We are writing about a wide range of topics to help you become more self reliant too! You will find topics to help you…

  • Save money and energy
  • Raise animals for meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Grow fresh food in your own garden and orchard
  • Cook healthy meals from scratch
  • Hunt and fish to provide for your table
  • Create your own bath and body products
  • Preserve the bounty of your homestead
  • Forage for wild edibles and medicinal plants
  • Provide a healthy life for your family and pets
  • Take on DIY and home craft projects
  • Prepare for emergencies
  • Conserve water and energy
  • Live an abundantly simple life!

Did you complete self reliance projects this week? Leave a comment and tell us what you did!

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