Let’s Start A Self Reliance Challenge!

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Self Reliance Challenge ~ May 2018

31 Days to a More Self Reliant Life

Are you interested in being self reliant? Living a more simple life? Growing and preserving your own food? Then you are in good company! Join me and my blogging friends as we share posts this month 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
  • Live an abundantly simple life!

Each blogger has a wealth of information already and I’m looking forward to reading all of their self reliance plans and posts this month. I hope you will follow them too.

I’ve been on a quest to live a more self sufficient lifestyle for years. How did it all start?


I picked a ton of blackberries for canning when I was a kid.

I Grew Up This Way!

My family grew a garden, raised beef and pork, had chickens and ducks, baled hay, picked wild edibles, went to local orchards for seasonal produce, and preserved the extras each year. I had horses and 400 acres to roam around (we lived at the edge of my grandparents’ farm) and I loved it!

I grew up and went away to school, got married and lived in urban and suburban settings for many years. But everywhere I lived I put in some sort of a garden and grew a little fresh food for our table. I baked bread, got to know the U-pick farms, made jam, and went camping and hiking.


Raising My Own Family

After my son was born I wanted him to grow up knowing how to raise your own fresh veggies and forage for wild edibles. I raised rabbits for meat, started canning and preserving in earnest, and started learning to identify more wild food sources. We homeschooled and many of our lessons revolved around living a more simple life. Basic survival skills were woven into our nature walks and camping trips.

After the housing collapse we moved from our suburban homestead (which I didn’t even know was a thing) to a 1 acre property so that we could keep chickens and raise even more of our food. It really has been an adventure!

Baby Chicks under heat lamp

I have a new batch of chicks in the brooder!

What Have I Already Done To Be More Self Reliant?

baby goats

Goats did not work out very well on our homestead. 🙁

What Hasn’t Worked So Well For Our Homestead?

  • Keeping Goats
  • Tending an Orchard (disease and damage from rabbits have killed some of our trees)
  • Cutting Firewood – most of our wood must be purchased
  • Last year was not productive/self reliant due to health issues


What Do I Want to Accomplish During The Self Reliance Challenge?

  • Go Fishing at least once this month
  • Additional Foraging – Identify 4 new plants
  • Plant my main garden by the end of the challenge
  • Extend garden season – grow early greens in a cold frame
  • Freeze greens for winter
  • Raise meat chickens and new batch of layers – first month
  • Pick up Broad Breasted turkeys from farm
  • Stretch chicken feed with homemade and homegrown options
  • ‘Low Buy’ month – buy very little from the grocery store
  • Place buying club order
  • Cook at least one meal each week from our pantry/home canned goods
  • Make herbal hand salve from scratch

I will probably think of more things to add to my challenge along the way! I’m also thinking a lot these days about my long term self reliance goals and I’ll share more about that during the challenge. But for now, lets’ get started on this Self Reliance Challenge!

Foraged greens - ready to cook

Mixed greens from my backyard – ready to cook.


Last night I cooked up a pan of mixed wild greens and perennial veggies from my garden to kick off my challenge. They tasted great with a little honey mustard sauce drizzled over the top.

Today I am working in my garden: planting peas, digging more beds, watering the cold frame, and maybe transplanting my tomato seedlings into larger pots under lights.

fresh eggs

Next Week

Check back next week to read what I’ve accomplished and (maybe?) what I have failed at. In the mean time, I hope you will stop by and say Hi to the other bloggers who are joining in the Self Reliance Challenge with me and let them know you found them here!

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

Coffee and campfirel - The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

What Are Your Self Reliance Goals?

Now it’s your turn! Please share a comment and tell us about your self reliance goals, dreams, what you are doing already, tips for being more self reliant, or suggestions for me as I challenge myself this month!

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Lisa Lombardo

Freelance Writer at Tohoca, LLC
Lisa writes in-depth articles about gardening and homesteading topics. She grew up on a farm and has continued learning about horticulture, animal husbandry, and home food preservation ever since. She has earned an Associate of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a self proclaimed gardening freak and crazy chicken lady.

In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.

The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.
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14 comments on “Let’s Start A Self Reliance Challenge!

  1. Margy

    If found your blog and the challenge through Nancy’s. The challenge is a great way to learn more about self reliance and homesteading topics. I have subscribed to some of the participants. My story is that I live in a float cabin on a lake in Coastal BC. It is 25 minutes up the lake by boat and I have a floating garden and containers on the cabin deck for gardening. It amazes me how much such a small space can produce. We’ve had the cabin since 2001, lived here for six months of the year starting in 2005 when we retired, and full time since we became Canadian permanent residents in 2008. – Margy

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Margy…thanks for stopping by! Your floating cabin sounds amazing…and a floating garden is very cool, I’d like to see that. Feel free to share any tips for living in a cabin floating on a lake in BC. 🙂

      Nancy has a wonderful blog and I enjoy her posts. I am enjoying the challenge and I’m so glad to have you visit!

  2. Kristie Schwartz

    Thank you for your motivation and blog.
    My husband and I just retired and came back to the land. Although we are not living on the acres we own yet, (deconstructing old house), we go out each day and work.
    May task:
    1. We just planted 100 trees on the back 2 acres (have 10 acres in all). This will provide firewood starting in 10 years from now, as we start thinning. These trees were purchased from the Missouri Natural Conservation service for less than $1 each.
    2. Plant lettuce in old cast iron tub sitting in the yard .
    3. Take old tin laying around acres and build compost bins
    4. Shred the roof shingles into strips with tile cutter to put in front of barn where it is muddy
    5. Plant 2 apple trees and 2 blackberry bushes.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Kristie,
      How wonderful that you are returning to the land! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. 🙂

      I hope you will stop back and give updates…we’ll be doing this all month and I’d love to hear more about your self reliance plans.

      Best wishes with clearing your property and getting it into ‘homesteading’ condition!

  3. AnnMarie Lewellyn

    I am so grateful that you asked me to join this Self-Reliant challenge! It has given me the boost I needed here on my homestead. Like you, last year was difficult for me too, since I had to provide the care for my father who passed this past January. Now I am back and enjoying being a part of a wonderful experience with you and all the other bloggers!

    Looking forward to the next few weeks!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I’m so sorry about your dad, AnnMarie. That is very sad … I hope your family is healing.

      It’s great to have you involved in the challenge and I’m glad to have the chance to work with you on this project!

  4. Wanda

    Thank you for the challenge!
    I love your website. I’ve learned so much.
    I have rabbits.
    I have chickens. I pick wild greens and dig for worms to off set the cost of corn to feed them. I collect rain water in buckets.to water them and water my garden with. I grow a medium size garden and herbs. I have fruit trees, grapes and berries. I also pick dandelions to make jelly. I dig up the dandelion roots as a potato substitute. I dry my clothes for free by hanging them out. I cook a lot outside to save on my power bill.

    My goal is to add a few goats for milk, butter and butter milk. I want to add a few more berry plants and fruit trees.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      You’re doing an amazing job, Wanda! I’m so excited to hear about your self reliance projects. 🙂 Thank you for sharing and visiting! I hope you will share more of your activities this month…keep up the good work!

      You’ve just reminded me that I need a new clothesline, lol!

  5. Maria Zannini

    I was so pleased I found you and the Self Reliance Challenge. Thank you for hosting and getting us organized.

    Every year we add a little something more to our homesteading efforts. Not everything works for everybody. My failure with fruit trees is one. 🙂 Though the plum seems on the right track.

    I don’t beat myself up anymore if something doesn’t work for us. It could be the wrong thing, or the right thing at the wrong time.

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I’m glad to have you join the challenge too, Maria…nice post btw!

      Oh…I’m used to failing at things sometimes. I don’t get too worried about it. I actually miss the goats sometimes. I definitely miss the milk. But I need a better set up for goats before I can keep them again. 🙂

      Have a great week! I’m looking forward to hearing about what you’re up to!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Thanks so much for joining the challenge, Frank! It’s great to have such a diverse bunch of bloggers involved. I’m looking forward to reading your self reliance posts. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Nancy W

    Thanks so much for setting up this challenge, I am really looking forward to following everyone this month and seeing how they challenge themselves!

    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      So happy to have you here, Nancy! Thanks for being a part of this project! I’m looking forward to reading about your self reliance projects. 🙂

      I’m already feeling a bit challenged, lol…I just put in potatoes, peas, onions, turnips, Swiss chard, and collards…after digging up a big bed. I will definitely sleep well tonight!


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