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jack vegas

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since Mar 09, 2013
Edge of the World - PNW
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Recent posts by jack vegas

Yes, growing everything one eats takes a lot more space than most of us have available, and it's a lot of work that takes a lot of time.  Full self sufficiency is a full time job.  Its among the reasons I have opt to buy and store my basic calories.  Grains and legumes are relatively inexpensive and store well for years.  Buying these staples eliminates several acres of necessary growing space and saves a lifetime of hard work.  I supplement this with garden vegetables for flavor, nutrition, and variety.  This way I get long term food security while still only having to tend a relatively small garden.

Vegetables are essential, but they cost more than my basic calories if purchased in stores.  Maybe a good way to look at this is that I grow the majority of the VALUE of my food.  The vegetables may only provide 20% of my calories, but by growing them myself, I save 80% of my food cost.  So in a way, I'm growing 80% of my food.  Not bad for a small garden!

Regarding eating things we don't particularly like - First, most tastes are acquired.  We learn to like things over time.  Second, look around for recipes that feature those items but include flavors you do like.  A simple example for me is that I never really liked cabbage as a kid.  Growing up I found that cabbage was nutritious and easily grown, so I looked for things that included cabbage that I did like.  A hearty white bean cabbage soup with barley is now one of my favorites, and I can eat sauerkraut all day.  I've now gotten completely over my cabbage phobia and eat it enthusiastically in just about any form.

Finally, one of the easiest ways to learn to like simple foods is to be poor.  In my life I've crossed a couple rough patches where I fell back on simple fare.  I can guarantee we get a lot less picky when we are hungry!   When I was a young starving student with essentially no food budget, I spent an entire winter eating nothing but homemade bread, lintels with rice, and sprouted wheat and lintels for greens.  That's it.  Only money I spent for food was on a handful of spices.  Oddly, I look back fondly on those days as some of my best.
2 weeks ago
Ashley - you appear to be heavy into eating meat, so I'm not sure how valuable my comments will be, but I'll pass them along in case there is a nugget of useful info.  By choice I stopped using refrigeration a couple years ago, so storing large quantities of fresh meat is no longer an option.  I do eat meat, but generally not as a primary source of calories.  The meat I eat is mostly fresh caught salmon and trout.  Anything beyond what is consumed the day of the catch is smoked and consumed over the next couple weeks.  Beyond that, meat is a treat much like other things that I can't grow but buy occasionally in town.  Like citrus, bananas, avocados, pineapple, papaya, and coffee.  I love these things but much like chocolate, I could do without if they are no longer available.  I go to town once a month and pick up some of these "treat" items, along with fresh meat for a  meal or two which is consumed within a couple days.  Also a couple dozen eggs that last through the month without refrigeration.  I used to raise chickens for eggs, but I got so attached to the girls while they were laying that I never ate them after they stopped.  They were good company though and a constant source of entertainment.

I stopped trying to grow all my calories years ago.  I still grow potatoes and squash for variety, but not raw calories.  They compliment a multitude of garden vegetables and berries that I grow for nutrition and flavor.  I also have 3 apple and 2 plum trees.  I dislike canning, so any excess that isn't eaten fresh is dehydrated or fermented.  However, my "sustaining" calories are from stored grains and legumes.  Wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and lentils.  I've laid in a supply of these staples adequate to provide all my calories for several years and I top off periodically.  In a pinch I could expand and grow more potatoes and squash as well as sow 1/2 an acre of oats which grows well enough in my area, but it's a lot of work and raw calories in the form of easily stored grains and legumes are still pretty cheap.  Also, I'm getting older now and its very comforting to know that I can survive for years with what is stored, augmented by my simple garden... and maybe a lazy day of fishing once and a while!
2 weeks ago
I stopped trying to grow all my calories years ago.  I still grow potatoes and squash for variety, but not raw calories.  They compliment a multitude of garden vegetables and berries that I grow for their cornucopia of nutrition and flavor.  My "sustaining" calories are from stored grains and legumes.  Wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and lentils.  I've laid in a supply of these staples adequate to provide all my calories for seven years and I top off what I use every year.  In a pinch I could expand and grow more potatoes and squash as well as sow 1/2 an acre of oats, but its a lot of work and raw calories in the form of easily stored grains and legumes are still pretty cheap.  Also, I'm getting older now and its very comforting to know that I can survive for many years with what is stored augmented by my simple garden.

My reason for posting is to pass along the article below that discusses calories from apples.  The author makes a pretty good case that apples can out-produce grains, potatoes, you name it, when it comes to calories per acre.  I have three apple trees and can attest that his numbers are reasonable.  I eat them raw, bake them, dehydrate them, make apple sauce and apple butter, and give a lot away.  I never really though about it, but those three trees provide enough fruit that their calories could sustain me for nearly 4 months a year, all by themselves.  Low labor, perennial, versatile, and tasty.  Something to think about.

https://www.localharvest.org/blog/15945/entry/calories_per_acre_with_apples


Except where I live there is little sun and lots of wind...
2 months ago
Check out this Swedish "eco-lodge".  Scroll through page and see mini- a-frame cabins.

https://www.wildsweden.com/kolarbyn-ecolodge



7 months ago
You are hardly alone with a dog and a good book.  Get yourself a satellite internet link just in case and give it a try.  Life is short.
9 months ago
More than you are willing to pay taxes on is too big.
1 year ago
What did I do with a tough old bird?

I married her!
2 years ago
Too late this year I suspect.  Buy a large yet inexpensive surplus military tent and tent stove, then rough it till spring has sprung and winter has went.  You might find tent living suits you.  About 20 years ago I did this and liked it so much that after a few months I built a simple elevated wood platform to keep the tent high and dry, reinforced the frame, and converted it into a wall tent.  Lived in it in Oregon for two years.  Very cozy and comfortable.  Ah, youth...
3 years ago
Any time spent relaxing and talking with my dog.
3 years ago