My mother used to say that it takes seven years to get a garden right. This is year eight and I am still adjusting, still wondering how our pioneer ancestors survived on what they could produce.
Preservation has lent me a measure of security. As noted, some years we get a lot of a couple of things and not so much of something else. Next year we get great something else. So canning helps me save whatever we get when the getting's good. And now I have enough canned food to survive for many months, maybe years unless the kids show up.
Because I live in an earth sheltered house with an accidentally large garage (another story for another time) I have great cool storage for my many jars, squash, etc. I like cabinets with drawers that I can pull out and see what's there. I raw pack chicken when it's on sale and it makes it's own broth. And you can pickle about anything. Whatever I am gleaning from the garden at the end of summer gets pickled together (onion, zucks and cucks, carrots, cabbage, ...) . You just need lots of vinegar and a water bath.
It's hard to grow a significant amount of beans in my raised beds in our 90 day growing season so I buy canned beans whenever they get really cheap at the grocery. Who can resist a $.49, or less, can of black or chilli beans? Problem being that I tend to forget how much I have already and now I have canned beans to last through 2050. Note: big jars of honey from our local hives are reasonably priced and will keep forever.
Although my fruit trees aren't producing much yet we sometimes pick a lot of plums, apples, or cherries for people who don't want them to attract the bears. When I get tired of pitting plums for jam I just can them whole in light syrup. The darn cherries do have to be pitted but they are worth the work. They are so pretty. I have a real appreciation for pretty things in jars and am adding marmalades and conserves to my collection. A lot of that gets given away at Christmas.
Dehydration is on the list to do more of. Neighbors are freeze drying things, mostly fruit, also some cute little marshmallows. That requires expensive equipment, more than I am willing to spend at the moment so nevermind that.
Enough said. I seem to have what I need and most of what I want, except for a way to grow coffee.