Journey to a more self-sufficient & sustainable lifestyle: Hurdles.

A memorable year.

In February I had radio frequency ablation on the left side of my neck then taught a foot reflexology class less than a week later. To say that was a bizarre experience puts it mildly. My brain tried to rewire signals no longer going to portions of my neck. The cervical area of ablation; four sites, was completely numb. Teaching, though delightful, was simultaneously emotionally and physically draining. With the success of the radio frequency ablation on the left side of my neck, in April, the right side of my neck was done. Again, odd, disconnected sensations as my brain and body attempted to rewire themselves. And, as mentioned in a previous post, in June I broke my left wrist. I couldn’t support myself with my reflexology practice, had to learn to do everything using one hand, but despite this, managed to get a few things done in the garden. I plunked spaghetti squash in one of the piles of dirt and they did surprisingly well.

I’m grateful to the support of friends who built a few raised beds or lay sheets of lumber wrappings on the ground and covered them with wood-chips. The latter in an effort to choke out the blackberries in that area. The raised beds fed me throughout the summer and early fall months and the wood-chips seem to be doing the trick.

I think one of the biggest learnings for me was surrender. I was given an opportunity to learn about myself. To reaffirm I can simplify my life and survive. Though much is uncomfortable, there are always options and solutions.

For 2018, my goal is to continue implementing my five-year plan: Create permaculture and self-sufficient systems on the property whenever possible. Put in more raised beds. Plant the shrubs I was unable to plant last spring. Get the herb garden in. Finish the sandbagging around the holes and channel and plant up the resultant berm. Endeavor to become more self-sufficient, and, to become closer to being off the grid. I am pleased to see my electrical consumption measurably going down. I am hopeful to put in a humanure toilet. This will require purchasing heavy-duty five gallon buckets and lids, totes in which to store an adequate supply of sawdust, and somewhere to put bales of straw. The humanure will go in a specialist compost bin. I’m imagining raised eyebrows, and puzzled comments from visitors. I think they already consider some (many?) of my ideas odd. This might tip them over the edge. Oh, well. In this time of peculiar weather systems and global warming (I do believe it’s happening), I don’t think we can become complacent with water usage. A composting toilet, in my opinion, makes sense.

Always enjoying an experiment, I’m curious to see how long the water remains in the two holes dug in the veggie garden area. A rough estimate of 1200 gallons per hole then perhaps an equal volume of water in the channel connecting them. I’m hopeful some will remain. If not, then I’ll save for liners of some sort. In an ideal world, I’d love to channel the runoff from the house into them. I’ll find out in August, I suppose!

I’ve attached a short slideshow of photos of things I was able to accomplish last year. One-handed creativity.

What successes and failures did you have in your gardens this year? What do you hope to accomplish in 2018? And, how are you becoming more self-sufficient?

Wishing everyone a successful and loving 2018,


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