Saturday, August 21, 2010

Change of Focus

I have decided to give my blog some focus. I hope that by having a more specific subject to write about, rather than whatever “strikes my fancy,” I will feel more compelled to write and become a better writer. I love talking about our DIY projects, my knitting, gardening, canning, baking, etc., and I think I have found a way to continue that, but with more purpose.

My family & I have a 5-year plan to start a path toward a self-sufficient lifestyle. To some, this is also known as modern homesteading. We have chosen to take on this lifestyle for a variety of reasons, but mostly I think it will work for us because our beliefs and the pleasure we take in doing things for ourselves. We're not "the end is coming and we better be prepared" types, though I have to say there is some comfort in knowing that if there is a major economic or natural disaster, it is likely we would be okay.

Right now, we live on a small lot in a "semi-urban" neighborhood. I say "semi-urban" because we live close to downtown, but it is a small town of about 15,000 people, on an island, in northwest Washington State. We are about 2 hours north of Seattle and a little over an hour from Canada. Part of our goal is to acquire a 3-5 acre plot in Skagit County where we can build a house and farm.

We have lived in our current house for 3 years. The house was originally built in 1949 as a vacation home/cabin. It has been added on to and remodeled over the years and has many quirks. We have yet to take on a home improvement project that was not complicated by the character of the house or the inadequacies of the previous remodel.

We live in a unique climate that some people attribute to a "banana belt" and others to the "Olympic rain shadow.” We have a mild climate with an annual average of 27 inches of rain (compared to Seattle's 36 inches), an average winter low of about 36 degrees, and an average summer high of only 71. We typically see about a week of cold in the 20s with 1-2 good bouts of snowfall and about a week of hot in the 90s. We are surrounded by a multitude of saltwater beaches (remember, we live on an island that is only about 40 square miles), rivers, lakes, and mountains. I am awestruck daily by the natural beauty that surrounds us.

We plan to use the time until we acquire our land to educate ourselves and adjust our lifestyle. I think our path to self-sufficiency will constantly change and evolve. Will we become full-time farmers? Will we be able to sustain ourselves with the fruits of our own labor, bartering or selling our goods as necessary? Will we be able to quit our "day jobs" or change to something less demanding/more flexible? Only time will tell.

Fortunately, many of our hobbies are skills that fit nicely into the homesteading lifestyle (which may be part of the reason we are so drawn to it). My significant other, Cliff, prefers to take on projects that involve power tools. He loves to build me toys (and more than a few for himself). He has a background in electronics, so he is in charge of the technical and power-related projects. I enjoy knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking, and cooking. I also hope to discuss food preservation, alternative power, and gardening.

I hope you will follow along as I share our journey... our struggles and our successes, as we learn to become a self-sufficient family.

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