There is a wealth of information about today regarding this very topic and with each month more people are seeking to become so.As I ponder this question I remember a time not very long ago when if you mentioned the word self reliance you could expect a look in return; clearly denoting that “you had lost it”. And while many people still have no clue about it or if they do, don’t care about being self reliant in any way shape or form I see evidence weekly that this is changing.
I mentioned on the board earlier this week that I had seen a Maslin Pan in Kitchen Needs in relation to a question from one of the members. I had bought a Maslin Pan back into the early 1970’s and sold it when my husband decided to travel after all it was too big and cumbersome to carry all around the world and I mistakenly thought I would be able to buy another. Ah ah! I searched high and low in Australia with one shop in Perth telling me they had sold the last one back in 1972. In the end I found one over in New Zealand in the early part of the 2000’s. Imagine my surprise to see them make a return in 2011 even if they are smaller than the one I currently have.
Preserving jars were another item to all but disappear. I say all but because if one searched far enough afield they could either find them in the odd Mitre 10 store of they could be ordered from their source over East. They could of course also be found in garage sales.
Self Reliance isn’t all about preserving though, just look at how many people either do grow their own fruit and vegetables, or are beginning to explore the possibility of doing so. The numbers are growing for those of us who keep animals be they chickens, goats, sheep or cows for all that they can provide for our families.
Thinking about this as I write I suddenly realize that when we think of “self reliance” the image which will occur with most people is one of someone who is living off the land and while there are people like me and others like you who have chosen to do so that is not necessarily the only meaning. Sadly in today’s environment there are many people who will never be able to afford the “Aussie Dream” of their own house let alone their own land.
Yes I consider myself very fortunate as I have both but whether you do or not, being self reliant is also about doing what you can to protect yourself and your family in the event of any difficulties. This can be growing whatever fruit or vegetables we are able to within the confines of where or how we live. It could be developing new skills to ensure we can fix minor glitches – change a light bulb, fuses, change the oil in your car, minor plumbing etc you get the idea. As a society we seem to rely more often than not on tradesmen to do our repairs or else as has become the norm we throw it away rather than repair (albeit because the cost of repair is the same or more than a new item). The day of repair and reuse appear to be long gone from most people’s vocabulary let alone consciousness.
The topic of taking care of yourself and your family is important and essential so what we all do individually has an affect that reaches well beyond the fences of our own little corner of the world with many people already exercising their options to consume less petrol by driving less, deciding to learn more about back yard vegetable gardens so they can grow their own, supporting Australian made/produced, buying at farmers markets to support local growers and so on. These are all measures of self reliance and to extent conservation in action.
For as long as I can remember I have lived by a code of self reliance and when I think about it I realize that this is in a large part due to my upbringing being the child of parents who were born at the end of the depression last century and who for most of their lives lived practicing the principles that many people did during that time, waste not want not, use repair and reuse, save etc. A generation or so ago being prepared was not only a way of life but was essential for life and is something we have sadly forgotten but shouldn’t have.
Self Reliance reaches into every corner of our lives and the choices we make along the way, whether it be the food we eat, chemicals we use, or action we take.
Increasingly the subject of being prepared and ultimately being more self reliant is gaining greater attention than ever before in both television programs and media such as newspapers and for very good reason starting with the increasing cost of food prices, energy costs, water costs and so on. Food and water is of course the very corner stone of preparedness and self reliance. Where are you on this journey?
I know that I am not as far along in this journey as I would have hoped to be by now. I have the land and the house, a lovely vegetable garden and an orchard both in development stages, livestock in small numbers (sheep and chickens) and a long list of to do items. I have undertaken various courses to ensure I can manage small repairs around our property, I preserve the fruits of my gardens when ever I am able to do so and I have a plan.