Lately I’ve been getting into tiny house blogs. Watching people build tiny houses that fit on trailers is totally fascinating. I think it appeals to me because it’s kind of like having an adult fort, something about cramming yourself into 150 or so square feet just screams adventure. I’d like to think I could live in 150 square feet since it has been a dream of mine to live out of our VW bus since we bought it 3 years ago but in my heart I know with an overly large husband and 2 pesty dogs it would be impossible. My new dream house is a more reasonable 500 square feet courtesy of Tumbleweed Tiny homes
Its super cute with the following floor plan:
The bedroom in the back would become a pimped out mudroom with a dog grooming sink, laundry and access to the bathroom. The whole room would be floor to ceiling linoleum with a floor drain so I could just spray the room clean. My solution to the dirt the comes with living on a farm (on a plus note, Jack says the grooming sink would also be awesome for beer making purposes…).
If the property we buy comes with a house we will make use of it, less wasteful that way but if not I really want this house. Jack is pretty handy so I know we could build it. Sigh, just dreaming….
My husband and I have been following a mediterranean diet since the early part of the year. I noticed that the diet did lead to an increase in satiety and overall energy (there was some weight loss too). My husband was pre-diabetic but with following this diet and exercise he reversed his condition. Sounds like an overall win right? Well the tricky part is that some key parts of our diet aren’t self sufficiency compatible.
Key parts of the mediterranean diet are olive oil, nuts, fish, less animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) whole grains, and overall mostly vegetarian. I think with some creativity we can make substitutions that remain true to the principles (ie substituting olive oil for sunflower oil we grow and make ourselves) but some areas will be tougher to maintain. Fish is going to be a problem, we would be dependent on what we could catch in the wild (unless we wanted to farm fish) and another big problem is grain. Grain takes up so much more space than potatoes to produce the same amount of calories. Potatoes are the much more practical choice for self sufficiency but I’m not really in the habit of eating them, my go to starch of choice is whole wheat pasta. Thankfully Jack grew up pretty poor and potatoes were his main diet growing up. Potatoes have a bad rap in the modern world but are actually quite nutritious and its possible to lower their glycemic index significantly by serving them with fats and protein. (I have a whole post in store about how awesome the potato is) So my goal is to get used to eating a lot more potatoes as any grain we grow will likely be reserved for beer making.
Another big clash that my current diet plan has with self sufficiency is that it overlooks the humble chicken. While we don’t plan on raising any meat animals and plan on remaining mostly vegetarian the chicken is kind of a self sufficiency cornerstone. They are easy to raise, they don’t need much space, and they produce eggs which are a high quality source of protein. The mediterranean diet only recommends poultry and poultry products once or twice a week and we would likely be eating them more often (especially when it came time to cull the roosters). I know that grass fed animal products are more healthy for you (more omega 3’s vs Omega 6’s etc) so hopefully we could figure out a “grass fed” chicken situation. Besides we need something to make up for eating less fish.
So I think Im going to try to adopt a self sufficiency diet with a Mediterranean bent. My current goal is to eat more potatoes and eggs and less pasta. We have been fishing this summer and have been enjoying wild caught catfish and trout so I think we will keep that up and try and have fish we catch ourselves account for more of our fish consumption..uh oh… guess we have to take up ice fishing.. brrrrr…
The Good Life or Good Neighbors (in the U.S) is a show that was originally aired on the BBC in the mid 70’s. Its about a couple in their late 30’s early 40’s (without children and from watching the show they are child free not by choice) who decide to quit the rat race and pursue a self sufficient life in their upper class suburb, much to the chagrin of their posh next door neighbors. My husband introduced me to the show a year or so ago and it has become my favorite show of all time. I want to do that, to quit the rat race and try and become self sufficient. The title of the blog, The 5 Year Plan is in reference to the plan we implemented at the beginning of 2013 to achieve that goal.
I briefly considered attempting to do what the Goods did, achieving self sufficiency in the suburbs but I really want to move out to the middle of nowhere. Thus the plan for the family compound began to take place, I don’t want to be completely alone and I have always been close with my family. My sister and parents are signed on and we want about 60 acres in the Willamette Valley to call home. I picked the Willamette Valley because I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have always longed to return and it has the perfect growing conditions for what I am interested in (berries, hops, etc). Right now we are in the pay down debt/save money/realign careers/fix up houses to sell phase of the plan and the goal just seems so far away. We achieved a huge part of the plan by selling our rental house this year and I am making good progress on my masters degree (to lead to a telecommuting job) but I need to do more to keep my eye on the prize. Luckily I came across this article http://homestead.org/BonnieLavigne/Countdown/ToTheCountry.htm which is a good way to feel like I am making progress toward my goal. I particularly want to focus on getting more physically fit (ie focusing on strength training and flexibility) and learning useful skills. Its hard right now because school is taking up a lot of free time but I also need to work on time management so I can accomplish more. I think I am going to start including more posts detailing how I am preparing for the Good Life on this blog.