As our family enjoyed a meal around the table this week we were discussing that, yet again, most of the meal had come off of our own property. Roast chicken (meat and herbs we raised, butter we churned from raw milk we buy a share of), creamy cashew green beans (purple bush beans from our garden), brown sugar carrots (carrots from our garden), garlic potatoes (potatoes and part of the seasoning from our garden), and cheesy zucchini (zucchini from our garden).
Then the conversation turned to “How long has it been since we bought….?” and we were very pleasantly surprised by the results.
How long has it been since we bought _______ because we provide enough of it from our own homestead?
Red Meat – 17 years! Yup, 17 years. Mtn Man has provided all our red meat through hunting elk and deer for the last 17 years. And last year Young Man joined in and is now also providing red meat for the family through hunting. Plus, we raised two calves for beef when we also had a dairy cow.
Lamb – 2 years!
Eggs – 3 1/2 years! And really it has been 7 1/2 years, with a 1 year break in the middle when we moved. So 3 years of no egg buying, then a year of buying, then another 3 1/2 years of no buying.
Green Beans – 7 years! I was able to store up enough for the year we took off of gardening during the move.
Carrots – 7 years! Same as the beans.
Stewed Tomatoes – 2 years! We have grown enough tomatoes in the last couple years for me to can enough stewed tomatoes for all our chilis, soups, and stews over the winters.
Some Herbs – 2 years! We have grown and dried all of the basil, parsley, mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage that we have used.
And….what do we only buy a small percentage of and raise the rest…?
Chicken – 90% of our white meat needs have been met by our home-raised chicken and rabbits for the last 3 years. And about 50% of our white meat needs were provided by just the rabbits in the 4 years prior to that. We do still buy a couple of turkeys a year but hope to someday raise them too.
Salad Greens – for about 4 months out of the year we (6 of us) eat salad at least 5 times a week and it all comes from the garden. During the rest of the year we buy salad greens, but we eat them a lot less often.
What a very satisfying conversation. We hadn’t thought about some of those things and it was really fun as we all listed them off and realized what we are able to provide for ourselves. We are nowhere near self-sufficient, but it is nice to know we are providing as much food as we do. And the fact that we are a family of 7 just adds to it because that is a lot of mouths to feed. And the struggle that our climate and terrain gives us is another challenge that makes it even more satisfying. It feels really good!
I know a lot of my blog readers are also homesteading, some on a smaller or larger scale than we are. What have you not bought and for how long? Please share in the comments!