I'm not sure where the want of being self-reliant started. I remember my Mom baking every weekend and sewing us matching dresses when I was little. Even when I was older she made some awesome garlic dills! But I don't suppose that was being self-reliant so much as doing something she enjoyed from time to time.
When I got into high school I discovered "Mother Earth News". What a revelation THAT was. I didn't know people lived that way. No one I knew did, that's for sure. That's when I decided I wanted to live in a log cabin somewhere in the hills. No electricity...no running water. Ummm yeah. That didn't happen. I went along with the flow. Lived like everyone else. Hated it. In the meantime I raised three kids and kept wishing I at least lived in the country and not in town.
A few years ago I came across an internet forum called Homesteading Today. Whoaaaa! There were other people out there that had the same ideas I did! So I read and absorbed and learned from all the helpful folks there. What an abundancy of knowledge all those people had and how great that they were so willing to share! I decided that I would try and make my dream a reality.
About a year ago my partner and I found a place in the country that we could rent REALLY cheap. Five acres and plenty of room to have a garden and eventually a few critters. Today I am waiting for my first chicks to arrive. They'll be here in a couple of weeks and I am soooo excited! I have the brooder ready and we'll be starting on the coop this week. I've got 5 buff orpingtons and a buff roo, 5 barred rocks and 5 white rocks and a white rock roo on the way. Soon we'll have farm fresh eggs for breakfast and eventually fresh chicken for dinner and eggs and chicks to sell.
Our garden is tilled and waiting for us to get out there and get planting. I think the weather is going to stay nice now so we should be able to do that soon. We already have a lot of our seeds started. Hopefully everything grows well this year. We'll be planting 4 types of tomatoes, 2 types of beans, pumpkin, watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers, onion, zuchinni, strawberries and peppers. I also have seeds for lavender, various herbs and several types of gourd. I hope to sell the herbs and birdhouses, bowls, etc. that I make from the gourds. There are a couple of apple trees, grape vines and blackberries here already. I made grape jelly and juice from the grapes last year and they were so good. Much better than anything you can buy in the stores.
I'm hoping to do a lot of canning and dehydrating this year. I now make my own laundry detergent, too. Totally chemical free.
I doubt that I'll ever be totally self-reliant, but it's good to know how to do these things. Especially nowadays when going to the store is so expensive and the economy is so bad. I will always have electricity and running water I guess, unless a time comes that they aren't available. Then I will make do. I don't HAVE to have electricity as I have oil lamps to use for lighting and I can live without things like the internet (although I would sure miss it. lol).
So, I continue to learn how to do new things all the time. First chickens and maybe a couple of dairy goats for next year. And I definitely want to raise rabbits again. But, one step at a time. It's just nice to know where a lot of our food will be coming from. Free from chemicals and over processing. Healthy. Yes, life CAN be very good!