Difficulty levels of self-sufficiency
You may have already posted on this but is there a list somewhere from easiest to most difficult (or maybe a scale of degree of difficulty) in terms of being completely self-sufficient? For example, growing veggies (varies between easy and medium), growing fruit tress (medium), producing your own oil from seeds (medium), producing all your own energy (difficult).
I've put off answering this question for a long time since it's far more tricky than it at first appears. In general, I think there are three axes of homesteading difficulty --- skills you have to learn, time spent either mastering the concept or on daily upkeep, and money spent on the project. For me, growing my own vegetables can't be termed difficult because I have an affinity to plants, but it is certainly time consuming. I actually think that fruit trees are easier than vegetables, but since you sometimes have to wait as much as a decade for them to bear fruit, the learning curve takes longer and the time itself might put them in the "difficult" category (even though annual time spent on upkeep of the orchard would drop them back down to "easy.") Producing all of your own energy isn't hard if you buy a pre-made system, but the financial cost is certainly steep. If I added up an estimated difficulty on each of the three axes, I might come up with the list below, starting with "easy" tasks and running up to "hard" ones:
But then I got even more bogged down with the concept
To be truly self-sufficent, I'd have to add hundreds of items to
the list above, and I don't know that I necessarily want to spend weeks
making a pair of shoes just so that I can say I'm entirely
self-sufficient. Lately, I've been feeling like our true goal is
not self-sufficiency but happiness --- by living simply enough and
meeting many of our own needs, we can eat food that makes us feel good
and have time left over to pour into our friends, family, and
hobbies. Perhaps the most difficult task on the homesteader's
list is finding the balance between doing it all yourself and enjoying
the journey --- finding balance.
Our homemade chicken waterer certainly makes one part of the homesteading spectrum easier, saving some homesteaders hours per week.
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