Small Steps

Reader Contribution by Jeremy Obermeyer
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Howdy, Everyone! 

I’d like to welcome each and every one of you who are reading this and thank you for joining me on this restart of our journey to self-sufficiency!  In my last blog, I talked about some of the failures we have experienced over the years and how we were going to learn from them.  So, what are you going to do when you don’t have a whole lot of resources and it’s winter time. Where do you even begin to restart this journey?     

A Chinese proverb states that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.  I knew that first step was going to be small and that we needed to start with something that we already had, but I had to take it. That first step is so critical and without it, you won’t even begin and have absolutely NO chance of achieving your goals!  Once you get started, then you have to keep moving with small steps and giant leaps alike.  Once you stop, you lose all momentum and you’re done for!  There will be those times like the ones I wrote about earlier, where we’ll get shoved backward or even get knocked down, However, if you want any chance of success, you have to get back up and keep going forward! It’s like driving a vehicle on a sloppy, muddy road.  The tires have to keep moving because once they stop, you’re stuck and there’s no chance of getting out without some help!  Even though it didn’t have much to do with homesteading directly, the first step that I made was to get my weight under control.  Keeping my weight under control will help me get into good physical shape which, in turn, will help me to be able to do more chores around the home and not get worn out near as easy.  I have started this goal by watching what I eat and how much I eat.  I’ve also started exercising.  Man, it’s amazing how quickly you can get out of shape and not even realize it!   

Keeping with the theme of small steps and starting with resources you already have, the next thing was to burn wood.  We use wood for heat to help cut down our propane usage (Sorry Chris!) and heating costs.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love propane but burning wood in the fireplace is one of my favorite sources of heat and one of my favorite things to do in the winter.  It has many advantages over propane, natural gas, kerosene, or any other heating oil,  For starters, the wood warms you up before it ever goes into the fireplace by cutting, splitting, loading, unloading, and stacking it. Then you get to carry it inside.  Once it’s in the fireplace and lit, it starts putting off a warm romantic glow that you can just lay down and relax to, forgetting all about that day’s trials.  As you are forgetting the trials, that unbeatable wood heat surrounds you and relaxes you so there are no worries whatsoever. Plus, if you happen to go outside while it’s burning the aroma is way beyond delightful!  The next morning you will have the ashes to deal with, but that’s just one more of the many advantages of wood.  Those ashes can be used elsewhere and we’ll talk about that in the next paragraph!

The third and final small step that I’m going to talk about is prepping the garden.  The spots themselves are already tilled but not much else has been done to them since last Fall.  I have raked up a lot of the leaves in the yard and scattered them throughout the garden spots adding much needed all natural nutrients into the soil.  Remember those ashes we talked about in the last paragraph?  I’ve also scattered them over the garden, especially, where the soil needs to be more acidic for things like tomatoes, corn, carrots, and cucumbers to name a few.  When the soil is dry and we get a nice day, I’ll go ahead and till the ashes and leaves into the ground, helping the nutrients get absorbed that much faster and be ready for planting.  

In closing, I hope this blog and my experiences are helpful and you continue with us on this journey.  I’d love to have you come along for the whole trip!  Also, please feel free to comment at the bottom and share.  Maybe there will be some others who would benefit from this and we could help them out together!

Jeremy Obermeyer owns and operates Obermeyer Heritage Farms with his family in Gypsum, Kansas. Obermeyer Heritage Farms is an all-natural farming and gardening operation using organic techniques to grow only heirloom vegetables and raise only heritage breeds of livestock. Connect with Jeremy on Facebook, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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