Self-Reliance Challenge

In 2021, my husband and I got ourselves organized for different types of emergencies. Or as some might label us, we became preppers. I’d like to say we’ve become much more prepared for different types of emergencies. We’re prepared for emergencies such as our car breaking down while driving to our remote cottage. We have first aid kits in every vehicle in case we are in a car crash or witness one. And we have enough supplies to be self-sustaining in the event of a power outage. This year I’m choosing to tackle a self-reliance challenge as a goal in 2022.

I’ve shared a few posts so far on how I’m handling preparedness so if you’re curious here they are:

8 Steps To Take To Become A Prepper

Prepared: Everyday Carry

Prepared: The Car Mobility Bag

Prepared: The First Aid Kits

To step it up a notch, in 2022, I want to challenge myself to continue to learn more about self-reliance. To do so I thought I would pick one skill a month to learn. I could share all the reasons why I’m doing this but I thought I’d just jump into sharing the skills I want to learn. For me, it’s doable to learn one new skill a month. I’ve got a couple of skills grouped together which you’ll understand why when you see them.

January Challenge

Sourdough Baking: I guess you could say I’m finally jumping on the pandemic baking trend. I’ve never thought that I’d jump on this baking trend. That’s because I avoid gluten, however, I’ve finally done the research around how to make gluten-free sourdough.

Beyondceliac.org states that “while the natural bacteria may make [sourdough bread] easier to digest, and the fermentation process decreases the amount of gluten, it still does not reach 20ppm (parts per million) or less of gluten.”

I grabbed the Teff and Buckwheat Sourdough Starters from this Etsy Shop. I will then purchase similar flours to bake with from Naturamarket. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes next month!

February Challenge

Canning & Fermenting: I’m going to start slow. There are two things that I really want to learn how to make. I’m going to start with pickles on one weekend and sauerkraut on another weekend. Over the holidays, I managed to pick up two books. Amazon had their kindle versions on sale for $0 so I’ll use these and YouTube videos as resources.

A to Z Canning and Preserving for Total Beginners : The Essential Canning Recipes and Canning Supplies Guide Food Preservation and Canning for Beginners: 7 Essential Food Preservation Tips For Off Grid Survival and The Homestead

March Challenge

Brine Curing / Meat Smoking: I have a love affair with smoked salmon. So why not learn how to make it?! I’m going to use this recipe to make my own. The only thing I have to decide is if I’m going to make our own smoker or buy one.

April Challenge

Seed Starting Station / Microgreens: After failing at gardening, in 2016, I had a small success in 2021. My parents gifted me with a raised bed garden that I kept on our back patio. I successfully grew lettuce, kale, onions and asparagus. I’m ready to tackle a much larger backyard garden next year. I found this resource for when to start growing certain plants indoors so I’ll use this as a guide.

In terms of microgreens, I bought a bunch of seeds last year for sprouting. I’ll continue to sprout seeds this summer for adding to salads. However, I thought I’d also add growing microgreens to my repertoire.

I’m debating buying a fancy growing station or simply build my own with shelving 🙂

May Challenge

Gardening / Weeding / Composting: After starting my seeds indoors I’ll transplant them outside once it warms up in May. While I’ve been successful with a small garden. I’ll need to truly learn how to have a larger garden.

This will include, the need to learn how to weed. This will include not only the vegetable garden but the flower gardens as well.

And last but not least, we have a great area at the back of our yard for a compost section. I think I’ll start with a smaller rotating compost. Once I get the hang of that I’ll graduate to building a bigger compost in the back by the end of the summer.

I’m thinking about this composter. If you have it do you have any it do you like it?

June Challenge

Foraging / Tree Identification: In addition to growing our own food there is also an abundance of wild grown edible plants in our area. So my next skill I’d like to learn will be foraging. There are lots of great resources but I think I’ll start small and learn how to find around 5 – 10 items.

10 Things To Forage For In Ontario

I know there are a few experts in and around the Ottawa area so I’m also hoping to take an in-person workshop. I’d rather learn from someone vs. just books or online resources.

Mushrooms
Image from @ForagedOttawa

July Challenge

Alternate Energy: Have you ever considered what you’d do if the power went out for days, weeks or months at time? My focus this month will be on getting our house set up with renewable energy in case of a power outage.

August Challenge

Volunteer on a Farm: I’m going to reach out to a few of the local farmers I’ve been ordering from in the past year and ask if I can spend one day a weekend volunteering. I’m hoping they’ll accept the offer so I can learn directly from those who are much more self-reliant than we are.

September Challenge

Homeschooling: While our babes are still young, they are soaking up so much knowledge. I want to start organizing educational activities that I can ask our nanny to do with them so they are in a Montessori style environment. If anyone has any resources I’d love to look over them!?

October Challenge

Root Vegetable Storage / Seed Saving: If I’m successfully able to grow root vegetables like onions, carrots and beets as an example I want to learn how to store them so they can last long into the fall/winter.

November Challenge

Hunting / Field Dress An Animal: While I taught myself how to hunt for Turkey and Deer this year I ate a humble piece of tag soup (which means I wasn’t able to catch anything). I learned a lot, developed some new confidence skills and I’m excited to get back out next year.

December Challenge

Knitting: I have always said I was never going to learn how to knit. But to be honest, I’m more and more drawn to it. I’m less excited about commercially made items and more excited about what I can make with my own hands. So to any family member who is ready this blog now, guess what you’re getting for Christmas next year!!!

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