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February 2018
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Five Reasons to NOT be Self-Sufficient or Hey, Why Try?

My subjects for blog posts drop out of the sky like fruit from an idea tree.  Sometimes it ripens and falls and sometimes someone shakes the tree a bit.  Well recently I got two shakes on my idea tree and what fell surprised me.

The first shake was an arrogant little troll who left a comment.  You can’t find the comment because I’m simply not entertaining trolls (except for this post! HA).  But the basic theme of the comment was that I shouldn’t call myself “The Self-Sufficient Gardener” because I don’t smelt the ore and forge my own tools.  Well I’ll go one step further I shouldn’t call myself that because I didn’t create the sun and the nuclear hydrogen fission reaction that makes all life possible.  We all rely on something and on someone.  I call this show The Self-Sufficient Gardener because I feel that the journey of TRYING to make our lives self-sufficient is a worthy cause.  And if you really want to get down to brass tacks, I can garden without tools if I had to or I could make my own.

The second was a comment from elsewhere about someone who did something and just had to add in this:  “Its not self-sufficient but I don’t care”.

Now the fact that someone would take the time to type that does mean they care.  Else they wouldn’t type it.  Now my reaction is that I want to respond and say hey if you’d just done this, this and this you could get closer.  Maybe instead of saying “I don’t care” they might simply say “I know how to make it self-sufficient but I choose not to”.  Now that would make more sense. 

I’ve NEVER come off as self-righteous.  I’m not self-sufficient.  But have I ever not tried?  NO.  I look at everything and I’m aware.  Its not something I measure in ability but rather knowledge.  I just simply do not get when people have to get all snippy about it.  Maybe I feel like its directed at me even when its not.  I TRY to show people how to be more self-sufficient.  If you want to crap on that, its your loss.

So here’s my mock list of 5 reasons why you shouldn’t even try to be self-sufficient.

1.  Its tough – Planting a fruit tree takes time (like 15 whole minutes!).  Throwing some leaves on a compost bin takes time and leaves are heavy.  Its so much easier to go to work and stress yourself (trust me I know) so you can go to the store and buy everything you need.

2.  I don’t need to be – See #1 above.  I’ve got a job that I’ll always have.  I’ll always have money.  There will always be oil to grow my food and who cares what they have to do to the environment or our country to make that happen.  I’m entitled to it.

3.  Someone else will do it for me – See #1 and #2 above.  Why should I do anything?  I can set on my butt and someone will bring me what I deserve and am entitled to.  See, its that easy.

4.  Learning to do this is impossible – What if we had this amazing resource where information could be delivered at the push of a button.  We didn’t need this resource forever but man we could learn from it while its here.  I mean we wouldn’t want to be TOO reliant upon it.  We’d call it the internet.

5.  If I can’t be 100% then why bother? – This is last because its the most dangerous one.  I can’t smelt ore (well actually I do know how!) and I can’t forge tools and I can’t build  a pickup truck and I don’t know how to solder circuits in a computer chip.  Geesh if everyone dropped out and became self-sufficient we might be in trouble.  But we aren’t talking about everyone -we are talking about me and you.  The world won’t end that one computer programmer dropped out and started growing his/her own food.  Being 100% self-sufficient is impossible for all but about 1% of people in the US – that 1% are called mountain men.  The purpose isn’t to become a hermit, its to make your life healthy, easier, more enjoyable and resilient!

10 comments to Five Reasons to NOT be Self-Sufficient or Hey, Why Try?

  • Erollins

    Man I love it when you get mad! But don’t react to these trolls. In reality, no one can be self sufficient. We will always need something from somebody or something else. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to become as self sufficient as we can. And what we can’t, we rely on each other to provide. We live in a culture of “take” and it will only be those that “give” that can help us through this. Jason, you’re one of the givers. Keep doing what you do and let the “nay sayers” “nay.” They are the grasshoppers. We are the ants. If they would stop for a second and observe what is going on around them, they would speak a different tune or suffer the consequences.

    PS – When are you going to do a show on smelting iron:)

  • Erollins

    Maybe you should change the name to “The trying to be self aware Gardner.”

  • Matthew from Gooseneck, Ga

    Sometimes Jason my friend it is better not to even akwowledgde these people. Your true fans, and you do have fans, get you and what you do. I tend to think of you as a crazy cousin who I don’t see a lot cause you live out if state. .

  • Matthew from Gooseneck, Ga

    That is meant as a complement by the way!

  • Jason

    Ed – that has a ring to it.  HAHAHA.  No I’m actually not that mad.  I look at people like this with pity.  The more and more stuff I find about why you shouldn’t be self-sufficient the harder I try.  But thanks.  I’m so glad you see me as one of the givers. 

    Yeah episode 500 is going to be making your own utensils.  Tune in for that one! 

    I had to learn rudimentary blacksmithing when I was in the SCA.  I had a mentor that would cast bronze, acid etch and let me weld and beat metal into shapes.  Pretty fun for a nerd like me!


  • Jason

    Matthew – Its fun acknowledging them though, they give me material.  LOL

    Yeah thanks for the compliment hahaha. 

    Cousin Eddie from National Lampoons!

  • Charles Fillinger

    Self-sufficiency is a non-achievable goal, but it makes an interesting journey. I’m just trying to improve my batting average. An 80% reduction in food costs has increased my ability to negotiate in those areas I am not self-sufficient.

  • Jason

    I agree Charles that for most people self-sufficiency is not achievable and maybe not really desirable.  I think you stated well that if we can just improve our batting average it puts us on better ground.


  • Teeboneteddy

    I do it because I can.

  • Bowenfarm1

    Being self-sufficient is certainly possible. Many cultures still do it today. A nice balance though would be natural living complimented with technology instead of the other way around 🙂 The best of both worlds.