It’s been a few years since I began carefully considering moving down the road of greater self-sufficiency that is homesteading.
It began a few years ago with a pot of herbs and quickly morphed into a few raised beds with greens, tomatoes, squash, beans, peas, peppers and strawberries.
The next year I began to tuck additional vegetables between my more traditional landscape vegetation, added more variety to my crop and added a rain barrel. That year I hardly had to use water from the tap!
Then Darren became mobile, and I provided full-time childcare out of our home, so I maintained the garden at about the same size the next year in an effort to be able to keep things sane. I dug a 4×8 bed out of our backyard grass and planted potatoes. I was able to create a root cellar space in our cool, dry basement for potatoes and the few winter squash that weren’t killed off by squash bugs.
Then we moved a few times and lost a whole season of growing. During that time, I put up 2 bushels of peaches in the form of canned slices, jam, frozen slices and nectar. I also put up about 40 quarts of tomatoes.
This year, we have a yard with four times the square footage for planting than we’ve had so far, and I have a varied planting already underway.
I’ve always had the goal to “minimize our grocery bill.” But it’s immeasurable. That means that I can let myself get complacent and trick myself into thinking that I am growing as much as possible.
Not this year! I have given myself an actual measurable goal: to preserve all of the jam that my family needs. No more buying jam at the store.
The definition of jam, as it fits this goal: something that can be spread on bread to be eaten on a PB&J sandwich. Peach jam doesn’t fit in this category. Other specialty jams (like the plum-peach-vanilla that I can’t resist making each year) and jams to be gifted don’t fit in this category. So I estimate that I’ll need to put up about 70 half-pints of jam during this berry season once I factor in our “home jam” and all of the others.
I think I’ll need more jars!
Do you have any measurable homesteading goals established?