Remember the basics

May 1, 2013

 (an old anvil my dad bought)

Self-sufficiency was not something I knew about until a few years ago after my parents and I read the Deliberate Agrarian by Herrick Kimball.  We were living smack dab in the middle of a tourist city in a not so lovely neighborhood, and Daddy was trying to get his little business off the ground.  The economy went bad in 2007 and we had to move, close the little shop we all loved, and figure out a way to survive.  We moved near an Amish community and spent nearly a year there, watching those people sustain themselves, survive without having to leave their homes, keep in a complete unshattered community while the crazy world in America spun around me and my family.

Before moving, I'd never been interested in gardening, chickens, land, or really anything close to the basics of life.  I've lived in the city most of my life and yes, it was nice and convenient and fun.  But I've lived a few years in the country as well.  And I can't describe what it feels like to be so close to the most organic, basic, fundamental, hunter and gatherer parts of life.  It is being close to the beginning of everything.  I know what it means to have eggs on my plate in the morning.  I've learned the cost of going out in all types of weather to take care of animals that, right now, I don't necessarily depend on, but support because I might depend on them one day

The thing is, we all depend on the same animals and the same plants to survive.  When it comes down to it, you and I both need the same basic things.  All of my life I've probably done what you've done when you needed food: opened the fridge and grabbed whatever suited my fancy in order to keep living.  I'll be frank, I don't like being a worry-wart or a lady on her soap box, preaching doom and gloom.  It's not a comfortable or pleasant subject, talking on survival.  But essentially, surviving, whether in the middle of the city or the middle of the country must be done on a regular daily basis whether you like it or not.  Sometimes it can be made simple and sometimes complex.  And when I first thought about trying to run a farm as a means to survive (or a place to learn how to survive completely off-grid), I honestly couldn't grasp how it could be done.  It looked like it would be the most complex thing in the world.

Tomorrow is my last day of dual enrollment at college.  It's going to be so wonderful to get into summer, but I've enjoyed the whole scoop and have learned so much.  I have the experience under my belt and now I know what college is.  But every day I come back home from college, and every day I come back from the busy lives of so many in the city to mine with over thirty animals and a big family in the country, I've discovered which life is the more complex and which life is the more simple.


  1. gaaaah...WHY MUST YOU BE SO LOVELY?!!! these are simply beautiful words, dearheart.
    one of these days we'll have to have a nice long chat over a cuppa lemonade, k?
    love you more than I can say,

  2. uhm yes. this is like so perfect. I agree with everything. xx.

  3. Okay. So basically I left a lovely and long comment on this post, but I had typed it on my family's iPod, and then blogger wouldn't let me publish it. (Boo-hoo.)

    But long story short, I said that I had flown upstairs, plopped myself on my bed accordingly, and nestled deep into my sheets, and then flicked on the iPod and immediately idulged in the beauty of your post.

    It's pure perfection, dear. And I (really) like hearing family stories like these. :)


    1. I'm sure I'll be considered crazy by doing this, but hey. I will. And I hope you'll understand. After I realized the comment I had just typed out wouldn't publish, I copied the text I had written and emailed it to myself so that when I went on the laptop, I could publish the copied comment. I found the email, with the comment I left earlier, so if you feel like you need extra cheering up and/or just generally care to read something, here is what I commented (nothing spectacular - I just didn't want to waste words, so I thought it would be better to show you the comment than not to!) --

      To read this post, I had to be somewhere special. Your posts are so much more than special, so I knew that I at least wanted to be nestled somewhere comfortable and quiet as I read it. So I clutched my family's iPod touch and flew upstairs, jumped on to my bed, lay comfortably, and then flicked our blog post into view.

      I read.

      My oh my, Gabby, did I enjoy reading this. I wholly agree with everything you've said; it's so beautifully poignant and true.

      I just... Oh, your blog is so beautiful.

      :) And that, dear Gabby, is what I said.

  4. i so love your blog. all of your posts are so good. i'm dittoing acacia, but gabby, your blog is so special.

  5. Every good writer has a conclusion and your conclusion is one of the best I've ever heard: "I've discovered which life is the more complex and which life is the more simple." Those words just charm my heart. <3

    Gosh, it is rather hard to live in the city and not get caught up in the busyness around us. Being homeschooled helps enormously, and we really are able to live a quiet life, which I'm thankful for. heart is on a farm somewhere. <3

    You got to live near those cool Amish? Wow! I bet that WAS an eye-opener. =) Self-suffiencey has always had a certain...hmmm, sparkle for me, though I can't think where this city girl got it from! ;)

    In short, I appreciate this post a lot, thanks for writing it. <3

    xx ~Jenny