Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting support when you are starting out.

I think one of the biggest challenges I had... well okay, there were really TWO big challenges for me:

1- My husband thought, and likely still thinks, I am crazy. As does most of my family and friends!

2- I had no idea where to start, what to do, or how to learn the basics.

On challenge number one, I decided that I had never cared before if my loved ones thought I was crazy (well, except my grandpa - but he's just special like that), so why would I start caring about their input now. I know the answer to that has a lot to do with how battling Hughes Syndrome, and the repeated brain injuries from lack of blood flow, have effected me personally and my level of independence. The physical challenges are tough. The emotional ones from becoming dependent on others for your care and from having new limitations, those ARE the real CHALLENGES. Challenges are meant to be overcome, right? Not fun sometimes.

So, challenge number two: How to learn what I need to learn, to do what I want to do?

Youtube was a great find for me.
Youtube has information on everything I needed to learn the elements of 'urban homesteading' from composting, vermicomposting (composting using worms), backyard orchards, beekeeping, diy solar and wind power (grid alternatives), biodiesel, gardening, storing food, saving seeds, water conservation, composting toilets.... seriously just about everything you can think of. Once I had a few keywords to search for, I spent hours watching and learning.

At some point it does get overwhelming. That's when I said "Okay, what can I do reasonably painlessly?". For me that answer was grow a few things, learn to better utilize our resources (money, food, water, etc). So how to do that?

This video was one that really inspired me to take something that I was interested in and make it a larger life goal.

Jules Durvaes of Path to Freedom: HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION - Radical Change Taking Root.

Jules said "Rethink the possible. Start where you are, and do something different."

For me it started with some 'reclaimed' materials and some potting soil. I couldn't afford to invest any money into amending our soil or buying or building planter boxes. So a damaged dresser strewn on the side of the road became a planter box. Crazy! Right?
"Start where you are, do something different." It was a start. It also helped me decide what I wanted as a larger goal. Who am I, what am I about, what am I willing and unwilling to do?

I learned about the Master Gardener Program. Totally by accident. A freecycler gave me a pressure-canner, My grandma said call the Cooperative Extension Unit to see if they do safety checks. They didn't do safety checks here in Clark County, but they did have resources for gardeners!

The cool thing about your local Master Gardener Program is it has information tailored for your climate and culture! How cool is that? Most have a telephone hotline, and/or volunteers to help the public. Often there are classes or community events. The American Horticultural Society has a directory of Master Gardener Programs here:

Then it was down to the archaic basics: the library. Yep! They still have those. Some even have online rentals, read a book at the computer - check it out. One of my favorite books is: Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community (9781933392073): Heather Coburn Flores, Chelsea Green

So, I hope that gives you information that helps you get started. Thanks for letting me share a little bit of our experiences. Please comment with your own thoughts, resources, and frustrations.

Good Luck, and Enjoy your journey!

Mojave Momma

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