Living a lifestyle of self-reliance used to be the norm; now, it is considered a lost art. Let me help you learn they ways of days gone by, when food was appreciated, not wasted. Goods were repurposed and not discarded.

So much of what we eat, use and wear today are purchased at a store or on-line retailer; the cost of this convenience is a lack of understanding for the effort and sacrifice that goes into the creation of goods.

Let's start with something as common as eggs. Unless you have seen a hen lay an egg, you have no idea of the effort that goes into the production of something so commonplace in our lives. Hunting or raising your own meat also instills a sense of gratitude to the animals you are consuming. A server at a buffet-style steakhouse once told me the establishment throws in the garbage the equivalent of an entire cow per day.

I started my journey in self-reliance when I became a mom. Having lived in California all my life, I always knew I should be prepared for an earthquake, but I never did anything about it, beyond putting on my mental “to do” list. I started putting a few supplies away, then decided to start a small garden. The yield was enough that I needed to create ways to freeze my harvest. Freezers can only store so much, so I learned other ways, such as dehydrating, and canning my harvests.

I learned the benefit of pressure canning complete meals, such as soups, stews, and chili – meals that could be opened and consumed immediately. Many of my friends told me, “Wow, that sure is a lot of work!” but I found the endeavors highly rewarding, particularly when my young children played in the garden when tending to it, or seeing the smiles on friends' and family members' faces when they consumed the product of my labor.

I eventually sold the home in California and moved to a remote location in the mountains of Utah, where I also learned to hunt. I butchered and processed my game, incorporating what I had learned about canning and food preservation to include wild meats.

Growing my own produce, raising chickens and processing my own meats was intimidating at first, to be sure. I recall one day, as I was staring at my first deer carcass I was about to harvest, that I had to get this done on my own, and imagined I was a frontier woman, and my husband, having just killed this dear, kindly field dressed and skinned it for me, but the rest was up to me, as he had to go plow the field, or tend to other work. Not politically correct these days, I suppose, but it provided me the motivation to get the job done, and it worked!

From growing a highly productive garden in a relatively small space, to preserving your own food, raising backyard birds, small livestock, learning how to use plants for herbal remedies, I have learned to appreciate the things so many take for granted. It has brought me closer to nature and grounded me. What started as a means to have a few meals and water on hand in the event of an earthquake has become my life's passion. Let me help you learn these ways, too!