Becoming more self sufficient is a learning lesson in itself. When we began our journey I was against purchasing any fruit from the grocery store throughout the Winter months. I had frozen and dehydrated much of our favorite fruits and thought it would be enough. What I learned was that I had only prepared enough for a family of four to five not ten and after the children starting catching colds I knew they were not getting the natural vitamins that they required.
So off to the grocery store I went, frustrated and disappointed with myself at that moment. Now its a weekly event! We stock up on kiwi, apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes and milk....lots and lots of milk! It is actually quite amusing when we go shopping because people stop, stare and count the children as we go by. I have to say in all honesty, I would too I mean we shop with three carts and by the end of our outing the carts are always overflowing with fruit, milk and anything else we need.
I know we are going to have to find a way to preserve and store our fruit being that the price of food is increasing and with nine little mouths to feed it does get expensive! I just have to figure out the quantity needed to do us an entire Winter.
When it comes to eggs, with a family our size you can never have enough. So during the hard cold Winter months when our ladies refuse to lay we find ourselves traveling two and a half hours to a well known chicken farm where we purchase enough eggs to last one month. I know it sounds a little funny to travel so far, but we have to go where we know we can get the quantity we need and I like to know that we are purchasing free range eggs not caged eggs.
So as for becoming self sufficient we have a long way to go! We need to figure out whether cows or goats are best for milk and how we would house them. To become totally self sufficient isn't something you can just dive into when you have a family our size. Our fridges are always full and in order to keep us healthy we have to figure out the best way to do so without taking that trip to the store every week. Preserving foods by canning and dehydrating is great but we also have to learn how to care for and milk the dairy animal of our choice. There is only so much research you can do and really after everything you read nothing can prepare you for the real hands on experience.