Monday, June 25, 2012

July Roadmap for Your Self Sufficient Journey by Frugal Farmer

I am sharing this from Frugal Farmers Facebook Page as I think it is a great list to work through for July! Enjoy!

As each of us progress on our personal journey towards self-sufficiency, we need tools to serve as roadmaps to guide us on this journey.

Sit back, relax and take a few extra moments from your busy schedule to read this roadmap for your future. I know it will be well worth the time.

Use this checklist as your own guide. Modify it to suit your own personal needs. I believe most you will find most of the things on this checklist useful. Depending on where you are at on your journey, some of these items will not be applicable to you. You may have already accomplished these goals are not quite ready for some. If you find you are not ready for some of these items this year, they will be repeated in future checklists and you always have next year. Refer back to this checklist throughout the month.

This checklist is designed for my specific local area of East Tennessee (Zone 7a). For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere this would be your January Checklist. Friends in other growing zones should modify this checklist for your zone.

- Continue to develop family plans to take control of your future. Avoid using credit cards and live below your family budget. Find at least one new way to save money and apply this savings to pay off existing debt.

- Develop a written list of goals and objectives for the month of July. This list should include financial goals, family goals, learning goals, health goals, project goals etc… Make sure your goals are realistic, achievable and measurable.

_ Continue to develop family emergency plans and build emergency supplies to include water, food, lighting, and alternative cooking.

- Continue to shop local whenever possible. Supporting your local businesses keeps your money local and supports families in YOUR community. Take advantage of local farmer’s markets in your area. Continue to build a network of people in your local area to trade and barter goods and services.

- Practice your trading and bartering skills. Conduct at least one trading or bartering deal this month.

- Take advantage of summer yard and garage sales. Go early to beat the heat of the day and find the bargains before the “professional” yard sellers show up.

- Learn one new skill. This should become a monthly goal as you continue on your path towards self-sufficiency. Becoming self-sufficient means learning to learn new skills and taking care of things yourself instead of hiring or paying someone else to do it for you.

- Find AT LEAST one new recipe to cook from scratch. Not only will this help with your financial goals, but you will know the exact ingredients involved in preparing this meal.

- Research at least one new herbal or natural home remedy to improve your overall health.

- If you are a smoker, continue to look at quitting. This will not only improve your overall health and well-being, but you can apply the savings to paying off debt or purchasing items needed to continue your journey towards self-sufficiency.

- Ensure you get out in your herb and vegetable garden every day. Weed as needed. Pick beans every day to keep production at peak. Pick cucumbers, squash and zucchini when they are small. Larger fruits from these vines are less desirable. Pick okra when they are 2-3 inches long. Continue to pinch suckers from tomato plants to focus energy to fruit development.

- Learn how to save your own seed from heritage/heirloom plants. Save your seed for next seasons garden and be sure to save some to share with others. This will allow you to swap seed with others and build your seed collection.

- Keep a close eye on herb garden. Pinch back herbs such oregano, basil and mint to keep them compact and from bolting.

- The heat of the summer can be deadly to pets and livestock. Ensure you provide fresh drinking water for your pets and livestock and check it during the heat of the day. Consider providing inexpensive tarp shade shelters for your animals.

- The heat of the summer can create challenges in your garden. Ensure you water your garden adequately to ensure you get a good deep soaking. Mulch will assist in weed control and maintain moisture. Consider soaker systems if you are not currently using one. A general rule of thumb is one inch of water per week when you do not receive adequate rainfall. Melons, cantaloupes, and gourds will require additional water during the heat of the summer.

- As one crop finishes producing, pull the plant/vines and add to compost pile. Condition your soil with additional compost and plant additional crops. Consider those types of crops which thrive in the heat. Also consider timing and plant crops that will mature well before your average first frost date. Black eyed peas, purple hull peas, crowder peas, and pink eyed peas are suitable for planting in the first week of July.

- Continue to add material to your compost piles/bins. Turn compost piles/bins weekly during the summer. All compost must be kept moist. Add water to your compost as required to keep it active and alive.

- Begin planning you fall garden now. You will want to focus on those cooler weather crops. Now is the time to begin looking at hoop houses or greenhouses to extend your growing seasons. Construction should be completed prior to the 1st of October so the clock is ticking on getting this project completely by then.

- If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to clean your fireplace chimney or wood stove pipes. Gather additional firewood to ensure it is seasoned for this winter.

- Ensure you have all of your canning supplies for the remainder of the season. Shortages of canning supplies can occur during the peak of canning season.

- Prune or remove trees with blight. Do not put diseased trees in your compost piles. Burn these types of garden waste.

- Conduct a home energy audit to reduce your electric consumption. Replace you HVAC filter when you receive your utility bill. Search online for additional energy audit guidelines.

- If you plan on a summer vacation, avoid the typical “tourist” type vacations. Look at every available low cost/no cost options in your area or region. Be wise about lodging and meal cost during your vacation—plan ahead. If you are staying in one location for multiple days, consider a place with a kitchenette, buy your own groceries and cook in your accommodations. Avoid the temptation of buying meaningless beads, trinkets and t-shirts.

- If you haven’t developed a long-range project list yet, do so. If you already have one, look it over and make necessary modifications. This should be a written plan that is prioritized. Get the whole family involved in making and modifying this list.

- If you haven’t done your touch up painting yet, this is a great time to do so.

- If you have a garage or shed, chances are you have accumulated a lot of “stuff” and put it in there to get it out of your way. Time to clean out the garage. Have a yard sale and sell some of this “stuff” that has been collecting dust. Donate any items that do not sell to your favorite thrift store. Dispose of anything considered junk.

- Change oil in small engine equipment to extend the life of your equipment. Store used oil in suitable containers. Save this oil to use as chainsaw bar lubrication. Sharpen lawn mower blades to ensure they are cutting your grass instead of tearing it.

- If you do not have a clothes drying line yet, install one. The summer heat will dry your clothes quickly outdoors. Drying clothes on a line actually saves wear and tear on your clothing. Every time you clean out the lint trap on your dryer, you are actually cleaning out bits of your clothing. Now would also be the ideal time to clean your dryer’s exhaust pipe. Lint will collect in these flex pipes and reduce efficiency and lead to potential fire hazard.

- Inspect and repair gates, fences, and fence posts. Take advantage of summer weather and make necessary repairs.

- 4th of July sales are a great time to stock up on supplies. This is typically one of the best times to find great deals on things such as charcoal briquettes, paper products, and grilling meats. You can add some of these items to your emergency kits and stock your freezer during deep discounts. Check your local grocery stores 3 or 4 days after the 4th to look for “reduced for quick sale” meats not sold during the holiday period. July is typically the best month to stock up on butter due to heavy butter production during June.

- Begin looking at Christmas holiday gift ideas. Avoid the temptation to buy into the over-commercialization of any holiday. Handmade gifts of the heart have much more meaning than some overpriced trendy gadget. Begin searching for ways to create your own personalized gifts.

- Volunteer for a local community project. Each of us has a responsibility to give something back to our communities. Find something that sparks your interest and somewhere you can build additional skills of your own.

Copyright 2012
John P. Pearson (AKA Frugal Farmers)

We encourage the widest dissemination of this information provided it is not used for commercial purposes or personal gain. If you share this information, please show respect and give the author credit. Anyone desiring to use this content for commercial purposes to include commercial type websites or blogs should contact the author for permission.