Hello, Marjory. My name is Marianne and I am from Austria. I have been a subscriber to your newsletter ever since I saw you at the Survival Summit. My husband and I have a little farm (very little for American standards), and we grow our own groceries!
We took a permaculture class in 2003 with Joe Polaischer, who was born in Austria and lives in New Zealand. Our lives have very much changed since the class. At that time we both studied at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and wanted to become mobile veterinarians for horses. But after that course we both started to understand what is wrong with our society, and it really gave us hope and a true purpose in life! We wanted to become self-reliant.
We began by producing our own energy with a photovoltaic system and disconnected from the grid. We have our own water sources, and a constructed wetland. We grow many fruits and vegetables, and we keep chickens, ducks, geese, and some sheep. The sheep’s milk allowed us to start making our own yogurt, butter, quark, and cheese. We also train horses on our little “Red Oak Ranch” as an income stream. As you might imagine, we have a lot of work to do. Spare time is very rare and I sometimes wonder how on Earth I will manage all this work for the rest of my life!
Today I cooked a very delicious chili non carne, with our own pumpkin, beans, tomatoes, onions, and corn. When I opened the corn that I had canned, I found that it had gone sour. And so had the next can, and the next. I couldn’t imagine what had gone wrong. Last year I did great with canning corn, but this time something had gone very wrong. I was devastated and very sad, so much work lost. Yes, I will feed it to the chickens, but what could have gone wrong?
Sometimes I feel like this whole life is a big experiment, always advance and retreat. And then I get angry with myself, and then I get angry with the world, the whole crazy system. It is so easy to go to the supermarket and buy the food there. There are so many people among my family and friends that don’t give a second thought to their lifestyles. In fact I think they hold it like your mother-in-law, thinking that I am moving to the beat of a different drum.
So it couldn’t be an accident that at this point in my day I came across your email and read, “One of the most difficult things to face up to is that you really have to be a fanatic to be healthy these days.” And that really touched me! Yes, we do have to be fanatic! And I am proud of it. I haven’t lost myself to the “normal” just because it’s convenient and so much easier. I’m still struggling and clinging to what I think is right. Right and natural, those two are the same to me.
So I really wanted to take the time to say Thank You for all your enthusiastic work! I really appreciate you and your work very much. Keep on going and keep on smiling! Warm greetings and best wishes from cold and wet Austria.
PS – As time has passed since I originally wrote this, I think I have figured out what went wrong with my canned corn. Some cans are fine, some are sour. I think I took some of the cans out of the oven too soon, before they were heated through thoroughly. I’ll try to do better this year – new season, new chance!
This article is an entry in our January – March 2015 writing contest. Be sure to rate this article – your vote is an important part of picking the winners!
The current prize pot for this contest is already over $1,950, with more to come! Current prizes include:
- a 21.5 quart pressure canner from All American, a $380 value
- a year of free membership in the [Grow] Network Core Community, $120 value
- the complete “The Summer of Survival” interview series, a $127 value
- a copy of the “Grow Your Own Groceries” DVD video set, $42 value
- a Bug Out Seed kit from the Sustainable Seed Co, $40 value
- a copy of the “Alternatives To Dentists” DVD video, $32 value
- the complete “2014 Grow Your Own Food Summit” interview series, a $47 value
- a complete Travel Berkey Water Filter System, $230 value
- a Survival Still Emergency Water Purification still, $279 value
- a Garden Tower 2 from the Garden Tower Project, valued at $349