Random Self-Sufficiency Moments

We’re still up here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, watching the leaves change, listening to the loons and the geese, and uncovering more critical house projects that have to be done before we head for Virginia at the end of the month. How much lumber can we wrestle through attic windows? Stay tuned!

I’ve written about how Vermont is like cruising before. Along those same lines, we tend toward the hermit while we are here. Days can go by without getting in a car, or spending money. Yes, Amazon (and any links here might be affiliate links - as an Amazon affiliate I earn through qualified purchases) is as easy here as it is elsewhere (it does take an extra day or two to find its way to this corner of the world) but in general, we’re just not shopping. Why shop when we’ve got everything we need?

What are some self-sufficiency moments we’ve had recently that remind me of cruising?

  1. Jeremy cut his own hair yesterday. He does this on occasion, whipping out the clippers and standing in front of the mirror. He has not paid a barber in over 10 years. Extra bonus? No time wasted on driving somewhere or waiting for a chair to open up.

  2. Dinner last night was an absolute favorite - spicy red lentil soup with pita bread and my version of raita. The pita bread? Homemade. No need to run to the store to buy some, since I stock flours and yeast as a matter of course. The bigger “use what you have” example here is that I didn’t have the spices I needed, exactly, for the soup. I debated getting in the car to go get them but decided I was going to make do. No chili powder, or coriander; instead I put in extra black pepper and a (very small) amount of cinnamon, plus a bit of curry powder, as the substitutions. Understanding that the chili powder offered kick and the coriander is slightly sweet made those decisions easy.

  3. It’s getting cold up here, at least to our southern-thinned skin on temperatures. We ripped out all the heat registers (the damaged-fan, leaking-water-onto-the-floor registers) once we realized a) the furnace was dead and b) we weren’t keeping the house open all winter so not replacing it any time soon. Oh, and c) if down the line we decide to replace the furnace it won’t be with oil heat or those registers anyway. HOWEVER . . . the shoulder seasons are downright chilly. What do we do for warm? We talked about a pellet stove. Debated some kind of wood stove. What’s this? An existing solution in the house? YES! Sue had a propane heater in the garage, plumbed but not in use. Jeremy brought it in, figured out the code for compliant installation, and set it up. Now in the morning, he fires it up with the press of a button and we’ve got warm. Ahh.

A great skill to practice before you go cruising is the ability to make do with what you have. Instead of jumping to buy something, or pay someone else to do it, look to see what might work instead.

See you out there!

Enjoying ourselves. Ahh.

Enjoying ourselves. Ahh.

PS. I’ll be at the Annapolis Boat Show in October, teaching at Cruisers University (provisioning and fitness aboard), talking to advertisers and readers at Good Old Boat magazine’s booth (AB8B, along the Naval Academy wall side), and talking to readers and buyers at Lin Pardey’s booth (M5, next to the Hendricks Gin Barge!). Stop by and say hello if you’re there!