I was reading through your blog, surprised I hadn’t come across it before. I was fascinated your article on self efficiency, I wanted to calculate my own but things are in a bit of flux right now. You made a comment about about how much of a factor is climate, lifestyle, etc, affecting the ways we are self sufficient. I pondered this a lot while I was living in Australia.
I was amazed at some of the rainwater collection systems people had and the degree of solar panels, and wanted to bring some of those home with me. Then I realized the warm climate made the rain water collection a possibility, much harder to do in a cold climate.
Additionally, we had such a tiny place to live in Australia compared to my home here, but again the warm climate made this possible. When you are stuck inside 9 months out of the year (for the most part) in a cold climate a larger house makes much more sense for keeping your sanity with the kids.
Transportation was another one driven by lifestyle and climate. In the city we took public transportation, walked or biked everywhere. In 3 years, I drove less than 3000 kilometers. I contemplated why I didn’t use public transportation at home more (when it was available). I decided the big one was climate. What do you do with all the clothes you bundled up in to stand at a bus stop in a cold climate, once you arrive?
I had a question for you as to how you would incorporate hunting into your tables. Would you just convert the meat into, say beef? And then subtract off the cost of hunting?
Also, you mentioned adding entertainment, this is so lifestyle dependent. Wouldn’t it make it difficult to compare? I think I will focus on living essentials and leave out the non-essentials.
Anyways it was a fascinating and thought provoking read!
Cheers, Howard (www.holsterhero.com)
Actually, I’ve been thinking it’s about time to do another Self-Efficiency Index for 2017/16. And I’ve been giving it some careful thought on these issues you mentioned, as well as some other things that have occurred to me recently.
“I had a question for you as to how you would incorporate hunting into your tables. Would you just convert the meat into, say beef? And then subtract off the cost of hunting?”
For me this is rather easy, anything I can hunt I can also buy, except for rabbits. Rabbits for food here are imported from New Zealand and the costs are out of this world. Raising rabbits for food in BC is actually illegal now, so of course I’ve calculated a visual blind for the hutch into the costs. >:)
I think the purpose of the index is mostly to compare to yourself, so if you use beef as a measure for meat costs, just make sure you do it every time you calculate the same way.
… much harder to do in a cold climate …
Since I am in BC near the coast, collection of rainwater isn’t high on my list, getting rid of it should be thou. But as for collecting it in cold climates, I’d like to point out that between solar, or geo based heating it doesn’t actually take that much to keep it above the freezing point, any deep well proves that. We never had to de-ice the well for the farm.
Transportation was another one…
Transportation is another hot top. It relates to self-employment in my book, since I don’t see trade people taking their big box of tools and supplies for a job around by the local bus system. I actually had an argument on-line with someone about Public Transit actually costing more then owning a car. I can understand how someone can make the mistake of thinking that public transit costs less because a bus pass per month is likely going to be less then $100 (CA) and a car with gas and insurance can be even as high $500 or more.
The problem is people do not take into account the increase in self-efficiency and it’s value to the person who would rather run their own small business then work for someone else who could fire them over something stupid. The travel time by transit is also something to take into account as public transit is insanely slow compared to a car. In my other life (off-line), I charge over $25 and hour, three hours of travel time by transit is almost half a day’s pay, it makes no sense to use it, it simply costs to much.
Also, you mentioned adding entertainment…
There are five things we need to live a full life as self-efficient life style lovers, that is: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Education, and Entertainment. Recently, I’ve discovered Kodi, and between that and my huge collection of books, I’m set for life. Not paying a cable bill per month is going to add up by the end of the year, not to mention saving money on going to the theater.
As an added note, yesterday the DIL invited us to a picnic. We haven’t done that since we were on the road, and I have to admit it was a very enjoyable time. I think it goes towards being able to entertain ourselves in way that are a little more traditional, it adds to the family value. Something I am going to do more of I think.