I grew up in the Midwest
and in turn raised my own family there. I grew all of our vegetables and herbs in a huge organic garden. It’s romantic when I look back on it. But the truth of the matter is in the beginning the garden kept growing larger because I found it more fun to garden rather than mow 1.5 acres of grass in the hot and humid Indiana summers.
After the first few years though, organic gardening became more than simply a hobby – it became a source of pride in the quality of food I could supply to our family’s table. In fact, it became quite an elaborate work of art, filled with companion plantings and a flower border to attract pollinators.
I have to say that I’ll never forget the satisfaction of gazing at row upon row of canning jars filled with everything from green beans, tomato juice, and pickles to homemade applesauce.
Back then Self-Reliance was a Way of Life
Living in the country—where losing power was as common as the next thunderstorm, windstorm, snowstorm or ice storm—we learned to plan for such times. We kept a supply of food on hand from season to season. A storm warning meant filling the bath tub with water, along with any containers on hand. A wood burning stove for heat and cooking, plus kerosene lamps for light made a loss of power just a little blip in the activities of the day. We didn’t even call those times emergencies—it was just weather.
That Mentality still Lives within Me Today
Even though at the moment I now reside in the suburbs and no longer have acres of land to manage (for the moment), that mentality translated into backpacking, then camping, and then on to learning bushcraft and ancestral skills. It all has influenced my writing.
I like feeling self-reliant. Knowing I have the skills and knowledge to cope with emergencies or natural disasters gives me a peace of mind. I may never need those skills—but it’s nice to have them, all the same.
I’ve Experienced a lot of Variety in My Life
I started a natural food store (before they were popular), competed in martial arts, painted in watercolors and created greeting card illustrations, made jewelry, backpacked in Yosemite, traveled the southwest, flew to Ireland and took falconry lessons at Ashford Castle, drove a NASCAR, and of course, attended many writers’ conferences. In between these ventures I worked a variety of jobs, mostly in the commercial printing industry, until I started my business, Media Fastlanes.
Running my own business and writing novels falls back into that self-reliance mode again and I love it.
And now as I venture into this brave new world of publishing, I sense new adventures and more ways to learn self–reliance. I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens and share your experiences as well.