I am happy to report my garden is doing well. I can see changes in the rate of growth. The tomatoes are done, the peppers are there but small, and the sunflowers are almost ready to harvest. With the cooler weather the plants naturally wain. I have just begun my self sufficient trek so I will allow it all to go for the winter. Most homesteaders plant a fall and winter garden with row covers and cold frames. I did a cold frame one winter that was mild using old windows from the house. (I love to re purpose things.) However, this year will be different. More thought is going to my my planning, soil, and plants. My research is ongoing so I will take some time and replant next spring. I freeze most of my foods that I have grown. Its easy for me and I need the freezer full so it runs less thereby saving energy. I have a smaller refrigerator now. Before I had two large refrigerators with freezer attached. Now I'm down to a side by side fridge in the kitchen and full size freezer in the basement. I have a food dehydrator and have used is for tomatoes. They taste like sun-dried tomatoes. I will use it again for beef jerky and dried apples for snacking. Canning is a problem at the moment because my electric stove has a glass cook top and the weight of the canner with all the water will be too much for it to hold. So canning will wait till I have a single burner to rest it on.
To continue my path to self sufficiency I will be buying solar panels and learning to use them as soon as finances allow. They are much cheaper now and easier to use than ever before. I long for a wood stove but fitting it in my house is a problem. Its just too tiny to fit one. The money you save heating with wood is so great your wallet will be closed almost permanently. Wood is hard to cut without a log splitter, but for around $1800 you can get a good gas powered one and split 10 cords over a summer with little effort. Wood is $200 per cord pre-cut, but if you team up with a tree trimming company your can get it for free. Make sure you have a place to cut and store the wood and you are set. Our house is secure for winter heating though. We have saved up and added a large electric hot water heater (Thanks to our good friend Orlando and My husband Tom) to off set the oil bill which can be upwards of $800 per fill 3-4 times per year. Also on hand is the kerosene heater for power outages, and to supplement heat where ever we need it. I will never give up my hair dryer or my dishwasher or my washer and dryer for the laundry. So if your are thinking I will live like an Amish person your are completely out of your mind. However, going "off the grid" never really meant that lifestyle anyway. Self sufficient means you can live without those things and can care for your self without needing everything prepackaged, and delivered to your door. Breaking free from the high bills of the energy companies, using solar power, keeping more of what you earn, and for the love, the joy and pride of doing it yourself. That is where its at for most homesteaders. I am getting there. I enjoy the work. Do what you can to save the earth for your children. We all have a responsibility to our future.
Blessing to you all.