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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Like money in the bank

Aurora at Island Dreaming

I have talked before about stockpiling food and my reasons before. But as we descend into winter, I realise I have been squirelling away other things, for many of the same reasons. 

These smaller stockpiles extend to a few balls of yarn, some fabric (mostly offcuts), seeds, compost, brewing chemicals, glass bottles and jars, cleaning ingredients, children's clothing, a savings account and, erm...toilet roll. None of these are stored to the extent that they are clutter, but are things I ensure that we always have a small stock of.  Sometimes we  take advantage of offers, sometimes we buy what we know we need at any price just for the security of having them. Many of these are the things that make life worth living, that should we take a financial hit, would allow us to continue the activities we do now - and probably save some money whilst we use them.

Physical goods are all well and good, but the most useful stockpile is the one you keep within yourself, from the knowledge you hold in your head, to the memory held in your muscles from practising a thing over and over. My most important possessions now are my ability to balance a budget and the know how to grow and cook some of my own food.

It is this latter stockpile that I think will serve me best in life. I don't believe that I will ever receive a a decent pension, state or otherwise. I am now 26 and currently eligible to retire at 68, which I suspect will rise much higher in my lifetime. Much of the social security safety net is being washed away as we speak. So we must continue to live the way that we do now and hone that most important of stockpiles - the ability to learn, retain and apply knowledge. I think all of us here are probably avid acquirers of new skills; to the extent that I am tempted to suggest we launch a Simple Green Frugal Co-op achievement badge program. Anyone for a fetching sash?

The stockpile I never really appreciated, being quite an introverted individual, is the esteem of a family, a community. The people that will help you out of a hole, as you will do them, when you undoubtedly fall into one. A community of people who care for you and who share useful skills and tools is as useful as the knowledge you yourself hold. I am now forced to be less introverted, to care more and to express my care to my neighbours and friends, where I previously would have shied away.

So these are the banks where I keep my money. Where do you keep yours?


Christina said...

Some lovely thoughts here. I'm new to the blog, and very happy to have found you. I totally agree with your thoughts on stockpiling knowledge! We are learning so much everyday on our little homestead, and it is certainly a lasting kind of gain.

Keep up the good work here!

Dea-chan said...

I had an epiphany recently where I realized that I knew how to cook. I was simmering chicken bones from my most delicious roast yet with spices for stock, planning on making soup, and just felt comfortable in these preps.

I hadn't had to look up "what to do with chicken bones", I didn't have to look up how to do it, I just knew. And I threw in what I had, and knew it would turn out ok.

I've only gotten here from reading blogs like this, and learning how women and men all around the world are comfortable with their food. That is the most useful thing that I can take with me through life that I would never have had without these blogs.

I think it's an excellent idea to try and tally up what people have learned from these communities. I'd love to see how each person interacts differently with all of this information exchange.

Jenny said...

Both self sufficiency and dependence on our communities will be helpful. Sounds contradictory but they complement each other.

Aurora said...

Christina, welcome to the Co-op!

Dea-chan - you have put it brilliantly. I did a similar thing with frugality and craft blogs and forums when we first started to pay down our debts. There was encouragement and different approaches and experiments - and now I know how to balance our books and DIY so many things.

Jenny - I agree completely.

Indiamommy said...

Taking your point further along, I'm working with my children so they can grow up understanding the importance of sustainable knowledge. Great ideas!