What Does Being Self Sufficient Mean?

Being self sufficient doesn't mean that you have to move to a cabin in the woods and be completely off grid, although some people do go that far. There are many levels of self sufficiency that the average person, even with a busy schedule, can achieve without going to extremes.

Dictionary.com describes self sufficiency as being able to provide one's needs without outside assistance. This usually means growing one's own groceries and supplying one's own meats, cleaning supplies, laundry soaps, etc. However, in today's world, it is nearly impossible for the average person to become totally self sufficient by that definition. You can however, help yourself be prepared for things such as long and short term power outages, store shelves being raided by panic buyers before storms or during pandemics such as the one we have been seeing.

This week we will look at short term power outages. You can look for your power to go out when it storms, snows or even when someone crashes into a pole in your neighborhood. The power could be out for hours. During that time you will need to have basics, light, heat, etc., with light being one of the first things needed.

Old fashioned oil lamps are a great way to light up your house. They store well and the oil really doesn't have a limited shelf life like batteries do. In addition, oil lamps can provide limited heat in a small area. You don't even have to have a lighter to light them; all you have to have is a match, which can be kept in a safe place. Oil lamps should be kept out of reach of small children and in a place where they won't be accidentally knocked over.

If you don't like the idea of an oil lamp, you can get battery operated lamps, flashlights, etc and keep them in specified areas in the house. Make sure to keep batteries near them in case they go out. If you use this method, you should probably check the lights and batteries monthly to make sure they are still charged. The trick here is to make sure the kids haven't been playing with the flashlights and run the batteries down or misplaced the flashlight.

Another way to have light for the house is to hook up a marine battery (or even a car battery), and inverter to power a few LED lights. Again, you still have to keep the battery on a solar panel or on a trickle charger to make sure it's charged. Using this method you can run a 40ft string of LED lights for several hours. It's cumbersome but it works.

I hope these simple steps give you some ideas about keeping light available for your house. Of course, these little steps are assuming you don't have a generator or whole house generator to fall back on. Next week we will cover heat. If you like this blog, pass it on to friends.

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