Pasta, Pressure Canning, Chickens {& Other Self-Sufficient, Sustainable Goals for 2014}.

Am I way behind the curve if I tell you I haven't even cracked a seed catalog this winter? Sorry, dudes. I haven't. I always love sifting through all the pages of beautiful heirloom seeds, and I still do! However, right now my mind seems to be on more project-based initiatives for 2014.

Don't get me wrong, I am totally jazzed for John to build my little backyard greenhouse and start some seeds, but I have other things I'm more excited about. I know, right? I bet you never thought you'd hear me say that.

Anyway, I asked you guys on Facebook what some of your self-sufficiency or sustainability goals were for the new year, and a few of you had some great answers! I love that we're on the same wave-length. In the spirit of sharing, here are ours.

The Sustainable Couple's 2014 Self-Sufficiency & Sustainability Goals: 

1. Make pasta by hand. It's still cheaper to buy, but I'd like to know how to do it. And, it tastes better. For special occasions, it would be kind of fun. Lucky for me the New Pioneer Food Co-op in our area is offering a pasta class. No fancy Kitchen-Aid mixer with attachment required.

It seems just my speed…and price, for that matter.

2. I don't have a pressure canner, but I'd love to get a used one and learn. It would be nice to take some stress off my deep freeze and pressure can my turkey, chicken, and beef stock. It would also be nice to have some ready-made soups and sauces on hand.

3. I want chickens like it's nobody's business. It's not new to you that I've been working with my city council for several weeks now on an urban chicken ordinance. So far, I think there are four council members who would vote "yes", which is great! However, I can't accurately predict it as of yet. In fact, it will be on a wing and a prayer until they actually sit down to vote.

4. Increase the amount of edible landscape in my front yard. I have big hopes of scoring some el-cheapo pots and planters, and staggering them in the lava rock landscape that immediately surrounds our home. I'd also love to add a pretty keyhole garden bed in the front yard with some edibles.

We live in a pretty historic part of town, so I don't want to compromise the integrity of the front yard too much. In everything John and I do, we want to honor the history of our home. Totally tearing up the front yard and adding a garden wouldn't service that goal very well.

5. Get a strawberry bed going in the yard somewhere. There are many, many spaces where we could add a small bed, but I need to survey where would be the best place for a permanent strawberry patch. I'm really bad about going back on my decisions, and I want to make sure I don't have to move it a year later due to an impulse decision.

6. Figure out shelving for the greenhouse John is building this spring. My brother is all over making me some shelves. He's a really talented welder, and has one of those special 'engineering brains'. I'm looking for a multi-tiered system similar to this:

7. Try my hand at vermicomposting. Again. I drowned my worms this spring, and wouldn't mind scoring some free or affordable worms to give it another shot. However, if I get chickens this spring, most of my kitchen waste will go to them...

8. Host a harvest meal for friends, family, and neighbors at our home in the city. I first heard about this idea (although I'm sure hipster-meets-foodie meals like this have been around for a while) a few years ago when I read a little blurb about Beetlebung Farm in Martha's Vineyard. Talk about hipster-meets-foodie…

Then, my friend (Hey, Linda!) mailed me a cutout from her Midwest Living magazine about a couple in MIssouri who do something similar. Read the article Linda sent me HERE.

I think it would be so cool to host a dinner where the meal is made from locally sourced food, with the majority coming from our city lot. Maybe this fall?

What about you? What are your 2014 self-sufficiency or sustainability goals? Any advice for me as I begin making these plans a reality? 


  1. I love your pressure cooker preserve idea. (I guess it is like glass preserving, where you boil the glass pots (with rubber rings) so they stay closed tight). I have started doing that last year and it is awesome to be able to eat veg from your own garden in the middle of winter.
    It takes a little investment (pan, pots etc), but it is totally worth is. Invest energy into the preserving once and then just store with no use of energy.
    I can recommend a large cupboard with strong shelves for storage ;)
    I started out with just ten pots to preserve soup and sauce and I buy some more every year. I'm up to nearly 50 now.

  2. Some varieties of strawberry plants make great garden boarders. Might work for your keyhole garden? Rhubarb would be a pretty one for a front garden and it goes great in pie. They don't need much care and the bright red stalks and big green leaves are pretty.

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