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Day 99: Reevaluating My Expectations

I headed out to the grocery store over the weekend. Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed in how far we (haven't) come in our quest for self-sufficiency.

Last summer, when the garden was lush and I was fantasizing about living off the land, little did I know how difficult those plans would truly turn out to be. I realize now I under-estimated how much time it would take to become self-sufficient or over-estimated my ability to get us there.

Our winter garden has given us radishes, Swiss chard, and a few beets. Carrots should be ready soon, and maybe enough lettuce for one salad. The spinach reached four inches tall and stopped growing. The cauliflower hasn't bloomed. The peas have stagnated.

I lost a nectarine and cherry tree over the summer. We're planning on replacing them, plus adding a few new trees to our mini orchard but it will be five years before we start getting fruit. Our grapefruit tree, the only one to set fruit this year, had many plump grapefruit on the branches. For no apparent reason they began falling from the tree, not quite ripe.

Our dairy goats have turned out to be fabulous pets, but not quite the weed-eaters I envisioned. We missed peak breeding season, so unless we get lucky we probably won't be breeding them until next fall. Goats have a five month gestation, which puts the ETA for our own fresh milk somewhere in the spring of 2011.

The only saving grace has been our chickens. They've given us a steady supply of delicious, healthy eggs for the last four years. Plus, they're great at snatching up bugs around the property. They're fun to watch busily scratch around the yard, a great stress reliever. When I look at them I feel like I've at least done something right.

As fantasy merges with reality, I've come to appreciate that self-sufficiency is a much bigger project needing much more planning then I initially realized. Learning to be happy with baby steps and taking one day at a time are good lessons. I know we'll get there some day, so I'm working harder at enjoying the journey.

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