I believe our society has its priorities wrong. Yep. A nice big bold statement with which to open. πŸ˜‰ It’s something I’ve been trying to grapple with and understand for some time. I’ve had thoughts about some aspects of it for some time, others have come to me as I’ve written this post. But the one word that I believe I can use to describe western society is “outsource”.

Western society seems to focus on outsourcing everything. We outsource much of our food production. We outsource our call centres and when ringing a utility company I am never sure in which country my call is being answered. We outsource our entertainment as most of our television and movie entertainment is either British or American. We outsource our clothing production with cotton clothes being made in China in most cases, and likely made with cotton grown in India.

On a smaller scale we outsource too. We work to earn money to pay others to feed, clothe and house us. We work longer hours than our predecessors (so much for the 8-hour day celebrated on labor day this coming Monday (for Victorians at least) 😦 ) in order to pay for others to grow most if not all of our food, to raise and educate our children in schools or child care centres, to buy ever bigger houses with ever bigger mortgages, to buy more clothes than ever before and to continue to go shopping as a way to pass the time instead of as only when truly needed. We work towards larger wages so we can shop to fill our large houses with ever more appliances and larger ones at that as well, and more. We outsource everything we can in order to lead easier lives but I wonder if truly they are easier given the long hours and stress we spend and accrue in jobs that often we don’t like or downright despise but that we cannot leave as we are tied there by the bank. We sell off or lose our skills to be able to make our own and then are forced to outsource even more. We work so hard to pay for outsourcing that we don’t have the time to pursue the skills we would like to learn or continue to use those we have. How many of us have unfinished projects that we can’t complete due to lack of time? Instead of fixing something that we have the skills to fix but not the time we discard it and buy new. Companies that sell products know this and build to accommodate our willingness to replace rather than repair and they build things to be unfixable or unaffordable to fix. How often have you looked to getting a mobile phone or TV or something fixed and found out it will actually be financially cheaper to buy a new one rather than to fix the existing one? It’s faster and easier to buy a new pair of trousers rather than fix a broken zip and I am sure that some people could admit to throwing out a shirt for lack of a button?

And food. We outsource growing our own food too. In order to maximise food production and sales, farmers use sprays of questionable safety tom minimise insects. They maximise sale crops and minimise varieties for sale. They maximise the area given to a single variety too. Everything is mass-produced. Apples are all the same handful of varieties – Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonathon, Fuji and a handful of other varieties. Did you know thatΒ Granny Smith apples made up 40% of apples sold in 1975! Pumpkins I might see in my local supermarket are likely to be Butternut, Jap or Queensland Blue. What about Buttercup, Turks Turban or Crookneck? Our carrots are all those long orange ones. Have you ever seen a purple or white carrot in a supermarket? It’s rare to buy through a supermarket something that is different. Cauliflowers are white, broccoli is green and tomatoes are red. When you buy potatoes from the supermarket have you noticed they’re all roughly the same sizes too? The normal handful to large or the chats? I know from my harvest on Sunday that when they grow they do so at different times. I have some massive ones and some barely formed tiddlers as well as every size in between. What happens to the potatoes that are sizes that aren’t conventional?

Sorry Bugs but these are boring!

Our clothes are all the same too.Β Black or grey business suits for men and a white, grey or blue shirt in most cases. Black or grey pencil skirt suits or with trousers for women although we can get away with a little more variety I know.;) Shoes though are generally brown or black. Women wear stiletto shoes although I despise them. Try buying jeans. Yes, there are several shapes and sizes but I reckon if I wanted to get a high-waist pair of seriously wide bell bottomed jeans in pink I would have zero chance of finding them. I think I may struggle to find them in black too although I may have luck in blue. Whether you shop in K-Mart or other high street stalls or mall shops most things are, in my limited experience, fairly similar. I haven’t been on a true shopping trip in a few years at least and it’s been 6 since I went shopping for or needed to wear corporate attire. The last time I was in a shopping centre I kept my head down and headed for my target in order to escape as quickly as possible (I truly despise shopping nowadays) but from the tiniest glimpses I caught it seems fluorescentΒ colours are back in vogue. I saw enough of them in the 80’s thanks very much. πŸ˜‰ Could I hence buy something in indigo this season aside from jeans? Or in slate grey? I don’t know.

Could be worse I suppose.

Even houses are all pretty much the same. Check out any new housing estate and they are all almost identical. It used to be the weatherboard house on the quarter acre block. Now it’s mass-produced McMansions crammed onto a much smaller block than the quarter acre. In inner suburbia it’s townhouses. I’ve seen what happens to houses purchased in Spotswood where we used to live. They are torn down and replaced with 2 or even 3 townhouses built of timber, polystyrene and a render over the top. All with similar to identical water-wise gardens (at least they are water-wise πŸ˜‰ ).

Little Whinging?

We can no longer build our houses ourselves either. Setting aside the regulations that sit in the way, how many people these days can wield a hammer or a saw? Sufficiently to build a house? I know I don’t know how to lay bricks properly. I don’t understand insulation R-values particularly or the angles required to prevent snow from collapsing the roof or to best set a gutter. I don’t understand the maths enough to be able to draft plans either and I was lousy at graphics in high school. πŸ˜‰

If you think about it we even outsource our health. We visit doctors to maintain our health. We take tablets created in laboratories and mass-produced in factories. It’s dosed for a fit-the-majority approach. We often don’t actively do what we can to maintain our immune systems. I know I don’t do what I should. Even when we take those inner health plus capsules or yakult drinks or eat yoghurt they are all mass-produced. We no longer have expansive herb gardens where we grow the medicines to treat the ailments we may get. Culturing foods to harness the power of probiotics is rare (although becoming more common, at least in my circles). Now we also have a whole range of different ailments which I wonder if some of them may well have come about due to our food systems of mass-produced-minimal-variety-food-full-of-pesticides-herbicides-antibiotics-and-genetically-modified-to-boot and many of these ailments may not be able to be treated from the garden any more. A self-perpetuating system of outsourcing.

We outsource our fitness as well. We pay for someone else to have the equipment and expertise to tell us how to exercise and get fit. We outsource much of our physical labour to machines, driving cars or motorbikes, using leaf blower/vacuums instead of a broom, washing machines instead of a washboard (thank goodness for that one πŸ˜‰ ) and lawnmowers and whipper snippers instead of scythes or even at times a ride on lawnmower.

We outsource for our amenities too. Water is pumped to our homes. Who can say they know exactly where their water is collected and what treatments are applied before it is pumped to our houses? I think mine comes from one of the 2 reservoirs close to my house but I couldn’t say for sure 😦 and I definitely couldn’t tell you what treatments are applied. Fluoride? Chlorine? Something else unknown? Our household waste is pumped off site or carted off in trucks as well. My electricity is created and shipped in and if we’d had the gas connected it too would be supplied from external sources. As we cook much of the year with wood we have either had to collect it ourselves or have it delivered too. If I choose I can easily be completely ignorant of its sustainability levels.

What I truly believe will save our beautiful planet and our societies is learning how to insource. Yes spell-check, I know that’s not a word. I made it up! πŸ˜‰ Well, I’m sure I’m not the first to use the word but spell-checkΒ doesn’t like me saying it clearly. Too bad! πŸ˜› I want to insource. I want to create my own electricity. I want to insource water collection and supply. I would love to insource waste management too. Perhaps if I had to deal with my own waste I would be more careful about what I brought in or what I discarded and I would have to learn to safely deal with my own bio-waste too.

We try to insource what we can or what we feel comfortable doing or if we can’t do it ourselves we outsource to friends and family first. If I can keep it local I will. We’ve made the decision to home educate our children – insourcing education to a degree. Both Martin and I grew up with father’s who knew a little more than just one end of a hammer from the other (my dad’s family owned a cabinet making business and Martin’s dad was a handyman)so we both have more than just a passing knowledge of tools although mine is more theoretical than practical but I can use a saw and I can hammer although my works of construction are more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa than the Eiffel Tower. πŸ˜‰ Plumb lines and leveling things seems to escape me. πŸ˜›

Looking down between the posts that are supposed to be in a straight line in our chook pen. Whoops.

Looking down between the posts that are supposed to be in a straight line in our chook pen. Whoops.

Insourcing amenities is on the list but both solar panels and water tanks take time and money. One day, sooner rather than later I hope. πŸ™‚ I have plans for a herb garden and an extended vegetable garden and although we do treat what ailments we are comfortable treating at home and as naturally as possible I have a long way to go and a lot to learn before I can insource my family’s health. We are getting into the fermentation though and with fermented garlic on the go, fermented onions (just like pickled onions but a heap better) being eaten faster than I can make them and with kefir milk and now a kombucha scoby doing its thing in the pantry I know we are making a reasonable effort to actively maintain our good health.Β I am trying to insource our food production but to do so means eating 100% in season and at the moment would mean we would starve if we needed to live purely from our gardens. We’re getting there though. I hope one day to have a gloriously beautiful and productive (and large) herb garden, orchards and vegetable gardens, all mixed through to form a thriving food production garden of annuals, perennials and medicinals that all complement each other in organic symbiotic bliss. πŸ™‚ Growing your food takes time to reach self-sufficient levels although we’re likely come close with garlic this year. Still, that’s insourcing education to a degree too. πŸ˜‰

Just something small and simple in which to grow a bit of rosemary for a lamb dinner.

Changing our lives to begin insourcing rather than always outsourcing is a scary process. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, hard work and stressful. It means stepping outside of your comfort zone. It means taking a lot of responsibility at times. It means changing habits too. Council and government regulations often seem to me to sit squarely in the way of insourcing too. I mean, doing everything ourselves would remove us from a consumer based economy and it would then, with sufficient numbers, crash out. Governments don’t want us to do this. There should usually be a way around though. πŸ˜‰

Learning to fix our broken appliances might be beyond many people but think about it this way, if it’s broken, you either have to do without it, fix it or replace it. Having a go at fixing it won’t cost anything bar some time and if you stuff it up further, what loss really? Just be sensible and safe and pick your opportunity. We recently had a go with our old printer when it bit the dust. We had no success but it was worth a try.

Gardens are a great place to start insourcing. Renting and can’t dig up the lawn or have no space? There are ways around this with portable garden boxes and growing in pots. You can grow most things in a pot and if the variety you like can’t be then often there is a variety that can be. And start small. Maybe a lemon tree in a pot and some herbs on the window sill.

Give insourcing a go. See if there is something you usually pay someone else to do that you feel you could give a go at home. Learn to sew? Bottle tomatoes instead of buying cans, wash clothes at home instead of dry cleaning, keep a few chickens for eggs. Β Even just insourcing your evenings entertainment by turning off the box and playing a board game or having a conversation. πŸ™‚

Permaculture playing cards anyone?

Give it a try. What have you got to lose? πŸ˜€

What have you started to insource or what would you like to learn to do yourself?


30 thoughts on “Outsourcing

  1. Sue says:

    This exact subject has been very much on my radar today.
    I am looking at ways we can reduce our expenditure so I can work at and with my home rather than from my home as I currently do.
    To do this I am looking out how I can insource more ( great word by the way πŸ™‚ ) and outsource less.
    I want to get to a point that we eat most of our meals from the garden – which will involve educating some of the younger members of the family that a meal of vegies more than a couple of days in a row is just fine πŸ˜‰
    My husband is rather handy himself, willingly taking on mr fixit role and it pleases me to see him sharing his knowledge with our children. I think this is where skills are getting lost. Parents are spending so much time earning they don’t have the time or inclination to share what they know with the younger generation ( listen to me, I sound like my mother πŸ˜‰ )
    I also tink there are too many regulations preventing us from being truly self-reliant. However the ability to support ourselves would mean less reliance on government support, or maybe thats being too simplistic….

    • Simplistic is what we need but the lack of control and the independence of people is not what the government would want. Governments want people who say yes sir no sir three bags full sir and argue no further than which party to vote for.
      I think too that even if parents aren’t busy earning they are tired from having spent the day earning and all they want to do is get their chores done and relax. Doing a job and showing kids inevitably doubles, if not trebles the time it takes to do a job but as you say, the skills are being lost.
      I love finding new things I can make or do. Finding the time and motivation is not so easy sometimes but the rebel in me that loves to “damn the man” so that always keeps me inspired. πŸ˜‰
      Thinking about it too, more self reliance, less governmental reliance and hence less ability to blame someone else when it goes wrong. Passing the buck isn’t an option when you do it yourself.

  2. Simone says:

    Love this. This is exactly why we moved out of Melbourne just over a year ago, we’ve only made small progress on on our dreams so far but unfortunately these things take time and even a little more outsourcing but every step towards insourcing, (my spell check dislikes it too) no matter how small, is a step in the right direction πŸ™‚

    • It does take time and it does take outsourcing at times but judiciously so but as long as the trend is towards insourcing for us I am content. Well, no I’m not, I’m far too impatient for that but logically I realise that it is step by step and we are definitely heading in the right direction. πŸ˜‰

  3. Lynda says:

    Insourcing – hmmm good word and your post so so true. Stop the world, i want to get off!!!! Im proud of what you have achieved so far and also the plans and projects that are yet to come. I dont know anyone who tries as hard as you do to live according to your values. It can be easy to talk or post about it but watching what you get up to make me need to lie down. Good Read Jessie, and yet more outsourced food for thought.

  4. narf77 says:

    I hear you sister! I must admit (play devil’s advocate?!) I have seen purple carrots in the supermarket and both yellow and green and red cauliflower not so long ago but I am highly suspicious that they were bought locally for sweet bugger all and passed on for a large profit as trending veg.

    By the way…how the heck do you have green grass?! And inside your chook pen?!!! My girls laid waste to ALL of the grass and now there is bare earth in the chook pen 😦

    I think the message here is that insourcing (great word by the way…consider it STOLEN!) results in a degree of satisfaction that outsourcing can’t possibly hope to match. Insourcing gives you back where outsourcing takes away from. Insourcing gives you skills and rewards where outsourcing makes you pay all the way down the production chain. Insourcing is full to the back gills with possibilities to grow physically, mentally and spiritually where outsourcing is passing your life over to someone else and handing them your credit card…

    I have spent most of my life in the pursuit of finding things out in order to “have a bash” myself. I LOVE finding new things. The more that you can do/make yourself the more valuable your skillset becomes. Even if you only dabble you gain from the experience. I, too, would love to be off grid but alas, penniless student hippies tend not to be able to indulge their desires as easily as working folk however where we lack money, we more than make up for in creative endeavour so here’s looking forwards to a most “interesting” cobbled together future πŸ˜‰

    • Insourcing does result in tremendous satisfaction. If I have to throw out uneaten food or food gone bad that I grew I am well angry. If I bought it then meh. The effort adds the value which is unseen when it’s someone elses effort (as in growing veggies etc).

      The green grass in the chook pen is due to this photo being taken before the wire was up and hence before the chooks moved in. There isn’t an ounce of the green stuff anywhere in the chook or goat pen and the back garden is pretty bereft of it too thanks to the sheep. A few lonely small tufts remain in the front and back gardens but Summer has put paid to all grass around here.
      One of our neighbours is an ag specialist, specialising in brassicas. He told me that pink caulis and what not are on the increase as the big supermarkets are after something else interesting to add to their shelves. I think the fact that the supermarkets commissioned it and are after different veggies to increase sales annoys me more than the nutritional value that variety brings to the plate actually pleases me. πŸ˜‰

      • narf77 says:

        I agree with you…”designer veg” to milk the last cent out of the hipsters who are too lazy to grow their own. They have a cheek! I reckon every single Aussie council should be forced (yes FORCED) to initiate farmers markets in each town that they represent unless the town is bloody well deserted! They should be on a peppercorn rent and locals can go once a week to chew the fat and sell their excess which would develop an amazing sense of continuity and community that would pay back in spades. A happy community is an integrated and united community. I couldn’t taste any difference in the orange/yellow or purple/pink varieties (Steve bought me some) to be honest. Anything coloured tends to have more pigments and nutrients but in this case it probably came from blue whale genes or something just as nefarious! πŸ˜‰

        • I think the purple foods have come in vogue due to the antioxidants in them as they are thought to be cancer fighting I think. Personally I grow pink and purple varieties as I have a small female child averse to eating veggies but who has 2 favourite colours in the world – pink and purple. Purple broccoli did result in some being eaten (including Jas eating it raw off the bush) and I also love variety which they are. The through and through purple carrots are also an awesome dye source for things like pasta sauce. It makes the sauce look all bright red and lovely like supermarket ones. πŸ˜‰

          • narf77 says:

            Clever mum! πŸ˜‰ I didn’t have those alluring veggies when my kids were young…I had to resort to gestapo like tactics but eventually (sometimes days later…) they got eaten πŸ˜‰ Any spare saved seed of the purple variety would be most gratefully planted on Serendipity Farm πŸ˜‰

  5. I couldn’t agree more Jessie, this is what Roger and I seem to discuss more than anything. Its a crazy system. I know Austrailan supermarkets are turning down NZ produce in favour of OZ grown and there has been a big to-do here about it but so they should. Roger bought a pair of work boots recently, he has been buying that brand for years. They ripped when putting them on, the soles now glued instead of stitched – when he looked this kiwi brand is now made in China. Same price, shit quality, and they are bagged up ready to go to the company with a letter telling them they sold there quality and name for the sake of cheap labour.

    Ever hear the song “Little boxes made of ticky-tacky” ,,,,modern housing.

    We do everything we possibly can do ourselves and that’s the way life should always have been…we moved in the wrong direction and now look at the mess we have created in the world, the planet, the economy, personal responsibility for our lives.

    A great post, well thought out and “penned”.

    • I am sorry to any and all NZ farmers but to hear we’re turning back your produce is the smartest thing I’ve heard in a long time but only IF they are then sourcing the produce from local Australian farmers. I know there was a huge to-do here when we opened up the imports of apples from NZ due to the fears of some form of apple disease. Sadly the first batch of apples to arrive here were infected with the disease. Aussie farmers are (justifiably I believe) worried for their crops and livelihoods.

      I’ve been looking for a pair of Olivers boots which is a Ballarat company so all but in my back yard so to speak but I’ve since found out they’re now foreign owned and yeah, well. 😦 As you say, same price, shit quality but the other part of that is increased profits. Which of course won’t help the Aussie (or NZ) labourers now out of work and it won’t help the Chinese workers locked in their sweat shops either. 😦 The rich get richer and the rest of us suffer for it.
      Little Boxes is playing as I type this. I had heard it but so long ago I would never have thought of it. Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

      You and Roger are a huge inspiration to me. You do so many things yourselves and I love hearing about what Roger has been tinkering with or planning for next. My RSS feed is dedicated about 95% to all things eco but my favourite blogs are not those with masses of information about this eco crisis or that, or even the big permaculture blogs but when I find a new post from the bloggers who get stuck in, mend and make do and think outside the box then I am as happy as that pig in mud. I have gained more info from these blogs and far more info too than the rest of my RSS inbox.
      I think that sharing our insourcing skills and including the successes and failures is the way forward. More people will follow when they know that there are others out there doing it too.

      • We have had the same problems here with imported fruits and vegetables, honestly it’s just such crazy practice. Food prices rise as locals have to compete with the prices gained through export. I sincerely hope this lessens over the years, why we have to import fresh foods like this and export our own….it just drives me nuts. We export more as an agricultural country but a huge amount of the population can’t afford to feed their kids decent food because of this. Everything is wrong!!!!

        Same with importing cheap crap from China. We have such high unemployment (as in every country) while China gets more powerful. Why we grow excellent food here to be canned in China, I don’t know. We are currently importing steel from China to rebuild Christchurch and our leading steel manufacturer just closed down after being around all my life. It’s just so sad and so shortsighted.

        I too love to see what others are doing for themselves. Roger and I were talking the other day about what we were doing at present and figure we still have so far to go but we are pleased to be on the journey we are πŸ™‚ I do hope that younger people will become inspired to try things for themselves and I know this….the www is now full of people doing the same and I love to see it, to read and learn. So many people are realising the importance of all of this, it gives me renewed hope every time I happen in on a new blog or read new posts. It inspires me πŸ™‚

        Roger’s latest thought is to find how to cure the sheepskins off the farm instead of throwing in the burn pit. I find that sort of thing yucky but he’s insistent, one day people may need them and they will last for years. Which is fair enough!

  6. foodnstuff says:

    What a wonderful rant against this insane society! (don’t get me started on leafblowers).

    I love the idea of ‘insourcing’. From now on that will be my mantra. “What do you do?” “I’m insourcing.”

    What a great definition for permaculture. Describes it in one word.

  7. […] a quickie to share this wonderful post from rabidlittlehippy. Insourcing is the new […]

  8. Reblogged this on quarteracrelifestyle and commented:
    A great post and one I totally agree with, thanks Jessie.

  9. Linne says:

    “Insourcing” awesome word and I, too, am stealing it! A fantastic post, Jessie. For some time I had despaired of this sort of thinking being carried on into the future. I feel quite content now that it will not only survive, but thrive. I grew up with insourcing was the norm and am SO happy to see it reviving.

    I agree with all you say here, especially about outsourcing being insanity. Up with the drawbridges, I say, and let’s all learn to do what needs doing and maybe trade for the odd thing that’s specialized or which we are not good at doing. Group activities, like the barn-raisings of old, or community kitchens, just make good sense.

    If building mcmansions is beyond our skillsets, why not learn to build simpler housing; we can all look to the First Nations peoples where we live and see how they did it. We have much to learn and their knowledge is fast being lost. I was shocked when I had my own suite here and a very bad flood (two years ago now). One of the repairmen who came asked what that ‘interesting looking’ thing was . . . he was referring to the small loom I had set up in my lounge. He had never once (and he was middle-aged) wondered how the cloth he wears every day was made . . . incredible!! and I won’t start ranting about the number of young people who know how to dial for pizza but can’t put together a simple, inexpensive, nourishing meal, never mind raise the ingredients themselves.

    Due to lack of funds most of my life, I have done quite a few things, but not enough to master most of them. But I have also read tonnes. In a pinch, I’m pretty good at surviving, so long as I’m not living in a deep freeze for most of the year and, of course, not living in a city. Well, I WAS good at it; nowadays, I don’t know. I’m concerned about eating seafood now and there are so many people where before there was more wild land. Oh, well . . .

    My Dad could make or fix anything, and design things, too. He and his Dad built the one room shack that was my first home and later another where I lived when I was 5-7 yrs old. The last house he and Mum owned, in Thorhild, had served many purposes in its lifetime. Dad renovated all but the basement. When he wanted to open a doorway from the front hall to the large room where he made his stained glass, one of my sisters asked how he was going to do it and would it be safe (thinking of load-bearing supports). Dad just picked up his chain saw and cut a hole! He knew where the load-bearing supports were, of course. He and Mum together could do most anything.

    When my oldest son was just two and a bit, his Dad and I bought a team of draught horses. His Dad made a two-wheeled ‘Red River’ cart based on a very old axel from a car. the wheels had wooden spokes, that’s how old it was! Pulled by a single horse, there was a high seat to sit on when we drove it and in the back we could put a half tonne of hay bales (and did). Somewhere (I hope) I have a photo of that cart.

    I’ve usually had to figure out how to have what I want and in that I’ve been pretty successful. Not approved of, of course; society’s standards are not forgiving of people like me . . .

    Keep right on to the end of the road, my friend . . . and may you attract more followers than the Pied Piper!

    • Line, it is people like you that need to be the outsourcers! Outsource your skills and knowledge. Sell them, give them away, whatever you d, share those stories. It’s what I love soo much about your blogs, you’ve been there and done that. You’ve mended, made do and grown up with all of these ideas and ideals and I love to read what you’ve done or heard or experienced.
      As for societal approval, would you really want it? To be approved of by current society would mean you’d be mellowing I reckon. πŸ˜‰ The more society disapproves the better off I reckon we hippies will be. πŸ™‚

      • Linne says:

        Thanks, Jess! Wish I had the time to share all I’ve learned; luckily, most of it is in books (out of print, maybe, but still available in many cases via the second-hand sellers on the ‘net). I highly recommend the “Foxfire” series for their practical knowledge, sandwiched in between folk tales, personal histories, etc. These books were class assignments by a fantastic English teacher in the Appalachian area of the USA. He sent his students to interview the elders of the surrounding area, then record what they had learned. Each year’s gatherings were published as a separate volume. I still have one, but we had quite a few at one time.

        BTW, tanning isn’t all that difficult to learn. I’ve done a bit, although due to moving so often, never finished a hide to usability. You can use the brains of the animal (once the hide has been scraped clean), I’ve heard of using oatmeal, too. If you want leather, one way to remove the hair (and I have done this) is to wet the hair side (again, after scraping well on the inner side), sprinkle wood ashes liberally on the wet hair, roll up and tie, then submerge in a creek (stream) for a few days; the ashes form lye, which loosens the hair. Once the hair comes off easily, remove the hide from the water and scrape the hair off. Then proceed with whatever treatment. I know oak can be used for tanning (tannin is found in several woods, seems to me, and any of them can be used to tan hides. You’ll have to Google for more exact info, or get copies of Foxfire.

        Some days one gets tired of the disapproval. I don’t expect mainstream society to even understand what I’m on about, but they’d best learn and quick smart as they say, or they won’t enjoy the consequences of their ignorance. As Dylan said (about nuclear war, actually), “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” . . .

        I’d like to think that to be approved by society would mean not that I’m ‘mellowing’ (not much fear of that, unfortunately πŸ˜‰ ), but more that they will have learned and begun to evolve somewhat at least. One can dream, and hope . . .

        • I wish you had the time to share all you’ve learned too! If only it was possible to learn Matrix-style I’d willingly plug into your brain to pick it clean of all the delicious homesteading tips and tricks you’ve learned over the years. πŸ™‚

          As for being approved by society, I too would hope that if that was the case it was due to a massive shift in them, not us. πŸ˜‰

  10. […] part of our self sufficiency journey, learning to insource and home education, not to mention because she wanted to learn how, Allegra has been learning to […]

  11. Awesome post, Jessie. One of your best. “Insourcing”, you have coined a great new word–though, it was probably coined a long time ago by some egghead.

    Insourcing is at the heart of what I am doing. I want to be more resilience insofar as not relying on others to achieve ends for me. I am not so naive to think that I can easily live without money, but I want to limit the amount of money I need, and thus free up my time for insourcing.

    • Thanks Paul. πŸ˜€
      That’s it isn’t it. It’s not about some utopian world with no money. I just don’t feel that is a realistic reality but a word where we all spend substantially less and do substantially more is most attainable. And a LOT more fun too. πŸ™‚

      • You know what I think it is. Marketing. Marketing has made us think that household chores are unpleasant–not worth doing yourself.

        • I think it’s more than unpleasant. I think we’ve been led to believe that if we are to be more than working class peasants then someone else must do the chores. They are beneath us or we are better than that. The status increase that comes with having a dishwasher as opposed to dishpan hands, the status of a washing machine over washerwoman hands, the callouses from a scythe over a lawnmower and a manicured lawn, disposable nappies over cloth, a formula fed baby over breastfed (back in time in respect to that last one) and so on. When I was in year 12 it was about a printed assignment vs a handwritten one. I doubt that handwritten would cut the mustard at all these days.
          I read an article once and I’m not sure how i think about it in entirety (it’s taking a shift in thinking) about how once upon a time we were born into a certain class and we were happy to stay there. The working poor, the working class etc. They didn’t aspire to be upper aristocracy. They were content with their class and didn’t seek to uppity themselves to be more than what they were. I’m not explaining it well – sorry. 😦 These days we all want to be higher up the social ladder, not only keeping up with the Jonses but wanting to one-up them too if we can. Affluenza I guess. As I said, it’s taking a lot of thought and considering to really process what it means, likely because bettering ones self (in its materialistic sense) is so ingrained into our society, but it definitely bears thinking about.
          Marketting has definitely been a major player in this too. I came across this article the other day. A LOT to consider there too I feel. http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/2962

  12. lowcarbangel says:

    Reblogged this on Low Carb Angel and the NZ Self Sufficiency Site and commented:
    Brilliant thoughts here – Love the idea of “Insourcing” everything – Especially now that I have a word for it!

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