Saturday, April 26, 2008

self sufficiency . . .

I would really love to be self sufficient, and I know it’s possible here: the local indigenous population has survived for centuries without stores. I have and will have enough fruits and vegetables, the problem is starches and protein. I’d love chickens and have raised them in the past, but here I’d have a problem keeping them out of my beds and maybe even keeping them safe from snakes and marauding dogs. I don’t want them in a pen – there are too many insects I’d want them to enjoy. The starches are the bigger issue. Cereals, no I don’t have the space. I do have a lot of yams and yam type things coming, but not until October. The yampi and air potatoes are annuals, although my malanga and mantioc (taro and cassava elsewhere) can be harvested 9 months after they’re planted, year round. I need to find beans that will produce a good amount. The beans I’ve tried here grow very rapidly but not very productively – 6 weeks between sprout and bean, but not many beans and the plants are the favourite food of everything in the garden. One can’t walk into a store and buy seeds here. I can’t buy them on line and have them sent either: postal service is not reliable and I don’t have a credit card anyway. I have my gandul / pigeon peas, and I hope they will be my answer.
The trouble is not really me, it’s the dogs. They don’t eat dog food and have a diet of rice, corn, lentils, beans and greens and meat. If I had a goat and a couple of hens I would be personally self sufficient, I can even make chocolate here, but the dogs need a lot of food that I can’t grow. And their food – basically the staples – is becoming increasingly expensive. I spend more on theirs than mine.