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Hi, my name is Jeff, and if you're wondering about me, I've been around self sufficient food skills from the day I was born. My earliest memories as a child are about gardening and orchards, fishing and collecting wild food. My parents and grandparents all had gardens and orchards. My maternal grandparents had a small farm with cows and chickens. My mother and both grandmothers all canned and froze what came from their gardens and orchards. We all gathered mushrooms, blackberries, hickory nuts, and persimmons from the wild every year. We made our own pickles, and homemade bread. My dad and his dad loved to fish, so we got to eat fresh fish regularly.
Thing is - We didn't call it "self sufficiency" it was just how we lived, and it helped make ends meet. It wasn't that I was learning these skills, it was just part of my life.
That's me with my number one garden assistant, and our most recent pumpkin harvest - getting ready for Halloween.
Fast forward about 40 years. Now I have a wonderful wife, a beautiful daughter, and we own our own little corner of paradise in Southern Indiana. My wife's family always had gardens and canned, hunted and fished, and raised chickens, so when we bought our place, it wasn't even a question. We had a garden and started an orchard the first year. The garden and orchard evolved into additions of grape arbors and berry patches and nut trees. We built a barn, and raised chickens, and rabbits.
Now we keep our pantry filled with canned goods, and
our freezers full of home grown produce, meat, and wild caught fish. We
collect wild nuts and berries, greens and mushrooms. ...and I have
also continued to learn more new food craft skills. Things just keep
Now...all of the self sufficient skills that we practice help to cut our food budget dramatically. We eat healthier, lots of our food is grown as locally as you can get, and we get plenty of exercise. But somehow the mortgage and utilities still have to be paid every month. So - I work as a quality engineer in a local factory. It pays the bills and covers expenses, but it's not my passion - not even close - it's more like an anti-passion. Most days I have a hard time seeing myself continuing in that line of work until I retire...For now, it's a means to an end.
For as long as I can remember, friends and co-workers have asked me questions about gardening, orchards, canning, food preservation. I enjoy sharing what I know, and teaching interested and motivated people, so I'm always willing to share.
Someone once told me "you should write a book about what you know"...That someone unwittingly planted a seed in my mind...
A couple of years ago, I read a book written by a guy named Dan Miller called "No More Mondays". Dan spoke about finding your calling - meaningful work that reflects your passions. Dan's enthusiasm got me inspired to make a change. I started asking myself - How could I make money, and ultimately a living, doing the things that I'm most passionate about?
Well I chewed on that for about 6 months and finally one day, stumbled across this "thing" called SBI while surfing the web. The more I read the more interested I became. SBI stands for Site Build It! and it is a company that helps everyday people build websites based on their hobbies, passions, knowledge and skills.
Which brings me to the present day...After a lot of soul searching, background research, more background research and some investigation (I was and still remain very suspicious about get rich quick schemes on the internet), I finally decided to give it a try...The result is this website. I started in November of 2008 - with no previous web building experience at all. I didn't even begin to know what HTML was or what it was for - I'd heard the term before, but that was it.
With SBI I quickly learned that you don't need ANY technical experience. If you can type and surf the web, you can build your own site. They offered easy step by step instructions that walked me through each phase of the process. It took some thought and consideration up front, but it was all about subject matter that I'm passionate about, so to me it wasn't really hard work.
Oh...and it's definitely NOT a get rich quick scheme!
Now I have a growing website that people go to in order to learn self sufficient food skills from me. How about that? I'm teaching my passion to other people from all over the world!! To make things even better, I've started to make money too! Not enough to quit my day job (yet!), but the amount increases every month! And I continue to add more and more pages of information to my site.
If you want to read more about SBI and see how I built my website, click here.
OR if you have a question about SBI, please ask. I'll be glad to tell you anything I know about developing my site and SBI.