Self-sufficiency or community sufficiency? I can’t do it alone!

kimberly-anderson1BABY STEPS

Assistant Editor

Kimberly’s blog focuses on a single objective each month intended to help her and her readers take baby steps toward better living in the spirit of New Southerner. You can keep up with her progress by checking her weekly blog, Baby Steps. She welcomes reader response and hopes you’ll share your stories and challenges in the comments section or by e-mailing her at

October Objective: Sustainable House

Hey, I know! Let’s start a commune

I’ve learned something about self-sufficiency. It’s a lot easier an endeavor—even fun—if you don’t do it alone.

I understood this when my family carved pumpkins last week.  Parker, my 11-year-old son, said to me as I held the stencil over his pumpkin while he marked the outline of a spider, “I like talking to you, Mom.” J.T., my 4-year-old, said, “You’re the best mom ever.” Then we removed the seeds from the guts and made pies. My family says I make the best pumpkin pie ever. I like that nothing goes to waste. And speaking of waste … my whole family is excited because we’ve decided to make our Christmas trees out of plastic bottles that various people are saving for us.

In other group efforts, last summer, a friend and I planted and tended a garden together and shared its fruits. We sat in it and pulled weeds, and talked and talked. The work was rewarding, the fellowship a blessing. I knew then that self-sufficiency could be a team effort. But I forgot.

I have charged in these last few weeks all by myself, trying to get back to basics by eating better and line-drying laundry. And going it alone has been a drag.

So, no more! Now I just need a good way to ask my husband, Jim, to help insulate the house for next week’s winterproofing baby step.

Baby Step: Still not going it alone—starting with an energy audit

I tried sifting through information on the Internet about insulating your home and got overwhelmed. So this week, I have decided to call my gas and electric company and schedule an energy audit and hope that whoever they send has some good pointers and better news than I expect.

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