For several years of my life, I was in survival mode. I didn’t do this because I couldn’t afford to buy food at the grocery store. I did it because I could. I enjoyed growing my own food and taking advantage of gathering and harvesting nature’s bounty. It gave me a deep feeling of accomplishment and security whenever I saw all my home-canned goods lined up neatly on their shelves and knowing that my freezers were full of meats, game, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
We kept pigs, beef cattle, goats, turkeys, and chickens, so we always had meat and eggs available. We also hunted for deer, quail, woodcock, doves, ducks, geese, rabbits, raccoons, and wild pigs. We also fished, crabbed, and netted shrimp. Sometimes we picked our own oysters and dug our own clams, too.
We had some fruit trees, but I also took advantage of wild fruits, including blackberries, blueberries, and mayhaws. I also gathered nuts and put them in the freezer.
We had our own milk cows, so we had fresh milk and cream. Sometimes I made my own butter and whipped cream.
I don’t do most of these things now because I can’t. For one thing, my health won’t permit it, and for another, I no longer have the land I once did. I can still share my knowledge and experience with you. Actually, I’m still into survival – it’s just taken on a different form. Now I find deals and buy in bulk and store the foods and other items in the barn or in my survival closets.
What I grew in my huge garden
Bell peppers (all colors)
Cream forty peas
Cucumbers (slicing and pickling varieties)
Field peas (several varieties)
Hot peppers (several varieties)
Lettuce (several varieties)
Tomatoes (numerous varieties)
White acre peas
Yellow squash (two varieties)
Frozen meats and poultry
Frozen fish and seafood
Whole kernel corn
Diced bell peppers
Jams, jellies, and preserves
Watermelon rind preserves
Pickles and relishes
Whole dill pickles
Dill pickle slices
Green tomato pickles
Bread and butter pickles
Cucumber lime pickles
Watermelon rind pickles
We also grew our own sugar cane for syrup. The syrup making was done in the fall.
I froze bags of shelled pecans.
I froze bags of boiled peanuts.
I parched and fried peanuts for snacks.
I toasted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
I usually grew a row of popcorn in my garden.
We kept honey bees.
We stored potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions.
I made my own sourdough bread.