Notes From the North

Reflections on Self Reliance, Humility, and Community

Self Reliance

Proverbs 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

One of the things I like about the lifestyle I live is that I try to be as self-sufficient as I can. That goes well beyond trying to grow my own food, hunting and fishing, and living off grid.

I’ve had to come to understand what my strengths and weaknesses are, which can be humbling. As an example, I am a lousy mechanic. I try to learn basics on how things run, but I lack the skill to diagnose problems. I have built up quite a stable of equipment ranging from a skid steer down to a ton of tools with small engines, like my chainsaw or a weed eater. Everything requires maintenance! I love to work with wood and build things, but am a lazy gardener experimenting with growing things. I’m a decent cook, but don’t enjoy cooking. Make sense?


Recently my chore list has been overwhelming. I discussed this in my last post. It is almost September and winter is right around the corner. In learning about yourself and doing that self inventory of skills, gifts, and shortcomings, I know that I don’t like to ask for help. I’m not sure if it is a sense of weakness, or more likely that I don’t like inconveniencing people. Everyone who lives up here is in the same boat, with their own chores, projects, and to-do list to prepare. When I do ask for help, I try to have everything ready to make the time someone is donating to help me is efficient and not wasted.


“Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” – Ric Ocasek

I was humbled by friends who stopped by for a visit. A family of four-mom, dad, and two young boys. I was taking them around to meet people and expand my “tribe” by networking good people together. When we got back to my place, they insisted on helping me put up firewood. I hemmed and hawed but they jumped in and their selfless act of helping saved me days of stacking. What a gift!

woodshed almost full
The results

In another example this week, I helped off load some freight for friends with my skid steer. They came over and subsequently cleaned up a bunch of my property with their Trimmer Mower. I got to use heavy equipment but they put in the sweat equity to clean up my area. The area not only looks so much better, but it helps with fire safety in keeping the area around my home open. A win-win!

fire wis principles keeping things away from the house
Keeping growth away from the house for fire safety

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” Ziad K. Abdelnour

I am blessed and very thankful to have help and was reminded how lucky I am to have good friends and a small but strong community. Being brave and humbling myself as the quote above says is a work in progress, but I hope that through this blog and our ASP Tribe, we can provide some of that to one another. The last quote below sums it up so well. Gratitude for what is received and pay it forward.

“Make it a habit to tell people, ‘thank you.’ To express your appreciation sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” —Ralph Marston

2 responses to “Notes From the North”

  1. For sir or mamm, my name is Jeremy I live in a city and have a girlfriend with a special needs child. I appreciate all you have managed to educate yourself with. I cannot efforts to move but do fish and hunt. I have small things I have started to save! I to struggle with pride sadly in asking for help. I am a man of faith and I wish to better prepare were I can! Do you have any ideas for a checklist to start a small plan? I am so sorry if this is an inconvenience. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience it’s well appreciated. I wish to move in time to a location I could establish away from a fallen world. God bless you and your family and may Gods grace and mercy be with you.

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