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The story I'm about to share proves that most peoples' idea of self sufficient living, just like recycling and going green, are much more grandiose than they have to be. Not that there is anything wrong with self-sufficiency or recycling on a large scale, it's just not that practical for most people without large farms with plenty of acreage.

My earliest example of a self-sufficient life came through the example set by a man who probably had no property at all much less enough farmland with pastures filled with homegrown livestock and land where he could grow his own vegetables. Bill’s way of life was simple and while it would probably not be appealing to everybody; it was effective.

Bill didn’t own a vehicle, and what money he raised he did by doing yard work. He didn’t own a vehicle and oddly enough didn’t even own a lawn mower (much less his own farm). When he cut your yard he did it with your family’s lawnmower.

He walked to work and spent his day going from house to house in our subdivision asking if anything needed done, setting a price and then taking care of business. This part of the process was just part of the equation in Bill’s style of self sufficient living.

Most afternoons, on his way out of the neighborhood, he would be carrying a sack filled with food and stuff that other people were letting go to waste (his words). While he was tending peoples’ yards, he would also gather poke salad for supper, plums, apples and in the fall he would stay after work to pick up pecans in what we called the "old hospital yard". The nuts that fell off those trees were no bigger than your thumbnail and everybody else considered shelling them to be way too much work for what little meat you got for your trouble.

In my opinion, this is a super example of how simple a self sufficient lifestyle can be. Self sufficiency doesn't have to be fancy, just making the best use of what is around us and not letting anything go to waste by recycling and a little bit of scavenging. The things we recycle help the environment and the items we find and make use of soothe our souls and lift our spirits.

And, yes, Bill was happy with his special brand of self sufficient living. In fact, he was probably more satisfied with his life than CEOs of major corporations who make millions of dollars a year will ever be.