Welcome to Provide Your Own - Living


Providing your own living is what we are all about. Your living is not what you do for money. Your living is what you do to live. Our goal is to help you enrich your lives. A big part of that is gaining the courage to do more for yourself and depend less on others. We want you to live big.

Making Hay

Putting up Loose Hay

We just finished making this year’s hay at our family farm.

Haymaking is an art….. It is exhausting….. It is glorious.

It is worthwhile to experience it at least once. You might even want to add it to your . For city folks, you may be wondering what is this big deal about hay? Hay is like the stuff we find in small bales in October right?

Like most things in life, there is a lot more to hay than first realized. When you are done reading this article, you will have incorporated some key knowledge of country living and keeping animals. It is hoped you will be able to vicariously enjoy the process to some extent as well.

What is Hay?

Hay is dried grass or possibly other green plants. It is not straw. While straw is a dried plant, it is made from the stems of cereal grasses such as wheat or oats after the grain has been harvested. By harvest-time, the stems are turning brown and have almost zero nutritional value. Straw is good for bedding animals. It is worthless for food.

Grass on the other hand is excellent food for grazing animals. It is even appreciated … Read the rest

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Making a Color Television Set

heathkit

When I was a young man, I badly wanted to design and build my own stuff – even my own color television. One of my primary motives was a means to save money, of which I was sorely lacking. I was told by my elders that such thinking was incorrect. There was no way I could design my own television – that took a team of experts and that, in any case, I could not save any money in the process. I was better off to get a good paying job and just buy a television.

As I look back on that conversation, I have learned that the first statement was false, the second one true, and the third false. Let’s look at each assertion in more detail.

Building Your Own

In some ways I was ahead of my time. Designing and building a color television set was a daunting proposition back in the 1970s and 80s. Not impossible, but certainly difficult. Even with an electrical engineering degree the resources regarding color television design were slim to say the least. There was also no support from others for such a project when problems were encountered.

In modern times these limitations … Read the rest

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DIY Camping Tent

This great instructable – The Near-Perfect Tent provides exquisite detail on how to make your own camping tent.

Its author also gives a good summation of why we prefer to do things ourselves – to obtain something that meets our needs; something we can’t get from corporations. The reason for DIY is should not be to save money. Mass production and the division of labor is what gives us the abundance we have as Matt Ridley in his book posits.

What it doesn’t give us sometimes is something that meets our needs. Mass produced goods are only half-suitable for everyone and rarely ideally suited for anyone. Before you go camping again, be sure to check out this article first.… Read the rest

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Add to the Adventure of Life – Experiment with Yourself!

I came across this great article which talks about how to experiment with your own life. I heartily concur with this idea. Far too often we just lumber through life, accepting what we have been told with little thought. It is time to get off the treadmill and start living.

When I lived in Florida, I belonged to an exotic fruit tree club. In this club we collected exotic fruit trees and tried to get them to fruit (the fruit of our labors were quite delicious). I wanted to grow this particularly tasty fruit, but all the literature said that it could only be grown in cool, high-altitude locations. When I mentioned this to a veteran member he told me to not pay any attention to what the common wisdom held. His words were – “You don’t know if it will grow or not. You won’t really know until you have tried.” Indeed, many of the wonderful fruits we have today are the result of adventurous souls trying to do what was said couldn’t be done.

Do as the article says and perform experiments on yourself. The rewards can be incredible. For example, I have cured myself of three incurable … Read the rest

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A Cardboard Bicycle

Izhar Gafni should be an inspiration for us all. He made a bicycle out of cardboard. Everyone thought he was nuts – impossible they said. The idea kept bothering him, so his wife encouraged him to try – he wouldn’t have peace until he at least tried it. You can see the results in the video from this article.

Don’t let naysayers discourage you from pursuing your ideas or dreams. Just do it – what have you got to lose?… Read the rest

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When something goes wrong…

I love to build and sail wooden boats when I have the time. One of my favorite boat designers – Ross Lillistone, has written a very encouraging article on how to deal with obstacles and mistakes made when working on a project.

Although the article is geared toward boat builders, it contains good advice for all of us. Frequently we make a big mistake in our project. It then leaves us frustrated and we often abandon the project. Abandoned projects are very hard to come back to. Instead of being stymied by setbacks, we should correct the mistake as best as we can and continue on. It is the overall quality in a project that makes the difference – not the absence of any mistakes. Don’t let perfectionism stand in your way.… Read the rest

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Make Your Own Money Pad

You’ve just got to love this. Steve Wozniak uses a pad of $2 bills in sheets as spending money. It is real money, but perforated and glued on top like a regular pad of paper. See the interview and read Woz’s own account for how he uses these for laughs.

You can buy your own currency sheets in many demonations ($2 ones are sold out right now), but unless you have deep pockets like Woz, it isn’t practical for most people. One thing is for sure – Wozniak sure has a creative mind. No wonder he is so successful.… Read the rest

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The Ultimate Makers Guide to Android Apps – Buy $1000 of equipment for $30

Samsung Acclaim

How would you like to buy dozens of gadgets and other useful equipment totaling over $1,000 for only $30?What’s the catch? There is no catch. It is simply the tremendous inherent value in today’s smart phones. Because of their built-in sensors, clever developers have created a large collection of apps, that replace a whole slew of equipment. Best of all, the controls and displays of all this equipment is far superior, often includes data logging and is completely self-contained in a small gadget that fits into your pocket.

My Story

I have wanted a tablet computer for over twenty years. Now that they have finally arrived I have been viewing them with a keen interest, but high-end tablets are too expensive for me. The looked really attractive, but I recently discovered an app that I couldn’t live without that requires bluetooth (more on this app later), which the Kindle Fire lacks. Mulling it over, I had an idea – what if I put the tablet on hold for a while, and instead see if I could buy a cheap, used Android phone.

I have heard about all the amazing things people could do with iPhones and Android phones, but … Read the rest

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The Hybrid Approach – A Little is Better Than Nothing

Wind Turbines

Whenever we set ourselves a goal to “go off grid”, whether the grid means electricity, water, food, or something else, we face a task that is in all probability high unlikely to be accomplished, and maybe impossible, at least at in the short-term. When we finally face that reality we usually become discouraged and just give up or file it along with our other pipe dreams. I have been there. I have also been learning an important principle – a little is better than nothing.

We must stop thinking in terms of “getting off the grid” and more in terms of gaining some measure of independence, no matter how small and then go from there. At first glance, this idea seems ludicrous. After all, if we are still attached and dependent on an electric grid, food supply grid, etc., we are still dependent on them. That is true, however, we must consider the level of dependence as well. When we account for that factor, we begin to see that any measure of independence, no matter how small, will not only lead to greater independence in the future (progress toward our goal), but also vastly increases our security by decreasing our … Read the rest

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Are Boy Scouts Anti-Makers?

Canstove

I was recently reading an article about soda-can stoves and was dismayed to discover that the Boy Scouts are more concerned about safety at all costs instead of providing a means for boys to be ready for any contingency. Despite the project depicted in the picture, the article states:

The Boy Scouts of America now prohibits “equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning ‘can’ stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed.”

While I am not opposed to safe practices, our society has become such a worshiper of safety and security that we have become slaves of our current corporatocracy. The Boy Scouts prohibition of handcrafting such simple alcohol stoves in just another example of this lunacy. This type of thinking is exactly the kind that ProvideYourOwn opposes.

We want people, especially boys, to make their own stuff. While we don’t quite go as far as the tongue in cheek quip over at Make magazine – “poke your eye out”, we come pretty close. We don’t advocate avoiding risk, only unnecessary and foolish risks. We want people to become as self-sufficient as … Read the rest

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