Hi Valerie. I enjoyed reading every word of your post, thank you.
And your goals are very admirable. Further, you are way ahead of the curve historically. A lot of people don't realize it yet, but soon, they will be doing what you are doing too. Throughout human history, people have grown there own food not just because it's the only way to get top quality produce, and a great way to get regular exercise (why pay for an expensive membership to a sweaty, germ-filled gym when you can get free exercise in your own open aired backyard?), but they grew their own food because it was necessary economically.
Have you thought about a root cellar? It's not a freezer, but it's a free mega sized refrigerator. I have tested and you can keep cabbages and root crop for months refrigerated. And drying fruit is a good way to save fruit. Figs are an excellent backyard food crop, they dry easily and taste great.
Point is, where there is a will there is a way.
Keep your beds thoroughly mulched and composted (we don't use any land animal products, i.e., manure, but that's a personal choice; we only use plant based compost) and the earthworms will help with the tilling as your soil gets better and better each year.
We started with rock hard red clay too. And coming from a place in Northern Indiana where we grew our gardens in old black soil peat moss bogs, the red clay here was pretty discouraging at first. Keep adding the organic matter though, and every year it does get better and much easier to work. Also, be sure you are practicing intensive gardening methods to grow more food in less area (which also means less work and expense).
Keep us posted on your progress friend.