A Daily Blog for Homesteading, Preparedness, and Self-Sufficiency
How exciting to see your cabin go up, bit by bit. It's letting me vicariously relive the excitement of watching my own house being built a couple of years ago :-)Looking through your blog I see that you have many of the same ideas and goals as my family, even though we don't consider ourselves survivalists or even "preppers". We are going about it completely differently, because of our current life situation and what resources we have available, but I think that if we both accomplish our goals, we will end up in very similar positions of self-supportingness (ha, did I coin a new term?). Thanks for posting the link to your blog on the troth list.
It doesn't matter what the reasons or methods for becoming more self-sufficient are, as long as it happens. Part of this project is enough going on with our ever-worsening economy, and growing threats around the world, to make having a bug-out location a very smart thing to have. Secondly, we also think that rural farmland is one of the smartest investments one can make. Rural land almost always holds it's value and has lower property taxes. The return on investment from a single seed is more than impressive. Each seed produces food, hundreds more seeds, and material for compost. The more food a person can produce, the less he or she has to purchase.Why is this important? There are food shortages coming. The US is a net-importer of food, and we continue to dedicate more land to growing biofuels. At to that, drought and disease effecting the food supplies of other countries, and you get a dangerous situation. What happens when countries like Chile and Argentina, which provide much of our imported food, are also being pushed by China and India to send more and more food? At some point, They won't have enough to export. India and China are both growing world powers. The US is a declining world power. Who do they feed?Another big part of this project is simply because we're choosing to opt-out of a broken system. Between big-business and big-government, the only way we see to fight back is to simply not participate; to stop over-feeding the tax monster and to change over to as local an economy as possible, and hopefully to encourage others to do the same. I could really go on a rant here, but that's a topic for another time.Finally, there is a spiritual component to this as well. This part I keep a bit more private as they are personal and not everyone interested in homesteading or survivalism would be interested, but it is definately part of why we're doing this. I'd love to hear more about your plans. Would you mind sharing them?
Our reasons are mostly spiritual. It's easier to understand the worldview of our agrarian ancestors if we have some experience living off the land. We hope our children will be able to take what they learn growing up and use it to translate ancient Heathen ideas, values, and perceptions into ones that are especially meaningful in the modern world.You're right that food shortages are coming. I don't think it will be soon, and the more people who can provide for themselves the longer it will take, and the better we will be able to live when it does happen.We had a custom house built two years ago. Unlike you, we're in a county with strict building codes and a fairly high tax rate. But we also are near our jobs, have award-winning schools, and a very pagan-friendly community, so we decided that was worth it. Our house is on 4.5 wooded acres and is currently a pretty "normal" house (with an unusual lot of energy-efficient features), but with underlying structure that make it a good jump-off point to do more.The one big extra that we got during construction was a wood stove. It sits in a hearth and looks like a regular fireplace, but it's really a high-efficiency wood stove. Due to our floor plan, it heats the house beautifully; and since we have a constant supply of dead trees, it seemed obvious.Right now we're learning about being parents, keeping dairy goats, and vegetable gardening. We both grew up in the city with parents who were not interested in gardening, so we have a lot to learn. Our goats currently supply enough milk for drinking, yogurt, and a little bit of cheese. It will be a long time before they pay for themselves, but we're glad to have them. Our garden this year is producing some tomatoes and squash, which is progress. We're learning. We have wild fruit trees, berries, and garlic on our property, and we are hoping to add more as a long-term goal for producing more of our own food. Our next big goal is to save up for passive solar hot water. It will be very cost effective and should dramatically reduce our energy bills.Eventually we want to get some solar panels to produce at least enough electricity to run our well pump, septic system, and refrigerator in case of a prolonged power outage. More would be nice, but right now the technology is inefficient and expensive. We don't really want to go off-grid. We would rather sell back our unused output to our electric co-op, and have them for fallback when we aren't producing enough for ourselves. But the idea is that if something *did* cause a problem for the grid, we could pull the plug and keep going on our own. Hurricanes occasionally knock out power here for days to a week at a time, so it's just common sense to have a fallback plan. Our roof is perfectly aligned for solar panels, and yes, that was on purpose. :)