Allright, People, ;-)

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by tsdave, Aug 14, 2005.

  1. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    So I got to thinking about what is homesteading. What is survivalism. And what is simple living. I believe homesteading is a 99% self-sufficient farm,where I can fix anything that may break. So what is survivalism and simple living ? And how do they cross ?

    Well, survivalism is living in such a way that your odds of survival is the greatest. Simple enough. But how ? You would rely on both high-tech and low-tech. You would want NBC filters, reinforced shelters, radios, mres, manuals, AND stocks of seeds, handtools, perhaps animals, etc in case things take a while to recover from whatever disaster doomed us.

    Then there is simple living, which I imagine is what the native americans did. You only have what you can make from natural materials, learn to hunt and gather, and grow crops, and breed animals. Things like bone knives, stone arrowheads, leather clothing, (and housing). Etc. Also you are not necessarly bound to a location.

    I think its really important to determine which group we fall in, as one seems to lead to another to another, and where to end it.

    Just some of my ponderings, if you have thought about anything similar to much conclusion you could post it here. Or maybe youd like to say which option appeals to you.

    Yes i know most people would prefer combinations, but I feel these are the conclusions for living a way, NOT based on ease of life.
     
  2. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

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    Sorry tsdave, I disagree.

    The thing that makes this forum so much fun for me is the tremedously varied topics that all have a (sort of) connecting thread. Some folks are into the survivalism thing. I learn a lot from them. Some folks are farmers and homesteaders (by your definintion), I learn from them too. The simple living folks? Yep, I learn from them as well. So I think it would be a real shame if we categorized it all.. I would probably miss something that would have been cool to find out about.

    Just so you'll know where I'm coming from:

    I was raised on a homestead. 3 acres, goats, chickens, 2 steers (off and on) and a BIG garden.
    I teach a small outdoor school which teaches many survival skills
    I am presently living in an apt. I own 71 acres of mature hardwood forest and am building a cabin on it. hopefully I will move there and start a new homestead. I definitely want goats and chickens again.

    So where do I fit in?

    I find all these varied posts terribly interesting...I believe that to limit these forums to only one type of "homesteader" would be an injustice to the diverse kinds of "homesteaders" that visit.

    David
     

  3. Lerxt

    Lerxt Well-Known Member

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    Wow. None of those really fit me, yet I'd say I'm homesteading. We don't grow all of our food. I'd wager most people here don't. I'd even bet that some people would say they are doing the "living simple" thing but they aren't using bone knives and living in animal skin tents.

    I don't think the word matters or even the extent of what you do. What we all have in common (from my reading at least) is a desire to do a certain amount of stuff for ourselves. We all have a different threshold for that but still we all tend to do more than the average person in the city.

    We (Faed and I) grow veggies - squash, corn, potato, onion, tomato, green beans. We raise chickens for meat and eggs. Next year we'll probably add a cow and a pig and maybe a goat - and maybe more than one of each. We still use staples that we don't grow here. Wheat, milk, cheese, rice, red meat, sugar.

    I use power tools - rototiller, riding lawnmower, cordless drill, impact wrench, circular saw. I can do most jobs without them but I'd rather not. And it's not like I'm going to forge my own nails or anything.

    To some extent I think the idea of being completely self-sufficient is a myth unless you really want to live the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. To live in a way that doesn't qualify as primitive I think a certain amount of specialization and interaction is required.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    No. It might be nearly impossible to TOTALLY support yourself from the homestead. I doubt anyone really could do that in the context of modern homesteading. Perhaps a few actually do.

    As for living ON the homestead. Some might call their 'homestead' hobby farming, farmstead, small holding, or a some combination of these, and some might be 'homesteading' from a city apartment with container gardens, or a home based type of activity like canning produce bought at the farmer's market and putting it in storage. That 'state of mind' relates to modern day homesteading.
     
  5. Lerxt

    Lerxt Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that's what he meant. I think he meant more on a personal level. As in you, specifically, need to figure out what you want and I, specifically, need to do the same. Yet we don't have to do the same things.
     
  6. Wildcrofthollow

    Wildcrofthollow Well-Known Member

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    Ahh,
    Sorry I misunderstood. Well I reckon I pretty much fit all of those definitions.. :shrug:

    David
     
  7. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    I guess my point is how do you narrow what you do, and why ?

    Being a homesteader makes you want to be self sufficient, makes you want to become less obligated to moden society. Also being a homesteader makes you want to be prepared for the unexpected, even if unlikely, since youve probably seen things bite you in the ass, perhaps literally !

    I guess my thinking was draw those two aspects from homesteading. At least for my own uses. I was finding it hard to figure out what my goals are, when i was going around in circles trying to figure out what i need.
     
  8. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    Like the others, we're a combination I guess, altho I consider us 'Homesteaders'. We started off with 40 acres, 28 of which is heavily forrested (hardwood), a well, septic, a pole barn and a nice berm home with skylights and a fireplace that's ducted thru the house like the furnace is. So we don't live out of tents and we started off pretty good with just these things alone. Since then, we've bought an additional 80 acres which included a small pond. Meanwhile, we both worked full time in the city to help pay for all this and save toward our goals.

    We've excavated a 2 acre pond and stocked it with fish, planted pear, plum, apple, cherry, peach and nectarine trees, grape vines, blackberry and black raspberry bushes (and have hundreds of wild ones throughout the property), we have wild grapes, gooseberry bushes and plum trees. We've built a small chicken coop (8 x 10) with 2 very large fenced in areas for our 35 layer hens & 2 roosters, and this year we have a steer and pig that will fill our freezers. We just raised 50 cornish x rock broilers for the deep freeze too.

    We have deer, wild turkey, rabbit... all kinds of wildlife here and enough timber to last us and a couple of our neighbors with enough wood to heat our homes the rest of our lives. We've been accumulating all the manual tools we can get our hands on, a 2 man saw, hand saws, hand drills, old fashioned push mowers, etc. Meanwhile we have the added convenience of a diesel tractor (with a 300 gal fuel tank full of diesel), 2 rider mowers, roto tiller, 3 chain saws...

    I hope to some day soon get a good sized root cellar dug and install at least 1 cistern... preferably 2. Our biggest aim right now however, is to get solar and windpower for alternative energy; a very costly venture. DH has continued to work and I am now an official 'homemaker' and 'farm hand'. We've lived here for 7 years and feel we've really accomplished a lot so far. But our efforts are to prepare our place for the hard times ahead should TSHTF. Life won't be easy but we're setting things up here to make life as manageable as possible should that day come.

    So yeah, we consider ourselves 'homesteaders'.
     
  9. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nope, I guess I'm NOT any kind of Homesteader.
    I hang out here because I like the Place. The Forums are interesting.
    But............I moved out here to get away from the City.

    I had lived for 37 yrs. in Indianapolis. Not the Worst City. But, Still,
    a City. I grew up on the farm in SE Indiana. And moved to the City
    for the work opportunities when I was 26. I was fortunate to find work
    in the Auto-Industry. I was able to raise my five kids in a nice suburban setting.
    I was a single parent for 14 years,(mostly by myself) until my youngest moved out at 20, when he got married.

    I'd remarried and as Retirement approached, I considered a bunch of
    Options, as to Where to Retire. Northern Arizona, Wyoming, Montana,
    maybe even Idaho.But, my Kids & Grandkids are in Indiana. My roots are
    here. I wanted an easier Life. Not a hareder one. So, here I stay. And the Kids & Grandkids can come out, camp & shoot, spend a weekend with Pop.
    We're very rural, next to the State Forest.

    I guess y'all could say I shouldn't even be on this Forum. We bought this 13 acres w/ a 1 acre pond, not to be "Self-Sustaining". Hey I have a nice little retirement. I am not required to make my living off-the-land.

    Yup, I have a little garden, I have my fresh tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn
    & greens. I catch a mess a fish, any time I want to bother with cleaning
    them, to fry. I can even shoot a rabbit, turkey or deer up in the woods.
    I'm working, at my own speed to clean out fence rows & fence the place for a beef calf or two maybe even a couple heifers. But I'm not in a hurry.
    At 65, you don't need to get in a hurry.
    And, Nobody bothers me out here.

    Guess I don't fit anyone's definition of Homesteading.(;^)>
    But, I guess I don't care. I don't think I NEED to fit someone's
    "Categorizing"
    None of you does. None of you needs to fit any kind of Category.

    Well, maybe, if you want to feel "Really Superior" about calling yourself
    a "True Homesteader", then you might have that need to fit the Category.

    See, I don't think it matters whether you call yourself a Survivalist, a Home-
    steader, Living a Simple Life, Country Folks, Hobby-farmers or whatever.

    The important thing is................that you are Living the Life you want to,
    or can afford, with out someone else slamming you into his Category.
    Now, I don't mean to be Nasty. Maybe I missed the Point altogether,
    about Finding your Direction, Knowing what it is, and Sticking to It.
    You oughta do what you want.

    Life is Good for me, what ever you call me.....out here on the Little
    Homestead.
    Y'all have a good-un..........
     
  10. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    TSDAVE says....

    I think its really important to determine which group we fall in, as one seems to lead to another to another, and where to end it.

    My comment:
    Might be important to you. Isn't to most of us on this board, methinks. All that is just words, and we are out here planting gardens and building things. :happy:

    TSDAVE says...

    Being a homesteader makes you want to be self sufficient....

    My comment...
    Being a homesteader doesn't MAKE you anything... It's a person's wants needs and desires that come first, and those may lead that person to a homesteading lifestyle. :cow:

    My homesteading lifestyle doesn't fit anyone's definition but mine, and it matters not.

    Analogy:
    Scientists have fancy class, genus, species names for bugs. The bugs don't care, and all the naming hasn't influenced the bugs one whit. So, call me a homesteader or don't. Machts nichts. :)
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    No again!

    Being a 'homesteader' and being self sufficient aren't necessarily mutually linked. You can be a 'non homesteader' and find ways of being more self sufficient.

    The statement "makes you want to become less obligated to modern society" is something I don't agree with. To BE a society it may take all kinds, INCLUDING 'homesteaders' which we all have certain obligations toward that society to help improve it and interact with it.

    Being a 'homesteader' doesn't *make* me being prepared for anything really. Nothing can be predicted and one can be 'bit in the ass' by things totally unrelated to not being a homesteader or 'preparing' for the unexpected. A case may be a marriage separation to upset your cart, and one may not 'prepare' for even though homesteading practice all along.
    One can also rebel against things that are out of the control of homesteaders, such as property tax increases, and yet no 'survival' or attitutude against that will isolate you away from "society". We are inextricably connected one way or the other. Homesteading ideas give a sense of 'independence' and depending how you live your 'freedom' on the land (according to rules), that independence is probably what most 'homesteaders' feel.

    I believe the best any modern 'homesteading' practice can help is having some connection with stewardship of land, a degree of 'self reliance' by growing some of your own food and tending to your farmstead animals, and/or other activities where it may interract with other homesteaders and non homesteaders alike, such as a farmer's market for example.
     
  12. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm with the folks who say we don't need labels.

    We don't, unless you're looking to win the "I'm The Best Homesteader And The Rest Of You Are Just Poseurs Award". But, near as I can tell, nobody put out a sign-up sheet for that competition. And I really don't see folks here as needing/wanting that sort of competition.

    None of us needs to be categorized or labeled. We do need each other for help, suggestions, and support -- which we find through this really excellent forum.

    So, I'll spend some of my time in the 'burbs, doing what I can to be more self-sufficient. At the same time, we'll continue working on our 5 (or 4, or 6, or 2) year plan to get to The Farm.

    And through it all, I know I can look for ideas, suggestions, and feedback from HST.

    Which is really cool.

    Pony!
     
  13. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    My topic is aimed at someone like Sheperd. His situation (as posted) is similar to mine. I spent alot of time thinking about what i want the 'result' of my efforts to be. NOT how I want to acheive them. Yes I know most everyone will be a combination of the above. I know i am now as well. My point is you can NOT ACHEIVE ALL THREE. And the more you try the more you see it is not possible. I will give some the the contradictions below:

    1 setting up a homestead, and moving with the game or bugging out
    2 guns are advanced tools, and cant be made oneself with natural materials.
    3 tillers,mowers,chainsaws,tractors,tools make life easier but equipment for 'simple living'
    4 In the event of a TEOTWAWKI, there the only guarnteed functional unit, is the 'simple liver'
    5 The 'simple liver' is not equipped to survive advanced NBC attacks.
    6 money is tight, most of us dont have the money to do what shepherd has, we have to choose between land, solar panels, guns, tractors etc.
    7 the simple life, while being the most light unit, also has little protection from modern units.

    And by defining homesteading as i have (for myself at least), limits tools and equipment to that which can be maintained oneself. A little story :

    I haul hay by using a wagon, and a dump rake, and a pitch fork. None of this equipment can break that I can not fix. But how to cut it ? A sickle ? I have one,
    it is sucky. But what to use ? Tractor ? Tractors can not necessairly be fixed by a person. Weed wacker ? Those wear out quick. Horse (pull) sickle ?

    Compared to a survivalist instinct of needing to make sure the the food exists, whose response is to store 1,000 lbs of food/ person/ year.

    Compared to the simple liver who would use tools fashoned from sticks ?

    If you mix and match you dont necessairly get a functioning system to acheive what you need. Or you may spend more for a tractor and equipment than all the food you need for 10 years, guarnteed in your basement.

    I hope this makes things clearer.
     
  14. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    There are some very good books and reference sources about using tools for manual labor use.
    Parts are available for machinery such as tractors to fix yourself or barter someone might do it for you.
    Taking the sickle as an example. You may need replacement parts for that which you can't make either.

    Storing 1000 lbs. of food per person per year maybe be something necessary on some homesteaders minds, but not everyone.

    It seems most of what you are mentioning leans toward survivalism after a catastrophic event. I don't believe that in a strict sense that is what modern homesteading necessarily is. In case of calamity, people in rural areas may probably suffer as much or more than city folk. The context about societal 'meltdown' is fueled by conjecture and predicting behavior of fellow human beings. The study of that could take a lifetime and still never completely figure out.
     
  15. tsdave

    tsdave Grand Marshal

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    This is part of my point, all three units have special aspects
    "simple life" requires nothing but knowlege
    "homesteader" perpetually sustainable environment, at a higher level than the above.
    "survivalist" most capable of surviving catestrophy and in general.
     
  16. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    I'm not sure that for most people, homesteading means preparing for the world to end as we know it. It's about becoming more self-sufficiant, more in control of your life and your world. Almost by definition, homesteading is living a simpler life. I see simple living and homesteading as one and the same. You seem to be more concerned with survivalism - preparing for the world to end, bunker in the ground, MRE's, etc. I'm looking at living more simply, having lots of animals and gardens, raising more food on the farm, fixing what breaks myself, carving out a homestead from the woods where my kids can grow up in a different environment than the suburbs. And generally enjoying the relative peace and quiet of the homestead with my wife and kids. And since we're sitting between Baltimore and DC and in the shadow of Camp David, I doubt there will be much left of our homestead if the SHTF.

    There are other boards far more suited to survialist living if that is the direction you are taking.
     
  17. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    TSDave,
    I have had the same wonderings about homesteading, simpler living and if/ how chances of "surviving" could or should be improved. My conclusion is basically the same as Old John... Do what makes you happy. If you learn to enjoy your life, you are doing fine. I think that how my life ends and how others' lives end is irrelevant. There are no winners or losers. We all die. If the bad guy comes and kills me and lives on my farm and then he gets old and dies, at first it seems like he wins, but if I lived my life happily and he lived his in hate and fear, then it seems like I won. Truth is that there are no winners and losers. I could launch in to a bunch of spiritual and religious stuff here, but it seems that they all say the same things when you get to the heart of them.
    When I'm doing homesteading and simpler living things, it makes me happy. When I entertain thoughts about how these things would help me in the event the SHTF, it's fun to think about, but the variables are too great and it leaves me tense. It's an obvious sign that living for the future isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. I should be living for now. Ask your friendly neighborhood religious/ spiritual advisor. You'll hear it from everyone. It must be true...when I'm doing the right thing, I feel good about it. When I'm not, I don't.
    I happen to enjoy doing things that would improve my chances. Lucky me. Still irrelevant.
    The result of it all is that when embarking on any project, I do it the way I find makes me the happiest. Sometimes I dig with a stick, sometimes with a shovel and sometimes I use my backhoe. I will use the higher tech and unsustainable resources I have at my disposal so long as I can feel good while using them.
    I'd rather live my life well now than live my life in preparation for a life of radiation sickness and murderous bad guys of the future.
    I do still struggle though. I have been vegetarian for 16 years. I have chickens now. I want to familiarize myself with killing and eating them and then hunting game so I can do it if the SHTF. But right now, it's not necessary. So it feels bad to think about doing it. So I haven't yet. When it shifts to feeling good and right, then I will.

    I'm wondering if I have answered your question at all. ah well.
    here's a poem...
    "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it last. Do without"
    ray
     
  18. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    We've done without a lot thru the years so we could be "ok" for our retirement years; something that was 'ingrained' into us by our parents. We have furniture that's well over 20 years old in the living room, LOL... not something I'm thrilled about, but we've tried to watch our P's & Q's through the years and NOT spend money on every whim or desire. We watched friends and family buy brand new cars, while we drove around in older vehicles; one with no AC or heat (DH chose to keep it just awhile longer, LOL)!

    I've worked 2 jobs most of my life until now; one of them was investing in old homes (not only monetarily, but also physically) and duplexing them, fixing them up. I'm talking the type of places that most people would have immediately turned around and walked back out the door rather than thinking of tackling the mess! Worked all day at the office then come home nights and weekends to live with tearing down walls, ripping out old cupboards, etc.

    Once we found this farm, we sold those properties and were able to pay this farm off and buy a little more land. We just felt it was critical to 'secure' this farm by paying it off asap. There's still much to do; it's overwhelming. But the one thing hubby & I agreed to was - we would do nothing that we wouldn't be happy with - if nothing bad happened. This is just a lifestyle we love. We also decided to tackle only one new thing at a time, to make sure we didn't get in over our heads physically or financially.

    We cannot be prepared for everything that could happen. Just a few weeks ago it was made very clear to me that something VERY simple could be devastating. I had a pot of boiling water on and splashed a little onto me. I was very blessed that the worst of the burns were only on the top of one foot. Thinking fast and using great caution is critical. It made me realize that simple things we do every day COULD be life threatening. A humble reminder that no matter how prepared we are, we can never be fully prepared for everything. Keeping emergency medical supplies around, along with "how-to" books is very important.

    For silent hunting, we got ahold of 2 compound bows + equipment for $50 total a few years ago and have been target practicing. The husband of a gal I worked with was an archery competitor; he ruined the tendons in his arm after years of competition and had to quit. I also purchased a wrist slingshot and lots of the steel balls for it.

    We, like Raymilosh, are living as we feel led to live, preparing as we feel led to prepare. We'll face whatever comes the best we can, but for now, we're making every effort to enjoy our life while preparing our Homestead to be as self-sustainable as we possibly can, as time and money permits.

    I wanted to add: Our goal is to bring our monthly expenditures down to a bare minimum for our retirement years. Who knows what we'll be able to afford in the next 20 years!