Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The things I read...

I've spent a lot of time lately poking around "survival" websites and forums lately. Not because I want to fall into that category, but simply because I want to see how others do some of the things we do, plus I'm just curious about some of their ways. I really have to say that a lot I read makes me laugh. I've read of people burying guns in their backyard. I've read of people buying land out of the country to run to. I've read of people stocking their basements full of MRE's and dehydrated foods. But what really makes me laugh are the ones that are putting new terms on old things we all know. My favorite so far is "permaculture". Without even realizing what I've been doing, I have been practicing this new trendy cityboy based way of thinking and planting edibles that grow back year after year. What a concept eh? I'm glad that someone with a degree in horticulture was able to figure out this new way of planting things so they grow back and give you produce/crops year after year....cause yanno, grandma never would have figured out that those blackberries she planted along the fence would spread, grow, and give her fruit every year. Lets see, I've planted strawberries, grapes, 2 varieties of blackberries, apple trees, and Lisa's herbs, all on this one acre here outside the suburbs...holy crap I should write a book. "Permiculture for the semi-urban survivalist'!!! I could make my fortune selling books to those who are too clueless to understand this is how us regular gardeners do things. Hmmm.........................I just may start writing that today.

I know that Lisa and I have chosen to live a bit differently than most around here and most anywhere, but sometimes the people on these kinds of forums just make me shake my head and wonder. I constantly read of people buying generators, talking about solar power and backup systems, and what they need them for. I can't for the life of me figure out why people simply can't loosen the grip that electricity has on us. They talk about emergency power in the same way that an alcoholic has their hidden bottle somewhere in the house.I read one about someone who had a solar system WITH his on-grd electricity, with a backup generator in case both fail and to charge the solar batteries....wow. Rather then lose part of the dependancy on electricity, they constantly worry about what they will do if they are suddenly without it. They have to have that backup power for their lights, microwave, dvd player, and all those things that just simply AREN'T necessities. Now, we're far from living in a cabin in the mountains and doing everything over a wood fire, but as many regular readers know, we've slowly weaned ourselves from the addiction and dependancy of the handy-dandy plug-it-in-to-use gadgets that so many people just can't seem to go without. I can't imagine in the instance of a power outage, worrying about how I'll be able to work my microwave, coffeemaker, or cable tv, I just can't. I just suppose that I have learned to live without certain things by choice that I can't imagine them being a priority anymore. As I look across the kitchen where I am sitting, I see the perculator on the stove that we use every day and realize that someone, somewhere, has that same pot tucked away on a shelf "just in case". People have things for an emergency situation that we use every day, I just can't help but find humor in that.

I don't intend to make fun of people, I really don't. I just can't help but to wonder what some of these people are thinking, and how far they are from some bit of common sense living in cities and suburbia.Some of these "crucial survival skills" are things we (lisa and I ) deal with every day, and most are things I have known since I was very young. As a kid, I spent most of my time in the woods behind my parents house. Sometimes I just sat under a tree with a book, sometimes I just walked around to see what I could see, sometimes I hunted, sometimes I went searching for berries. Where I grew up was no great wilderness, but we did pretty much have the run of a few thousand acres. I knew where there was water. I knew where the best place was for squirrels, rabbits, fox, pheasant, or a few small ponds for fish and waterfowl. I could leave the house early in the morning and not come back until early evening and never be hungry or thirsty. There were quite a few times that I would set off with a backpack, tent, knives, sleeping bag, matches, and a 22 rifle. I never had a problem feeding myself. I knew to boil water that I got from the pond, though at times I would drink right out of the creek. There was even one year when my camping gear was hidden away in some trees the whole summer because I constantly ended up there. How old was I? Twelve. I was doing things every weekend at age 12 that I see/hear/read of grown men doing now in their 30's and 40's. It just amazes me at times how far our society as a whole has not only walked away from simple things in life, but they've walked away from skills that our ancestors used day to day just to survive life year round. Not just outdoor skills, but everyday household skills. I've read posts of people talking about making bread for the first time like it was some amazing feat of mankind comparable to setting foot on the moon. I've read about people planting tomatos in a pot on their porch/.patio like it was the *craziest* thing to grow some of your own food. These kinds of people dominate these survival and preparadness boards. At times it scares me, but normally it just makes me laugh.

I know I've said I will be getting back to the old regular homesteading stuff I've had on this blog, but there really isn't much going on this time of year worth writing about. We've been busy trying to do what we can for Christmas, get some bills payed off or consolodated, and still search for a job. It's been a tough year for sure,last Tuesday made 10 months I have been layed off. We're just doing what we can, same as always. Hopefully I'm not losing some old readers from the way this blog has turned lately, but there is more to me than just the gardening and chickens.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't think you'll lose any readers chris! It's enjoyable no matter what you talk about and we enjoy hearing about your boyhood adventures, and many of us wish we could have done that. Now me, I ran around the dessert, making forts and little cities. We had a ball. Drank liquid from cactus and ate their flowers. Great adventures, no matter if we are in the dessert or in the woods!! We had a heck of a better time than the city kids! As for electric. We are not prepared. We'd just deal with it I guess. I don't see us preparing for anything, which I know will drive you nuts, but we just won't. I do however, love hearing about how you have prepared for any problems. I admire you for that. Merry Christmas!...debbie

Happy Hermit said...

I am right here Lol-ing w/ you , its amuseing sometimes , but its also sad. I lived for 4+ years out of a backpack , no house have the time , much less electricity etc. So I runinto some very funny things from different people.

What are you going to do when theirs no light at night - LOL - go to sleep.

I am a homesteading , independant do it like the my great gram survivalist , my husband is one of those laughable , lets make sure we have ammo and generator survivalist. *sighs*

In the end if need be , i will restrain myself from laughing when he runs out of petrol for his generator.LOL

Kory said...

I suffer the same lack of content during the cold and dark months, no biggie.

As for your take on permaculture and the amazed newbs.

First, permaculture is more than simply planting perennial producers, its about getting nature to do as much of the work as possible, and if you are blessed with the good sense to already know how to create a proper landscape design to trap water, and what mix of "support" plants to include with your food crops, great! Some people need things systematized.

And on of the side effects of the masses becoming engaged in the mechanism of their survival is that sense of amazement when something works. We've been conditioned to be helpless consumers, so the rediscovery of our potential is often nothing short of amazing. The other side is the trial and error process that come with learning. People sharing their success is as much a source of encouragement to others as it is a reason for the writer to brag. Lord knows I'm far from proficient at making that perfect artisan loaf, but I'm more than happy to share my ocassional success, disappointment, and discoveries.

Personally I had to cut myself off from a lot of the survivalist sites because the alternating exposure to paranoia, idiocy, paranoia, hatred, and did I mention paranoia? was beginning to effect my own mental state.

As for the solar panels, yes, absolutely not essential to survival, but from a perspective of living more lightly on the earth it could be argued as a solution to the energy crisis. And just as it is empowering for a person to produce their own food, so to can our model of energy production and consumption improve when the consumers also take part in the production process.

Ralphy said...

Friend, I enjoy your blog and hope that you find a job soon. Hang in there. Peace.

EcoGrrl said...

It can become easy to laugh at people who think their first loaf of bread is like walking on the moon (I laughed out loud at that comment), but think of it this way - at least they are making bread! It's the folks who buy bread machines who make me giggle - for me making bread is almost more fun than eating it :). What is beautiful to me is that so many people are rediscovering their roots, or trying it for the first time because their parents raised them on video games. So kudos to them, you know? We all are here to teach :)

First time visitor to your blog so just wanted to send over my support both for your homestead and for your employment situation.

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