…I’m not gonna lie, we have a pretty awesome life. I don’t have an electric bill, because I built our solar power system myself, from components. We don’t have a house payment, because we built our house by hand, as we went. I have a land payment, but we pay so much extra on it, that the 15 year note will be completely paid off in 6 years total. We don’t have much of a grocery bill, because we raise and/or hunt so much of our own food.
I get to shoot—and teach—weekly, because we have a core group of guys who show up every weekend for training. We have a core group of 10 or so families that socialize together, party together, babysit each others’ kids, etc (Yes, we even identify, communally, as a “clan.”).
So, yeah, life is pretty…good, even as we watch the social structures we’re accustomed to collapse around us.
Here’s the catch though…It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen all at once. We’re still in the process of becoming communally self-reliant, for lack of a better term.
How then, does someone like my friend—maybe someone like you—start today, instead of waiting until the stars align properly?
Start small. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch (I have an amazing German brown bread recipe that I’ll post one of these days). It takes me twenty minutes of work, spread over several hours (to let the dough rise), to bake two big, round loaves of the bread. Even with two young kids that love to eat it (and my predilection for eating quarter loaf chunks ripped off the still steaming loaf…), two loaves of this bread will last us two or three days. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive…
The Sensible Survivalists have a nice article up titled The Basic Homesteading Skills My Grandmother Learned During WWII And Then Passed On To Me. If you are getting ready to start your first garden or just beginning to move toward more self-sufficiency, it’s a good read to get you on your way.
I think the person who taught me the most, especially about homesteading, was my wonderful late grandmother.
She was a young woman in England during the Second World War. It was a difficult time for everyone, especially families. Food and resources were limited, and morale had to be kept up. She and her friends learned so many new skills in order to cope, and managed to make it through in one piece.
My grandmother passed on some of her homesteading skills to me, which has been invaluable for our own experience. Along with those skills, she taught me to be resourceful, resilient, imaginative and tough, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.
In this post, I want to pass my grandmother’s wartime beginner homesteading skills on to you.
I think there’s something wonderful about taking the painful lessons that our parents and grandparents learnt during difficult times, and then learning and growing from them. I sometimes wish I could go back in time. I would go and speak to my grandmother, aged 17, trying to get a coop of stubborn chickens to lay eggs, and I would tell her that generations and decades into the future, her granddaughter would be applying those lessons to her own homesteading life. I think she’d be happy about that.
To put together this post, I’ve gone back through our family archives, my grandmother’s old notebooks and a few Internet sites to collects facts, pictures and lessons we can learn from today. I’ve found the old WWII posters that my grandmother will have seen at the time, and will share those with you…
As usual, John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla blog has some insightful comments on prepping in general and on the more important craftsmanship of living a self-sufficient life which results in being prepared for whatever life throws your way. Some people don’t like the things JM says nor the way he says them, but even if you disagree with his conclusions, the ideas that he presents are well worth contemplating.
…As I discussed in my books, while the occurrence of a single, instantly-identifiable “SHTF” trigger event would be remarkably convenient, it’s not likely. Even in the case of an event that popular prepper porn novels make out to be THE event—solar flare, EMP, economic collapse, etc—the fact is, collapses of major civilizations take years, decades, and even centuries to fall all the way to “dark ages” status. That’s not popular, and it’s not convenient, but it is reality.
“But! Violent struggle in the streets!” “But, mah second civil war!” “Riots!” “Collapse of the Dollar!”
Sure, all of those are bad, but, especially at the local level, none of them are really “TEOTWAWKI” either, in most places. Sure, parts of major metropolitan areas are going to get ugly. A lack of potable drinking water from the taps. Absence of police presence making violent crime more likely. Control of whole neighborhoods by criminal gangs and cartels. A breakdown in the infrastructure system. Squatting by newly homeless people…Yeah, that’ll be different…
Guess what? That IS the norm, right now. You think an EMP going off is going to make it worse? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m betting on not. In fact, in a lot of ways, I suspect life for the residents of … ghettos in large urban areas will get BETTER after an event that draws more attention away from them, when the shadow governments that are already in place, in the form of criminal cartels, can move about more openly. No more pretense of divided loyalties between the government, the relief agencies, and the local gangs. The gangs will stomp out unaffiliated criminal actors in a hurry. Sure, it’ll be despotism, and if you’re an attractive female of breeding age, it’ll probably suck for the indefinite future, but, as a general thing, that’s just as true now.
What benefits will accrue the inner city? They have a new governing body in place that has a proven track record for getting a niche product into the community, under difficult conditions. Are groceries as profitable as drugs? Not right now, but in the event of a major event? It’s not like drug dealing gangs are in it because of the drugs. They’re in it because of the money, and the power the money brings them. How long do you think it will take a local gang to switch over from smuggling drugs to smuggling carrots? Hell, they don’t even need to smuggle carrots. They can get their mamas and grannies to grow them on the roofs and in the deserted lots.
Rural places? The power goes out in my neighborhood when a good storm blows. A cartel safehouse was raided and busted less than a couple miles from my house, last year. There was over $2 million worth of contraband on the place. My neighbor told me that our other neighbor had something like 50 head of cattle rustled out of his pasture, in broad daylight, two months ago. The closest town to us has signs in the front yard of several businesses and houses openly acknowledging the corruption in the municipal government. You know what people do?
They live. They have backup generators, or they are off-grid completely. Of my six closest neighbors, every single family raises a serious garden every year (as in, somewhere over 100% of their annual intake of vegetables. Some gets sold, some gets canned for storage, some gets given away), and every family raises their own chickens for meat and eggs. Half have a larger meat animal on the place as well, either beef cattle or pigs. Three of the neighbors have a family cow each.
Read the entire article by clicking here. Also as usual, the article is spiked with JM’s typically NCO colorful epithets and aphorisms which may offend the sensibilities of some readers.