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Despair? Determination? Delight? — Let’s Discuss Options
#61 Posted : Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:13:13 PM
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Mounting debt and lack of self-reliance are partly responsible for this country's downward economic spiral.  Common sense has been bred out of our gene pool.  We live in a society where people would rather sit back and order a pizza & watch their cable TV than cook for themselves and read a book.  All of us who read Mother Earth News know that a return to a simpler life can only benefit us, especially during the tough times now & ahead.

Our family has moved to a semi-rural area and although we only have about an acre of land, we are trying to move toward an off-the-grid lifestyle.  We have downsized to a smaller home, are on a well and septic and this year will start installing solar panels on our home.  We are installing wood-burning stoves and using firewood from the land we have cleared as fuel.  My childhood on a farm/ranch has helped teach me the importance of growing our own food and I will be starting a raised bed garden this summer.  We have cut back on the amount of meat we eat and although we are not vegetarians by a long shot, it's amazing how much we don't miss it.   We moved to be closer to my husband's employment.  Since my husband was the main wage-earner, I was able to quit my job and work from home, which cuts down on gas prices.  I only go into town a couple of times a week which also saves on gas.   With this change in lifestyle it has freed up enough income that we should be able to be completely out of debt in less than 5 years.  Since we are in our 40's we just can't count on Social Security to be there when we retire so we are trying to pare down to the basics so that we can enjoy our life as much as possible in our golden years.  By the end of this year we should be 30-40% self-sufficient.

I remember what my grandmother used to  say when she talked about the Great Depression:  she said that living in the country, they hardly knew what others in the city were going through.  They grew their own food & livestock, made their own clothes and built what they needed themselves.  It seems like a return to basics is what will keep us all going.  We are definitely worried about what will happen when those who cannot do for themselves try to take from those of us who can.  All I can say is thank God for the "castle law" here in Texas - if we are forced to defend our home with guns that's what we're prepared to do!

The Big Lebowski
#62 Posted : Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2:16:53 PM
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P-Man, I wanted to stop by and see you at the beginning of June but unfortunately I don' t know my dispatch till i leave that day. I went from Vancouver BC down into LA. Must have pretty close to you if I remember correctly.

Well like P-Man, I have horded toilet paper the last several years. Not sure why. But when friends or family find out they just laugh and all I say to them it will be like gold if our economy/society goes into the tank. I also have done it with shampoo and toothpaste etc.

Around here things have gone up at least 10 points over the last several months, such as flour, I was purchasing flour for 7 bucks for 10 kilos(22lbs) 5 bucks when on sale now its 14 bucks. So as oil continues to go up we will see our prices go up and they will go up faster sooner.

Put it this way the truck I drive cost over a thousand dollars to fill up, and I go through approximately 3600 liters on a return trip from Toronto to LA. SO look for food prices to go up the pressure to keep them down is loosing its grip, trucking companies can no longer afford to take the price cut on their end.

Also the roads as someone else said earlier depend on taxes and oil to keep them fix. Well as a long haul trucker the roads are getting worse as I think the money to fix them is getting less. You may see road construction but I'm telling you its just band-aids.

#63 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2008 1:44:51 AM
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Big,you must have heard Jevic folded  and JB  Hunts been feeling the pinch too.Dont know how Roadway and those guys are faring,I take it not well...
The Big Lebowski
#64 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:27:16 AM
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Yeah I did, I read the article about it. They were one of the big boys also, I believe they were ranked number two, in the ltl category. They were owned by Yellow. Now Yellow may have shut them down just to increase there business or maybe they were a victim of industry. But here is the kicker, Yellow bought them several years back because they were a leader and pioneer in the ltl biz, they basically reshaped the way ltl was done. Sooooooo who knows, I'm waiting for one of the big boys here in Canada to go under. The industry is so self destructive when it comes to rates. There are complete fools out there that are taking frieght for a buck a mile!!!! In fact I took a load from nothern BC down into LA a couple of weeks ago and the company I haul for agreed to 1.13/mile.....just crazy. Like I said I'm just waiting........somewhere there is a very large trucking company like Jevic about to go under. Its economics you can not continually run a truck for a buck fifteen a mile when fuel is $6 bucks a gallon here and four and half state side. Put it this way we just put two new steers on and it cost eleven hundred bucks, two drives were eight hundred never mind the monthy maitenance.

Sorry somewhat off topic.
#65 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2008 2:55:03 AM
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I dont know how the independents are doing it Big..or if they are.I talk with truckers a lot and my cousin luckily drives for Fedex and I'm hearing nightmare stories of repo's etc..aThis is all aprapo of the questions posed by the author because these guys are the underpinnings of how we all (used to before all this)live and it's under a lot of stress presently.In other words this is quickly going from the hypothetical to the real world quickly..
The Big Lebowski
#66 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2008 4:12:31 AM
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Yeaaap, there are very few things that are not delivered by truck, further more i would venture to say that at least at one point of a item's life it was moved by a truck, or at least some part of it.(except for a new born baby).

The independents aren't doing it, they're going under and also contributing to truckings failure by taking loads at a buck a mile. As an independent my buddy and I put our truck on with Concord, we just we just couldn't do it alone anymore.

Just as a side note, even running with a company or by yourself you have to run, we had been doing 24 thousand miles a month the last few months to make some decent coin. Let me tell you running team just tires you out. We got back from LA on the 13th of June 1am and left for LA on the 13th of June 11pm. Well I tell you both of us were just tired and I decided to run the first leg which normally my partner does, well three hours into our trip I decided to have a nap at the wheel, ended up in the ditch doing 60 miles an hour. I certainly had a horse shoe you know where as I was able to keep the truck up right (we had a full load 41 thousand) turns out the truck has very little damage, under ten grand, heck the towing bill for two wreckers to pull it out was 9,800 dollars. That said I think my trucking days are over, the money is just not worth it......never was. I enjoy being home.
#67 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2008 4:04:45 PM
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Big L:  If you come down through the I-5 corridor again, let me know ahead by private email and maybe we could meet for a lunch in Grants Pass, OR.  My place is about 40 miles off the interstate here, so you'll probably not want to drive here (although you'd be welcome...).

Yep, trucking is a tough industry these days for an independent, for sure!  I had a welding customer/friend who had to hang it up 2 years ago after many years of driving his own trucks ( I think he has diesel for blood?..). Seen his trials and tribulations over the years, and never envied him that.  Just couldn't believe all the hassles, regulations,  and expenses he endured as an independent.

Considering myself very lucky here to be a self-employed welder working at home. It was a tough row for  many years, but now I'm just loving it.  Its still a lot of work, but at least its workable. Seems like my business is just thriving with the approaching hard times (but I'm aware that those things can change, so, knock on wood!)

Folks, truckers, like so many others  in our economy, are up against it and struggling too. Stop and think what that is going to mean to all of us....You'd better be taking steps NOW to be able to feed clothe shelter and warm yourselves when all the independent truckers are shut down!

#68 Posted : Friday, June 27, 2008 9:40:03 PM
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All of your comments about barter and energy reduction make sense, but where did you go on oil?  First of all, we need to get off fossil fuels COMPLETELY as soon as possible or face serious climate disruptions.  Experts are saying a 90% reduction of CO2 by 2030.  That means virtually no oil, no coal and minimum natural gas.  The answer is not drilling more; the answer is serious tax credits and subsidys for wind, solar and wave.  If we continue to use or increase oil and coal use, we won't have a planet that we can survive on in a very short time.  
#69 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2008 2:36:57 AM
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Dewey,the point I'm(and the others are here too)trying to make is that there are 2 sides of the coin.Everything sounds great on paper but out here in the real world its a whole different story.You're asking us to completely change the transportation  infrastructure of North America within 5-10 years...railroad maybe?

Barb&#39;s Garden
#70 Posted : Saturday, June 28, 2008 4:22:19 AM
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The Big Lebowski
#71 Posted : Sunday, June 29, 2008 6:07:32 PM
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Here is an article from the paper here that I thought had some interest to this topic. Now imagine if its not just personal cars but also transport trucks and other modes of transportation.


CIBC report: high gas prices to take 10 million vehicles off U.S. roads by 2012

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
June 26, 2008 - 3:02 p.m.


CALGARY - Gasoline prices are becoming so unbearably high that one of Canada's top banks is predicting a "mass exodus" of vehicles from U.S. highways within four years, with a slightly less dramatic drop expected in Canada.

CIBC World Markets said in a report Thursday that gas prices in the U.S. will hit US$7 a gallon - the equivalent of C$1.86 a litre - two summers from now. That marks a 70 per cent increase over today's record levels.

"Over the next four years we are likely to witness the greatest mass exodus of vehicles off America's highways in history," wrote chief economist Jeff Rubin.

There will be about 10 million fewer vehicles on U.S. roads by 2012 and average kilometres driven will drop 15 per cent, the report said.

Canada will only experience about 70 per cent of the U.S. decrease, said CIBC economist Benjamin Tal.

"Canada will feel the pain, but it's not going to be the same as in the U.S.," Tal said in an interview, noting that there will be about 700,000 fewer cars on Canadian roads by 2012 and a 10 per cent decrease in average kilometres driven.

In the U.S. case, low-income families will account for the biggest change, whereas in Canada the greatest shift will come from the middle-income bracket, Tal said.

"In Canada more low-income Canadians have access to public transportation, therefore the adjustment will not come from them. The adjustment will come from middle class families that will start giving up the second or third cars," he said, adding that much of the higher tax Canadians pay tends to be invested in urban transit systems.

Another report Thursday from Scotia Economics said record-high gas prices are leading to a big change in purchasing habits.

"With Americans abandoning their gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks for small, more fuel-efficient vehicles, we estimate that the average fuel-efficiency of this year's fleet has climbed by nearly 20 per cent from the previous model year," said auto industry specialist Carlos Gomes.

Small cars now account for one-quarter of overall U.S. sales, up from 16 per cent last year, the Scotia report said.

"In fact, small cars and fuel-efficient crossover utility vehicles now account for 42 per cent of the U.S. market, up from 30 per cent in 2006 and double their sheared as recently as 2001," Gomes said.

On the other hand, sales of pickups and SUVs are down to only 19 per cent of U.S. volumes, compared to 36 per cent in 2001.

The trend is less pronounced in Canada, where there has been a greater appetite for fuel efficient vehicles, Gomes said in an interview.

“The Canadian market has always been a bit different. We always tended to drive smaller vehicles than was the case in the United States”

The meteoric rise in global crude oil, which was trading above US$138 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange midday Thursday, has been a major factor in soaring pump prices.

The average pump price in Canada Thursday was C$1.38 a litre, nearly 30 cents higher than what it was a year ago, according to the price-tracking website Gasbuddy.com. Americans were paying US$4.07 a gallon, the equivalent of C$1.08 a litre.


#72 Posted : Sunday, June 29, 2008 6:47:06 PM
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My husband and I have a 5 acre farmette, most of which is an overgrown christmas tree farm.  We have been living on a very skimpy budget for about the last 3 yrs after my husband lost his job and it took 8 months for him to find another one.  I do a lot of canning and freezing during the fall.  We didn't do a garden this year, but we usually have one and raise several different vegetables which I can as much as possible. I grow herbs every year which I dry and freeze also.  I also have a small plot of land picked out if we need to start growing our own animal feed.   We are investing in a dehydrator this summer, so we are hoping that will help in our attempts to stockpile.  I have plans to get rid of my minivan this fall and buy a smaller more gas conserving car as well as finding a job closer to home.  Our farm has many trees on it, most of which have fruit or nuts on them.  We also have strawberries and raspberry bushes that I utilize.  We raise chickens for our eggs.   I would like to invest in a wind turbine-we live on a hill where the wind blows 24/7  365 days/year and that would really help with our energy usage.  I'm not sure what we could do for our heating needs yet, other than replace some windows and do some more insulating in the house.  I would like to put in a wood stove or something similar.  If things get worse, we will utilize our bicycles when we can and the horses will be getting ridden more while the cars stay parked in the driveway.  We have been doing most of these things for a while now, so the transition will not be so bad for us.  The winter heating issue scares me because although our furnace is a water boiler it still uses propane to heat the water and I'm not sure we could afford to put in a different heating system at this time.    I guess that is something we will have to work on.    We will continue to work on these things as we can but for now this is what we are doing.  The next few years will be interesting to say the least and yes, I am nervous about what is coming.  I refuse to be defeated- we are fighters and we will survive somehow.  
#73 Posted : Monday, June 30, 2008 2:00:18 AM
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Marti you say you have a lot of overgrown woods,I'd think about a small pellet boiler or a wood boiler.Yes they're expensive(and there's a 3-4 month waiting list for either right now.)but yes they do work and well.I know MEN does'nt necc. approve of their use but when the doodoo hits the fan as it is doing now ,for many folks there is no other option but to give up the propane and oil and go to full time wood heat.I have since the winter of 2003-2004 and have yet to turn my propane heater on.If you have the overgrowth or dead,rotten wood or a free supply(or both)  then thats what you have to do,no other choice for me right now.Yes it is going to be interesting next year,lowest estimate for heating oil is $4.89/gal(I was quoted $4.38 last week from our supplier for the plant I work at.)They are'nt holding to that price either so that could mean $6-$8 by midwinter,we'll see.I think I may have to take out a small loan to buy my 285 gallons of propane this year(that now lasts me a year with the wood boiler.)I dont know..I took down 11 pine trees to make room for a 50'x 50' garden plot for next year because food prices feel like they'll be twice or three times what they are now.Chickens I may look into next year too once my small barn/garage is built.Have to keep my equipment under cover here,cant use it too well under 4' of snow and below zero..

I know I'll be ok this coming winter but I feel a little guilty that I did  see this coming years ago,and many did'nt and may freeze to death or move to warmer climates because of all this.I know many will go broke and without food.It feels this country is going broke fast,our money's not worth anything anymore,all the signs are there and it looks in the long term that its not going to get better this time..As you said Canada still pays more for fuel than we do and we still have a long way to go before hitting bottom..

John Edward Mercier
#74 Posted : Monday, June 30, 2008 4:40:17 PM
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I think that's why the question on animals was asked during the first post.

In NH, it costs more to transport a pound of beef here.. rather than the pounds of feed required to produce it.

With limited property, firewood and garden are going to take higher priority and meat consumption will just need to fall or come from hunting/fishing.


#75 Posted : Tuesday, July 01, 2008 9:09:29 PM
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"What steps would you take to prepare if you knew that five years from now everything would cost 10 times what it costs now "

I think the first and most important step is to learn to FEED yourself. The grocery stores I frequent have always had food on the shelves. Its been like that all my life. But what if all the store's customers ran to their favorite store one weekend to stock up because of a media scare? The shelves would empty out fast. I feel strongly that consumers need to become more responsible about their own food production--gardens, livestock, crops, etc..  Start now or become more and more vulnerable as time moves forward, IMHO.

"if things got really bad, roving gangs with guns would steal your food and fuel"

I don't believe roving gangs with guns would be a big threat just because the cost of living goes up 10 times. In my neck of the woods (rural Arizona) it would be a foolish notion, even the stupidest criminal minds, to venture out into the rural world to steal someone's food and fuel. I should read more about the depression but as of yet I cannot recall ever hearing about armed, roving gangs, the hungry and unemplyed from cities, heading out to the countyside to aggravate a succesful farming operation and steal food and gas. Perhaps in a stark, apocolyptic world, roving gangs would be a problem.

#76 Posted : Wednesday, July 02, 2008 3:02:56 AM
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John Rockhold wrote:

What steps would you take to prepare if you knew that five years from now everything would cost 10 times what it costs now — gas, food, electricity, solar panels, hybrid cars — everything, but your income would not change? What would you do now to be in a better place to cope?

Hey john,

First of all i hate this forum software with a passion. Sheesh.  Can't quote and make sense of it.   and all these side ads distorts the screen making it unreadable most of the time.

Well anyway, try living on Social Security.    Gas, food, elet, all that crap goes up by my income never goes up.  What do you do?  Well last year i lost my home, moved into a RV on some property, got run off by county officials even though i owned the land.  I bought a house and 6 acres halfway across the country in kansas. 35k.  350 a month, 1/2 of what i was paying for my home i lost Plus got 5 times the land i had.  Only problem, i am 60 miles from a big enough city where i can get groceries.

* Do you have a bit of land and the skills to grow and preserve a good portion of your own food?
If not, could you join with your neighbors and garden together on open land one of you owns?

I have enough to grow my own.

* What about fuel to warm your home? Do you know how much firewood you could produce from one acre?

Wood heat totally.  Cut my wood for free from landowners around here.

* What would it cost you to commute to your job if gas cost 10 times more — about $40 per gallon? Should you consider moving closer to your work, or getting a vehicle that gets better mileage? Maybe invest in an electric bicycle?

i buy 2 tanks 24 gallons total in a month.  Gas isn't going to be 40 dollars a gallon in my lifetime.  So i am not even worried about that. 

* Could you keep goats and learn to make your own cheese? If you don’t have much land, you could keep a couple of goats in a very small area and bring food to them.

Ok yeah i make my own cheese. But you have to still buy rennet, cheese salt, starters, lipaise.......

*They love to eat twigs and leaves — perhaps you could harvest brush along public roadsides for their feed.

Oh no you didn't say that LOL.  Goats do not eat just twigs and leaves. You will kill them fast if you only harvest brush and feed that to them!!!!  Goats need forage (aka brush and bark and leaves) as well as pasture.  IF you intend on milking goats, you also have to have feed otherwise your not going to make much cheese or get much milk.

* Chickens can be great, sustainable sources of eggs and meat, but remember — commercial feed would cost 10 times more than it does now, so could you grow their feed at home?

shrug just let them graze.  don't feed them any commercial stuff.

* Would you plant some peach pits and have your own peach orchard?

You can't plant peach pits and get good true to type peaches.  Most if not all peaches are grafted onto rootstock, which is what you get from a pit

* Could you grow your own herbal medicines?

Do that right now. 

* Or do you think it would be foolish to work to become more self-reliant, because you believe that if things got really bad, roving gangs with guns would steal your food and fuel?

Got the solution for roving gangs.  Its called a semiauto sks, and 30-06.  Shotgun for 100 yards or less, and a .357 for close range.

* Are you already 50 percent self-sufficient? 90 percent? Tell us how you did it, and how it feels.

No i still need my income.

* Do you despair that we may be doomed? Or are you determined to choose a course that you think will assure you and your family of a good life, full of delight, no matter what comes?


#77 Posted : Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:40:40 PM
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A QUALIFIER: I am NOT a "survivalist", though I am NO GREENIE (though I sound like it sometimes). Far from it. I think Global Warming is a hoax foisted on us by a Socialist agenda to kill our American standard of living so that misery might be equally enjoyed by us middlers while the corrupt elitists fly their G5s to Geneva to pick up their Peace Prizes.

Green is the new Red.


What I AM is a REALIST.

The SUPER RICH powers that RUN this world (The Bilderburg Group types--the Walton, Bush, Rockefeller, Kennedy, Saudi etc.. families) have seen to it that this world runs on the cheap oil that THEY control in myriad ways.

Our globe's carrying capacity (there I go sounding like a Greenie) has EXPLODED since the Fifties when my mother's (Boomer) generation was growing into the ME FIRST consumers that have seen fit to chew the goody out of evey last BITE of the "American Dream", leaving precious little but DEBT and MISERY for their children (the X'ers and beyond). The 1.6 BILLION gaping maws have bloomed to almost 8 BILLION souls in these last sixty years or so---all expecting to be fed Kobe beef and organic lattes.

{Because he introduced me to the concept of "carrying capacity", this is where I beg you to PLEASE READ the book, THE LONG EMERGENCY by James Howard Kuntsler. (An article in Rolling Stone by the same title he wrote in 2005) It will keep you sleepless for the rest of your natural life BUT IT WILL COMPLETELY EXPLAIN THE "WHY"of what is happening now AND WHAT THE NEAR FUTURE WILL LOOK LIKE (complete with roads that are not maintained, as suggested by members of this forum). And the SCARIEST PART? His book went to press on February 1st, 2004, but it reads like today's headlines.}

I was born a mere twenty years after my mother, but she was a late baby for my Depression Era grandparents. This age spread furnished me a firsthand account of one generation who made do with a one bedroom house and four children, who then raised the generation for whom granite countertops, two SUVs, and a 6,000 square foot "retirement" home hanging off what was a pristine mountainside still isn't enough.

THANKFULLY, my grandmother made an impression on me with her sewing, gardening, cooking and general thrift. Her take on life seemed liberating and at PEACE with the earth God made for us. Yes, I am a "Christian", but FAR FROM the mega church, retail religious zealot who thinks "God will provide". God will provide to those who can take a hint. He provides our needs in abundance to those who have the SENSE and SPIRITUAL CENTER to grasp the very real signposts that are all around us.

I am a gun toting, ALMOST self sufficient LIBERTARIAN who has watched this country (partly founded by my very family members the better part of three hundred years ago) be destroyed in the name of political correctness aided by the lassitude of the masses anesthetized by "reality" tv , cheap oil and corrupt politicians on both sides who love the sound of being called "The Honorable Gentleman" and the feel of a limo ride in D.C. just a little too much.

Am I delighted? In a sick way, yes, in my own abilities to provide for myself and my nest. Putting up food and sewing are hobbies that I am lucky enough to have perfected and enjoyed for the better part of my forty years. I can run a tractor, tap a spring, and grow a garden. I can sew the finest linen with a treadle machine that belonged to my great grandmother. I can shoot, field dress and roast the finest venison you ever ate. I admit that I do derive a certain smug satisfaction in being one of the few in my age group who values this skill set. THAT is where I believe, GOD, or PROVIDENCE, or whatever you choose to call it, has "provided" for me.

The only thing that I expect to fall out if the sky in the way of divine aid and comfort is the morning paper. And you better know I read it critically. And cover to cover.

But despair replaces it all as I stare into the eyes of my young children. I find no pleasure in thinking that someday all the participants of "My Super Sweet Sixteen" will finally "get theirs" when the schumer hits the fan---because my children will be on that same bus when the wheels of The American Dream finally come flying off.


#78 Posted : Saturday, July 19, 2008 2:38:18 AM
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^5s seejanesmom.Could'nt agree more with all of the above.I feel a little out of place in my generation sometimes,seeing what others  do my age but then I think that what my silent generation parents went thru taught them serious lessons about life and I am grateful to them that I learned how to gett thru those times in life.The generation before ours and after throws that away as useless information that anyone can do
#79 Posted : Monday, July 21, 2008 3:58:14 AM
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As a mother of 5 of the gaping maws of this world I occasionally feel some despair not for the lack of roads not for the loss of society but more of the easy life for my boys

The world that may come to pass one of hard farm life and growing food and hunting and fishing to survive is not an easy life

we live on our 4 acres we have close neighbors and friends nearby

I hav skills lik sewing gardening and animal tending I have 5 strong healthy boys and an ability to read to gather knowledge needed to survive

I have chickens and pigs no goats yet I would prefer a cow our land is full of fruit

I can grow vegetables and know how to forrage for other edibles

my concerns would be flour and sugar and salt

I can get maple sugar  

I know how to cook over a fire and from scratch we have wood heat (small wood stove)

oh and about the silver I would rather have seeds than silver they are of greater value to me and my family




Adam Pate
#80 Posted : Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:44:37 PM
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Sad as it may be, this could be the kick in the pants our country needs to take responsibility for our actions as a nation of consumers and put our national values into proper perspective. What would I do? Take to the hills and trade my skills and assets for what I needed with my friends, neighbors and family. Lots of people here seem to be ahead of the game in being prepared, but don't forget the skills, time and health you possess! What is money really? What's worth more; a good job to pay for a nice house or the skills and time needed to build a nice house? With a good job, you get credit, get a mortgage and buy a house and work hard to pay it off in 30 or so years. All the while padding the pockets of the mortgage brokers, banks, creditors and whoever else. Hopefully you'll build some equity and be able to sell that house one day for more than you paid for it. But there's interest, maintenance and not to mention you're in debt and at the mercy of creditors, terrified of losing your job because with the job comes all of those comforts you've accumulated over those 30 years... or at least until it's paid off... With the skills and time needed to build your own house, with a little bit of capital and plenty of ingenuity, you can build a beautiful custom home in a couple of years and enjoy it debt free (aside from taxes and maintenance) for the rest of your life! What's more worthwhile? Who cares about money? Plenty of people all over the world do just fine with out it. Just imagine how well we could live without it!
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