What Modern Homesteaders Really Want

The idea of homesteading is not a new one as many newly minted “modern homesteaders” will point out.  After all, as a species we humans seemingly mastered the art of living off the land long ago. We mastered fire, clothed ourselves, and even preserved the food we figured out how to grow so it could later nourish us.

These were remarkable advancements, but we didn’t stop there.

Mankind continually “evolved” to become more “leisurely.” We abandoned hunting skills, opting instead to crowd tens of thousands of animals into small yards and houses. Then, we dosed the animals’ feed with antibiotics so they would live long enough to reach slaughter weight.

We traded fire for HVAC systems to the point where most people today have trouble starting a fire. We abdicated growing and preserving food at home to mega-farms and large corporations. Those vital skills have become near extinct for most citizens.

If you don’t think so, ask yourself this: when was the last time you made soap or operated a pressure canner?

modern homesteaders

4 Reasons Why We Eat the Animals We Love

Sorry PETA, eating the "right" meat is best for people, the animals and the environment

Of all the decisions we contemplated when we began farming a decade ago, choosing to farm livestock was the easiest. That meant we would care for livestock, and then eat animals we cared for.

There were four reasons why this path was so clearly right for us then, and continues to be today.

Tim PollyThe first reason is that we love animals. All animals. One of the things we joked about when we first bought our sprawling acreage was that we could have as many pets as we wanted. Here I am holding one of our dogs back when we lived in a suburban HOA (when our clothes were always clean and I had an awesome head of hair) 🙂

My wife, Liz, is attracted to pet stores the way Winnie Mandela is attracted to shoes, so it was easy for us to dream of raising chickens, cows, pigs, sheep and any other animals we could get our hands on.

But if you love animals, you can’t eat them…can you?

eating animals

Season 1: Episode 28: Why We Eat the Animals We Love | Homesteading | Farming [PODCAST]

We love animals, so farming livestock was an easy decision for us. So how can we eat the animals we love? Today, I’ll tell you why PETA is dead wrong and why eating the “right” meat is best for people, the environment AND the animals.

Listen to the Podcast

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10 Survival Lessons From the Great Depression

Transcript of Self-Sufficient Life, episode 26

So, we all grew up reading and hearing about The Great Depression, right?

That time in American history when times were tough, everyone was thrown out of work, food was scarce.

On top of that we had the Dust Bowl with infertile land and tremendous storms of dust blanketing the heartland of the country.

And, of course, virtually no one had money.

Sounds like a made-for-TV nightmare that’s almost beyond belief.

But—as terrible as that time was, was it really terrible for everyone?

How to Comfortably Retire Homesteading

Homesteading as a Retirement Plan

Several years ago as we prepared to transition from sprawling urban life to our rural farmstead, my wife and I were filled with excitement about growing our own food and being immersed in nature. Yet, during that period of intense change and learning we also spent many hours discussing, of all things, retirement.

At the time the idea of retirement was many years away for us, but in our “former” lives we at least understood what the plan was, so we rarely thought about it. The plan then was simply to keep working until we were 62 or so and then let a 401K or pension plan fund the rest of our life, perhaps with a little help from social security.

Comfortably Survive Economic Collapse

Survival Tips from the Great Depression

In the years following America’s near economic collapse (Great Recession of 2007-2009), many folks found themselves wondering if far worse times lie ahead. Indeed, an astonishing number of websites, TV shows, books, podcasts and websites (including this one) emerged that focus on preparedness and self-sufficiency.

From zombies to Alaskan homesteaders, the sites and shows are enduring and proving to be very popular. That wouldn’t be the case without a gnawing feeling on the part of the general public that our country may be headed down a troubling path. The polarizing choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seems to have done nothing to calm these fears.

Even if the doomsday people are correct in their claims that the dollar is about to collapse, the government is about to collapse or an EMP is imminent, it doesn’t mean that times have to be tough for you.

A common misconception is that times in The Great Depression, 80 years ago, were tough for everyone. They weren’t.

Quality of Life vs Standard of Living

It's not about the money. It's about the freedom.

While the quality of life is excellent out here in the country, sometimes it’s mighty quiet on the homestead. So, what does a homesteader contemplate while checking off the chores?  Surprisingly, I find myself thinking about economic and social unrest trends more than I would like.

Yes, even as my fingers sift through the soil I wonder if the trend in terrorism and social unrest will escalate and if harsh economic times are ahead. In these moments, I feel comforted by the choice we made to opt out of the rat race. Very comforted.

Still, I can’t seem to kick the habit of keeping up with world events, including increasing violence and quality of life economic indicators.

From time to time I look at the real inflation trends. Not the government numbers that suggest 2-3%, but the ShadowStats numbers that calculate inflation the way it was before the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) changed its methods, making the Consumer Price Index appear low.

quality of life

Society’s Five Stages of Economic Collapse

Society as we know it will break down and collapse in a five stage process outlined here. While it can be accelerated by certain events like war, a natural disaster, pandemic, terrorist attack, or even an impending asteroid impact, history has shown that economic collapse will essentially happen in this five stage process. To survive the collapse, it is important to read and interpret the signs and understand what assets are important to the current situation so you can be prepared for the worst thereby allowing you to survive intact and with as little damage as possible.