I assume besides entertainment over what is this crazy lady is doing now, you have some yearning for self-sufficiency or you would not be reading this blog. My question to you is can someone be truly self-sufficient? The answer I feel relies on what you define as self-sufficient. Television programs, like the one on Netflix about the trappers in Alaska, define it as living with a finite amount of products manufactured by others for a period of time in isolation. Others in magazines and on the news define it as growing a garden, and raising some livestock. Still others think emergency preparedness makes them self-sufficient.
But what does self-sufficient truly mean – “able to provide for or support oneself without the help of others”. That is what the dictionary’s defines. Note the part where it says supports oneself without the help of others. So is it really possible to support oneself completely? Does anyone really provide their own food, clothing, transportation, housing, warmth, and tools all on their own? Some say no… others yes. I say yes, and no. Yes, if one is in the perfect location, with the perfect amount of skills and talents, and exceptional cooperation from Mother Nature to provide your needs when you need them.
Does that ever really happen? For short periods of time but definitely not going to happen for long periods of time or where we live. Mother Nature is rarely predictable. The weatherman sometimes changes his mind three times in one day. It is going to snow. It’s not. No, I think it is. 10 out of 10 of the most destructive hurricanes on record occurred in the last 10 years and weather is predicted to become more and more unstable. I've heard everything under the sun from we are getting hotter to we are on the edge of a mini ice age. They all look at limited data. Climate Change many experts say is blown out of the water by present data. I believe it is political and financially based. The mini ice age is a debate over what will become the most influential on our weather, sun flares or pollution? Me, I say Mother Nature has always changed and cycled and the Lord has said that she will become more unpredictable in these last days. Let's see... scientist or the guy who created the universe? For me the answer is easy. And on every website I looked at for threats to our power grid, weather came up number one.
This places emergency preparedness way up on the list of self-sufficient needs. A disaster could leave an area in need for a short period of time or for months with financial devastation lasting for years after. Hurricane Sandy left some without power for months afterwards. Numerous disasters all during a short period of time, like this fall with the fires out West and the hurricanes down south, have left resources and money spread thin. The government who was in part responsible for the fires out west, because of poor management, has decided to ignore the devastation all together in favor of the hurricanes which they had no part in creating. It is political as other than California, those hit hardest have little political clout. We learn from this that help is fickle and unreliable. FEMA came to the small town we used to live in when a tornado hit only because nothing else was going on. From them I learned that help is available beyond shelters to those who are best prepared financially through insurance and being out of debt etc. I interviewed the director at the sight and he told me they were not there to bale out those who had not prepared. They were there to provide immediate shelter and low interest loans to qualifying applicants much like those applying for any bank loan. For a short period of time, usually a year, they would provide some with low cost trailers as temporary housing. Shocker, yeah, many thought they would help them replace their home and belongings out of the goodness of their hearts. Government has no heart, it is a bureaucracy.
Lesson learned - take care of yourself and prepare. When I look at our own situation, I see much need for improvement. We are precarious in a number of areas. We are no longer out of debt since we moved to a place that over time would provide us with far greater opportunity for independence. We have far more individuals that rely on us financially and physically. We have no backup as a power source beyond electricity. If we had propane and a propane kitchen cooking stove with a battery lighter for the oven then cooking and the wood stoves would take care of us pretty nicely for we have a source of light with candles and lamps. The water well is a big issue as it is run electrically. It needs a backup power source. If we don't travel and have supplies on hand, we could sit pretty good. Paying the bills on the other hand is a problem. I'm working on that. We need far more of a financial reserve. Ours has been exhausted.
Big risks for us is a wild fire, we sit at the foot of a mountain range; and a heavy snow that lasts for weeks on end. Tornadoes don't plague us like the area we were in but their is a slight chance of an earthquake. Riots are hardly a problem since we have so few living near us and they tend to be the older generation, along with ranchers. Our threats are not necessarily the same as yours and so you need to evaluate where you sit.
We live where Red Cloud once roamed and so I’ve questioned how did the Native American tribes in America before the Nina, the Pinta, and the Sana Maria exist? We think of them as being very nomadic and simply living off the land. They became those two things but originally most were farmers. They stayed in one place year round. Most lived near the coasts. A few in the more interior areas were more nomadic due to Mother Nature. You know, summer pastures and winter sheltered area. When the Native American societies were in their decline due to outside pressure from pioneers, they became more nomadic, war-like, and raiding parties were more common thing where they stole what they desired. Trading of course was common. In the truest sense of the definition, they were not self-reliant.
Is this the course of civilizations? Our daughter and I looked into groups of people during WWII who were displaced and groups earlier in history which lived in small societies. What we found is that groups with fewer skills, like those during WWII who by this time relied more and more on others, created part of their needs, traded for some, and then stole the rest. See a pattern? Those who had a broader work ethic and a greater number of skills, create as much as they could themselves and then traded for the rest. Preparedness gave them the ability to live a higher moral standard. The key being they were capable of fulfilling a large portion of their own needs. The reason for each group remaining in close proximity to one another was safety in numbers - a larger defense group. The day to day survival was up to the individual families. If you think it will go back to a butcher, a baker, and a candle stick maker, look again. We basically already have that. Of course others will help those in need. First they have to have something to give. Personal survival will more often than not trump serving others. Look at what has happened recently in Puerto Rico. Many of the skilled such as rescue workers, physicians, etc. stayed with their families. Part I'm sure was due to safety issues. When their own survival needs and those of their families is met, then many will reach out. In dire circumstances it has always been the nuclear family group that determined the level of their existence or their extinction.
Look at yourself and think what you have and need to survive in a wide spread disaster or war. Evaluate your skills, supplies, financial situation? How vulnerable are you? Look around you. What shape are your neighbors in? I think most of you know how they will react. Will they be looting and committing crimes or banning together to solve problems? In an EMP outage they figure 9 out of 10 will die. No electricity was what our great grandparents knew and yet, most of us will not survive. It seems kind of crazy. They don't expect an EMP anytime soon but it is a good example of how different we are from our ancestors. To me we look pretty helpless as a nation. Sad isn't it?