by Sara Sue, Survival Blog:
As world events, both nationally and internationally, explode in violence, deep debt, instability, and uncertainty, I ask myself have I done enough? Am I far enough away from the violence? Do I have systems in place that will hold me and my family in good stead for years to come? It’s complicated, and a heavy burden, to detach from the culture, from the world systems, and to create a self-sufficient lifestyle. It is also freeing. There’s so much detail to each aspect that it’s no wonder people throw up their hands and say it’s impossible. I think it’s possible to a large degree, and I accept the things that still connect me to the “System”. Until… I find a way to sever those things, or I am forced to, whichever comes first.
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Examples of things that still connect me are: banking, taxes, insurance, electricity, products I cannot make myself, and Internet access. Those are not small things, but they are the things that remain until I am able to detach from those things too. I have done a good job of avoiding excessive taxation, but I can’t go without banking or insurance. I could live without the products I cannot make, raise, or grow, certainly. And I would be happy if the entire Internet crashed and burned – really. I fully expect bank closures on the order of weeks, not days, so keeping the gas tank full, the home well stocked, and having some cash on hand, as well as barter items, makes sense. Affording alternative energy has been a problem for me with so many other demands. If the grid goes down for a very long time, I don’t think being able to purchase enough gas for the vehicle and generator is a long-term solution. Maybe if the cost of solar wasn’t so outrageous, I could at least keep the basics running. In the North, the worst problem is keeping warm, so a wood-burning stove is critical. But, in the South, the worst problem is keeping cool enough to function. The “Himidity” (heat and humidity) is suffocating.
We each have our own set of fears or threats that we are trying to overcome, and it’s different depending upon where you live and how you live. I have completely detached from the culture, and that has given me wonderful peace of mind. I have more work to do in becoming self-sufficient though, and I often analyze and reset priorities.
I worked in corporate America for most of my adult life, so I am familiar with the SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I often think of SWOT when trying to gauge my ability to overcome obstacles. Maybe it will help you too if you aren’t familiar with it. Every time I start to panic, I calm myself down with this type of analysis of my situation. It helps me think logically rather than emotionally, and it helps me formulate approaches to solving problems in order of criticality. At least, that’s my experience.
I will do the SWOT analysis in answer to the question: can I live off my land/farm right now, if everything outside it became impossible to navigate? Could I “close the gates” for a considerable length of time and still survive? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s see if I could.
The very fact that I developed a farm (I should say, the fact that the Lord blessed me with a farm), rather than retiring on my laurels and doing decadent things, is a strength. I could have spent my time in endless entertainment, eating and drinking fine foods and wine, traveling the country or world, availed myself of the salon and fine clothing, etc. The result of that pampered lifestyle would be utterly useless in a SHTF situation. I’m not saying those things are wrong. I know people who can somehow balance a lifestyle with one foot in the world and one foot on the farm/ranch perfectly well. They probably have a larger support system than I do, or a heck of a lot more money, and that’s fine.
My choice in lifestyle has resulted in a physically and mentally stronger Me. I don’t need my mind filled with frivolities to feel alive. In fact, I feel pretty alive when one of the cows kicks the bucket with a vengeance and barely misses my face! Or when I have to grab the rifle because a coyote has come dangerously close to the livestock. Oh yes, I definitely feel alive then.
Living the farming lifestyle, in my opinion, has made me strong and resilient. Nothing goes according to plan, so being able to go from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C to “let me think for a few minutes because I know I can solve this problem” is a tremendous strength. I don’t need “a boss” to line out my work for me, or instruct me in his or her approach, nor do I have a bevy of “assistants” save the one young farmhand I employ for a few hours a week. Things have to be taken care of in a timely manner or animals may die. The land must be tended to or it won’t produce. The lifestyle makes you strong in so many ways. Reminds me a lot of young motherhood! The children had to be tended to lovingly through all their stages, no matter how tired I was, how sick they were, or what things had to be accomplished.
The location I live in is a Strength as well. I’m in the middle of farming and ranching land, far away from any big city. Therefore, crime is very limited. I often think that our local police department is overstaffed. But, then again, maybe the staffing level is why there is precious little crime. Just about everyone is growing something, whether that’s produce or animals. The Locals joke about how they solved the “egg shortage” very quickly by producing their own, then selling or bartering or giving them away. Living in the “Bible Belt” has many advantages as well. There’s a church or two every mile or so. Most everyone goes to church. Most every church has an outreach program and a food pantry. There are even “Blessing Boxes” here and there. A “Blessing Box” is a wooden box where people voluntarily fill it with household supplies and nonperishable foods. Often, if someone has an overabundance of produce, they just put a box of the produce next to the Blessing box. Anyone who is in need has lots of choices. I’ve noticed tremendous local generosity. If someone needs a ride, or some cash, or some help, they just ask, and numerous people jump into help. There’s a real sense of community here.