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The reality of homesteading has dissolved my "prepper"/homesteading fantasies

 
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Dave Burton wrote:
I think having friends, good neighbors, and a supportive community might decrease one's "need" for income to get things one cannot produce themselves.


That gets back to the problems us neurodiverse types have with dealing with people. I moved to this town 2.5 years ago, there is one person who would care if I left, and another 8 or so that might notice I had left.  It's not easy for some of us to have a supportive community.
Like Nicole assumes at the start of this thread "I am not managing it now, what makes me think it'll happen if SHTF?"
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Dave Burton wrote:
I think having friends, good neighbors, and a supportive community might decrease one's "need" for income to get things one cannot produce themselves.


That gets back to the problems us neurodiverse types have with dealing with people. I moved to this town 2.5 years ago, there is one person who would care if I left, and another 8 or so that might notice I had left.  It's not easy for some of us to have a supportive community.
Like Nicole assumes at the start of this thread "I am not managing it now,what makes me think it'll happen if SHTF?"



I struggle with that myself.  Being around people exhausts me.  I agree with Nicole as well.  Right now, my conditions are about as good as they are going to get (other than my soil which is slowly but constantly getting better), and I'm not growing anywhere near all of my own food.
 
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I do not think food would be the problem it is easy enough (here) to grow enough calories to keep body and soul together, it would be boring and monotonous yes and the traditional food shows that, but it is possible for a family on 2 acres (that was the size of the "poor" farms here) I grew 1/8th of the calories required last year it took less than 15minutes a day, and used 400m2  
What makes it impossible to do unless one is very lucky is having the seeds and in my case the seed potatoes. It also needs to be the right time of year, if it all goes wrong in September.. well no time to plant anything just better hope you have enough in the cupboard and already have enough seeds for a lot more production next year.
Longer term clothing would be a large issue, I can knit, but I don't know how to spin yarn I'm sure I could figure it out but would I have time to play with rotting nettles? And shoes.. I know theoretically how to cure leather but I've never tried, and where would I get an animal? Going on to children, any child over 3 would be an asset, they can and would HAVE to help, even if it was just watching the baby and running for mum when she was needed. throwing a tantrum would simply get them smacked, there would no-longer be the luxury of not doing so.
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Oh, I couldn't do that. I need to have my garlic whole so I can crush and mince it myself. It loses much of its flavour if it's pre-processed, I find, and if I let it sit for ten minutes after crushing and mincing, it gets more garlicky.

-CK


But peeling garlic is THE WORST!
 
Trace Oswald
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elle sagenev wrote:

Chris Kott wrote:Oh, I couldn't do that. I need to have my garlic whole so I can crush and mince it myself. It loses much of its flavour if it's pre-processed, I find, and if I let it sit for ten minutes after crushing and mincing, it gets more garlicky.

-CK


But peeling garlic is THE WORST!



Don't you guys just peel the outside skin off and run it thru one of those little press things?  So much easier than trying to slice it into tiny pieces.
 
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If you smack the garlic first with something flat (like the flat of a knife) it helps it peal, but you still get stickly little garlic peals all over your hands.

I personally love elephant garlic. It has MUCH larger cloves, and thicker skin that peals easily. It is more mild, though (which is a plus for me, but might not be an advantage for others).

My worst nightmare is the little inside cloves inside a small head of garlic. There's so much pealing for so little garlic, but I hate wasting food, so I peal them.
 
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Mike Barkley wrote:

Around here hillbilly is usually not considered a derogatory term.



I'd consider being called that a compliment because that's what I am... and a redneck, too.

 
master pollinator
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There are a couple of chemical compounds that combine to increase the flavour when bulbs are crushed.

So I tap the clove with the side of my knife and maybe a palm slap, and that usually works for most of the skin. I usually nip off the butt and any last bit of skin, and then smash it flat with the side of the blade. I then mince what remains.

I never found it a particular bother, but I also favour large-clove heirloom garlic, a russian hardneck variety with considerably more pungency than elephant garlic. I once had to leave the kitchen after mincing a particularly strong clove, my eyes running and almost incapable of breath.

-CK
 
Pearl Sutton
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The itty bitty cloves peel easy if you soak them first, the papers come right off. Works with bigger cloves too, I just see no need for it. I put them in a glass jar with a lid, put hot water in, leaving some air space, then shake them every couple of minutes until you peel them about 5-10 mins later.

I don't mind peeling garlic bad at all. And Chris Kott: I want some of your evil garlic!! Never enough garlic in anything, always need more!! :D
 
pollinator
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Pearl

> "problems us neurodiverse types have..."

In this thread, people have taken a slightly doubting look at all our motivations and capabilities. But, really (to go back to the beginning) NIcole, the OP, stepped right up and worked hard (and then harder) in the situation she found herself, coping and doing the necessary, and Lo, here she is amoung us to tell the tale! I have to say, that sounded a serious episode and it made me wonder how I'd do if lots "stuff" happens to me. Sure looks like Nicole passed the test or whatever in good standing. Really good standing. <g>

There is something on the other side of the teeter totter that people don't seem to have mentioned very much. Motivation. Rising to the need. Looking at scenarios, and  getting doubtful or worried, we maybe should(!) remember that our worries and prognostications - they aren't what's real. We're "looking in" (in our imagination), we're not actually there (in the hard place we're imagining). I think that makes a huge difference, a _really_ huge difference, because the body and the spirit don't get energized and motivated by imaginary stuff. People really do "rise to the occasion" in the real moment and in fact become different people therein. And it's not just the individual, but also the nascent network,  community, which many don't even know exists - until there is something _real_ for it to do.

It's true, we don't know for sure how we'll act and what will happen. I think most of us would agree that brooding and worrying about it doesn't help in the slightest. And Nicole's story suggests there's good reason to believe we've all got more in us than we know, than we can list and count right this moment. Good reason to believe that even somewhat slack and ill-positioned as we might seem to be, there's a good chance we've got what it takes. So perhaps it's true that we're not _really_ living the SHTF plan, but truth to tell, that may simply be impossible in every way because the energies we have in us don't respond to imaginary futures. They are invoked by the real present moment, whenever that comes along.

So I think you might find, in whatever the future brings you, that you can "do it" and there will be resources to help that we don't see right now. In the eddy of this fairly ordinary moment we might not look totally capable, but there and then at the time your strengths are actually needed and are called out by necessity, we all have a good chance of doing what we need and would want to. You know what they say about Necessity, right? <g>


Cheers,
Rufus
 
Nicole Alderman
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
In this thread, people have taken a slightly doubting look at all our motivations and capabilities. But, really (to go back to the beginning) NIcole, the OP, stepped right up and worked hard (and then harder) in the situation she found herself, coping and doing the necessary, and Lo, here she is amoung us to tell the tale! I have to say, that sounded a serious episode and it made me wonder how I'd do if lots "stuff" happens to me. Sure looks like Nicole passed the test or whatever in good standing. Really good standing. <g>



Thank you for the kind words, Rufas. We did survive, and physically everyone is doing better. The main problem from events like this is not necessarily the physical (though, it was largely stressful times that set off my husband's Crohn's in the first place), but the psychological. It took over a year of calm times for my son to gain the emotional stability he had before all this happened (he was 2 before it all occurred. It took a year of calm times for him to regain the emotional stability of a 2-year old). If things had not calmed down, I highly doubt any amount of swatting him into subjection (as was suggested by someone else as a way to get young children to be helpful) would have made him a useful, contributing member of our family. Even now, if things get crazy for more than a few hours, he reverts to who he was during those crazy times. Stressful times DO have repercussions.

As for myself, I still over-react to things and live very anxiously. My brain also doesn't work as well as it used to--chronic stress can really impact ones mental abilities for a long time. I get easily overstimulated and have a harder time talking (saying wrong words or not remembering the word for things). The following video speaks to some affects that stress has upon the brain.



In my household, we love to mock the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Our stressful times did not make us stronger. It gave my husband crohn's and me postpartum depression and weakened mental/emotional abilities, and negatively impacted my son. Yes, we made it through. Yes, we all learned to work harder..but I don't think we are any stronger.

I've heard of a few people mentioning that the thing people don't realize about survival situations is the affects upon the brain: Post traumatic stress, depression, reduced mental/emotional capabilities, etc.  I remember years back I read The Hunger Games series, and was rather annoyed with how useless the main character is in the last book. She mostly wanders around, half lost in her own grief and trauma...but, that's what happens to many people in times of horrific stress.  Often, the real battle during a stressful, survival-type situation isn't with finding food and shelter, it's with maintaining your sanity. And, many of our coping mechanisms to maintain sanity (time for refection, prayer, meditation, etc) don't happen in a survival situation because we have NO TIME to do them--we're too busy trying to survive.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Nicole

You are a very responsible and courteous person, keeping up with an old thread! <g>

> [not get stronger cuz of trouble]

Yes, that sounds true. You were/are always that strong.

I've been through a pretty bad period of stress, brought about in my case by personal SO problems. About killed each other and took 5 years doing it. I got liver spots, age 33. There certainly is a clean-up phase afterwards. I changed jobs to put me in touch with physical things (a little harder to lie and fool yourself) and mostly everything I did every day I needed to get clear with myself that the object was to live so I was _not_ to screw up and die. Paid careful attention there. Yes, the concentration and quick smarts takes a big hit. The concentration, at least, comes back; maybe the smarts, too.

Sorry to hear your kid was so impacted. They pick up on the big folks around, naturally. My sister's boy, when he was about 1 or 2 years, pulled out most of his hair and she thinks it was because she was getting abused, emotionally, by her husband. She managed to put a stop to that  and they're still together but the boy moved 2000 miles away as soon as he could and there's not much love lost between him and his father.

I don't think big problems and suffering are by themselves a virtue or a positive. But they are not _wrong_ in any moral or absolute sense. They are not themselves some kind of evil. They certainly do affect us, change us. Get us to perform, think, understand in ways we would not otherwise. I take the train between Chicago and San Francisco often and I look at the way the track winds up mountains and think of what it must have taken thousands of men to climb and cut and dig those tracks in the mid 1800's with just hand tools. I can't imagine myself being able to survive something like that. But I think if I'd been there, good chance I would "make good". And I think it's like that with everybody and we would be more able and less anxious if we really understand and believe that. We _are_ able and while damage and ills can come, we will build through them and that's good and OK.

Regards,
Rufus
 
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Nicole, I know this thread is old..but knowing that you have two littles in the house, the general theme probably never leaves your mind!

Let me just say that having young kids + homesteading is really tough and I'm doing it too (off-grid, no less!). I totally understand your situation! And it is possible to make it work (don't all us Mamas just make it work somehow?). You just need to have infinite patience and ZERO expectations, haha!

Your situation with your husband having health issues is a huge stressor on top of all of that, so i hope that he is doing well at this point. And anyone else that is going thru that...my hats off to you. I cannot imagine having my partner out of commission and having to do everything myself. Most things simply would not get done. My husband and I have roles that work for us and some would consider them "traditional" but we trade off a lot in different times in our lives. At one point I was doing a lot of carpentry work for the family and he was watching the kids and doing online work to support us. So it sometimes switches off from traditional roles. Anyway, I'm digressing but what I mean to say is that homesteading, for me is still VERY inspiring, but also there have been lots of fantasy bubbles popped as well. For example, no running water is definitely not romantic, it's really not fun. But you can set up a shower and washing system that kind of works so that you can get other important stuff done in the meantime. We've had to get creative, and in the process we learn a lot about what's possible. I think it comes down to redefining what will work for your basic needs: Food, water, shelter, heat. Making sacrifices in overall aesthetic beauty (like in a shower set-up) in exchange for practical, simple solutions. My husband always has to keep reminding me that we can't tackle a million projects in our first year, we just have to focus on really basic stuff and then when those are handled, look at doing more complicated stuff. And I've had to accept that we might have to still buy lots of food at the store if our food-growing efforts get squashed (like with pests, disease, etc.). I really hate having to buy tomatoes and peppers from Mexico. But one step at a time we are moving towards our goals of producing a lot of our own food. Which reminds me, we always buy a 1/4 of a cow or a 1/2 of a pig (directly from a farmer) in fall and store that in a couple deep freezes. So in that way we are prepared for "doomsday" scenarios. I've also bought bulk amounts (i.e. 25 lb bags) of grain (wheat, oats) and raisins, rice, and sugar. I buy it from Grainworks Mill in Alberta, Canada if anyone is curious. That gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that we have those things stored up. But maybe I just have a "Hoarding Food" mentality! Anyway, that's my two cents.
 
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
There is something on the other side of the teeter totter that people don't seem to have mentioned very much. Motivation. Rising to the need. Looking at scenarios, and  getting doubtful or worried, we maybe should(!) remember that our worries and prognostications - they aren't what's real. We're "looking in" (in our imagination), we're not actually there (in the hard place we're imagining). I think that makes a huge difference, a _really_ huge difference, because the body and the spirit don't get energized and motivated by imaginary stuff. People really do "rise to the occasion" in the real moment and in fact become different people therein. And it's not just the individual, but also the nascent network,  community, which many don't even know exists - until there is something _real_ for it to do.



I would modify this: SOME people rise to the occasion. Others are mentally or physically broken by it and do not survive. Isn't that the whole premise behind survivalism -- the expectation that most will not survive? My reality is that almost everything that matters has been harder than I expected it to be. That's not imagination, that's history.

 
Rufus Laggren
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> harder than I expected...

Ok. I'll say it.

Sounds normal, to me. Least, that's been my experience. Do you think smarts and high class educated knowledge rule out problems? The only stuff that you might want to bet money on is stuff you do many times every month (or oftener), same way, same place, same input. And then only on average. The sign of a master is incorporating "accidents" into the final product w/out diminishing quality; it's not that they know everything and nothing unexpected ever happens. A top notch contractor bids knowing there will be problems and in so doing  _almost_ always makes it into the green; when things occasionally go "right" they make more money than expected.
"

Regards,
Rufus
 
pollinator
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While I don't disagree with a lot that has been said here, the greatest gift that my hardships have granted me is the ability to question whether or not it's worth it. I have no question that I can survive/endure, that's what I do. But is it worth it, this is my life and I get to make those decisions. I'm well aware that these are extremely personal decisions, as well they should be. Surviving for me is no longer enough. I'm not afraid of dying, it seems silly to be afraid of the inevitable. C'est la vie.
 
pollinator
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Peoples’ worlds come crashing down all the time. Mine has done on a number of occasions. No one EVER wants to do that again, but you do what you’ve got to do. In the words of Princess Buttercup’s true love Wesley (Princess Bride), “Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” It’s the truth. I figure we’re here to learn how to be all a human being ought to be. One really effective way to learn “humanness” faster is to go through crises. (Like raising children, for example.) I’m genuinely sympathetic to your pain. Most of us are well acquainted with pain, so we truly can commiserate. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. The goal is worth it, and you WILL make it. You and all those you cherish, so be brave no matter what and whatever you do, don’t give up. When it stops hurting (and it will stop), you will feel better. “That which shall be well IS well.” I’m quoting some medieval saint of the Roman Catholic Church who had a very hard time (lots of illness) but I can’t remember her name just now. Hey, I’m old! LOL At any rate, it’s a very good thing to keep in mind, if you can remember it.

One more thing... if you don’t drink coffee, consider starting. Not sugar... just coffee with caffeine. It’s a very effective anti-depressant for some people. I waited far too many years to discover that. And exercise out-of-doors, and (if you can get it) a good night’s sleep. (Well, okay... three things...)

As to SHTF type events, please remember: Everyone dies, apocalyptic scenario or no, so don’t stress over that too much. I do not believe death is the end, and I believe the ultimate end is absolutely good... for everyone. Some of us will (obviously) have a much, much longer road... make yours as short as possible by learning to love as much as you can.

On less esoteric subjects... garlic... I like to ferment it. This does alter the flavor, but maybe you’ll find you like it. If you don’t cook it, it will even support your microbiome (another big factor in physical and emotional health). The taste will become more mellow to the point that you could eat it whole if you don’t overdo it. Here’s a recipe from Cultures for Health website https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/lacto-fermentation-recipes/lacto-fermented-garlic-cloves/

INGREDIENTS:
12-14 heads of garlic
Brine of 1 quart water + 2 Tbsp. sea salt
Herbs such as basil or oregano if desired

INSTRUCTIONS:
Peel garlic as indicated above. Fill a quart jar within 1 inch of the top with the garlic cloves.
Pour brine and herbs over garlic cloves.
Allow to ferment for 3 to 4 weeks before moving to cold storage. The longer these sit in cold storage the more delicious they get!

The link has suggestions for peeling. I do grate mine before using, but it’s a lot easier to do than with fresh. You could also just mash it with a fork... and I leave my jar on the counter. It will continue to ferment... if you want to slow that down, then do refrigerate it.
 
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I can relate to your initial story !  All you can do is what you can do, when you are in survival mode, you end up triaging, first, keep all humans alive, second, keep animals alive, then third -- you end up most of everything else ignored, dead trees, dead food forest, invasive plants taking over, broken tiles, peeling paint -- But you are all alive and made it thru ! What else can you do ?

I recommend starting up some long term food storage, because you are right, emergencies happen.  We are all more likely to suffer health issues, income loss than zombies but the same prep will see us thru them all.  At least 3 months, but you might even want to work up to a year of 30year staples like legumes and grains, it does not take much room.  If your calorie needs are met, even in our worst times, we can likely find a few things in our garden, Kale, Malva , fruit in the simmer off the mature trees.  So then you will survive.  The equivalent of a 5 gallon bucket, or 6 #10 cans will do as a base for an adult for a month, so for 2 adults and 2 little kids maybe 3 -- that makes 36 5-gallon buckets, long term packed of oats, wheat, beans. Then 1 of salt and 1 of sugar ( to preserve if you need it)  This stuff keeps forever, and you can always makes chicken feed out of it in 30 years, no waste.  If you have a bad budget right now, do 1 bucket a month towards your plan.  My kids are pretty much gone, although they plan to come here if things go south for them, or the ""big one" earthquake hits, but anyways, I am low income and ill and it is a great peace of mind to me to have something to offer,  to not be a burden as much as possible, so I have knowledge, alot of knowledge and experience, I will not be a burden on anyone else food wise and can share ( no, I do not have one year for ALL of me and my adult kids ) I can watch kids, cook and  preserve, etc.....

I wish for you strength with your beautiful family, they grow so fast !  Our lives are not a fantasy, but your strength in the adversity will serve you all well.  Your children needed you then,  we can go to the farmers market right now,  every month is a good month to do something in ( or towards) the garden.  SO, you "miss" this month, or this season or this year.  When you can do it, you start then, that month, that week, there will be something to get done, it never goes away and it never is all done or done as well as we would like.
 
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