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My biggest concern - no legacy to leave  RSS feed

 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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I'm not sure how to categorize this, but it is something I think of often.  About 400 years ago, my family came to what would become America.... 4 different nationalities and perhaps even ethnicities, depending on how you define such... Celtic (2), English and French. They intermarried and married into several Native American groups.  They built communities and towns, fought in and suffered through the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World Wars, etc.  I have a region to which I am extremely loyal.  This land, this soil and its people are my kin.. and I did not misstate that.  The swamp, the shore, the piedmont and mountains are as familiar and comfortable to me as family.  I grew up on a 300+ year old family farm, surrounded by other family farms.  Now, they are all gone.  The soldiers of WW2 left home.  The Baby Boomers went to college and turned their backs on their farming roots.  The "war on tobacco" and NAFTA, and factory farming, the break down of the family and well, etc, etc.... put an end to family farms.  Farming communities became near ghost towns of depressed economies, trailer parks and housing projects. Everyone and no one is to blame, but the world I barely knew... the world my grandparents  and great grandparents knew, is gone.  The farms that I grew up on, that were very nearly Permaculture food forests long before anyone ever heard of that term are long gone.  I know the causes.  I don't want to discuss that here and now.   But.... I am essentially alone.  The family land is gone, and the family is gone.  I was an only child and soon will have no family at all, as the 3 living relatives I have are all elderly.  I want, and am almost ready, to buy land and start a real permaculture farm.  But, at the age of (very nearly) 40, I do not have much hope that I will ever marry and have children (which is actually my greatest aspiration).  The goal of buying land and planting it, working it and stewarding it into a Permacuture paradise is almost an obsession.  But, to what end?  If I die without heirs, who will continue the wok and appreciate it?  If someone else buys it, they will likely strip it barren and turn it into something I would hate.  If I donate it , will anyone see the value?  I have no interest in "intentional community"... frankly, I love everyone in theory, but don't really like most people.  I grew up mostly alone and treasure solitude of the woods and the intimacy of family.  I guess my question is, 'to what end?" I don't think I can be content leaving no legacy, when my ancestors' names appear on our founding documents, cities, towns and streets throughout the US.  I have so much hard earned knowledge, so much work already in whatever this will ever be and so much work still to come... I just need to know that one day I will go to my rest with the belief that it was worth something.  My native American ancestors always stressed thinking of future generations - do nothing unless it will benefit your descendants, even 10 generations forward!  This really "preys on my mind" as the old folks used to say.
 
John Weiland
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Location: RRV of da Nort
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Wj Carroll wrote: I guess my question is, 'to what end?" I don't think I can be content leaving no legacy, when my ancestors' names appear on our founding documents, cities, towns and streets throughout the US.


Can you possibly explore within yourself what that legacy brought to your ancestors, above and beyond having names on buildings and street signs?  Even with the fact that at age 40 you could still have kids, I think you could touch so many in unimaginable ways by just following a dream that leads in a direction opposite to that of 'deliberate legacy'.  If you love that land under your feet so much, then nurture it in a way that you can....don't worry about legacy.  Consider it your gift to those 'kin', both present and passed on, that you've taken up this challenge and charge.  And you might be surprised....when you least expect it, someone has been watching....and wanting to continue with your ways and teaching.  And becomes the legacy you didn't expect.
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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The legacy they lived and died for was what they gave to others.  They built towns states and a nation.  Locally, they provided jobs, built houses, schools and churches.  They provided safety, security, stability, opportunity and the ability to achieve for generations of people of all races.   When my ggggg grandfather, Le Chevalier duBuysson threw himself across the Revolutionary War hero, General de Kalb's body, and allowed himself to be repeatedly stabbed by British troops in an attempt to save de Kalb, it was not for a name on that would appear on streets.  He, and his cousin La Fayette, gave up wealth and power to come here and fight for the freedom of others.  I cannot fail to live up to such examples and disappoint my ancestors.  I do not have wealth.  I cannot start a school or a foundation.  I can only leave the land I steward and what I have.
 
Wj Carroll
Posts: 79
Location: near Athens, GA
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I just wanted to put a footnote on this.  Sometimes, if I mention the things my ancestors accomplished, or who they were, people think I am bragging.  But, that is not me at all.  I am a very humble person, struggling to live up to what my soul desires me to become.  Being born into a family is not an accomplishment.  But, it is an example to which one can aspire. I am no better than anyone else... and usually, well below what I  or anyone else should be.  But, I do really think about these things.  I don't want to be the period on the end of a disappointing sentence, in context of what was written before.  That is my burden  I am not looking for anyone to excuse it.   Any advice as to how to carry it or where to lay it down would be appreciated.
 
Lori Whit
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You don't have to found a school to be a teacher.  Maybe there are young people who would love to visit the area and learn what you can teach them: history, agriculture, even what exactly real food is and where it comes from. 

One of the most inspiring teachers at my dad's school...was a WWI veteran who came to his school and simply shared what it was like with the kids.  He got more out of that one day of real stories than many years of just schoolbooks.

Teaching is a legacy, and there are many ways to be a teacher.  Maybe you are not a born teacher, but who knows, you clearly have a lot to share.  Teaching people means some human contact but hopefully not constant contact.    You could still hopefully cherish your solitude.

As for having children...it is definitely not too late to adopt or foster, if you wanted to.  (Or have kids naturally, of course!  Didn't mean to exclude that!)

I hope you find a way to share the legacy.  Rooting for you
 
Daron Williams
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You might want to look into farmland trusts and land trusts. Both type of groups can provide protection for land to ensure it is protected into pertuity. I work for a land trust and we have protected over 6000 acres of land in the South Puget Sound area in WA State. Some of the land we own out right and some we have protected using conservation easements.

A conservation easement is a deal that restricts use of the land in order to ensure conservation values are protected. But this is done with the land owner and can be tailored to meet the land owners needs. For example we have one on the largest dairy in our main county - the easement restricts impermeable surfaces, established a buffer along a stream and also prevents the dairy from being subdivided - as part of the easement we purchased all the development rights on the property from the owner so he got the money as if he had subdivided and sold his farm but he still got to keep the farm! The main point is that working lands can be protected and maintained as working lands using conservation easements - this could be setup to work with not against permaculture principles.

Another option is to go with a farmland trust. These groups use similar easements as conservation easements but instead of focusing on conservation values they focus on ensuring the land is always kept as farmland. Often the easement requires that the land is always farmed. My land trust has teamed up with farmland trusts to ensure that both the conservation values and farm values are protected.

Potentially one of these types of groups could ensure your land would forever (as far as our legal system is concerned) be protected and would remain the way you envision it. Land trusts are also always looking for land owners that want to protect their land and open it to the public for tours and other events. So a land trust or farmland trust would help make sure the land is always valued.

I looked it up and their are some trusts in your area. I would go to this site to find the groups: http://www.farmlandinfo.org/state/georgia

Looking at the list I would start with the Athens Land Trust and Georgia Agricultural Land Trust and see what they are doing. If you like what you see online you should reach out to them and just chat with them to get a feeling for how they work and what might be possible in the future.

Hope that helps!
 
Deb Rebel
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You can start a foundation and a 'working farm'. It stays in a sort of trust to be managed as you set down after you leave. This would allow you to build what you desire and make sure more would be able to appreciate it and enjoy it for the next generations. It doesn't have to be as elaborate as Old Williamsburg, but think more along those lines. It doesn't have to be as themey or campy.

Here on permies too, there are singles that post. Have you looked there? There are seemingly good like minded people looking for someone else. With or without kids. And as mentioned, there is always fostering or adopting. It seems they always need foster parents...

There are many ways. Start with your land. Work from there. 40 is not too old and you have the future ahead of you. Make what you will of it.
 
Wj Carroll
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Location: near Athens, GA
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Thank you all for the suggestions.  My grandfather purchased a large farm and set up a living history museum before he died.  Unfortunately, he died of ALS and the property was sold to pay medical bills.  Perhaps I could do something like that.  I would prefer something in which those who came behind me had a "stake" in it "some skin in the game" so to speak.... A family friend inherited a mountain that he turned into one of the premier wilderness preserves in the South.  He fought long and hard to protect it.  He even hired local fellas to face down state troops with shotguns to keep a road from going through.  He sacrificed and worked for something incredible.  His heirs didn't like the taxes or the "rebel" image and deeded it to the state.  My blood pressure goes up just thinking of that!  If I were him, and it were possible, I would curse and haunt them! Maybe I'll have a decade or two to figure it out... maybe not.  Who knows what tomorrow with bring.  Yes, I have posted in the "singes" forum.  Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think I'm the most popular flavor in the ice cream shop - never have been - open to possibilities though.
 
Daron Williams
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One final plug for land trusts - the rules in the easement would be what you agreed to and regardless of who owned it in the future (could be the state, federal gov, non-profit, private, etc.) the same rules would apply to them without exception. Gives you a lot of power to ensure your legacy lives on regardless of ownership - even foreclosure does not remove the easement.

I'm thinking about going down this route once my place is setup and running great - say in 20 or 30 years! I hate the idea of putting all my sweat, blood and tears into the land only to have it messed up after I'm gone.
 
Jim Fry
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WJ. There are many ways I could speak to your post, but most of them (esp. by Daron) are already covered. So I'll say something a bit different. But, first, to set the stage, we (like you) have been here a long time. William Penn came to Germany to ask us to move to his colony. We agreed and moved to what became Western Pennsylvania. (Grandma got her head cut off because she wasn't polite one winter night, and Granddad and his sons, Grandad & Uncle, were taken captive by the Delaware's). The first white guy through what later became my town, before Ohio was a state, was a relative. Two of my uncles chose different sides during the War of Northern Aggression. They managed not to kill each other when they met in battle at Fredericksburg. And so on. ....We have a bit of history like your family does. Which is a major reason for me not to move somewhere less populated. Our cemeteries are here. Our farms (and my farm) are here.

This branch of our family has been on this land for a long time. And I was faced with the same problem as you. My children from my first crop of kids did not want to stay on the farm. My nieces and nephews from my brothers farm next door didn't want to stay on either farm. So I went through all the options like has been suggested above, including a Conservancy, a Trust, giving the working farm to one of the local Parks or to the Nat'l Park just down the hill and even thought of finding some back to the land hippy group.

But what I have ended up doing is getting married. You say you are almost 40!!! Oh my gosh, that's practically ancient. Except from my point of view that is. I'm sixty eight. I met and married my wife when she was 26 and I was 62. We are perfectly suited to each other. I was wonderfully happy when alone. And then I managed to meet the perfect person that doubled that happiness. Laura has always done what my ancestors did. Milk the cow, make soap, make cheese. She's an herb healer, heritage skills teacher, midwife (just helped another woman birth today). She loves her gardens and loves the 19th Cent. museum we run. AND, she's a great mom. We have four (more) children, all of whom love catching snakes to skin and eat, collecting eggs, showing museum visitors around (the kids are young, but precocious) and so on.

So, if you want land, and you want it to have meant something (or be something) when you are gone, you can give it to someone with a lick and a prayer. Or you can stop screwing around and find the perfect (younger) mate and stop worrying about who's going to do what, after you are the next crop planted in your ground. When I'm dead in a few more years, Laura will be the "next" generation of us on this land. And after her (God Willing) at least one of our kids will be the generation after that. You can do the same.
 
Wj Carroll
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Location: near Athens, GA
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Jim Fry, thank you.  You have given me hope.  I only wish I had read your response before I went t bed in a mood that did little for a good night's rest.  Your encouraging, thoughtful and lengthy reply is very much appreciated.
 
Travis Johnson
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I have a VERY similar story to yours, in that the Indian side of my family was here quite awhile ago, and the english side of my family came here on the Mayflower. Somewhere in the 1600's we moved to Maine, fought the wars and have been here ever since. I do have children, but atlas all 4 are daughters and will not carry forth the family name, and my sister and brother chose not to have children.

I disagree with availing the land to landtrusts however because they were concocted by lawyers and politicians, at least here. The first farm the ever put into ForeverFarm got snatched up by eminent domain before the ink was even dry by the local school...so what is forever about that? All the old generational farms immediately pulled out of that nonsense. In fact nothing is really forever as ForeverFarm is just a piece of paper with a claim that the farmer sold off. It may be better than nothing, but not by much. No thanks...my rights are being taken in numerous and more ways every year, I certainly not going to give them away freely! ForeverFarm here has a little know stipulation written in fine print that they "can sell off small tracts of land to aid in the continuation of the farm". That is lawyer and politician speak for , they can sell house lots to make money for the non-profit organization they are under. They tell few people that though.

Here is my real world experience regarding next-generational farms. Someone, somewhere in the family wants to farm. I have never seen this NOT hold true, the thing is, farmers often sell their farms here, not realizing until it is too late that it was not a son. It could be a daughter, grandson, granddaughter, nephew, or cousin. SOMEONE wants the family farm and wants to farm. Often times they just do not say it until it is too late. A neighbor found this out after he sold his long-time dairy farm to out-of-staters. Several family members...heck I even would have been interested in buying it though not related...until after he sold out. He THOUGHT no one wanted it, only to find out many did, but it was too late.

My point here is to really talk to your family and extended family. I bet you will find someone willing to take the farm over. There is just something about agriculture that people love. It makes no sense financially sometimes, as there is a lot of work for little cash, but there is a deep love of producing food for a hungry nation.

(In my book on farming, I have dedicated nearly an entire chapter to this topic so this post is just a touch on the subject. Sadly I have farming to do today and cannot spare much time on this, but please, please, please do not give up hope yet. So many farmers do and then regret it later. I try to be honest and forthright on here and hope that you take my words to heart. We have lost so many next-generational farms to quick decisions based on emotion instead of sound decision making).

 
Hans J Brammer
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I believe 40 is a good age to start a Family. The question is only if you will find your ideal wife. But I believe that it has a very long tradition that there is not much choice in who becomes your spouse. Just do it, do not ask about the legacy. Times Change; a solely industrialised world will not sustain - your land will be a refuge like many more and that will be the legacy for what you will be known.
 
John Weiland
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Hans J Brammer wrote: Times Change; a solely industrialised world will not sustain - your land will be a refuge like many more ......


I agree with this as abridged and we all know that, given enough time, it's not inconceivable that current New York City might/will be reclaimed by the elements and the land it sits on brought to more productive uses.

"At the high point of its development, Cahokia was the largest urban center north of the great Mesoamerican cities in Mexico and Central America. Although it was home to only about 1,000 people before c. 1050, its population grew rapidly after that date. According to a 2007 study in Quaternary Science Reviews, "Between AD 1050 and 1100, Cahokia's population increased from between 1400 and 2800 people to between 10,200 and 15,300 people".[16] an estimate that applies only to a 1.8 km2 high density central occupation area.[17] Archaeologists estimate the city's population at between 6,000 and 40,000 at its peak,[citation needed] with more people living in outlying farming villages that supplied the main urban center. In the early 21st century, new residential areas were found to the west of Cahokia as a result of archeological excavations, increasing estimates of area population.[citation needed] If the highest population estimates are correct, Cahokia was larger than any subsequent city in the United States until the 1780s, when Philadelphia's population grew beyond 40,000.[18]" -- wikipedia entry on Cahokia
CAHOKIA.JPG
[Thumbnail for CAHOKIA.JPG]
 
Vera Stewart
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Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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Dear WJ,

Having read your thoughts here and in the singles forum, I had two thoughts in quick succession - 1) this guy seems like an interesting person trying to live well, I look forward to reading more from him and 2) he can really write well!

(also my third thought was that it seems to be a reoccurring theme in permie-land that people get really attached to a certain part of the world, and while that is great, it also comes with some downsides, since it makes it much more difficult for like-minded people to get together. No one wants to be the one to give up on their special place!)

But back to the second thought, which is the most important to this particular topic - I write as a hobby, and wish that I could write the way you do - your passion lends so much vitality to your words, I hope that you will consider writing as part of your legacy - perhaps you are already writing for a wider audience (you mentioned being part of some other online groups?)

Of course some articles or a book can't replace a family, but they can go some way towards sharing your beliefs and experiences with others in a way that could out-last yourself.

So, I would encourage you, if you're not already doing so, to consider writing further - and not just online - I'm sure you could with time find traditional publication if it was something you wished to pursue!

All the best.
Me.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'm sure if I dug back in my family tree, to a time when they were swinging from it, I would find that there were kings and whores, landlords and serfs, rich men, poor men and many of little consequence. None of them left me any money, so I don't owe them anything.

I know for sure that some of them ran native people off of their land, while others married them. A group of brothers who left Ireland, became surveyors for the crown, so they could choose the best possible place to settle their family. They chose bottom land, by the Thames river near London Ontario. In order to make this happen, they had to arrange for runaway slaves to be given much poorer land in the Greenock swamp. Biddulp Township had a huge feud amongst the Irish in the 1880s. It was the most murderous period amongst the European population, in Canadian history.

Everyone, has a family history going back hundreds of generations, whether they have knowledge of the characters, or not. I think it's best to be the best person you can be, without too much regard for those who are long dead.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Have you thought about volunteering at a local 4H or a high school agriculture class? Perhaps that would be a way to influence the next generation... Even if your farm doesn't get passed on, your knowledge will. ... And who knows, you might meet a nice, widowed or single mother...


You could also join local hiking groups or other meet-ups. I typed in Athens Georgia neet up, and saw singles camping groups, hiking groups, an outdoor adventure group. If I were still single, I think finding groups of like-minded people would probably be what I'd do to locate a husband. As an introvert, I do much better when I have something to talk about when meeting new people, and common interest are always useful.


I noticed in your bio that you say you are Catholic, and reading your post made me instantly think of Ecclesiastes where Solomon says,

Ecclesiastes 2:4-6; 18-19 wrote: I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: 6I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees.... 18Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.


Man, if that's not the conundrum that we permaculturalists face, I don't know what is! We plant orchards, vineyards, gardens and have no idea what the next person will do with them. Apparently, Solomon was just as depressed about this as we are today! In the end of the book, he concludes that the best we can do is "fear God." I interpret that as serving God and doing His will as best we can.

In a way, this isn't that far off from Paul Wheaton's moral of Stop being angry at the bad guys and start building a better world. We can't control what others will do, but we can do as much good as we can in our lifetimes. We can plant trees, we can do our part to save this beautiful world, we can live by example, we can share our knowledge with others, we can be a "shining light on a hill" shining God's love for this world and for future generations. We can live the best life we and do as much good as we can. I don't think God can expect more out of us and nor should we expect more of ourselves. 
 
Wj Carroll
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Travis Johnson, thank you for your in depth response.  Please tell me the name of your book, as I would like to read it.  I am afraid that I have no extended family that I know - I'm sure there are some distant cousins out there...  My family had a  couple of generations of having only girls, so I am the only one left from the region with the family name.  That said I wonder if we may be kin?  I had an ancestor on the Speedwell.  The Speedwell had to turn back, so he and his son came over on the second voyage of the Mayflower.  Do yo have any FitzRandolph's in your family tree?  Apparently, my Russ line also came from Pilgrim New England, but I have yet to trace them back.
 
Wj Carroll
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Nicole Alderman, very well said!    That spirit is what drew me here....  I am very fond of the agricultural allegories in the Bible.  Just last Sunday, one of the readings was about the "enemy" who sowed seeds into the newly planted wheat.  When asked if they should be pulled up, he answered, "No" because some of the good may be pulled up with the bad.  Better to let them grow together, wait and sort it out.  Bill Mollison was very antagonistic toward Christianity, but I doubt he would disagree with that statement.  He was a brilliant man, after all. 
 
Wj Carroll
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Vera Stewart,

You are far too kind.  Southerners simply have a love of words.  We are storytellers.  We preserve our history, values and life lessons in those stories, and that is important to us - from Faulkner to Lewis Grizzard and so many in between.  Even Jack Kerouac, from Lowell, Mass., wrote much of his best work in Rocky Mount, NC and loved Tomas Wolfe.  I used to make my living as a writer.  I do have a few FB groups and a food blog, but I don't write much anymore.  That said I am working on 9 ideas for Permaculture related books..... so, there may be more to come!  Please feel free to PM me, as I am sure that I would treasure your friendship.  Perhaps you may enjoy a little story I wrote some years ago that may give insight into the simple, agrarian world in which I grew up: http://southernfoodandwine.blogspot.com/2016/12/christmas-eve-with-big-ray.html
 
Ken W Wilson
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I am in a similar situatuation, except I am 54. I own some farmland and just this spring started planting trees on 10 acres. I haven't quite given up on having kids of my own, but it's not very likely.  I'm hoping that I'll live long enough to have it fully established and then select an heir. The food forest would end up going to whichever young person in my life is most likely to carry on as I've started. It could me my niece or nephew, but at the moment it looks like my friend's son is the prime candidate. He's seven so I hope I don't have decide too soon. He's like a grandson to me.

Also, I'm not wealthy and may have to take an early retirement. There's some chance that I won't be able to afford to keep it the rest of my life. For now I'm laying out fruit and nut trees in a way that I'll have three tracks of land, each with fruits and nuts. I could sell one or all if I need the money, hopefully to buyers who will maintain things.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I like the idea of lifetime tenantcy, for those who have to scale down, but still want to live on their land. My grandmother sold her farm, but kept 2 acres and the house. My uncle bought a house from an older widow. She occupied a small apartment on the same property, until she died. It was like an extra grandmother for my cousins.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Personally, I think that expecting kids to carry on your "legacy" is a terrible burden. You might see it as a gift, often they don't. I have four amazing, beautiful adult children, and, none of them have the same passions as me. We are, surprise, surprise different people. If you are looking for someone to follow in your footsteps, then find that person. Please don't force that on your potential children. I'm 46, and cannot imagine trying to raise young children at this age.

I do wish that I had someone in my life that cared about the things I care about, but we don't all get what we want. C'est la vie, such is life.

I wish you luck and hope you find what you are looking for.
 
Harry Soloman
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I speak generically to the topic and not so pointed, if it seems that way I apologize as it is just my writing style.  Consider this more of me talking out loud to myself.

I have most of my life, only 45 years and I have seen the end of many things and it is almost always bad.  In part because of not really who someone is but how they lived their life ethically and morally. 

The concept of a legacy is kind of an old world view.  Family used to be important for a families survival and great things done by the family in the past did assist by the passing of the knowledge and skills that made the great things possible.  Today, most people I see want to live the luxury life and ride the coattails of others and this is largely how I see the topic today. 

I am now speaking along the lines of Stacy Witscher who commented prior.  Without qualified people in moral and ethics along with abilities to maintain and build on a legacy your hopes and desires regarding that will disappoint your best intentions.  I am sorry.

Understand the concept of legacy as we traditionally see it is a flawed thing at its core as due to all of our very existence we all have great ancestors and elders that we all owe a significant debt to otherwise we would not exist in the location and form for which we do.  This is the great equalizer of humanity but we ignore it.  Greatness is in all of us but with modern times and ethics and morals degrading as people go for the lazy and easy life rather than becoming skilled and capable in their own rites and as a society we make a "class" game out of it.  Otherwise, we only become caretakers of a memory of those who earned on their own and that memory will age and crumble without a continuation of the aspects that made it possible for the family to be recognized in such a way.

With all that said, all is not lost.  What makes one great is "us the individual."  Pass on the knowledge, history and stories of the past and do your best to raise and assist the young (relation is not so important truly) to be capable of being "effective in life with correct ethics and morals."   In this way, we pass on our best with assisting others.  It is in this way that I have passed on to the others.  I disowned the shiny parts of my "legacy" as that part of my blood family was not ethical nor moral but very successful.  I sleep very well at night.

I myself have in the last 37 days lost my wife (unexpected) and her entire family (I have no actual blood in the family) hates me and did nasty things towards me as they wanted her legacy and to erase me purely out of greed.  I gave it all to them, they will not be happy and will suffer for their greed but this matters to me as I married their mother for their mother and not her stuff.  We shared 20 wonderful years together for which I brought their mother happiness she did not have prior and her family hated me for me it as I was not the person "they" wanted and I have done great things for them all.  I do not make this about me, but for illustration regarding how wrong people can be simply because of blood and not with correct ethics and morals to guide them.

For me, a legacy is only valid if someone is able to not simply respect it but also share and promote the values and capabilities worthy of such a thing.  For me, that is in knowledge and wisdom I give freely to those who need and want it and such as I have no wealth few care but those who do, do go on to great things.  Great things such as raising a good family and maintaining their responsibilities in life as leaders of their family.  We cant pick winners and losers but we can see the path for which they travel and if they are going the wrong way, do you best to correct but do not empower the wrong or you will end up fearing the families end but I hope I illustrated that, that end is only a true ending if one decides it to be and I say to simply widen your view.

I have no good answer for you that would fill that void for you but their is hope and that hope resides within you.  One thing nature has taught me, take nothing for granted and be prepared for dramatic changes and the only thing that can truly weather those type of changes are "who" we are.  For example:  I am personally devastated by the loss of my wife but I am still me and no situation will change who I am.  Only I will do that and not an influence.  Work to promote those who shares those kinds of traits who are ethical and moral and even if not your blood as in this way your legacy will survive and become part of something else as they create their own legacies. 

Think of it like the old pyramids in Central and Southern Americas, typically built on top of other pyramids.  It is this way my legacy lives.  It matters not if we are no longer the top of the pyramid but we become more of a "keystone" and while not so visible as time goes on it is the strong part what holds up the future and it is in this cycle we can at best hope. 

I hope that helps.
Jon Bailey ~ HarrySoloman
Cultural Healing and Life.


Editing in:
Wj Carroll wrote:Vera Stewart,

You are far too kind.  Southerners simply have a love of words.  We are storytellers.  We preserve our history, values and life lessons in those stories, and that is important to us - from Faulkner to Lewis Grizzard and so many in between.  Even Jack Kerouac, from Lowell, Mass., wrote much of his best work in Rocky Mount, NC and loved Tomas Wolfe.  I used to make my living as a writer.  I do have a few FB groups and a food blog, but I don't write much anymore.  That said I am working on 9 ideas for Permaculture related books..... so, there may be more to come!  Please feel free to PM me, as I am sure that I would treasure your friendship.  Perhaps you may enjoy a little story I wrote some years ago that may give insight into the simple, agrarian world in which I grew up: http://southernfoodandwine.blogspot.com/2016/12/christmas-eve-with-big-ray.html


http://southernfoodandwine.blogspot.com/2016/12/christmas-eve-with-big-ray.html
I love this and is along the lines I speak.  Greatness is not what most people think.  That writing is greatness and is precious!
 
Wj Carroll
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Harry Soloman, I offer my sincere condolences.
 
John Oden
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WJ,

I'm in Atlanta and I'd be very interested in getting involved with your project in terms of helping it get off the ground. I'm in the city right now, so would love to have access to a more rural site for permaculture projects. If this would be of interest to you, email me at John at aspire123.com. My longterm goal with my company, Aspire, is to build an entity that can steward permaculture sites long after we are all gone. In the meantime, though, realistically you are only 40 and the legacy issue doesn't need to be totally resolved for a number of years. I would also say from experience that multi-generational family land has its own problems that seem to arise two generations after the person who bought the land dies.

John
 
Marco Banks
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WJ,

If you are not familiar with the writings of Wendell Berry, I think that you might find his musings on farm, faith and legacy tremendously encouraging.  I assume that you have, but if not, look him up.

I'm drawn to his poetry and his advocacy for the family farm in the context of the larger agricultural changes that have swept the country the past 40 years.  You will find a kindred soul in Wendell.  He writes advocacy pieces, prose, poetry and even fiction.  His southern perspective leaks through everything he writes.  One of my favorite novels of all time is "Jayber Crow", and it touches upon so many of the themes you speak of: legacy, the rape of the land by those who have no sense of what they are destroying, and a single man who is making his way through the world and watching it change around him.

Just a thought about singleness: I think that there is a universal truth that we all fundamentally want to love and to be loved.  That is at the core of who we are and how we were created.  In your posts above, its evident that you are a man of faith.  This element of our being (the desire to love and to be loved) mirrors the very character of the Godhead, who have always existed in perfect triune love.  Created as we are in the image and likeness of God, it only stands to reason that we also were created for love and community at the deepest parts of who we are.  For most of us, we experience that most clearly within marriage, although many choose to remain single, yet find deeply gratifying and intimate (nonsexual) friendships that are all they desire.

The problem is finding that person with whom we can share ourselves, and perhaps more important, becoming the kind of person with whom others would desire to share their lives with.  The onus of change is upon us to become one with whom others want to love and be loved by.  40 is not too old to think through that question.  You were created for intimacy.  I think you can figure it out, but it may take some self-reflection and a willingness to grow interpersonally.  Legacy is something that, in many ways, is out of your hands.  But intimacy is completely within your hands. 

Grace to you for the journey.

Marco
 
Larry Bock
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Another fine thread here a Pemies. I have a 19 year old daughter. She is part of the reason that I moved foward with the dream of my own camp in the woods on a piece of land. The word " legacy" is a great word. As some know, I semi prefabed my camp.  As I was loading up the 12' wall sections , I paused to take a photo of the " front" wall and sent it to her with a caption stating some thing along the lines of. " my dream is to some day watch my grandchildren run in and out of this door,as they slowly drive you crazy".   But, alas, that's it my dream.
I did tell her that I'd like to see her keep it. And in the same sentence told her that if she ever had to sell it to put money down on a home somewhere, perhaps to make ends meet while raising a family.  I will not roll over in my grave or come back to haunt her. I trust her and she's a pretty smart young adult .Legacies come in many forms. I guess this was just another take
 
Tim Bermaw
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Wj Carroll wrote:I guess my question is, 'to what end?" I don't think I can be content leaving no legacy, when my ancestors' names appear on ... I just need to know that one day I will go to my rest with the belief that it was worth something.  My native American ancestors always stressed thinking of future generations - do nothing unless it will benefit your descendants, even 10 generations forward!  This really "preys on my mind" as the old folks used to say.

What you have observed over the years (the decay of society; the break-up of the family unit; disconnection from the land) is widespread.  The forces that power it are getting stronger, not weaker.  If you remain in this country, any children you may have will almost certainly experience a lower quality of life than your own.  No family is genetically diverse enough to survive generations without bringing in fresh blood.  Family and cultural values are inexorably diluted, twisted and lost due to intermingling with and pressure from society at large.

Your 'independence' is at odds with your idealised and romanticised notions of lineage and legacy.  If you are no longer part of a value system chain that you believe in (and are emotionally satisfied by) then it is too late — and futile — to try resurrect one.  If you go it alone you will die alone and that will be the end of that.

If you want to leave a genetic legacy you need to move to a (large, 400+) community that still has family as a core cultural value.  I can't think of a single such community in the West that isn't strongly religious.  I also can't think of a single such community that doesn't severely restrict freedoms.  I would suspect your stay in such communities would be short.  Thus, if you want to leave a genetic legacy, then I think you need to leave the country and find a new home where your knowledge and skills are valuable and can earn you a respectable status — just like your forefathers did.

If you are enterprising and successful in your new home, a partner and children will be sure to follow in short order.

Wj, the country you live in is no longer your home.  It is time to leave.
 
Look ma! I'm selling my stuff!
The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler - digital download
https://permies.com/wiki/23442/digital-market/digital-market/Underground-House-Book-Mike-Oehler
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