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Old 07 October 2018, 10:36 PM
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Chicken The Strange Allure of Pioneer Living

Article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...eading/570796/

Nice work if you can afford it.
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  #2  
Old 07 October 2018, 11:24 PM
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Ah, the return to nature of rich white people who don't actually have to depend on the products of their labor to avoid starvation.

My favorite line of the article:

Quote:
Homesteading, romanticized by nearly every generation save the one that originally endured it
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Old 07 October 2018, 11:48 PM
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My brother- and sister-in-law have a little bit of a homestead setup; they have a large property up in northern California, where they grow a bunch of produce and raise a variety of animals, but thankfully don't Instagram it or sell MLM crap. (ETA: they both have well-paying jobs and help from her mother, who lives with them.) It's quite pleasant to visit them and spend time outdoors, with the sounds of the birds and bugs, the smells of the tomatoes and squash ripening on the vine, those cute little goats headbutting you for attention. But I personally would find the daily upkeep to be a chore.

My life is almost the complete opposite, and I love it. I work long hours engaged in abstract thinking. I have salads delivered twice a week for my lunches, and my dinner is usually either from a restaurant or a meal prep/ delivery service, though occasionally my husband cooks from scratch or I microwave a frozen dinner. I drop my suits in the dry cleaning locker on the first floor of my apartment and love unwinding with a Scotch while I play with my phone and the dishwasher, washing machine, and robot vacuum cleaner do my chores. I'm incredibly privileged to have such nice things, and I certainly appreciate them, but I guess some people would rather get up early and milk the cows than stay up late writing a brief. Which is fine! I'll save my haterade for the part where you finance that lifestyle by shilling snake oil.
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Old 08 October 2018, 01:09 AM
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Preppers, a closely related lot in my mind, freak me out. Next thing you know theyíre going "off the grid" (by which I mean not really), insisting they shouldnít have to pay taxes for services they donít "need" and stocking up on guns and ammo. Itís one step shy of being a sovereign citizen.
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  #5  
Old 08 October 2018, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I work long hours engaged in abstract thinking. I have salads delivered twice a week for my lunches, and my dinner is usually either from a restaurant or a meal prep/ delivery service, though occasionally my husband cooks from scratch or I microwave a frozen dinner. I drop my suits in the dry cleaning locker on the first floor of my apartment and love unwinding with a Scotch while I play with my phone and the dishwasher, washing machine, and robot vacuum cleaner do my chores. I'm incredibly privileged to have such nice things, and I certainly appreciate them, but I guess some people would rather get up early and milk the cows than stay up late writing a brief. Which is fine!
People do indeed vary greatly. The life you're describing would drive me screaming into the woods (although I don't have any cows, partly because I don't want to have to keep their milking schedule; and I'd rather clean garlic for market or put beans in the freezer late at night than get up extra early to do it.)

There are lots of people leading lives that include growing a chunk of their own food and doing directly some things that other people prefer to pay to have done for them, but who are neither religious nor into rigid sex roles. We're probably just also less likely to make a public fuss about it; or at any rate to make good fodder for Atlantic articles.

ASL, I think most preppers of the type you seem to be describing are a lot less prepped than they think they are, because they tend to think they can manage in a full-scale collapse of civilization, but without mutual aid with their neighbors. But IMHO being prepared for a power outage of some length, quite possibly coming with food and water system distribution problems, is entirely sensible; though some people are going to find it a lot harder to pull off than others, whether for reasons of finances or storage space. -- when I first moved here, having discovered there wasn't enough water supply in the well in use and having had a new well put in, I had a hand pump put on the old well, so I'd have water if the power went out. People teased me about it. A couple of years after that there was a major ice storm in the Northeast. We were on the edge of it, and power was out for less than one day; but there were quite a lot of others, including many people in sizeable cities, who had no power for two weeks or longer. For a few years after that I got a lot less grief about that hand pump.

I have lived off the grid. It's not half as hard as most people think who haven't done it, and it doesn't automatically go with sovereign-citizen beliefs. I'm not doing it now, though; and will admit to liking my washing machine, freezers (full mostly of things I grew or my neighbors raised, though there are some boxes of grocery stuff in there), and electric lights; and especially the hot water for shower/bathtub. And even the furnace that kicks on in the middle of the night when the wood stove burns too low to do the job. -- and, I suppose, this computer; though I do spend way too much time on it. But I didn't feel like I was leading a terrible life when I didn't have them.
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Old 08 October 2018, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
ASL, I think most preppers of the type you seem to be describing are a lot less prepped than they think they are, because they tend to think they can manage in a full-scale collapse of civilization, but without mutual aid with their neighbors.
Yes, I don’t mean to ridicule someone with a rural upbringing, a viable economic plan (like going into farming or breeding livestock), or prepping for your run of the mill disaster like a hurricane or earth quake, but rather prepping for a breakdown of social order.

My former brother-in-law was one one of the latter types, complete with a cabin in the woods (in addition to a house in a major suburb), with solar panels (for the cabin), a couple cows, and a whole lot of guns. What always struck me as idiotic about it, apart from the whole prepping for the end of the world (as we know it), was the idea that he’d last long after the collapse. Even if all his fancy solar panels and guns keep on working, it wouldn’t take much for someone with a modicum of sense to make up for what they lack in preparation through an act of desperation (as in, stake out the cabin and murder all both—well, one now—of the occupants in their sleep). Kind of like how things go down with the gun and the car at the ferry crossing in War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version).

If you think (g)you think you can prep for the end of the world, great; I’m sure your kit will be put to good use by someone. Just maybe not by you.

Last edited by ASL; 08 October 2018 at 02:17 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08 October 2018, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
...
If you think (g)you think you can prep for the end of the world, great; Iím sure your kit will be put to good use by someone. Just maybe not by you.
I've always said that the easiest plan for for an apocalypse is to find someone who's done all the hard work, but has critical flaws in his security plan. Some preppers seem to be way to optimistic about the integrity of key societal structures should crap hit the fan.
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  #8  
Old 08 October 2018, 04:00 AM
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I really laugh at the preppers who install solar panels, gas generators, or any other bit of 20th Century technology. If society actually does collapse, good luck finding replacements for them once they start to fail.

Heck, what are they going to do for replacements for their metal tools and equipment? Very few of them are competent blacksmiths who have access to a ready source of raw materials for replacements.
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  #9  
Old 08 October 2018, 04:58 AM
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If you bought a decent quality axe, digging fork, etc. it'll probably outlive you, presuming it's properly used and properly taken care of. Handles may need replacement, but are usually made out of wood, and a couple of spares should get you a generation or so to learn how to make them. Good stockpots can outlive you also (canning jar seals, maybe not.)

The solar panels, not so much. They make sense for a temporary problem, at least if they'll work with the grid down which a lot of them won't; but their use in a long-term end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it would be mostly to buy time to learn how to do without them. [ETA: They may also make a lot of sense if the world doesn't end. I don't think of solar panels as only a disaster preparation sort of thing.]

The gas generator's only going to last as long as the gas does. And gasoline doesn't store all that well. It'll probably be useless in most equipment within a handful of years.

What you'd really want would be a lot of good neighbors, with a variety of skills, who won't panic, and who are willing to include you as a neighborhood member. (Less likely to happen if you're threatening to shoot them.)

But actually what you really want is for society not to collapse. Change significantly, quite possibly. But not collapse. Staying alive at all -- let alone remotely comfortably -- if it does would be in large part a matter of sheer luck.
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  #10  
Old 08 October 2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
We're probably just also less likely to make a public fuss about it; or at any rate to make good fodder for Atlantic articles.

.


My parents would have snorted at this--they'd been there and done that when they were kids, and there was nothing romantic about it.
You're right about the cows' milking schedule too--I remember a relative who could never stay too long for family get-togethers because he had to leave to--you guessed it--milk the cows.

Let's all sing along now: at four thirty in the morning I'm milking cows; Jebediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows--FOOL!
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Old 08 October 2018, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I've always said that the easiest plan for for an apocalypse is to find someone who's done all the hard work, but has critical flaws in his security plan. Some preppers seem to be way to optimistic about the integrity of key societal structures should crap hit the fan.
It's like the stockbrokers who buy those bunkers in New Zealand that they figure they'll survive a nuclear war/epidemic/other doomsday scenarios in and say they'll be fine afterwards because "they'll be fine and in power because they know how to manage people." Yeah, no. You have few practical skills. You'll be manual labor in no time.
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  #12  
Old 08 October 2018, 02:41 PM
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I've always scoffed at preppers because of the borderline brainwash mentality. But at the same time, I've always scratched my head at my people that are totally unprepared when a heavy storm passes through.

My parents both grew up on farms and not close to the village, so they (my grand-parents) had to feed their families in case of a large snowstorm that lasted for days. It was normal to have plenty of canned goods to eat (and frozen foods when they finally got electricity).

I always have canned goods, and something to cook it with - either the BBQ grill or my backpacking equipment or even an alcohol stove (fondue set).

I always find it funny (of sorts) to see the mad dash for milk & bread & water, in SC whenever there's a storm brewing.

OY
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  #13  
Old 08 October 2018, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Let's all sing along now: at four thirty in the morning I'm milking cows; Jebediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows--FOOL!
You don't actually have to milk the cows at four thirty in the morning. You can milk them at 10 AM and 10 PM if you like; I know somebody who does exactly that. The problem isn't the time of day, but the schedule -- a dairy cow must be milked on schedule, or she'll be in pain, and quite possibly get mastitis.

And there are plenty of people who have to get up at four thirty in the morning to get to non-farming jobs. Some of them have to spend an hour or two each way in traffic, and/or waiting for multiple buses, getting back and forth. I don't call them fools, though I'm sorry they're stuck with it. But if I had to get up early every morning, I'd rather spend the next couple hours in the barn -- especially if it's my own barn -- than driving in traffic or in the subways. YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitap View Post
It's like the stockbrokers who buy those bunkers in New Zealand that they figure they'll survive a nuclear war/epidemic/other doomsday scenarios in and say they'll be fine afterwards because "they'll be fine and in power because they know how to manage people." Yeah, no.
They're assuming the other survivors will be people who are willing to be managed.

I expect some of them will be; but I expect there will also be lots of people who are expecting to be boss. And I strongly suspect that a good percentage of the people who do actually have practical skills will be, at a minimum, unwilling to be bossed.


(wow, there were a lot of 'expect's in that sentence. Don't feel like rewriting it, though.)

[ETA: I also suspect that, like a lot of people, they think that it's not necessary to know anything much to raise food; or to do a whole lot of other jobs basic to staying alive, which they've never either done themselves or paid any attention to. You can't just order people to subsistence farm when they don't know how, even if you succeed in keeping all the guns. They'd be in for a really hard learning curve, during which Mother Nature would often extract the death penalty for not catching on fast enough.]

Last edited by thorny locust; 08 October 2018 at 03:27 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08 October 2018, 03:47 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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And there are plenty of people who have to get up at four thirty in the morning to get to non-farming jobs.
Two of my coworkers do exactly this.

I have some very practical skills, although farming/ gardening is not one of them (I'd hope my sister survived to help with that). I can knit, sew, spin and weave (at least until my warping thread runs out, at which point I hope I will have learned to spin enough strong, even thread to warp the loom).

I had a conversation last night with a friend who was surprised that my gas dryer requires electricity (shall we say, common sense is not her strong suit). I mentioned that none of my gas appliances would work if there was no electricity. I might be able to light the gas in the fireplace, for example, but the fan that pushes the hot air into the room so that the fire is actually heating the house would not work. I don't have a gas stove, which is really the only standard natural gas powered appliance I don't have.

My father grew up on a series of small farms in upstate Wisconsin during the depression. He knew how to do all sorts of things (most of which he was grateful to no longer need to do), and he passed onto his children the awareness of what life was like, even when he did not pass along the particular skills required (he knew how to glean, for example).

My big issue with the pioneer life, and why I would not want to do it, is that the work is endless. Even when you have a moment to sit down, there are things to do (knit a new hat or mittens, spin a little yarn, card some wool). You can not afford, really, to just sit and do nothing.

Seaboe
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Old 08 October 2018, 03:58 PM
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I feel this thread lacks a certain something:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umS3XM3xAPk
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  #16  
Old 08 October 2018, 04:02 PM
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On the subject of early rising, I just want to note I once had a job where I had to wake up at 0330 to walk to a traffic circle to get picked up by a van to start work at 0500, and keep on working until around 1900 to take a van home.

It drove me to the edge of madness.

On the subject of the apocalypse, we all know how it’s really going to go down. Roving bands of military veterans, with due respect for rank and time in service, are going to get together and impose strict order on those slovenly, greedy, downright lecherous civilians around them. From then on, only veterans will have a say in government and we’ll all hold hands around a fire singing Kumbaya because nothing could possibly go wrong with such an arrangement.
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Old 08 October 2018, 04:10 PM
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So long as I get my Mr Handy robot and nuclear powered Highwayman car, I'm cool with however it turns out.

ETA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
What always struck me as idiotic about it, apart from the whole prepping for the end of the world (as we know it), was the idea that he’d last long after the collapse. Even if all his fancy solar panels and guns keep on working, it wouldn’t take much for someone with a modicum of sense to make up for what they lack in preparation through an act of desperation (as in, stake out the cabin and murder all both—well, one now—of the occupants in their sleep). Kind of like how things go down with the gun and the car at the ferry crossing in War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version).

If you think (g)you think you can prep for the end of the world, great; I’m sure your kit will be put to good use by someone. Just maybe not by you.
I've hung out on prepper forums and groups to get information and outlook for disaster preparedness*. Trust me, way too many of them are praying for a breakdown in society so they can use their guns (and many other weapons) on the people who would take their stuff. (Don't know how successful that would be of course, but they are planning for it with way too much enthusiasm.)

FETA: * In case anyone is wondering, the difference is time frame. Disaster preparedness is when you have supplies for 3-days, a week, a month, etc for the temporary breakdown of services. Prepping is when you have supplies for the permanent end of the world as we know it.

Last edited by GenYus234; 08 October 2018 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 08 October 2018, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
way too many of them are praying for a breakdown in society so they can use their guns (and many other weapons) on the people who would take their stuff. (Don't know how successful that would be of course, but they are planning for it with way too much enthusiasm.)
I am hoping that if things ever disintegrate that badly they'll mostly shoot each other.

They'd probably get way too many other people, though, so I think I'll keep hoping that things don't disintegrate that badly. Some chunk of my head has been expecting The World As We Know It™ to end with a sudden thud since about 1969, after all, and it hasn't yet; so maybe it won't ever do so. (It's changed a lot since 1969, of course. No reason it won't, and a lot of reasons why it might, change a lot more.)

Proper disaster prep seems to me a good idea partly because it's likely to decrease the chance of even temporary and local societal breakdowns. If a high percentage of the people in an area that's suddenly got no electric power, for instance, have a plan and necessary supplies and equipment to deal with such situations: then emergency crews can concentrate on the ones who weren't able to do that, and won't have to try to deal with everyone at once, and things are more likely to hold together. And there would be fewer people standing there staring at empty grocery shelves six hours before a hurricane hits if more people thought of keeping up their disaster stores as just a routine thing to do, not something one does only when the trajectory cone narrows and points right at you.

A temporary breakdown in food transportation routes or quantity of supply is going to be a lot less of a problem in an area in which a lot of people are growing some of their own food than in an area in which almost nobody is. A temporary breakdown in power is going to be less of a problem in an area where there are enough people whose heat and water work without it that most of the others can go visit their neighbors than in one where everybody relies on the power company. Etcetera.


ETA to reply to this also:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
My big issue with the pioneer life, and why I would not want to do it, is that the work is endless. Even when you have a moment to sit down, there are things to do (knit a new hat or mittens, spin a little yarn, card some wool). You can not afford, really, to just sit and do nothing.
I know people who are living entirely modern lives whose lives are like that, though. They always need to be working on another paper, or calling their brokers, or dealing with another meeting. If they show up to visit for dinner, they've got six work items they'll stop to deal with in the middle of it.

Or there are people on the other end of the financial scale working multiple jobs at weird hours and trying to take care of their kids and do all their housekeeping in the bits of time that are left over.

In areas with winter, subsistence farmers at least get enough sleep during part of the year.

-- I know a number of Old Order Mennonites. They're some of the most relaxed people I've ever been around. Yes, they're almost always working; but they almost never seem to be in a hurry about it.

Last edited by thorny locust; 08 October 2018 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08 October 2018, 05:15 PM
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According to my anthropology professor in college, subsistence hunter-gatherers had the most free time of any form of society.
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Old 08 October 2018, 05:35 PM
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I've read that also, crocoduck_hunter. When we took up farming, we landed ourselves with a huge additional workload (and, at least in many cases, poorer nutrition, not better. Makes you wonder why we bothered; though my personal theory is that we wanted to be able to stay put, because we didn't like having to leave Grandma behind when she couldn't walk well any longer.)

When we took up modern industry, while we produced a lot of "labor-saving" stuff, we also produced a whole lot more things that needed to be done, dealt with, and paid for. I think for a lot of people it actually cancels out.
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