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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

In Case of a Water landing, your seat. . .

Calm down, Please?

The emails I am receiving are starting to freak me out. I realize that many people are worried about the economy, but jumping into homesteading with both feet can cause you a lot more harm than good.

Homesteading is not a cheap endeavor, and not something to take lightly. Jumping in without the resources and research could cause much sorrow in your life. If you are wanting to make this leap, I am hoping I can convince, even in this time that is reminiscent of the Great Depression (which could if allowed, to be worse than that do to the fact that we no longer have industrial jobs, or at least very few of them) to continue to take baby steps.

First, meet your neighbors. Community is a huge part of being self sufficient. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn't. Unless you are incredibly well off, you will not be able to acquire everything needed to live. Find out which neighbors think like you do, then sit down and talk. Work out what you can do for each other. And older neighbor my not be able to milk by hand, but can afford a milking cow, another neighbor has a tremendous green thumb, yet a black one when it comes to small livestock. Figure out what you can do for one another, work out deals and barters, creating a neighborhood that is reliant on one another.

A beginning homesteader needs to take small steps, but with a collective of individual talents at your fingertips you can create a worthwhile endeavour. And once things get better, extra income for all of you. Read that as a CSA.

Also I would like to give a shout out to my good neighbor, and give you all an example of what community homesteading truly means. Yesterday my husband and I were out, paying bills, making rounds, when the electric co-op showed up, looking for payment. We were $36 short on our payment last month. (co-ops tend to forget over time what they were originally about and end up behaving like big biz) The man told our squatter that we owed almost $300! And if he left without the money, he would turn the power off. Good thing I wasn't here, otherwise there would have been a lot of commotion. I digress, while the co-op worker was standing there with my squatter, my good neighbor happened to see the truck and called over to our house wanting to know what the H E double hockey sticks (ain't I cute?) did he want. Our squatter told him, and the good neighbor came over and paid him. I don't like it that we owe our good neighbor, bu we were appreciative of it. He is going to get a huge baked goods basket out of this one. The co-op guy had our good neighbor pay our $36 late payment and this month bill that we hadn't received yet, plus extra for what ever reason. This will be an interesting phone call when I get a hold of someone at the co-op. I walked over to the good neighbors house and thanked him, and told him that he shouldn't have paid it. I should have showed him the bill. But the point to this story isn't that I don't pay my bills when I should ( sometimes I can't, but I always pay just not as timely as I should) but the point is that with strong community, you will look after one another in desperate times.


Anita said...

Sounds just like our neighborhood... and I HATE the way our elec. co op works, too... I think being hateful is a prerequisite for working
I keep wondering if now is the time to build a house, but with 0% interest offered, we can't really pass it up... plus, it's not like we have much option here in Greensburg!

Alissa said...

I found your blog first and then found Verde's 21 day challenge from here, as well as a host of other homesteading sites. I'm mostly a lurker but soak up all the information that you all put out in the world through your blogs. I am a born and bred suburbanite, raised on fast food and trying to find a slower, more self sufficient life. Because of the 21 day collapse challenge I have finally put together decent first aid kits for my home and car, have water stored for 3 for a week, and have started to store some cash at home (I live off of my debit cards.)

Now that isn't homesteading, but more so what everyone should be doing as a matter of basic emergency prep. BUT, I owe it to you homesteaders to give me ideas, encouragement and the challenge to start going in the right direction.

There are actually some "Urban Homesteading" classes being offered in Kansas City now. I'm so excited!!!

Thank you for including me, and all the other lurkers, in your journey :)


Anita said...

Neighbors can make or break you. Just don't be too mean to the customer service agent that picks up the phone - go for the manager, who's paid more and probably has some power.
And as an addendum, you don't have to go full back-to-the-land to get a little more self-sufficient. I live in a studio apartment, am carless, landless, and mostly cash-free, but managed to land a community garden plot. People might be able to get one and try gardening, or grow more veg, or maybe talk a neighbor into giving up a sunny piece of yard in exchange for delicious veg. (Not that I don't *want* a farm, but a surprising amount can come from a little space.)
Adendum two - love your blog!

amanda said...

that's pretty amazing! wish i had a neighbor like that...

Janelle said...

that is unbelievable. I would have a few choice words for the Coop myself - I don't like then either!

Anonymous said...

a timely post as always! I have a neighbor that makes beer and soap, perhaps she and I can swap some preserves and such. She and I talk about our dogs and laundry, perhaps now is the time to include more!

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I am staying calm. but I do have enough livestock that I don't need to freak out. and I would agree with you when you say to your readers just to relax. I would like to be there when the electric guy comes out with you home...

E said...

Absolutely! Neighbors make the world go round.
Another suggestion for people before moving to the homestead/making major life changes- learn a skill so you can contribute to the neighborhood.

Take a master gardener course, canning workshop, learn to weld, fix a chainsaw... then practice your newfound skills either by yourself or as an apprentice, at your CSA, be inventive!

Phelan said...

Anita, back in jan. when my husband was laid off, I called the co-op and asked to make arrangments for a payment plan. I was unsure on what was in store for our future and wanted to be covered just in case. I got a payment sceduale. soon they were at my door wanting to full amount. I explained to the guy what the deal was, so he called it in. The woman on the other end (the csr) was screaming, he moved the phone away from his ear and I could hear her from a car hood length away. I felt bad for the guy, and he was looking at me apologetically. As for your house, darlin' you need one.

Alissa, I am so glad you decided to de-lurk! Welcome! I was a suburban girl as well. There are times I really want to go back, but the grass is always grenner. . . WOnderful to hear about KC offering classes. Make sure you look closely at your town's laws. In Wichita people can have some farm animals, from a cow, to two goats to several chickens. Good luck and enjoy those classes.

Anita, read above to the other anita on how the csr act at the co-op. :D and you are correct. I have written here before about vacant lots and community gardens, even roof top and closet garden as well. They are great things to look into. Thank you!

Amanda, you just might. I didn't know I had one until it happened. But things like this are one of the reasons I stress community involvment so often.

Janelle, it is sad that they have forgotten why they started up in the first place.

Lanniee, it doesn't hurt to try.

Tim, I too am not worried about food, but we don't own our house outright yet so that bothers me a bit. And I don't break out the guns or anything when the eletric guy shows up, ;)

E, first allow me to welcome you to my blog. I don't recall you commenting before these last few days. And you are right. I have encouraged my readers over and over to go check out their local extension services, they have some great things available there. Some for free and some for a tad bit o' honey.

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