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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another late night rambling

Feel free to ignore.

I was just reading an article in Newsweek, about Preppers, and The American Prepper Network. I thought it was a well balanced article, taking in both sides of it. Unfortunately there is something about comments that I can't stay away from. I admit it, I rubber necked.

Part of it was that these comments were indeed about me. I write for The American Preppers Network, and The Kansas Prepper Network. So I just had to read these, right? Of course. Its like eavesdropping on a conversation about you. Oh the things you can learn about people.

I have always known that people can be extreme. I have always known that some people won't listen to an opposing argument. And I have known that Survivalists have always been portrayed as the Uni-bomber or Timothy McVeigh. And I have always tried to distance myself from that label. Of course now that I am writing for a Prepper group, I have thrown myself right into it all.

For those of you stopping by for the first time because of this article, please allow me to tell you who I am and why I homestead.

My name is Phelan, nice to meet you. I am 32 years old and have been homesteading for almost 10 years. I am the mother of 3 living boys, and a 4th that died many years ago. I was a homeless teen. I have been beat up and beaten down in more ways then one. I grew up in a nice suburban home. My father was a retired Police Officer and US Naval Officer from Panama. My mother was a radical (card carrying) from California. I am an Independent that tends to vote Dem or Third Party. I am well educated as is my husband.

We chose to follow a different path then what had been set up for us by our parents. This path lead us to our 5 acres in South Central Kansas. I didn't intend on farming or homesteading or prepping. I wanted to get my children (well only the 1 and was pregnant with another) out of the city. They just couldn't play. With budget cuts I lost my job the same year that we bought our home. I had to quickly learned how to make our budget stretch. I even took on a third shift job that paid very little, and would seem to some as below my position in life. (that would be me waxing poetic) So gardening it was, and canning. Soon husband was making enough money for me to stay home. Next came the goats, because husband had always wanted one. Then the chickens, sheep, cattle and horse. We fell in love with this life.

Now the prepping thing. I have been called much worse than a moron, and I don't believe I am Mormon nor a terrorist. And I only own 1 gun. But we have problems with wild dogs, and other large critters that a shovel whack just doesn't seem to control. I also carry throwing knives, because deep down I have always been a Goth girl and knives were fascinating, still are.

I don't have cable news. What I do have is a past that has shown me that anything can and will happen and that it doesn't hurt to be prepared for it. Those of you that think I am nuts can go right ahead.

I do indeed help my neighbors, and my neighbors help me. I live in a rural community that depends on each other. And that has always been something that I have pushed and I believe that with the preppers, they feel the same. You can not be totally self sufficient, but you can be a self sufficient community. It is impossible to do everything on your own to live, but your neighbor does things you can't, and you do things they can't and so forth. I might feel lonely at times, but I know when push comes to shove I have people there.

I was asked to write for the Preppers because of my homesteading. Nothing less, nothing more. I do not have a bunker full of food, or weapons. I like knowing where my food comes from, I like that I know what is in my food. I raise as much of it as I possibly can. And with the most recent lay off of my husband, this homesteading thing has come in quite handy. I know it could be much worse if I didn't have these skills, and if I didn't have the neighbors I have.

I have never liked lumping a group of people together. I still don't care for it. All the things that anonymous people feel free to say because of the screen that blocks their view of the real person. Hey, even nut jobs have emotions.

I admit, I do have a tendency to say something without thinking. It makes me sound harsh, or unsympathetic, or complaining. I'm just uncouth like that. But I do apologize if I have made a mistake. I do figure in other people feelings when I am responding to something they have said. And with a screen and a keyboard, you can actually take a moment and think about what you have written before clicking post. oops, I just deleted something naughty.

The group of Preppers are very diverse. They have many different beliefs, many different reasons for prepping, and of course mental status. I am clinically un-hinged. They are a fascinating group. So many different skills and abundant knowledge, however I am still waiting for some one to help me with this sewing thing, that learning from them, no matter what or who they are, if we agree on things or not, has been eye opening.

I enjoy them as individuals, even the more extreme ones show a light heartedness at times that is endearing. But many people will never see that because they believe that we want the end of the world to come. I find that sad. Growing up my mother taught us that we were all equal, that love was blind and that Marx was. . . um never mind that part it blows the loving mother story (LOVE YA MOM!) she was an atheist, yet encouraged her children to attend different churches, for them to discover who they really are. And that is how I like to see life, exploring, learning, growing, finding out who or what I really am.

And you know, it feels a little unsettling to learn that people that never met you think you are an idiot. I guess I feel more for Survival Mom than I do for myself of course. They might have been attacking us as a community, but it was her name in the article. I got it worse when I was in the WSJ. I was compared to Hitler. Of course this person didn't know their history very well, I had to teach him which dictator he should have been referring to. And some of the names were rather graphic. The Newsweek crowd is tame in comparison. And the extremist Survivalist (if they truly are that) I don't believe in most of what you are saying.

The Y2K comments crack me up.

Funny, if the journalist hadn't compared Preppers to Survivalists, would there be arguing over being a hippie/green movement, boy scouts gone wild?

Boy Scouts gone wild, I like that. Gives you very strange visions in your head doesn't it?

Just as long as we understand each other. We are not all gun clinging bible thumbing buck toothless, grease haired, standing in front of our trailer home wearing a tube top pregnant, barefoot, a kid on the hip smoking a cig and drinking a beer, people. We are hard working, 9-5, tax payer, government utilizing, life loving people. Salt of the Earth, farmers, homesteaders, hippies, and garden lovers.

And if you don't shoot at me, I won't shoot at you.

Well, that has been my midnight rambling. Hope you enjoyed it.


Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

These are the most interesting posts!

Publius said...

I read the Newsweek article and some of the comments.
I believe that the outrageous, anti-prepper comments were driven by fear. Some of these critics know, in their hearts, that our system is in dire straights. Preppers are questioning the faith in the system: so although they are not the cause of the problems, they will get the blame.

Bob from Athens said...

Sounds like the typical girl next door to me. Wish there were a lot more like you!

Straight shooting, both figuratively and physically. Tells it like it is and what you see is what you get.

Stephanie in AR said...

Sounds pretty normal to me. I consider myself a self-sufficent, frugal person who loves to garden & homeschool. It is amazing how the different areas over lap: homesteading, green, prepping, and all the rest. I am a sahm with kids - a lot of kids - so storage, planning, thinking outside the box is just a way of life. BUT knowing that others already consider us odd I'm very careful to keep things generic & nonthreatening. Being 4H leader helps cause someone has to help the kids with shooting club, animals, safety, and all the other nonthreatening prepper stuff. (lol)

What kind of help do you need with sewing? I don't mind trying to help as much as possible other the computer. I do have a blog if you want to check me out first.

Wendy said...

Yeah, and some of us live in the suburbs where we homeschool, raise "farm" animals, grow as big a garden as our quarter acre will allow, tan deer and moose hides in the backyard, line dry all of our laundry (even in the winter), and make our own maple syrup - all in plain view of anyone who cares to look ;).

Kymber said...

ugh. i wish i could teach you about sewing. i wish i could teach you about anything. but i come here to learn.

i, too, am a member of these preppers networks. thought i was crazy until i found the preppers networks - until i found people like you!

i have learned so much from your honest and earnest ways...even when you put "dead" and "canned meat" in the same sentence...huh? teehee...inside joke for anyone reading this.

but anyway - what am i trying to say? screw newsweek commenters and screw newsweek. i don't give a rats ass about any of that. and neither should you. you have been following your heart for years and look where it has lead?

it has lead you to the place where you are supposed to be, living the life that you are supposed to live...the fact that you are actually teaching others just adds stars to the crown that you will receive in whatever faith you utilize to get there!

kudos Phelan. Kudos!

and a heartfelt thanks!

MtnDonna said...

Phelan, I wouldn't worry about those idiots. I mean, you're living like most folks did one hundred years ago. My husband and I are college grads, Southern born and bred, straight-up, by God country folks and make no apologies. We were raised in a world where folks grew it & raised it, or traded for it and we absorbed that knowledge. We do have outside jobs, but if it all went to hell tomorrow, we could survive & thrive, thanks to the lessons our families taught us. Urban/suburban folks can make fun of us, but all it comes down to is plain, basic, everyday commonsense living. What would most of those folks do when faced with a calamitous event like Hurricane Katrina? What strikes me is that these basic skills that folks think are so radical and survivalist were probably used by their ancestors not too long ago! Hello?! I've got thick skin and have never given a damn about a fool's opinion. I have to say it's great to find your blog and others. Great livestock pics, btw, and you have a beautiful family!

American Prepper said...

You know, you are dead on right about how diverse preppers are...If you prepare for any reason then you are a prepper by definition. So, let's think about this for a moment...Sewing most certainly is a prepper skill so now we know we need to find someone who can sew because I certainly cant either. I'm betting that WSHTF that skills, even those such as sewing will become a barterable commodity.

Phelan said...

the sewing thing. I need to learn not to bleed. ha! how's that? I can do a blanket stitch, and I can do granny knots when I have to sew up skin. But that's it. What we need is someone to do a prepper video on basic sewing.

Anonymous said...

I love your late night ramblings; well, just your writing in general. =) Thanks to you, I do not feel alone and no longer worry about what the neighbors think, though I do try to help them anyway.

You rock!

Kelle said...

Why oh why are we always reminded of the unabomer? Being from MT that is a sort of black eye, but then again it isn't, do you know what I mean. Montanans are known for their radical stance on guns and gun rights, we also aren't afraid to think for ourselves, which titles us as radical extremist, but it truly only is that we are indivuals with creative thoughts for our own futures. Of course being an indiviual willing to care for their own needs isn't what they want to achieve, so what better way than to peg us as, idiots, troublemakers and wackos*wink*

Love you ramblings, keep'em coming and maybe when I get away from dial up internet I'll be able to enjoy more of your blog posts.
Happy New Year to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Well spoken, supersister! You seem to be a great person, admirable mother, strong and though without loosing out on sweetness!
I like you and your way of expressing a lot so straightforward.

I always also wonder about the freedoms that people give themselfes to step on other ppls dreams, while protected by their screens. But always end up concluding that why should i care for non-creative ppls random BS.

Hugs from Laura in Sweden

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