Soul Searching, Thinking too much, but WHY would you want to try and live like that???

I've done tons of soul searching, and thought about life, how people live it, the things we're conditioned to just accept, credit, etc etc etc.  I mean I've thought about just about everything imaginable, and what effect living a life off grid and self sufficiency would have on me my family, my needs, my wants, my finances, etc etc etc.

Essentially I think about this pretty much constantly.  Why?  Because when I talk about it I'm always confronted with the question "Why the hell would you want to live like that?".  With that question I have a million different answers, but none of them come easily.  Why would I want to give up the grocery store to grow fruits, veggies, and meat?  Why would I want to give up the city park, the city schools, the convenience of the service station across the street, the convenience of a Wal Mart and shopping centers within a few miles from my house?  Why would I want to extend my commute back and forth to work an extra hour every day?

These are things I think people should consider.  I grew up on a fully functioning farm, we didn't get running water until I was near 8 years old.  Now don't think I'm some old guy either, I'm 36 years old, almost 37.  My family didn't see a need in so many things that people think of as necessity in todays time.  We raised chickens, pigs, cattle, and about a 2 acre garden most of my young years.  I know what I'm getting into.  Most people dreaming of this life have no idea about what it takes to live like this.  But I will also tell you, it's not nearly as hard as what some people will make you think it is, it's just a different kind of hard.  I live in a City now, work as a computer technician, and I'd rather be digging garden plots, planting seed, putting in fence posts, building barns, etc etc any day of the week.  My city life seems so simple, I get up, go to work, perform my job, get paid, drive by the store and grab groceries and all is well.  No, no it's not, I have a dumb ass college educated boss in charge of me that hasn't a clue, I'm constantly having to wait to move forward in my job because if they don't promote the blacks first they are racists, not because I am just better at my job than they were (That has created extreme bitterness in me), I have to deal with dumb ass drivers, traffic jams on the way to the grocery store, the idiots wreck every time it rains, no one has any respect for you or your property, your neighbors don't want to know you and could care less if you were being murdered by a lunatic in the front yard as long as it's not their yard.  I HATE IT HERE!

So I'm going to answer the question "Why in the hell would you want to live like that." and address as many reasonings as possible in the process.

I want to lessen my dependency on todays economy.  Why?  Because it's about as stable as a one legged rocking chair, and it's looking like any day now it could collapse, and most economist are saying that it's a matter of time most likely within the next 8 to 10 years before it collapses again this time bad enough that it's going to make the 30s look like simple times.  If I don't depend on that, it will have little to no effect on me and my family at all.

THERE IS A BUNCHA HILLBILLY REDNECKS OUT THERE!!!!  You damn skippy there are, and they are some of the best people you will ever come to know, they will stop and help you if something happens and you need it, they will drop what they are doing to help you get up those cattle, replant a ruined crop, rebuild a burned down barn, pick up the hay, etc etc etc.  You call em hillbillies, I call them the best people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

You are still going to have to keep your job to pay the electric bills, water bills, cable, etc etc.  I'm not quitting my job just yet.  But over time I'm going to take my extra money we save from growing our own food and veggies and apply that toward developing my solar hot water systems, my root cellar systems, my solar electricity systems, my water storage cisterns, my well and it's solar powered pumps, radiant floor heating using my solar hot water heating systems, wood heaters for extreme cold winters, backup plans in case any of them fail, etc.

I don't see how you can do all of that, in fact, I don't think it can be done...  Oh yes it can, people do it every year.  Remember Darryl Hanna??  That hot chick from the movie splash, she lives like that, and no not because she uses her millions, she lives on a modest self sustained home, and has little need of the outside world.  Oh yeah, it can be done by anyone with the drive, the desire, and the creativity to get it done.  Wanna know how???  Read on!

So how ya gonna do that big guy??  There is a recipe for success here, it's not that easy, but can be done by anyone who hasn't already dug themselves too far into debt.  A surprisingly large amount of people are all ready dug up to their necks in debt.  I was 2 years ago, but I decided to get out of it.  So sacrificing a lot in how I eat, party, etc etc, I systematically killed about 80% of my debt.  In the process, I paid extra on my house to raise the equity, because that equity in my house is the key to my plan.  Sacrifice EVERYTHING you can to get out from under that debt!!  Sell off that fancy car, buy yourself a solid dependable used ride for  couple thousand dollars, and take what's left and pay off some debt.  Trust me, people in the country could give a shit less about your Hummer, Mercedes, Bentley, BMW, Escalade, etc etc etc.  If you can get enough out of them to get you a cheap dependable car and get out from under that debt, then it's worth it.  I sold my modified VW GTI VR6 (Worthless in the country), bought my self a $1500 1990 Pathfinder, spent a couple of hundred on items I need to do piece of mind maintenance on the new old vehicle, the rest paid off some debt.

 I already own 20 acres of prime farm lands and 10 acres of Mountain top land, I owe nothing on any of it besides property taxes, you don't really need that much, 6 to 10 acres can build a small, tight self sustaining farm.  If you shop right you can get 10 acres of land for as little as $4,000, it's not going to be prime land, it may not even be that good, or it just may be too far away from anything to make it valuable at all.  Like my 10 acres up on the hill, since it's so far away, no one cares about it, it is valued cheaply because of the cost to make it "livable" (that's livable by todays standards.), I could cut out two acres from my lower 20, and sell it for more than I could sell that entire 10 acres up the hill.

I have over $20,000 equity value in my house here in the city.  So I plan over the next year to get it up to max value (This home will only ever be worth so much no matter how much money I throw at it.  So throw a couple thousand at it, bring it up to it's Max value, sell it, and I should be able to walk away with around $35,000.  Even if I don't, I will be certain to walk away with about $25,000 in the bank.  I'm going to by myself a used double wide mobile home (I check the papers comstantly and the average is between $6,000 and $18,000, and the cost to move and setup one averages $2000.  I want the $6,000 one!!!  Why??  That $18,000 one about 2 months ago was a $6,000 one that was just remodeled with about $2,000 worth of materials, yep that's right, they bought that thing for $6,000 put new carpets, cabinets, toilets, tubs, and appliances in there using the cheapest crap they could find.  I can make one much nicer than that $18,000 one for about $10,000 including moving and setup.  What about the other $15000???  Oh Yeah!!  I'm spending about $8,000 for containers, about $5,000 for solar electric items, and the rest is going into getting things I need to get to work on my future permanent home.

So now I have a paid for home, the same job making the same money, without the $600 a month payment, I have a small solar electricity system offsetting a solid amount of my electric bills, 5 40' containers in the pasture near where I plan to build my permanent home.  40' containers that can make temporary Barns, Storage, etc etc etc..

WHY A MOBILE HOME!!!  THAT'S TACKY AND REDNECK!!!!?!?!?!  Because in the Country no one out there gives a rats ass about your mansion.  I have a home to live in that keeps my and my family warm and the water off our butts when it rains, and again, no one out in the country gives a rats ass how pretty or nice your house it.  On top of all that I've freed up around $500 a month (driving gas offset).  What now?  Get that farm up and running!!!  Buy myself whatever I don't already have for my farm.  Since it was already a working farm, there isn't much I need outside of livestock.

First month, get myself some goats, goats are cheap, surprisingly cheap.  I can take a couple hundred bucks and get myself 4 or 5 does, a breeder buck of a good meat bearing breed.  Another hundred or so to get myself 2 or 3 does and a buck of the milk bearing breeds.  Put back what's left over should be between $100 to $150.

Next month, it's all about the chickens.  That's right, and chickens are cheap too!  I can get a couple dozen chicks of the good egg bearing variety, a couple dozen of the good meat producing variety, and have well more than enough left over to get a Llama to protect my goats.  I should have around $200 left over.  Add what's left over this month add to last months saved money!

Next month I take what I had left from the previous months and put it with this months money and get myself a couple of good dairy cows that are already bred.  I'll just rent a breeder bull when needed to breed these ladies, and keep the good female calves, castrate the males raise them until time to slaughter them to and some beef in the freezer.

Next month, I'll be getting a single young pig to raise to about 200lbs to put pork in the freezer I'll never raise pigs in bunches EVER again.  You can get a good young pig pretty cheap and raise it easily.  Put back that money (about $400).

By this time my and the little woman have already started getting that garden going.  This part is cheap, but takes some real labor.  The money for this month will be used to purchase rabbits and build breeder pens.  They breed fast, I'll be knee high in rabbit meat before I know it.  That'll be my daughters responsibility along with helping mommy in the garden and home.

Now I have dairy goats, some dairy cows, some goats to raise for meat, chickens for eggs, and chickens for meat.  It'll likely be at least fall before any of the meat will be saving me money, and the garden will be lowering costs from the grocery bill, but it's no problem, I still have my job.
Come the next summer my farming operation will be saving me money on Milk, Eggs, Beef, I have pork in the freezer, Chicken in he freezer now, and likely several young animals being born that I have to decide what to do with.  Depending on the amount, I most likely will have plenty to fill up my families meat needs, and extras can be sold off, or traded for other items, and will be trying to sell off rabbits by the butt loads.

So far I've cut out the house payment, if we do everything correctly, we don't require much from the grocery store, my solar power system is lessening our power consumption a good amount,  Our water needs are mostly being handled from the well that is already on my property.

I estimate at this point I'm able to put back around $700 a month and that's including animal feed needs and farm maintenance.  Of course we will be using the money we're saving to expand where we see fit.  

 Expansion includes some more beef cows, but not too many, just enough to raise calves for our beef needs and sell of any extra to pay for hay for he winter, and a nice size quail raising coop.  Quail are easy to raise and taste good, plus they make for impressive income, produce tons of really yummy eggs.

Now once that's all done, I'll be using that extra money to expand my solar electricity system until I start seeing big fat $0 electric bills.  Once that is done, I'll be using it to invest in a solar hot water heating system and radiant floor heating.  After that, I'll be putting my savings toward getting those containers cut up, tied together, and built into a nice living space.  Using myself and family and friends for the labor I can do it surprisingly cheap.  During the years in the double wide I've been shopping thrift stores, overstock stores, habitat for humanity, flea markets etc etc for the part I need to turn the containers into a home and stock piling them into the containers.

I'll be building a barn out of two 40' containers spaced about 12' apart long ways and a roof put over the middle part and then cutting in and framing out stalls down the length of them.  A couple of 10' ones for storage sheds.  These things are going to most likely be pretty common pieces on my farm, workshop, storage sheds, garage, barns, goat shelter, chicken coop, etc etc.

Anyhow enough typing for me for now.  Have a great day.

Coming soon

December 11, 2009
As I get time this will updated with thoughts on living off grid on a budget, and lessening your dependency on an unstable government and economy.

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