Life Behind the Eight Ball

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dingalls's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 21 2009
Posts: 28
Life Behind the Eight Ball

 So it has been a while since I have perused the site here, and I have to say I have missed these forums dearly.  

I recently had the opportunity to meet Joel Salatin and it was such an honor and a pleasure to do so.  What an inspiration he is.  Even so, I came away from the whole experience with a terrible taste in my mouth, like I am totally up a creek without a paddle, no matter what happens.  I am just too late, and have done too little.  I realize this attitude will do no one any good.

So I am here to discuss what I have done and what I have almost done, along with what I want to have done before what we are all waiting for happens.

1.  I have a very clear idea about what a healthy diet is.  This is trickier than most people think.  I may not eat that way all the time, but I know very well when I dont.  "If a person does not have their health...."

2.  I have worked hard to teach myself how to prepare food.  As with the above, seems obvious, but it has taken me (and continues to take me) hours upon hours of time.  I did not grow up with any positive role models for how to prepare food so everything I know I have taught myself.  Right now it is canning...Which leads me to my next item...

3.  I have worked hard to understand our local food suppliers.  I feel fortunate to have at least a cursory knowledge of local farms for vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, and meat.  This is extremely time consuming as well, as is shopping for food in this manner.  There is no Walmart for locally produced food.  I drive out to each individual farm, or make arrangements to have it delivered.  All very logistically complicated.  I do my best to avoid grocery stores, especially Whole Foods.

4.  I have a decent supply accumulated of short term and long term stored food.  I feel comfortable about being able to feed my family for quite a good time should I need to.  We also have a base position in real assets and cash.

5.  I am learning gardening skills slowly.  I dont have the time I would like to devote to it, but I do what I can and am constantly learning more.

6.  Two projects that I hope to bring to fruition soon:  chickens and honey bees.  Getting closer to being able to take the two on.

7.  I am consciously working on my dysfunction with respect to relationships in my life.  As an only child I am not accustomed to having anyone in my life that I dont really want to.  As a married woman, there are certain people in my life now that I have to see and relate to on a regular basis.  It is work for me to try and develop tolerance to different viewpoints/ways of life in the face of feeling very strongly about my own position.  Every day I work on it.  Basically it boils down to being a nice person pretty much all the time.

8.  I am completely committed to parenting/homemaking.  It is my first priority.  This is true for my husband as well, which I am thankful for.  Neither of us have income from what anyone could call a "job".  We spend a lot of our time and thought trying to keep it that way, we are not trust-funders.

9.  We do not own a television, and cannot imagine how people get anything done with them.  We just went on vacation and stayed in a condo with all those amazing cable channels.  Our entire family was hooked.  It was really addictive.  We of course did partake, but I came away glad that we did not have the distraction in our lives full time.

10.  We are really interested in the idea of living in an intentional community with trusted folks.  Unfortunately, this seems like a very far off dream due to many factors.  But it does keep itself appearing in our minds as the next level.

Well, there is a nice little list of things off the top of my head.  I think it is a good start so far.  I wanna hear how others are "preparing" for a major transition in the lifestyle we are all accustomed to.

Please share.



Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
`Welcome back

As Dr. Chris likes to say, quoting The Post Carbon Reader, 

What's the difference between being zero percent self-reliant and 3 percent?   Night and day.

 and you sound more thatn 3% prepared. I encourage you to just make a list and chip away at it. It's little things, not just big ones. Examples: We got a pulley clothesline last month, and we cleaned out our shed and made more room in the yard for eventual chickens, rabbits and bees. The month before that we finally bought an open trailer so we could haul firewood and horse manure for the garden. Two weekends ago we took a field trip to a stone-grinding mill and met another prepper - a farmer who gave us some locally adapated heirllom seeds. We have started the state  accreditation process for a small business selling sun-dried herbs. This weekend we bought two very large cans of Folgers Country Roast ground coffee for $7.50 each for our rainy day stash. We had weevils get in our corn, so we cracked it and exchanged it with a co-worker for 10 dozen eggs. I learned (the hard way) that walnut stain comes from the fruit around teh black walnut shell, and that those dang nuts are so tough I had to use my hammer on a concreete surface - they chipped the bricks. And I fainlly visited my local Extension office to get gardening assistance.  Big steps, little steps - as long as the steps are in the right direction.

So yes, it's all too much and time consuming. You're never "done." But then you must think of prepping as a journey. not a destination. It's a lifesyle change.  And I hear you about the heathy food and logistics issues: we are blessed to have a produce market a mile away, but still have to visit the grain elevator for wheat, corn and soy.  That's a ways, but near a family member so we combine trips. And hand-grinding grain takes forever.

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 345
This past weekend


I agree with you 100%. You are never finished, it just becomes a way of life, and eventually you come to enjoy it. This past week I did the following:

1. Tended the chickens (Got my first eggs! They are only 19 weeks, but are laying great brown eggs already)

2. Made watermelon & grape juice (A juicer is great for getting the seeds out)

3. Made sun dried tomatoes, and put in long term storage (Ok dehydrator dried tomatoes)

4. Made a bunch of roasted veggies & potatos. (My wife and I make a huge amount from our produce for the work week)

5. Picked raspberries (I think we will get a week or so more of berries, but they are slowing now.)

6. Planted some fall crops (Kale, Onions, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower)

I still need to...........

1. Weed

2. Take back a couple of LED lights that are malfunctioning

3. Make more food and preserve our harvest

4. Clean out the coop, especially the nesting boxes (I don't want the chickens laying elsewhere)






txgirl69's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 20 2009
Posts: 96
Well said, Safewrite


Sounds like you're making steps in the right direction. However, Safewrite is spot-on saying that you're never done. I, too, often have the feeling of being "up a creek without a paddle." All of this is so overwhelming, coupled with the fact that nobody can predict when TSHTF...... I struggle with keeping a balanced life.

We are doing a lot of the same things you are. Where I'm at, the farms a little scattered, but I have a map produced by the local extension office - it's a great tool. I've only been able to visit 3 of them.

I don't have a television either- Sometimes I wish I did, but I know what would happen! I only have access to the internet here at work.....

We just bought 2 miniature hereford heifers 2 weeks ago and now we're prepping for chickens. I need to get ready for fall planting, but I still have some summer crops producing stuff.....

We have new neighbors. They seem very nice, I like them. I hope we can get them on board with us....


Keep stepping!




changingman's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Posts: 20
  Great advise Safewrite...


Great advise Safewrite... It doesn't matter if it's small steps or big steps but it's about changing our lifestyle and constantly trying to improve and be prepared.

My problem is I know this and I haven't done near enough because my wife simply doesn't see the urgency in the same way I do. So if I was stocking food, water containers, extra gas etc... she would see me as a little mad and over the top!

It's very difficult and I try so hard to get her to work with me but as she says herself, she buries her head in the sand so it will go away. I guess I'll persist on my own for now.

Diamarie - I'd love to hear more about your meeting with Joel Salatin? Sounds like you're on the right road as well, good luck.

katyan's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 1 2009
Posts: 46
prepping on your own

As many others on this site, I have a spouse who is not on board with prepping (there's an entire thread about dealing with spouses who have a different worldview). I finally convinced him to accept that it was a good idea to have at least a month or two of supplies on hand because of all of the disasters in the news where it was clear that no official help was available for quite some time.

Of course, I have stocked up much, much more than two months of supplies, but I don't talk about peak oil or the economy or the environment very much. I just quietly buy a bit more of this and that each month, and continue to expand my self-sufficiency skills/knowledge. Sometimes he sees the stuff and sometimes he doesn't. At this point, he just accepts it as a harmless hobby that keeps me happy. And my bread made with home-ground flour makes him VERY happy.

BTW, for the person who mentioned how long it takes to grind grain by hand, I sprung for the adapter for my Family Grain Mill that attaches to my KitchenAid mixer. I had avoided using it until recently when a sore shoulder made hand grinding painful. It's actually not much faster (I didn't want to overheat the mill by turning the speed above the first setting), but you can just put it on and do other things while you're waiting.

Anyway, the point is that even if your spouse isn't on board, there are strategies for prepping that won't cause marital conflict. Plus, don't underestimate the value of just being mentally prepared. While others will waste precious time a) trying to figure out what the hell is going on, or b) waiting for help from the authorities, or c) expecting things to return to normal...and most likely, all will at least be positioned to make rational decisions and take more appropriate actions. Any number of scenarios could render all of the physical preparations we make useless, so ultimately, the best things to "stock up on" are mental toughness, adaptability, knowledge and skills.


dingalls's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 21 2009
Posts: 28
thanks for the comments

I have to agree that really the biggest preparation one can do is mental, seeing as no one knows what we are preparing "for".  I would like to hear more details like Safewrite gave...what have people been focusing on?  What are the priorities of folks out there?  I suppose this all depends on area and life situation.  It is just so easy to feel a bit wacked out sometimes.  This site and the community of folks helps maintain a sense of grounding.

Even still, there is so much I really want to do.  Sometimes I have a feeling of paralysis about which direction to point in.  There is a limited time in the day, and even more so for me with my small children.

@changingman : I had the opportunity to meet him through the folks I know who run an organization called Transition Colorado.  They hosted him here for a talk for their annual Eat Local! week.  He was just an inspiration, and very down to earth from what I could see.  When he asked me what I "do" and my response was "raise two kids and a husband" he chuckled and said boisterously "Oh, that is great, just great!"   

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