Monthly Archives: May 2012

Getting Serious

It’s been six weeks since my last post. I hope you missed me.

So what has everybody’s favorite preppertarian been up to? I’ve been looking for a farm. That’s right, a farm – or what I call the ultimate “bug-out location”. Unfortunately where I live, land is very expensive. So when I say “farm” I am really only talking about 3-5 acres of pasture like you’d find on a small horse farm.

After much reflection, I have come to the realization that my current location is not sustainable. Here on my quarter-acre lot in suburban hell, I have a long list of issues that I simply would be unable to mitigate in a SHTF/TEOTWAKI scenario. At the top of the list are the “big four” problems typical of any suburban homestead: lack of arable land, lack of off-the-grid water and sewage infrastructure, unacceptably high population density, and near-total absence of privacy.

I won’t bore you with all the tedious details that go along with real estate shopping. What I am trying to pull off is something approximating a straight up swap of my suburban property for something in the country. Selling shouldn’t be hard (or at least that’s what my agent says), it’s the buying that is kicking my ass. With a little patience I might be able to swing a three-acre horse farm about 15 miles further out of town later on this year. I’ve found a few properties just beyond my reach that have all the goods: a well, septic system, barn(s), fenced pastures, plenty of flat space for a garden, and a well-maintained ~35 year old medium sized house of solid construction. All I need is to get serious on socking away a nice fat down payment. Which leads me to my next point (and fulfills on my promise from the end of my last post)…

A big part – perhaps the biggest – of getting serious is turning off the background noise of modern life that infects us all. My reaction to the “anti-prepper backlash” that I described in my last blog entry was to cut my cable. Why bother spending over $150 a month on something that just makes you angry? Besides, if I really need TV, I can pick up about a dozen channels – in HD no less! – for free with an ordinary indoor antenna. The second question everybody asks (right after the first one “Why?”) is “What are you doing with all that free time?” Kicking TV probably freed up two or three hours of my day. What I tried to do at first was to leave that time unstructured and see what filled it. Of course, the obvious happened. My other hobbies and interests grew and that vacuum of former “TV time” disappeared. I’m reading about three books a week now (about double my previous pace), I listen to about 50% more music now too. As the weather improves and Spring gets rolling, I find I am outside much more doing healthy things.

Being outside is something I will gladly do a lot more of once I have those three acres. If I do it right, I will always have some crop that will need planting, tending, or harvesting. Oh, and there will be chickens too. And maybe even a goat. It’s called “hobby farming” and is a totally normal progression for a middle class, middle-aged, empty-nester like me. Even non-preppers get the itch to live on a farm once the kids have moved out. If you are still waiting on yours to “launch” from the nest, maybe you could announce your intention to buy a farm. The threat of non-stop chores might just do the trick!

The downside? My commute will probably increase by 200%. Sounds scary until you realize my current commute takes a mere 10 minutes. So I’ll need to spend a half hour in a car getting to work from my hobby farm. Big whoop. I know plenty of folks who have commutes twice that bad and they live in ridiculously unsustainable townhomes or suburban death-plots smaller than mine!

So, what if nothing happens?
That’s a good, if somewhat irrelevant, question. While I consider it highly improbable that “nothing” catastrophic will happen to our planet/country/society/neighborhood/economy/way of life in our lifetimes, I would no doubt be extremely relieved if, like all the Y2K panickers in 1999, I was prepping for nothing. Relocating away from population centers, moving off the grid, and learning to be more self-sufficient is a lifestyle choice that is its own reward. I would want to do it even if I wasn’t a prepper.

The world is full of people who are OK with dependency. They know no other way of living. One hand is out and the other is empty. Readers of this blog already know what I call them.