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Old 08-24-2014, 02:57 PM   #61
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You get a sense of pragmatic vs idealistic self-sufficiency when you spend a little time in Alaska. There, businesses have to make sure their employees get a sufficient break during good hunting weather to 'take their meat' for the year. And some places just don't have 'the grid'.

Now, one might assert there are more 'civilized' places to live. But there are compelling reasons to live most anywhere, I think. You just have to trade them with the detrimental reasons not to in your priorities...
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Old 08-24-2014, 03:25 PM   #62
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Lost my interest in self-sufficiency a couple of decades ago. Had fun for 5 years living in a self-contained motorhome that gave us total independence in terms of living location, but that's a different kind of thing.
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Old 09-16-2014, 02:35 PM   #63
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Interesting thread. Most of the "self sufficient" practices mentioned in the OP and subsequent posts happen to be hobbies of mine. I have spent a lot of cash on my "toys" over the years, but they are now paid for. I now enjoy the returns on those initial "investments" persueing my hoppies of hunting, fishing, camping, home and vehicle maintanence, and gardening. These activities now cost me just what I spend on licenses, ammo, hooks, baits, and seeds. I enjoy these activities and these will serve me well during my hopefully long retirement and frugal retirement.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:50 PM   #64
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Oh I missed this thread earlier. Good stuff.

Right now I find it hard to be sel sufficient because w**k takes up too much time. It isn't worth my while to spend several hours over several weekends to save a few hundred dollars. That time is worth more to me than the money is (don't worry I'm still saving lots). We live in the burbs so raising chickens etc would be frown on and may even not be legal in our town (IDK). I will do small projects and all the yard work now and once I FIRE I will probably branch out and do more food growing and cooking (if only to see if I can cook as well as my wife). That is if I have time from riding, reading and music which are the first things on my lists of hobbies to expand while FIRE'd

As for the Zombie Apocalypse... well my knees are shot so I might not even be able to out run a zombie. Yes I am the guy you want with you if a bear is chasing you
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:51 PM   #65
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The local grocery stores have plenty of free samples practically every day. So "foraging" in the stores can be quite productive.
... not to mention that it can be a well balanced diet.

I used to garden for vegetables. I may restart it again at ER. I'd love to hunt & fish for my own food but am too skittish to skin, and clean dead animals.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:11 PM   #66
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... not to mention that it can be a well balanced diet.

I used to garden for vegetables. I may restart it again at ER. I'd love to hunt & fish for my own food but am too skittish to skin, and clean dead animals.
Its about on par with cutting up a whole supermarket chicken into serving pieces. No biggie.
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Old 09-17-2014, 10:29 PM   #67
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Self sufficiency. At first, I thought it was just a rural thing. I've never really thought about it until the last year or so. So maybe it's stating the obvious to most of you.

But, it comes down to skill set and how many people you know and do they need your skills or services, or what can you trade with them. It seems to work better in rural areas, and you keep the tax man or whoever else out of the loop. Trading labor for a side of beef. Or engine repair for cash, or whatever.

But, along the lines of harvest season, if you grow tomatoes and are giving them away like everyone else, you're just not that special.

Now if I could just find a particular skill set that I'm good at and a person that has something I want in trade, I'd have a richer life or be wealthier or whatever.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough hussle or rainmaking ambition to sell my skills to the group of people I'm aquainted with and elect to collect a paycheck where a market has already been established. Cash jobs or barter seems to be a much better deal, though, when it's worked out in the past.



Seems like a legit deal!

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Old 09-18-2014, 11:36 AM   #68
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Its not really a rural thing. Though being out in the sticks does protect you from the city and neighbors telling you what you can and can't do!

For me its a matter of picking up skills and maybe tools (I'm bad about that!) to be able to do things for myself. As an example, I've picked up a number of used welders cheap over the years -- now trying to trim that particular tool count down! Do I do enough welding to justify these? Heck no. Is it cost effective? Maybe break even at best but probably not. But now, when I need to weld/solder/braze something, I can do it NOW. I can do it the way I want. I can do something just for the fun of it. My two boys learned to run the welders, gas, electric (stick and wire). One built a forge. The other has gotten lots of use of that forge casting aluminum. I don't think either will be professionals at this--aspirations are for engineering degrees. But we have all had fun, made useful things, repaired things that would have gone in the trash.

All this in the center of a city with three universities. Not rural at all...
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:18 PM   #69
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I really admire the homesteading type of self-sufficiency, although I'm not currently pursuing it. Our little urban condo doesn't include a plot of land to grow veggies, although our HOA maintains a herb garden on the roof for common use. I've thought about getting on the waiting list for a local "P-Patch" but the sites downtown seem to be a magnet for criminals and the homeless, I don't want my garden fertilized with human waste.

My current version of self-sufficiency is more about flexibility and mobility. Developing diverse and marketable job skills, being very employable, having multiple sources of income, keeping fixed costs low, having savings, and being willing to relocate to pursue work (if needed) ...

But yeah, I'd love to have a garden plot.
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Old 09-19-2014, 09:28 AM   #70
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Reading "The Rational Optimist" I learned we're becoming more dependent, not self sufficient, and that's a good thing.
Your mention here is what got me to read this book, thanks for that!

This book changed the way I look at self-sufficiency. I went from "it's good" to "it's bad".

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I like the IDEA of self sufficiency, but for the most part, it does not seem to make economic sense.
Ridley makes a convincing argument that the more we (as humans) specialize, the better the world (as a whole) gets. So yes, it does not make economic sense. There are many examples in history that show when specialization and trade increases, most everyone is better off. And there are examples where self-sufficiency increased (specialization and trade decreased) and human welfare suffered greatly.

Given all of that, if one derives any kind of joy from DIY, then by all means, it's a positive. In other words, a tiny bit of joy is worth paying $12 for a tomato.
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #71
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Juliet Schor has used the term high tech self provisioning - using technology to help yourself become more self sufficient instead of hard labor. I view my solar lights, thermal cookers, Instant Pot, Kill a Watt and LED lights this way. They helped cut our electric bills so we do not have to earn as much to pay utility bills and are less dependent on the grid for power.

The next big thing looks like it will be 3D printers. I suspect those products alone are eventually going to be world economy changers.

I like getting gadgets off Amazon and always look for items that will save more money in the long run than they cost.
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:29 AM   #72
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When the trucks stop rolling, the philosophical elite will need to be content with dried pulp for breakfast.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:08 PM   #73
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When the trucks stop rolling, the philosophical elite will need to be content with dried pulp for breakfast.
Uh... If the trucks stop rolling, I suspect that there may be a few problems beyond that.

The planetary 'carrying capacity' for humanity without modern transport and similar powered agriculture (tractors and such) is at best 10% of the current population. I suppose that makes the other 90% of humanity a philosophical elite.

A delicious philosophical elite. Good with catsup...
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:54 PM   #74
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Uh... If the trucks stop rolling, I suspect that there may be a few problems beyond that.

The planetary 'carrying capacity' for humanity without modern transport and similar powered agriculture (tractors and such) is at best 10% of the current population. I suppose that makes the other 90% of humanity a philosophical elite.

A delicious philosophical elite. Good with catsup...
I dunno. I was thinking barbecue sauce would be more appropriate with "long pig."
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:57 PM   #75
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Uh... If the trucks stop rolling, I suspect that there may be a few problems beyond that.
A playful exaggeration on my part in response to the idea of becoming ever more specialized and dependent on others.
Still, I think it is a useful exercise to ask oneself "how would I fare if the trucks did stop rolling".
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:03 PM   #76
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A playful exaggeration on my part in response to the idea of becoming ever more specialized and dependent on others.
Still, it think it is a useful exercise to ask oneself "how would I fare if the trucks did stop rolling".
I guess I would get into the trucking business.
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:13 PM   #77
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Self-sufficiency is not really the same as survivalist or "prepper" lifestyle.
There is a lot of cross-over between "preppers" and self-sufficiency/homesteader types but the best distinction I ever read was in one of Caleb Warnock's books on the old skills. His take was that preppers could live for several years on their stored, dehydrated foods but that the self-sufficient types a) wouldn't have to and b) probably would prefer death to such an existence.

He put out a couple good books by the way. Lot of it centers around keeping your garden going most of the year with heritage rather than hybrid varieties of plants. Something I'd like to try more of.
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:23 PM   #78
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I dunno. I was thinking barbecue sauce would be more appropriate with "long pig."
North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, or Kansas?

These things are important! Gotta know what to stash in the emergency BBQ kit!

"Meat's meat and a mans gotta eat."
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Old 09-19-2014, 02:34 PM   #79
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North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, or Kansas?

These things are important! Gotta know what to stash in the emergency BBQ kit!

"Meat's meat and a mans gotta eat."
-- Vincent Smith
Sounds like a requirement for a blind taste test. I live within walking distance of the final resting place of Alferd Packer I can certainly host.

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In 1968, students at the University of Colorado Boulder named their new cafeteria grill the "Alferd G. Packer Memorial Grill" with the slogan "Have a friend for lunch!" Students can order an "El Canibal" beefburger and on the wall is a giant map outlining Packer's travels through Colorado.[13][dead link] It has since been renamed the Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill.[
Alferd Packer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #80
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I had some fun with the perusing the Guttenberg copy of the 1911 Boy Scout handbook. Thanks Imoldernu

My self sufficiency efforts include maintaining a wildlife sanctuary and habitat. Otherwise known as gardening...
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