Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God's Forgotten People? Those Who Can't Prep?

No, I don't for one minute believe that there are "forgotten people" out there who cannot prep.  Everyone can prep to some extent.  Everyone can gather some things and set themselves up for any number of scenarios.  I fully believe a great deal of it is motivation to do so, and not at all based on circumstances like location, job or the lack of, etc.

Sara lives in town on whatever small acreage.  She has a few chickens now and is looking at maybe going for a goat...because of the nutritional needs of one of her children.  The motivation is there, despite the location and circumstances.

Visit any prep list or forum and you find folks living in the city...the city, where they might only have a balcony and nothing of a 'yard', let alone acreage.  They pot up a few tomatoes instead of pretty flowers, they grow a few things in window boxes and on window sills, they use a grow light.  Maybe a chicken is out of the question, but that's not the end of the world.

You have subdivision folks, with specific covenants for what their yard can look like...they have to mow their grass to a certain length, they have to maintain flower beds, etc.  They can't even park an extra car in their drive, let alone pull onto their yard.  They can still do several things to prep a bit.  Many vegetables look very attractive in flower beds.

What about spouses not being "on-board" with the whole thing?  What...your spouse doesn't like to eat?  Grow a couple cherry tomatoes and add fresh goodies to your salads.  Grow this or that and watch the savings to the grocery bill.  Eating fresh is not only healthier, but saves on the grocery budget little by little.  You don't have to have an acre of land to do your sustainable bit.  Look at the Dervaes....they are on a mere 1/5th of an acre, a mere few miles from the city center of Pasadena.  Look at their homestead in the suburbs:

Urban Homestead at a Glance

Location: Northwest Pasadena, one mile from downtown Pasadena
Property Size: 66’ x 132’ = 8,712 sq.ft. (1/5 acre)
House: Simple, wood frame craftsman bungalow. Circa 1917.
House Size: 1,500 sq. ft.
Garden Size: ~ 1/10 acre (3,900 sq.ft. / ~ 66' x 66')
Garden Diversity: Over 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits & berries
Productivity: Up to 6,000 lbs harvest annually on 1/10 acre
There are folks in downtown Manhattan stocking up and setting out on a more self-sustaining mode of life.  There's no real excuses for not doing it aside from a lack of belief and motivation.  Most families wouldn't even look twice at our set-up here...a family of 10, living in 1400 sq. ft...with several acres, yes, but it's mostly brush and over-growth, not sustainable water supply, a run-down barn, and adobe-brick-in-the-making soil. We are beyond rural, and that isn't everyone's cup of tea for sure.  There aren't a lot of activities close by, fun and games, attractions, Malls, etc.  We have small town, hillbilly Mayberry here....about 13 mi. away.

The same families that turn their noses up at our lifestyle here are swimming in debt because that's the way things are done...you want something, you throw it on the charge card and take it home. They want the large house, the manicured yard, the toys that they believe make life better....a boat, 4 wheelers, cars for every child to do their own thing with, a car for wife and husband, cable or satellite TV, yearly vacations to spend a lot of money on and nothing to show but photo's...and a Blackberry, lest I leave myself out.  Sure, if you can afford those things, by all means, knock yourself out, but most of those same folks balk at stocking up and prepping on any level.  They want, and think they thrive, in that materialistic world, and anything that speaks differently is instantly dismissed as something akin to lunacy.  Vacations are fun, sure, but not my idea of something worth spending money on.  You take a countrywide drive, camp here and there and it's fun enough, even educational, but what do you have to show for the gas money, camping expense, etc. when it's all said and done?  A nice tan and several photos and a decent memory?  That's just not our way of  life here, but I know it is for a lot of people.  I get looked at sideways because I think Disneyland is nothing more than a money-sucking waste of acreage by the same folks who turn their noses up at providing something tangible and real for their families...like a home-grown tomato or a fresh yard egg.

It's all in where you set your priorities.  I'm not necessarily "blessed" to have this land instead of living in town where my hands are tied by restrictions, covenants and ideals.  I'm blessed because I have the motivation to seek out ways to do what I can with what I have.  Nothing more.  We have been out of work for several months, so job has nothing to do with it.  Trying to maintain a decent stewardship with whatever income you have is a bigger deal.  You can build up a pantry stock on very little money by simply adding a couple extra canned goods each week you go shopping.  Another can of tuna here, a bag of sugar or flour there...it adds up over time.  Sure, I just packed away our menu x 6 months, but you don't have to do that.  We don't have cable or satellite here, no car payment, we are cutting back drastically on our electric and water bills, I don't run around during the week but try to organize and plan a one day trip when needed...and yes, I pay for a Blackberry (which seems to be quite the focus for an awful lot of folks...move along already, ok?  consider my blackberry the same waste of money as your satellite television ok?) when I could have a little ol' Tracfone.  Sue me.  Call me a hypocrite.  If you want to debate the merits of this or that, let's make a list of all the trivial things you spend money on while touting a million excuses for not being able to stock or prep.  It's all where those priorities are, remember?

I'm just saying, don't give in to labels....city, suburbs, country...they are just labels for location.  You are where you are, if you can't leave there, then work with what you have instead of trying to rationalize out excuses for not doing something.  Every little step gets you somewhere.  Stop talking about the walk and get those legs moving.  Add a couple cans of this or that to this week's grocery list.  Bring them home, put them in a rubbermaid tub and shove them under a bed, or in a closet.  Next week, do the same thing.  Got a spouse not on board?  Get over it.  If you only have a small amount to spend on household things, scrutinize those expenses and see what you CAN do instead of lamenting over what you think you can't.  I don't know any husband...or wife...who wouldn't like to see their finances stretch just a bit farther. Start with what you can do and just go from there.

One commenter mentioned having children with special needs as a reason for not being able to take action.  I guess, not having any "special needs" children myself, I simply don't understand that connection at all.  I know families with children who are severely retarded, have all levels of the Autism spectrum, Downs Syndrome, physically handicapped children...many live in the country areas, with a handful of animals, some garden space, etc.  I don't see what a special needs family has to do with not being able to 'homestead' or prep or whatever.  Guess I need that one explained to me in simple language.

I don't believe there is some group of people out there forgotten somehow because they don't have the "country" resources others have. I'm not saying jump out and take charge over God and your faith at all...I'm just saying God surely doesn't expect you to sit still in a closet and watch while things happen around you.  You can't follow God without taking a few steps on your steam.  I don't think God is leaving anyone behind, but you gotta admit, Scriptures show folks gathering up their bedrolls and walking along with him, not waiting for someone to carry them along.


Beautifully Veiled said...

My daughter bought lots of her seeds from Family Dollar and Dollar General this year (maybe 3 packs for a dollar) So even a dollar a week for seeds for a few weeks gives you quite a bit of produce...(oh, and they DID sprout...)
Just a thought.

Stephanie said...

So well said!!!

Blessedmom said...

I couldn't have said it better. We do have chickens, a garden which is supplying us with a few fresh salads, and Lord willing, more as the growing months progress. We're working on getting things set up for goats so that when we take it to the city council, they can see how things will work. And we only have 1/4 acre. My mother's day present was a dwarf apple tree.

We live smack dab in the middle of our town, we are within a mile of the public library, post office, a vet, sonic(woohoo!), a grocery store, our church, a bank, and several other businesses.

The way I look at it, we have an advantage country dwellers don't have. If something happens where we aren't able to use our car, we are within walking distance of most everything we might need.

It's really all in how you look at it. If you have nothing but excuses to deal out, then you're really just being lazy. There is always something that can be done. If nothing outdoors, then stocking up on food needs is a big step.

And being raised with a special needs brother, who has down's syndrome, they do have "special needs" but there's absolutely no reason that you can't prep because of it. It's no harder than making sure you have diapers for a baby, you take their needs into account, and make sure if something were to happen you could continue to take care of those needs...simple as that.

Deanna, you've got my mind reeling on all we can be doing....rabbits, more raised beds, food and water stock...so much to do...It felt good to just go and make sure we had groceries for a month, now to expand on that!


Mrs. Trixi said...

I have enjoyed your last two posts. Even though we live sustainably daily, I still like to read what others are doing. However, we don't find a need for 10 everday outfits or 4 dressy outfits. Ours is more like 5 and 2. Every household is different. I hope to post about my garden soon. We have a lot more than 1/10 of an acre and aren't fully using it to it's potential, YET. We do have a 75 X 100 garden spot with 60 tomato plants. I hope to put up all of our tomato needs this year, ie ketchup, tomatoes, tomato sauce etc.... Then we have the usual vegetables to last the whole winter. It's an exciting time.

Michele said...

It can be very tough... I'm in it alone too, with special needs kids. I do what I can on my own. Some special things that are necessary are very pricey, hard to get, hard to stock, etc; baby steps...it can be very overwhelming. I keep on trying...


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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