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Old 01-27-2010, 10:47 PM
 
171 posts, read 211,523 times
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Default Are there still some TOTALLY self sufficient people?

Hey everyone, I've always loved the idea of being self-sufficient and living off the land. Most people wish they could go back to the 60's...I wish I could go back to 1890... Anyways I was wondering if there are still any %100 self sufficient people? I imagine in eastern kentucky or west virginia there might be a few that are still living the dream, probably pretty secluded. Anyways, if you could tell me where you live and what you do? If anything, I would like to become pretty self-sufficient with a small job to pay internet, gas, some food. Someday maybe! Sorry, enough with the ramblin..let's hear about your life!
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Old 01-28-2010, 01:20 PM
 
Location: AK
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i've met some...but i don't think you'll find any responses from them. they're probably too busy to be spending time on internet message boards.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:48 PM
Status: "Are you a technophiliac zombie?" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
6,662 posts, read 5,370,902 times
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I don't think it's even possible to be 100% self-sufficient. If it ever was, we've lost most all ability to do so at this point. Think of yourself being plopped down in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing: no clothes, no food, no tools, no home, no water, etc. A truly self-sufficient person could provide himself/herself with everything necessary to continue living and have no outside help at all. I think the farther our 'progress' and technology takes us, the farther away from surviving that situation we get.

On the other hand, I absolutely believe that it is entirely possible to get off from the hamster wheel that our society typically runs on for their entire lives. It just takes an adjustment in values, attitude, and expectations. I'm in the process of trying to do so right now. It's going to take awhile; but at some point I really do want to be off the grid, out of the wage/tax slave trap, and doing everything for myself that I can possibly learn to do. If you think about it, most of what we spend our money on, we really either don't need or need a whole lot less of. What portion of our wages are spent on very basic essentials? Not much, I would conjecture for many of us. It's the new car, the oversized home that needs to be heated and maintained, the municipality taxes and fees, the entertainment and shopping... blah blah, that eats away at the piggy bank. Just tons of stuff that is really not required, but is considered required or 'a given' by modern society.

How much less would you have to make to pay for insurance and gas (and payments) on an older economy car rather than a fancy new one? How much less would it cost to heat 400 sq ft rather than 4000? How much less would you spend on food if you prepared it yourself? How much less would you spend on utilities and municipality taxes if you lived in an unincorporated area? How much less would you pay if you used solar, wind, mini-hydro power rather than the power company offering? How much less would you spend on heat if you got a permit in the summer to chop wood for fuel? How much less would you spend if you used little or no electricity? And the list goes on and on. I certainly do not have it all figured out, but I'm working on it.

Granted, most people don't want to live like that. But, contrary to naysayers' discouraging words, it IS possible to live on very little if that's the lifestyle you chose. I've talked to many who do it. Some are more independent than others, but all of them are able to live comfortably with the lifestyle they choose for FAR less money than we are all led to believe we need. Again, most people wouldn't want to live that sort of 'primitive' life. But, others are willing to do without the fluff to gain the independence. It takes a lot of deliberate work and reconditioned thinking... but it can happen. And, yes, as another post points out, you won't find many of them here: they are too busy working--for themselves and their own sustenance rather than fattening the pocketbook of someone else or the government.
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:29 PM
 
Location: AK
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amen to that...
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Thanks for the post chrisC. I try to live as basic as possible and it's hard in san diego, ca. I'm hoping to move to southern illinois soon where I can actually buy some land (although taxes are high there still). I feel like once I pay off all debt on a home and land then I have a much better chance of surviving without the whole while being off the "hamster wheel". I want to grow my own fruit and vegetables, raise laying chickens for the eggs, water from a well...I also do not care about tv and internet is entertainable but I could live without it...

hopefully someday
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:02 PM
 
Location: AK
841 posts, read 1,044,550 times
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it'd be more affordable to do that in other parts, but good luck!
land is pretty cheap here in alaska...
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:04 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 20,014,129 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtimebanjo View Post
Thanks for the post chrisC. I try to live as basic as possible and it's hard in san diego, ca. I'm hoping to move to southern illinois soon where I can actually buy some land (although taxes are high there still). I feel like once I pay off all debt on a home and land then I have a much better chance of surviving without the whole while being off the "hamster wheel". I want to grow my own fruit and vegetables, raise laying chickens for the eggs, water from a well...I also do not care about tv and internet is entertainable but I could live without it...

hopefully someday
If the goal was for self-sufficiency I'd take the state's position on CCW seriously.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Fly-over country.
1,764 posts, read 4,501,936 times
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using a strict definition, no.

even previously undiscovered tribes are spotted with metal pans they "found"

i've been in a few places considered remote by even 3rd world standards, and the trappings of modern life are there.

however, as of right now, you have two "choices" in the US, IMHO

1. spend lots of money on land, tools, equipment, an off grid home with all the trappings, at least two wells, rain harvesting, water storage, sustainable heat and cooling (geothermal, etc), lots of solar and design a permaculture farm. Even though this is going to cost at least 500K to set up (in a cheap area with a tiny house) you'll still have to get your hands dirty preparing your meat and maintaining crops. You'll also still be left dependent on some fossil fuel for equipment, vehicles (although limited use can be expected once things are set up) and perhaps propane for emergency heating and cooking use (also rare).

2. Rough it, and I mean bare bones, nearly to the level of the early 1900s Appalachian. That's not living by today's standards, that's survival. Even then you need start up money and several pairs of hands to get to some sustainable point. Going it alone with this would be massive risk.

There are varied levels of independence and trade offs to be made for each. From Kazinski style to off-grid ultra rich Montana ranches. From "preppers" with stuff squirreled away to plain old poor folks who just don't need much.

My long term plan / dream is option 1

I don't dream of that for "survival." I just don't want to depend on the system when I'm older.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:05 PM
Status: "Are you a technophiliac zombie?" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
6,662 posts, read 5,370,902 times
Reputation: 6277
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtimebanjo View Post
Thanks for the post chrisC. I try to live as basic as possible and it's hard in san diego, ca. I'm hoping to move to southern illinois soon where I can actually buy some land (although taxes are high there still). I feel like once I pay off all debt on a home and land then I have a much better chance of surviving without the whole while being off the "hamster wheel". I want to grow my own fruit and vegetables, raise laying chickens for the eggs, water from a well...I also do not care about tv and internet is entertainable but I could live without it...

hopefully someday
As another poster pointed out, there are different 'styles' of self-sufficiency. I think we can make a rough division with the high-tech variety and the lower-tech, more traditional lifestyle variety. Of course, there are shades in between for a sort of hybrid.

Personally, I tend toward the lower-tech side of things. I think there is a misconception that in order to live a meaningful life, you have to have all the modern trappings, and that if you shun some of our 'necessities' (or so we think) that you're just living in poverty. But, think about it: there were certainly wealthy people living wealthy lifestyles before our high-tech age came along. If you think about many of the Amish types now, they cannot be considered poor or to be living in poverty. Most live a sort of affluent life that would have existed in society 200 years ago. It's really all about which way you want to go with our modern technology. It's there if one wants it; but it's not required. That's for each of us to decide.

For instance, I can see myself (if things work out for the future) having a very small PV solar system that I would only use for our little modern gadgets (like the computer I'm typing on). They require very little juice. On the other hand, I can see myself using traditional technology for heating/cooking (wood stove), living without refrigeration, lighting with oil lamps (I have several from 100 years or more ago that still work fine), etc. So, perhaps I live without electricity except for small electronics devices--which I could live without anyway, if I wanted to, meaning I wouldn't need electricity at all.

I think to even start thinking about such things, one would have to have a good patch of arable land, a well or spring, access to wood (live in a wooded area), and have some sort of skill/talent/ability that is marketable in a local economy. In a situation like that, living cheaply is very possible. With no debt, all one has to do is afford the bare essentials and taxes. Of course, that means having no debt (something I'm working on! )
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:37 PM
 
1,530 posts, read 2,339,926 times
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what about the amish? are they totally self sufficiant?
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