“So many talk of small shareholdings, small self sufficient farms, these never quite were even yesterday. Very few places have enough resources to supply what a family needs, or close.”
Now I admitted that it would not supply all my wants, like coffee. I know this for sure, especially with 7 people on ten acres. However, it can supply a lot of my needs. I have a different view of what a need is. Medicine, like I mentioned earlier is a need which will most likely have to be bought which is a bleak thought. Clothing to be sure is, but farmers did not buy all their clothing in the 1860’s. If they bought anything it was cloth and then a small supply because it was costly. I am working on making cloth as I said before, let’s see how far I get, but it has been done. I have seen it with my own eyes.
I have seen working farms provide enough wool for a family before, but they were larger…usually 40 or more acres. The key is to have spaces that are useful for several purposes on a smaller farm. Additionally to have a lot of skills to turn what you have, wool, flaxen, leather, into what you need. That is why I focused on my skills set primarily and making the house comfortable.
My grandma Mary had a home where we hand pumped the water, all water was heated on a wood stove for everything, you bathed once a week, candles were used (not lamps), eggs for breakfast, soup for lunch, and something from the garden for dinner. Everyone had one or two outfits and that was how we lived. It was only for a summer now, but it was an adventure. All of the cousins lived at grandma Mary’s over the summer and we all got on well, working in the garden, fetching water, using a chamber pot and an outhouse, and helping to collect the eggs. There was plenty of time for playing tag or freeze tag. The boys chopped plenty of wood. This was in the 80’s for heaven’s sake, not the 1880’s but the 1980’s. She made her own brown liquid soap from ashes set up under a rain spout in a barrel and she floated an egg on it to see if it was good for making soap. I watched this woman make everything, except cloth and masonry for her fireplace, from scratch. Her biggest worry was that my parents gave me at least two outfits and shoes because to her they were the hardest thing in the world to get for her. Everything else could be made. She had large stands of grain and bean plots. The soil was so black and I don’t know how or why other than it had plenty of leaves drop on it in the fall. My point is, even in an urban setting, this woman provided for us quite a bit with very limited resources.
It was a magical place which took me and my cousins back to how life must have been when she was a child, which was almost 100 years prior. (She was actually my grandpa’s mother so a great grandma, but we were told to call her grandma) I can’t imagine how regressing to this is impossible or bad like so many have expressed.
Someone such as yourself, with more resources and a little extra time to prepare, would probably do well enough to get by. I am not saying it will all be well. No. But we will get by. Specialization of the work is the reason everyone has to buy everything. If you become a generalist, someone that can do everything just good enough to work in life, you have no need to fear. In the wild, generalist survive in more diverse environments, where as specialist animals like Pandas always end up on the verge of extinction once the environment changes slightly. Humans can be no different. Sure everyone should or naturally will have something they are better at, but fleshing out a skill set so that the absolute basics are covered…no matter what…is a fine thing to try.
Many generations before us did survive.
Now as to the land, you are right…not everyone will make it. We do not have enough arable land at this moment to do that. It’s just not possible. My hope is that by the time we must all learn to swim, that the huge boomer generation will be entering their twilight years or exiting. That’s right, I am hoping collapse or the SHTF doesn’t happen for a long time. Otherwise, I fear a large population of the earth will surely die of starvation. In that sense, it’s very bleak.
When was the last time you went without electricity, running water, food, and had babies screaming for food...now you know why I prep. These are the things a mother's nightmares are made of.