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  • #39234
    Profile photo of Aukxsona
    Aukxsona
    Survivalist
    member2

    First, there’s a reason why farms were small, because there’s only so much ground one can work within the growing season.

    Secondly, even with enough horses and plows, the lack of hands, farriers, veterenarians leather workers and more doom it from the beginning.

    lack of hands will not be an issue if everyone is starving. Farm hands will first try to work for their food.

    vets are only needed for animals you intend to keep for breeding. Otherwise they are meat. Farriers exist in places. Right now it is a dying profession. I know of several younger people that would love to make a living that way but see no point since there is not enough money there. Leather working is not hard. My husband does it.

    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.

    #39235
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    Aukxsona
    Your husband makes leather, works leather into products, or both? Having the room for everything that requires doing becomes the problem, as well as the time to do it all. Hmm then there is the strength and stamina issue of manual labor working all hours of the day.

    Only the strong shall survive (and the loafers that are conniving enough to find their way through)

    #39251
    Profile photo of Aukxsona
    Aukxsona
    Survivalist
    member2

    Your husband makes leather, works leather into products, or both? Having the room for everything that requires doing becomes the problem, as well as the time to do it all. Hmm then there is the strength and stamina issue of manual labor working all hours of the day.

    He has tanned hides and worked it into things. He doesn’t need much tools and anything we do need is usually pretty natural. Not sure all he uses though, so I could be ignorant about all he needs.

    As for working, the body adapts quickly. He went from being a loafer on the couch for 5 years to busting his ass 12 hours a day. I went form being a city girl that barely broke a sweat to someone that gets up and shovels gardens and cuts wood.

    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.

    #39258
    Profile photo of MountainBiker
    MountainBiker
    Survivalist
    member10

    Aukxsona, the skills and knowledge you have gained are very valuable. My guess is that it is your nature to do so anyway but come SHTF, the extent to which you guide neighbors who are less skilled/less prepared than you are will serve you well. It is will then be in your entire neighborhood’s interest that you and yours stay safe.

    #39260
    Whirlibird
    Whirlibird
    Survivalist
    member10

    First, there’s a reason why farms were small, because there’s only so much ground one can work within the growing season.

    Secondly, even with enough horses and plows, the lack of hands, farriers, veterenarians leather workers and more doom it from the beginning.

    lack of hands will not be an issue if everyone is starving. Farm hands will first try to work for their food.

    vets are only needed for animals you intend to keep for breeding. Otherwise they are meat. Farriers exist in places. Right now it is a dying profession. I know of several younger people that would love to make a living that way but see no point since there is not enough money there. Leather working is not hard. My husband does it.

    There’s hands and skilled hands, especially when we are talking about draft animals.

    Farriers exist, I know two in two states. One just drove from here to northern California for a job. But like blacksmiths, they are few and far between. Not a good thing if we suddenly need them.

    My father in law trained cutting horses since the early 60s, his comments about most horses aren’t fit for publication, but he has commented that if we ever needed work horses again, it would take years to breed a fraction of what is needed.

    That’s where the vets come in. We are going to have to breed countless thousands of draft horses, milk and beef cows, sheep and goats and more.
    Why? Because suddenly those hog farms in Iowa are not accessable to most people who aren’t local.
    The dairy farms suddenly can’t get milk anywhere.
    It comes to that, people everywhere are going to need critters, and without the vets, its going to take even longer.

    I dare say that it will be easier to get the oil production going again faster than trying to breed enough animals for the survivors.

    #39261
    Profile photo of Aukxsona
    Aukxsona
    Survivalist
    member2

    To be honest Whirlibird, I’m not sure I agree. May be you are right. In my neck of the woods everyone has critters already so the idea of a lack of them is almost laughable. I know where I live is strange compared to most places though. I’m not convinced the commercial farm land is worth farming without oil fertilizers. My father in law is a rice farmer on one of those mega farms. The soil is dead. Not just dead, but D-E-A-D. Not even weeds will grow in it without fertilizer. Our soil was like that 10 years ago. Not anymore. We put a lot of work into it and now it is a natural grassland type thing mostly.

    Even if we had plow horses, monoculture is a dead system without oil. The only way forward is with the hoe, a small garden plot with a few animals managed on the family scale. The subsistence farmers are the only ones going to make it. I truly believe if you are not prepared to live off the land almost entirely, you will not live easily or well. I am no where near that level of self sufficiency so it scares me, that I might die, but I know my children will survive. For those things…I need medicines which are not available in a natural format…so I am trying to save as much as I can to live long enough should something happen to carry my children through the first planting and harvest. I have enough children old enough to manage such a thing if I show them how. I am showing them now, but they don’t take it as seriously. If they see how bad things are, they will take it seriously. That’s why I need one growing season to get them through it.

    I search daily for natural remedies to my illness. I have asthma. That is the only thing I have not found a suitable treatment for. I am working hard to heal my body through hard work and clean food, but I don’t think asthma is something you just heal from. I think it is something you learn to live with and treat the symptoms of. If you know of any natural asthma treatments tell me. Mine is so serious they told me at 7 I would die by 21. I’m still kicking 14 years beyond my expiration date, so they must have been wrong. At any rate, my point is…it depends on the area I guess if there will be enough animals…but I believe the bigger picture problem will be soil degradation, lack of fertilizers, lack of open pollinated seeds, and lack of experience dry land farming.

    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.

    #39264
    Whirlibird
    Whirlibird
    Survivalist
    member10

    Agreed, many places the soil is shot.
    Without some serious work, it won’t come back in our lifetimes.

    Dry land farming, it was almost amusing in a sad way watching acre after acre burn up the 15 years before we left eastern Colorado. Drought after drought, the crops often wouldn’t get over a foot tall before burning up. The only crops that made it were irrigated.

    Much depends on where you are.
    Where I grew up, most farms had gone mechanical and if they had a critter, it was for 4H not for plowing.
    Where we left, most farms were without animals, the farmers having town jobs to supplement their income.
    Here in the rugged west, most ranchers use four wheelers and razors to get around rather than horses. They carry more, go faster, have a seat, don’t get tired, and don’t need to be fed or see a vet.
    I see more horses out and about during hunting season than any other time, and that’s the outfitters not your regular hunters.

    Looking back to the 1860-80s, compare the population to the number of horses, then add in the other transport methods like trains to carry cargo.

    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.

    That farmer bought his tea and coffee, his clothing, his axe and saddle, while raising his beef. The corn farmer did the same. They may have gardened heavily, but they still bought much of what they needed.

    Its a pipe dream for most of us.
    Much like the “head for the hills” types, there’s not enough hills for everyone headed there.

    Where I grew up, throwing a seed at the ground almost guaranteed a bumper crop.
    Zucchini was a weed. Our neighbors had a 1/2 acre garden in town for two of them. And they still bought much of what they ate in the off season despite her canning and freezing.
    And he was a master gardener.

    For the rest of us with our seed vaults, no water and cruddy soil if one has soil to plant at all, the outlook is bleak.

    #39265
    Profile photo of Aukxsona
    Aukxsona
    Survivalist
    member2

    “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.

    #39266
    Tolik
    Tolik
    Survivalist
    member10

    There is an organization that specializes in bringing back ” lost crops ” for Arid areas . They do the research and start getting a seed bank going for those desert hardy food crops . You can buy them , and this gives you a better chance at growing things in those conditions .
    They are based out of Tucson Arizona .

    http://www.nativeseeds.org/

    #39268
    Profile photo of MountainBiker
    MountainBiker
    Survivalist
    member10

    Aukxsona, I need to head out now for the day and will join the conversation when I can but I will say that knowing there are folks like you out there, especially with you raising another generation of kids, is one of the things that will give me hope for humanity when the dark days come. I’m in a better position than most but nowhere near ready to be self sufficient. It’ll lift my spirits knowing that there are some folks who may well be doing OK.

    #39270
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    For anyone interested this is a link to Horse Drawn Farm Equipment
    for Draft Horse Farming

    http://www.farmingwithhorses.com/

    #39279
    Profile photo of Aukxsona
    Aukxsona
    Survivalist
    member2

    Thank you Tolik, I go through Baker Creek and The Seed Saver Exchange. I will look into Native Seeds. I am prone to droughts here. I use rain water harvesting for the garden though, so it doesn’t hurt as much. Other than that we mostly dry land farm our things.

    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.

    #39284
    Profile photo of MountainBiker
    MountainBiker
    Survivalist
    member10

    In thinking about this thread today while I was on the road, history tells us that yes being near totally self sufficient as a way of life is historically correct and needing a fair amount of support from others is also historically correct. The difference is one of timing. My former town in Massachusetts is extremely well documented back to the 1600’s when it was a frontier town. We know who lived there and how they lived. In the early days the people had to be nearly totally self sufficient as they built rough homes and established farms in what was Indian territory. Everyone farmed, hunted, fished, and survival in the early years was tenuous. The Puritan culture was cooperative however and they worked together for the common defense, including things such as during Indian uprising those who lived outside the stockade bunking in every night with those who lived inside the stockade, and one person standing guard while another plowed a field for example. Major assets like an ox might be shared. Fast forward a couple generations into the 1700’s when a modicum of prosperity has arrived and the population has risen and there was then a lot of specialization…..a blacksmith, a cobbler, a tavern/innkeeper, a tinsmith, woodsman and so forth. You also then see trade routes established, especially for key items that couldn’t be made locally….tea (they were English) and salt being key trade commodities.

    Given our highly specialized world today, my guess is that we’d very quickly had a trade based economy with lots of specialization. The 1st year or so might find folks solely in survival mode but the survivors would then shift to the higher standard of living afforded via specialization and trade. As Aukxsona reminds us however, we need to get through that initial winnowing period and for most of us the greater our self sufficiency the greater our chances of emerging into the next phase.

    #39285
    Malgus
    Malgus
    Survivalist
    member8

    Whirl has a point.

    Modern Ag is driven by nitrogen.

    Our ability to produce nitrogen based fertilizers on an industrial scale is what has allowed us to grow unheard of amounts of crops in the 20th century.

    Unfortunately, isolating and extracting nitrogen for the purpose of making acids (you’d be surprised what we use nitric acid to make), fertilizers, propellants, explosives, etc, takes a bit of doing. I seriously doubt any Joe Baggadonuts could pull it off in his garage, unless he had access to some very specialized equipment and training…

    Without the ability to isolate and extract nitrogen and the ability to make nitrogen based compounds, you can forget about trying to jump-start civilization after a fall…

    Vets – animal doctors? Even here in Dirtville Kentucky, we have at least 3 that I know of. My next door neighbor is a vet. And, as you’d figure, in a place like Kentucky, we don’t have any shortage of farriers or horses… though I do expect that a great many guys raising cattle will switch to whatever crops they can grow when things go sideways.

    Tobacco won’t die out – too valuable, too popular. I think everyone and their brother will be breeding horses, mules and donkeys… mules are considered hard to work with, but they can go longer than horses can, can weather heat better, carry heavier loads, etc… I wouldn’t use horses or mules for plowing. Not if I had a choice. I’d use oxen. I wouldn’t burn up a horse doing that. Horses are transportation…

    Non GMO seeds are going to be right popular, I expect…

    The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1

    #39291
    Whirlibird
    Whirlibird
    Survivalist
    member10

    Auksona:
    One thing to remember, I am not talking about you or I individually, but the population in general.

    “We” could have quite a nice little trade business going but most people, many preppers included still don’t have a clue.

    So much depends on where we are.
    Things I could do in another area, but can’t do here.
    Like gardening. Here its more work than its worth.
    But we have more meat on the hoof than one can shake a stick at.

    But just like firewood, it won’t last long with everyone blasting away at anything with hair.

    Hence my comment about getting the oil flowing as a primary focus.
    Oil for gas/diesel, heating fuel, lubricants, that way we can get crops growing, harvested, transported, just like every other product out there. Get it from where there’s an excess to where the shortages are.

    We have an option, abandon all we have built or fight to keep it going.
    Personally I am a fan of antibiotics, modern medicine, and electricity.
    I’d rather keep them going and available, the 17th century is nice to visit but a lousy place to live.

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