Self Reliance as the path to survival and saving money

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by monkeyman, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I was in chat the other day talking to one of the folks here about what I refer to as self reliance. Its the plan I use for both being prepaired in case things ever go belly up as well as to save money and seperate my self as much as I can from big brother. This basicly means supplying as many of your own needs as possible. Like a garden for veggies, an orchard for fruit, some animals for your meat, some means of power generation and water source so you dont have to rely on others being there to provide it for you and you dont have to pay others for doing so. The member I was talking to mentioned that a lot of folks liveing in the city cant afford to go out and jump into a farm in order to be able to do these things for them selves. So I thought I would post some of the things I mentioned to him and expand on them a bit here.
    If you live in the city you can still do a lot of this for your self or at the very least be set so you COULD if needed. Even in an apartment, though a LOT more can be done with a house even with a small yard.

    Rabbits can easily be kept in small cages even in an apartment and can also be allowed to run loose and trained to use a litter box if you want though this would make them a bit more of a pet and possibly harder to make use of them or thier offspring. Rabbits have litters of about 5 to 8 bunnies normaly though with good stock 12 to 14 per litter isnt unusual and they can produce a litter every 6 weeks or so. They can be bred at about 4 months old and for 4 or 5 years at least. Decent stock can also be gotten for about $10 per rabbit or less if you look around a bit. So wouldnt be a big deal to keep say 3 does and a buck in cages even in an apartment let alone in hutches in the back yard at a house. You can breed them reagularly if you want or just a couple times a year (they do physicly HAVE to breed from time to time or die) and sell the bunnies at a month to 6 weeks old iether for pets or to snake owners as snake food, even to friends who want them for friers. But if needed you can have 15 to 30 bunnies in about 4 months that are ready to iether eat or breed and another 30 from the original stock every 6 weeks there after. Inbreeding for a generation or 2 especialy with at least one parent different is also no problem with them so you could breed a dozen does at a time 4 or 5 months after you first breed the 3 or 4 you had to start with. Makes for a good ongoing source of meat and while pellets may be better they can make it fine just on grass and weeds.

    Goats, they come in a lot of different sizes includeing minatures that are about the size of a beagle, even these guys can put out up to 1/2 gallon or a bit more of milk each day. A full sized goat can put out a gallon or a little more each day. They also generaly have twins each year and mature in about 1 year. Goats are pretty quiet and contrary to what a lot think dont smell bad if given a bit of room to move around so they are not in thier own waste all the time. The males do get a bit smelly when in rut but not as bad as most farm animals. They can live off your lawn and save you from mowing or off a bit of hay. They make good meat also, very similar to deer however if you dont want the gamey taste to be as strong it is good to get corn to feed them for about a month before you butcher and also its good to give them a bit of corn when milking them, but they will do fine and can be eaten well or milked with out it, it just wont be quite as high of quality. They can be easily kept in a mid size yard or even samll yard especialy if given some hay or corn and the small one I understand can even be house trained. Its also less messy in the yard than a dog since they poop little beads.

    There are 2 meat sources and a milk source pretty easy to keep in the city and the rabbits few if any areas have rules about, goats can generaly get around the regulations as they can be had in all sizes.

    First off, the poop pelets from the meat you are raising makes awsome fertilizer for the plants.
    If you live in an appartment you have to get a bit more creative on this on. Most appartments have a patio, balconey or something. You can grow tomatoes and some other stuff in 5 gallon buckets there and if you have 6 buckets with a tomato plant in each, this can make quite a few tomatoes. If you look around and find them they have new hybrid or whatever fruit trees for kiwi, lemon, orange, and I think apple and some others that were bread to be grown as house plants and still produse fruit. Now another thing you can do for a bigger garden spot if you are in an appartment is called eavsment farming. The power and/or phone companies in mosth areas own a kind of alley between properties where the main lines run and they have to hire people to go through and trim back trees and cut out brush every few years and it costs them a lot of money. I have known a number of folks who have worked it out with the utility companies that they would garden in that 10 to 20 foot wide area a block long or however long and so they have a place to grow a garden and the utility company is thrilled to let them because they have to keep it in plants that only get a few feet tall and dont interfear with thier lines and if in a nice area they dont have to mow it.
    If you are in a house, even a small garden can be made to produce a considerable amount of food with things like green beans, peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers to name a few items that produce a lot in smaller areas. At my farm we have a 50'X50' garden and without even trying to maximize that space at all we generaly have a lot of stuff to can beyond what we can eat, in most areas a back yard would be at least around that size.

    Codes and ordenances may be a bit of an issue here if you dont keep it on the QT but if you choose to you can even just put a couple of large plastic tanks (500 gallon at least) in the basement or a shed out back or beside the house, then run the down spouts from the house to these or at least have the materials to do so if needed and keep them full, you would also want a diverter switch where you could allow the water to runn out to the ground if these are full. You would be surprised how much rain hits your roof. If 1 inch of rain falls and your house is say 50'x50' and you run that into a tank that is 5'x5' square it would raise the level in there by 50", just over 4 foot deep, thats 100 cubic feet of water and IIRC there is something like 4 or 5 gallon of water to a cubic foot, so about maybe 500 gallons of water off the roof of a house with 2500 sq.ft. house with only 1 inch of rain. Thats a helpful amount if the faucet quits working. Beyond that you could look into a driven well if you can locate water shallow under your yard, and put an old fashon type hand pump on it over a flower bed to apear as a decoration.

    There are more things that can also be done even in the city with limited to no land. I will try to mention more later as I remember them. If you can come up with any ideas please add them, and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    It's true, MM. We used to spend our days doing and making for ourselves. Now we leave the house and earn credits that we trade for the things we used to make ourselves. Some would argue that that is easier and more convenient than working in your own fields and making your own soap.

    I'd say that at the end of the day, we used to sit at the table with our family, talk about the day and retire fully satisfied that our purpose was in our own hands. We may have had more callouses, but we didn't have acid reflux disease, early heart attacks, strokes, or the need for sleeping pills, anti depressants, etc.

    I think own major problem with our society is that we are wandering around, working at this and that, yet always missing the satisfying end somehow. Sure we can make the boss happy and increase his profit... He may even throw us a bone or 2 for the efforts. But, nothing can match the feeling of really and truly providing for your family. We were sold a raw deal. and it's slowly killing us. Our minds (were) are made for so much more than being robots in the system...

    Something to talk about tomorrow at the water cooler... :D
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
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  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I couldn't agree with you more melbo. The satisfaction that comes from self reliance and providing, at the most basic level, for yourself and your family cannot be equaled by merely earning a living.
    DUKE WAYNE likes this.
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You can also grow provide your family the best includeing organic food when you do it your self for less than it costs to buy 'normal' food chucked full of chemicals, hormones etc. (ever notice that 8 and 10 year old kids are well into pubecent development now days? None of the girls in my 3rd grade class needed bras, we also didnt have to take all the vitamins and didnt have ADHD and such for half the class) where buying organic costs 2-3 times as much as 'normal' food. Fresh home raised food tastes better anyway. I also love the fact that by being in the country side we dont have to see what we are breathing. I never noticed it untill we had lived out here for a bit then went to visit the city but you cant even see as far or as well in the city due to the haze and smog and such, and this is in KC, NOT a city known for polution problems.
    You would have to earn a LOT of credits to provide as well for your family as you can if you will do it your self.
  5. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It worked for my grandparents.

    Over the next ten years, I would like to make some drastic changes. Maybe alternative ways to help power my house. Spending time working on gardens, a small one here at the house and a couple of acres on my lease. These things won't fully replace what I need, but they can supplement us. I also need to go back to killing. Hogs, deer, etc. Wild game taste so much better than what you can buy at the store.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    So dose the stuff you raise and butcher on the farm withourt all the chemicals. You would barely recognize the flavor explosion of chicken when they run loose in the yard and eat bugs and what they can find suplemented with straight cracked corn.
  7. meyah

    meyah Monkey+++

    I was raised on a farm w/o electricity, running water.

    people act like there was no LIFE before electricity, man. If you've got your stuff together, you don't need it at all. Have your gear up to snuff, you don't need to work on it. Know what's what with shelter, and clothing, you don't NEED chainsaws, skill saws, sewing machines, etc.

    Getting thru the short term is NOT a given. After nearly everyone is dead, there will be generators left, and the diesel types can run on various vegetable oils.
    bgner likes this.
  8. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Wow, he's got it all figured out!
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If the lights went out today, aside from being anoyed at loss of some luxuries and haveing to go ahead and can or dry the meats in the freezers I would be fine. Its not that I cant get by without a lot of the things like chain saws and electricity and so on, its just a matter of why not enjoy it while its around and you obviously do the same since you are on line now. As far as not needing to work on your gear you are delusional, things do need repairs, clothes need patched, shelters of any kind need maintenence and repairs and that wont stop regardless of what happens.
    Shotgunpapa likes this.
  10. Sojourner

    Sojourner Silverback

    I feel as though I'm so far behind where I was before Rita, that I've been scrambling to try and catch up. Still haven't salvaged all that I can, but do have enough food (home canned and bought), water, a NEW generator, and meds to last my family for four or five months. Did manage to salvage my few arms and ammo, so that's a plus.
  11. ricdoug

    ricdoug Monkey+++

    We're already there. Plenty of Rabbits, Squirrels and Birds...

    on our property. We have an outdoor kitchen with running cold water derived from a well on our property and using a Solar/Battery pump. Our house is on City Water. We also have a 600 gallon tank that we feed by the well. 6 5-Gallon LP tanks fuel the Gas BBQ and a Double Burner Stove. Our Solar/Battery system will power our Dish Network Satellite System and the Living Room TV, along with my CB Base and FRS/GMRS Base and several NiMH Battery Chargers. Our backyard is surrounded by a natural hill. Our large garden produces more vegetables than my wife and I can eat and we give away the surpluss vegetables to our coworkers. We have about 15 fruit trees on the property that bear fruit year round, due to the San Diego Climate. These fruits include Anna Apples, Guavas, Persimmons, Pomengranites, Lemons, Apricots and Calamansi. We have 2 large 7-Day BOB's in the trunk of the car and the last photo shows what I carry in my pockets. Ric






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  12. wildernessgal

    wildernessgal Backwoods is a callin'

    Re: Self reliance as a road to survival & saving money

    I'm sorry MM, but we've raised goats for quite some time and I just don't agree with what you've written above.... The meat doesn't have a "strong flavour" at all.... and you don't have to feed 'em corn in advance to be rid of it? Where did you get this info??? Overall, there is much mis-information out there, and I would say "that" definately is. We don't fatten up a thing over here on corn prior to butchering as that is unnecessary. That is a modern practice, and if ya want to be self-relient that is only gonna give you ALOT more to grow/do to maintain yourself.... and trust me, there's already enough to do , as you probably already know. My one complaint about goats, is that they don't have enough healthful/natural FAT!

    I do agree with your other goat info. though. Goats are DEFINATELY HARDY (If you CULL/keep a herd of easy keepers). We've been very strict through the years and have bred worm resistence into our dairygoat herd. Heck one of our gals always had quadruplets/tripets every year without fail up until the very end. She was the most AWESOME goat we ever had!!!! One of her daughters is incredible (just like momma) she was a triplet, her father was a triplet and she has put out LOTS of babies/milk for our family! Whatta gal!!!!

    Dairy goats are very multi-purpose, and my family/I believe a very smart choice for the Survivalist! :)

    Have a GREAT DAY!


    P.S.- Another "falsity" is that having a buck around will "taint the does milk" !?!?!?!?! LOL [ROFL] We have NEVER had this problem, and think that those who say this must be a extreme, sensitive or makin' it up to give themselves somethin' to talk about ???? As our milk has never been tainted/off flavoured and our bucks have always been near our dairygals. Just my 2 cents! :)
  13. jash

    jash Monkey+++

    Re: self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money

    We have been working toward this for a few years. We have only a mortgage debt that is very low (we bought a fixer upper for the land, the house gets done as we find time, and can pay cash). We have absolutely no stress over paying bills-we have almost none. I have taken a very low paying job with great benifits and only 40 hours so that I rarely bring home job stress and can work a flex time schedule to spend time with the family. My better half and I run a small farm, and will be getting into chickens and goats this year (we both come from farm families). And we farm with equipment from the 1920's-50's. We have absouletly nothing that everyone else has-no nice cars, no mcmansion, no fancy vacations. But we have what we need, make as much as possible of it ourselves, and have almost no stress-other than the two year old hitting the terrible twos. Less really is more. And what are all of those fancy things going to do when TSHTF? At least we will have plenty of TP!
  14. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money

    WG, I think the 'strong/gamey' taste on goats would be minimal in general but a factor possibly for SOME, (basicly the same folks who cant stand deer and such) and would come from 2 factors, diet and breed. If the goats had GOOD graze then unless its an oddball it would be unlikely to be a problem but for folks used to corn fed beef, a goat that had eaten nothing but pine cones, acorns and buck brush would most likely not taste 'quite right' but would be closer to what they were used to (and have a bit more fat) if it got a little corn/grain each day prior to butchering.

    On the milk it basicly depends on the cleanliness, but I know the billys (uncut adults at least) STINK due to peeing on themselves to atract the does. Any kind of milk dose absorb odors and if the buck is rubbing on the does all the time they start to stink and the milk can absorb some of that IF the male is there and stinking a lot at milking OR has made the does stink. Most of this you also get used to and may not even notice at all if your around them every day. Its not that the milk is spoiled or anything just that it can taste further from cow milk with a buck around that has marked himself/does/area heavily. I really do think though that a lot of it will not even be noticed by most ESPECIALY if they are raiseing the goats them selves since whatever smells there are become normal and are not even noticed, kind of like folks who live in the city dont notice the stink of the city even when its not around industries and such but go to the city after liveing in the country and you notice.
  15. wildernessgal

    wildernessgal Backwoods is a callin'

    Mastering Self Reliance now, as a key to future SURVIVAL!

    Ok, I guess this could be true... But as for milk/cleanliness we don't follow what modern stuff is recommended at all. We don't pasteurize our milk (because it healthier in the RAW form ), we don't wash udders with special cleansers, or use teat cups and so on blah blah blah... All of that modern promoted garbage is just $$$ making nonsense and we don't do it. Heck we don't run with our raw milk to "immediately cool it either" and will/have left it out for days, later consuming it.... Learned all about that/raw milk from my awesome Nourishing Traditions Cookbook By author Sally Fallon, and we consume our aged milk all the time like the olden days of yore when there was "no such thing" as a refrigerator. I'm a firm believer in "BOOSTING ONE'S IMMUNE SYSTEM" as a huge factor in SURVIVAL. All of these things (including anti-bacterial soaps, extreme modern sanitation and so on ) aren't gonna make for a HARDY SURVIVALIST TYPE OF PERSON, they will be WEAK & more prone to SICKNESS... (due to lack of exposure)

    As for "PROMOTING MORE UNNECESSARY GRAIN FEEDING" I guess it's ok, "now" if folk have the money to spare and want to fund wastefulness... But like I've said before when T.S.H.T.F. all of that sorta WASTEFUL behavior will be a no go, 'cause I don't think many realize WHAT IT TAKES TO TRULY SURVIVE/do it for yourself. It takes A LOT MORE WORK THAN ONE THINKS.... PEOPLE ARE GONNA HAVE TO SCALE-DOWN/CUT-BACK on what they are currently use to as it won't be PRACTICAL/REALISTIC in a new more old fashioned/more primitive world. And me thinks, that most have no "realistic clue" about what it entails to maintain THEMSELVES... let alone even including what you'd have to grow to maintain LIVESTOCK. Trust me, we have grown HUGE grain crops, and it seems like you never have enough... so I know that sort of livestock rearing (pumpin' up critters with extra grain/feed) isn't gonna be practical or realistic. Just my 2 cents!

    Aaaaaah the world is so very in trouble indeed... (many survivalists included)

    Overall though, I like this THREAD, and think that is the key to survivng in the future. Doing it NOW, so you are an EXPERT for later when T.S.H.T.F. is the BEST thing to do to master it all /not have to worry about failure/the learning curve & etc. WHEN YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! ;)


    P.S.- Another AWESOME BOOK RECOMMENDATION on the subject of Milk History & "why things are as they are now" & how they were "then" (w/ some added dairy recipes too woo hoo!!!) is called:

    By Author Ron Schmid ND

    Enjoy & Happy reading!!!!
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  16. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money

    I agree, its not 'nesicarry' to grain feed the animals priorto slaughter, it just makes it less of an adjustment for folks usd o what they buy in the stores.

    On the 'cleanliness' of the milk and milking area, I wasnt thinking in terms of the comercial milking parlor type cleanliness (whole room powerwashed spotless twice a day and cleaner than most kitchens, udders washed with soapand water then steralized in bleach or similar, milk straight into suction hose from cow into sealed system and on to tank, etc) I was talking about that the goats are kept reasonably clean (not penned in confined area where 'stuff' bilds up, washing off udders with a wet washcloth or some such, etc.) and that a billy that marks heavily and smells a lot of it isnt around the exposed milk. Most of that wouldnt even matter as far as it being healthy (beyond wipeing off the udders to be sure no nasty stuf falls in the milk pail maybe) and IF one is used to it then it would be fine over all, I was comeing at the subject more from the angle of makeing it so its nota huge shock to folks accustomed to what they get in the grocery store. While the goats milk you get from your girls is Im sure fine, I doubt that even to you or yours that it would taste the same as the stuff in the jugs at the store from the cows (which is NOT a bad thing either) and the items I mentioned were just what I had found to work to get as close as possible to the 'store bought' flavors which was important for me for being able to convince the Mrs that this was a good thing.
    arleigh likes this.
  17. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Re: self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money

    "self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money"
    Yes, for years we lived the life style, out of necessity, but there came a time when trying to keep livestock became too much of a hardship. First my work schedule, then came disabilities, but through it all we became debt free and that made it easier to live on the income, or lack there of, we had to survive on. We saved a lot of money in ways others couldn't or wouldn't do for themselves. We still keep a garden and buy store brands or sales to keep bills down. It's a lifestyle that stays with a person all their life. Oh, and don't overlook the thrift store for cloths. We buy a lot of our cloths that way and you might be surprised how often we find brand new stuff that people got as gifts and didn't want, or never wore so they gave them to the thrift stores.
  18. Peache

    Peache Monkey++

    Re: Self reliance as a road to survival & saving money

    hi wildernessgal,
    your dairy does sound great, what breed or mix are they ? I am just starting out with two doelings, and have a couple questions maybe you could answer ?
    My two are Alpines and never bred yet. They will be bred this Fall and I will have to take them to someone else's buck.
    When they give birth and start making milk is it necessary to milk them by hand in addition to what the babies are drinking ?
    What I'm hoping is that the babies can get all the milk until they are weaned and then I can start milking the does once a day. I don't need a lot of milk, just a quart a day would be plenty. Would they be able to give less than their capability but continue for a year that way ?
    Are they in danger of getting mastitis if I decided to not hand milk at all but just let them dry up after taking the babies away one at a time maybe a week apart ?
    I don't know if mastitis is caused by a germ or is it caused by leaving milk in the doe.
    This is a lot of questions, I know you must be busy on your farm,
    thanks if you can find time to answer!
  19. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Re: Self reliance as a road to survival & saving money

    Hey Peache

    DW (wildernessgal) must have missed this. You can leave the babies on the mother but after about 3 weeks the babies tend to start eating more grass and suck less which means the milk production will go down. It is a supply/demand system. The more demand the more the supply. We take the babies off our does at birth and milk the does. This does 2 things, first you are sure the mothers are getting milked out all the way. Secound if you keep any kids for milkers they are very friendly and easy to handle. Ours will follow us anywhere. We know people that leave the kids on untill they are about 3 weeks old and then start taking them of at night. they milk the doe out when they take the kid off at night then again in the morning before they put the kids back on them. The kids are not intrested in people what so ever. It just depends on what you want. As far as mastitis goes, if one of our does gets it we would cull her and her babies. But we have had very few have any problems with that. Mastitis is a bactira that gets in the udder.

  20. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: self reliance as a road to survival and saveing money

    It's time for us to share this discussion with our newer members and possibly add to the discussion.
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