Well here’s a subject I feel totally unqualified to tackle. (Actually, I feel that way with most subjects, but more so with this one.) What follows is more of a hodge-podge of thoughts I’ve had over the last couple years probably with gaps of logic big enough to drive a car through. But here they are anyway. If you can provide readers with real direction, guidance, and resources how they can decrease their energy dependency, please share a comment below.
“What are you, a prepper?”
We’ve been asked the question before, and I can’t get those words & the mocking tone out of my head. Since many homesteaders are, I admit it is an easy stereotype to make and I’ve been giving it much thought. What is exactly is a prepper? What are you prepping for? And can you seek to be “self-sufficient” (a term I despise, yet we are all familiar with) without being automatically associated with the extremes of prepping, you know the doomsday/apocalypse end of the prepping spectrum? Am I a prepper?
Having been recently asked by a reader about whether our family is attempting to or planning to attempt to decrease our dependence on electricity, I thought I would take the opportunity to work through this question so I can better articulate an answer in the future, yet without actually answering anything. (sorry.)
My knee-jerk response is an emphatic, “No!” just before I proceed to waffle- thinking upon the wisdom I see in preparing and decreasing your dependency on outside sources of energy.
Dare I say that it’s even Biblical? (See Proverbs 31) Amy at Homestead Revival tackled this challenging subject beautifully a couple year ago. If you’re wondering if prepping is Biblical, please take the time to read it. She then went further to discuss how we should prepare- not physical specifics- but from a spiritual aspect what prepping should look like in the life of a Christian.
I think the “No!” comes from the negative connotations with prepping and because of that, we’re quick to disassociate ourselves from it. I don’t want to be perceived, in any way, as failing to trust that the Lord is in control of the future and that I’m not afraid of what He has planned for us, but what the naysayers are failing to see is that being prepared for whatever the future holds isn’t necessarily about extremes.
I think that one of the problems, stigmas, with this subject is that it’s easy to continually take it to the next level- hence we are beginning to hear the term “off-off grid”with the theory behind it being that even if you are off-grid, you are still dependent on the grid for repairs and parts to maintain your systems, etc… Admittedly, I’ve done no research into the issue because for the most part it has failed to pique my interest.
I like refrigeration.
I like (love) indoor plumbing.
I like my computer & the access to virtually unlimited information available on the internet. I don’t believe we could do what we’re doing without it. Without a doubt, we’re Google Farmers.
I like my bread machine.
I like my oven that consistently reaches and maintains 350 degrees when I ask it to.
I like my washing machine.
I like not having to forge our own nails.
To me these things and many more are some of the blessings we’ve been given in 21st century and I can see no need to adjust myself to living without them before (or even if) I ever need to. These things streamline our lives, increasing our productivity and efficiency when we are called to do much more than our pioneer mothers ever did. With smaller homes to keep, fewer worldly goods to maintain, no temptations to be distracted by the flashy screens of this world, no Joneses to keep up with, simpler educations to provide to their children, and fewer social obligations to commit to, those foremothers, whose simplicity we envy and emulate, could devote more time to to their work.
And I don’t believe that we were created to live as an island unto ourselves but to live in community with one another, each family bringing a different set of skills for the aid and benefit of each other to the table and entire self-sufficiency tends to foster an attitude away from that. Our God is one of relationships.
We’ve discussed on several occasions, as we’ve watched others choose that path for their lives, to what extent we would take off-grid living & prepping if we had the means to do so.
At this time, we aren’t looking to retrofit our home in the event of an emergency. We’re choosing instead to invest our time and money into developing the life skills necessary to maintain our own food production. Knowledge & skills, I believe, are the greatest investment in preparing, not MRE’s & a cache of weapons to protect them…
We are prepping.
We’re are acquiring skills that will help us in times of crisis, whether that’s global, national, or personal, like in the case of a job loss. One could theoretically end up on the backside of a prediction or even at the end of their lives and find that they had wasted their time & resources investing and stockpiling while I can’t foresee ever regretting to live intentionally a lifestyle where we choose to steward the land and bodies God has given us while we’re here.
And perhaps we’ve been prepping longer than I’ve realized… after all, on a small scale, I do have a plan for food. And as we’ve gone through several job changes over the last several years, I know that has been a tremendous comfort to have that stockpile in the basement!
If I were to choose one thing to do on a larger scale, it would be to get a generator to keep the freezers running in the event of an extended power outage (something I have known to happen only once in our immediate area in the whole of my life).
However, if we were blessed with the opportunity to start over with a bigger bit of land in a more remote location, I would seriously be considering several questions with the overriding emphasis being accessibility to heat, food, & water:
1.) How to heat the home without electricity?
2.) How to make the heat accessible for cooking needs?
3.) Can the heat be made accessible for water heating?
4.) Where would be a good location for a solar generator primarily for refrigeration & freezing?5.) How to pump water from the well if needed?
6.) What about toilets?
Etc… Knowing that it takes longer to get power restores in the country than in the city.
All the other things are conveniences that electricity brings to my life, which is actually little. As I think around the house I think of fans, iron, a few lights (we keep it dim and try to stay in one room as much as possible), chargers for computers, devices, and cameras, stand mixer, coffee maker, bread machine, grow lights for seedlings, washing machine, and a sometimes used dryer none of which are necessary for survival and I find therefore unnecessary to prepare to operate in hard times. Well, maybe the washing machine. I remember seeing a very inexpensive plunger style hand washer at Lehman’s that might be worth stashing away.
So there is my meager offering to the discussion. I’m sorry that I can’t really help to answer the question, but thought I would share where we are at this time in case anyone else was curious as well! And don’t forget, please share your ideas, links, and resources if you have any!