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February 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm #36805
Through friendly debate with a cluster of like minded individuals, my “stock piling for little or no money” has come under question by some. Here is a general idea – I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions on this…
In the past year, I have not paid for shampoo or conditioner, body wash or soap, tooth paste or brushes, and my pantry is full of canned/dry goods which I’ve gotten for free. I haven’t begged, borrowed or stolen any of these items. I get them by following deals and using coupons, or bartering with other ‘couponers’. (They might have an excess stash of flour/yeast – things which I do not get for free, but they need bathroom products – so we swap.)
I guess where the debate starts is that while stockpiling and having a dry pantry is important, some feel that relying on “canned goods” or “packaged items” is not really “going off the grid” because you’re “still relying on the outside world and having a dependency on an outside source.”
My rebuttal to this is: My idea of going “off the grid” doesn’t necessarily have to match someone who may be more extreme than I am. I think this will ALWAYS be an argued topic – of which way is “better” than another. However, in my opinion – having my dwelling in the middle of nowhere, out of public view, with a vehicle to still get around and a pantry which is full – are my main priorities.
I feel that by being able to maintain my current lifestyle for a fraction of the cost (I save, on average – 86% off my weekly shopping trips) – I am able to put the money I’d otherwise be spending into purchasing land, a generator, a more feasible vehicle etc etc.
That being said – is relying on store bought goods a “bad” idea or “not off the grid”? What are your takes and opinions?February 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm #41296
Seems to me you are displaying a classic ‘bunker mentality”
quote”- having my dwelling in the middle of nowhere, out of public view, with a vehicle to still get around and a pantry which is full – are my main priorities” end quote.
That may work for a distress situation lasting a few weeks or months.
but will this work a year or two down the road? What about five years.
Most people who talk about going off grid speak about having solar cells wind generators etc. rely heavily on the industrial infra structuer that is only possible because of the terrible grid. Even if they know how to make solar cells and wind turbine could they repair or make more. I do know how, because I have worked as a manufacturing engineer but let me tell you it is not that easy to make from scratch. I designed wind turbine controls at one time. I designed and built electronic circuit boards. However I do not have the ability to mine the raw material and process it into the necessary copper wires or semiconductors needed. I learned to build wooden boats so I am pretty sure I could build a wooden water wheel. But from where do I get the high grade special steel to make wood working tools? If I start out with a good axe and lose it or break the head; how would I replace it.
If we all went off grid and the present grid was destroyed we would regress to a subsistence culture with in a decade and within a century we woukld regress to barely more than a neolithic stone age culture.
Without a grid how would you sustain an educational system that would turn out educated engineers and scientists who could figure out what the next step is?February 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm #41297
Elnav – Thank you for your response. I didn’t get into the specifics of my situation, because frankly, I’ve never been asked. However, I’ll devolve a bit into it now to apease both of us.
I am 30’ish and have been in management my entire working life. I’ve gone through schooling, obtained a degree and am presently a Human Resource Manager and a Per Diem Nanny. I have very little mechanical skills and couldn’t build a solar panel to save my soul in a EOTWAWKI situation. I would be relying heavily on my significant other in the realm of building a home.
SO is a 40’ish brute – strong, in great shape and is a skilled welder. He’s been in the manufacturing trade for 20 years, primarily for power generation – building wind turbines and jet engines. He enjoys being “put to work” and has no patience for things such as housework, child rearing, gardening or fishing – all of which I do well.
I like to think that we are a good team
As far as your statement of
“That may work for a distress situation lasting a few weeks or months.
but will this work a year or two down the road?…”
The key is, this won’t *only* last a few weeks or months. If I had adequate storage space, I would be able to obtain enough pasta to last me a year, if I ate it twice a week, every week. I would be able to get enough toilet paper to last about 6 months, maybe more if I were to separate the 3 ply into 1 ply. As a legitimate example, I have been able to keep a close friend’s child in diapers for about $5.00 per month, for a year. (I’ve spent roughly $61.00 in 12 months for “Huggies Sensative Skin” diapers). Granted, those are things which are disposable and will be “gone when they’re gone” – but is it not a good idea to have them while I can? I’m not entirely sure why some (not necessarily you, Elnav) feel as though stock piling and taking what I can, while I can – is “less than” someone who does it all from scratch. My stockpile certainly won’t last forever, but it will help as a stop-gap-measure, will it not?February 25, 2011 at 1:54 am #41298
Arie, I am envious of your coupon/bartering system. I and my family are off grid
in Montana, Before our decision i had stockpiled for a EOTWAWKI scenario. We had enough food to last 2 years, solar panels, batteries, inverters, 12v appliances etc. We took the plunge in April of last year, work was slow (I am self employed HVAC) all that we had was 70 acres and an 06 jay co 27′ camper with plans for a cabin. Throughout the summer we built a 16×16 cabin with a loft and as the temp started to rise I got busy again, That was August so for 4 months we had not much income, and a lot of time and stuff. We were able to eat and build because of the stores we had put up before hand. My point is it is never a bad thing to have Stuff put away you just never know what is coming down the pike. We have since calmed down on the doom and gloom and started to love being independent, and we have a community of like minded families that help each other out the way it used to be.So Keep It Up!!!February 25, 2011 at 4:42 am #41299
Relying on store bought things is not bad in itself,but what do you do after the first couple of years? You mentioned living in the middle of nowhere and having a vehicle to get around. How will you fuel this vehicle? The refineries are formulating fuels that deteriorate in a few months. Market research has shown most of today’s refined fuels are burned within 30 days of leaving the refinery so why bother to spend more time and effort to make it last several years? todays refinery products begin to break down in as little as 3 monts.
I work in the marine market where this is an ongoing problem. Sometimes the fuel tanks are topped up and a year later the remaining fuel has gone skunky and will not burn properly. Sometimes not at all.
Reliance on factory made stuff is a short term measure. The big challenge will be how to cope after that. Which is why I said if we do have an EOTWAWKI situation then everyone will be living in a subsistence mode within a decade. Some people like your SO will be able to scrounge bits and pieces for a while but then what? Everybody else will also be scrounging until nothing is left. Being able to weld is fine but what if you have no more metal to weld or gas for a cutting torch or electrodes for an arc welder. For that matter can he weld without power for the welder?
My wife comes from the third generation of off-gridders. Until she was 14 they only had kerosene lights because the grid did not reach that far. The family homestead is still off grid; and Kerosene is a manufactured product. When her uncle needs something he usually goes into town to get it. Sure he can weld up the broken track or dozer blade on his D9 when it breaks but when he needs a special steel pin or shaft he cannot make a new pin from scratch.
The truth is, just about all of us going off grid still relies heavily on the grid supported industries to make many of the things we depend on. Ranging from canned foods to can openers to weaving looms to make new denim cloth for sewing replacement pants and shirts.
I know how to design and build generators but I also know I cannot make wire from scratch even though I am familiar with the process. Wher do I get copper ore?
Despite having the knowledge I am not so sure I could teach it to my children fast enough to make a difference. Which is why I said we would likely devolve to a very primitive level within a century.
Most significantly if the communications grid goes down we will all be isolated from each other. The only transportation will be shanks mare or if you are lucky, the equestrian express.
A minority of people like your SO do possess usable skills but a great many do not. What are they going to do?
It is not the grid we need to get rid of; its the greedy people who are using the grid to gouge the population at large.February 25, 2011 at 6:18 am #41301
elnav, you said all that and finally came to the right ending ” get rid of the greed” we made over $100,000 in 08 had a nice house, we were keeping up just fine with Mr and Mrs Jones. When it hit me one day, I work my a$% off just to give the money to the giant corporations that own all the stuff and i wanted to opt out. We did Bought our land and this year i made about $14,000 I got rid of all the bills cable, house phone, home Internet,garbage, water, sewer, giant mortgage 3-5000 a month in stuff i didn’t need. Our bills a month now are 300 for the cell phone & wireless card, and some groceries, insurance. that is much simpler we are growing what we eat for the most part, raising some animals and helping to not burden this exhausted planet anymore than it is already. so you are right in saying stop all the greedFebruary 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm #41302
Enlav – It appears as though my original question of: is bringing stock piled canned/dry items a bad idea – has turned into why “people like me” aren’t going to make it in the forthcoming changes. If you’d rather ask me what my plans are, where my land is, and what the goals for the next year are – feel free to ask me, but please do not take a condescending tone about how you’re going to make it, and I’m not going to because you have so much more experience and knowledge than I do. You started at the beginning at some point too, did you not?
It’s sad to experience that there is not a “group mentality” here, where we all help and learn together – rather we point out flaws or imperfections that we see and tell people how they’ll fail or not make it.
Have you ever heard of the sandwich improvement theory? It’s typically used in childcare, management and learning environments. What you do is take a positive (my ability to stock pile) put a negative (stock pile will not last forever) and end it with a positive suggestion (gardening? hunting? canning?).
I’m not asking you to humor me with answers which I want to hear – I’m simply stating that going off on a tangent about how people aren’t ready, and here’s a list of reasons why – does not relate to my initial post, nor does it offer any suggestion on how to improve the situation you speak so dimly of.February 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm #41303
no2statusquo – I’m glad to hear that you and your family were able to eat and build because of what you had stock piled previous to your decision to go off grid. Out of curiosity – did you have storage for said things in your home (on grid) and move it to your cabin later, or did you have a storage arrangement at your cabin? What type of items did you find most useful, and wish you had more of? Which items did you have lots of and find youself not needing?February 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm #41306
Aries whatever gave you the idea that I figured I would make it, but people like you would not. I am planning on not making it. Unfortunately something like people needing my help always seem to interfer with me checking out early. The fact is I no longer want to be here because we ( collectively ) have screwed it up so badly it’s beyond fixing. Maybe we will have another flood (or more likely a fire storm) but who would want to be a survivor in such a disaster. I’m hoping my poor health will terminate me before Armageddon comes. Two strokes already so maybe the third one will do me in.
My interest in going off grid has absolutely nothing to do with survivalism or making a political statement. My only reason for going off grid is to be able to live in a part of the earth where man’s greed has not yet ruined the view.
Those places happen to be where the grid has not yet reached.
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