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Friday, June 22, 2012

Preparedness is a Journey!

Preparedness what is it?  It is not easily defined or accomplished.  The whole idea of preparedness is different for different people.  You may think preparedness is what they televised on "Doomsday Preppers" or you may think it is what you read about in many of the books that are on the market today like the ones who have the word Survival or Prepare for...... in the titles.  You may think it is keeping your tank as full as you can in your car in case of a hurricane evacuation.  You may think it is keeping a few weeks food in your cupboards in case of a local disaster.  Or maybe you think it is keeping some cash in your safe at home all the way up to keeping gold and silver coins in that same safe.

I could go on and on about different things that people feel is their preparedness and guess what - - they are all right!  I'll bet you didn't expect me to say that!  All those things are preparedness.  They should be in your bag of tricks.  But is that all that you should do?  Is there more that is important for the future of your family? 

One thing that I would like to leave with you is this: Life is a journey and you don't live it in a short time but one day at a time until you eventually go to your reward.  Think of Preparedness the same way.  You can't do it all in one day or one month or even a year.  You should be adding to your preps until something happens and you start surviving because you did prepare.  Then you should be less stressed when it counts because you acted on accumulating your preps when it wasn't such an emergency.

Now what would be the things that you feel you should be prepared for?  Natural disasters?  Man-made disasters?  World War?  Pandemic?  Economic Collapse?  Societal Collapse/Riots and Looting/Martial Law?  Food Collapse from natural disasters and big agra manipulation?

Well, let's look at what is needed for all of these scenarios......

1.   Clean Water- will always be needed for continuation of life for human beings.

2.   Nutritious Foods- You can only survive for weeks without it.

3.   Shelter- Whether it is the severe cold of winter, stifling heat of summer, or the rainy season humans need shelter to protect them from the elements.

4.   Medical / First Aid- Most everyone will need some medical or first aid for everyday injuries and chronic illnesses. From bandaids to life preserving medications (like heart medicines and insulin).

5.   Gardening Tools, seeds, and knowledge to grow your food if food is unavailable or dangerous to eat.

6.   Security- Good locks, people on watch, guns, ammo, baseball bats, stun guns, pepper spray, sling shots, compound bows and arrows or anything else that you would feel would help you become safe and secure when there is rioting and looting going on.  Also many of those items could be used for hunting for meat animals.

7.  Cash, silver, gold, barter items, and precious stones. When banks are closed, atm's are down, and might not be able to be back on for the foreseeable future.

8.  Communications- will be important to keep in touch with family, neighbors, and to know what is going on outside of your neighborhood or county.

9.    Transportation- What if most vehicles are dead because of a CME or EMP, how would you travel?

10.  Knowledge!- One of the most important and the least expensive to accomplish.....

I am sure there are many more items that you may be interested in preparing with but most of them will fall under these main groups such as Food (Cooking implements and methods), Shelter (Heating and cooling, lighting, etc.) I am sure you get my drift by now. 

Now you must decide what you already have and what are the most important things for you to accomplish.  Take inventory of what you have already.  Most people have shelter, but is your home in a safe area?  Are you capable of obtaining water in your location or is it city water only with no other water sources nearby? 

Let's try to be logical and organized in what you are interested in preparing for.  If you are only interested in preparing for natural disasters then you might need to have a bug out kit and vehicle which would assist you on your way out of the dangerous area.  Bug out kits are containers such as a back pack which have the basics for survival in them.

Bug out kit possibilities - Back pack, knap sack or ruck sack, bottles of water, containers for heating water or food, food, first aid/medicine kit, shelter components such as paracord or bank line and tarps,  cutting tools such as knife and saw, space blanket and/or wool blanket, firestarting equipment such as a lighter, matches, and cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly, flashlight, and batteries, small radio or walkie talkie, and at the very least clean dry change of socks and underpants and t shirt.  If you usually don't wear walking shoes then keep a pair attached to your bag to change to.   Keep your items small and as compact as possible to keep down bulk and weight. 

Bug out Vehicle - This will depend on your specific vehicle, but if you have a van or suv you will be able to use your vehicle as a shelter for more people than a small compact car can.  Whatever your vehicle is keep it tuned up, good tires, full tank, and store extra fluids in your car as well as jumper cables, and spare tire and jack, duct tape and some extra fuses would be helpful as well.  Now keep a few rolled up blankets, a change of clothing, in winter keep extra warm clothes such as thermal underwear, knit wool caps, gloves, and coats in a small container or bag.  Keep a small container with foods that heat or cold won't hurt but rotate them anyway.  Instant Oatmeal, dry soup mixes, granola bars, hard candy, dry milk, instant coffee, tea bags, dry cocoa, crackers, a few cans of tuna, chicken, and complete pancake mix and some oil and brown sugar or syrup.  There are many more items that is made in retort packaging now that are possibilities as well.  There are hundreds of ideas for food for camping, hiking or bug out kits on You Tube, check them out. I would suggest you keep flashlights, cooking equipment such as a folding stove and Sterno or buddy burners so you can cook inside the car if you are stuck in a blizzard as well as a boy scout mess kit with a fork and spoon for each person.  It will also help keep the car warm. A larger knife such as a machete, or larger hunting knife could come in handy for cutting wood for a campfire/cook fire. 

Now if you are preparing to stay in your home because you don't have choice or it is just not possible to bug out because the roads are blocked or vehicles don't operate any longer then we will have to ways to survive long term at home.  Let's say there was a Solar Flare or CME so you don't have electricity, electronics or cars operating.  You will need water, food, ways to cook your food, and security at the very least. 

Water - try to store as much water as you can in 2 liter soda bottles, fruit juice bottle, or other harder plastic bottles, do not use milk jugs or soft OJ bottles for water storage, add 4 drops per 2 liters of water to keep it clear and good.  A good larger water filter system like a Berkey would be excellent for running rainwater through to make sure it is clean and pure.  When the electricity first goes out the first thing you should do is to run the water out of your taps into any and all of your larger pots and containers.  Then turn off your electricity at the panel to everything in your house.  No longer use your toilets.  Urinate in a bucket and pour it outside around trees or bushes.  Use a separate bucket for your feces buy using sand, saw dust, kitty litter, or ashes.  Each time it is used take enough of the previous list to cover it and then cover the bucket.  When full you dig a hole in the ground away from your food plants or well if you have any and bury the contents of the bucket of feces and cover with earth.  Clean bucket with some sand and start fresh again.  It is important to keep feces and urine separated to keep odor down.  Mixed they start putrefying quickly.

You may catch rainwater from your gutter system.  Small children's pools are a good way to capture rain water as well.  If you live in an apartment you can turn an umbrella open and upside down into a clean container such as a new Home Depot bucket and capture the water that way.  A plastic liner in your pickup truck bed is another way to capture water.  I think you could do all of these things and capture a lot of water in a short time.  Why not buy a couple of new trash barrels to hold the water, after filling them after the rain stops put the lid on to keep bugs out of it.  Filter the water through a sheet or pillow case or some tightly woven fabric and then run through your Berkey or homemade Berkey to make sure it is as clean as possible.  If you will be storing the water for a longer time then add your 8 drops of bleach (plain unscented liquid bleach such as Clorox) per gallon to make it last longer in a drinkable condition.  If you get water from a pond, lake or stream then filter it several times through fabric, sand and charcoal then boil the filtered water to kill any cysts, polyps, or viruses that may be in it.

Foods will be our next subject.  Many people don't store food because of the expense of freeze dried foods, or dehydrated foods that you buy commercially.  MRE's and the previously mentioned foods have their place in food storage but they are not required to have the beginnings of food storage.  What do you eat on a regular basis?  Do you eat pasta, meat and potatoes, or casseroles?  Why not store the things you use to make these.  Chicken and Rice Casserole is a good example, store the chicken in canned form, fairly inexpensive from the grocery store and then store the rice and cream of soup that you prefer for making it.  You can buy dehydrated onions in the grocery or warehouse stores and you are pretty well set. 

The same rice that hopefully you buy in bulk can be a side dish for serving with meat and gravy such as chicken, canned chunky soups, roast beef in gravy, etc. You can also make fried rice, or spanish rice or rice and beans.  

Your pasta dishes are the same way, store your pasta of choice with pasta sauces like marinara, meat flavored spaghetti sauce or alfredo sauces.  Pasta can be made in more ways than you can shake a stick at.  Make cold macaroni salads with tuna, or make macaroni and cheese with canned ham or make noodles to serve with chicken and alfredo sauce. 

There are lots of ways to use packaged potato dishes such as scalloped, augratin, or instant mashed potatoes and there is hash brown mixes as well. 

There are quite a variety of meats, poultry and seafoods in cans which can be used in place of fresh meats for your food storage meals.  Clams can be used in clam sauce for spaghetti, or make clam chowder, or clam fritters.  Canned crab can make casseroles, soups, crab cakes, etc. Tuna comes in the plain variety or seasoned steaks for casseroles or main dish fish.  Salmon now comes in the retort packaging and also in cans and you can also use Mackerel which makes a passable fish cake like a crab cake in style. 

Chicken comes in can like tuna and super versatile to make almost anything you want except for roasted of course.  Chicken salad, chicken casserole, sweet and sour chicken, chicken and gravy over stuffing, chicken pot pie, barbeque chicken sandwiches, etc. 

You can buy Dak ham or other brands that are similar in 12 oz or l lb. cans.  They can be used to slice for sandwiches, baked, casseroles, in salads, in mac and cheese, in bean soups, fried for breakfasts, etc. 

Now we come to Spam and Treet which everyone knows is hated by most people but loved by quite a few.  Spam now comes in all kinds of flavors such as bacon, smoked ham flavor, and they have turkey spam now for those who don't eat pork.  Treet is similar but is just a spiced luncheon loaf but it can be used to flavor beans, casseroles, and egg omelets, quiches, and frittatas.  Never buy more that one can of something that you aren't sure you like until you try it and see if your family will eat it.  Don't tell them what it is, just say that it is smoked pork in the bean soup, or potato casserole.  They probably will love it.  Now slicing and frying may be another story, but try it and see..... 

Lastly think about how you may buy beef.  I have stocked some dried beef in jars to make creamed chip beef, I also have bought some roast beef in gravy in cans, Chunky soups such as Sirloin Burger and Vegetables makes a good topper for rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.  Any of the Chunky Soups can be used like that including pot roast and potato soup. 

You can stock the vegetables and fruits that you like that come canned for side dishes in your food storage.  You are only limited by your imagination.  There is also many dried fruits now a days that are sold on the grocery shelves such as cranberries, raisins, apples, apricots and even banana's. 

My suggestion to make your food storage less expensive is to learn to can and can your own beef, chicken and pork.  It is simple to do.  The directions are on the net or buy a Ball Blue book to learn from. It basically takes a pressure canner, a beginner kit of tools and a few cases of jars and you are on your way.  Vegetables are much better tasting if home canned as well. 

You will need non electric can opener and a way to cook your foods as well.  There are many ways to accomplish your cooking.  Solar ovens are one possibilities as well as a rocket stove both of which can be homemade or bought commercially made.  You can cook on a gas grill as long as your propane holds out, and you can cook over charcoal as long as your supply of charcoal holds out.  You can build a small fire pit to cook over as well.   As far as baking is concerned you can bake in a solar oven, or in a camp oven that you put on a wood stove or over your grill or campfire.  Buddy burners are good for heating up quick meals on a hobo stove and can be used indoors because it is basically a large candle in a tuna can.  If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or wood stove you can cook on these in the winter.

I would like to remind everyone to use common sense and safety procedures with whatever method you chose.  Remember open flames of any kind can start a wild fire that would get out of hand quickly and there won't be fire departments available to help.  Also you could get burned and with no medical facilities that could be very painful and possibly fatal.  Please buy fire extinguishers to keep by your open flames to stop anything from getting out of hand.  Use silicone pot holders or leather pot holders to protect your hands.  Also keep a bucket of water nearby to pour over the fire or to plunge your hand in if it gets burned.  KEEP CHILDREN away from fire and open flames.  Never leave candles or fires unattended! 

That is about all I am going to put in this particular article.  Remember try to build your supplies and food storage and water storage as you can afford it for the amount of time you think you might need it.  I would suggest you start off with a one month supply of food and water and then add to your food storage until you build up to 3 months, after the 3 months supply is stored then I would suggest you go to some of the dehydrated vegetables, fruits and meals.  Dehydrated eggs and milk are invaluable as well as having quantities of rice, beans of your choice, and instant mashed potato flakes in number 10 cans.  Sit down make up your list of what you usually eat and find a way to turn it into food storage meals.  Don't expect to have steaks, fried chicken, pork chops and salads unless you have chickens in your yard, hunt or grow steer for butchering or have a salad garden.  But most foods are adaptable to food storage cooking.  You tube is full of how to do it and many of my articles talk about it.  I have links to many helpful sites on here as well. 

Remember -  Every Journey begins with the first step.  Take that JOURNEY just be taking action!

The importance of surviving any upheaval for any reason should help motivate you.  Just try!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Laura Ingalls Wilder

How many of us have read the Little House Series of Books that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote? Or maybe you haven't read the books but you watched the TV series with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert.  I have read the Little house series many times and always loved the pioneer spirit of Laura's family.  Most importantly I liked how the family supported each other in their trials and tribulations and how they accepted bad times and kept moving forward undaunted. 

If you haven't read the series yet I suggest that you do.  The period of time that these books were written about was pre-electric, pre-auto and pre-tractor era.  They took what they could fit on a covered wagon and started from scratch each time they moved.  Pa Ingalls built his houses with what was handy which was sod or logs and stone.  Ma made their home as safe and tidy as was humanly possible.  She washed their clothes and ironed them with whatever water was at hand from a creek, river, well or spring.  She had their quilts and feather pillows and muslin ticking to stuff with dry grass to sleep on.  She always had her red checked table cloth and one little figurine that was always with them and placed on a fireplace when she had one.  Pa would build the furniture for the family.  He would take some hand split planks and place one end against the log walls and fastened it and would make two legs from branches or small trees for the other end.  The seating was thick logs sawn smooth on both ends to be used for stools.  Simple but effective.  The red checked tablecloth would be a crowning touch to the table.  They had only enough enameled tin plates for everyone to have one and enough cups for everyone except at one time they were one cup short and so Mary and Laura shared a cup.  Mr. Edwards brought Mary and Laura a shiny new tin cup for Christmas when Santa Claus couldn't make it to their Little House on the Prairie because of the snow!  He also brought sweet potatoes and candy!  How would your children today feel it they only got a tin cup and a sweet potato and a piece of candy?  We are so spoiled today that we would have a hard time living as simply as they did then. 

Ma would make meals with nothing more than some corn meal, flour, salt, and salt pork and if they were lucky some dried beans.  They usually had a few chickens and would have some eggs and they did have a milk cow which they could get milk from for about 9 months of the year.  How many ways could you fix meals with those ingredients before your family would rebel?  Pa would go hunting and bring back jack rabbits and prairie hens most of the time.  If they were near a creek that was big enough or a river or lake they might have fish to fry.  After settling into a freshly built cabin Ma would plant a kitchen garden and would grow vegetables and herbs so I assume they brought a few seeds with them on their wagon.

I can't imagine waiting for 7 to 9 months for some fresh vegetables to serve my family and fruits were rare unless they found some wild blackberries or some other wild fruit or berries. 

Pa made the rest of the furniture for their home as well.  He made beds from hand hewn planks to get them off the floor and the only storage they had other than a few trunks or a kitchen box were shelves he made and pegs to hang their clothes on.

Clothing was usually 2 everyday dresses and one good dress for Ma  but she would have 5 or 6 aprons so that she could keep her calicos clean and the girls had similar wardrobes for themselves and I believe they wore pinafore aprons to keep their cloths clean.  Pa had 2 pairs of work pants, 2 work shirts, and one pair of pants in good shape with a calico or solid color shirt for special occasions.  Men mostly wore suspenders instead of belts.  Everyone was lucky if they had a pair of shoes.  The girls and even Ma would be barefoot in warm weather to spare their shoes from damage. Pa wore his work boots to work in and would wear the same boots to  special events like Church or a funeral or wedding after cleaning them up.

My family went to Mansfield, MO for our Vacation last month and visited Laura and Almonzo's farm they named Rocky Ridge Farm where they lived after leaving the Dakota's.  I was fascinated by their little farmhouse.  Laura wrote all the Little House books in this house in her 60's.  They were her memories from childhood and the "Farmer Boy"  book was Almonzo's memories from his childhood.  His childhood was mostly about all the food that his mother cooked and served on their New York State prosperous farm.  They had almost any food available to them that you could think of except for maybe citrus fruit.   I think that after becoming a pioneer and living with the bare necessities of life and little variation in foods on the prairie when he was trying to prove up his homesteads he fixated on food in his memory while relating them to Laura for her to write his story.  I know Laura took advantage of the foods that she could grow in Missouri to their full extent.  She made lots of fruit pies, cobblers and used grapes and apples and peaches to their full potential.  Some of Almonzo's favorite foods were fried apples and onions and Swiss Steak.  Laura probably spoiled him food wise when they got settled into their home in Mansfield.

Laura and Almonzo became very active in their community and entertained on the grounds of their home very often.  Smaller groups were entertained in their home around their dining room table or in their parlor in front of their stone fireplace.  

Laura cooked on her wood cook stove most of her life.  Rose bought her a small electric stove but Laura hated it and returned to cooking on her wood stove.  Laura later in life after her books became popular she found that people wanted to meet her and she entertained many of her fans with tea and a sweet of some sort or if they had traveled a great distance she would invite them to dinner even if it was just eggs, ham, and biscuits for a country supper.  Laura had learned that hospitality was the true way to be a gentle woman and a good Christian.  Laura was always active and her neighbors said she always would be dressed in her best even when taking her eggs to the general store.  She would be wearing her hat, gloves and her parasol and would walk with a very straight and good posture.  The ladies in town would love to see the  most fashionable egg lady on her walks to town.  The farm house was about a mile from the town and that was a short walk in those days.  Now we complain if we can't get a parking space right in front of the store.

The farm was kept up beautifully.  Laura and Almonzo absolutely loved their animals and took great care of them.  Laura even made friends with some of the wild turtles on their land.  She would place saucers of milk and bread out and they became so used to it that they would come up to her backdoor the same time everyday to eat their food that she gave them.  She always had dogs, cows, chickens and horses.  The horses were mostly Morgan's and Almonzo really loved them.  Laura's chickens would lay more eggs than anyone else's and she was asked to write articles for the agricultural magazine/newsletters about how she got her chickens to lay so well.  She wrote that she kept the hen house immaculate and sunny and treated them so well that they were very contented and secure.  They just laid their eggs to thank her if you ask me. 

I think we could all take a lot from the way that Laura and Almonzo lived their lives, ran their homesteads and took care of the things God gave them.  I have a great admiration for the pioneers in my own family and by reading The Little House Books I have a glimpse into the way they lived in Illinois in the 1850's and Iowa in the 1860's, in the Dakotas in the 1870's and in Montana in the 1870's through the 1930's.

I have people who were farmers, leather workers, printers, and miners.  They all worked very hard to accomplish what they needed to for living a life in the pioneer times.  We need to start trying out the things that the pioneers did if we can.  We can all make homemade breads, rolls, muffins, cornbread, and biscuits.  Try it for a month and see if you can do enough without having to buy more than flour, yeast, shortening, cornmeal, and baking powder and salt.  That would be a great stride forward for all of us to accomplish.  Secondly would be to learn to garden and can our produce.  If you can't grow a garden then go buy bushels of fresh produce and learn to prepare and can it for your future.  I have found that I really hate commercially canned vegetables now after trying my own home canned foods in comparison.  Home canned vegetables have nothing in them except for what you add.  Mostly I just add salt and water.  Sometimes I will make some spiced carrots or dilled string beans but mostly I make plain vegetables with just salt.  Next look at your wardrobe and figure out a way to simplify it so your laundry day won't be so much trouble for you.  Try making yourself a dozen simple aprons.  Overalls are a good thing to wear while working on the garden or with the animals.  One good waterproof pair of boots would be excellent for working with the animals and garden clogs might be good for working on your garden unless you have a lot of snakes around.  Then you should work in heavy leather or rubber boots to protect yourself from unwanted snakebites. If you have long hair then learn to braid your hair and pin it up while working with the animals.  You might want to wear a scarf or hat to protect your hair and keep the hay and dust out of your hair.  You won't be washing your hair everyday when you have to bring your water from a spring or well and heat it up on the wood stove.  Around the house when cooking you might want to wear a housedress especially in the summer with aprons.  If you have solar or wind power you may want to place a fan in the sunny side of the house facing out and place another fan in the shady side of the house facing in.  This will keep the air moving and make your life more bearable. Also cover the windows in the sunny side of the house with dark curtains to keep your house cooler.  If it seems unbearably hot still then keep sprayer bottles around with water in them to spritz your face and arms to cool down.  Rest in the hottest part of the day.  The idea of Siesta in Mexico was just because of the unbearable heat so near the equator.  Start your work at daybreak and be finished by 1 p.m. and then work again in the evening until sunset.  Also plan a summer kitchen.  You won't want to cook in the house with no AC so cook out of doors in the morning and evening.  You could get a solar oven in the summer as well to keep the heat out of your house.  If you must cook then just do it on a grill or on a rocket stove or propane burner etc.  Try Thermal cooking methods like Thermos cooking or hay box thermal cooking.  It will preserve your fuel and still cook your food beautifully.  In the winter you do the opposite.  You cook indoors on your wood stove or fireplace.  If you have a propane burner you can cook indoors on that as well.  Since many cook stoves are propane it should be just fine as long as you have enough ventilation. 

Try the different cooking methods and make sure you know how to use them to accomplish your goal of having good cooked foods for your family.

Think about everything that you may have to do different if there is no electricity and you are trying to maintain a homestead, urban or rural, and try doing the things now to familiarize yourself with those things and you will find the things you will need to accomplish tasks in the pioneer way.  Clotheslines, oil lamps, K-1 kerosene for your lamps, wash tub and scrub board.  Cooking methods you will have will be up to your circumstances and preference but try them out before you have to use them.

Try living the pioneer life for a weekend and see how it feels and what you are missing in your preps.

God Bless you and your preparations and keep trying to complete them as you can. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Self Sufficiency for the future!

After spending the last 3 years begging, pleading, prodding, and passionate debate,  my husband listened to a few of the youtube videos that I have listened to over the last couple of years. And he has come to a decision that we should start looking for a country home with land that  we can raise small livestock and maybe a steer or two to become food self sufficient.  But please don't tell him that it is not his idea.  I have had the conversation for years that in order to retire we would have to sell our home in the expensive state we live in and head for an inexpensive state and a rural lifestyle in a small farming community to live out our golden years.  Yes we are in our 60's but somehow I don't feel that raising a few goats, chickens and rabbits will be so exhausting that we will keel over in exhaustion.  We will plant a few raised beds of vegetables and herbs and I will continue to do my canning as always and dehydrating.  The area we are looking at has an Amish community which sell their produce by the bushel inexpensively and I will enjoy making my jams, jellies and preserves as well as canning the vegetables that they sell.  I don't need to grow everything that we eat if I can trade or buy wholesale fruit and vegetables.  Many people buy by the bushel and then resell by the pound the same produce and make large profits. I will bypass the middle man and can the produce and save money and time.  Money because I will buy wholesale and not have to buy all the additives for the soil and time because I won't have to spend a whole growing season growing it, weeding it, watering it and harvesting it.

I have thought about breeding Kinder goats and selling them to people in surrounding areas who are looking for good milkers that give very rich and delicious milk and don't take as much pasturage to feed them.  They are a crossbreed between Nubian doe and a pygmy buck.  I understand that these offspring are good for milking because of their high milk fat and milk solid milk.  They are still good for meat because they are a muscular breed.  They are fast becoming a popular breed but there aren't that many breeders of them.  With the proper pasturage and water and human attention they should be an easier livestock to take care of over cattle or other larger animals.  I have always loved goat cheese and I want to learn to make it and then I should be able to take my cheese that is too much for us and barter it with a cow dairy farm and trade for cream to make my butter, buttermilk, and cream cheese for my pantry.

We are actively looking for a property which has 4 to 5 acres of mature woods and 20 acreas of pasturage for our animals with a pond or spring to water the animals.  We are also looking for some mature fruit trees on the property and maybe some black walnuts.  We have found some of these properties with most of our requirements and will be putting a contract on one of them as soon as we get our house listed for sale.  We have much to downsize.  Moving is expensive and we know we have way to much unnecessary STUFF!  43 years of marriage and losing all of our parents has really cluttered our lives with things that we just store.  We will be whittling our stuff down to necessities and some very sentimental items that we want to pass down through the family.  Some of those will be given away now while we can see the items being used by the grandchildren who have dibs on them.  My granddaughters have dibs on my Princess House Crystal of which I have quite a few pieces and sets that they are drooling for.  Besides that stuff is hard to move and keep it intact.

We are selfish I guess in looking for retirement possibilities and living closer to the earth the way I believe God meant us to, but we are also trying to be an example of a simple lifestyle that we would like our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to emmulate in the future. 

By the way we are going to be having a great grandchild in January and we worry about his or her future.  We hope that our farm could maybe stay in the family and be a help to the future generations of our family.  When we are gone we will be leaving our farm to our family with the stipulation that it stay in the family and that someone in the family run the farm and live the simple lifestyle that we will try to set up for our retirement.

If you live in an expensive state or a big city please consider finding a simpler lifestyle in a less stressful and less expensive place to simplify your life and thrive for your golden years.  Survival will be much easier where you live a hands on lifestyle.   God Bless!