[Homestead] Homestead survival plan

clanSkeen sgian at planetc.com
Mon Sep 27 23:34:15 EDT 2004

I have reread TVO's survival plan and can say that to a certain extent I can
verify that it is on target.  We paid cash for this land and moved up an old
(older than me but made of good materials) mobile home that I overpaid $800
for and lived in that for almost three years.  The first thing we built was
a workshop into which was hoarded tools and every sort of materials
(electrical, plumbing, fasteners, wire, etc.).  We built the house with a
stone foundation, stone and brick for several feet around the stoves in all
directions, and an enameled metal roof (over top of 1" sheeting).  It is
under a grove of huge oak trees which requires constant vigilence but it is
cool all during the summer.  We are in the middle of huge forest (the
Cherokee National Forest) where dead standing wood is free for the taking
(asking and then taking) so the house is heated and food is cooked with
wood.  We are twenty miles from small cities and almost 140 miles from large
cities (Roanoke and Knoxville).   Taxes (at present) are cheap and insurance
is cheap.  For example the property taxes on the 20 acre farm and house went
up hugely this year to $280 ( a year).

We seem to have been attending the Tvo school of homestead survival unawares
even in some of the small details.  For example, my father and I are amateur
radio buffs and I have two of the old Heathkit HW-12 trancievers that
operate off a 12v car battery (just about forever).  If I can find a few
more, I'll get them.  In the event of a meltdown, they provide periodic
communication even globally.  In the event of a meltdown, we will be little
concerned about licenses.   Gotta keep that code up to speed though.   Used
to do nearly 50 wpm but I'm not in that much of a hurry now of days.  (That
is, I couldn't do it now!)

Also we are located in a "holler" whose access is a narrow mountain road if
it should ever need defending, and our own "driveway" is 2000' through a
notch so deep and narrow we call it "the Valley of the Shadow of Death" ...
all according to the Gospel of Tvoivozhd.

So Tvo isn't just blowing steam with his plan.  It is the backbone of a
workable life's plan, we are in some way the workshop of same.

I'd add a couple of things:   don't trim your homesteading boat so that any
wave or wake will upset it.   What I mean by that is that you need food and
fuel and water on a continuous basis.  Even a short time without them puts
you at the mercy of things outside your infuence.  So I want to make sure I
can grow corn next year and have kale and turnips this winter (and milk and
eggs and such too).  I am happy to rely on wood for fuel since I can go out
to the woods any time and renew it.  But clothes, nails, tools, pipes, and
such are much longer term prospects.   It is easy to keep your boat even in
the water for a very long haul with a little planning.  When times are good,
put away blankets, jeans, shorts, towels, shoes, nails, wire, etc. so that
if evil (or interesting) times come, you can ride them out for years until
better times come.  Better times always come just as evil times always come.
That is, prividing youself with coveralls is not the same thing as providing
yourself with soup and bread.

Plan for 94% of your life.  People used to ask what we would do if a storm
filled our notch full of snow, how would we get out?  The answer is "we
wouldn't."   The world won't come to an end if we bow out for a few days.
Planning for 100% of your life is ten times more expensive than planning for
94% of it.   The other 6%  isn't that important.  This holds true for the
question "What will you do when you are alone on that mountian, all your
children are gone - not interested in homesteading, you can't garden and you
can't do your luthier work,  you are too old to look after chickens and milk
the cow and make bread (or - gasp - run a pint of  'shine) .. what will you
do then?    The answer is:  then?  We will die.   But by the gods that other
94% is gonna be something!

One more thing.   You have to have a vision.  Now Tvo is very good a plans
and with him not being all that far away I've been tempted once or twice to
shamelessly pick his brain more than decorum would deem seemly.  For example
I've got this plan for an injection molding system using recycled soda jugs
I want to set up for my eldest and can you even imagine what Tvo has already
forgotten about that!  Tempting.  But all that Teultonic and Slavic
precision must also have a vision.  There's no doubt it's there, but it
isn't the side of equation that is as easily expressed as the quantitative.
It is summed up in this:

A vision without a task is and empty dream
A task without a vision is drudgery

In the survival plan, have the task honestly laid out before you and
evaluate it coldly; but have a vision as well.   Then you won't need that
last 6%  ... or more likely you will get that last 6%  with interest.  Now
there's MY investment plan.


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