Homesteading: Stocking Up on a Year or More of Supplies

“To homestead” has a new meaning nowadays. High gas prices and the subsequent high prices of everything else are causing some people to go to extremes. They have begun “homesteading” – which is basically stocking up on a year or more of supplies. And then you, well, just stay home mostly.

These new homesteaders are growing huge gardens. They are buying chickens and cows for eggs, milk, and eventually meat. They are switching their heat sources to wood, pellet, or coal stoves. They are chopping down old, unwanted trees and stocking up on rice coal to keep the home fires burning. Some are buying diesel cars and then driving around with large barrels to collect old French fry grease at restaurants to convert to biodiesel for these cars. One woman even sold her car and bought a bike to ride to the store and to visit her grandchildren. They are installing solar panels on rooftops to collect sunshine to power their decreasing electricity needs. They are selling their televisions and other “useless” electricity hogs. They don’t use their clothes dryers, but hang their undies out on clotheslines. I have not yet seen anyone washing their clothes in rivers, but maybe I’m not looking in the right rivers.

Some “homesteaders” have bought guns and installed huge fences around their land to ward off the unaware and unprepared people from their stock of supplies when there is no longer any gasoline or heating oil, food is no longer affordable, and everyone is walking around hungry, disoriented, and ready to storm the homesteaders’ homesteads.

The panic is understandable – somewhat. Our vegetable garden this year is way bigger and more varied than last year’s measly crop. And my husband spends most summers chopping down old, unwanted trees for firewood. We buy tons of rice coal to keep the home coal stove fires burning. We last had our heating oil tank filled three years ago. The coal and wood stoves heat our home – unevenly, but bearably. Our oven is electric as are our clothes washer and dryer, but we rarely use the dryer and we question ourselves regularly about heating up frozen pizzas. We hang our undies in front of the coal stove in winter and outside the rest of the year.

However, we don’t yet have chickens or cows pecking and mooing around. Our lovely pool is still for swimming, not a cement fish pond. We have a shotgun for in-season critter hunting only. We still have two TVs and no plans to sell them. We have not built a high fence around our land because it would block our view of…well, the view, which is gorgeous rolling hills saturated with trees and trees. And if we sold our cars and bought bikes to ride, well, it would be a long, long ride from New York to California to visit our relatives.

Homesteading. No, not for us…not yet anyway. How much does a cow cost anyway?

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