Friday, June 5, 2015

Prepper or Subsistence?

 Prepper or Subsistence?

Ever wonder how you are living?  Would it be a Prepper…or living a subsistence lifestyle?  Or perhaps something entirely different.  

I assume if you found our online journal, you are either interested in living simply, farm animals, my travel to Amish communities, or are fascinated with living and working with sled dogs.  I’ll try and explain what we are, in the simplest of terms. 

If you look at Webster’s definition, you may not even find the word “prepper”.  But under prepareyou will find “to get ready beforehand”.  That about says it all.

Under “subsistence”, you will find “means of subsisting: the minimum (as of food and clothing) necessary to support life”.  Ahhh…yes.

We are in the latter category.  Not that we don’t try to prepare for what is ahead, i.e. firewood, butchering a hog, putting up hay, etc.  But for the most part, we are subsistence folks, living a minimal lifestyle.  Minimalists, as sometimes referred to.  Or on our way to being…

Jesus told us in Matthew 6: 24-34, that we are not to worry about food and clothing.  He will provide for us.  “But we need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  {paraphrase}” Hopefully, you can take a peek at the scriptures to see the beauty of this passage, and more.

Speaking of my Bible.  I always have it within reach.  It isn’t hard, as our cabin is only 10 x 15.  But I suppose it wouldn’t matter how small our cabin would be if I didn’t have the desire.  I praise God for that desire…for that hunger.  Of His Word.

I also have my Ruger within reach, although it is secondary as to effectiveness in how to deal with this world.  My Bible wins out.

Today as I checked the game trails for last night’s activity, I pondered on how blessed I am to have the freedom to do so each morning.  It wasn’t always like this…  For years I was plugged in, working many hours and sometimes multiple jobs to buy the finer things in life.  Trinkets, really.  Now I find joy in living with less and less, and seeing the freedom it brings. 

I just noticed I wrote the word freedom twice in that last paragraph.  I seem to do that a lot – refer to my life as being “FREE”.  Freedom comes in many ways.  Let me see if I can share what I mean by this.

As for our lifestyle, we started with 15 acres, and slowly added more land around us until we were at the number of acres we were satisfied with owning.  40.  Russ built every building on our place, himself, using recycled materials mostly, until the acquisition of his portable saw mill.  This cabin, the Bear’s Den, on our “back ten”, was constructed by logs taken from our dog yard, making the way for a kennel in the earlier years.  This is not the cabin we live in, however it makes a nice “get-a-away” and I enjoy stopping daily on my walks and smelling the wood smell that only that cabin can claim.

As for our “main cabin”, in my last post “Deer Camp Livin’”, I had casually mentioned we were living “mortgage free”.  After I posted online, and left the Library and headed for home (we do not have Internet on our property), I wondered if I should have done that…shared that bit of information.  But then I thought it might give others the courage to set out and live a life like we do.  (Or a similar life, since our cabin does not have running water, hence the words “simple life” take on a new meaning when you head to the outhouse at 2:00 a.m., wondering if that is a black and white rabbit, or something more odorous...also black and white.) 

Simply put, we don’t have any mortgage worries, so we don’t have any PMI worries, nor do we have to worry about regular house insurance payments.  Pretty simple.  {That’s not to say we don’t have to pay for the land…} 

And, if we were to lose a cabin due to fire or natural (…or man-made) disaster, we would simply move to another on our property.  Would we be as comfortable?  Perhaps not, but it would be doable. 

You may be thinking…but how would you refurnish all that you lost?  Since Russ makes most of our rustic furniture, he would simply replace what we need.

Everything…is just stuff.  Truly, our treasure is in heaven.  The Lord tells us so.  Once a person truly feels that, it is easy to let go. 

For several years, we thought we would opt out of having a vehicle also, but in training our horses, we found it wasn’t going to be a solution for us.

Side bar:  My Amish friends smile and shake their head at my fear of horse travel, as I'm always refusing to ride along with them, opting for meeting them at our destination by my own mode of travel - my 2002 Ford Ranger truck tooling down the road. 

Here is another way to cut expenses, and bring more freedom to your life.  For years, we have only had one vehicle.  That means one insurance payment – and one registration/plate/license cost that hits us as a yearly "birthday present".  For us, we prefer an older vehicle, with fewer “bells and whistles”. 

Another way to access freedom is to have one phone (we do not own a smart phone) per family.  Yes, only one.  One bill – ours is less than $40 per month.  More on that later… 

I know this may sound peculiar to some folks, but the freedom it gives to be beholden to less, is intoxicating.  The more you do it, the more you will find it to your liking.  And the more creative you will become in doing so.

I had to laugh as I opened a bag of feed this morning and saved the string.  I “pooh pooh’ed” my husband for doing this years ago, but since I’ve been reading about what it was like in war time, such as in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it makes sense to be “ready”. 

Perhaps we are “preppers” after all…

I’ll go into more depth next time.

Until then, Lord willing,


P.S. turkey for me. May came and went...  Next time... {Is that a smile I see on his face?@!}

P.S.S.  Our two hens hatched out 14 chickens.  One hatched 4, and the other 10.  This bump adds significantly to our original 9 hens with one rooster.  Needless to say, with the worry about Avian Flu coming to Michigan, we will keep our flock closed, as we do not need to acquire any further chickens for our use.

P.S.S.S.  I’ll update soon about the Amish Auction I attended a couple weeks ago.  My Amish friends attended for the first time, as did my “farm friend” who graciously drove us all so we could experience more comfort and leg room.  Thank you Heather!

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