Top Common Traits of both Homesteaders and Preppers
It would seem as if in the world today, the partisan divide is at record levels and people are constantly reminded of how they are different and what separates them in their “group identity”. This is true not only in the realm of political partying, (pun intended) but also in regards to matters of race, social status, income and any other of a host of dividing lines that can be used to distract us from our ultimate goal of becoming a singular, human race or species for lack of a better term. Ironically perhaps, or maybe intentionally depending on your personal stance, it really is quite amazing what people can accomplish when they look for their common ground and use that as the basis for establishing goals and accomplishing what they have set out to accomplish, even if they may seem like unlikely confederates to the casual observer. This is the case when you consider the various types of people who desire to live off the grid.
The proverbial (rightist?) “prepper” has more in common with the most green, environmentally conscious (leftist?) “tree-hugger” than either has with the mainstream political movements of their (likely) respective political party affiliation or system of beliefs. Both have sought to get away from “civilized society” and live a more hearty, healthy and ideally, happy lifestyle, no matter what their ultimate reason for doing so has motivated them to consider making their move off the grid.
Living off the grid is not a truly Libertarian lifestyle given the massive numbers of laws, statutes, rules, regulations and other binding factors that government has imposed on anyone trying to escape the proverbial rat race, but it is far more free than a life in “civilized society”. As such, people who are independent enough to live completely off the grid, generally have a very good incentive to look for common ground and work together, not only to ensure the safety and security of one another, but to allow for an improved median quality of life in such an environment.
Often times, the proverbial “prepper” is a more rugged individualist and an avid outdoorsman, hunter and overall, generally well-adapted to a life in the wilderness. However, the proverbial “tree-hugger” is just as likely to be every bit as rugged, and may or may not be keen on hunting, but still desires the presence of meat on the table even if occasionally. Perhaps these individuals are better at gardening or otherwise creating and maintaining the literal fruits of nature. While these are general stereotypes, such is utilized here only for the sake of an example, and not to make any definitive claims about anyone staunch and hearty enough to live off the grid. A combined and cooperative effort betwixt the twain would allow for a much more healthy and balanced diet, with each making contributions to the other without any need for regulated transactions that would bring even more of “civilized society” on to their individual homesteads.
Security on the Homestead
Homestead Security is another common area of concern. A large number of people who live completely off the grid do not have the option of picking up the phone to dial 911 every time they hear a strange noise. Neither, however, do these people generally need laws to tell them that someone breaking into facilities on their homestead or that of their neighbor is a violation in and of itself, and should be dealt with accordingly. While it is not very likely that these people will be living directly next door in the sense that they would in the inner cities, it still may be possible to hear dogs or establish other warning methods that will allow for the neighbors to look out for one another. Barking dogs in the mountains can often be heard as much as a mile away depending on weather conditions and the local topography. While “booby traps” can be a bit more complicated, especially when they are rigged to notify different families some distance apart, such measures can also be implemented to allow for even more opportunities to assist each other should unwarranted intrusions occur.
Junkyard Hoarding Homesteaders
What was introduced once as “The Junkyard Principle” holds a special value for people who live off the grid. It is not that anyone would desire to live in a junkyard and indeed, care should be taken to prevent such an occurrence. But many of the items that are commonly discarded in “civilized society” can and should be parted out when someone lives away from easy access to all of the modern conveniences. This should not be confused with hoarding, however, and when these items have outlived their usefulness, they should be disassembled, with the salvaged portions being labeled and stored in an appropriate location, within a workshop or a barn perhaps. Screws, nuts, and bolts are among the most common items salvaged, though a great many “pieces and parts” also have numerous uses despite what their original application may have been.
An old refrigerator or two can be used in a greenhouse to start new seeds when planting, and there is generally plenty of room to share, should the neighbors have any difficulties with farming and new growth. Old alternators can be used for a variety of purposes, including charging batteries, and even for the construction of a rudimentary, even if only temporary, wind power generator. Belts, hoses, piping and a virtually endless supply of additional parts can be properly stored and made ready for use should they be needed. Again, for people who do live off the grid, it can be very beneficial to share with the neighbors as it is never known when the active homesteader will find themselves in need of something that their neighbor may have stored away.
Meeting the Neighbors
If there is an issue of major concern, it may be that a large number of people who live off the grid are by and large anti-social. This is not to say that they hate people, but merely do not want to be imposed upon on a regular basis. However, when moving into a more isolated area, it may be well advised to make a concerted effort to meet the new neighbors. Often a thermos full of hot coffee or other refreshing beverages, cold or hot, adult or not even, and a few light snacks may very well do the trick. It may not result in an invitation to enter their homes, but with a brief introduction and an explanation, accommodations can often be made for an informal “meet and greet”.
In the case of the author, the neighbors never really got to know each other until a severe wildfire was rushing through the area. Being as all of the homesteads were on a border region, there was a great deal of hemming and hawing by and between the individual State governments about who was responsible for suppressing the raging, fast-moving fire that threatened all of the local homesteads on both sides of the border. While the states hemmed and hawed, the neighbors all got together and fought back the flames enough to at least get them to circumvent all of the local homesteads. While such dire circumstances will hopefully not be commonplace, it would never be a bad idea to have a working knowledge of who the neighbors are and what their individual strengths may be, preferably long before disaster strikes off the grid.
As was mentioned above, the preparation of an appropriate assortment of beverages and a few light snacks may just do the trick. However, rather than trying to intrude on the neighboring homesteaders, perhaps invite them outside to join you, though it may be beneficial to have an adequate supply of paper plates, plastic cups and some kind of material to sit on just in case. Such an invitation will hopefully be followed by an invitation into the home to enjoy the snacks and get to know at least a little about one another. Some homesteaders may be reluctant to invite strangers in, or even to sit outside with them, but may still be amenable to a later meeting, at either location. If nothing else is accomplished, it may very well help the new homesteader to discover which of the neighbors are hospitable and which are best avoided whenever possible, though it can never be known for sure when even those that are most disagreeable, find themselves in need of assistance or just a little friendly fellowship.
When people finally make their move and establish a homestead off the grid, it is imperative to remember that all of those traits that used to separate and divide people in more “civilized society” become largely extraneous when living out in the sticks. Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of living off the grid is the very fact that the commonalities that individuals and families share, far outweigh their differences, even if they may not always agree socially. Furthermore, there is far less opportunity for those people living off the grid to be divided by superfluous trivialities that seem to matter so much in the “civilized” world that all humanity inhabits together. Then again, that is only one of the so very many things that make living off the grid so very appealing to so many people.
M “WC” Tipton is a former Homesteading and Prepper Consultant, former Hunting and Fishing Guide and now mostly a Freelance Writer writing about any of his many different passions for fun and for profit.
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