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can you feed yourself and survive?

post #1 of 21
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Edited by Luc_H - 11/1/15 at 1:33am
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #2 of 21
No, I really couldn't. We do grow a garden but not large enough to freeze a lot or have that much variety in it. It's grown at a friend's house about 20 minutes from us so if we can't travel there, then it does us no good. We live on a rented lot (home is ours) so raising animals is out of the question the same as growing a larger garden. I'd love to be able to grow all my own food and it would sure help out with the household budget!
post #3 of 21
I agree - in summer I can grow a bit to supplement the fortnightly shopping, tomatoes, beans etc, but there's no way in a fit it would supply us solely. Meat would be a major problem, you can get some fish out of the river here, but then it'd soon be fished out if everyone were in the same boat (no pun intended).

As for keeping chooks and ducks - they need feeding too. Would the cost of the feed then be prohibitive as compared to the price of the eggs? And eating a bird would revert to being a Christmas or Easter delicay. And I can't see us eating snails - although if one were hungry enough one wouldn't baulk at the thought. Protein is protein. Maybe a worm farm.... :)

The dog and the cats would have to go (NOT into the stockpot! hehe). How could you support a carnivore when you'd struggle to support yourself? The guinea pigs (cavies) could stay - not as pets but just for breeding for food for us (no I don't think I could do that - but apparently they are tasty enough).

Not looking forward to the end of the world being nigh...
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 21
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Edited by Luc_H - 11/1/15 at 1:30am
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #5 of 21
I managed to kill off my cilantro and someone on this forum told me it grows wonderfully where I live. :(
post #6 of 21
I think if your in the city, you are pretty much out of luck........
growing up in rural georgia I got to see a lot of people that were
not on the books so to speak....no ss numbers....no birth certificates.
Stringing pole beans to dry.....root cellars that were nothing more
than burying you food in the ground.....parafin wax instead of tops
on canned food....pigs,squirrels,rabbits,racoons....to name a few that
hit the table.....sorghum syup....ramps....sang or ginseng...sassafrass..
dried apples....blueberries...and all sorts of other things....I wouldn't
say I could necessarily make a go of it...but it is possible as long as your
not locked in a concrete jungle....crayfish, crappy, bream, bass, trout,
crawfish, bullfrogs....sometimes I think it might be easier to survive by
the coast, but, I don't really know....Strange to pose the question...makes
you really think....
post #7 of 21
The basic question isn't, can you feed yourself now? The question is, could you do it if you had to?

It's said, by those who track these things, that the average big U.S. city could be self-sufficient for three days. After that, if outside aide wasn't available, the city would self-destruct.

Homesteading and return to the land movements have swept the U.S. and Canada is waves all through the second half of the 20th century. Mock castastrophe's---such as the fully-manufactured Y2K "crisis" have contributed to the desire for self-sufficiency. And we've learned a lot.

First off, the idea of self-sufficiency is laudable. But it's also an impossible dream if you mean to maintain your current standard of living. There are too many things you need that you cannot make yourself---or even barter for.

If you mean self-sufficiency on a late 19th-early 20th century level, then the answer is an absolute yes. It is very possible.

Next question: What will it take in terms of land, etc.? Although this really varies, the commonly accepted figure, to feed a family, is 5 acres. That assumes livestock as well as vegetable growing. For small, self-sufficient homesteads, "livestock" usually means fowl and goats, rather than, say, cows and horses. But, again, individual mileage may vary.

Many of us dream of self-sufficiency, or at least want that to be a goal. But how many of us actually prepare for it by learning the necessary skills. Quick, by a show of hands, how many of you could butcher a hog? Milk a cow? Put food by over an open fire?

It's one thing to grow a couple of tomato plants and a hill or two of beans. Quite another to grow enough food to mainatain a family for a year.

Anyway, family survival isn't all that hard. If you mean total survival, as in a real, global catastrophe, that's a different order of magnitude. You have to think, then, in terms of a life-boat community dedicated to survival of the species. Open question: How large a gene pool is necessary to assure that? And what skills, in addition to food production, would you want represented?

Ghee, Luc. Ain't you glad you brought it up.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 21
"The dog and the cats would have to go (NOT into the stockpot! hehe). "

Are you kidding, DC? Not only would they not go, they are fundemental to the concept.

Who's gonna keep the mice out of the grain bin if you don't have cats? And who's gonna protect the goats and rabbits from predators if you get rid of the dog?

The problem is, you think of them as parasitic pets, rather than as working members of the family.

>The guinea pigs (cavies) could stay - not as pets but just for breeding for food for us (no I don't think I could do that - but apparently they are tasty enough).<

I don't reckon that would work, DC, because of their size. The return on investment just isn't there. When you talk about small meat animals, rabbits are the way to go.

"sometimes I think it might be easier to survive by the coast, but, I don't really know..."

No question about it, Stephen. If you live by the coasts and know what you're doing, just reach out your hand and the sea will feed you. This is a little easier in the Pacific Northwest, but is true about any coast.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 21
I can milk a cow and do the open fire thing. Butchering the hog, no. I do know how to use a killing cone for a duck though, but I don't like it.
post #10 of 21
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Edited by Luc_H - 11/1/15 at 1:28am
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #11 of 21
KY,
I agree and disagree at the same time.....Although I live on one of the only, maybe the only, unreinforced large inlets on the Eastern seaboard, life would
be a little hard......Winter here is a pretty cold, even though its north Florida.
Fishing slows down, but you can still chum for sheepshead with barnacles and
catch a few bluefish and trout....clams start to sign in october...oysters are
plentiful...in fact I have a spot where the water never drops all the way and you can just pick up single cup oysters all day. There are plenty of cactus pears and other varieties you can eat, but, having grown up in North Georgia,
apart from the fish....things just don't grow here like they due there.....salt air
is tough......Wow...just thought about Manatees....the inlet is full of them at certain times...I've met a few old timers who say they are some of the best eating animals around....not politically correct though....Its a toss up for me...
Good points....all of them.....one things for sure, though....you'd be done for if you didn't take care of you and yours in this day and time....I think somewhere secluded would be a must...pretty scary to think about....people these days, they're just not the same.....
post #12 of 21
Fortunately, there is a large field about 100 yards from my house and it's filled to overflowing with wild ramen ...

Shel
post #13 of 21

Old, well armed hippies will be the last to go...

I read a book a long time ago called "Surviving into the 21st Century". It was all sorts of surviving outside the grid information. One thing I do remember is that 15 lbs of seeds per person per year will give a person enough to eat from eating sprouts in the cold months and seed for planting a garden in the summer. It also had recipes for making gunpowder and ink, birthing babies, building shelters. Hope I never have to use any of that sort of thing, though. I like going to the supermarket! I like my big screen!
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #14 of 21
KY - you're right about the cats and dog - I hadn't been thinking along the right lines there - can you tell I'm a city girl? :crazy:

But I can cook on a fire, milk a cow, and would have a good chance of butchering a hog. Can start with a live turkey and finish with a nice roast so that comes in handy. The feathers can be a pain - but then you do end up with pillows after enough birds. Or fancy hats for the kids! Can catch a fish with a stick, piece of string and a paper clip and a worm, then end up with a nice meal at the end of it.

But I do prefer the butcher and fishmonger.

One of the main problems would be potable water. I don't know, but this seems one of the crucial things if the end were nigh and civilisation broke down totally. Without it, we'd be sunk (oh no not another pun!!).

But I do promise to leave the guinea pigs alone - they are just too cute.

Great Thread :)



P.S. Luc - flattery will get you everywhere - lol - but its an interesting question you posed, that's for sure. Good question deserves a good answer.

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #15 of 21
>people these days, they're just not the same.....<

In a word, nonsense! People have always been the same. See, for instance, the Leakey's in the Olduvai Gap, and Dart in South Africa.

The first "tools" developed by people were weapons! Until recently, when we artificially prop up our least productive and our weakest, those who were best fit to protect themselves survived. Those who weren't didn't.

And I disagree with you about where you live. There are fruit and vegetable types that are adapted to growing where you are. Those are the ones to concentrate on. And you need to think in terms of food preservation as well as where the next meal is coming from.

Example: You're thinking "go catch a pompano for dinner" when the run is on. I'm saying, "go catch a bunch of them, during the run, so you can have dinner tonight, and dry or brine the rest for another time."

The fact is, Florida and south Georgia had several groups of indigenous people. They survived. You can too, if you take the time to learn how.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 21
>One of the main problems would be potable water. <

Maybe. And this would be more a problem in the cities than elsewhere.

But the whole concept of "potable" is nebulous. What is potable in a survival mode, and what is potable in terms of modern safety standards, are not the same things.

Example: On top of Pilot Knob, where Daniel Boone first "gazed on the level beauty of Kentucky" there is a spring. It is 700 feet in the air, naturally filtered through limestone.

By today's standards that water is not considered potable---the board of health has said so. Yet, people have been drinking it for more than 200 years with little ill effects.

I don't mean to minimize the problem. Potable water, worldwide, is the problem of the 21st century. But when it comes to survival, it really isn't a problem.

But we're really getting away from our muttons, I reckon. I don't think Luc was concerned with surviving a Malthusian catastrope, but, rather, was wondering if the typical family could grow enough food to feed itself. Those are questions of totally different orders of magnitude.

To feed your own family, on a small lot at that.

Even on a larger plot, in the country, I think self-sufficiency is an ideal you try for, rather than a goal you expect to reach. But it can be done.

Indeed, it's incredible what can be done on small plots, particularly when you learn intensive growing techniques, on one hand, and fully utilize the freehold above your garden, on the other.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #17 of 21
I recently read a series of books that touched on this subject... The Emigrant books by Vilhelm Moberg. It's about a group of people who immigrated to the US (Sweden to Minnesota, specifically) during the 1850's. The books are well-researched and concentrate on the daily lives of the emigrants/immigrants. While the story is fiction, the books stay true to history. I really liked the parts of how they cooked on the ship comiing to the US, how they adapted to the fruits and such that they found in their new abode, how they set up a home on a pristine plot of land and how they survived and prospered. Fascinating too was the description of the difference in how the Native Americans lived in that area compared to the attitude of the newly-arrived Scandinavians.
post #18 of 21
[quote=KYHeirloomer;181244]>
But we're really getting away from our muttons, I reckon. I don't think Luc was concerned with surviving a Malthusian catastrope, but, rather, was wondering if the typical family could grow enough food to feed itself. Those are questions of totally different orders of magnitude.

To feed your own family, on a small lot at that.
quote]

I reckon so too - it gives you food for thought though hey?

Cheers,
DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #19 of 21
Chris Wimmer has a small intensive farm with chicken tractors, a couple of bunnies on a run over the compost, goats for milk and I suppose they eat the boys.....green house and veg on probably 2.5-3 acres....animals have more land.

Most farmers selling at growers markets in STL have under 15 acres in production. Chris seems to have the symbiotic thing down alittle better than most.

I've got a foraging friend that is amazing. He hunts blackberries, wild raspberries, dew berries, turtles, fishes, gigs frogs, hunts shrooms....he is just a phenominal outdoorsman. All this in Mid-Western Illinois.

I can milk a cow, break down a pig (not killed one but cut up whole 260# hogs), made dried fruit, yogurt, gardened some....., in the 70's there were alot of preserving and make your own tofu/cheese/meal bread/ etc books....kinda back to the earth reading.....I may still have a few of them around. As to commando cooking, yep I can do that well.....
preserving I'm pretty proficient in....foraging ok not great.....
but raising grains and enough legumes, etc to make life enjoyable.....probably not....but I have alot of friends that are....."will cook/preserve/forage for grains".
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #20 of 21
>but raising grains and enough legumes, etc to make life enjoyable.....probably not....<

You'll forgive me, Shroomgirl, but I don't believe you!

Given the things you've done, and the things you know how to do, there is no reason, given the land, you can't grow enough grains and legumes to meet your needs.

Self-sufficiency implies organic growing, though. Which can be fairly labor intensive. It's one thing to hand-pick bean bugs off of ten plants; quite another to do it on ten long rows.

That's one of the reasons pioneers had large families: free working hands.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 21
Free working hands or yet another mouth to feed?
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