Food Independence, No Debt, and a Paid-For House

Food Independence, No Debt, Paid-For House

I believe that working towards these three goals will change your life.

1. Food Independence (or at least working on it)
2. No Debt
3. Paid-For House

I can tell you without a doubt that achieving these goals will free your soul from DEPENDENCE if you let it. The process alone will set you free from many stresses.

You have the opportunity to become truly liberated from a system that is designed to hold you down.

Food Independence

Okay, maybe literal food independence is difficult at best. Literal Level-4 preparedness which entails self-sufficient food production (various farming) is no small thing or even desirable for most… In fact it’s likely impossible for the typical working man or woman unless you’re working on your own farm!

However there is a lot (a very lot) that you can do towards becoming less reliant upon ‘the grocery store’.

Note: It’s a great feeling to look at one’s own stocked shelves of diversified foods!

Vegetable gardens are the start of the process.
Food preservation techniques are best learned next.

You can take it to whatever level that you choose, within the constraints of where you live.

Tip: If you get the equipment and know-how to ‘home can’ foods, then you will be able to take advantage of store Sales prices. Purchase in quantities sufficient to do a batch. Plus it will store on the shelf without refrigeration. We do this semi-regularly for deep sale prices of chicken.

Example: Boneless chicken breast was on sale not long ago for $1.79 at our grocery store so we bought 16 pounds and canned a batch.

Related article: My Pressure Canned Chicken

Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner
(view on amzn)

No Debt

This is huge. I mean really. For those who have pulled themselves out of debt know exactly what I mean. Becoming debt free is so very important towards self liberation.

Owing nothing puts YOU in the drivers seat, so to speak. No longer will a bank (or banks) weigh heavy on your shoulders. Sure, you will always have to pay taxes. But that’s just a given in this life…

Living BELOW your means is the simple and lasting solution. Resist the temptations to spend BEYOND your means. It’s really that easy. Eventually you will become debt free.

by Dave Ramsey:
The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
(view on amzn)

Paid-For House

This may sound impossible or completely daunting (paying off your home mortgage).

Paying off your house will take time, or a deliberate lifestyle change. But I’ve got to tell you that it will be one of the most amazing feelings in the world when you do.

There are a number of ways to approach this.

You can continue to pay your mortgage for 30 years (whatever your remaining term), or you can do it quicker. Some people will commit to paying more on their mortgage to pay it off sooner. It will still take TIME, however when you look back on it, you’ll be glad that you did.

Here’s a thought: Downsize. Give up the ‘BIG HOUSE’ for a smaller one. We’re all programmed to believe that bigger is better. But is it worth the price/debt burden? You might consider selling and then purchasing smaller. Lesser. You might find a piece of land out in the country with a smaller, older house on it. Maybe, maybe not. It’s worth exploring though…for some.

I can tell you that it’s worth the effort.

I have been able to achieve becoming debt free and a paid-for house (still working on enhancing the food independence part).

Years ago I chose to exit from a higher paying career and a life that was filled with it’s associated stresses and issues. I downsized. Sold everything and moved to a part of the country where cost of living was much less. While I don’t have a big income anymore, I can say with certainty that I am so much happier. I eek out a small living from this blog and I am able to work on the homestead. If I still had debt I would not be able to do this and pay the bills.

While it’s not for everyone, a lifestyle change emphasizing the three points above will be exhilarating and liberating!

Food for thought.


  1. Amen Ken,

    We are also debt free, mortgage free, and won’t go hungry for quite a while. It truly is a sense of real freedom from the normal life style.
    It is not easy . It requires a plan for each area described. A get out of debt plan is the most difficult as far as I am concerned.Plans are nothing but dreams unless you write them down , has been my experience.
    Self reliance is a critical factor to make it through the storms blowing our way.

  2. no mortgage no car payment plenty food just utilities takes work and dedication but doable

  3. The best wedding gift my wife and I received was my Mom putting us through financial peace university. My generation (millennials) have have no idea how important this information is! Now the wife and I are scrambling like crazy to get our house paid off and our pm’s stacked to help weather this upcoming storm. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. man do i wish we could own our own land but both of us are on ssd and a limited budget and unless by some freak stroke of SERIOUSLY good luck the best we could possibly hope for would be a tiny 2 room cabin and some old beat up old rv add to the fact that we are both disabled so guess we are stuck with a apartment yeah i know therer are places where there is still free land but im a fat old man with not very good health my other half is pretty much wheel chair bound so i guess we are pretty much shit outa luck but oh my god what a dream that is

    1. We do live in the physical world and have needs only full filled by it. The lifestyle begins in your soul and no one can take that nor does it cost. Best Wishes Kevin and DW.

    2. Do you have a balcony, or even a sunny window? Don’t sell yourself short.

      Do you have an unused closet you could convert to grow lights? Line it with mirrors, and in exchange for seedlings you get 1/5th of the produce rather than cash. “Sell” to people you know have property.

      1. Aha !
        Using grow lights will increase your electric bill, and the next thing you know, local law enforcement will be paying you a visit.
        Suspected marijuana growing.

        1. It depends on the type and watts..of “grow lights”. Daylight buulbs are not near as hot and produce sufficient for many crops.

        2. Have a look at sprouting and microgreens, people with spare rooms have been making good money with some sprouting trays and seeds, quick, easy and low start up costs.

          It’s the green sprouts that go into restaurant food.

    3. Kevin

      The challenges you face can be easier to bear depending on where you live. I know that the cost of living is much less in Northern ID as compared to Southern CA. I also know that the people here are more caring than I have seen anywhere else I have traveled. What I see is a population that will not just walk over you as you lay on the street, people actually open doors for you, people let you enter lanes of traffic, ….

      This is the lifestyle that we are fighting for, ethics, morals, freedom, ….

      1. yeah i hear you but being a old man with arthritis i can handle cold better than hot weather but hot weather does NOT cause aches and pains for ME but cold weather does

    4. Kevin, there is one great thing I learned,

      There’s nothing beyond the reach of determination.

    5. KEVIN: You mention you’re on SSD and I don’t know if that means you’re also on FoodShare (SNAP) and it’s none of my business to know the answer….but…I was just on Amazon looking at placing an order for some preps and noticed many (not all) of the Augason Farms, Mountain House, etc. long-term foods are EBT-eligible. Things like a 30-day supply for 1-person…#10 cans…etc. So if anyone knows of others who happen to be on food assistance, there are some long-term (sometimes up to 25-year shelf life) options available to round things out. Anyone can find space to store a couple buckets-o-food in the corner of a closet, behind the couch, etc.

      1. LeAnne/Kevin: Just as an option, they also take earned money too. Many, many thousands of earned dollars, no problem at all. Just in case the government teat ever runs dry.

        1. tmcgyver: I’ll be using earned money for my Amazon purchase. I just put that out there as a FYI for others who might be on some sort of assistance. I wasn’t saying Kevin was – it was just informational “just in case” or if anyone knows of others who might be trying to prep from very limited means.

      2. Also I believe vegetable seeds are able to be purchased with food stamps as well. At least I heard that was the case. I always wished TPTB would encourage this more so people can be more self-sufficient. That’s one thing I wish wasn’t ridiculed as much during the Obammer years – Michelle’s “garden.” Even though we know it wasn’t legit, the act of encouraging it was worthwhile IMHO.

        1. Mama Lark ,
          Indeed seed can be purchased with SNAP, has been that way for DECADES.(NO! we do not enjoy such benefits)
          The problem is people want instant gratification and no work to do to gather in the food produced from those packets.

      3. im WAY ahead of you i have been dehydrating diff foods for YEARS and we havea not bad stock pile already built up we could always use more but aint that the case with everybody?

        1. Hang in there as others are saying….I just had a can of chicken noodle with a best by date of April, 2014. It was generic, not name brand and tasted great!!
          Just a reminder to not throw out stuff just because govt. guidelines say to. That adds up.

    6. Kevin: First know you are in my families prayers. We all have an eternal destiny and it is going to be glorious. Second I like Lauren’s msg. If there is any way either you or someone you know could help you grow your own veggies do it. Do you belong to a church in your community? I have gotten so much help from church members for which I am thankful. At one time I was pretty heavy into the tiny home movement but my wife is a different story. She has a closet as big as a tiny home!!!

      Nevertheless, we march on. I have a lot of debt cuz I had sue my father over our business. Unfortunately, he is a big narcissist disguised as a minister. I’m lucky to have a home based business and I am heavy into the stock market so I trade at home. I suppose each of us has some sort of “thorn in the flesh.” But we serve a great God who loves us and His grace is sufficient for the entire world.

      Thank you for sharing your situation and be safe and strong. Glad to know you are here!

    7. KEVIN, I have disabled friends who are on disability and one on regular SS but she has MS and live in rental home. They got permission to put in raised beds. They are well above ground level so they have no problem bending or stooping.
      there are always work around…don’t be afraid to think around 5he issue or ask permission.

  5. It appears there will be another government check coming out. Since it’s coming to most people whether they like it or not, I suggest those not prepared enough use the $$$ to stock up on longer-term food items. You can’t eat paid down or paid off bills, you can’t eat savings in the bank, you can’t eat whatever “stuff” you or the family think you “need”.

    For me, every penny of it will be going towards rebuilding my food storage, etc. When I moved from Milwaukee to Florida, I gave up a three-year food supply (among other things) – worst decision I ever made was giving up my house and a secure situation to relocate. I moved back to Milwaukee in July and I have a three month supply rebuilt, so far. I have no debt.

    1. Great post. I have a 17 year old Tribute.. and I look at my driveways at the cars and bet not one of those houses could last one month if trucks stopped deliveries.
      Food should always be first on the list of stores.
      Cold houses will hurt, heat in houses will hurt, but starving is unimaginable.
      There are tricks to staying cool and warm–I don’t know of any tricks to creating food out of nothing.

      1. There is food everywhere but people don’t know about them since the old days when pioneers brought them over from the homeland and natives used these foods in the old days. In warmer months I ate dandelions and baby birch leaves in spring, Cattail stems, lambsquarter and plantain, burdock, nettles, rose hips and petals, are just a few. They all grow wild, some in yards, back alleys, and open lots in the cities. Even the Common milkweed shoots rival asparagus in the spring for taste. When you have no knowledge of these edible plants and read a book on them, it is like “creating food out of nothing.”

        1. Stardust so very true. Of course one has to be able to walk well and bend well, usually. There are some neat long handled weed pulling tools available too.

  6. If you take out a mortgage, make sure they don’t charge extra for paying it off early.

    If you have a paid off car, rather than going out and taking out debt again continue to make a car payment into a savings account. Then pay cash for a new one when your car dies.

    Similarly, if you buy any appliance or make a large purchase (such as a new furnace) once it’s paid off make those payments to yourself. Once you have the price of that item in savings, continue to pay it to yourself into whatever category you want.

    1. Lauren,

      Excellent advice! In a TEOTWAKI situation, many assume debts won’t matter. Unless the whole putrid structure falls, I wouldn’t assume that. Debt can be used to seize assets, including preps.

  7. No debt, no mortgage, years of supplies and ability to be somewhat self reliant for food (chickens, turkeys, daily eggs etc., gardens when weather permits….lots of foods put up for later.
    Country lifestyle despite the “down sizing”….slightly smaller home, a little less acreage but still plenty.
    We are very fortunate, but worked very hard to get here….it truly takes great discipline and determination (and some sacrifice). I would wish this for ALL our MSB family!

  8. Not Free and clear on the house just yet but A best case scenario for limiting financial exposure.
    We just refinanced to 15 year fixed rate mortgage and shaved off 10 years of payments. That alone saves 100K+ of dollars… and guess what? Our payments are the same…

    Next we have a savings that can cover 3 years of payments on the mortgage.
    This will help limit the impact of an economic waste land.

    Bring on the Hyper inflation… All other areas are covered no need to spend money on other useless stuff… Let’s just say we sit a lot higher on the hill than most other people in this country and there is a lot of hill below us for sh…t to run down it.

  9. I was in hock for a $42,000 debt 10 years ago and had a modest income to boot and paid it all off 2 years ago while paying cash for repairs, med bills, truck, mower, and furnace. Now the learning experience I had saving money is a bonus that I can fall back on if times get rough. I am set much better being debt free than I ever was in my whole life!

  10. I hear you! Wasn’t it Meatloaf that said 2 outta 3 ain’t bad? I’m almost there.

  11. Food independence. Question, if canned foods in the store last for years why would i open them to can them myself? Just curious

    1. I wouldn’t bother. Instead, I buy fresh (or utilize fresh from garden) and home can.

    2. Omrma you might want to read slower. He was referring to buying Fresh Boneless Chicken Breast CHEAPLY and cooking-canning it for later as electricity is sometimes a questionable assumption with bad times from Socialism.

      Or as the old joke goes “What did socialists use before candles? Electricity!”.

      1. NH Michael. Excuse my ignorance. I am new to canning and have only recently begun to can string beans, tomatoes and some pears. I’ve followed the instructions given on these forums and they seem to be spot on. I did not know I could apply the same technique to chicken breasts and I assume other meats. Would the shelf life be the same?

        1. Eli,
          You MUST use a pressure canner for ALL meats and any other low acid canning.
          Not trying to butt in but ya said you were new to canning.
          Be safe and happy canning!

        2. Eli,
          Again not trying to butt in but yes shelf life would be comparable

        3. Eli – Same as MadFab said. I had pressure canned 2014 pork last weekend in a skillet stir-fry with red peppers and onions. I do prefer venison and beef as my canned meats of choice however.

        4. Northern Sarge,

          I haven’t done pork before. What cuts do you use? Chunks and same Raw pack as chicken? I generally cut up the breasts into chunks. Would be really cool to be able to do whole Pork chops tho..

        5. I tried whole pork chops. Doesn’t taste exactly like pork chops, but it works.

        6. Lauren – Yes, the wife wasn’t impressed with the drier pork loin that I canned which is probably comparable with your pork chops.

        7. Re: canning Pork.. I have done loin, cubes, cooked and raw pack roast,Sausage and bacon( was not impressed with it).
          We usually get the drier pork cuts, like loin,, i cut in strips or rectangles, raw pack mostly. add a tsp of meat tenderizer and sometimes onion powder.abt a tbsp water per pint to wet spices i put in., I make sure to leave a opening in the center, i use a wooden spoon handle to open a small hole, for better circulation…of fluids…

          We use most Pork for cooked recipes like green chili, or combine with pork broth,…add potatoes, onion carrots and celery for a quick pork stew..we have all of those in dehydrated versions. Also works well for creamed Pork.. Make a good thick gravy and chip up pork in it.. serve over biscuits or toast- your preference.
          . Almost all Beef we dehydrate.Once reconstituted can not tell it from fresh in recipes- usually n pasta dishes… have not tried using it for “extendo burgers”.
          Chicken use same ways would use fresh chicken.can batter and fry,make chicken noodle soup or chicken stew, pot pie… that actually…has chicken in it,

        8. Doubletap – That 2014 batch was all from pork loin which is a dryer cut unlike the shoulder. I cut up the loin into 1″ chunks (more or less), pan browned in a little oil and hot packed in water in pints for 75 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure ’cause I’m under 1,000′ of elevation. Pressure canned pork shoulder makes great pulled pork sandwiches.

          Oddly enough, I started canning my fish (carp) at 15 lbs of pressure about 20 years ago and never changed it to 10 lbs because an oldtimer said to do it at 15 lbs. Better than tuna! Works for me and the missus…I’m not a big fan of canned chicken so I haven’t done any of that in the last 4 years.

        9. If you like sausage you gotta try the Jimmy Dean Rolls. I’ll cook about 15 1 lb. rolls about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way, fits around 14 pints, then can at around 12lbs of pressure. Love it when the wife asks me to get her a jar cause I know she’s making home made biscuits and sausage gravy.

          Canned some bacon a few months back. Good stuff!!

        10. The process is definitely different for doing meats and lower acid foods. What you described, I believe, is water bath canning. Doing the chicken requires a pressure canner, a very different thing requiring very different equipment. Ken posted a link to an old article he wrote on doing chicken, check it out for an overview. It can be very satisfying to open a jar of home canned meat, potatoes and carrots and whip up stew that only requires heating it through.

        11. Eli:
          As someone that has been “Canning” for about 300 years.
          I would have one suggestion to someone just beginning to Preserve Foods.

          Buy the book (hard copy, not Kindle) “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”.
          It is the Bible of Canning.

        12. I agree, that is the best reference. BTW NRP, hows that wooly mammoth you canned awhile back?

        13. That is very true, I have my mother and grandmother’s copies.
          The recipes can’t be beat.

        14. I have the Kerr version. Still refer to it today. I recall the ‘old days’ in the 1980’s when you sent off a check and a paper order form to buy mine. :-)

        15. Mrs. U,
          I’ve seen that version, great also. At least half of my canning jars are Kerr jars and i have boxes of Kerr lids also. Great products.

        16. Eli, Thankfully MadFab gave you good information :-) I was pretty busy dealing with Winter Storm Gale. Still have a little more this am. A small Nor’easter.

          Canning is both a science and a artform. Worth getting a Ball’s Canning Book or such as someday this internet *might* be *ah* Un Reliable…

          When it’s IMPORTANT Hard Copy.

    3. Good question. I just posted my lunch was a can of chicken noodle best by date april, 2014. It was great.
      Waste of resources to do that….however, we all know the citrus fruits aren’t for long term storage. I bought cases of big can peaches for $1 years ago and when I was afraid of losing them, I canned them and have already eaten all of them.
      So, I guess there are times it happens.

      1. Movin’ to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches
        Movin’ to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches
        Movin’ to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches
        Movin’ to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches
        Peaches come from a can
        They were put there by a man
        In a factory downtown
        If I had my little way
        I’d eat peaches every day
        Sun soakin’ bulges in the shade

        yup you walked into that one ;)

      2. Ate a can of Sam’s chicken breast 2010 in soup. Not a thing wrong with it. Not totally up to par, but good in soup.

    4. Omrma,
      I re-can diced tomatoes.. Our crop was very poor this year… a #10 can is too many tomatoes for us to use at one time…+Buying a number 10 can is at times- cheaper than the same number of oz. in smaller cans. I take the diced tomatoes and hot water bath them in re-used jars, concentrating the tomatoes. It leaves a tomato juice product left, which i reduce and concentrate for adding as stock to stews or casseroles.Nothing is wasted and i have sufficient.
      Some high acidic veggies and fruits do not keep the length of time they may be dated. I have had canned oranges and pineapple ruin on the shelf. Those things that are not able to grow in my area- i purchase canned, fresh or frozen and choose to use some from can and change form of others… acidic things do not react with the glass canning jars….dehydration and re canning my two main options.

  12. I am seriously close to the house being debt free. During the Great Recession, we used our secure incomes and high credit score to re-finance to a very low interest 15 year loan shortening our mortgage by 12 years. We had briefly considered buying the much bigger newer house with a 30 year for the same monthly payment but decided it wouldn’t be prudent. So glad we did.

  13. Give up the ‘BIG HOUSE’ for a smaller one.

    Not in my part of the country. I have several thousand saved for a down payment so I can move to new house before I sell this house..nothing is out there…it’s either trash, or needs lots of work which of course isn’t smart, when you consider what I’d have in the new house, just pay larger taxes for here, close doors and not heat rooms, and stay here.. The realtors buy most small houses or alert their friends…I have no inside realtors as friends. One property was reasonable, needed no work, and the next morning after listing, it was sold.
    It’s a shame…I am stuck here.

    1. AND>>>>I don’t mind the mortgage..our mortgage now after refi is halved and is less than rent in this county. If I could pay for this, I would, but I can’t. We bought in 2007 and just are never gonna have this free of debt which is why I refinanced.
      And, why would I want to own this house?? So, the state can take it when I’m sick. I have no family, no children.
      Now, if I could move to smaller house, all that changes.

  14. I’m pretty well set.
    I bought several acres of swamp land (for cash) 45 years ago; today priced over $110,000/acre.
    Not so swampy now. Built my house ( completely paid for), improved the property, raising food stock, 2 vehicles completely paid for. Salt water fishing within walking distance.
    Of course,with the property values increasing, the property taxes with it.
    Have 2 pensions plus Social Security.
    As I said – I believe I’m pretty well set.

    1. I neglected to mention that house heating here is not needed, and if the air conditioning (electricity) was no longer an option, it would be uncomfortable, but not life threatening.

      1. We are shooting for the opposite. Want to retire to the woods and heat with wood and not need A/C. I have lived with only wood heat in the past and chopping wood with an axe was my therapy.

      2. Solar panels and thus powered Fans. Sleeping porches, old and new tech can be made to work together. Solar lights are MUCH safer and better than candles.

        (In my best Gone with the Wind Voice over) I believe Scarlett would have approved.

        Folks while the Amazon system is still functioning get your priorities figured out. The price of decent quality solar equipment will never be so cheap. Also repair items like aluminum screening material and sheet plastic to fix broken-ripped up windows and screens.

  15. Paid-For House? No such thing, If you owe taxes they can and will foreclose on your paid for house and sell your house. Its called a tax lien foreclosure and a tax deed sale. Yea, Its legal theft.

    1. Not in Texas. If you are drawing SS, and your house is declared your homestead, legally they cannot foreclose as long as you don’t have any other liens such as a mechanics lien. True, someone could “attach” a lien per a judgement or some such, but there is nothing they can do to your home unless you sell it. Then they can collect. My father is a dumbass because he has a lien of $100K and he cannot sell it without having to pay it WITH INTEREST for the last 10yrs.

  16. Ken,another great article…
    This should be folks New Year’s resolution…

  17. Debt is slavery. Period.
    I’ve realize for years of my life, every single month, but now I realize more because I have not debt anymore. Agree, this is HUGE, and this Pandemic year is a true proof of this.

      1. But, back then…slavery was commonplace and accepted. Plus, the rights of the lender to enforce their debt upon the borrower were quite horrid. Indeed, a person, who did not pay back the debt could actually be enslaved.

  18. I dont know how you folks in cold country do the food independence thing, i mean i know the theory, but holy cow, it means you need to spend the growing season non stop focused on growing, canning, protecting etc, one failure and thats toast, It gives you a whole new appreciation for the settlers and pioneers. The American indians must have had some sort of system too, i know the dried meats etc, wonder what they did with vegetable stuff? I would assume mostly wild growing squashes of some sort?
    I would imagine famine was pretty common.

    we really do have a lot of convenient advantages these days, even if we turn off the power, our knowledge and gadjets can really improve the odds

    1. Tell me about it! My growing season is SHORT. 120 days if LUCKY between frosts – but it’s usually less than that at my AO. Greenhouse or equivalent structures/frost-protection – be it large scale or small is almost necessary. Livestock isn’t so much a problem. Chickens. Rabbits. Pigs… The early natives certainly had their challenges! Anyway, I do somewhat envy a warmer climate – though every locale has its pros and cons. If the lights went out here, I would be facing quite a challenge – despite my preps and homestead. >>Long winters.

      1. Ken,
        even the available daylight hours,, thats another one, need to work like hell to get everything done in those short days, of course cant do as much because nothing is growing but if no outside inputs there will be a lot to accomplish in those short days, can you imagine, no ATVs or snowmobiles or compact tractors, no pickup trucks, no battery powered head lamps or flashlights, no gas or hydraulic log splitters, no pressure canners or mass produced canning supplies that you can just have delivered from Amazon, no gas stoves or lights, the list goes on and on,

        no wonder folks lived to the ripe old age of 40!

        1. That was the average age. Some of those who lived past 40 lived near or into their 2nd century. It wasn’t unusual to have a 90 year old who has only one surviving child out of ten. The youth mortality was insane, and for the most part the babies lost aren’t even counted in that average. If they were, it would be much lower.

        2. My understanding is that the high infant mortality knocked overall lifespan numbers way down.

        3. To some extent it did. However, the vast majority of lost infants (still births, children died during or just after birth without being christened, etc) aren’t counted from a historical perspective because those numbers simply were not kept. Historians use the numbers available, but we know for a fact that many of those numbers are incomplete at best.

    2. Kulafarmer,

      You said it exactly. The growing season is just that – the growing season, where that is the primary focus. I don’t mind it, probably because I’m used to it. It also makes that first frost somewhat of a relief because it means the close of that intense time of work. Of course, that assumes one had good results! As Ken said, there are tricks and work arounds for extending the growing period, and freezing some things to can later when there’s more time. For me, it gives a greater appreciation for each season, since they come and go regularly. Plus, it makes for good complaining, lol. When it’s cold, I miss the heat of summer; when it’s hot, I miss the cold of winter. ;-)

    3. Yes, starvation was as common (or more) among the American Indians as it was in the rest of the world. Our ancestors lived on the edge, so those who knew how to “preserve” things like grapes (wine), meat (sausages/hams) and dairy (cheese) had a distinct edge over the rest. Grains could be kept in their own state, but how do you carry a ton of grain when you’re nomadic? Squashes were bred to last long into the winter and they were a staple in the Americas.

      With starvation came increased susceptibility to disease and cold, which were the next two largest killers. Many years ago I read a book about a woman who was starting her “third family.” Her children and husband had been killed in a house fire. She adopted several children whose parents had died, and they died of cholera. The cholera epidemic also carried off a lot of parents, so her third family was two children whose parents had died in that same epidemic.

      This wasn’t all that unusual. In genealogy you can see it–a woman has three husbands, the first two die young. Often you’ll see people married four or five times over their lifetime, and it wasn’t because of divorce.

      1. Lauren, my grandmother was married (and widowed 3 times.) She had 9 children, 7 who lived. A family they met when she took in boarders. One of the boarders had a scholarship to high school. He had 10 brothers and sisters. Two of his family married two from my mother’s family.

  19. Stardust,
    We have one too.Years ago when they first moved in DW took over a pie and introduced herself, and was told that they wanted to be left alone. Over the years we hove spoken with them maybe once every 6 months, pretty much when they needed our help. So they haven been what i call “good neighbors”, but not “bad” ones either. just “stand-offish”. Keep waving to them, they may figure it out yet.

    1. Miner jim,
      We wave to everyone we meet on our dead end road. Waves are free and may be the start of a good neighbor relationship. Be sure to use all your fingers. heh heh

      1. Bluesman,
        Have waved to everyone here since we arrived. 12 years. All the locals do too.(Those that don’t are somewhat suspect.) We all know each other by a wave and the vehicle, have never met many of them, but would stop to help them as they would for me. I love living out here in the boonies.

  20. Stardust, keep an eye on those folks, especially if the stuff hits those whirling blades

  21. The system wants you in debt because when your boss tells you to do something unethical to make the company more money, you do it. Free people speak up and are a check and balance.

  22. We are food independent + the acreage to supplement if necessary; working on going debt free and our farm is totally paid for.
    Our suggestion, buy a quarter section of good land away from cities but fairly close to a town, make certain you have good well, raise chickens and vegetables along with cereal grains.
    As the British used to say, “Bob’s your Uncle.”

  23. Our amazing Godmother who passed away a few years ago at age 92 said her father would work in the factory each day, come home for dinner, then walk over a mile to their quarter acre land to manage their vegetable garden. Many had gardens in their yard but they did not have room -small yard. They would rent out one bedroom in their home to a boarder who had meals with them. They kept a barrel of flour, a wheel of Romano cheese, and one live chicken was delivered each week to be dispatched by her mother. Salt was important and milk was also delivered weekly in jars. They knew how to eat “weeds” to keep vitamin levels up.

    1. Sounds like me. Eat the weeds. Most people today would starve to death in a field of food.

      1. Stardust,
        we could eat for months on the weeds around our property,,,
        not ideal, but better than nothing and if prepped right decently tasty

      2. Stardust, exactly! I think of my Godmother when I read your posts as you sound like a young version of her. 😊. They knew how to get by and put by.

  24. I live the debt lifestyle. I pay almost no interest because when you have a near perfect or perfect credit score people offer you money for free. Discover just sent me a deal where I have no interest in purchases until 2022.

    However, I have decided where I truly save money is not paying for anyone’s labor. I literally cut out all of it. I have no repairman. I don’t pay salespeople. I don’t even pay people to porter my new cars at the dealership.

    I recently put new windows in the house. I custom ordered them all top-of-the-line Jeld-wen. Couldn’t get anyone to budge on price for Anderson. Anyway, whole house of windows for the price it cost the neighbor to have someone change their master bedroom windows out. I saved like $800/window doing it all myself.

    I still owe six figures on the house. I have four times the house debt in the bank. Why? Because I am earning 6%+ on my money while borrowing someone else’s at 2ish percent. I still owe on student loans also for the same reason.

    Work smarter, not harder, applies to finances also.

    1. pinky – Based on your narrative, we have much in common. First, congratulations! Second, beware. I still have an 850, but once you have milked the system for awhile, they catch on to you; then they cut you off. AMEX since 1987, worked their awards for a few years then I ran at them with a plat referral and they sent me a really aggressive, nasty letter, demanding to know how I intended to use the account. I told them to sod off, and they did. I closed my account and have not received anything from them in five years. Ditto Discover. Long time, high limit, copulated them for their points for years. Then they blocked donations to Kyle Rittenhouse. I protested. They invited me to sod off. Boom! There went another one. My mailbox has nothing for me anymore. All the card offers come in my kids names. Indentured fresh meat is what they want.

      1. Yeah. Citi hates me for that reason. I abused their cards for years then I quit using them because the rewards got lame. They closed them with no warning claiming inactivity. I’m now a Citi customer again via Costco and Sears card, to which they hate me. They are dumb enough to offer me 20% back on groceries… Sure I’ll use it… Until December 31st when the promotion ends.

        In reality I cost them money–I still make credit cards send me paper bills and I just shred them. Free firestarters. I also mail in the stupid opt-out forms so they can’t sell my information. It’s a lot of “work” to do all this but I literally earn thousands of dollars a year more just by spending my money carefully using the tools available to me.

        I have a couple of those stupid Chase Sapphire cards, the ones that cost a small fortune to be a member with. This year they had a promo where you got 1.5x points bonus on certain categories by paying a purchase back with points.

        I bought a $2200 dual ice maker french door refrigerator this year from Lowe’s using that perk. It cost me $1500 in points I earned on other purchases this year with random Chase cards earning at different rates.

        1. Chase Sapphire is nice for flying. You can transfert directly to Chase Southwest. We pay off every month and fly free couple times a year.

    2. Pinky, to earn 6% you have it in the stock market. You truly only “earn” any gains realized when that stock is sold. If the market crashes, you lose it all. The same for any held in the bank. Your hard asset of home is not yours because the bank owns it. You are working for “the man”:rather than yourself.

      I used to think that way also. However, there is no comparison to the peace of mind realized when you receive that paid off mortgage note. And when you have sufficient cash on hand to pay for an emergency situation. The peace a stocked pantry provides is immeasurable. When we quit trying to leverage other people’s money and simplify the utilization of our own, we gain true peace and accumulate our own hard wealth. And Life choices open for us that also bring us peace.

      1. I used to have everything paid off. Learned it from my parents to avoid debt.

        Decided to join the debt game to leverage it. Have been in and out of it depending on many factors. I survived the dotcom bubble bursting unscathed but not the accounting scandals of the early 2000s. Recession hurt, but not too bad. I was down 30% for a couple years.

        My debt doesn’t change. It’s not like magically tomorrow I have to pay it all off or that the interest rate changes at a whim.

        Let’s take my 2.35% mortgage. Inflation is what, 2.1% right now? I’m out .25% and earning 6-25%. Plus the government subsidizes it. What happens when inflation gets to 3%? My payment stays the same and I’m paying my debt with cheaper dollars.

        You have to use the tools available to you make your way through the world. Right now the bank has a lien on my home but the contract lets me pay it off whenever I want.

    3. The look on my girlfriends face when I say “I can fix it”. Which I say every time. Occasionally I need a repairman :)

  25. You are so right Ken. It is definitely freeing. We are debt free, grow most of our veg. & fruit, buy eggs & meat & sometimes wheat for cash from local farmers. Mostly buy other food items with cash when on sale. This year paid 3 years land taxes in case the reset borrows our bank account. In the dirty 30ies many people lived under a wagon box on the road allowance after they lost their farm when they couldn’t pay their taxes. We are way to old to do that & besides we don’t own a wagon box. Now with this cyber attack who knows when banks may shut down because they’ve been hacked. Need a little cash on had too.

  26. No one will ever own anything, or move freely without paying a tax, fee or fine. No one is free. Try not paying a tax on ANYTHING you think you own, see how long you keep or use it.

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