Despite what you may be thinking, this isn’t primarily about politics. (The question certainly applies, though–in lots of different manners.) No, this was posed to me by a coworker, as we talked about the various goings-on and such on my “farmlet”.
Why, exactly, am I doing all of this? Why did we pick a house without central air/heat, but windows and fans for the summer and wood stoves for the winter? Why do we have chickens (and why are we getting more of them)? Why are we getting the yard/fields/entire property fenced, and ready for goats? Why am I getting bees? Why have a garden with more square footage than his house, not to mention plots planted of grains and the like?
Is it that we enjoy this much manual labor? Not really, although parts of it are certainly fun. (Especially after the fact, when it’s all done.) Do we have chickens merely for the eggs and (eventually) meat? Well, that’s certainly a factor, but it doesn’t explain it all. Bees for the honey and wax? Again, yes, but not entirely. The same will go for goats and milk/cheese/meat. And the garden, for the produce.
There’s certainly a proximal purpose. But there’s also the feel of getting dirt under your nails; of feeding the various livestock, and watching them play. Of just watching the bees do their thing. The feeling of being able to step back and look at a cord (or six) of wood, freshly split and stacked. The smells of it all. The pleasant aches of exertion for a cause. The enjoyment of little things–a taste of the juice from freshly pressed apples, or berries fresh from the vine.
Then there’s the practical side of things. With the first “real” winter storm bearing down on us this weekend, the coworker was asking how we’d be if the electricity went out. Would we have heat? (As long as wood will still burn, yes–and after building a woodshed last summer, our wood has stayed dry despite downpours of rain.) Would we be able to cook? Our stove runs on propane, and we’ve got an 80# tank that’s full; we even have a “backup” RV stove stored in a trailer–again, propane, and that one doesn’t even need electricity for a clock. Things from the fridge at risk of spoiling will go into coolers, then outside (if there’s 2 feet of snow, it’ll be harder to keep them from freezing). And we’ve got plenty of candles and oil lamps for light, after dark. The trickiest part is water–and we have six full 5-gallon bottles, plus a camping water heater (water in a tank, heat over a propane burner, then pump to pressurize).
This. This is why I do these things. So that when we’re looking at a snowfall of possibly 2 feet or more, I’m not concerned, because I know we’re ready for it. I know that we have everything we need, should calamity strike. Should, in fact, nearly any calamity strike. And we get better prepared for these things with every day that passes.
How about you folks out there–who’s tried explaining your preps to somebody completely “out-of-the-know”?