I’m very open about being a prepper. I think it is a moral imperative to be resilient if you have the means to do so. When disaster strikes, which it inevitably does, being able to support yourself and your neighbors frees up first responders to care for the genuinely needy.
Because of this belief I’ve been investigating homesteading seriously for the past two years now. I’ve got concerns about the typical issues someone with exposure to finance has; worries about inflation, the social impact of labor being a poor store of value with currency debasement, & widening inequality. I am also deeply concerned about the rise in populism and the predatory graft of the far right. Add in supply chain worries and the effect of the pandemic on living standards and you can see how I’d prefer to have more control over my own basic needs.
But my plans to go off grid has always had a bit of a fantasyland element to them. While I would love to move to northern Montana and invest in a large property I didn’t expect I’d be able to do that immediately. I needed to get to know the towns, watch an illiquid market over months if not years, and also remain proximate to civilization as I still plan to maintain a career in startups and finance.
But yesterday my husband and I came across a property outside of Boulder Colorado that met many of our criteria for more prepared living. An unobtrusive property on an acre just outside of town that I jokingly called greyman as you’d never guess it was built out for resilience. It has 100% solar with insulation & a wood burning stove for backup, there is a working well that irrigates the garden & orchard, its got a hothouse & a chicken coop, it’s on a reservoir, it has a workshop & an artist studio, and well I could go on. Now I’ve got no idea if it will pass muster on an inspection but as you can see I’m already dreaming of the possibility. It’s not something I’ve absolutely got to do so we can very much walk away from a deal but I’m interested. Enough that I’m looking at mortgages and bringing in a contractor to take a look.
Now I don’t need all of those things right now. The reality of maintaining a vegetable garden and making it through a canning and preservation season isn’t lost on me. Actually building the muscles for true resilience is something that happens over years. But that’s also why I want to start now before it becomes a must have. Learning how to feed yourself when you’ve got no choice isn’t a situation I’d recommend.
We underestimate the work that goes into maintain a healthy, comfortable, warm and well fed life. Mostly because capitalism breeds specialized labor. Which is good in my book. We’ve achieved so much with it. But any complex system is less resilient. So you’ve got to acknowledge that the tail risks are there and real. So if I’ve got a chance to begin on 70% of my ideal preparation while still keeping within my budget and also staying within civilization for the time being then I’m going to consider it. It’s time to move out of fantasyland.