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Living frugal, natural, healthy, and as self sustainable as possible. Sharing what we do and what we have learned along the way plus healthy recipes, herbal remedies, gardening tips, wood working, auto repair, and much more. We are not fully off grid, but do as much as possible to live that way and we will be sharing these things as well (see our “Off Grid Living” playlist for that). Please note, I will also be sharing my faith and scripture along the way, as these are a big part of why I do what I do.
Living in a home – not a SHTF bunker
Living in a home – not a SHTF bunkerPosted by Redcap on May 8, 2023 at 4:24 pm
A popular homestead YouTuber is leading a homestead decluttering challenge. Another YouTube prepper was talking about using available spaces for food storage including under the bed or dining room table. Then I started seeing a wave of homestead declutter vlogs pop up. It seems like homestead/prepper decluttering & organizing is becoming the next trending vlogging topic.
I thought I’d bring it up since Heidi teaches about using space efficiently for food storage and has shown how she has used her garden space for efficiency as well as beauty. Probably a lot of people are grappling with now jam-packed homes full of food, tools, and supplies. I’ve spent the last couple of months cleaning out and reorganizing to match preparedness with how we like to live. Needless say, I am not done yet.
Our house is a maze. It was built out from an 1891 cabin, over time busting through another outside wall to add another room about every 20 years. Every wall is doors or windows leaving very little wall space for shelves, drawers, or cabinets. It does have one small windowless room smack-dab in the middle that is really only a hallway and that has become our pantry and apothecary.
While my home is not Better Homes and Gardens, I still need a livable house. I need to feel like this is my home, not my SHTF bunker.
I always moved a lot. I could live on next to nothing and felt totally free. Security wasn’t something I thought about. Now I’m older, settled down, and supporting my husband who is not well. Developing a prepared home that fit our needs took some time and included several reorganizations and plan changes.
(I love how Heidi also addressed in a fairly recent vlog having something like crutches or other needs in case of injury or limitations of being elderly when the time comes.)
I would love to hear how other people are balancing being prepared with having a livable home, organizing their traditional “putting by” pantry as our ancestors did, or maybe needing a good old-fashioned declutter. Right now I’m definitely spring cleaning and decluttering the stuff that no longer fits the plan as have now.potpourri_of_life replied 1 week, 3 days ago 16 Members · 65 Replies
Marthale7MemberMay 8, 2023 at 5:26 pm
One part of me wants to be a minimalist, this fights with the prepper in me which wants to save everything because…. I may need that someday….
The battle is real.
I am seriously looking at doing some tests with burying some 55 gal food grade barrels. I like this idea as it would keep the food at about 50 – 70 degrees, and would give me back my storage space. This appeals to me because if we loose electricity, the vacuum packed food would not need any electricity to keep it cool or warm. It would move my long term food storage out of my home giving me all of that space back. I would have to label the barrels with what all they had in them, but getting the space back may be worth it.
GeorgiaGrandyMemberMay 8, 2023 at 6:42 pm
Your 55 gallon drum idea is REALLY intriguing! 🙂
RedcapMemberMay 8, 2023 at 7:53 pm
That’s a great idea. We have a space on the north side of the house I thought we could dig into and store food, but it turns out it’s filled with rock and all kinds of obstacles. The rest of the yard is pure rock an inch down, so my plans to store food outside have been foiled.
“The battle is real.” Yes! I fight my instinct to own nothing all the time.
And now I have a shelf brimming with thrift store and yard sale books for “the end of the world”. Drives me nuts every week when I dust it. It’s the clutter of things I have for “someday”. That’s why I’m working on decluttering, NOT just moving it out of view and creating clutter elsewhere, but getting rid of some stuff and then storing things I don’t need to see daily.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by Redcap.
SLINGSHOTMemberMay 8, 2023 at 9:07 pm
Can you find a place where you can dig deep enough to put one of those metal trash cans? The hardware store near me sells the half size ones. Just another option i’ve been thinking about. I hate a lot of clutter but i’m slowly working on it.
Marthale7MemberMay 8, 2023 at 11:24 pm
I have food grade barrels already have most of my items in them to protect against mice.
My idea is to get a post hole digger and place a barrel in, then take temp readings. I do have a place all picked out, just need to move and execute the plan.
I believe if I do it right, no one would know I would have food stored there, another benefit is people can’t steal what they don’t know is there.
Njorun38MemberMay 8, 2023 at 10:13 pm
“One part of me wants to be a minimalist, the other part a prepper”— and another part of me wants to live in a romantic era gothic-fairy cottage haha. Word! I totally feel you. I
think the key here is balance. Those parts of you don’t have to be at war, they just need to shake hands and figure it out.
I didn’t just get into prepping alone, my mother also preps for her house, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty incredible seeing the transformation. When I was a young child, if we didn’t put toys away and consistently made a huge mess, my military father would have us clean the kitchen floor with a new toothbrush. Now, my parents live in a bunker with clutter everywhere. As much as I feel my upbringing was a little too strict at times, I appreciate that I value not having too much clutter. Not a perfectly sterile environment, still “lived in,” but no clutter in the corners and all over the floor and tables, for sure. I always have some open space for my mind to breathe in. My parents, however, their living space is nothing like I remember growing up. They don’t even have a space on the floor anymore for where they used to put the Christmas tree when I was growing up— it’s all covered in full bags and boxes of “very important stuff.” At some point, something’s gotta give. What are you realistically going to use in a SHTF situation? How much do you need for 6 months to a year of supplies? Can you maybe build an outdoor shed in your yard and lock it up until the SHTF situation comes, and get that stuff off your floors and tables? My parents already have the extra garage, and it’s so full of “important prepping stuff” that they don’t park the cars inside it. Something’s gotta give man, it’s not a mentally healthy space to breathe in with that much clutter. Whenever I enter my own living space, I breathe a sigh of relief after being around my parents.
You just gotta ask yourself and be honest with your answer, knowing yourself, “Even if the SHTF, am I *really* gonna use this?” Odds are, a lot of times, the answer is no, and it can be thrown away, donated, or sold.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 9, 2023 at 12:59 am
I have been slowing downsizing, yet the space in our home is preparedness with items we need to prepare. I love the idea of underground storage. I can’t do it right now, but hopefully when God leads us to the home we are seeking, we can incorporate that idea.
Njorun38MemberMay 9, 2023 at 2:19 am
I’d love to build a traditional root cellar with natural tadelakt (lime) plaster as a means to keep pests out, for outdoor storage. Aside from having a nice walk in pantry, a root cellar or a well built outdoor shed seems like a good idea to me, though I think the root cellar can be more naturally kept dark and cool, and pest-proofed, if you want to use it as a place for canned food and dehydrated food storage and medical supplies that need to be kept cool and dark.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 9, 2023 at 2:44 am
You think along the same lines as we do.
Njorun38MemberMay 9, 2023 at 3:00 am
Also, I hope God leads you to your desired home soon 🙏 Have faith and trust in His timing, keep following his signs to be prepared as you can, and you’ll know what to do when the time comes.
Absolutely!! Thank you 🙏
HippiemimiMemberMay 9, 2023 at 9:59 pm
Another great idea is a water tank or septic tank (new of course😂😅) they can be buried and covered where the lid area is with a planter or what ever works for you. 😉
R-NMemberMay 12, 2023 at 11:33 am
A little known fact is that empty septic tanks and water tanks can actually float (and do a lot of times. This can happen with concrete or plastic tanks.
GeorgiaGrandyMemberMay 8, 2023 at 7:01 pm
Oh, wow….you’ve really hit a nerve here!
Hubby is a “saver”…..not quite a hoarder, but he wants to save almost everything! I’m a “thrower-awayer”. 😆 Or donater, whichever fits.
We’re just entering our 60’s. I’ve heard that you spend the first half of your life getting stuff, and the second half trying to get rid of that stuff! And, with parents dying and/or moving and downsizing, we have certainly had to deal with quite enough getting rid of THEIR stuff….thank you very much! LOL
So, until about 3 years ago, we were trying to get rid of ‘stuff”…..both ours and what we’d gotten from our parents.
Then, the world started quickly changing, and we find ourselves collecting stuff…..sigh…..again. I’ve even picked up crutches and canes at Goodwill, and have been slowly adding things like splints/braces for wrists, knees, ankles…etc, etc, etc. I have the apothecary thing going, too…..trying to consider all the possibilities of a future without any professional medical help.
Hubby’s trying to prepare for a future where he can no longer get parts for cars, chainsaws, and such. We even have an extra brand-new water heater and washer, because we believe those will be the next appliances that need to be replaced….just taking up space at the moment.
While we both acknowledge the necessity of this, it’s a bit frustrating for me, since I’m an everything-in-its-place sort of person, and a little on the neat side.
The only way I can help myself out here, is to pare down the non-necessities. Meaning, I’ve been getting rid of seasonal decor, except for a handful of favorites, that I put out for each season. Also, if something’s just been living in a box, in a storage room for a year or more, I have to question WHY I am still devoting space to that item. And, I’ve adopted the mentality that almost everything around me must have a “job”. There are a very few sentimental exceptions, but, for the most part, no more just “pretties” around.
That’s not too hard for me….I’m wired in such a way that I can part with “stuff” pretty easily. But, for some, I know that’s going to be impossible!
I often ask myself, “What would Ma and Pa Ingalls have done?” This is one of those issues. Considering that we may be thrust back to a day like theirs, I guess it’s worth asking the question.
I’m glad you brought this up! Looking forward to seeing if others are going through the same thing!
RedcapMemberMay 8, 2023 at 8:25 pm
We sound like mirror images!
I am also easily parted from “stuff”. My husband, not so much
He takes everything that comes free. EVERYTHING. And he can’t get rid of anything once it crosses that property line. It can be fencing scraps, pallet wood, old broken wooden chairs.
We moved back to the US with nothing so we got a little furniture, but then got better furniture when my dad died and my stepmom moved and wanted new. It was like pulling hems’ teeth just to get rid of two old armchairs we didn’t need, didn’t match, and had no room for. There’s still some end tables, lamps, and those cube units to move along, but I can see the discomfort on his face with “I’m going to give these away or sell them.” We have nowhere to store furniture except an outside shed where it will get moldy or filthy. And we don’t need them. And there’s no room for them.
He doesn’t mind living in a storage unit. I do.
We buy so little packaged food, we have lived in our home for 6 years without trash pick-up. You have to pay for it. It’s a small town with no city trash pick-up. We might have half a grocery size bag once a week and I take it to the Walmart trash. But I just ordered trash pick-up for three months (the minimum) so we can clean this place out from the broken stuff he’s allowed on the property, things we’ve collected and don’t use like used thin seedling trays that are crumbling in the shed, old suitcases we’ll never use again….Things are stored away, but I’m over it. LOL
GeorgiaGrandyMemberMay 8, 2023 at 11:14 pm
Yep…you get it. 😆 My husband can’t resist FREE, either! We’ve been storing several broken chairs for over 20-years, because he plans to fix them someday. Ugh!
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 12:09 am
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:02 am
I’m not so much a hoarder of “stuff” but we have “stuff” LOL Both hubby and myself. His is woodworking and tools, mine is sewing (I ran a sewing business, and although I am ready to part with some, it will be handy as a bartering skill, more so if I have the items to provide the services). But, now that we are going through my husbands dad’s estate, we are looking at “do we really need this” in our own home, while taking home from the estate that will benefit survival and endurance of the inevitable
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 12:52 pm
Fabrics and really anything that involves creativity as well as functionality is really hard to sort out. I am also a stitcher.
WoodsmanMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:22 pm
These words bring to my mind the importance between the way a woman thinks and a man thinks. Often, different, but both bringing value to the other.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 21, 2023 at 7:40 am
Woodsman: It is something I have observed over the years. My husband and I think very differently about things, yet very similar in thought about our creative energies and preparing for our future. We used to work in furniture mfg when we were first married, so I understand the use of all his equipment and can use it if needed. With my sewing, I have shown him how to use my equipment.
After cleaning out his dad’s house, it has led me to sell/toss/donate things that no longer have purpose. What works best for me is organization. Sorting and having things in its own place, saves on time when looking for something. My husband, unfortunately, is not great at organizing but he is trying.
RedcapMemberMay 23, 2023 at 3:39 pm
I absolutely agree that organizing and giving everything a place to live is about the only way I can keep some sense of the pantry and supplies around here. We haven’t had trash pick-up in the last 6 1/2 years we’ve lived in this house, because it’s not provided by the city and I didn’t want to pay for it. We only throw out less than a small grocery bag a week and I take it somewhere I’m spending money.
But I really wanted to clean up this place. Trash blows into our yard, etc. So I got three months of trash pick-up.
Yesterday I found my husband sorting through my trash bag and he takes out the lid and the bottom of a round jerky dehydrator I was given. The heat setting is too high for what I need so I used the racks to make a hanging air dryer to hang on the porch. I threw out the pieces I couldn’t use.
And he kept them. For. No. Reason.
How men and women think? If I have any indication I can use something for a project, I’ll keep it. If I never use it (6 months to a year), I’ll get rid of it.
He has a giant shed in the back and he just throws EVERYTHING in there. He grew up, his early years, in real poverty, so I get the “hey, this can be used for something” but if it isn’t, when is the cut-off for storing it and then losing it because there’s too much stuff?
That’s a rhetorical question because there simply is no answer to that apparently. 😄
WoodsmanMemberMay 23, 2023 at 4:23 pm
Some things men and women align with. I; a man, align with your way of thinking and not your husband. So we can be very alike.
Consider starting a local Reuse Drop Zone. This would work best in the countryside. Find a local in the community were folks can drop off stuff they can no longer use, and pick up stuff they can for free.
You may think that this being a free for the picking it may make your husband’s collecting need and save quest an even bigger problem. Maybe, or maybe it won’t?
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 21, 2023 at 7:28 am
Exactly. As I go through, I am making intentional decisions in whether there is a current use or best to sell/trade/donate
WoodsmanMemberMay 23, 2023 at 12:46 pm
I agree with you 100%. Clearing out “STUFF” for only what is truly needed is a real task but feels great in the end!
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 23, 2023 at 1:09 pm
PatsplaceMemberMay 8, 2023 at 10:12 pm
I also have a husband who is not well, I have a used wheelchair stashed away, as he’s a big guy and pushing is easier than carrying 😄
I keep all nonperishables in an outbuilding.one whole wall is just paper products, I’m just saying.
Here in NE Florida the heat and a high water table make in ground storage hard, but do have a couple of barrels in the barn covered with sand, seems to work okay.
TammyLouMemberMay 21, 2023 at 2:12 am
I’m also in NE FL, JAX
skainsgirlMemberMay 8, 2023 at 10:23 pm
The struggle is real. I am a single-steader and yes, the one who collects things. I have come up with some creative ways to store things and still maintain some semblance of a normal home. I am still working on it, and it takes a bit to get it all done in between my other duties. I moved in with my mom who would throw just about everything away (except some of the things we need to!) and doesn’t really comprehend the need to prepare. I have been on a mission the last few weeks to organize EVERYTHING. Your preps are useless if you don’t know where they are and how many you have.
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 12:11 am
I have an inventory process that has failed a few times. Haha! But now that I’ve made a better food plan and gotten a handle on things, the inventory list is easier to maintain. I hate knowing I have things we need and can’t quite remember where I stored them. Now it’s all much easier – and labelled!
skainsgirlMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:56 am
that’s my goal! Keeping my inventory list updated can be a real chore. Any insight on that?
WoodsmanMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:19 pm
Optimal over busy work. In time you will learn what matters. Just like a car has four tires and only one spare tire. 😀
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 3:23 pm
Not a fancy system by any means. It is just papers on a clipboard that I keep clipped to the wire shelves where the items are. The pages have the categories (meat, dairy, sugars, etc.), sub-categories (items), package sizes (pounds or ounces)and how many of each of those, their expiration dates, number I have total, and the number of units (pounds or packages) I want to have for my time goal (mine is one year). It’s just a handmade spreadsheet on lined paper.
I like having one year as my goal because then I can easily translate that to 1 1/2 years or 2 years when I look at my total of what I actually have.
On the pages, I write categories like MEAT and then subcategories: canned beef, tuna, sardines, etc. The frozen meat is a list ON the freezer door so I don’t have to go elsewhere to find the inventory list. There’s a pencil attached with string on every clipboard and taped to the freezer door so I can adjust it as I use or add to it. We just have the small side-by-side fridge freezer so it’s not much. I don’t keep up with the freezer meat well so I just inventory it every couple of months and make a shopping list. I try to keep 30 lbs. of meat in the freezer at all times and 10# of unsalted butter for the next batch of shelf-stable ghee.
The only reason it works for me is because of the time I put into organizing the storage to begin with, keeping the lists right where the foods and supplies are, having clear goals regarding amounts of each item or type of item, and keeping like items together and not mixed up. Salt, homemade jam, honey, spices, canned meats, dehydrated veg, etc. all have their own space. I can’t just throw things on shelves and think I’m going to be able to find it later.
It’s a little labor intensive to set up because I also write the expiration dates on every can or box of food and then shelve them stacked with the more recent dates at the front to be used first. Every Jan 1 and maybe again in July, I move the ones that should be used that year to the kitchen pantry shelves and restock and yes, move them all so the newest stuff is at the back.
<font face=”inherit”>But those are easy to find because I have expiration dates listed on the papers. So around Jan 1, 2023 , I just scanned the papers for anything that was still 2022 and anything that has dates from Jan to July or so and then I go move those. I don’t have to look through EVERYTHING to find them.</font>
That said, I have expired iodized salt, but I’m not worried about it. Salt lasts a long time. Some things don’t need to be rotated just because they are expired. Besides, if there was a zombie invasion, I’d be fine eating ten year old salt down the road so I think I can eat 2 year old salt now. LOL
For non-food items, I have tubs labeled in Sharpie on a wire shelf in the laundry room. There’s a tub for candles, flashlights, and matches. A tub for tape, glue, zip ties. A tub for bungie cords, laundry line, paracord, string and twine. I have all the first aid and personal care (soap and shampoo) in half gallon Ball jar boxes so bottles are standing up, well contained, AND accessible. Smaller items are grouped together in these sort of half-as-tall plastic shoeboxes, like toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes in one for example. Because they are all in one place and accessible, they are easy to inventory and again, the inventory lists are right there.
The clipboard subcategories also get details where necessary, like lightbulbs. Instead of “sizes”, I have wattage of lightbulbs and the subcategories might be soft white, daylight, appliance, or nightlight bulbs.
So how they are stored has made a huge difference in how I was able to track the inventory. It was a nightmare before I organized them in easy to use containers. When they were just all on shelves without being in categories, it was awful.
It was also hard to keep up the inventory list when I was getting one or two things here and there on shopping trips. So I grabbed the list of how many I wanted on-hand and weekly I just finished a lot of categories off over last summer, like duct tape and packing tape, then glues, then soap and toothpaste and floss, lightbulbs and batteries, etc. I finished my household, first aid and OTC, and personal care supplies and now I just don’t think about it. If I use something or open a glue, I put that on the shopping list and get another.
I hope that helps. I think the worst part is when you haven’t pinned down what you really want to have vs. what you think you “should” have on-hand and when you haven’t yet reached any goals so storage is still just a lot of random stuff on shelves. Once you get some categories done, it starts to get easier.
WoodsmanMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:16 pm
Mom, may see things from a stage of life and a style of life you haven’t reached or are of.
skainsgirlMemberMay 9, 2023 at 6:53 pm
She feels she won’t be around, or she will be raptured before any real tribulation would begin. She will be 94 in a few months. She struggles to grasp that our normal resources will likely not be available in a SHTF situation. She was born at the beginning of the Great Depression. As a child, she knew what it was like to go hungry. She doesn’t talk about it. But she has imparted many of the things that they did to survive during that time period. They lived in town, not in the country. My grandmother had a victory garden. But there were times when their meal for the day was only corn meal mush. She says God will take care of her. I tell her He already did…He sent me.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by skainsgirl.
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 11:26 pm
WoodsmanMemberMay 10, 2023 at 1:04 am
Wow! Great story. Give her a hug from me!
Summerhat-n-ChicksMemberMay 8, 2023 at 10:55 pm
Wow, how great to read that I’m not alone with the clutter issue.
Our former house was somewhat bigger with a bigger basement. Though we had a massive yard sale, we didn’t get rid of quite enough so that our house now is sort of packed to the brim with old and new stuff. Even in our two car garage is barely enough room to for my tools.
I’m actually at the point where I just want to get rid of everything we can’t use in a shtf situation. I’m tired of trying to clean and there is something in every corner of every room. I think it’s important to have at least one room that is absolutely clutter free just to be able to breathe and not constantly being bombarded with the inevitable.
My point of view changed quite a bit over the last couple of years to an extent that I almost want to live in the house on prairie with nothing but the necessities, but, unfortunately, this is not the future we’re heading into.
And, yes, my husband has problems with letting go and that includes “stuff“ and while I’m planning a yard sale my husband just bought two vases at a yard sale. 😩
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:06 am
The bedroom is one of the “last” rooms so it’s the only one that isn’t also a hallway to another room. It’s very bare and peaceful.
As for getting rid of stuff, we are actually very much going Little House although earlier in history…more like colonial/medieval. Not to say we won’t use more modern tools and methods, but I mean to say we’re not storing an extra fridge or going solar (due to the fact that it would be a useless expense if within a couple of years we couldn’t replace the batteries or a cracked panel). We are preparing for the actual simplest off-grid lifestyle should it come to that. Foraging, growing roots and tubers, raising small meat animals and laying hens, washing clothing in rainwater and hanging it to dry, wood heat. You don’t need much equipment for that. Just a few of the right things.
WoodsmanMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:13 pm
Yep! My kind of thinking!😉
Summerhat-n-ChicksMemberMay 9, 2023 at 2:12 pm
Yes, my kind of prepping = live way before the Industrial Age. 👍🕯
WoodsmanMemberMay 9, 2023 at 1:10 pm
Squirrels never find 75% of the acorns they bury. Unknowingly? The squirrel is responsible for reforestation. So much for old crazy Jonny Apple Seed.
RedcapMemberMay 9, 2023 at 3:29 pm
Considering the amount of pecan and maple seedlings I just picked out of my yard last weekend, I can definitely understand that. We have tons of squirrels in our trees. We cal them “chicken of the tree” and are happy to let them get good and fat and reproduce…..just in case.
WoodsmanMemberMay 10, 2023 at 1:29 am
Many go to war with the squirrel and many loose that war to it. I lean toward the idea of finding a way to work with them, unless they damage things. Though sometimes that happens. And sometimes nature has a way of taking care of the problem…. almost a natural course. For example: soffits on the house became damaged and a squirrel or two? managed to enter the attic and chewed all exposed electrical wiring.
Still I redirected their attention to the bird feeders, but did not let them feed ( they eat far too much and too fast ). Although I know of tricks to keep them at bay, I don’t need to. I took some small single serve metal pizza cooking trays / dishes and drilled a 1” hole in the center, installed them dangling down the shepherds hook with small cables and redirected squirrels attention to a few sunflower seeds tossed on the ground. I never have a problem with squirrels climbing the shepherds hooks. I out think the crows in similar ways instead of going to war with them.
In a small area where I placed several feeders on hooks with a variety of bird food choices and types of feeders, I manage to create a little wildlife habitat. It is interesting to watch how they ( birds, squirrels chipmunks etc.) get along.
RedcapMemberMay 10, 2023 at 5:34 pm
The animals do find a way to live with each other. Our chickens tolerate the squirrels and the squirrels come down and beg for pecans and acorns when we get a bunch out to crush for the chickens. We have so many good trees, they have never moved into our attic so we have had no problems. Except when we first moved in, a squirrel had chewed through our internet line, but now it’s buried underground anyway.
WoodsmanMemberMay 11, 2023 at 10:33 pm
Those little rascals 😂
Did I mention the squirrels chewed all the vent stacks on the roof and an electrical outdoors conduit known as: : “Liquid Tight.” What they are doing is working their teeth.
DeepSouthBamaGRITSMemberMay 12, 2023 at 4:49 pm
I used to LOVE squirrels and always kept a food source for them (in the woods) like peanuts, other nuts so they would have food. BIG MISTAKE as they moved closer to their human that was providing them food. They got into a very tiny hole I missed covering in my soffit/fascia boards & somehow got down into the wall of my addition that houses my wood burning heater/stove. I would hear them gnawing & chewing and finally figured out where they got in and had no choice but to either tear out that wall to remove them or put in some poison & close off their entrance. I chose the latter and knew I would have to endure some horrible funk smell for a while but it was the best choice as I couldn’t chance removing the INSIDE WALL & release them in my house and removing the outside wall would have been MAJOR WORK I didn’t have time for. I tried watching them on my security camera to see when/if they were leaving/returning to hopefully be able to close off their entrance when they were out. Only ONE would leave at a time so I assumed they had BABIES. Did my necessary deed, endured the stench and when the wall was removed inside, they had built a large nest in the wall insulation which did have babies.
They also chewed thru many many wires of my wiring harness on my car. I didn’t drive the car much as I had my truck & jeep so it sat under my portable carport beside my house. I decided to downsize all the vehicles (after my husband passed) so kept the car & the truck. Went to drive the car to town one day and it started doing CRAZY things like the radio would turn off/on by itself, the lights would turn on/off, windshield wipers would turn on/off without me doing anything but sitting there. I took my car to the dealership only for them to find the largest squirrel nest they had EVER seen built under the hood of my car. They even took a picture of it that is still to this day in their service department on the wall. Those squirrels chewed the wiring harness to bits. I could either replace the wiring harness or have their repairman splice all the chewed wires back together, which was my CHEAPEST option by far. Car Insurance wouldn’t cover the repairs so it came out of pocket and needless to say, my LOVE for squirrels went out the window quick!
I had 3 inch styrofoam insuation in the ceiling of my large covered deck. They decided to find an entrance and built nests & chewed the styrofoam that was up against the tin roof/rafters so I didn’t notice they were there. Then I saw a HOLE in the insulation that they had chewed a bit too much and there was styrofoam balls & bits falling all over the place on the deck. HOLY HECK at the mess I had when I removed the styrofoam to inspect the damage. I had left an air space from the tin to the top of the styrofoam that they had used as their ROUTE 66.
They eat all my peaches every year, they eat my bird feeder seeds and I could go on & on with the destruction they’ve done thru the years at my homestead. Understand I LOVE all of God’s creatures and normally do NOT take revenge or harm them in any way unless they HARM ME or MY STUFF! One evening in the fall after the leaves had dropped I went to every single squirrel nest outside and blasted it with my shotgun. I got a reprieve from their destruction for a few years til OTHERS moved in. One thing I can say with the hurricanes we sometimes have…they will rid the squirrel population and send them to the next county and it took years for them to repopulate here back in 2004 with Hurricane Ivan & 2005 with Hurricane Katrina. No, I’m not wanting a hurricane EVER to make another direct hit here so I will rid those TREE RATS as best I can.
People can criticize & condemn me for the actions I’ve taken on squirrels but once you’ve had to deal with the destruction and EXPENSE of their destruction, you would do the same. Living in the deep backwoods has its advantages, BUT, you have to deal with destruction of moving into animals/rodents habitat. Now WOOD RATS are ANOTHER STORY…and snakes and the SAGA CONTINUES 🙃
You had some good ideas & remedies for all creatures to get along & live TOGETHER…but won’t work in these here deep backwoods! 🤨
WoodsmanMemberMay 12, 2023 at 6:01 pm
I done it backwards. I first had damage by squirrels and then I fed them. This does not mean harmony is forever. I learn ways to stop them from the damage they do by learning from the damage they have done. Note: I have always had the rule that follows: if you’re a poisonous critter and you’re on the property; you’re dead! If you’re a critter and you’re non-venomous and in the house or damaging property; you’re dead! The animal situational awareness is sharp. In some way I am always aware of them their deeds. My theory, my habits, my co-existing as boundaries. At any moment thing can change temporarily or forever. Never needed to enforce a forever because then the critter would own me. Luckily for me ( knock on wood ) I am a handyman by passion and very aware of thing in and around the house. So far the squirrels leave. Only time will tell for how long. I notice that critter freedom give way to an invitation to other species…. With that nature – prey and predator cycles-in. 😙
TruhavenMemberMay 12, 2023 at 3:03 pm
Thank you for such a timely topic. It hit home because we have moved to a much smaller house while still accumulating preps and supplies to repair & build out our infrastructure. At times the clutter can feel mentally and physically overwhelming. Problems include a lack of closets, no basement, and an open floor plan in the main living area that has scant wall space for shelving or cupboards. The kitchen cabinets appear plentiful, but the drawers are shallower and the space between the shelves is less than my previous cabinets, which means this kitchen stores less. And since we moved pretty quickly, we packed stuff thinking “we’ll just sort it out later”, and 7 months later there are still stacks of unpacked boxes.
I keep telling DH that it will just take more time than we thought to get settled. Because the property had been vacant for a couple years, we have rehab/replace/remodel supplies that will dwindle down as projects are completed. Our 2-car garage looks like Home Depot while the vehicles sit outside!
Regarding comments about preps that reflect pre-industrial era living, like the Ingalls family or colonial Williamsburg. IMO, “modern off-grid” that relies on current technology is not going to be a long-term solution. It’s been a blessing to learn from parents and grandparents how they fed the family and lived life without grid electricity (my father’s family had a Delco light plant in the basement) and indoor plumbing, even into the 1960’s.
RedcapMemberMay 12, 2023 at 5:55 pm
Sounds like quite a job getting the new place into the kind of order you’d like so you can call it “home”. I wish you luck and happiness there.
As for pre-modern living, I couldn’t agree more and while I’m thrilled that folks are finding good alternatives now, I just keep thinking “but what if it fails? do you know how to live?” or “but what if you can’t replace those parts later? do you know how to live?” and it all kept coming down (for us anyway) to “do we know how to live?” and that’s how we got to where it could all go tomorrow and we know we are sheltered (assuming the house is still there LOL), clothed, and fed. Simply. And maybe barely some seasons, but humans have always had to ride the tides of seasonal weather and food source changes and we’re learning to do the same.
We’re going back to being humans, not consumers. I think that would sum it up for us.
WoodsmanMemberMay 12, 2023 at 6:05 pm
Unfortunately getting back to basics is the easy part. If thing push us in that direction it most likely will. Be done by man.
RedcapMemberMay 12, 2023 at 8:12 pm
I agree, but I fear most people will be lost without everything push-button and instant-on. Without a fridge, or phone, or TV, or Google, or thermostat…..they’re going to panic.
WoodsmanMemberMay 12, 2023 at 8:57 pm
This may be true. I hope they can see that those things you mentioned are an addiction (or can be); just like drugs, alcohol or tobacco. So glad I was raised before the machine that everyone seems to have chained themselves voluntarily too. Like those other substances people become hooked on, I never got hooked on “The Machine (computers).” You know; I have yet to own a “Smart Phone.” I do own a Dumb Phone. I love it when doing business with our culture and they assume everyone has a phone and a computer. 🤣
RedcapMemberMay 14, 2023 at 1:47 pm
I was just talking to one of the high school students yesterday. I had subbed in one of his classes for two months on an emergency long-term sub and got to know him pretty well.
He’s Mexican by birth and his family lives here in town and runs two businesses. He’s a junior and looking forward to apprenticing more in his uncle’s heating and cooling business so he can take it over one day. Along with the farm kids or the ones who need to earn the money to go to college (because they weren’t born with silver spoons), he’s the hardest working kid I know in this town.
Yesterday, he was saying the one thing he misses about living in Mexico is that parents teach their kids how to do things, fix things, make things, build things. And up here kids – and their parents – don’t know how to do anything. His parents are so busy working and things are so easy to buy, they don’t have to teach him how to do all that stuff. Plus the stuff we get in the US, he says, a lot of it can’t be fixed but is made to be thrown away when it breaks.
This is also something my husband has said over and over. He’s from Australia and sees the difference in goods here and what is being imported to Aus.
We’ve been sold a lie under the guise of it being the American dream. But being lazy and full of poisonous garbage food and a brain full of “buy, buy, buy” was never the American dream.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Redcap.
Marthale7MemberMay 14, 2023 at 2:15 pm
I have been taking notes from Venezuela, and Cuba on how they have deal with governments that are out of control, and loss of foods / supplies.
I did consider moving to Mexico as they are already used to living in poverty and making do verses here where everyone for the most part is entitled to have things in their thinking. People went thru the great depression with struggle, but today I do believe there will be riots because people just don’t know how to cope with providing for themselves, or taking care of what they have.
RedcapMemberMay 14, 2023 at 5:18 pm
I agree. My husband was born in Argentina and then moved as a young child to Australia, but he says because governments are so corrupt, people just live very much connected to community and family. They know how to do things, fix things. They can’t depend on outside sources. They don’t riot because when anything else is taken away, they just expect it and keep going.
But yes, there will be riots here. That’s why, after my dad died in 2019 and the C hit, we decided to stay in this rather impoverished small town. A lot of church-going folks and everyone is armed, but an armed society is a polite society. The meth heads will be the first to go because they have no sense and will end up on the wrong side of someone’s property line probably. What we have to worry about is folks from the city suburbs about an hour north.
Marthale7MemberMay 14, 2023 at 5:24 pm
One prepper meeting I was at talked about you have to think about the distance from a city a tank of gas will get you. When things go bad people will flee the cities en mass, and where that tank of gas gets them is where there will be lots of trouble.
With hurricane Irma here in Florida the gov was ordering people to leave their homes. I became more aware of how resources dwindle when that many people move, it is like locusts moving out and consuming everything. Grocery stores, gas stations just cannot keep up with that demand. The roads clogged and the time to travel doubled or trippled.. I took notes, and I decided that the best place to be is where the most people are not.
RedcapMemberMay 14, 2023 at 5:30 pm
That’s really good advice! Too bad I didn’t move far enough away. But at the time it was as close as I could get to where my dad lived (that I could afford) so I could help take care of him before he passed and that was already an hour away. He used to live in the middle of nowhere with nothing but farms and a very small town. Now it’s all suburbs and congested rush hour traffic. Luckily they are three counties away so they can’t keep annexing any closer to me than they are now.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 21, 2023 at 7:11 am
We don’t have a fancy cell phone, and still use the landline. Our cell phone is very basic and I pay month-to-month. Although we use it to communicate, I keep it to family only. I always saw them as a tool for emergency communication.
msgalMemberMay 14, 2023 at 5:04 pm
We live in an older 800sf rental home. Only 2 tiny closets and no storage. There is a tiny laundry room outside, only accessible from the carport. The house was added on to and has 2 windows in each room with hardly any wall space. I am so tired of the clutter, I told my husband I’m getting rid of this stuff and if we die, we die. He agreed! I would like to have a pleasing home not feel like I am living in a storage shed. The struggle is real 😕
RedcapMemberMay 14, 2023 at 5:12 pm
Good for you! I totally understand. With my house being all doors and windows, I am just as frustrated.
I bought a treadle sewing machine in amazing working condition for not much at all, but to be honest, I prefer to hand sew anyway. I wanted to sell or trade it to the local Amish and had originally thought that even if I didn’t use it, it would make a great barter item later. My husband wants me to keep it for that “later”.
But I need the wall space it takes up, and I’m also so tired of the lack of space to just breathe. So I let our local Amish know and they are very interested. Eventually, you just have to find your comfort zone.
I mean, yes, things are bad, but what if they don’t get THAT bad? Then you’ve crapped up your home and life now and can’t find much joy in your home. There’s something to be said for enjoying your own home now as much as putting by for later.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 21, 2023 at 7:18 am
I think there is a fine balance in having peace vs. having stuff. A small home is difficult to balance, while making choices. I’ve always wanted a treadle yet here in NH it is hard to find a quality one that doesn’t break the bank, so I purchased a Janome that does the same. I still need to start using it, so that I can if we don’t have electricity. Choosing peace over a large unit taking up space in your home is healthy.
RedcapMemberMay 23, 2023 at 3:44 pm
I wish I could drive up that way and just give it to you. But I’m not likely to get up that way anytime soon. I love NH. Used to go to Franconia College back in the day.
potpourri_of_lifeMemberMay 23, 2023 at 5:55 pm
NH is a beautiful state, although with many changes, hence why we are looking for a larger piece of property. All in time.