February 1st, 2017

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Low-Nonsense Doomsteading: Doomsteading.

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   Doomsteading is developing and running a relatively self-sufficient farm intended to remain operational even after the breakdown of modern infrastructure.  This is one approach to coping with the converging crises that threaten to end the Cornucopian Era.  There are many others which may be preferable for other people and situations.  Staying in a major metropolis will likely give some folks access to infrastructure long after it has failed in the countryside.  Being ready to Bug Out allows more flexibility than being tied to one location.  But doomsteading has its own advantages, and suits us best.

   In my youth, I worked horse and cattle farms on the coastal islands, where hurricanes were a thing.  It's not like living in an apartment where you can stuff your cat into a carrier and head inland when the 'authorities' call an evacuation.  Herds of valuable animals depended on me to stick it out and hold things together for them despite weather, utility failure, and being cut-off by flooded and blocked roads.  So hunkering-down rather than bugging-out is second nature.

   As prepping strategies go, doomsteading is betting big.  Putting far more at stake than just a Bug Out Bag, Bug Out Vehicle, or basement bunker remodel.  But the potential payoff is huge.

   Even if some semblance of BAU manages to hold-out for years to come, the grounded doomsteading lifestyle, focused on real accomplishment, has its rewards in the here and now.
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Low-Nonsense Doomsteading: Location.


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   What you really need for a good doomstead is several thousand acres in southern Eden with a discreet air strip for your private jet and a sheltered harbor for your yacht.  But, if you find yourself a bit closer to the 'cardboard box under the highway overpass' end of the economic spectrum, you might have to compromise just a little.

   There are several things to consider when looking for a doomstead location.



-Availability.

   If you're lucky enough to have some rural property available to you, perhaps Grandpa's dilapidated old farm or the like, go for it!  Even if it's not the ideal location, it may be better than letting years slip past you while you wait for a better chance.



-Familiarity.

   Doomsteading can be challenging enough without making yourself a friendless stranger in an alien climate.  The frozen North is no place for a cracker.  A Yankee might find it just a little unsettling to live where the old log by the creek may try to take a bite out of you, and the mosquitoes have been known to carry off cattle for a snack later.


   There's usually some advantage to staying where family and old friends are nearby.  Especially if they are like-minded.  Isolation is an occupational hazard for doomsteaders.



-Urban Proximity.

   You might think that the farther away from towns and cities, the better.  But cities have their resources.  We don't know how long some semblance of BAU will hold-together.  While it does, it's handy to have goods, services, and utilities nearby.   Also might be important to the whole 'making a living' thing.

   Obviously you don't want to doomstead in the shadow of a major metropolis where the urban unrest can quickly spill out onto you, or you could be engulfed by suburban development.  So it's a judgement call.

   Our place is over an hour drive from a good-sized city, in an unincorporated farming area roughly equidistant from a few small towns.  Subtract automobiles from the scene, and that city may as well be on the other side of the continent, and the towns are a day-trip by horse and buggy.  Seems like a good balance.



-Natural Resources.

  Not all land is created equal.  There's probably a way to successfully doomstead on forty acres of desert sand, but I'd sure hate to have to figure it out myself.   Already standing forested land can provide you with firewood and game straight-away.  A good aquifer is a must, and surface water is a big plus.  Lowland sections are often great pasture soil, but you'll want plenty of high ground for the house and barn.  Creek, pond, or lake access for fishing may be great.  But you have to be careful these days due to development pollution and industrial agriculture run-off contaminating the water and the creatures therein.



-Privacy.

   I knew an old horsetrader down on the islands who built his place on a corner lot and lover to brag about how much road frontage he had.  Never seemed like a benefit to me, although I suppose maybe it's good for property value.

   Our main lot was one of three cut from an older holding.  When the division was done, we were glad to wind-up with all of 60' of road frontage.  The minimum amount to avoid difficulty with the county when it comes to home permits and such.  The last thing we wanted was for our place to be visible from the road.

   Of course, we're not doing anything wrong in doomsteading.  But we don't want to advertise our activities or entice thieves, looters, or trespassers.  Nor do we want to be an open book for Little Tin Gods who want to demand permits, fees, and inspections for every little thing we build, critter we keep, or action we take.




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