My fondest childhood memories are from visiting my grandparent’s farm near Waco, Texas.  They came from a generation that appreciated everything they had.  Their farmhouse had three pipes coming inside from the pump, no working toilet, and no water heater.  The faithful outhouse was the only “facilities” they had for years.  My uncle eventually bought a “camp toilet” for us kids to use at night so we wouldn’t have to go outside with the critters.

My grandfather, Frank came to the United States through Ellis Island when he was 19 years old.   He and his brother emigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1921.  My grandfather ended up settling in Texas.  My father told me my grandfather loaned his brother $50 and it he never paid it back.  Being that $50 was a hell of a lot of money back then, it caused a rift between them.  As far as I know, they never spoke again, and his brother moved back to Czechoslovakia at some point.

My grandmother, Mary was born in Mississippi to immigrant parents from Poland. The story goes that my grandfather took out an ad in a U.S. based Czech newspaper advertising for a wife, and my grandmother answered the ad, moved to Texas, they got married and had five children.

Simple times.  I suppose their marriage was one of convenience.  He needed a wife; she needed a husband, and they needed children to help on the farm.

Life wasn’t easy for them, but it was simple.  They raised cattle, farmed the land, grew a large garden, and simply took care of themselves and their children.  Their income was solely reliant on selling livestock and crops.  When my grandparents passed away, I was in complete shock over the amount of money they had saved over the years.  They even had CDs.  That one really shocked me.  You see, my grandparents lived very frugally. They believed in saving .50 out of every dollar.  They didn’t need fancy cars or the best house.  They were happy, they were content, and they lived life, in my opinion, right.

I hope to have a simpler life that resembles theirs.  I look around my home, and I see a lot of wasted square footage, a couple of big screen TVs, great appliances, two great vehicles and more clothes than we wear.  I see “things.”  The problem with all of this is these things do not sustain us.  My home gives me a roof over my head, but it’s too big and expensive to keep up.  My vehicles are great, but I could have one car and be happy.  The TVs are entertainment.  The clothes, I need to get rid of at least half of them.

Another point to this post is self-sustainability.  I live in an area where several neighborhoods butt up to each other.  I couldn’t begin to guess how many homes there are in one square mile.  Hundreds I’m sure.

How would someone self-sustain in an area like this?  I don’t think it’s possible.  Yes, we can all stock up on food and water if something happened to the infrastructure, but that will run out eventually.  Then what will we do?

Living in the country, you have options; raising animals, growing large gardens, growing crops.  These are the things that can sustain you if the SHTF. This type of lifestyle gives you options.

I would like to challenge you today.  Look around your house.  What’s there?  What’s usable, what’s not.  How long will the food in your pantry last you?

Do you have the means to get more food if you run out and the grocery stores are empty?

With the economic and political unrest in our country, hurricane season, stories of impending earthquakes, and fires that are currently raging in the West, it’s imperative to shift your thinking.  Are you ready?