The Difference Between Homesteaders and Preppers

Posted August 1st, 2012 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

This is a reply to a request for comment from a friend’s blog.  Unfortunately my reply was too large for her blog to accept it, so I’m going to post it here instead and link to it.  Here’s her post about a discussion she had with a National Geographic person about the difference between homesteaders and preppers.


Perhaps the biggest difference is the outlook as a pessimist or an optimist.


Homesteaders are similar to permaculture enthusiasts and attempt to produce enough food/goods/whatever to get them through the year when the cycle begins. Many feel that they are trying to live alongside the natural cycles that earth and nature have followed for millenia. There does not have to be the emphasis on guns, doomsday scenarios or conservative politics. Mother Earth News chronicled and advised the thousands of liberals who turned to homesteading during the sixties and the seventies although they were read by some conservatives as well. Some homesteaders are rejecting modern life and some of it’s precepts and instead returning to what they consider to be a more natural rhythm to life. “I’d rather eat rabbits from my backyard because I’ve raised them without cruelty and they don’t pollute the air and water system like beef production does” is a sentiment you might hear a homesteader profess. Some homesteaders like guns, some just see them as tools, some hate guns. Homesteaders are actively aquiring, using and refining the skills they need to live their different lifestyle.

Preferred films/Shows might be Jeremiah Johnson, Swiss Family Robinson or Little House on the Prairie.

Preferred hangout is probably the local agricultural extension office/their kitchen/in the garden.

May retain water in a cistern. Homesteaders tend to acknowledge that life is too short to actually know how to do every single thing that a farm needs to do and that a community is stronger if they lean, at least a little bit, on each other. As a part of this community many homesteaders will create a niche where they create something that the neighborhood needs: goat midwife, wool rugs/sweaters, dolls sold on ebay, offering to bale hay for neighbors if you have the equipment, etc. In this sense they will notify their neighbors about the equipment and skills that they possess in an effort to capitalize on it and also to strengthen the community and gain prestige.  Most homesteaders would love to have redundancy of tools but generally they can’t afford it or have a hard enough time keeping the one tool in good working order so they don’t have much intentional backup of items.


Preppers sometimes may also be homesteaders but usually they are not. They are not necessarily pessimists but they certainly can imagine horrible things occurring within their lifetimes and do not trust that their community or government structures will provide for them in said times. Almost all preppers like guns and view them as a key part of their ability to continue living in dangerous times.

Preferred films range from any zombie film, Mad Max or Red Dawn.

Preferred hangouts include online forums, the gun range and anywhere far away from metropolitan areas even if that means there is very little farmable acreage.

Many will acknowledge that they don’t have adequate skills yet or the time to acquire the knowledge of how to live off the land in a natural cycle or they argue that said natural cycles will be destroyed so the best alternative is to stockpile while they can. They tend to be a bit more melodramatic but that’s to be expected from anyone who can imagine horrible things happening within our lifetimes. May stockpile water in 55 gallon barrels down to 2 liter pop bottles or will possess multiple filtration devices. There tends to be a focus on redundancy of almost all items, that is to say that it’s not enough to have a splitting axe but you must also have a spare handle or possess the knowledge and gear to sharpen the axe yourself. Preppers are often concerned that they will not have enough of a resource to get them through hard times so they may prepare in secret, building up resources quietly, without building permits in the hopes that people will not rob them now or in times of need.

There are also some people that I hesitate to even call preppers. They may keep around a larger first aid kit, 72 hours worth of water, a generator for backup electricity, candles and matches. Yeah, they’re more prepared for the bad storms that occur once every 20 years but I don’t perceive them as having made a different lifestyle decision, they’re just people who like more insurance than the mainstream.

Many of the descriptions I’ve written above may be perceived as negative. They’re not meant that way as I have a foot planted firmly in both areas. The older I get the more I realize that it’s just not pragmatic for me to have the skills and tools of an EMT, Master Gardener, HAM Radio Operator, My Occupation(to pay for all this stuff), Carpenter, Welder, Plumber, Green Beret, Electrician, Roofer, Shepherd and all around happy guy. I can see both sides of these lifestyles but I know many who are firmly in one camp or the other. I’m not sure you’re going to find them on this blog as it’s attracted me and some others who are admitted to being in the middle of the two camps. You may have to instead go to a liberal blog that I will no link to as they are in a ridiculous trademark dispute over the term “homestead” and then go to any SHTF blog and compare the two. There are stark differences in viewpoints and in how homesteaders actively use their skills whereas preppers often spend more time compiling lists and gathering goods than actually learning what to do with all the crap(myself included).

Happy Victory Over Japan(VJ) Day

Posted August 15th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized
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When I was researching holidays earlier this year I was shocked to find out that many people believe that Victory Over Japan Day is politically incorrect.  Their arguments don’t seem particularly coherent or integrated.  Mostly they appear to be apologists that think we never should have nuked Japan.  Now I’m more politically moderate than many survivalists but I think that’s a bunch of bullshit.

Japan launched a war of aggression against us and many small neighboring islands in the Pacific because they decided that military glory would be their path to expanding their nation.  We killed 200k-340k with our nuclear bombs.  4 million soldiers and 17 million civilians were killed in the war, this includes numbers from both sides.  More would have died if we had invaded Japan with a land assault.  I count the deaths on both sides because I feel that the guilt of the deaths of their own soldiers lays at the feet of the aggressor in a war.

Do I agree with the Imperialistic government that we had at that time or even with the one that we have today, no.  But I feel absolutely no guilt in celebrating the victory in defeating Japan and shutting down their cruel war.  So with much relish I will celebrate today with a large meal of brats, broccoli salad, corn on the cob, corn bread and baked beans.

I will probably also celebrate by watching some movies about the war in the Pacific theatre.

First up is Tora! Tora! Tora!  I haven’t watched it in years and it’s a great film.

Finally, I’ll watch Midway.  How can you lose with Henry Fonda, Charlton Heston and James Coburn?


Then, because I’m a romantic, I’ll of course enjoy some of Operation Petticoat:

Finally, I’ll celebrate with Midway.  How can you lose with James Coburn, Henry Fonda and Charlton Heston?

Happy Creamsickle Day and a few other updates

Posted August 14th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

I’ve never been much of a sweets person.  Frankly I’d rather have a second helping of roast beef than a slice of apple pie.  But one of my few exceptions was that wonderful invention called a creamsickle.  Frankly the taste seemed so foreign to me that I sort of always assumed it was just an artificial flavor, but lord knows a delicious one.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that it’s just OJ, cream or yogurt and vanilla.

There are fancier versions that have a few more ingredients and a whole lot more fat but this year I tried a healthy version of the creamsickle.  It’s still high in simple sugars, but it’s much lower in fat than the other creamsickle recipes I found.  I made mine with OJ concentrate and the OJ was a little overpowering in the recipe.  Next time I’ll try it with half the amount of OJ concentrate or maybe just regular Orange Juice instead of concentrate.  I tried two different types of containers for my creamsickles, paper cups and some silicone molds I found on Amazon.  Unfortunately the paper cups seemed to be a pain in the butt as I couldn’t easily pop the popsickle out and instead had to tear off the paper cup in strips.  The silicone mold you see in the picture worked very nicely although I need to buy 4 more of them now.  You can find the recipe at the following link: (SparkRecipes)

Life has been slowly moving on as the end of summer is now in sight.  I’d really like to plow up a whole lot more ground in the back yard for a big garden but I’ve been more focused on a rental property I’m rehabilitating.  I’d like to get some more income coming in, so I may have to delay the plowing and just put in a winter cover crop in a few months.

Happy Coast Guard Day

Posted August 4th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Today is Coast Guard Day.  I, personally, have no first hand experience with the Coast Guard but I do have respect for them.  The ocean can be a wonderful source of peace, enjoyment and sustenance but she can be one mean bitch too.  The Coast Guard helps those who suffer the fate of unexpected weather, poor planning, equipment that failed due to poor maintenance or just plain critical failure.  While the Navy works to deter and defeat invasion of warring nations the Coast Guard works on a daily basis to save lives and interdict illegal shipments.  They often don’t get as much respect as they deserve as they are more a group of professionals than gung-ho trigger pullers.  Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect the trigger pullers too I just think the Coast Guard shouldn’t get crap for not being so uptight about uniforms and hair cut standards.

I’m going to watch a film about the Coast Guard starring one of my favorite actors Kevin Costner, The Guardian.

I may also watch Yours, Mine and Ours as it has a Coast Guard officer as one of the characters but IMDB only gives it a 4.7 and it seems to be more about big families than serving the nation.  I’m also trying to find a copy of Onionhead(1957) to watch.  It stars Andy Griffith but it seems to me like it might be a romantic comedy and the reviews are kind of cruddy.

What I will definitely watch is some Deadliest Catch episodes as the Coast Guard plays a frequent role in saving them from capsizing ships or when the men become deathly ill.  I really resisted the show when it came out as it seemed too corny and I was down on reality TV.  I’ve since watched enough episodes that I enjoy it in limited doses.  The macho BS gets old at times but they do have an interesting dynamic.  I just don’t dig the attempt to show these farmers of the sea as absolute heroes when they are performing a difficult job and a job that they chose.

Happy Junk Food Day and farm updates

I bet you didn’t know that today was Junk Food Day, did you?  Well, I embraced in a pretty strange way.  I bought a bunch of trashy food and then watched some films that remind me of just why I shouldn’t do it all the other days of the year.  Disclaimer:  I’m no nutritionist, so don’t assume that the foods I’ve chosen are horrible for you.  I just don’t eat this stuff regularly.  Truthfully, I couldn’t eat all this stuff in one day or I’d explode.  Instead I’ve snacked on them this week.

Frankly, I’m not a big Morgan Spurlock fan as he takes things to extremes to prove his point which leaves him open to criticism.  But I’ve watched Food Inc several times and enjoy it every time.  It’s hard to believe just how much of the entire food chain is controlled by people who don’t give a damn about our interests and instead just their profits.

Unfortunately Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was recently cancelled but don’t hesitate to watch the two seasons that were put out.  It really shows just how resistant some people are to change despite any evidence that tells them that they’re killing themselves and their children with some of this crap.

Finally, I will try to watch Fast Food Nation as I have not watched that film yet but have heard good things about it.

As for the homestead, it goes forward slowly as it must in this heat wave.  I got the new 330 gallon tote in place and filled before the weather hit and I’m sure glad I did.  I’ve watered 3 times so far and I still have more that I could water with.  Unfortunately I’m a little tight on cash so I haven’t purchased the pump and sprinkler I wanted to put in.  The impact of that is that the weeds are growing out of control.  It’s very hard to pull out the weed roots unless you get the soil wet.

Also, I’m behind in my broccoli, cauliflower and kale plantings.  And I haven’t got my summer cover crop of buckwheat put in because I can’t buy or even rent a tiller.  So I’m just maintaining at this point, watering what is established and working in the very early morning to avoid the heat.  Once it’s 11am it’s in the 90s and really it’s just about the end of my ability to work for the day other than quick things like putting clothes out on the line.

The heat wave has also killed my older dog.  I’m going to miss the hell out of my best buddy.  I’ll never get a large breed long hair dog again as the maintenance is just too much for me.  I am strongly considering getting another dog quickly though as I think my other dog gets lonely without another dog around.  I hope you’re all doing well.

Happy Pecan Pie Day and First Tomatoes of the Year!

Posted July 12th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Well, I never knew it until this year, but June 12th is National Pecan Pie Day.  Since I generally don’t like pies or cakes I thought I should celebrate this holiday with a slice of pie and some vanilla ice cream.  I didn’t bake my own, basically because I don’t want to eat 6 slices of pie.  Maybe next year I’ll try making a mini pecan pie.

Also, I’ve been watching my tomato plants very carefully as I noticed that some of my tomatoes were ripening up.  When I went out to water this morning I was delighted to find 2 full size tomatoes ready for eating and one cherry tomato.  Homegrown tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables so I promptly brought them in, sliced them up, dashed some salt on them and wolfed them down.  You have to love a day when you’re rewarded for going out and watering and weeding!

The weeds in some areas of the garden are starting to get a little out of control.  It may be time for me to destroy most of the square garden, mark out the boundaries with spray paint and then rent a tiller to get my row garden growing.  I’ve been avoiding it because it’s a serious commitment to expand the garden as much as I’m proposing.  But by not deciding I’ve allowed the weeds to set me back in planting.  What really hurts is that by procrastinating I’ve now allowed the serious summer heat to arrive and make the proposed job a very miserable proposition.

I’ll make the decision by tomorrow.  Right now I just want a shower and nap to recover from an early mornings work in the garden.  Maybe I’ll put up my new closet rod this afternoon as that’s something that needs to be completed and I can work on in the pleasure of air conditioning.

We’ve got a 30% chance of rain today and tomorrow, so here’s hoping we get a little rain to back up my hand watering from today.

Downspout Diverter Installed for Tote

Posted July 7th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Early last week I finally got my 300 gallon tote integrated into my downspout system by installed a $40 diverter($45 for the larger 3″x4″ size) I purchased from via Amazon.  The purpose of the diverter is two-fold.  First I wanted a way to reliably get water directly into the tote.  For my first water barrel I used a flex spout from the local Home Depot but it turns out they only stocked the 3″x4″ size and it didn’t attach in a very attractive manner.  Also, since it’s plastic I don’t really expect it to last more than a few years.  This new metal downspout diverter should last me several decades.

The second purpose was to have a way to redirect water away from the water barrel during the winter.  I don’t want water inside the barrel as that would lead to freezing and rupturing during cold weather.  This diverter will allow me to just flip a level and then the water will go back to the traditional downspout.

Installation was fairly simple.  I did have to learn how to crimp guttering for the first time so that I could fit the pieces together but that’s not a very steep learning curve.

There are a few other improvements I still need to complete.  First of all I need to put some insect screen over the inlet to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the standing water.  I also need to install an overflow pipe or hose.  I used a wide hose for my smaller rain barrel but the damn dogs started chewing and yanking on it when they realized they could get water out of the barrel that way.  So I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this for my new rain collector.

Finally, I’m now assembling a faucet assembly for the tote.  The purpose of this is to reduce the size of the outlet from 2″ NPT to a regular 3/4″ garden hose diameter.  With that reduction in size I’ll be able to fit the barrel with a pump and run sprinklers in the garden instead of hand watering the entire garden.  I may not complete this item until I’ve used plastic mulch for a few seasons to kill off all the grass.  I say that because hand watering with plastic mulch is very easy since you just water inside the holes you cut in the plastic.

Happy Fried Chicken Day

Posted July 6th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

One thing I sure did love when I was a kid was fried chicken.  But I know it’s not good for me and lord knows that KFC wants a pretty penny for a few measly pieces.  I love me some Popeye’s chicken but it always seems like they’re not located anywhere convenient.

I have fond memories of my grandmother frying chicken in a pan at her home in Illinois and so this year I think I’m going to try to cook some up myself.  Sure, fried chicken isn’t healthy for me but I can still enjoy it two or three times a year.  Perhaps in a year or two I’ll even be raising some of my own meat chickens so I can benefit from their poop and eat some delicious home grown meat.

Hopefully you can fry some up yourself and have a great day.

Last Mesclun Salad From The Garden

Posted July 5th, 2011 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Well, it’s the end of June and that means the really hot weather is here to stay for a few months.  It is technically possible to keep growing salad greens if I have the right cultivars at this time of year but it’s a challenge and I’m not that great of a gardener yet.  So I’m enjoying one of my last salads for a few months.

I made my own salad dressing from scratch but I didn’t realize just how easy it would be to make my own croutons.  So I bought some from Aldi’s.  Next time I’ll just take some bread that’s dried out a bit, chop it up and whallah I’ve got croutons.

Happy Fourth of July

Well, it looks like it’s going to be a hot Fourth of July this year.  It also should be reasonably safe since we got a nice little bit of rain yesterday so all the grasses should resist catching fire.  The rain didn’t top off the new rain barrel that I’ll be writing about tomorrow but it did at least add 40 gallons or so to each tank.

As I tend to do on holidays, I will of course be watching a few films that have the theme of the holiday at it’s core.

This year I will be trying out Drums Along the Mohawk.  I think I’ve watched it once before but many years ago.

I will probably also watch The Patriot some time after midnight when I’m tired and want to watch something that I know inside and out but still enjoy re watching.  I’m not much a fan of Mel Gibson’s bigoted rants but this is still a good film and there are startling few movies about The Revolutionary War.

And depending on how much I hang out with the neighbors I may also watch Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor.  I don’t know enough about Benedict’s story and when would be a better time than now to learn a bit more about my history?

I also plan on cooking up some vittles although I have been invited over to the neighbors.  I didn’t necessarily plan on hanging out with them tonight so I don’t have anything to share with them so I’ll just eat a tiny bit of their chow.

I’m going to fix up some german style cole slaw, deviled eggs, pasta salad, caesar salad and BBQ wings and drumsticks.  Maybe I’ll fix up enough deviled eggs to share with the neighbors.  I’ve been playing around with a hot wing recipe that I found online.  It’s very tasty and produces a wonderfully crisp skin but it is definitely not spicy enough.  I tried upping the amount of tabasco sauce but that didn’t really do it.  So I’m going to try out this guys recipe today: Don’s Wings as he uses a lot of chipotle peppers in his mix.

I hope y’all have a nice holiday and take a few moments to think about the actual freedom that we are celebrating.  Please, when you’re given a chance to vote don’t let either party take away more of our freedoms.  Demand Habeas Corpus for all who are being held in America, say no to silly laws that regulate things we don’t care if others do but say yes to regulating industries that have wreaked havoc upon the American populace.