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  1. The dice are fully loaded against you and all to often you will lose. Good friend years ago explained it to me, he was farming 80 acres and was Mennonite. You can live in one world or the other, not both. Your friends and neighbors will demand that you pay your fair share of the “community expenses” even if you do not use them, so local, state, and federal taxes will be collected. While many are based on income and can be minimized, others are based on the “value” of your assets, state and local taxes, other are hidden in medical expenses, fees, license requirements, inspections, limitations on your sale, milk, meat, veggie, “safety requirements”, and when you have to generate income to pay for these non barter items, it will be taxed, or you will pay a sales tax on the goods you buy. You have the choice of medical care, eye glasses, dental, hearing aids, etc, if you are not “eligible” for these under medicaid or a similar program, it will require more cash income than was required to live 40 years ago. If you decide to forego them and one of your children or family member gets ill, the state may well take your farm to pay for the court-ordered medical care as they will “protect” your children as they see fit, and make you pay for it. As a group, Amish, LDS, etc, you may minimize the problems, but never reduce them to 0. Required health care, shots, school or sports physicals, etc, minimum safe “housing” standards, often now requiring electricity, water, sewer, and central heat.
    You can still work around the edges in some areas, but in many others, they will insist that you live on welfare and control you and your children’s lives, or participate fully in the cash society and nothing else will be tolerated. Most of those who lived quite well in the society described above have been forced to live in the new controlled society. There are a few minor problems to be worked out in our welfare system, it destroys the family, reduces those on it to mindless drones following some elite manifesto, perpetuates itself for generations, and has created a culture that thinks hard work and getting ahead are “privilege” and that instead they deserve to be given everything and that those that have stolen it from them should pay for their wishes. Best you can hope for is to live on the edges as grey as possible and watch our beloved country disappear in front of your eyes. At 81, I never expected that when I call my medical provider, $10,000 a year for “free medical care”, that the first required response to the computer which acts as the gate keeper, would be which language I wished to use in my interactions.

    1. Duane, I’m sorry to have to say that you are correct. Living in a beautiful rural area of middle Tennessee, a perfect prepper environment, I see every year long lists of small farm owners who can not pay their property taxes and their properties are being auctioned on the courthouse steps. As you age, or even an accident “hewing a log into a beam” will bankrupt you due to extreme medical care costs. I can see very few ways of escaping the social/cultural/economic reality we live in unless government at all levels did not exist. So we are back in the 17th century.

    2. I see a link on the Laws’ website to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which can help with a lot of the regulatory issues that are an impediment to this type of lifestyle. They have a homesteader membership for $75. IMO, a good investment to be able to get legal help.

  2. I agree with both cord7 and Duane. I love your lifestyle, and your amazing family and hard work. Your lifestyle is one of hard work and family any survivalist dreams of. Unfortunately, where I live, you can’t install a dryer vent, or build a shed without inspections and permits. And our garbage can can’t be brought to the street any sooner than 6pm the evening before…and it better be on the correct side of the driveway or you get an embarrassing bright orange sticker placed on the can and a threat of a fine. I do not live in a big fancy well to do area. After reading your story, our family move to Idaho can’t come any quicker. At least we’ve been blessed to be able to homeschool and garden where we live. I was raised in a home that didn’t have money but we had a huge garden and enjoyed the local farmers advice, and fertilizer! Now our farms are apartment buildings.

  3. An excellent article! My grand parents and great-grand parents lived a small family farm life style and they made it through the great depression and two world wars up to around 1956, at which time “civilization” did them and the farm in. I do hope your article inspires some young families to aspire to the values you mention in the article. It is not an easy task to fight city hall and skip around the IRS.

    City folks are encroaching on the country and bringing their bad habits and liberalism with them. Even if you live in “unincorporated” areas, in some states the politicians will still get you. Assessments, taxes, fees and required permissions or licenses are eventually slapped on the family farm. Out west some states claim to own the rain! As Duane expressed, government will get you one way or another. I do hope you and your family are in a safe area where there is freedom and independence are valued.

  4. Your lifestyle and life choice decisions will be much easier once this current society passes through the predicted 4th Turning collapse (Strauss & Howe, 1997). But until there is no tax man to come demanding payment you will be forced to participate, to some degree. Keep such participation minimized and follow “grey man” opsec rules.

    Until then, God speed! A reset is coming and those who are inflexible will suffer. It is always better to have multiple skills, multiple “customers” and multiple income streams prior to such resets.

    Finally, start building relationships with providers who may barter for their services when things get “weird”. Medical services and supplies, Doctors and PAs, mechanics, other tradespeople, and professionals. You need those linkages in advance of crisis so you and they may draw on them in the future. A great diesel mechanic and welder may be as important as a local doctor or pharmacist.

  5. That is an extremely hard way of life. If you enjoy doing all those things and have the energy for it , more power to you. Modern equipment is very handy and allows up to keep up a homestead lifestyle as we get older and our strength starts to wane. I’m curious what his older children think about growing up this way. I confess that some of our our older children aren’t terribly enthusiastic about all the chores they had. But, they are extremely competent and have done well. We may have to resort to this more primitive way of life again so it’s good to have some experience with it.

  6. Nice article Kit Law,
    Something that is never brought up much for the large portion of viewers of this blog is age. This may be fine for the 20 something or 30 something possibly early 40 something but what does a guy do when the kids go on to other things around the age of 18 and suddenly your older and slower and weaker and medical issues pop up as they invariably do and your left with the back breaking chores with little or no help? I doubt your going to drive the team in chest deep snow with a load then. It would be interesting to know how many 50 something 60 something 70 something are selling the Idaho homestead and moving back to town and retiring tired? I remember not long ago working steel 150 to 200 feet in the air 6 and 7 days a week. Not anymore brother I’m having a hard time keeping up with a 30 x 20 vegetable garden and mowing a couple acres with a tractor.

  7. Wonderful article, thank you. Many excellent comments. I will add just one more if I may. Since you both work very hard, and such a life is not without physical risk, strongly suggest that you both have a 15 or 20 year Level Term Life Insurance policy in the event that one of you dies. This leaves the other spouse with financial means to either hire someone, or relocate into a less physically demanding homestead. NOT whole life insurance which is very costly, but Level Term where the premium does not rise during the period, and the monthly cost for healthy, non-smoking adult is reasonable. Quotes available on line from many insurance companies, and there are rating agencies that rate such companies so that you are not insured with a “fly by night” company. A half million on each Spouse sounds like a LOT of money, but with inflation, by the time the youngest is 18, the money may be worth less than half today’s value. As for insurance against accident causing disability, that is a horse of another color. So far, Social Security Disability Fund is not declaring that it is broke, but it only doles out $$$ monthly, and not a lump sum such as Level Term. Hence, making relocation and perhaps a less physically demanding life style difficult.

  8. This article was very interesting. Before we can fully enjoy the liberty of a previous era, government must be gutted to that of the era. Meanwhile maximizing self-reliance is crucial. Homeschooling is an absolute must.

    The comments here are testimony to an already tyrannical government and fallen republic. Chaos is near. The demographics (and opportunities for liberty) will be changing soon.

    Remember that Americans enjoyed their greatest liberty before the creation of the US Constitution, federal government, and political parties. And they defeated the mightiest military in the world.

  9. Thoughtful. Well written. Great testament to patience and perseverance in the face of adversity (and absurdity). With a respectful acknowledgment of your skills, perseverance will be required of all who hope to survive the coming collapse.

    I look forward to more articles – for example, a how-to story about raising and training the oxen or an article about setting up and learning to use a forge.

    I also suspect there could be an interesting piece on barter arrangements (what worked and what did not) in your local and extended community.

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