Now, I realize not everyone is able to have a house in the boonies with a wood stove. I am smug enough to think that anyone who considers the government to be in decline, and the cities to be largely unlivable, OUGHT to live in the boonies, regardless of their other foibles. What do I mean by that? Well, let me explain.

Years ago, I lived in the big suburbs of a big city. I was okay with it, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say I liked it. Then I was given a nudge by the gods… I lost my job and my home in one fell swoop, and was forced to make a jump. In doing so, I miraculously landed not only on my feet, but in a much better situation overall. I wish I’d made that jump years earlier. Regardless, I found myself in a wonderful situation, living a life I had previously only dreamed of.

These days, I live in a sprawling home on the suburban/rural edge of a very small town. We only have an acre or so of land, but we back onto a multi-acre piece that is private and beautiful, and more importantly is not posted. This means we can hunt there, we can camp, we can play, and our kids can run amok. It’s been wonderful. I have gardens, sometimes more fruitful than other times. I have firewood galore, just from fallen trees out back (which we have permission to harvest). There’s potable water close by, and I have the means to cart it and filter it to make it safe (if it was unsafe). In some years, there’s a stream out back, if you know where to look, which isn’t huge but is big enough and is ground water and therefore pretty likely to be clean.

Our power went out for a day. Previously we’ve lost power for longer than that, but this time it was just a day. We knew it was likely to happen, though it hit us much earlier than I’d thought. Apparently a local transformer blew up and started a two alarm fire. Whee… exciting times. That’s aside from the usual branches taking down lines. When we get icy rain like we did, it’s just one of those things that happens. It’s the price of living in a place that has shade and privacy and lush, green beauty all around.

I’ve heard people say that the trees ought to be taken down. Why? To protect the power lines, apparently. While I sympathize with power lines being downed, that’s not a reason to be defacing my property. Your (the faceless mass of “your” here) desire to force me to address things that may happen will not cause me to do so. As an example, neighbors noted that one of our trees is dead. It’s standing firewood right now. Unfortunately, it’s not in a place that’s easy to bring it down, so we’ve left it alone. It’s not rotting at present, and it’s not causing any issues. It doesn’t sway nearly as much as the other trees. And unlike our neighbor’s trees, it hasn’t fallen and caused damage to a house. Regardless, we have insurance to cover just such emergencies. It’s our tree, and our choice. Our neighbors can “want” us to take it down all they like, just like the “want” us to not have firearms, or enjoy our firepit, or raise chickens, or any of the other fun things we do. They can “want” as much as they like. What they can’t do is compel.

When we get to the point of compelling people to do things, I have a problem. “Public safety” is the first thing that gun grabbers usually mention. It would be so much SAFER if the guns were just not in public possession. Leaving aside the fact that I disagree with that to the extreme, the thing is, I don’t care. My concern is for MY family. My firearms protect MY people. Going a bit further, my woodstove heats MY family, my food feeds us. Public safety only goes so far.

When I hear that I ought to have all my beautiful privacy trees cut down for “public safety,” I start squinting my eyes and looking sideways at people. No thank you. I said NO THANK YOU sir. Giving up my trees is one step toward giving up my other freedoms.

All that leads me to what I asked in the title: Whose job is it, anyhow?

Whose job is it to protect my family? Ours. Whose job is it to feed my family? Ours. Whose job is it to keep my family sheltered and warm? Ours. It is not the government’s job. The moment you give ground in that direction, you may as well slide all the way down the leftist hill.

When the power went out, I wasn’t actually at home. When I did get home, the kids had the wood stove going, and had pulled out some oil lanterns and solar lights to see. Our battery back up packs had been located and put on the dining room table for anyone who needed them. We didn’t bother firing up the generator, because it’s cold outside. The food in our freezers was going to stay frozen without any issues (our freezers are actually outside), and the food in the fridge just got packed up and put into raccoon safe boxes on the porch, where it was cold enough to keep it as well as the fridge. People were reading books. I came in and sat and sewed for a while while we listened to a book on tape that I have downloaded for just such emergencies. Dinner was switched from an oven meal to a stove top meal, one that could be easily made with the gas stove (which runs without electricity). If I’d been home, I’d still have made the oven item; I have dutch ovens, and I know how to use them. Honestly, the kids do too, but they were being lazy, and that was fine.

That night, I cuddled up under warm blankets, in my bed. If it had been colder (it was really only a little below freezing), I might have gotten out the military sleep system, but I didn’t see the need. I also could have slept in the living room, where the wood stove was banked for the night, but again, it wasn’t that cold. I wore my night cap, and so even my head was warm.

Water was still running in one of our bathrooms, so we continued to use that. If it had stopped, we had bucket potties we could have pulled out to use. We had the means to heat water, both on the gas stove and on the wood stove, so we were able to wash. Camp showers are wonderful things.

So yeah… If you are in a city, there are lots of things you can do, even if you can’t have a fireplace or wood stove. If you need help learning how to prepare for such things, I’m more than happy to teach. In fact, I offered to do so for a local lady who spent 24 hours straight complaining about how horrid it was she had no electricity. I was a bit shocked, because it’s a friend who is normally fairly balanced and thoughtful… but she just lost it. She was whining about “losing all the food in her fridge,” when I privately contacted her and suggested that the gods had provided a giant outdoor fridge, just for her. I offered to help her learn how to deal with this stuff. Why? Because everyone should know how to go a few days or weeks without power. We get snow here, and other areas get hurricanes or tornadoes or tsunamis or earthquakes, or whatever it is that endangers your area. Learning to be self sufficient for the common emergencies of your place of living is not just important, it is your duty.

IMO of course.

who recently spent the night in an 18th century fort on an 11*F night, by choice

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By hagar

13 thoughts on “Whose Job Is It, Anyhow?”
  1. there are many who are truely helpless.. When I originally designed my house it was just me an the dog.. therefore I had a “manual” gas stove and minimal electric appliances planned. in the course of life I met someone who became my wife. when she moved in with me I had no well or septic system(We live about 200 feet from my mom so we did have facilities).. my house has gone thru updates as money became available. I have propane heat which I luv. wood stoves are awesome to heat with but I don’t want one. when we put in my new kitchen I let my wife pick what she wanted for appliances. after the kitchen was done the following spring I picked up a 12k propane powered generator that runs my whole house. we lose power here ALOT, not just storms n such. this is in a small town in the woods 16 miles from the nearest large town. I would not trade my 5 acres for any town living. I have tools and skills to do anything we need short of making propane, heh. the un wet dream is to force everyone into cities so they have total control of us. those who live outside towns are a threat because we don’t need them. improvise adapt overcome

    1. “I have tools and skills to do anything we need short of making propane, heh.”

      Yes, you can do that too.

      Look up building a Wood Gasifier!

    2. I adore my wood stove. If I could get a second chimney built, I would have my wood cook stove hooked up as well. I have done plenty of truly amazing cooking on it. I like generators, but eventually fuel runs out. I have chosen not to be dependent upon one, though I do enjoy using it in short term emergencies. 🙂

  2. Luckily I live less than a mile from a reservoir so water is easy. Currently have no facilities for a wood stove which I hope to resolve sometime in the future. Would love to get one in the basement but alslas, my chimney is a single flue that the furnace runs through. I need to explore if having two liners is an option with my chinmey.
    Bucket toilet is a good idea and will be adding that to my list.

    1. If I were younger, I’d just go outside. I understand how to build an outhouse. But I’m lazy and a “woman of a certain age” and I want my indoor toilet. If that means I have to clean out my honey bucket every few days, I’m okay with that. I actually learned that particular trick when camping, because half the time the camp facilities are a ways away, and I’m not walking a quarter mile to pee at 3am.
      I get the wanting a second flue. We have a furnace flue, and we have a fireplace flue. The fireplace flue is currently the out put for the wood stove. My wood cook stove is in the front room, not hooked up, because there’s no second thimble to use to hook it in. *sad face*

      1. I have an even closer source of non potable water that can be used for flushing toilets, so the bucket toilet wasn’t even on the radar until today.

  3. “I’ve heard people say that the trees ought to be taken down. Why? To protect the power lines, apparently.”
    Or, to prevent wildfires… However, I see your point.
    There is a point where “public safety” becomes a shared responsibility. Traffic laws, air traffic control, most criminal laws, building codes, etc… If there is a demonstrated public safety issue, I am not opposed to complying with it. However, I do bristle when the “public safety” is based on emotional BS.
    “We need to take care of the homeless, it is a public safety issue.” does not sway me in any way whatsoever. Clearing a utility corridor around power lines, I can accept. So far, I have yet to hear a supportable public safety argument for gun control, nothing even close to supportable.
    The rest, I absolutely, 100% agree with. The first and foremost person responsible for your comfort and safety is you. Not the government, not your neighbors, you are. And, you are responsible for earning a “living wage.” You are responsible for feeding your family. You are responsible for paying your student loans.
    And, most importantly, it is YOU who is responsible for dealing with the consequences of decisions you have made. Unfortunately, not enough people have learned that lesson in life. And, we are suffering under the weak men that easy times creates.

    1. When the authorities came and *asked* if they could take down our trees, we talked with them about it. We made suggestions. They could take down all the trees they wanted, if they’d replace them with “short” trees that would restore our privacy in a couple of years without endangering the power lines. They could take down some of the trees (we marked them) and just be done with it, having removed enough to protect power lines but still leave us with our privacy. Or they could take down no trees, and deal with the outcome.
      They chose option 3. I still don’t know why. The bottom line is, if the power goes out due to our trees (which it didn’t… we lost power due to a blown transformer), we’ll deal. I’m sorry other people had issues, but if the power company had been reasonable, they could have taken down the trees that were dangerous. It was only because their answer was to clear cut (yes, I’m being snarky and exaggerating, but not by that much sadly), our answer was NO.
      But yeah, public safety is just one of those things. I can’t depend on police to come if there’s violence at my home. I can’t depend on power being restored immediately. I can’t depend on the internet always being up. I can only depend on those things *I* control. And I make sure that the important things are always in my control.

      1. I am with you there.
        I trimmed several trees near power lines at my property. Because if the utility got involved, they would be stumps. Not interested in that.
        So, yes, a lot of cautious trimming/pruning, and the maintenance is sometimes time consuming but the trees are up, and will stay up as long as I am here.

  4. I live next to high tension lines so I don’t have much choice in the matter anyways; its like a 50′ zone around them that is to be clear. I’m willing to forgo that choice for the fact I’ll never have a neighbor on 3 sides of my property because of those lines :).
    I’d diverge slightly from you here, why bother waiting for the tree to fall onto your neighbor and destroy something or hurt someone? And then involve insurance and possible legal issues too? Much cheaper and less of a headache in the long run to remove it ahead of time. I don’t really get that. However, I do get and agree, hey they’re your trees, you can do what you please with them.
    I might just take notice though if your neighbor starts parking his boat, collector car, or his napping wife under the tree; it would seem he was expecting something at that point.

  5. The power company out here claims 10′ on either side of the line, and will aggressively cut back limbs and other things that might endanger the lines. But not the entire tree. However, it is the home owner’s expense and liability if the rest of the tree falls on the line.

    It’s a topic I have very mixed emotions about, because I was in the ’07 Ice Storm in a town that lost 90% of the power. Why? No one was doing right-of-way checks, and limbs took out transformers, lines, and the rest of the trees. It was a week before power came back. So yes, my first twitch is “clear everything away from the lines and poles.” My second twitch is “my property, my problem if it is not in the legal right-of-way.”

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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