Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Living Off The Land

My husband has two hobbies. He deer hunts in the fall and fishes in the spring. Oh, maybe he has three hobbies. Does napping in the recliner count?

This fall he has already killed two deer. One was a doe, killed with a muzzle loader and the other a 7 point buck, killed with a regular gun. Now before all you animal lovers bombard me - I DO NOT HUNT. I could not. I will not. I shall not. But.....this is not just a sport for him. This is meat in the freezer. I don't see it until it is sliced, diced, wrapped and frozen and is ready to put in the freezer, much like the beef, pork and chicken that I buy for the same purpose. When he fishes I don't see those either until they are dressed and soaked and ready to freeze.

When my father was a little boy he and his family lived off what they drew from the land, the things that God provided. They always had a garden and canned what they grew. They picked berries in the woods and gathered nuts from the trees by the side of the road. They hunted things that you and I would shudder at today but when you're hungry.... I remember him telling me they had eaten squirrel and rabbit (both of which I have eaten and liked), raccoon, possum, blackbirds and once, when times were really bad, they even killed robins. He had to leave school in the 6th grade to go to work to help his family and that meant doing some things that weren't so pleasant.

In America today we've gotten far away from the skills that our forefathers relied on to survive. When you're an urban dweller you don't have the opportunity to learn those things but in the more rural areas (and rural states) we still hunt and fish and can. We rely on those things to supplement our income. And in hard times those skills serve us well.

So many people are without jobs right now - the unemployment rate is mentioned on the news every day. Many more layoffs have been predicted for the coming months. We certainly are in a recession, and could be headed for a depression. How would we react if that happened? Would we be as courageous as our grandparents were during the depression? Would we learn to survive without? Would we join together to help each other or would we fall apart in despair?

24 comments:

Milah said...

I think there are very few people who could be self sufficient today. I like to think we could. We would probably do better than most, but in reality...I don't know. One thing I fear is crime. People would be pushed to do things they normally wouldn't do to feed their families. Since we raise beef and produce, I wouldn't feel safe. It's a scary thought and I hope it never happens. God help us if it does.

Crazy for Primitive Quilts and Gardens said...

My husband makes his living making bathtubs... no homes being built means no need for them. He has been at the same job for 22 years, and his company is huge... I know what is in store... and I am afraid. And my husband will be deer hunting this year the first time in those 22 years, since he was a 20-year-old. And I am learning to deal!

Lindah said...

The signs of economic troubles are already here...people at the door selling new windows or if you don't need those, how about some stocks and bonds (huh?). Another person is selling beef...no labels on his truck. Who knows where the beef came from in this rural area. Police are warning people to keep an eye on their catalytic converters...thieves are unbolting them in broad daylight. DH is talking about deer hunting, but the time and the expense plus the very real risk of NOT getting one make for not a very good idea here at this time. I find myself wracking my brain for additional ways to scrimp. We have discussed the safety issues. It's a hard time for everyone. I can't help but think that the greed and quest for affluence have pushed us into this difficult place. But, I will not go any further on my soapbox here.
Blessings!

Marie said...

The good times are definitely over Marlene. I think in a way it's a good thing because it forces us to reflect on all that is truly important in life. It will be very hard I know and harder for some than others. We need to remember we are all in this together and help to lift our brother up when he is in need. I'm not sure I could ever kill anything, but expect if I was starving I could. We have been fattening the squirrels up around here for a while now, it may be payback time soon! lol

Adrienne said...

A 7-point buck? Oh, my sweetheart is going to wish he could have seen that one! He hunts and fishes. We always pray he will get a deer and an elk for the meat in the freezer. Not only does it help the budget, it's lower fat than chicken and good for us. There have been very few years since we've been married that we didn't have venison and elk in the freezer. We always see it as God's provision. ~Adrienne~

Twisted Fencepost said...

We fish all summer. Hunting hasn't been done much. But we may be getting back to that. We have plenty of tools of the trade.
I have always said, the city slickers will depend on us country people to survive when and if the time comes to it.
My 12 year old son is being taught all these things, so if he'll ever need them for survival, he'll already have what he needs.

Granna said...

We grew up in Arkansas, too, and I can relate to your post. My husband stopped hunting and fishing a few years back, but if things continue to get bad he will have to return to his sport as a necessity. I don't know how everyone else thinks, but I think our country has allowed some citizens to become dependent on government assistance to the point they no longer have the knowledge to care for themselves, especially in troubled times. Look at what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Enough said.

Linda said...

I would like to think we would band together - but I am not sure that woulkd happen in the big cities - that's for sure!! I think we will see more and more people gardening and hunting and fishing. We don't have any hunters or fishers in this family - but that doesn't mean we don't understand why people do it. First we'd need to make sure we have enough gas to drive far enough into the country side where it is legal!! A good and thought provoking post my friend!!

Amelia said...

Being a woman I don't know that I could hunt and kill an animal...but I can sure cook it. In the house is where most of us woman are going to have to pull in the purse strings and make do with little. I worry about our younger generation (my children and grandchildren) being able to handle the hard times ahead. My husband was a truck driver (big trucks) for years so when it came time to renew his driver's licence he certainly renewed the CDL too. He hopes never to have to drive them again - but who knows.

Must remember God is still in control!

Salem Stitcher said...

I hope we will band together instead of defeating ourselves. It is a frightening thought.

Vicky said...

I don't hunt or fish but if we had to, I have the knowledge. I can grow a garden and know that you can feed your family all year if you are diligent in the summer. We've convereted our dryer to use a water filter on top of the dryer and that warms the house nicely during cool weather. Not the ideal situation but saves on electric--of course we use the solar dryer (clothes line) during the summer. I fear times are going to get worse before they get better. There's an old book I recently re-read. "Hinds Feet On High Places" remember perfect love castest out all fear.

Letters From Midlife said...

Sorry to say it but I think most people would look to the government to take care of them. My family wouldn't because we know how to "live off the land" so to speak. I personally don't think all this will go into another depression though. Yes, the coming year could be hard, but I do believe we will slowly and surely come out of this. It just won't be like it was before and people will have to rethink their lifestyles of spending money they don't have on things they can't afford.

Jacquie said...

I could've written this post, Marlene. Amazing. I've always said (since the day I married David) that if we had to live off the land... he'd be the one I'd want to do it with.

I talked with my 90 y/o neighbor lady about this subject yesterday... and she says you do what you have to do when times are tough. Her concern is that we rely on "things" a lot more now than we did back when. It's a different day and time. I hope that we would all find our way together if the worst comes.

Great post!

Kelly said...

Marlene, your hubby and mine would get along so well! They enjoy all three hobbies of fishing, hunting and reclining! :-)

Angie said...

I think it would be difficult for younger people to get through a bad recession because they have never had to do it before. They have been so used to having what they want when they want it that they surely would not know how to even consider going without.

It annoys me intensely to hear people bleating on about "...we haven't had a holiday this year...". So what? If you have a roof over your head and food on your table then you can "make do and mend" for other things. Batten down your hatches, sit it out and make sure those around you are OK as well.

Sounds ever so harsh, doesn't it? But recessions are harsh and. like it or not, they have to be got through. I do think that people WOULD learn to survive but the knowledge they gain would probably only be of use to them in the NEXT recession!

love, Angie, xx

em's scrapbag said...

I would hope I have learned from Grandma and used the skills she and mother have taught me. Thank goodness for their wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Good thought provoking post, Marlene. Thanks.

Kathy said...

My husband is also a hunter and a fisherman. Same thing here -- hunting and fishing, hunting and fishing! He too hunts for the meat -- our freezer has lots of vension and also lots of fish! It is great to have. He is a bowhunter during hunting season and a regular little minnow during fishing season -- LOL!

Grammy Staffy said...

I don't think most of us know how to live off the land any more. My John would be much better at it than I would. He is very resourceful that way. He got a deer for us when we were first married and starving college students. We lived on that and the trout he caught in Provo canyon. I must say that I am not fond of venison but it beats going hungry.

I wish you a happy (and as you say) blessed week.

osagebluffquilter said...

We need to get our guys together. Mine has built muzzle loaders since the mid 70's. I use to shoot them too in competition.

I am sure we can survive living off the land. Hubby says the one bad thing when he retires will be eating all the wild game and fish he will be killing.

I have done more canning this year than I have done since our adult children were small. We are slowly switching to generic brands on some foods. We have cut back on our 1 night out a week to eat out. Conserving energy by switching all our light bulbs possible to CFL. Just small things that we should have been doing all along I guess.

We will survive.

Osagebluffquilter

Rose Mary said...

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I don't know how people will react to such hard times. Americans are so 'soft' nowdays. Think how many women don't know how to actually cook unless it comes in a package and you pop it in the microwave!

I think that much tougher times are ahead. My dad keeps saying depression~I'm hoping and praying not, but I guess we will learn to get by. It's not something that I'm afraid of, just 'concerned'~a word we agreed on with our neighbor just tonight about the current economic situation. I'm just wondering how many people are starting to panic?

I think that ultimately there will be some trouble if times get too bad, but most people will start to pull together.

R~Mary

Oma aka Meme said...

napping counts with me as it is a hobby for me too
hunting is often a way of food for many folks here in Alberta- although it can be expensive for all the needs of a hunter---
God gave us the animals for food whether they are wild or domestic= our cows do not have a good time on the way to market or the slaugter house and then end up being fast food - hunting to me seems almost more humane- I sure hope I spelled all these odd words correctly to night=
Dad hunted back when we were kids or we would have been poorer- we needed the cows for milk and cream which we sold to make money for other food needs --so enjoy his hobby as it is also an income of sorts to supply your needs
huggles me, Meme

Janet, said...

I agree with the one poster about some people becoming too dependent on government assistance. They expect it and don't seem to realize whose money they are getting. they say it's the government's money, but where do they think the government gets it- from us.That's not how our country was built, it was built by hard working individuals. My husband doesn't hunt,but my son does when he has the time. We grow a garden every year and either freeze or can vegetables.

tipper said...

A very timely post Marlene. I do believe my family could be self sufficient-but I'm the first to admit it would be hard to do without the extras like chocolate and little debbies. Deer meat is a staple at our house-has been for years. I worry about the future and how others-without knowledge would survive-and how desperate folks will become if things continue as they are. Like Patti/Osage Bluff Quilter I have canned everything I could this summer. More than ever before.