SubscribeStar Saturday: Homesteading in the City

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Recently I’ve taken subscriptions to Backwoods Home Magazine and its sister publication, Self-Reliance.  Both magazines are treasure troves of information on how to be, well, self-reliant.  Backwoods Home focuses more on handy projects around the homestead and garden, sprinkled with articles containing recipes for canning veggies and baking homemade bread.  Self-Reliance seems to cover many of the same topics, just maybe with fewer recipes.

A major emphasis of both publications is establishing and maintaining a functioning homestead that is as self-supporting and sustainable as possible.  The authors often acknowledge that such an ideal may be impossible to realize in its truest, Platonic form, but point out that it is still an ideal worth striving toward.  Besides that grand ideal, though, the publications are very practical—how does one go about doing all of the tasks and completing all of the myriad projects that maintaining an independent homestead requires?

The goal of near-self-sufficiency is maximal liberty—if you can grow your own food and raise your own livestock, who cares if your employer mandates The Vaccine for work?  You can just live off your land, at least until you can find a job that doesn’t force you to inject yourself with an experimental drug.  That requires a great deal of hard work and focus, but the reward is freedom from the whims of the workplace and the world.  We all know corporations and even smaller employers are growing more woke by the day; in the case of big corporations, following the popular “morality” of the day to keep up appearances is more important than the well-being of their employees.

As someone who would like to raise a few crops and maybe some chickens on my little half-acre, a local story here in Darlington County, South Carolina, caught my attention.  A couple in Society Hill, the Dukes, has around thirty-one animals on their forty-four-acre property, which sits within the town limits of Society Hill.  Their livestock includes “chickens, goats, cows, horses, hens, a duck and a rooster.”

The Town Council for Society Hill passed an ordinance limiting livestock to six chickens and two “equines”—horses, mules, donkeys, etc.—on property within town limits.  The Dukes were apparently in violation of an older ordinance from the 1970s that limited livestock numbers on property within town limits.  I’m not sure what those limits were, but it seems Society Hill’s Town Council believed it needed to update the ordinance.

There are multiple issues here, which are reflected in the Council’s 3-2 split on the ordinance.  The Dukes claim that the current Mayor of Society Hill, Tommy Bradshaw, is targeting them because Dwayne Duke seeks to challenge Bradshaw for mayor.  The Dukes also claim that their animals are used for emotional support therapy for trouble kids.

Neighbors, however, fear that the Dukes plan to turn their home into a petting zoo of some kind, and there have apparently been repeated complaints about the livestock (no one wants a rooster waking them up at the literal crack of dawn).  Even before the new ordinance was passed, the Dukes were already in violation of the older ordinance, which was nearly fifty years old (a reminder to town governments to update their ordinances periodically, lest they be forgotten from lack of use).

So, who is right?  Should the Dukes give up their livestock—and their chance at homesteading freedom?—so their neighbors can get some peace?  Or should they be allowed to keep the animals they raise?

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TBT: Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

Earlier this week I was having a conversation with someone on Milo’s rollicking Telegram chat, in which we were trying to figure out the name of a short story involving people living in underground cells, communicating only via the Internet.  I had a feeling I had written about it before, but could not remember the name of the story.

Turns out it was E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909, and I wrote about it in this catch-all post from the early days of The Age of The Virus (so early, in fact, I was not capitalizing the first “the” in that moniker, which I have texted so much, my last phone auto-predicted “The Age of The Virus”).  I compared the story to Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”–a story that apparently is assigned regularly in India, because pageviews for it always seem to coincide with large numbers of site visitors from the subcontinent.

But I digress.  The story sounded eerily like what our elites asked us to do during The Age of The Virus:  stay home, get fat, consume mindless entertainment, and don’t socialize.  Granted, some of us could go outside and plant gardens (I still got fat, though), but the messaging was not “become more self-sufficient so we can mitigate disaster” but “buy more stuff and don’t do anything fun.”  It was depressing to me how many people embraced this line of reasoning, turning government-mandated sloth into some kind of perverted virtue.

I appreciated the break that The Age of The Virus afforded us, but it came with the severe curtailment of liberty—and Americans ate it up!  Instead of people boldly throwing ravers and partying down, laughing at our elites, we instead retreated into our hovels, shuddering in the dark.  When I did through a big Halloween bash, it was a massive success—because, I suppose, people had finally had it.

I guess that’s the silver lining.  With that, here’s 3 April 2020’s “Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus” (perhaps the longest title of any blog post ever):

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Bric-a-Brac

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This week I’ve been thinking and writing about home, as well as the idea of self-sufficiency.  Home is certainly a space that serves a utilitarian purpose:  a place to sleep, a shelter from the elements, a piece of land for growing food.

But the concept of “home” encompasses far more than the practical.  There is a distinct difference, both aesthetically and spiritually, between a cookie-cutter, white-washed apartment complex flophouse and a home.  Anyone who has moved out of such a space, only to move back into one, realizes how depressing such places are.

Naturally, many enterprising and decorative sorts have turned divorced dad domiciles into homey spaces.  For many people, especially young people, such complexes are necessary, and I don’t mean to demean anyone living in one (I lived in such a place, once, and it suited my needs at twenty-two; it would be a nightmare for me now).  But it’s those little decorative touches that really help bring a home to life.

I’m not much for decorating myself, but while washing my dishes, I was contemplating some of the odds and ends I have over the sink.  My kitchen sink has a window over it, facing into my mudroom, which ages ago was a screened-in back porch.  Now the mudroom is closed in, but the window remains.  On the sill I keep a number of little figurines—bric-a-brac:  some unpainted plastic Chaos Marine miniatures from Warhammer 40K; an Energizer Bunny sticker dispenser; a pewter figurine of an Imperial Ordinator from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind; a folk-art figurine made from nuts, bolts, and washers, holding a sign that reads, “Visit Stone Mountain”; a little Jack O’Lantern stress ball; and an icon of St. Thomas Aquinas, a gift from an aggressively Catholic colleague.

What I realized is that these little figurines aren’t just the nerdy detritus of my youth, accumulated on my kitchen windowsill; they’re fun little expressions of home—and of liberty.

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When Does it End?

At my second Town of Lamar Council Meeting, my colleagues outvoted me 4-1 to renew Lamar’s mask ordinance for another sixty days.  They also shot down my proposal that we reopen council meetings to the public, who can currently only attend online via Facebook Live and Zoom.

That’s precisely what I expected to happen, and I appreciate their reasons:  concerns about safety, etc.  The big, lingering question—one I can’t get out of my mind—is “when does it end?”  At what point are we safe “enough” to remove our masks?

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The Virus Kabuki

A big hat-tip (H/T in blogger parlance) to Mogadishu Matt for reblogging this New York Times piece about masks and The Virus.  I tend to view mask mandates as a form of petty tyranny—a way of signalling virtue on the cheap while inconveniencing otherwise law-abiding citizens who don’t want to muzzle themselves every time they want to buy cereal.

As such, I was surprised to see the dubious wisdom of mask mandates questioned in the pages of the progressive Left’s favorite “mainstream” rag, The New York Times.

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Hustlin’ Towards Financial Independence

It’s another Bandcamp Friday, which means if you buy my music today, Bandcamp doesn’t take their cut; ergo, yours portly pockets a few more dimes.

Those dimes add up. Regular readers know that I’m a major advocate of sensible financial planning and reducing unnecessary spending (at one point, I would have been an “extreme budgeter,” but now some hedonic adaptation has kicked in and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor a bit more).  I also promote hustlingworking hard and spinning different side gigs—to generate extra income.

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Fleeing to (and Preserving) Freedom

Monday’s edition of Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day on Ballotpedia listed the sixteen States that lost population in 2020.  That’s significant as it will likely affect the apportionment of congressional districts in a number of States, depending on how rapidly other States’ populations grew relative to these States’ shrinkage.

Seven of the States were in New England of the Mid-Atlantic:  Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  The other nine were California, Michigan, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

While I certainly don’t like seeing Southern States in that list (I’ll consider West Virginia “honorarily Southern”), their inclusion makes sense.  Mississippi is a great State, as I imagine West Virginia is, too, but they’re not exactly hotbeds of opportunity.  Similarly, Louisiana is so corrupt, it’s little wonder that it’s shedding inhabitants.

The rest of these States make perfect sense:  New England and the Mid-Atlantic are hotbeds of failed progressive policies and social justice insanity.  Reading photog’s posts at Orion’s Cold Fire gives a good sense for the besieged nature of conservatives in his State, Massachusetts.  I once spoke with a pharmacist who relocated his family from either Connecticut or Vermont—I can’t quite remember now—who said he had to move South because he was run out of his job for not supporting abortion.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Spirit of 1776

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Disclaimer:  I do not endorse violence as a means to achieving political ends in normal circumstances.  That said, I reject the claim that “violence never solves anything.”  The vast annals of human history suggest the opposite is largely the case—violence has been the resort—sometimes final, sometimes not—to resolve any number of problems.  Our entire political system rests on the implicit use of violent force towards upholding the common good—and protecting those unable to protect themselves.  Jesus Christ died—quite violently!—for our sins, offering us ultimate salvation forever.

Further, our entire nation is founded on a last-resort to violence to secure American liberty:  the American Revolution.  Brave men pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors to secure liberty and to defend their rights.  Over 4000 did make the ultimate sacrifice—and many, many more since then—to win and secure our freedom.  Sometimes some turbulence is necessary—as the Left has told us all of last year as BLM destroyed cities—to secure liberty.

That’s an uncomfortable concept—I don’t necessarily like it, and I am sad to see it has come to that—but it’s the foundation of our Republic.  I sincerely pray for reconciliation and healing, as did John Dickinson prior to the American Revolution, but I am not optimistic given Democratic control of the organs of power.  The storming of the Capitol will be used as a pretext—it already is—to oppress and imprison conservatives.  At such a point, the remaining options begin to vanish.

I am not calling for or advocating violence in any form—but I’m afraid it’s coming nevertheless.  Please pray with me for reconciliation—true reconciliation, not the dictator’s peace of bending the knee to Leftist insanity—and prepare for troubled times ahead.

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Mask Mandates Come for Lamar

I know, I know—everyone wants to read and talk about the storming of our metaphorical Bastille.  I’m going to cover that in-depth in this weekend’s SubscribeStar Saturday post, not because I know it is the event of the decade—and will therefore crassly milk it for subscribers—but because my own observations are so tantalizingly spicy, I have to hide them behind a paywall.  Believe it or not, $1 is apparently a major hurdle.

Instead, I’m going to focus on a bit local draconianism that I will hopefully soon be able to address head-on:  my small town of Lamar has adopted a mask ordinance.  Given our current Town Council, I’m surprised it took this long.

The ordinance, dated 14 December 2020 and effective 4 January 2021—but only received in water bills on 7 January 2021—is entitled “REQUIRING INDIVIDUALS TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS IN RETAIL AND FOODSERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS, AND MATTERS RELATED THERETO.”  It features a number of “WHEREAS” justifications, mostly the “recommendations of public health experts.”  It then lists the “Use of Face Coverings” in Section 1, detailing that face coverings must be worn indoors at stores and restaurants, etc., with plenty of opportunities to not wear a mask listed in Section 2, “Exemptions”—religious reasons, dental cleanings, etc.

The penalties for infractions—detailed in Sections 3 and 4—are $25 for individuals and $100 for businesses that fail to require employees to wear masks.  Section 3 seems laughably unenforceable in a town that has maybe three police officers—and just a recipe for another unpleasant interaction between otherwise law-abiding citizens and police.  Section 4 is particularly onerous, though, as it forces private companies to force their employees to wear masks, or face daily $100 fines.

Granted, most business establishments have already bent the knee and have bought into the mask hysteria.  In my mind, though, that makes the mask mandate even more unnecessary:  if Dollar General is making me wear a mask to buy a $1.26 loaf of bread-based loaf product anyway, why does the Town Council need to ladle an extra dollop of self-righteous scolding?

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