Job Prospects

oldest homesteader

To begin with, a disclaimer. The child’s name is not mentioned. I will not mention it either.  In addition, I am not talking here about the opinions of this child.  I do not know if the child in question actually has expressed any desire about anything, or if this is just more of Nicole’s bullshit.

Regardless, it’s beyond ludicrous and if the child actually said this, repeating it for her “45,000 followers” is a terrible thing to do.

Of course he has no desire for college.  He doesn’t even have a junior-high-school education.  He would be very hard-pressed to even get into college.

But more to the point, “homesteading” is not a career choice.

Nicole and Joe are not “homesteaders” or they would know that. You can’t make a living doing that.  Nobody can.

definition dictionary
for link, click image

The actual definition of the word is above. Many years ago, the US government gave away land to anyone who would live on it and farm it and make it productive.  Called the Homesteading Act, the last land that could be obtained that way was in Alaska (and you can no longer do it there).

This was all back when America was largely agrarian and small farms could actually more-or-less make it.  Those conditions are long gone.

wiki
for link, click image

And here we have part of what Wikipedia has to say about the word. This illustrates quite graphically the weakness of Wikipedia. The article is pretty terrible.

The problem is that it’s vague. That which is too inclusive says nothing at all.

It’s a “lifestyle of self-sufficiency.”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but hardly anyone in America is self-sufficient. The closest I have ever seen to that are rural residents of Alaska who see a mail plane a couple of times a year.  And even they need some money to buy the things they cannot make themselves.

What the Nauglers are doing doesn’t even begin to resemble that. They rely totally on income derived from a real, actual business, and not any sort of “sustainable” business, but a completely foo-foo business that is dependent on people hiring Nicole to do something they could do themselves quite easily – give their dogs a bath and cut their hair.

Granted, they might not look very good when the owners were done, but believe me, if finances get tight, dog-grooming is one of the expenses you ditch first.

Dave and I would come far closer to fitting that description above than the Nauglers ever would.

We raise farm animals, we garden, we preserve a lot of food right here. We have taken major steps, far in excess of what most people would do or tolerate, to reduce our carbon footprint and our reliance on fossil fuels.

And we are not self-sufficient or even close to it.  We do not use that silly term “homesteader.”

We have a little baby farm. We dabble in farming. Because we are both retired, and because we have retirement income, we don’t have to have jobs off the place.

But our neighbors do.

They farm, of course.  A lot of people around here do. And most of them work off the farm.

In fact, the only place I can think of close to us here that doesn’t require off-farm income is the dairy where we got Frances. It consists of 400 acres of land. They milk about 90 cows twice a day. They have at least that many more who are either dry, or too young to be bred yet.  And they also raise Angus beef cattle.  It’s a full-time job for two men.

Dave and I realize enough on-farm income to pay for our taxes and insurance on this place.  Because there is no mortgage, this farm basically is “free.”  I have actually crunched the numbers.

We raise young bull calves using the excess milk from our cow. We make some profit on them when we sell them. Once they are weaned and put out in the pasture, they cost us very little until it’s time for them to be sold. The intensive part is the first three months.

In addition, we raise a pig generally every year, which provides us with pork and bacon and sausage.  The milk is a large part of the pig’s diet but we do have to supplement that with purchased pig ration. Our pork generally costs us well under $1/pound.  Ditto beef, as we usually keep a steer and butcher one every two years.

We have all the dairy products we want, of course, including milk, butter, and cheese. None of this magically appears. Milking the cow and caring for the other animals requires that we are here on this property twice every day no matter what. Chores typically take two of us about 1 1/2 hours in the morning and again in the evening, so three hours a day.

Our hourly “wage” is laughable, but we’re retired and don’t care.

Regardless of how many veggies we grow, we can’t grow all the food we eat. Theoretically, that would be possible, but people get very tired of a monotonous diet. I want rice. Sometimes I want oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies. I don’t grow oats and buy chocolate chips. Growing and harvesting dried beans is very labor-intensive and not worth the effort, frankly.  I know how. I just don’t do it.

If we had to grow all our food, we would very likely accomplish exactly nothing else.

And that’s the way it has always been. When mankind learned to quit with the whole “self-sufficiency” nonsense and share the burden of work, we began to make progress as a species.

Somebody in the tribe was really good at making arrowheads. So the others let him do that.  The more he did, the better he got and the faster he made them.  Others began to go find the rock that he used for them and kept him supplied. Still others gathered food and shared it with him.  He traded for arrowheads.  Free enterprise was born.

There’s a guy who supplies our local feed store with corn.  He has giant fields planted with nothing else (and he alternates soybeans, as most everyone does). He has a big machine that harvests the corn, husks it, and shells it all at once and then he pulls a lever and it goes into a truck.  He sells it to the feed store. They grind it and add some soy and some vitamins and other stuff and then they sell it to us for our cow.  It’s called “dairy ration” and our cow thinks it’s the best stuff in the whole world.

I couldn’t grow enough of that to feed her if I tried. She would die of starvation.

And that’s just one of the difficulties.

The people on Nicole’s pages who ooh-and-ahh at their supposed idyllic lifestyle and say things about how the “real world” sucks are people who romanticize this stuff in their heads and who have never grown more than two tomato plants in their back yard and have no idea what is involved in real, actual farming.

The only way you can earn a living “homesteading” is if you have some sort of outside income that enables you to 1) buy the land (good land, not bullshit land), and 2) build the infrastructure necessary to get started, and 3) buy the animals/seeds/equipment that you will need, and 4) get the experience that you will need so that you can come up with some sort of niche product that you can actually sell out there in the sucky “real world.”

The difference between where the Nauglers live and where I live is that my world is real. Theirs is imaginary.

17 thoughts on “Job Prospects”

  1. I love your clarity on the development of civilization requiring that humans evolve beyond individual subsistence farming. Civilization being the keyword here. Culture, music, art, science. All those things which can only be attained further up the hierarchy of needs.

  2. All those things which can only be attained further up the hierarchy of needs.

    Yep. You free up the artists to do their art. They don’t have to spend all day every day scratching around trying to grow enough corn by hand to feed their cow. And the baker bakes lots of loaves of bread, because it’s not much more effort to make six loaves than it is to make one. That means the guy down the road doesn’t have to bake bread and he can write a symphony or breed a better kind of wheat.

  3. You have to plan, plan ,plan, and plan some more. Then step back and plan it again. Then you have to do it in stages, and be flexible enough that when something goes haywire (and it will) you are not knocked so far out you got 11 kids living in a garden shed.
    This year, I’m expanding infrastructure and working on pasture land. I need a bigger permanent coop, and a temporary but secure coop, and a pig pen that will securely hold and shelter 4 feeder pigs next spring. This will include a 4 pasture “pig garden” where I will grow cover crops and varying maturity veggies that pigs like to graze on. You know what I’m doing. 😃
    Thing is, I’ve been doing shit tons of research and talking to people who raise pigs. They still need a high protein food source. I still need to buy feed.
    I have learned that it takes 600 lbs of pig food to raise one feeder. If I didn’t do pastures like I’m planning, I’m looking at 2400 lbs of feed. Feed is 14.00 a 50lb bag here. I’m looking at just shy of 700 dollars to feed 4 pigs a balanced diet. The farmers I talk to think I can cut it in half with the intensively managed pasture rotation. But I still need to feed them.
    I’m currently pricing my seed.

    Speaking of pigs, where is the little pork chop she traded goats for? Hope he’s still not in that tiny pen with the chicken wire. Oh, wait. He wouldn’t be, chicken wire wouldn’t hold him.

    Odd that there are so few pictures of animals on the homestead page.

  4. If Nicole was not so mean and vile I would feel sorry for her. She is very ill. I do not think she knows the difference between reality and her FaceBook fantasy world.

  5. Hell I am more homesteading than they are.

    We grow most of our own veggies and I can them. I make the yogurt and other things we need for us and the dogs.

    If I want I can make cottage and ricotta cheese as I have been there done that.

    We try hard to use everything we grow. We use carrot peels to dehydrate and grind to flour for the dogs and the same with sunflower seed. If we can not use it then it gets composted.

    It is a lot of work to can and make things instead of buying them but it is cheaper and you know what you are getting unlike when you buy it.

  6. Nailed it!

    I’ve called what we do “homesteading” but in reality, by pure definition . . . it isn’t.

    We raise 50-60 lambs a year. between 50 and 100 pasture broilers. 25-50 layers. We barter for beef and (as you know) pork. (Sally’s milk fed pork is the best ever) My wife’s garden is pretty amazing and it produces far more than we can eat. We preserve a lot of the extra, but not all. A lot of it goes into compost, snacks for the critters, and we give a lot away.

    Could we be completely self-sufficient? Maybe, but good god that would be a 25 hour a day job and realistically, we’d do nothing but try to survive.

    We make enough money with the animals and eggs to basically allow them to pay for themselves. We’re hobby farmers that enjoy hard work (and even small scale as we are, there’s more than we can keep up with). We basically “homestead” because we disagree with factory farming and by raising much of our own food, we enjoy it more. Honest people tend to appreciate what they’ve worked for.

    I have a pension and we could live from that, but I also have a great job that I love, and this country lifestyle is what we’ve always wanted. We are truly living our dream.

    It took years, money, and lots of hard work to get to this stage. Planning and research, sacrifice, losses, mistakes, and failures. But if an individual truly wants to succeed, they aggressively pursue their dreams and they make them happen. They don’t just talk about it on the internet and they aren’t “hopeful”. They make it happen.

    The Nauglers are not homesteaders, not farmers, not self-sufficient, not really passionate about the ostensible lifestyle they cunningly sell to the masses. It’s unfortunate that they don’t realize they are as transparent as they really are. If they could discover some pittance of humility, they might have a chance. However, given their attitude and actions, it’s a matter of time before it all collapses.

  7. When Nicole gets off of work each day, she drives home to an overgrown piece of property strewn with trash, a polluted pond, and a shed that 13 people live in.
    No, Nicole. You’re not a homesteader and that ain’t no homestead.

  8. It breaks my heart that the Nauglers have not encouraged their son to do more than, simply, “homestead”. Why arent they encouraging him to break the cycle of poverty!?

  9. The closest to self-sufficiency I’ve ever seen anybody come in Alaska is not needing to spend cash on food or heat until something wears out. And that requires working every day. Even “just” filling and tending a wood stove in the middle of winter is a much bigger hassle than turning on your furnace, and you can’t roll over and decide not to do it. Alaskans could be totally self-sufficient in the old days, but they had to work really damned hard and make do with local materials, which often wear out more quickly and don’t work as well as modern replacements. They also had to spend their entire lives mastering even a few of the complex skills required to keep a community alive.

  10. And also: the more I learn about the Nauglers, the more I wonder whether “wants to homestead” is code for “knows full well that when he turns 18 this winter (IIRC) there will be exactly one adult on the Naugler homeplace.”

  11. Party pooper. An over abundance of goat crap and humanure and all their “elbow grease” doesn’t pay for Netflix, Pandora, cellular coverage, Internet, gas, vehicles, white plastic buckets, generators, rifles, ammo, land payments, trips to Walmart and Dollar Tree , convenience store slushes, Hardee’s, etc? You mean a real job, be it constant begging online or shaving dogs needs be done? Color me surprised down here in farm country.

  12. Has anyone else wondered if the blessed ones mix their pitiful excuse of a “homestead” up with the success of their “farmville”on fb? Just a thought! !!

  13. I had to leave a comment, for the first time (I think?), when I saw the tomato comment.

    My other half and I are growing two tomato plants, and only two tomato plants. We’re proud and excited in the way only city people would be. But yeah, we’re leagues away from anything approaching farming or homesteading. We live in a seriously urban city environment; we just like tomatoes.

  14. Very well said. I spent several years living in the wilderness. The last place I called home was a wall tent in the Canadian Arctic, 100 miles from my nearest neighbor. Even there I had a tie to civilization through supply planes that developed the various things I required to make my life happy, healthy and comfortable in the bush. I ordered dry good, tools, fuel, dog food etc and heavily supplemented my diet with moose, caribou, bear, fish, berries and veggies from the garden. There isn’t a single homesteader in the world who does not have some sort of connection with civilization.
    Now we live in rural Alaska where we raise chickens for eggs and have a garden that feeds us through the winter. We hunt moose and salmon fish for ourselves and our sled dogs. I picked berries to freeze and make jam. What we can’t grow our raise ourselves, I try to source locally. We buy grains and dry goods from others who are involved in fair trade practices. Just our way of trying to improve the world and help others.
    The sad thing with Nichole, other than she is bat-shit crazy and should never have been permitted to raise children, is she has fooled so many people. Her children are woefully uneducated and they are going to be poor and a drain on society their whole lives. Every time I see a photo of that poor boy who is trying to grow food makes me want to scream.
    First of all, I imagine he is hungry all the time. Her children are all skinny but her husband is a blob. With a little effort that boy could learn real-world mathematical skills working a garden. He could also learn about earth science while working his garden. Sadly he is not given any sort of opportunity.
    I found it so interesting that on the day he useless husband had to appear in court she made a pathetic appeal about how she is being stalked and in danger. So many of her ignorant followers suddenly became armchair lawyers and said that what people who willing to meet her in person over lunch were doing was illegal, terrorism and they could be put on the “no-fly” list (that one was my personal favorite.) It is interesting that Nichole conveniently forgot how her fat-ass husband was waving a gun around during a recent conflict with neighbors.
    I will cheer the day when the both are them are forcibly sterilized and their children get to enjoy a real loving, caring family headed by parents who aren’t insane.

  15. I can guarantee you that not one of the many commenters on Nicole’s page got the law right in the slightest. Not a f**king clue what they are blathering on about. Nor did Nicole or her incarnation as the moderator/terminator.

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