Homesteading.  Self-sufficiency. People talk about it, but most people don’t/can’t do it.

Self-sufficiency is not easy.  It’s not even remotely possible for most human beings. We are tribal creatures. We evolved that way—to live in groups, communities. We learned about division of labor and we’re pretty much dependent on it now.

Let me introduce you to a family that proves my point.

This is the Lykov family, or three of them. (The woman on the far left is a Russian geologist.)

lykovsIn 1936, the patriarch of the family (seen second from the right in the photo), Karp Lykov, witnessed his brother being killed by some sort of Soviet official and ran home, got his wife and two young children, grabbed what they could easily carry and fled into the Siberian wilderness.

They were members of a fundamentalist segment of Russian Orthodoxy called Old Believers, and they were beyond fearful of communists after the Russian Revolution.

They went into the wilderness, the real wilderness, not a little plot of ground right outside a major US city with neighbors and a little store up the road. They went to an area so remote that nobody found them for years.

Over 40 years.

During that time, the couple had two more children, built a shack they called home, hunted, grew their own food and subsisted.

They had  nothing that they didn’t make themselves. When the only metal pot they had rusted out, they didn’t have a pot, literally.

At the time when they were discovered by Russian geologists (1978), their two youngest children had never seen any other human beings.

Now, that is self-sufficiency.  Isn’t it?

Doesn’t that prove it’s great and can be done and that the greatest thing anyone can do is try to be self-sufficient because gee, what if you had to just make do with what you could make with your own hands?  Right?

Well, the Lykovs had a tough time of it.

The mother, Akulina, died in 1961. She starved to death so her children could eat.

And two of the children (of course, these children were all adults by the time they were found) died within a week or so of each other of kidney failure, believed to have been caused by their marginal diet for so many years.  A third child died of pneumonia at the same time, refusing to go to a hospital.

The father died in the late eighties. The one survivor, age 71, still lives (or was alive a year or so ago) at the homestead, alone, refusing to move to civilization except for emergency medical care and after accepting some modern stuff like pots and a satellite telephone.

They actually did exceptionally well under the circumstances.

There was another person who decided to venture out into the wilderness to test his mettle.  His name was Christopher McCandless and his wilderness was in Alaska.


Chris’s story interested me because we lived in Alaska for so long. Unlike the Lykovs, Chris ventured out alone. He was a minimalist so he intentionally took next to nothing with him.  He lasted just over 100 days. His body was found in an abandoned school bus.

People have always ventured into the wild to try to live, to get away from society, or to simply test their ability to survive.  Lots of people do it in Alaska. There’s even a reality TV show, which I have never seen because “reality TV” is almost always “fake TV,” called Alaskan Bush People.  [Believe me, when you get in legal trouble because you faked your residency requirements to get the Permanent Fund Dividend, you’re not really living in the Alaskan bush.]


This is Dick Proenneke.  He did it for real. He lived for decades in a cabin that he built in the Alaska wilderness by himself.   The real deal.  His films, archived at the linked website, are worth viewing if this stuff interests you.

But Dick wasn’t self-sufficient. He wasn’t isolated like the Lykovs.  And he certainly wasn’t on a suicide mission like McCandless.

He had food and supplies flown in. He worked as a guide from time to time.  He participated in the larger society and couldn’t have survived nearly as well, if at all, without those planes coming in.

I do a bit of eye-rolling when I read about naïve people who insist that they are going to buy a little land (near a little store, with neighbors ) and become self-sufficient. They think that going “off-grid” somehow makes them more “self-sufficient.”  It doesn’t.  It just means that they manage without being hooked to the electric system.

Well, Dave and I manage without having television.  We haven’t had our TV hooked up for more than three years.  Does that make us “off-grid”?  Are we thus “self-sufficient”?  Furthermore, we have our own, onsite source of water. We call it a “well.”  We have our own, onsite sewage disposal system. We call that a “septic tank.”

When you work in society, drive a car on public roads, buy your food at the local grocery or salvage store, get your water from your completely on-grid business, indulge in fast food so often it’s sort of amazing, call local law enforcement every twelve minutes for some perceived or imagined slight,  and stay on the internet most of every day, you aren’t self-sufficient.

Talk to Agafia Lykov.  She’ll tell you about being self-sufficient.





78 thoughts on “Self-Sufficiency”

  1. Re McCandless – when my child was in school, his class read about McCandless life and death. I also read the book Into the Wild. It’s fascinating although sad.

    The Nauglers aren’t off grid. They are two parents who had too many children for their income to support. They are two people who seem to have no respect for the property they have rented from others and have left some of those properties severely damaged. They are living on their current property mainly because they seemed to have run out of any other options. Most landlords wouldn’t give them the time of day, first because of the total number of humans they would have living in any apartment or house. Second, because they have destroyed their credit rating and are a terrible risk. They’ve gotten evicted due to non-payment of rent too many times.

    I’m very curious if they will actually move anywhere and if so, who the poor schmuck is that is willing to rent them a piece of property to destroy and lay waste to.


  2. When I was a kid growing up I had a nice big yard to play in. The yard and whole neighborhood for that matter had lots of trees. In some places the trees were grouped in a way that if you went into the middle you could no longer see the house or neighbors anymore.

    I loved playing near and in the trees. I would pretend I lived in the wilderness. Small Pine tree branches with needles on them that had broke off and fell to the ground became brooms. I would sweep the ground and pretend I was cleaning a log house. Pine Cones would be my pretend food I would feed my pretend family. I would spend all day playing make pretend on Saturdays. When I got cold or hungry I went into my real home and had food. When Monday came I went to school and learned what I needed to function in the adult world. There was a time to play and a time to prepare.

    Nicole is playing pretend just like my 4-8 year old self did. Sadly her children aren’t dolls and stuffed animals like my pretend family was.

    It is time for you to step back into reality Nicole. Playing pretend won’t help any of your children when they grow up and realize you never prepared them for real life.


  3. Agafia relies on the geologists who work in her remote region for help. She was flown out of there to a hospital for treatment in the past couple of years after contacting them. They also stop by with supplies like matches and salt and canned fish when they have a chance.

    “No man is an island,” as John Donne wrote.


  4. As always another awesome blog.

    My husband talks about buying a lot of land and building our forever home. He talks about going off grid. Using solar panels or wind turbines. Drill a well, put in a septic, have tv/Internet, but we’d live off the land.

    He tells me he wants at least one horse. I told him no. They are too expensive and hay burners. He says he wants at least one to walk the property with. He of course wants chickens (no objections there).

    Only thing is I don’t know if that kind of life style is for me. We’ve been trying to do a garden outside but have been unsuccessful for the past 4 years. So I guess we will see.


  5. Being self-sufficient, in any context, is a whole lotta work. Personally I think it’s crazy to go back country camping without enough food to get you out of there much less wander into nowhere with nothing. I don’t mind foraging or anything like that (as long as I am dang sure of what I’m picking) but you have to be realistic about what is involved. Do you have the capital to get what you need to house yourself? Do you have the physical strength and aptitude to work a garden every day, hunt as necessary and when possible, preserve your food, can you manage livestock while keeping it from roaming off and keep it alive? Do you have the skills needed to pull it off? Do you realize the mortality rate of people who just disappeared off into the wilderness? Can you deal with that? Many can do some of these things in varying degrees of skill and ability but very few can do it all. I have never heard of anyone approaching success in a self-sufficiency bid being high on weed or being away from the home or farmstead all day every day and telling the kids to figure it out. I also never heard of anybody pulling it off living on label-less dented mystery charity cans either. That’s not self-sufficient–that’s being homeless. I also never heard of anybody claiming self-sufficiency while being a frequent diner at Hardee’s–that’s being a liar.


  6. Only thing is I don’t know if that kind of life style is for me. We’ve been trying to do a garden outside but have been unsuccessful for the past 4 years. So I guess we will see.

    It’s a massive amount of work. Massive. I can’t even begin to describe how much. We don’t come close and we work harder than retired people should.


  7. What I thought was a typical upbringing was more or less homesteady, much more homestead like than the Nogs. Yea we had electricity and running water but we also lost our power a lot, we lived very far out in the woods, damn near every storm knocked our power out. Funny because we moved a few years ago to the country and face that same issue now. We had a log home, big full log type of home, a wood stove, and lots and lots of candles and books! ahaha. My friends thought it was so strange and I thought it was so normal. I would love to return to that with my knowledge now. What my mom couldn’t do or wouldn’t do I can do now. We’re hunters, gardeners, camp firers. We live pretty close to mother earth but still firmly in the current century. I would NOT peg myself homesteady. My house is the original homestead on that property though, over 100 years old WAY up north. I would homestead if I could but I married a city boy.
    Point being-I garden, hunt, can dress my own kill, I can fix just about anything on my own, which is so much more than what the naugs do and I do not call myself a homesteader. Are they homesteaders? NO 100 times NO. NN needs to find a new self identification because homesteader is NOT it.


  8. I think it’s easy to paint an idyllic picture of off-grid living. Most of us don’t know how it works to even question what we read and see. So we need commentary like this to put it in perspective.

    The Nauglers have proven themselves charlatans and unreliable narrators of their own story. They had one windfall and are trying to get lightning to strike twice with selective narratives and whitewashing the truth. Thanks to Sally and others digging into their story, it’s a lot harder to fool those who don’t know better.


  9. I come from true homesteader stock. Clearing trees, breaking land with horses, building outhouses, digging wells, etc. Early 1900’s, this was. First, you depend on good relationships with your neighbors, because your going to need them and they’re going to need you. Second, it’s absolutely the hardest work anyone would ever imagine, just to survive. If my grandparents were here, they’d wonder why in hell, with modern conveniences, anyone would ever bother going off grid and trying to be self sustainable. My grandfather would probably laugh his ass off. I’m all for being well prepared in the event of emergency (power grid goes off for a while ) but I find nothing romantic about the “office grid, home birthing” lifestyle. I guess I heard to many stories of how tough it was.


  10. Sally, you and your husband work much harder than I do and I am always impressed by both your and Dave’s knowledge and ability, and your hard work.

    I grew up on a 1.5 acre piece of property “out in the country.” My father was born and raised in Los Angeles, and this was quite a dream home for him. We had a horse, chickens, sheep, a couple pigs for awhile, dogs, cats, a rabbit, a goat for awhile, and even peacocks (for a short period of time). We were in 4-H. We planted a garden every year consisting of some corn, tomatoes, and zucchini. Wild blackberries grew across the street and along the creek that bordered our property.

    While it was mostly nice growing up in a farm house out in the country, with the privacy and space that most people don’t get to enjoy, I am not a country girl. I don’t mind doing some container gardening, and I don’t mind raising a few chickens and enjoying their eggs. But I do not want to butcher my own chickens for food. I would not like having to go out in the middle of the night to chase off dogs that are terrorizing my sheep, like my dad had to do on more than one occasion. I don’t want to milk a goat and have that strong goat smell wafting into my windows on hot summer nights.

    What I did love: picking tomatoes and eating one warm from the vine; picking blackberries and eating those big juicy delicious berries! Strolling down the path to our creek and sitting there, just listening to the water flow, hearing all the sounds around me; and enjoying the seasonal highs and lows; having plenty of space for our dogs to roam around.
    We weren’t off grid in any way. We had a well built home, a parent who worked outside the home to provide for his family; a second parent who ran the home as her job and took good care of all of us; a good public education; chores within reason; friends and activities outside the family; and a lack of drama in our lives. 🙂


  11. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It was homesteaders who made Sears, Roebuck into a roaring success, because as soon as they got any money they spent it on things that made their lives suck less. Self-sufficiency was never the virtue, anyway; prudence was! And prudence meant, among other things, that you did everything you could to make your land pay. As in money.


  12. I am happy to say I have no aspirations to be a homesteader or attempt to live off gird. Hell I am not even a fan of tiny house living. If people want to that’s fine. We live in a lovely 100 year old home in the city. I enjoy the conveniences of the city. I happen to live somewhere with lots of artisans, many within walking distance. Sometimes I feel bad because I have minimal skills when it comes to making stuff myself. I can can and do can the tomatoes and berries I grow each year. But I usually only have enough for my own family. I’ll occasionally trade fresh bread or rolls with a friend who makes cheese. But mostly I trade cash for goods and everyone is happy.

    In this day and age it’s wonderful that people can focus on a few select skills and perfect those. We can all work together to grow out community. I see so much worth in supporting one another rather than escaping off on our own.


  13. Quote from blh
    Just saying hello. We have a few projects coming up this week that we will post on the blog. Hoping the weather cooperates. We haven’t had much winter till I go and plan outside projects on my day off.Just wait and see! Lol

    How about you? Anyone starting their planting yet? What have you been working on lately?

    End quote

    Thought you were moving, project clean up?


  14. I’ll understand if you don’t publish this comment, as it’s completely tangential — but Agafia’s last name is Lykova. Russian last names differ from our own in that they are gendered. A father and his daughter will share a similar last name, but they will have different endings. They are spelled and pronounced differently, from the day they’re born until the day they die. Cool, huh?


  15. I would never pretend to be a homesteader but I guaran-damn-tee you, I’m more of one than Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. I’ve always canned food that I’ve either grown, my daughter has grown, or I’ve bought at a farmer’s market. The last few years, I’ve planted my daughter’s garden and this year, I’ve planted a garden at her house and one at mine. I can every thing that can be canned. I also dry and ferment every single thing I can get my hands on and I freeze what’s left. My grandsons and husband fish and I can the fish. I also can deer meat for my grandsons. My husband and I only eat fish in terms of meat but I still can deer for the kids and anything else they bring me. They say the canned deer meat is more tender and because I throw in some onions and garlic, they say it taste like a nice roast. I’ve never tasted it.

    I think the difference between what probably most of us who can and raise a little garden etc. do and what the Naugs do is we are not proclaiming to prepare for the great government fall down as they claim they are; although, I’ve not seen any preparation yet. Can you Joe in his crocks running out trying to find an edible green. LOL

    I am also a forager because dammit, I’m retired and I absolutely love finding various wild plants and mushrooms that I can eat or sell. In AR, we have to be licensed to harvest wild ginseng but this year, I will have my license and will join the other ginseng harvesters. And, this weekend, we will get our first hens, we use eggs. I cannot wait.

    I cannot believe that the Tweedles have lived on their land all this time and have not been successful at gardening, yet they claim to live off the land. I think they live off of Del Monte’s and Green Giant’s land. LOL.

    I swear, we had an outhouse when I was growing up and I swore that when I grew up, I’d only live in a house with indoor plumbing. I consider shitting in a bucket a step lower than an outhouse.


  16. Great point about the Russian last name. I knew that, but just didn’t think about it when I was writing.


  17. I am not a homesteader and would never aspire to be one. Too many family stories about farming accidents and babies dead from diseases we can now prevent. I would like to live where I would not have to see or hear neighbors. But I want water, electricity, internet and decent roads so I can drive to a relatively close store!


  18. What does not suprise me is how intelligent she can sound at times on her BLH page nd on her sock pages , She is along with jabba the most evil vile people you and your family would never want to meet


  19. I don’t think there is a moving van. If you have outdoor projects planned on your current property, you aren’t going anywhere….not that they ever were.


  20. I consider shitting in a bucket a step lower than an outhouse.

    Several steps lower. One step above sitting on a log with your butt hanging over.


  21. Nicole has this idea that she is living the simple life. She banned me from her Nicole page when I responded to her post about the “simple” life, & how wonderful it is. I pointed out to her that homesteading, no matter how well or badly you do it, is far from simple & that in reality there is no such thing as the simple life in life.

    I think she longs for no responsibility. The simple life with no bills.

    Nicole, you have 11, soon to be 12 kids. Joe, you have 12, soon to be 13 kids. There is no way in hell you will have a “simple” life. If you guys wanted the simple life why on earth did you have so many children? I have nine children. I love having my kids. It’s wonderful. But no matter how minimalist I would have become it would led in no way make my life more “simple”. With just my nine kids there were 18 dental appointments a year that need to be scheduled (and that’s just for check ups, not braces or any work that may need to be done). With just my nine kids, there were so many shoes to be bought each year, even with hand me downs (7 boys are rough on clothing). Haircuts. Activities. Meals. Food. My husband & I couldn’t afford to eat out like you can. We went out to dinner once a year. Cooking for a family of 11, plus people, friends, relatives, etc is not simple. Our oldest is 42 this year, our youngest is 27 this month. They all required a large amount of food. I had to LEARN to LOVE to cook. 3 meals a day for just 18 years requires a lot of dishes to wash. Laundry. Let’s talk laundry. I know you “homestead”, but use the laundromat. Not sure how you qualify that as homesteading.

    You two have chosen the lazy life.


  22. Forgive my rant. [Admin: We aren’t going to discuss this at all for now.]


    What is this moving van thing that you speak of for the Nognuts? ?

    They need to raise gas money for the 50!!!!!! round trips that moving will require, don’tyaknow? Such minimalists they are.

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I am very, very far from being a minimalist and I am quite confident that I could move all my family’s personal belongings (minus furniture, but I don’t think they have any of that) for a household of 6 in 10 round trips or less. JoJo and NicNog are IMHO too stupid to realize how ridiculous they are.

    I cannot believe that any leg humpers STILL buy their fairy tale of “off grid” living. Let’s be clear: IMHO NicNog and JoJo are homeless squatters who victimize anyone they can, shit in buckets, continue to produce children they cannot support, and leave those children to fend for themselves and eat whatever they can find in the inventory of dented cans with no labels as soon as they have broken free of NicNog’s omnipresent boob.

    JoJo needs to leave his “foliage”, add a word or two that is not profane to his vocabulary, take a 3 hour shower, preferably with bleach, shave that nasty beard, and GET A DAMN JOB. It isn’t as if he adds any value to the children or the Shitstead since he seems to spend all day every day at the “salon”.

    JoJo, if you are man enough to create 13 children, (including Alex) you need to be man enough to take some responsibility for feeding, clothing, and caring for those 13 children. I think this may be news to you, but the responsibility for YOUR children does not end at conception nor when you catch them falling out. Grow up!


  23. @cleanupsong – Nicole made that chirpy little post because she is hoping her leg humpers will forget they are in danger and have to move and because neither she nor Joe have any fucking idea how to homestead.
    For a long time I was thankful they weren’t my neighbors, but lately I have been wishing they were, because they would learn very quickly that I, nor any real homesteader, would tolerate or fear their shit. I actually think that Nicole has the balls and Joe has the vagina. Either way, they would be sent crying.


  24. I could never be a homesteader. I love camping and am loosely planning a one on one camping trip with my oldest son this summer, but don’t want that as my every day reality.

    That said, people should be prepared to “rough it” for up to a month. Natural (and man-made) disasters happen and it can take ages to get things back. There’s a reason my house can withstand ridiculously strong winds. Why I keep months worth of canned food. Why we have a way to collect and make water safe to drink. Why I have an amazingly well stocked first aid kit. Why I kept my dad’s rifle.

    August 24, 1992. Hurricane Andrew.

    About 3:25 shows the shopping center I was at less than 72 hours before the storm. It also shows the lines for food. My family avoided that, thankfully.

    No electricity. No drinkable tap water. Limited phone. Many parts of town completely cut off by debris for days. We were left on our own for nearly a week before government help came.

    We survived by working together. Groceries gave away food. Pharmacies gave away OTC meds and supplies. The local diner gave away free hot food. We all worked to make the structures temporarily livable. Nobody would have survived just relying on self.

    I also have to give props to the ice cream men who showed up after most of the roads were clear. They made HUGE bank and massively lifted moral. I was stuck on table saw duty in that nasty heat so that was the best damn ice cream ever.

    Yes, we had ice cream trucks before we had government aid.


  25. Humans have been specializing skills for thousands of years. If Oog can make fantastic arrowheads, but has a black thumb, then it is stupid for Oog to garden instead of make the best arrowheads ever. With those arrowheads, Toog, who is the best hunter in the family, can bring home meat. It helps the entire family and tribe if someone’s talents lead to the improvement of their lot.

    Luckily I don’t live in caveman times. I can have a house full of glass windows, a roof that doesn’t leak, running water, heat in the winter and cool in the summer without smoke inhalation or mold spores, a garden and if that fails a supermarket, a doctor who knows what they’re doing and doesn’t just apply a leech and tell me good luck. You get the point.

    I am self sufficient. I am my own person and make my own decisions. I rely on no one. I make my own money, I own my own home, I ask for no charity. I raise my own children without interference or government intervention. It doesn’t mean I don’t know how to or can’t learn to homestead. It just means that I don’t have to if I don’t want to.


  26. HH here (Homestead Hypocrite, or Homestead Heavyweight, I’m still workin on it), just saying Hello!

    After a long day of folliaging, we’re back at our magnificent cabin relaxing with our Kindles and making big plans and whatnot.

    Making plans that never quite seem to materialize due to the bastard trolls is an important real world skill that we unteach our children on a semi-quasi-daily basis. #MyKidWillBeYourKidsBoss #CopsAreEvil #VaccinesCauseTriggerThumb #NoOneLovesMe #Unfair! #SendMoneyNow #WithABucket


    Two of our children, Jebediah and Moroni, have recently purchased a home dentistry kit, (for only $18.26! insert Amazon link here for kickbacks

    It comes complete with a four week do it yourself online internship that ends in a certification exam accredited by the American Academy of Toothiologists. We are very excited for them as they embark on their new career. The Homestead Wifey has volunteered her overdue chompers for their learnin, and the whole family is pitching in their support. #AmazonKitBetterThanCollege #SelfSufficientDentistry #DrillBabyDrill

    The girls are so excited, they were inspired to design these beautiful new hair accessories in honor of their brother’s accomplishment that are available for $3.99 plus $2.00 shipping (it might be easier to just round up to a $10 Paypal donation, for your convenience.)

    It might take four to six weeks to ship these, as the children have been restless and are over five gross behind in their hair bow quotas and whatnot. I overheard the funniest conversation the other day.

    Jebediah, “Eustice, Enos, Florence Elizabeth, you get back here and finish your quota or you won’t get any mystery veggies, beans and rice!”

    Florence Elizabeth, “But we don’t got no light, Jebediah, and the little ones have the runs and i’m tired of washing out diapers in the pond. Unless you want to do something different, I’m gonna turn ’em loose out back till they’re done.”

    Jebediah, “Well, alright, then.”

    #HomesteadDiplomacy #LovingFamily #LifeLessons #BabyDollBrothers

    Well, that’s all for now. In the time it’s taken to write this I’ve had seventeen alerts that the trolls have added posts and likes. Why can’t they get on with their lives? Have you heard any good rumors lately?
    Have a very blessed day!

    #TrollHunter #ILiveForTheNet #HomesteadUpdate #ABucket!


  27. I don’t expect the Nauglers to have to conform to my views of “correct” homesteading. I admire anyone who is working toward being self sufficient.

    But what self sufficient thing can the Nauglers show anyone they have learned? Roosters and rabbits that aren’t providing a long term meat source? Hunting? Fishing? Gardening? Water collection? Solar power (not a generator that need gas to run)?

    If they were trapped on their homestead for a few weeks, they would all die from lack of water and food.

    I wish better for the Naugler kids.


  28. I am by no means self sufficient or even close. But I do have rabbits, I’ve tried colony style but are currently individually caged because breeding was out of control. Because ya know they breed like crazy. She posted her rabbits chewed through to get to each other and in 8 months still no kits. I’m not sure how you can even mess that one up. That and all these years with a wood stove and no damper?? Come on.


  29. “Quote from blh
    Just saying hello. We have a few projects coming up this week that we will post on the blog. Hoping the weather cooperates. We haven’t had much winter till I go and plan outside projects on my day off.Just wait and see! Lol

    How about you? Anyone starting their planting yet? What have you been working on lately?

    End quote”

    It always annoys me to no end when she posts stuff like this. She doesn’t give a shit what anyone else is doing, and she’s obviously lying about what she has planned. She has no “projects” planned other than sitting on her phone and fighting the trolls. Posting stuff like this is in hopes to get more people to interact with her page so it comes up more often on their feeds. What do you wanna bet she don’t reply to any of these comments unless someone brings up the trolls?


  30. What was up with the post BLH made on Feb.14? Saying they were moving that day and mentioning the many bicycle parts they had to move. I guess it was just to throw off the few followers they have left and make them believe they were taking some action?


  31. HH: That was awesome. You cracked me up, but had to add two of my personal favorites:




  32. Theskyhasfallen brought up some good points about large family life. While my family of 7 (5 children) isn’t really that large, it is large for this day and age. Everything is multiplied. We chose a smallish home because it was in our budget. But our small home had four bedroom and two baths, we added two more bedrooms and an office. I am one who likes my personal space, my kids are very much like me and them having their own bedrooms made for less issues as they’ve aged.

    Now onto the daily stuff. There is education to tend to and that is extremely time consuming, although they are older and generally only need direction from me. Only three are still in school, one works full time and one attends college. Only four still live at home. But still it takes a lot of time.

    Food!! Holy cow! We go through a lot of food and admittedly my kids are not big eaters. But still it’s a lot of food. And meals need to be prepped, groceries need to be bought. Once again it’s a lot of time.

    Then there are the appointments for medical and dental. Some of my kids have health issues which means specialists. Then there always seems to be a wrench thrown in which throws everything off. Plus my parents live nearby and are getting older so I need to help them with their appointments and daily life.

    Activities! I know lead the simple life, keep the kids isolated is something that some people think is the answer but that’s the asshole’s way out. Unschoolers tend to be a busy lot. We have loads of interests. Of my five only two share similar interests but still they have different things they are into. So right now that means I run four different directions, making sure they make it to activities or have the supplies and support they need.

    Clothing is another she touched on. I have teenagers. They have their own style. Hand me downs don’t occur very often. My kids are okay with me being thrifty but they also want to be able to wear clothes they like because they are people.

    I didn’t touch on work schedules and volunteer shifts. That takes a lot of time. My day is set by numerous alarms going off.

    And with all of that I still matter as a person. I usually come last but I make time for myself and all too often it’s spent following stupid shit like this.

    So basically the gist is that when you have a large family and are raising them in a loving and supportive home simplicity isn’t a reality. It’s totally worth it though. I love my kids. I love the responsible adults they are becoming.

    I guess it would be simpler to throw a box of cereal at them and lock myself in a room to play video games. I could shut off the internet and shut off the electricity and water and call it the simple life. But where is the fun in that and I don’t think I could handle the smell.


  33. Sally, What are the “off-limits” topics besides the minor children and the grooming salon? I keep seeing you refer to this and am just wondering. Thanks!


  34. Sally, What are the “off-limits” topics besides the minor children and the grooming salon?

    The current court situation is off limits for now. Anything to do with court.


  35. Lisa,

    I kind of dig aboriginal skills (I have zero such skills). But I love Oog Arrowsmith and Toog Hunter. Hope you don’t mind but I might borrow those ?.


  36. She is a puppetmaster for the feeble minded….she is a homesteader when the lighting is right….she is a mother when the children can be exploited for some monetary gain….she is a bully and a victim in the same facebook post….she is a hero and a villain within minutes of each other….she will have your back as she stabs you….she is out for no one except herself and joe. Those kids are casualties in their parents self imposed war on everything. They embody everything I hate.


  37. Intelligent people know when to change things up if what they are doing does not reap positive results. The Nauglers can’t seem to grasp that. So eventually they had to find a piece of land to camp on because it was either that or the homeless shelter. Lord only knows what they had to do for the now defunct Capistan in order to get financing for the shop. At that point they were practically starving in a stick hut. And these are the people who preach the simple life to the masses. What a joke.

    Wonderful blog as usual Sally! Great comments too!


  38. HH: LMAO, oh man, the links! Don’t skip clicking the links. Great stuff, thanks. Still LMAO.

    Extremely OT… but I want to tell CW, your “thanks” and thoughts expressed on the podcast about all of the new friends made through this debacle, was so sweet and heartfelt. I am very happy to hear about your successes and new family but quite dismayed to learn about the extent of damages you suffered at the hands of the BO’s. I knew it was bad just not that bad. Truly evil people.


  39. Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head can’t even successfully grow potatoes, swiss chard or zucchini. That tells you something right there.


  40. I hate lurking, but its apparent that the one son [Admin: Let’s make a deal here. Jacob appears to be living independently. Jacob hasn’t had a GoFundMe, nor does he appear to grift and beg online, nor has he – to my knowledge- doxed or berated or tried to intimidate anyone. I can’t see anything useful in going after that kid and talking about his every move and every post on Facebook. ]


  41. As best I know (amateur anthropologist, grain of salt, etc.), the only cultures in which a single family was a self-sufficient unit existed around the North Pole. Resources were so thin on the ground that spreading out as single-family units during much of the year was vital to survival. But the complex skills vital to self-sufficient survival in that region cannot be learned by a single person. What it worked out to was that men traditionally learned one set of skills and women another set. They were such precise workers–remember, this is a matter of transforming animal carcasses, rocks, grass, and sticks into items that will keep an entire family alive in subzero cold when you have to keep moving to boot–that an Inupiaq man who saw a pocket watch for the first time was able to take it apart and put it back together using only the point of his knife, and it still worked.

    The smallest unit of self-sufficiency in traditional farming culture, which is what the Nauglers are pretending they do, is the village. And I’ll just stop right there because if I continue I will start laughing until I hiccup.


  42. I’m pretty sure I’m being harassed by trolls just like the Ns. Nearly every day someone walks up to my front door. Sometimes they have envelopes with my real name and address on them! I know this because this person leaves them in my mailbox. Besides this, there are cars driving by my house at all hours, especially around 7am and 5pm. On a daily basis I see people I don’t know standing around at the corner in full view of my house, but before I could confront them or even get video documentation they boarded a city bus and sped away. To top it all off? Someone from my doctor’s office called to confirm an appointment. This person knew my appointment schedule, my name AND my home phone number! Who ARE these crazy people?!



  43. Here’s a question for you:
    How many people does one meat rabbit feed? I’ve never had rabbit meat so I wasn’t sure.


  44. 3Boylsmom I had the same question. But I guess it only needs to feed the kids who aren’t lucky enough to be eating fast food at the salon. Housing feeding and then butchering one rabbit seems like quite lot of work for little pay off to me. I’d rather buy hamburger . The rabbit butchering promotes Nics homestead fantasy though.


  45. I eat rabbit, one rabbit feeds myself and my 2 young kids with a few days of leftovers for my work lunches. So one rabbit could probably feed 4-5 adults? It’s delicious, like the dark meat of chicken and I love the dark meat. Rabbit is also very easy to skin, probably the easiest critter to dress. I’m lucky enough that my aunt does the whole meat rabbit thing because if we’re going to be honest they are really hard to kill because they are so cute, I can’t do it.


  46. Sally, Can you do a blog about how to set up a blog website? What company you go through, etc. I set up one through some free blog site and I really don’t like it, I can’t set up pages it’s just a main page and a bio.


  47. Self-sufficiency: It’s what’s for dinner!

    Not. ?

    I am reminded of an old George Carlin bit: “Isn’t it interesting that everyone who drives more slowly than you is a moron….and everyone who drives faster than you is a MANIAC?!”

    That rule seems to apply to a lot of folks’ self-sufficiency ideals.

    This is not to say that I’m advocating an anything-goes style of self-sufficiency any more than I think we should be free to drive any and all speeds on a public road.

    The Blessed Ones would argue that their “lifestyle”is their right, right before they scold us for being obsessed with their family. Unless, of course, we have posted our admiration and envy of their choices, in which case, obssess away!

    We’ve already seen plenty of specific instances of how the philosophy of Do Whatever You Want In Your Own Space can still cause problems that extend past that space; I don’t need to list all the examples again.

    I bring up the driving analogy mostly because I feel like talking about lifestyles just turns into a bunch of individual examples, one after another: I have a garden; I don’t have a garden; I wish I had a garden; gardens, what a pain in the ass. And everyone’s takeaway from the conversation is That was interesting, glad you like it, rock on, but I know what works for me, and if I’m not already doing it I will be soon.

    Some of the comparison is necessary as context: it’s helpful to know what personal experience and/or expertise go into one’s opinions and observations. While it seems expertise is out of fashion in the US these days, I am proudly unhip enough to appreciate experts in any field, be it farm, medical, political…..

    It’s the whole self-sufficient *trend* (see? I kept my promises- no more italics for me! ?) that I find rather puzzling and/or worrisome.

    Maybe it’s not all that puzzling. I don’t have cable, so I forget how much the tiny houses and homesteads and diy projects and cook-offs dominate the TV lineup.

    But somewhere along the line we have romanticized the idea that we don’t need any help from actual in-person exchanges in order to live in our personal paradise.

    I’m actually pretty shy. There are days when I totally get the idea that it’s easier to hide in my SheerLuck cave than to pick up a phone, or go out to lunch, or make an appointment to have some trivial but nagging foot pain checked out. Easier to Google it and order arch supports from Amazon. I freely admit that I love that I can look for instructional videos on how to paint a wall, or replace the battery in my watch, or make decals from a printed-out image and some clear packing tape.

    But I do worry we are making our individual short-term lives better at collective, long-term expense.

    And worse, we are lying to ourselves that our choices are benefitting others. How does it reduce one’s carbon footprint to go on gas generators that pollute with noise and emissions, or use countless batteries and toss them into the trash? How is “hauling in” water by the carload, at a mileage-eating 8 pounds per gallon of water, superior to having plumbing in one’s home? Why do we encourage an ideal of escaping to ever-more-remote locales that mean more driving time and driving miles to get to jobs, stores, medical facilities, and visits with friends? What is ecologically beneficial to eschew living in an apartment or an already-built house in favor of buying a custom-made “tiny home” – especially when folks are sticking wheels on them and towing it all over the place, often landing in a relative’s yard to enjoy the rent-free fruits of a previous generation’s labor?

    Cue the cantankerous old fart cartoon: “Hey, you kids – Get off my lawn!”
    *shakes fist*

    I guess am am getting pretty judgey here. I’m hardly a model of eco-awesomeness. I have a compost pile of leaves and lawn clippings with the occasional coffeee grounds tossed on as an offering to Mother Earth. But I really don’t think the ideal for 21st century Planet Earth is having everyone off the grid, the public water lines, and the sewer lines. And the Blessed Little Homestead is just about the most ecologically damaging way possible to do it, not to mention the most dishonest. To see Nicole not just defending her “lifestyle” but holding it up for admiration – and, God forbid, emulation – is just more than I can take. Especially when I see somebody buying into it with “I wish I could homestead like you do!” Especially especially when her page has thousands of likes on it. Then it stops being about her rights, and starts being about promoting what I think is an irresponsible and damaging relationship with the community and the planet.

    Whew. I’ll hop back into my tree trunk now.?


  48. About the rabbit. There was commentary and pictures of the pelt (very nice job!) but no mention if the rabbit was eaten. It’s not like N to miss an opportunity to talk up and photograph their homestead-ness, so I get the feeling that the rabbit wasn’t eaten. IMO, of course.


  49. Time to clear something up! The generator! I seen a picture of solar panels, so I assumed they utilized at least 2 solar panels? So do they actually use solar energy, the generator, or both? What’s the down diggity on that? It’s been gnawing at me for WEEKS because I love solar energy!


  50. Thanks y’all. So not near enough for their family. A med sized chicken is only enough for us if it’s put in a casserole, pot pie, etc. And that’s with one of my boys being away at college. Teenagers who play sports can eat!


  51. I am a born and raised Southern California girl, but I married a man who grew up on a farm in Idaho. Their family had a large garden and livestock animals, but the vast majority of their acreage was leased out to a farmer who planted rotating crops. While the farmer did most of the field/crop care, if there were varmints, usually my husband or his brother handled them.

    My first visit to Idaho, some jack rabbits had begun to encroach on the field and needed to be dispatched. I’ll never forget my then boyfriend returning to garage, several rabbits in hand. This city girl learned how to remove the pelt and properly prepare the meat for consumption (an elderly man down the road liked to use the meat – he made it into a jerky for his work dogs).

    Prior to this experience, I imagined that removing a rabbit pelt involved meticulously cutting each bit of hide away from the connecting tissue below. Wrong. Once a few cuts are made, the hide just pulls away from the animal carcass in a single piece. Kind of like removing a surgical glove from your hand.

    I have found that the skill isn’t in killing the animal or even stripping the hide, but in how both are prepared and utilized afterward. Just hanging a rabbit pelt on the wall is not a skill. It needs to be placed somewhere cold immediately (a bucket of cold water and vinegar) so that bacteria don’t start to break it down. Then it needs to be tanned to preserve it (brain tanning is what I’ve subsequently done, but there are other methods).

    Removing the pelt and tacking it to the wall is something anybody could do – no knife or skill required – all you need is a dead rabbit. Another homestead “pet” gone to waste.


  52. I did a post on WordPress, Jane. The freebie WordPress ( does everything this one does – almost. There are few things it can’t do, but not much. Give it a try.


  53. So do they actually use solar energy, the generator, or both?

    They have two small solar panels. At least they used to. Those solar panels are portable and intended for camping use. They would generate enough power to recharge phones and probably run a string of LED Xmas lights for a short period of time. Solar panels, by the way, are limited by the number/type of batteries you have to store the power that you get all day, so you can have it at night.

    They mostly use the generator, I suspect.


  54. Wow, what an absolutely enjoyable and intriguing post! The examples of a few various self-sufficiency adventurists, are telling.

    The gist of this blog post kind of reminds me of a relevant experience, just yesterday. So, I decided to dine at Cracker Barrel. And the waitress was quite friendly, and engaging. She was going over some of the menu items, in mentioning the fried catfish. I asked her opinion of the catfish, and she said that she hasn’t tried it. She didn’t care for catfish. And then she confirmed growing up in the country, it is rather odd to not like catfish. Anyways, conversation went on. I then asked where she grew up, curious where that was. She then casually said, well, I grew up in yada yada. Withholding the name of the area, but it is a southwest suburb of Louisville. I exclaimed, “so did I!”. Come to find out her dad and I graduated high school together. Let me clarify, this Cracker Barrel is in Indiana. So one can imagine, we were both surprised to discover we grew up in the same area.
    Well pleasant chatter continued as I ate, and she checked on me. Afterwards as I left and was in my car, I played back some of our conversation. And it suddenly occurred to me, wait a minute….grew up in the country? My ass! LOL! That is not “country”, it’s a metro suburb. hahaha.

    The moral, whether self sufficiency or growing up in the country, one should be aware of who you are telling a story. Because they just might be able to call you out on your story. (said with my best stink eye).

    Again, a terrific blog post. And all the comments were well spoken, too.


  55. Oh my goodness. They got another dog. Well, hey, fuck, what’s one more shitting animal that they can’t afford to feed or neuter? Nothing makes sense over there.


  56. Again, actual “self” sufficiency is very difficult long term. The key to survival long term is a group of diversified skills usually best found in a GROUP of people. Hell, I even turned my kids’ homeschooling into a group effort simply because I knew I didn’t possess all the skills I thought were necessary for the boys’ education. Yeah, I have to deal with people who may annoy me sometimes (my sister mostly LOL), but their skills are extremely helpful for our success.

    I might put in solar panels when the house is due for its next good upgrade. My oldest son really wants to convert the workshed (which is the size and code of a small guest house) he’s moving into to solar and propane with grid back-up. I’ll see how that goes before I look into it for the main house. This house is pretty big, so I’m not sure it’ll pay off short term depending on how fast the technology advances.


  57. Why oh why was another dog purchased? They couldn’t afford to take care of Ranger bit can afford this one?



  58. I think the person selling the puppies linked that she had more and they were $75 each. I am completely astounded by how inexpensive that is, and wonder if that is normal for that part of the country? I ask because we lost our dog this December and I recently started looking again and it is so different than it was 14 years ago when we got him. Even shelter dogs are almost $200! There are a zillion rescues transporting dogs from the southern states to New England for adoption and the minimum seems to be $400 on them. We got our dog, a purebred Weimaraner for $450 in 2002, and he was a couple hundred less than the going rate because he had a crooked tail. The classifieds here all have their mixed pups for hundreds! It is kind of crazy to see anything for $75. I get that there are regional differences, but wow!

    As my husband says, the initial cost is the only differentiating factor in what dog to get ((regarding monetary outlay over the course of of its lifetime). They all need food. Normal people also take their animals to vet periodically, regardless of breed.
    I am off topic. I mostly just posted with astonishment of how inexpensive that puppy’s siblings were being sold for.

    Completely unrelated to the dog topic, but I as so appreciative for the post about blogs. I had no idea about any of it. A few years back we bought a domain name for a website, but I never figured out how to make it be an actual website, and at the time, it seemed like info geared towards completely ignorant people about how to make it happen were not easy to find (ha! Perhaps that had something to do with being completely ignorant on tech stuff). Even though your description was about blogs and not websites, that is the first time I have ever read a description about it that made sense to me. I swear I am not a dummy, but I feel so left behind with all the tech stuff these days. My mother is more savvy than I am for sure.


  59. They can barely afford to eat (mystery dented cans), they can’t afford gas to move but shittttt buy yet another animal. What is wrong with those people?! They aren’t homesteaders! They are animal hoarders. Years ago they had a whole bunch of dogs, then they put them up for sale right? But they all appeared about 6+ months old, why didn’t they try to sell them when they were puppies at 8 weeks or whatever KY is? It’s hard to rehome older puppies and adult dogs, especially mixed breeds. And the mix! Don’t even get me started! Boxer/pry cross? Are you kidding me? Rule of thumb is not to mix 2 breeds with different “jobs” and drives. You aren’t suppose to mix a guard dog with a boxer who was breed to hunt from my understanding. So you’re mixing a farm dog, who protects live stock, with a prey driven dog. How stupid.
    I should note that I adopted a mix breed, so I am not against mix breed, but mix breed is how she ended up dumped so yes I advocate for her. I love mix breeds in general but not when you mix such opposite traits, it results in a dog with serious bad natural habits. I love my mutt, she is the best but she is this mishmash of a lot of hunting lines-retriever, springer, beagle, and dachshund. All hunting breeds.
    Her mixing those 2 together is why ranger was killing chickens, he couldn’t help himself, he’s half prey dog for fucksake. NOT a farm mix.


  60. @gimmeabreak: The stated purpose of getting rid of Ranger was that he killed chickens. The only the affordability of owning any of the animals was discussed by Nicole was in regards to the horse, when Nicole assured her audience that her daughter had calculated, saved, and budgeted for the cost of acquiring and caring for a horse. Evidently good, secure fencing was not included in that budget.

    However, I share your opinion that from the evidence presented, I can’t understand how the BLH can afford to add another pet to the mix. I realize the dog belongs to the daughter and we are to understand the daughter will pay for the dog’s upkeep, but as far as I know the only paying job the daughter has is at the family business, so the money essentially comes out of the family budget.

    Nicole tries to explain this logic by saying the dog will be “trained to work alongside [Daughter] and her horse.” I can’t fathom what that is supposed to mean. I get the training part, because it would be hugely dangerous for a dog to be around a horse and rider without training, but…Work? Doing what? Rounding up their nonexistant herd of sheep and their dwindling herd (current count is two, I think) of goats? Training for the next Blessed Little Charity function, an invitational fox hunt, with Kentucky’s First Families and a Town and Country photographer to cover the festivities? Teaching the dog to be a service dog to….horses? Help me out, horse and/or dog owners. Is this the big huge whopper of an explanation that it sounds like to my ears?

    Cynical me has to wonder if this dog was a gift from the Blessed Parents in exchange for the daughter obliging Nicole with the latest request for a Homestead Life hashtag- and photo-op rabbit skinning.


  61. Even though your description was about blogs and not websites

    This blog is simply a website that is running WordPress (or other blogging software). I could remove that software tomorrow and make it just a plain website.

    Blogging software does a couple of things (a lot of things, but two that I will mention).

    It arranges posts so that they scroll down in the order in which they were written. This is in contrast to a regular website, where the pages are accessed via a menu and aren’t necessarily dated.

    It also hides all the dreaded code from the writer, so that anyone can use it. FWIW, there are website-creation software programs out there (Dreamweaver is one, but very, very expensive) that do the same thing so anyone can create a website. I don’t like them because they create really bloated code. I like for code to be clean and lean because then it runs faster.


  62. According to the person selling them on her page..75 bucks…for a dog.

    Yes, but that doesn’t mean that she is getting $75 per pup, or that the Nauglers paid that. Those are mutts, probably without shots and without neutering.


  63. Re: the dog being trained to work alongside the horse – maybe they want to train the dog to grow, cut, and store hay for the horse? Can dogs be trained to build fences? Ah well. Hopefully some creature has a work ethic around there.


  64. Is the horse broke to ride? Does it get ridden even? I seen a picture that MIGHT have been the girl riding the horse but I can’t be sure.
    My own dog, personally, runs along side my horse on rides. She is trained to NOT leave my side, ESPECIALLY if there is a distraction like another dog or people. She knows to stay out from under foot and not to scare the horse by barking, she grunts instead ahaha. Maybe that’s what she means? Just a riding buddy.
    There are dogs that ride ON horses too. lol. Maybe she’s going do a circus act with the bearded lady and the horse riding dog.


  65. What is she bitchig about now, seems when things settle down a bit she starts us, now its her kids again and she is using them as weapons. She has no morals


  66. Outsider… she is saying that the trolls are signing her up for things. Says she is getting phone calls for hair removal, johova witness showing up are her shop. Now she’s saying trolls are attacking her kids and she HAD to tell them about it.


  67. Seems like cps, or someone did a visit or a call or something. She’s not mentioning the normal list. She’s saying the state. Oh well. You do have a court case for a kid pulling a gun on someone, a kid sleeping at a place of business, harassing another business.


  68. Jane,
    They are going to train the dog to do a few things:
    1. The dog will be responsible for making sure all online visitors know exactly where the PayPal button is and just how they can help. (?$$$)
    2. The dog and horse will be used to harvest food from the family’s expansive and lush garden. It’s gonna take a lot of strength to carry all that food!????
    3. The horse and dog will be responsible for participating in a grand entertainment spectacle that will wow the audience with daring feats of child endangerment and educational neglect! #dogandponyshow #unschoollife


  69. Unspayed mixed breed puppy. I bet she will have puppies & they will be for sale. I can’t imagine they will spare the money to neuter her. Poor thing. I also wonder if they’ll bother to get her licensed which requires proof of rabies vaccination by a state-licensed veterinarian.


  70. Heyyy, soooo, self-sufficiency: Mr. and Mrs. Naugler, I don’t recall exactly when planting season for direct-seeded vegetables starts in your part of Kentucky, but it’s got to be soon if it hasn’t started already. What seeds have you actually bought and do you actually have basic tools, a really truly compost heap, and a reliable way to get water to the garden? No plans please, just objects at hand.

    Oh, and did you know that it’s actually possible to have a spliff in your mouth and also be up walking around doing stuff? Like digging, and lifting, and turning soil, and planting, and pulling weeds, and hauling water, and not yelling at the kids to do it all?


  71. There are few worse breeds to have with a bunch of small kids and an inexperienced young trainer…than an English or Australian shepherd. These are two breeds with some of the strongest herding instincts in all dogdom. Herding behavior is hardwired in their brains like breathing. They live to chase.

    What do they like to chase?

    1. Children. The squeakier, and closer to the ground, the better. It’s exciting to nip at feet and elicit sound and speed.

    2. Hoof stock. These breeds will run goats to death and run cows and horses round and around and through fences. These breeds also suffer getting kicked in the head by horses more than other breeds. Can you guess why?

    3. Cars. Bikes. Motorcycles. Trucks.

    4. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, cats, chickens, anything that moves.

    5. The neighbor’s stock.

    6. Loose stock.

    What do these breeds need extra help with?

    1. Recall. Training these guys to come when called is critical…and they’re easily distracted. They’re like the ADD sufferers of the dog world. They’re either hyperfocused (on, say, running the horse to death) or so hyperstimulated that they can’t filter environmental distractions enough to hear commands to obey them. Recall must be taught YOUNG and must be reinforced over and over with distractions added a little at a time.

    2. Not biting. These guys love to sneak up behind you and bite your butt or your foot. Naugs, if you are reading…DO NOT let the puppy chase the little people…ever. No chasing, no nipping, no herding. Get this started, and you’ll have a hell of a mess.

    3. Not barking. Yappy little bastards, these. They alert bark, stress bark, bark for shit and giggles, bark for the sake of barking, bark out of boredom, bark when tied or confined. They just bark. A lot.

    3. Training, training, and more training. On leash. All it takes is one unsupervised trip to the horse pen, and one annoyed kick…and it’s game over for the little pooch.

    A dog is a 15 year commitment.
    You don’t bail on a dog because YOU failed to train it.
    You don’t shoot a dog because YOU failed to prevent its bad habits.
    You don’t get rid of a dog because YOU fucked up and aren’t willing to put in the hours it takes to undo bad behavior.
    YOU made the commitment, live up to it.

    And good luck with this disaster, because this is tragedy waiting to happen.

    And in a few months…right around the time there’s a new little Naugler, there will be eight or so puppies. Jesus Fucking Christ.

    After, you know…the smell of a female in heat attracts every intact male dog within five miles…who will also harass the horse and try to get into the other animals…and potentially pose a danger to the little kids.

    Arrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhh! WHY? Why don’t these people have any sense? WHY fill their kid’s lives with sadness?

    We will never know.


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