I wrote this:

There is no such thing as being self-sustainable, unless maybe living in the deep jungle of Papua New Guinea, and even then, you have a tribe. There is no such thing as what she is trying to describe as some sort of goal. There is nothing admirable about it. Nothing.

Nicole quoted me.

But of course, she left out the other paragraph.

Trying to be less wasteful of non-renewable resources? That’s a worthy goal. But that’s not what Nicole and Joe are doing. They are burning gasoline to run an inefficient generator for no reason at all. Power lines run right by their property.

There it is.

However, I think this subject deserves its own space. A lot of people who have been sucked in by the Naugler saga are back-to-the-land types, or more often, wannabes. They’re interested in what they all refer to as being “self-sustainable.”

And when Nicole objects to what I have to to say about the subject, they inevitably come up with some version of “people who are too scared to try it and are too plugged into the grid to ever get it.”  I am thus dismissed as a “psycho (note: Nicole, that’s how you spell the word) stalker” and somebody who is just jealous and/or inexperienced and/or frightened of new things.

I’m going to repeat myself.

Self-sustainability is very nearly impossible.

Here it is again.  It’s very nearly impossible.

I wrote about this before.  Go read it.  Really. Go read it and I’ll wait.

Dave and I were living fulltime in our RV in 2008.  We’d moved back to the Lower 48 in the wake of Nathan’s death, and we spent a couple of years wandering around trying to figure out what we wanted to do next.

In the spring of that year, I began to get some really bad vibes about the economy. For one thing, we’d bought a couple of houses in the previous year or so, and getting a loan for those houses was way too easy. At first, I thought it was just because we have such stellar credit and are so marvelous that Countrywide thought we were the best customers on the planet, but reality reached out and slapped me across the face and I knew that couldn’t be true.  Why was it so easy to get a loan?  Too easy. Way too easy.

In addition, we spent the winter of 2007/2008 in south Texas in a large RV park complete with a golf course. For long-term parking there (by the month), the park charges separately for electricity.  I noticed how high the electric bills were, specifically how much they were charging us per kilowatt hour.  We were dependent on those folks. Sure, we could leave, but ultimately, if we were going to plug in our rig, well, we had to park on land not owned by us and pay whatever the owner wanted for the utilities provided. Frankly, it gave me an uneasy feeling.

Coupled with a few other issues, we decided that we probably needed to buy a home base.

So we looked around. We considered going up north, but we’d already lived in the frozen tundra and didn’t relish doing it again.  We considered going south, but both of us grew up in the south and hell, I hate most of those Bible-thumpers.

Neither of us are fond of the desert, and the far west is simply expensive.

We ended up in Kentucky, due in part to low taxes, reasonably priced land, abundant water, a temperate climate, and well, it’s pretty here.

We bought our little farmette. We were told we were buying 17 acres, and we waived a survey, so when a friend used a surveying app on his phone a while back and told us that we actually only have 13 acres, I didn’t believe it was accurate.  It is, though.  The county agrees and that’s what they tax us on.

This just shows you that how much land you own isn’t the issue. It’s what sort of land you own.  We looked at several places before we bought this place, and the place with more than 30 acres didn’t have nearly as much usable land as we have here.  What we have is plenty.  We don’t want a smidgen more.

Anyway, along with the house came a large garage/workshop,  with the original garage behind it which we use as a wood shed, and a small barn. About 7 of those acres constitute pasture, and it was already fenced, albeit with high-tensile electric wire.  There was a large garden area, and we cleared some more in another spot.

We settled in.

We soon discovered that if you don’t maintain a pasture, you won’t have a pasture for very long.  Something has to eat it down, or you have to bush hog it, or both.

So Dave bought the donkeys.

Sometimes he refers to them as “rescues,” but they really weren’t. They were not being mistreated at all. They were just cheap. The guy who owned them didn’t want them. We did.

They had the whole pasture to themselves for quite some time.

In the meantime, we planted a garden, and then I began canning. We’d done all this before, in another life, back when Nathan was a little kid. This wasn’t our first foray into country living, but we were more serious about it this time.

The summer of 2008 just got me more and more nervous about the economy.

And in the fall, I sat at my computer one morning, hands shaking, and in a matter of a few minutes, sold every share of stock we owned.

The whole thing crashed a couple of weeks later.

We watched, in horror.

It’s one thing to deal with something like this when you have a job and your job probably isn’t going anywhere and you never have owned any stock or if you do it’s in a managed account someplace.  It’s quite another when your entire income (less Social Security, and only Dave had that then) is tied to interest rates and stock prices.

Over the ensuing months, we watched nervously as interest rates went down. And down, and down.

When you’re living on income generated by bonds or CDs that yield 5% annually, and interest rates plummet to 2.5%, your income just got sliced in half.  This will make you nervous.

We did what anyone else would do in our situation. We looked around at what the worst-case scenario might look like.  What if we found ourselves old, perhaps infirm, and with little money?  What would we do?  How would we live?

We started looking at what most people think of as “doomsday prepping.”

Not guns and ammo.  Food.  Food production and preservation. Water. Power. Gasoline.  All that stuff.

We spent some money on it. We bought stuff with the goal of seeing it last us for a long, long time.

You name it, I’ve looked into and probably tried it. Going without electricity, for example. For quite some time, everything we did, we thought in terms of “how could we do this without power?”  Is there a way?  If there was a way, we did it that way.

We’ve done a lot of gardening on a relatively large scale. For example, we’re eating right now the last of the corn I grew about three years ago and then froze. We already had one freezer and bought a second one. We considered what would happen if the power went out (or became so costly that we would be forced to scale back) and we bought canning jars.  Like more than 1000 canning jars.

And canning food illustrates perfectly the point I wanted to make about the idea of self-sufficiency, so let’s use it.

That’s just one side of our shelving for canned stuff in the basement.  There’s another one just like it out of view.  I told you I can a lot of stuff.

But to do that you have to have equipment.  You need at least one pressure canner.  I have five. I know, that’s overkill.

I’ve had an old Presto canner, like this one, ever since I was first married.  I’ve used it a bazillion times.  Every replaceable part has been replaced more than once.  It works just fine.

Then I have a newer Presto like this. It’s the same size as the old one.  It’s just much lighter. It also works just fine.

Both of them work great, absolutely flawlessly, provided you have a sealing ring in place.

There is a black rubber sealing ring that fits in a slot on the underside of the lids of those two canners.  They are two different models and don’t use the same ring. That sealing ring has to be replaced from time to time.  After a lot of experience, I’ve learned to replace it annually at the beginning of every canning season whether I think it needs to be replaced or not. If it’s worn or stretched, or just old, it will leak. The canner will not be able to hold the pressure required to can stuff.

I don’t know how to make rubber.  Even if I had some rubber, I don’t know how to make a sealing ring.  I have to buy them. They don’t really keep all that well, although I do have a few down in the basement that I vacuum-sealed in the hope that will preserve the rubber.

So, I thought about that.

What if I couldn’t get any seals?

So I bought this.  It’s an All-American canner.  It’s heavy as lead.

It doesn’t require any sealing rings.  It seals metal to metal, and you simply put a teeny bit of oil along the sealing area.  No rings. Nothing to replace.

Did I mention it’s heavy?

It’s so heavy that I ended up buying one half that size because I can pick it up better.

And then Amazon had a big sale on the teensy baby All-American, and I succumbed to temptation.

So, I have three AAs and two Prestos, and I use the AAs regularly and almost never use the others.

But I don’t have to buy sealing rings.

I have a lot of jars.  A whole lot of jars.

I’m all set, right?  I mean, like I’m all set forever.



I doubt that I ever have to buy a canning jar again my lifetime, even factoring in the inevitable breakage.

But jars are worthless without lids.

Oh, yeah, canning lids.

One time use. Disposable.  Oops.

I’ve experimented with reusing them.  It’s doable, sort of, but iffy. I even marked lids that I’d used for water bath canning (kinder and gentler) and then reused those for pressure canning.  What I found is that there are more seal failures if you try to reuse lids, and a seal failure means a whole quart or pint of food into the trash, food you worked very hard to grow and process. The rubber stuff is simply not thick enough to last and it’s too easy to bend the lid slightly when removing it and then you’re screwed.

Not only do you need those lids, you also have to have the metal rings to hold them on the jars. That’s not a super difficult thing, as I have about 1000 rings and I store them pretty carefully so they won’t rust and I use them over and over again, so I’m probably set on rings.

But lids were a problem.

And then I discovered Tattlers.

Tattler canning lids

Instead of a one-piece disposable lid, the Tattler is a plastic lid complete with a rubber ring (more about that in a second) that fits under the edge. You use the same ring.  There is a learning curve to using them and I had some failures in the beginning.

But once I figured out how they should feel and look when on the jar, and how to process with them, I’ve found that I have the same results with them that I did with the disposables.

I did find that Tattlers work better with pressure canning, and are a little bit more hit-and-miss when it comes to water-bath canning (because the high pressure in a pressure canner helps drive out air in the jar resulting in a better vacuum), but overall, I use them.  In fact, I’ve use about a dozen in the last few days making turkey soup.

And I’ve used my Tattlers over and over and over and over.  I’m sure I’ve used some of them a dozen times or more.  They come off the jars, get scrubbed and they often don’t make it back to the basement before they’re on another jar being processed.

Here’s some brandied peaches I made.  See the white Tattler lids?  The rings are still in place because the jars just came out of the canner.  Once they sit overnight, I remove the rings.

You can just barely see the edge of the red rubber ring in this photo.

So what about those rings?  Don’t they wear out?

Well, yeah, they do.  But not really as fast as you might think.  I’ve had Tattler lids now for several years (my guess is at least five years) and I’ve probably destroyed three rubber rings.  I bought a stash of extras.  I also have about a zillion Tattler lids. I have boxes of Tattler lids that I’ve never opened. Several years ago, there was a big promotional sale and I jumped on it and went sort of berserk.

I’m set for life.

I also have so much money invested in canning jars, and canners, and lids that it’s not even funny.  I haven’t even mentioned my water-bath canner, and my two steam canners, and  my steam juicer, and well. . .

I remember once, way back, when we were on the little farm in South Carolina and Nathan was a kid, I had a garden. And I grew stuff and I canned stuff and I worked myself half to death. I was working as an RN fulltime then as well. It was hard.

I canned a whole bunch of jars of green beans.

And then I went to the grocery store and they had a sale on canned green beans. Three cans for a dollar.

Three cans for a dollar.

Disposable lids (regular mouth) cost about $.25 each, depending on how you buy them. In those days, I think they were around $.10 each.  Factor in my labor and the power to run the canner, and the cost of the sealing ring for the lid of the canner.

I cried. It was just so overwhelming to see it all so cheap.

And believe me, canned green beans are just canned green beans. Home canned ones aren’t “better.” You’re just hungrier after all that work and they taste good.

I did the whole “prep for canning” thing because I was pretty much scared to death about the economy.  But as we did more and more to tighten up, and scale back, and invest in DIY stuff, the more we began to realize how hopeless it was.

You can’t be self-sufficient in everything. You just can’t.  It’s impossible.

Not only do you not have all the stuff you need, and not only can you not afford all the stuff you need, and you’ll go bankrupt trying to collect all the stuff you need, but you don’t even know all the stuff you need.  Spend a day considering everything you touch and everything you do and what you’d need to do if you had to replace, repair, or do-it-yourself when it comes to everything you use.  Or consider what life would be like without that item.

The best you can do, when it comes to this type of “prepping,” is to try to store some stuff so you can get through a hard patch of relatively short duration, like a few months at most. First on that list should be “what happens if I cannot pay the rent?” and not “I need to raise chickens and make pickles.”

So please, Nicole, stop with the whole self-sufficiency stuff. You aren’t. Nobody is, really.  People are not grizzly bears. They are loners for the most part and totally self-sufficient.  I am a human being and I am not. I know, because I have actually tried to do this and experimented with doing it and learned to do stuff for myself and the more I tried and experimented and learned, the more I realized how impossible it is and what an enormous waste it all is.

I accept this. Instead of worrying about what we will do if a disaster hits and how we can somehow make it all on our own, we think it’s far more important to be good neighbors and connect with lots of other people, so that, as my neighbor once said, “the only thing that matters is what is happening here on the ridge [meaning our neighborhood].”

I still can food, pretty regularly.  But I tend to be pretty picky about what I bother with. Turkey soup was a good idea. It’s easy, fast, delicious, I can’t buy it, and the turkey carcass was sitting there staring at me.

If I grow fresh green beans, because I like them, and there are enough to can, well, yeah, I’ll can them.  But I’m not going to grow them just to can them.

I make grapefruit marmalade because Dave likes it and have you ever seen any ever anywhere?  I make brandied peaches because they’re cheap if I get the peaches from the Mennonite produce place and Dave likes those too.

While I’m waiting for the big disaster to happen, though, I’m going to buy stuff from the store, grow a garden if I want to and not if I don’t, can stuff if I want to, but not because I have to, use electricity that’s cheap and quiet, and enjoy my life.

I’m probably going to sell the oil press I bought so I could raise sunflowers and press the oil out and make salad dressing.  Seriously.



32 thoughts on “Sustainability”

  1. I bet one thing you won’t do is shit in a bucket and, pour it on the ground somewhere and call it “humanure”. Because you aren’t an idiot.

    You know another thing that is dangerous? Manure pits on farms. <—– enjoy having a functional CDC, OSHA and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) while you have them folks. What some call "starving the beast" is leading to less data collection, less oversight and more risks to workers. Who does this benefit? Hmm.


  2. Nicole Celeste Naugler hopeful homesteader? She admits to the public that can’t even cook for goodness sake. Internet Storyteller, indeed.


  3. I was thinking earlier, now why would someone choose to use generators when being wired for electricity would be so much better? One thing, maybe the electric company wouldn’t hook power up to a 3-sided shack. I’m sure they have standards. Another thing, if you have a utility in your name, you can be found. It’s traceable. Joe and Nicole wanted to disappear for some reason. If only they would. (After leaving their kids somewhere safe.)


  4. I do can when I have the time to, but I have learned that you can preserve things like in-season fruits/vegetables when they are cheaper so that you can have them when they are higher priced ‘out of season.’ I also love to make preserves and jams to make presents for the holidays. I’ve also canned hamburger, dry beans, chicken, mushrooms, and other fun things. To me it is fun and makes cooking so much easier later on when you have far less time on your hands. We also had one summer where our electricity was out for almost 15 hours and if I hadn’t gotten the meat in jars and preserved, oh the cost out of pocket for throwing the stuff in the trash. I think of the poor animals that gave up their lives to feed us and to just throw them in the trash is a waste and travesty for them.

    This shit that Nicole claims to be doing is a far cry from anything to do with preserving, homesteading, or even parenting. It’s a shame too. Think of how she could actually help others while actually attempting to homestead and make their lives better… but there is no way in hell she is accomplishing anything worthy of even a second glance. Dismal failure is her only success.


  5. Planting a Donate or PayPal link on every web page under your control is not being self-sustainable Nicole.


  6. A couple of years ago, there was a piece in the media which explained that the PNW was overdue for a quake on the Cascadia fault line. My recollection of the article may not be perfect, but it goes along the lines of…. holy shit, we aren’t prepared for this quake and when it hits it will likely paralyze the entire state of WA because our transportation network is over dependent on the I-5 corridor. Many people I know were talking about how they were building “bug out” bags….blah blah blah. It really grated on me and it took me a few days to really figure out why.

    It’s not that I disagree with a certain level of emergency preparedness. I think it’s prudent to be prepared in an emergency in the ways that are possible-for example, many people with disabilities died during the Katrina flood that should not have , because the level of emergency planning that was done on their behalf wasn’t adequate. I’ve gone through some online “classes” put together by Seattle Children’s on emergency planning for special needs kids, etc… Based on those recommendations, – we have at least a two month supply of the critical medications beyond those being used during the current month. It takes careful planning and talking to my son’s doctors to get those and keep them rotated so that they don’t expire, but it’s worth it in case of a disruption along that corridor. We have all the supplies to start an IV line in the house and have a neighbor who is an RN, so we could stablize my son in case whatever disaster came along caused his autonomic dysfunction to be exacerbated. We have a variety of options that would charge devices, and enough batteries to run a feeding pump, an iv pump etc… for about a month. We also have board games and food that the kids will actually eat, we have ways to keep ourselves amused, crank powered radio, all our family paperwork scanned onto flash drives, etc…

    However, in the post apocalyptic fantasyland that a lot of these egomaniacs see themselves as triumphing in- my son dies. Period. Full stop. It takes a metric fuckton of medical supplies, a platoon of medical professionals and an astronomical amount of medical technology to keep him alive much less thriving.

    It’s the ableism and arrogance that seems to be correlated with a subset of these “self sustaining” and “off the grid” types that grate my last nerve. While it’s a reasonable goal for many people to be able to shelter in place and take care of themselves for short periods of time, realistically we are all dependent on one another for our safety and security. Pretending otherwise is an arrrogant affectation that irritates the shit out of me because it’s not only divorced from reality, it devalues anyone in our society who is elderly, disabled, or otherwise unable to “bug out”.

    I’ve mentioned before (but am not arrogant enough to presume that people remember this, I apologize if I’m being repetitive) that my youngest son died of HIE, a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation during labor. Had the youngest Naugler child lived it is very likely that he would have suffered a similar injury. With prompt medical attention, babies can survive hypoxia , however, they are often left with serious life long medical complications. Would being “off the grid” and “self sufficient” still be a priority if they were responsible for a ventilator and g-tube dependent infant? Based on how they care for their other children, I find it highly unlikely that they could manage the care of a baby with any degree of compromise right now, much less if there were some sort of disaster that reduced the availability of resources.

    Sorry for the rant, but this is something that really irritates me. The every man for himself, only the strong survive is an attitude that may be cute in testerone overloaded adolescents, but being arrogant enough to think that somehow one person is capable of being self sufficient over the course of years is goddamn horse puckey.


  7. A die hard canner can never have too many jars. Heaven forbid if you get down to a couple of cases of empty jars near the end of canning season.

    We buy jars and lids every single year. 2017 we bought about 30 cases while in 2016 we bought over 100 cases because I started canning more veggies and pumpkin for the dogs. Jars and lids are always bought on sale never full price.

    I do no re-use lids either afraid of losing all the hard work. I do reuse rings. I have 3 shoe box size totes that I keep using again and again for when canning via water bath or pressure. When those get too rusty to use any more a new tote is brought out. The rest are stored carefully so not to rust. The new ones are the ones that go on jars of preserves when I am selling or gifting them.

    Nothing makes a die hard canner madder than seeing some one use a good canning jar for stupid shit like crafts (use the ones with chipped rims) or for drinking glasses. Use the store bought manufactured jars for that shit. It is too easy to get a chip on the rim of the jar to use them for anything other than canning.

    My jars when empty get washed really good and air dry until totally dry. Then they get put back in a box they came in with a plastic bags inside the box. The plastic bag gets tucked in so to keep out dust and what ever. When it comes time to can again they get put through a hot water/dish soap/bleach washing. Rinsed well and air dried to use.

    I have 4 pressure canners for canning and 1 smaller one for cooking. Yes I guess you could say I have an arsenal of canners. I have 3 water bath canners and one that for the past two years I have been sure it is on the last year of using it. My next water bath canner is going to be one of the Amish ones that get used over two burners. A steam juicer is on my list too.

    I have a restaurant quality heater that is used to keep stuff hot. I use that as a super size crock pot to make spaghetti sauce and butters in it. I have restaurant quality dicer that is a life saver when doing diced carrots and beets to can. Stock pots I have about 8 of them all different kinds and sizes. I also have tubs yes tubs that are used just for canning especially when doing large batch of mixed veggies for the dogs. I want to say they hold probably close to 15 gallons. Lots of large storage dishes with covers to prep stuff and store it in the frig. The grinder attachment German one for my kitchen aid and the berry strainer has been my best friend. Thankfully I have two Kitchen Aids so in case I burn one out.

    We have a dehydrator well two now thanks to a really nice friend. We use the dehydrator to dry popcorn, green beans and carrot peelings for the dogs to grind into flour for treats.

    My long term wish list has a freeze dryer on it. Some of my canning friends have them and love them. Another thing that I can not live with out even bought one for the RV is a vacuum sealer. We do the bags and have the attachments for the jars.

    Yes we take our canned stuff with us when we travel go south for 3-4 months. It is amazing all the places you can find in a RV besides the pantry area to stash jars. Truthfully we do not like the taste of manufactured canned veggies or sauce.

    When it comes to the dogs we are not reliant on manufactured food for them. We do their veggies, pumpkin, lots of their treats and yogurt. They are on a raw diet so we get stuff from the farm when they butcher. We only buy chicken leg quarters and feet for them and buy the case lots. When they go on sale for 39 cents a pound we buy over 100 pounds and most time even more. The dogs get just shy of 2 lbs of chicken a day so 100 pounds last us a while. We have a large chest freezer, 2 medium size chest freezers (one we use in the RV when we travel) and one upright freezer plus 3 refrigerators with good size freezers.

    We raise our own pork and get beef and milk from the farm. I know we could do more but as time marches on and the two of us are tripping into the golden years we decided not to do more.

    I am OCD when it comes to toilet paper and paper towels. Less than 24 rolls of each and we are out. I have a 4 pack of toilet paper that has been hidden for emergency for almost 20 years now. I use to kid and say the kids would find antique toilet paper when I die and they are having an estate sale. Well it is getting to not be a joke. LOL

    Our garden is almost 2 acres it is suppose to be getting smaller but hubby does not listen. We sell some of what we grow and I can a lot of it. When we have a overload of stuff we donate it to a church or to people we know that could use the help of getting veggies. We keep our prices in the stand stupid low. We are not looking to make a profit on it just to break even and know that there are lots of people eating good wholesome food. We have customers that travel more than 30 miles to come buy from us. One customer is from NYC and stops about once a month when in the area. It is nothing for her to spend $100 each time.

    We do not have to hire anyone for repairs of most things as hubby can do it building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical. I can sew, crochet and knit. We also treat what we can at home for ourselves and our dogs. Thankfully we have a vet in the family so a quick call to them when something comes up with the dogs to see if we need to bring them in or can self treat. However both dogs do see the vet at least once a year even if it is just for a check up or updating their shots. Hell the dogs see the vet more than I see a doctor.


  8. I’ve changed my attitude towards my garden as well. I started out 20 years ago, trying to be more self-sustainable and less dependent on “the system.” For years, I devoted lots of precious space in my garden to growing carrots, as well as laundry-room space to storing them, so I could feed them to my horses, compost their manure to use on the garden, and preach, “hey y’all, it’s the Circle of Life, I’m doing it!”
    Except that carrots in the grocery store are bigger, better, fresher than mine, as well as much cheaper when you take into account my labor. Then I looked at other things I was growing that weren’t really sensible (like you said, green beans – also dried bean varieties that average $.60/lb in my local store but are a lot of work to shell, and need about a square yard per pound to grow them) and so I finally got a bit smarter about how, and what, to grow in my garden.
    For example, we love pesto and I regularly make lots of recipes that call for it. Pesto in the store is like $2.99 for a tiny container, fresh basil is $4.99 for around 4 ounces, and garlic is 3 small bulbs for $1.00. So I nixed the carrots and beans, and put all that garden space and effort into growing basil and garlic. Same with butternut squash, it’s something like $1.69/lb in the store when it’s in season, which means $3.00 per squash, so I grow 6 or so plants on trellises with minimal work, minimal space, and get 50 or 60 squashes to freeze, make into soup, or just eat fresh.
    Lots of other examples (asparagus, grapes, berries) but my main thing these days is not bothering to grow what’s cheap at the store, but concentrating on what I can grow in my climate that we like to eat, but that’s expensive to buy. We’ve ended up eating a lot better (healthier, tastier) and making a much bigger dent in our grocery expenses with the same amount of work and the same size garden.
    Still, if “Armageddon!!1!11” (LOL) comes, at least I still know how to grow carrots and beans, and I have two horses that I’m sure will be all in (or not) for plowing the Fields of Dystopia!


  9. In an older BLH blog post of the day they moved to the Nauglerstead, Nicole stated something like, “…and this is the path to independence”. Independence.

    Independence and self-sustaining are different. Neither fully exist, we are not an island nor should that be a goal. As with a young person beginning to transition into young adult, a good attribute is learning to be self-sustaining or self-reliant. Independence is self-ish and not a good attribute to seek. We are by nature, a community. Self-reliant or self-sustaining means relying on yourself to provide for your necessary means. Embracing in an economic sense. As described in this blog post. When you described financial income self-reliant processes during the economy downturn, to canning food in addition to freezing food in the event of power outages. Again though, fully self-sustaining, there is no such thing.

    I think Nicole’s frequent word salad on describing self-sustainable, according the each person’s perception, is because as she stated in the BLH post upon moving to the property. The path to “independence” is the goal, it has different meaning than self-reliant and self-sustaining. She means free of control. As example, the electric utility company is not going to control her, dammit. Whether or not there already are power lines running on the property from previous dwellers. And a power pole right next to where the previous cabin shed was located near the road side. If I am not mistaken, there are even major power lines running thru the middle of the property. Nope. Not gonna control Nicole. She gonna run a generator 24/7 and buy fuel several times a week. lol. Freeeeedom! Independence! Yeah. Not. Not self-sustaining and not independence.


  10. Sally, you are the most self sufficient person I have ever “known” who lives in a normal sized home, produces much of your own food, milk (well, technically, that’s Frances, but that is quibbling), Cheese, butter, ghee, etc.

    Let’s look at the facts. The person who takes issue with you saying that complete self sufficiency is damn near impossible today lives as follows:

    1) Lives in a garden shed (which is replaced biannually because the previous one is trashed) with insufficient insulation.

    2) To my knowledge, not yet raised so much as a chicken for food or eggs because she does not protect them and predators (some of those predators are her own pets, incidentally) either kill them or take the eggs. Free range and all, ya know.

    3) Has failed at least 4 consecutive years (with seemingly no lessons learned) to grow a garden sufficient to supplement her family’s diet. I think there was a watermelon last year. (2017) …….

    4) Has made no progress in obtaining a water source for the “homestead” in 4+ years. Brings in in water from her very on grid shop, presumably bathes her kids (If at all) during winter in her very on grid shop. In contrast, a neighbor built a very sophisticated water catchment system for his property in one weekend.

    5. Hunts at Kroger or the dented can store, and feeds her kids out of said cans.

    6. In 4+ years, has not managed to dig an outhouse, despite a stay at home lump of a husband and two sons in their late teens. Thus, shits in a bucket and dumps it on the ground (BTW, There is proof of this, homesteaders and wanna be homesteaders…..ask the neighbor who found toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and shit on his land, or the county who documented it. )

    7.). Powers her very on grid conveniences from a gasoline generator that runs 24/7…….

    As continuing evidence of her move to self sufficiency (HAHA!), has a PayPal button on her BLH page….just in case anyone wants to contribute to her move to self sufficiency. ($ only, please; goods will be sold for cash)

    Of course, any donations would be supplemental to the 45K donated (and spent on hotels, eating out, fireworks, and Garden Shed #2) to her in 2015……to, you guessed it, help make her more self sufficient.

    Nicole Celeste is completely disingenuous (compulsive liar; IMHO) to claim that she is moving toward self sufficiency in any way. She is simply a poser who joined your group, IMO looking for a new audience to tell her story of imaginary abuse and harassment, as her existing audience (and likely their donations) seem to be getting tired of her tales, which has no doubt had a detrimental effect on her PayPal donation button.


  11. It’s obvious that you’ve given much more thought to self sufficiency and sustainability than the Nauglers, as well as being obvious that your household would fare far better than her household if you were cut off from the outside world for a week or two. Electricity or not, you’d manage. Wonder what the Nauglers would do if the gas stations shut down or the shop no longer had running water? Do they think they have fostered relationships good relationships with their neighbours?


  12. When the market crashed, we left our money in. Hubby and I talked about moving it, and we did move some of it. We bought a metric fuckton of Google stock because we decided it was globally stable enough that it wasn’t going anywhere.

    So, what are we gonna do if we lose everything? I asked the hubster…who was out of work at the time…like a quarter of the people we knew.

    And he goes….Well, if it gets that bad, everyone’s screwed. We just work with everyone else who will be in the same boat. Leave the money in. We’ll either lose it, or it’ll come back. It’s not over until you take it out.

    Our house was paid for and we had decent savings, so we let it ride. And we recovered spectacularly…particularly with the Google.

    Our property was purchased with the worst in mind.

    We have several springs that bubble the best water known to man…right outta the ground. They feed a virgin lake full of blue gill and crappie and bass….which is pretty damned good eating.

    Our acreage is home to wandering deer herds, tribes of turkeys, tons of waterfowl. We get a lot of wildlife traffic to the lake.

    Our incredibly awful sandy soil isn’t great for vegetable gardens, but it grows blueberries and raspberries by the bucket, and supports booming crops of beans and soybeans. And we do grow salad fixins in raised beds. If I want to can, I drive to you-pick farms, or pick up bushels of seasonal produce at farmer’s markets (not the posh ones in urban areas…the rural ones where the prices are much better) And truth told? I’m too lazy to can….mostly I just put stuff in the freezer.

    We also tap about two dozen mature trees for maple sugar every year.

    And I do make cheese and bread and a bunch of other good stuff from scratch. And I trade with neighbors. Part of our land is in soybeans, and part is grazing the neighbor’s horses. In return we get driveway plowing, dairy products, raw honey and beef.

    Have kept half a dozen hens for eggs. It’s a shocking number of eggs.

    In short….even at the darkest of times…we knew we’d be ok. And we were:)


  13. Isn’t today the day that Nicole Celeste Naugler is having her BIG MEETING in Frankfort (the state capital) as frantically announced in her video? I wonder if Joseph Naugler went with her? Maybe he is in charge of the “documentation” this time?

    Wasn’t she going to post a blog post, with the documentation, of why her CPS case should be closed? I’m pretty sure she promised it (for the umpteenth time) would be posted this weekend.

    Poor Nicole. Blogging is hard (for her). Truth even harder.


  14. I’ve changed my attitude towards my garden as well.

    Yes. Well said. Absolutely.

    I know how to grow potatoes. I am a really good potato grower. But I do not bother growing potatoes because it’s cheaper and less wasteful to buy them.

    Like you, I grow (and preserve if necessary) stuff that is cheaper to do than to buy. I skip everything else. In addition, we have a lovely Mennonite community near us and they have a large produce place as well as a produce auction. I can buy produce in bulk there and sometimes do.


  15. Dented cans.

    Dented cans are fine. I’ve bought many a dented can in my life. I’m not going to fault her for that. And canned food from the store is also fine. It’s just not crunchy and homesteady and “self-sufficient.”


  16. I was thinking earlier, now why would someone choose to use generators when being wired for electricity would be so much better?

    I dunno. One reason would be that you have been so bad about paying your electric bill that they require a huge deposit. I honestly don’t think it’s about not having their name on a utility bill.


  17. If I am not mistaken the building inspection in their area requires very little oversight except electrical.
    So in the case of the Nauglers not using the available electricity I’m betting:
    1. They were on grid in KY for some time before they lived at the shit shack and I’d bet they have an outstanding bill to the power co. Now, in order to rebrand their financial irresponsibility they became, “offgrid”.
    2. In order to pull electricity off the nearby pole they would need to have the power company set a meter base near or preferably on, the shit shack, which is free, of course providing you are in good standing. From the meter base the Naugs would need to PAY an electrician to hook the meter base to a panel box (220 v, most people are not going to try to Naugler this part).
    3. In order to set the box, in my area, you must have an electrical inspection. One can then get a homeowners permit and DIY hook circuits off the box, however, this is inspected.

    So I’m of the opinion they owe the power co, and it is now Nicole’s self serving manipulation to call themselves “offgrid”. Also limiting the power for THE CHILDREN controls this item of a household budget and fit’s Nic’s ideas of making her children responsible, ie, if you want heat/power, ‘YOU go get gas’, while she and HH lounge comfortably, ON GRID and remain totally dependent upon the grid.


  18. I dont know how they do it. A generator is meant for occasional use, not for lighting at all hours. One day its going to break as all machinery that isnt maintained will do.
    It has to get miserable in there, all those people and sweat (if they can stay warm). How easy it would be for all of them if only they werent so damn needy of everyone else to bail them out.
    I see she is attacking the ranch again and her toady larisa is happy as hell that Nicky is back on line so she can spew her shit.


  19. The electric company does have standards before they will turn on power to a residence. A previous home that I purchased still ran off of an actual fuse box and we had to pay an electrician to replace it with a circut breaker before DP &L would turn on the power. If you already own an older home, you are grandfathered, but as soon as you sell it the new owner will have to update.

    I cannot imagine a scenario where an electrician would sign off on those overloaded power strips that the Nauglers are so proud of. Not to mention, it seems that when the Nauglers do come into money they struggle with making prudent choices. Why pay for electrical upgrades when you can spend that money on fireworks and horses? Nothing is ever a problem in Joe and Nicole’s world until it becomes a problem, and then it becomes a freaking catastrophe.


  20. I tend to think of self sufficiency as a continuum with the extremes/absolutes being pretty much unattainable and definitely unsustainable. On one hand absolute non-self sufficiency is something akin to being comatose in a hospital on life support. On the other hand the extreme for self sufficiency being living like an aboriginal. Can it be done? Sure, if you want hard-core early death every single day physical labor. I know that some anthropologists or wannabe anthropologists have suggested that early humans had leisurely lives with tons of free time. I really don’t think it was. If you read any of Nancy Turner’s work on PCN native Americans/ First Peoples, the work that went into those peoples’ self sufficient lives to sustain life is way more than I would want to do. Going on a nature walk is one thing. Actively looking for food and materials to clothe oneself is another. The Nauglers would not survive such an experience. How do I know? I lived it for a week long course I took and it was hard and tiring work. Let’s say it is a diet plan Joe definitely doesn’t want to experience.

    What chaps me about the Nauglers is them calling their feckless escapism self sufficiency. What chaps me about the Nauglers is their absolute disregard for the quality of life for themselves and their kids. Homeless people run the gamut from those who have jobs but no place to live to those who are expert at coming up with food and clothing to those who die either from disease, starvation, accidents/violence or drug problems. Those people are not self sufficient in my view. They are absolutely dependent on others even if they have to be creative about it. The Nauglers are not self-sufficient. The Nauglers are one small step above homelessness. The Nauglers are desperate escapists.


  21. If I ever needed an example of people spinning their wheels, I’d use the Noozlers. They have been on that land for three years or more and have made absolutely no headway other than their garden shed. My husband said garden sheds are not meant to house people and no matter what they do to it, it will never be structurally sound enough to support all those people. I’ve researched the shed to house movement and at best, the shed is a temporary dwelling while the owners builds around it and under it and inside of it. Even the sheds that are rebuilt with insulation and better wood and ventilation still have problems holding moisture and mold issues. She would have been better served to buy a mobile home, but then she would have had to have some credit or money.

    Her fat assed turd doesn’t work, doesn’t home school, doesn’t take care of the kids should be spending time making improvements to their shed, creating garden spaces, clearing areas for building fences for the feral animals they seem to just turn loose.

    Even if they don’t plant and harvest a garden, she could take the kids to orchards and let them pick berries of fruit. I take our grandkids every year to this huge berry farm and we pick strawberries and black berries and they love that they have contributed; we also pick pears, peaches, and apples. There are farms all over AR where you can pick corn or tomatoes or any vegetable, really. Hell, she could buy in bulk during seasons and can or freeze. They don’t really seem to plan too far ahead. I really believe her idea of homesteading is antithetical to her self-proclamation of being a minimalist. You can not build up a supply to carry you over if you are steady stripping your space of anything other than the bare necessities such a tooth brush, a jean skirt, a mange comb…well, you know. In fact, her philosophy of being a minimalist is antithetical to her idea of having all those kids. She is what I would call a person having an identity crisis: She has no idea what she wants to be or how to go about being who she wants to be. All she can do is say, my dream is to do this or that and we are planning or adding to our projects list to do this or that. Hell, she said she is a story teller and I can say that she isn’t lying there…Here’s some advice in case she reads this: quit talking about your plans and just do them. Don’t say, we are adding many projects for the homestead, wait until you actually do something and take a picture or two and post about it. See how easy that is? Today, I planned to leave the potato chips alone but if you could see the empty bag next to me, you’d know that I didn’t make an attempt to leave those little fuckers alone…Wonder how her plans to meet with the attorney went…bet she didn’t go.


  22. Just noticed Nicole’s “There’s a link between clutter and depression” post…

    Has she looked at her yard? What is she trying to tell us?


  23. For some reason Nicole got it in her head that being a homesteader means living a simple, stress free life. Back to nature. I don’t fault her with this. Many city folks think that way. They fanatize how wonderful it would be to leave the rat race and make Home made bread and wear all natural homemade clothes and grow your own produce and raise your own animals. And that’s how far people think. When we have people up to our ranch or farm we constantly heard how wonderful it was to live like we do. Of course they always said this at the breakfast table while eating scrambled eggs from our chickens, bacon from a pig, homemade cinnamon rolls after a restful night of sleep. Of course it’s wonderful. For them. They didn’t get up early to make the breakfast, they weren’t there a few months before when the pig was slaughtered, they didn’t put in the garden or weed and hoe it, nor did they pick the fruit or make the jam for their toast. They didn’t stay up all night shooting at coyotes who were chasing your sheep and deer who again got into your kitchen garden. Those guest aren’t the ones doing the laundry when the well isn’t working (ugh, a washer spinning with no water, again), or racing the weather to bring in a crop or put in a crop. They didn’t wake up during the night when the canyon siren went off at 2:48 Am to let us know it was freezing and to get out to the vineyards and start the pots. They don’t have to run to town to get a part for a piece of equipment and run back with it only to find out that your husband also needed a part for the baler as well (we don’t have cell reception up at the ranch).
    Hoemsteading, farming, ranching are anything but simple, easy, stress free. We don’t Homestead. My grandparents did that. I inherited the ranch in Northern California from my dad’s side. The farm in Iowa I inherited from my moms side. We no longer run the farm or ranch. We have people who do that. While we go to the ranch a few times a month, we rarely go to the farm in Iowa. I love both places. I grew up in both places. I know what hard work is and so does my husband and kids.

    When I see a nice, well run operation I don’t look at it as the simple, stress free, back to nature life. I look at it as hard work, stressed, and job well done life. I enjoy my comfort. I like my livestock at a distance. I’m done with canning, collecting eggs, birthing and all that shit. However, if something should happen where Trump makes the lights go out, I could do it all. And yes, pretty much on my own as I got all the gear, all the tools, all the shit. But, for goodness sake who the helll wants to do all that work?? My dads mom died at the ripe old age of 29 leaving 7 kids (her last two babies she had nine months apart!). She got a breast infection when her baby was 1 week old in 1928. They didn’t have antibiotics and by the time she got to the hospital in SF, the doctors decided to remove her breast to save her and she bled to death. She left my grandpa with seven kids ages baby to ten years. Then the depression hit. My mom side did better, of course they were on a farm in Iowa and not a ranch in Northern California wilderness.

    Yup, Nicole, you have a bunch of kids and a husband who won’t work and earn a paycheck to help with the finances of life. You’re life is never ever going to be stress free, minimumlist (I laugh every time you bring that up, you got 10 kids), and your finanances are a mess. Wake up. Please. For the sake of those kids and animals.


  24. @Outsider

    It wouldn’t surprise me if, in addition to pet graves on the blessed refugee camp, there were several examples of generator remains. Generators are not too expensive and the Nauglers see to use a dinky one to run their lights. I can see them going through a few every year.


  25. When my husband and I lived in Maryland we had a huge garden loaded with vegetables and fruit trees. ( we rescued the fruit trees, one fall, out of a nursery’s trash bin) (with their permission)

    I had a raised herb garden with every kind of herb I could find (7 kinds of Basil) 36 rose bushes and three bee hives.
    The soil was clay and sand.
    Every year we worked in composted horse manure we got from a neighbor, and grew clover on areas not being used.
    Our compost pile got so hot it caught fire. I learned not to let that happen again.

    We supplied garden produce and honey for ourselves and neighbors.
    When the cantaloupe ripened I’d invite the neighbors to bring a spoon and we would sit at the picnic table and eat warm cantaloupe or watermelon right off the vine.
    It was better than anyone could get from a grocery store and I was never once turned down.

    Both of us worked full time and we had two young boys.
    We had only two children because we could give that number a decent upbringing, (and each could have their own window when we traveled.)
    I canned and learned to put up honey.
    I also learned to make the best birch beer you ever tasted.
    It was a lot of happy work.

    I could still do all those things, but I’d need help getting my pajamas on at night.

    My husband Is gone now. I own our home in a very nice location, and plan to sell in the next year.
    I’m building a cabin style house on Kentucky Lake, with a built-in pantry and a wood stove. I’m also going have a small generator put in for times the electricity quits.
    I make my own bread, and cook many of my meals from scratch… my fruits and vegetables come from the local stores but at the lake I will have room for a small kitchen garden.
    I only eat fish, and enjoy fishing. No problem at the lake.

    I’m also surrounded by wonderful neighbors, and my friends and family visit every week.
    I can count on my extended family and friends for help anytime I need it.

    Friends and extended family are important to survival.
    We’ve had funny conversations about survival and bartering.
    One son plans to distill alcohol… for drinking and small motors.
    I also wield a mean torch and could build his still if he needed help…
    Most of the men in my family can take down a tree( without killing themselves) and turn it into boats, furniture and buildings.
    In my family are plumbers, electricians and carpenters by profession and hobby.
    I and my sister-in law have studied alternative medicine for fun. My sister in law gathers, spins and weaves. She’s taken classes in natural dyes.
    I’m, right now, wearing the best pair of socks on earth that she knitted.
    I have a son who teaches camp cooking in iron wear. He’s a spectacular cook, as are most of the other men in my family.
    So many skills, that would be needed, are in my family and extended family.

    Put us all together and we could take care of each other.
    Could any of us do it by ourselves.
    Most probably not.

    The Nauglers are a dead end.
    If the Nauglers showed up at the edge of our compound…that is where they would stay.
    We’d share our knowledge, of course. And we’d expect them to return favors.
    I can’t see the adult Nauglers understanding that survival is a community thing.
    They would never survive with the attitudes, knowledge and behaviors they have now…
    To expect the adult Nauglers to suddenly change, should we have a sun flare hit earth, is laughable
    I’d take in a few of their children, but the adults could take a flying leap off the nearest Kentucky cliff.

    Survival is not magic and wishful planning.


  26. I am proud to say that I am both reliant and reliable as an integral part of my community and my goal as a parent is to raise my kids with the same fundamental value. Therein lies both gratitude and generosity. Compassion and kindness. Shared challenges and triumphs. Self sufficiency to me is not something to aspire to. It seems lonely.


  27. A Play in Two Acts, But Ever So Many Phone Calls

    Act One

    “Hello, HELLO, is this CPS, I mean CHFS? Do you know who I am? I’m the woman who went viral. I want to talk to who’s in charge. Family court won’t close my case and I’m so done with it. I told them I’m done. It’s all corruption. You just do it to balance the state budget.” – Nicole

    “Is that you again Mrs Naugler? (Oh god, it’s her again). As I told you 100 times today the person you want is out of the office. I will have them call you when they get in. (When he’ll freezes over).” – Underpaid State Worker

    “I have been WAITING 10 minutes for them to call me back (and I don’t answer my phone to numbers I don’t know) I demand to talk to them now. Where they at? I am going to expose you. I have 47,000 followers on Facebook and 300 followers of my blog. Fake social media numbers are my UNIVERSE. I will beg them to call you too. I will do a vlog. I will call the news stations (they have my phone number blocked). I will destroy you. (Blah blah blah. Screaming. Anger. DEMANDING).” – Nicole

    Phone rings. Underpaid state worker wishes she didn’t have to answer the phone, but she must it’s her job (thinking of quitting). After innumerable phone calls from Nicole Celeste Naugler and with tears in her eyes the underpaid state worker answers the phone and tries to get some relief.

    “Mrs Naugler I just spoke with my supervisor and the person you want to speak with will not be back in the office until February 5th. (please god, let her stop calling). – Underpaid State Worker

    “Why do my tax dollars go to “you people” if you don’t do your jobs. (Hahaha, I don’t pay taxes). You’re all a bunch of corrupt losers and you have no AUTHORITY over me, but you do have authority that I want to use against my caseworkers, Judge, GAL, the sheriff… Tell him that elections are coming up and I have a husband and two adult sons who I can demand vote the way I say they should. I can register to vote (if I remember I’m not good at keeping track of that sort of shit). I will tell my followers (who live in other states) to vote him out. I will be there in the office for my “appointment” on February 5th and I will tell you both how to do your job.” -Nicole

    Act Two

    February 5th. Underpaid state worker took a sick day. Everyone else in the office is dreading the arrival of the Blessed maniac of the telephone. They watch the clock hoping for office hours to end.

    Nicole Celeste Naugler doesn’t show up. No surprise. She never follows through. She has moved on to Plan B and Plan C and Plan D while doing the absolute “legal bare minimum” for her children. Not really. It’s the not doing the “legal bare minimum” in her case that has brought her to this point. Fuck it. She’ll make another vlog. #winning


  28. Act Three, still in production.

    Who else thinks that it’s a distinct possibility that Nicole Celeste Naugker’s vague claim to a February 5, 2018 “appointment” in Frankfort with CPS was nothing more than a plan to crash the big press conference the Governor was having with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services?

    Coincidence that they were both on the same date? Perhaps she didn’t show because it was a rather early conference and considering the time difference and distance to drive would have required leaving the house at 4-5 am. She has said she’s not a morning person. Joe has said he is a weed conisseur and they are not noted to be early risers. All that screen time has a tendency to interfere with a persons ability to sleep.

    Can you imagine though if she and Joe had showed up. We all know what Joseph Naugler’s “go to” claim to fame is. “We’re local celebrities. We’ve been in the news. Even on the Today Show and national podcasts. People follow our journey from all across the world. We’re the family that had their children removed by CPS and went viral.” Boy can he talk at you too. The great blojoeviator. Only surpassed, IMO, in the “won’t shut up” Department by Nicole Celeste Naugler.

    Picture it now. I can see them parting the sea of reporters with Joe shoving the women and elderly from his path as he made his way to the front. Nicole’s angrily swinging dreads attacking reporters like Medusa’s snakes causing them to jump out of the way. Finally arriving before the Governor and hijacking his press conference with their “really smart words, really good words.” Spittle glistening in Joe’s excited beard. The loud and never ending word salad combining vague references to “muh rights” and Joe’s extra special personal interpretation of God’s and man’s law wetly passing through Joe’s lips. Ending only when Nicole shuts him up, because he is a basic bitch and she knows she is the “smartest cleverest genuine genius of the family.” Her rapid fire speech, her putting words into the Governor’s mouth while not letting him get a word in edgewise. The Governor standing there in a daze while Nicole and Joe turn to the reporters and tell them to report the “testimony” of the Governor who just said everything Nicole and Joe said he said (although he said nothing. He hasn’t recovered from his daze yet.) When the reporters try to point out that the Governor hasn’t said a word Nicole and Joe will proudly announce that they have PROOF. They record everything you know. Documentation. The reporters may stupidly state that they too have been recording and their recordings show that the Governor has not had a chance to say a word. Nicole will immediately dispute this. The recordings aren’t real, “fake news,” they’re tainted with bias, as we all know reporters can’t be trusted. They take blurry photos. They only take photos of the burn pile. They blow your tarp roof off your 3-sided shack (and then you can see the goat eaten mattress and piles of dirty clothes.) She and Joe will announce that only theirs are the true recordings and they will produce them soon, any day now, when they feel like it, it’s not their responsibility to prove anything to anyone, how dare you ask. If they feel like it or are sufficiently worried that their online persona is slipping, they may release a 15 second snippet of the Governor going “huh” and then write or vlog telling you that “he did say all the things we say he said. Fuck you unbelievers.”

    Act Four

    The Governor calls in the Capital Police, make it the National Guard (and a fumigator) in order to finally deliver his unfortunately hijacked, nay kidnapped, press conference. The Nauglers finally, after two years of real effort on social media, achieve their “second chance” to go viral, experience more criminal court and put the fun back into fundraiser.


  29. Me and my SO always made a point to live below our means. We only have one car, I take the bus (I realize this is not possible everywhere). The bank said we could get a 230 000$ house (mid to low price in our housing market), we bought a 200 000$ house that suffered from a ’80s look (I love it so much. I feel like I’m living at my grandparents’. We barely changed it.). We also pay mortgage on a piece of raw land we bought with the idea to move there once our kids are grown up. I should be done paying it in 3 years. It is covered in wild blueberries. There’s also moose, deer, partridge, etc.

    So when my SO suddenly lost his job 2 years ago we were able to live on my mostly-part-time LPN salary while he went back to school to learn a better trade. We barely had to pinch our finance. The freedom of not having to worry is worth all the planning. We’re far from self-sufficient but in this economy, at least we can deal with more blows. We already have.


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