Unexpected Assertions and Questions (Part II)

Welcome To The Sequel

As noted in a post back in May, drafted when we were passing through Texas enroute to our new home, we have been faced with a number of comments and questions that took us off guard when discussing our extreme makeover with people from all walks of life. In that post, which ran through the gems specific to the state of Hawaii, I promised a follow up contribution that captured such whimsical queries and statements regarding other topics. Well…here it is.

WARNING!!! Most of these topics are a bit more esoteric than those previously documented regarding our 51st state, and it may not be evident as to why these drew special attention. In fact, if you are not from the counterculture crowd or did not grow up a farmer, these may just put you to sleep if left standing on their own. So…I have peppered them with some parenthetical information to add a measure of context (or, at least, context that we have come to understand through six years of research, attending conferences, and personal experimentation on the various topics.) Enjoy.

Cross Country Road Trip (in our 10- and 14-year-old vehicles)

Cars cannot handle that type of a drive.

You better carry extra gas.

What will you do if you get a flat tire?

What if your car breaks down?

It is really dangerous.

You should carry a gun.

On Homeschooling Issues

You need an advanced degree in education to homeschool your kids.

(Nope. Just any college degree.)

You cannot go to college with a GED.

(Some homeschooling results in a GED in lieu of a diploma. Ninety percent of universities accept a GED to be matriculated.)

On Homesteading

You will need to buy a tractor and other large machines to plow your fields and process your harvest.

(Homesteading is not at all the same as commercial-scale farming focused on mono-cropping in large plots. Rather than grow large amounts of one crop, like corn, that has to be sold so that the farmer can then buy his own food, the focus is on growing food in the first place–a robust vegetable garden, fruit trees and bushes, egg laying hens, a dairy animal, a meat animal, honey bees, mushrooms. The broader idea is something like this…go debt free, minimize regular bills, grow food to feed yourself, limit purchases of permanent infrastructure and maintenance-hungry machines, sell surplus for petty cash, develop other income streams as needed for taxes, gas, medical bills, etc. No, it is not easy. Yes, it takes time to get fully self sufficient…please pray that our retirement money does not run out first.)

You will need to build a silo.

(No. See above.)

Forty acres is too much for a family of six to manage.

(We originally looked at plots up to 40 acres. Smaller families successfully manage even much larger plots across the nation; it all depends on what you do with your land.)

Is 10 acres enough?

(Some families live sustainably and in a mode of self-sufficiency on as little as 1 acre; we decided on a minimum of 5 and ended up with nearly 10.)

You can’t live off-grid; it is not possible.

(Modern day folks do so across this “developed” country–and in other First World nations–and there is a particularly robust off-grid culture and support network on the island of Hawaii. For example, since we arrived on island, we have rented a house in a “regular” neighborhood that is not even connected to public water. All of our water has come from rain and springs and sewage is managed through a cesspit–something like a septic tank.)

You cannot raise animals without regular vaccination and antibiotics.

(The organic movement put this issue to rest a while ago. We have raised chickens, honeybees, and meat rabbits without any such inputs, as have other producers on much larger scales.)

You cannot raise animals without regular and heavy reliance on grain.

(This one was put to bed years ago by the grassfed/pastured animal movement that is just now showing itself more in grocery stores. We previously pasture raised our rabbits–no feed or store-bought hay (we produced our own hay)–and our chickens were largely free-range and pastured (grain-based feed was used as supplement, particularly during winter, a season not enjoyed here in the South Pacific.)

Rearing livestock for meat is unsustainable and damages the environment.

(If you are speaking of the more widely practiced, conventional, assembly-line-like animal husbandry that stocks most grocery stores today, complete with CAFOs and manure pits, then you are correct. This statement is not supported, however, by the evidence coming from international models (in the U.S., New Zealand, Australia, and other developed nations) of intensive, rotational grazing that mimics natural patterns of animal behavior and pasture cycles. Superior food nutrition profiles, less carbon footprint, little-to-no environmental impact, very sustainable.)

On Moving to Hawaii

You will get bored there.

(I don’t know how to even approach this one… Let me know if any of you figure it out.)

People will not help you there.

(We have been overwhelmed by the support, camaraderie, advice, and fellowship that we have received to date.)

It is too expensive for anyone to live there.

(Depends on how you live. Eat local. Eat seasonal. Live simple. It is doable. Lots of retirees from the mainland live comfortably here.)

There are no jobs there.

(It all depends on your definition of “job” and where your skills and interests lay. We have been here six weeks; I have secured two “jobs” and have applications in for two more. From regular careers to simple gigs, there are openings.)


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