Tag Archive for Granny Miller

A Mind To Homestead

“A MIND TO HOMESTEAD” is now in print.
It is 104 pages and is the first volume in the series, “Old-Time Skills For A New Generation”.
Written from a traditional agrarian point of view, this first volume of the series examines the mindset, outlook and attitudes necessary to successfully pursue a long-term life of homesteading and self-reliance.
Illustrated with black & white images from life, the non-electric and off-grid topics include: home heating with wood and coal; oil lamps; basic cook stove advice and operation; and an extensive and indispensable treadle sewing machine chapter.
Many of the popular notions of contemporary preparedness, prepping and the modern survivalist movement are challenged and assessed.

You can find it for sale on Amazon for $8. Here’s an excerpt from the book.

It’s not a secret. I’m no fan of so-called “prepping” or “survivalism”. What follows is a question from a few years back regarding prepping and preppers. Some of my objections to the notion of prepping are outlined in my answer to the reader. But what I didn’t convey in my answer is my long-held belief that preparedness and prepping are simply the latest installment of historical and traditional American agrarianism. It seems that every 25 years or so, there’s some kind of new “back to the land” or “simple living” or “return to my roots” movement.
It’s a generational thing.

Since the beginning of our nation, American agrarianism has piloted personal and public change. Every rebirth of agrarianism provides a reassurance of traditional values and a hoped-for economic sanctuary for the middle and working classes.

My Grandmother As A Child

My Grandmother As An Emigrant Child From Spain – 1916

Agrarian revivals are almost always a reliable social protest against the status quo. Typically agrarian movements occur during economic and political change and upheaval. They often contain the seeds of civil disobedience and a mistrust of government. American agrarian revivals predictably follow periods of war or a collective national trauma.
During such times the values and principles of rural life are idealized, while the perceived insecurity, dangers and difficulties of city life are rejected. People instinctively flee cities and make a run for the country when times are uncertain.
Modern prepping and preppers are the expected and anticipated American agrarian response to the events of September 11, 2001.
But most preppers don’t know that.

Every generation of homesteaders and small holders owes a debt to the generation that came before. My generation of homesteaders took off during the 1970s. We were the natural agrarian social response to the War in Vietnam and to the other political and social upheavals of the time.

Cluess in 1972

Young & Clueless In 1972

Back in the 1970s most homesteaders were “hippies” who were flocking “back to the land” to tune out the “man.”  At the time the “establishment” was a “bummer” and the government couldn’t be trusted.  (The government still can’t be trusted.)
It was during that period of American agrarian regeneration that many intentional communities and communes like The Farm in Tennessee were formed. Homesteaders of the 1970s were heavily influenced by the late John Seymour, Louis Bromfield, J.I Rodale and Scott and Helen Nearing.
Seymour, Rodale, Nearing and others were part of the agrarian revival that predictably followed World War I and World War II. Their writings heavily influenced the post-World War II generation of American authors and small holders; most notably a young and green Gene Logsdon and a wet-behind-the-ears Wendell Berry. Both Wendell Berry and Gene Logsdon have rewritten and redefined American agrarianism. Both Berry and Logsdon inspired and schooled Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan and many others of my generation.

One difference between this current generation of young “preppers” and my generation of old “hippies” is the emphasis upon paramilitary philosophy, consumerism and technology. My generation’s philosophy was the exact opposite. It emphasized a willful ignorance of nature, pacifism, and disdained materialism.
But philosophy and classifications really don’t matter. Because when it comes time to shovel a steaming pile of manure or pick beans in the hot sun, labels are positively useless.

Picking Beans

Picking Beans In The Hot Sun

You can read the question and how I answered it in, “A Mind To Homestead”.