Grit Blogs > The One-Acre Farm

Is Self Suffiency Being Attacked? Part 2

Jim BakerWater, building a house (cabin, wickiup, hogan, yurt—whatever), water storage, food gathering in the wild, the lists are endless and the legalities may be also. In my state I cannot collect or use for any reason the gray water I produce, not even for lawns or flowers. Doing some quick research on the Internet and rainwater collection is not illegal in any state, or is illegal in some states west of the Mississippi depending on which article you read. It is heavily regulated in some states (according to the article that stated it was NOT illegal). And in some states you are required to have a permit. There may well be an entire separate blog on just water.

Housing. I was in the trade for a lot of years selling to building contractors and even way back then everything revolved around ‘code’. I recently saw a very touching movie about an older man wanting to build a simpler house for his wife in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, on his property with his own sawn lumber. Even with the happy ending (spoiler alert) the movie revolved around him needing plans, permits, having to hire structural engineers, architects and the whole nine yards simply because he did not start off getting the proper permit. And once the smoke cleared his house exceeded every single ‘code’ that was on the books.

So, are we under attack? Is that a resounding maybe I hear? Depending on where you live, how ‘off the grid’ you want to be or become, the very dwelling and where your water comes from can be, and in many cases already is, heavily regulated and permitted. I can drill a well on my property. Actually, I am not sure I personally am allowed to, yet I can hire someone to do it. Yet since I have ‘city’ water in my house now I cannot plumb that well water (passing any given test the state or county may want to perform) into my house for use. Because I do have a farm number I can use it for anything else, including watering livestock, just not watering me, at least not while I am in the house.

Regulations and laws are in place to help protect us, I understand that. Chaos would ensue in short order with none on the books. Yet when does how I want to live my life become something that becomes illegal, a felony and possibly even something that could land me in jail? Consider me openly killing and butchering a hog, for example; my hog, my property, and me actually knowing what I am doing. I live on the outskirts of a small southern town, in the country yet with neighbors within earshot. I am not sure where I live that is illegal, yet I do assure you that if I were to do that, I would get at least one visit from the local police within a very short period of time. I watch some things on YouTube regarding other homesteaders, and one such was called to task for letting his son, with some other boys, under adult supervision the whole while, use an axe, and the other boys were also. Their ages ranged from probably 8 up to maybe a couple of early teens. And the father was called to task by a viewer chastising him on ‘allowing’ his child to handle such a ‘dangerous weapon’.

In my world a sharp axe is not defined as a ‘weapon’, it is a tool. And it will hurt you to be sure, yet you learn how not to get hurt by using it, not by not using it! So does his son need a permit, protective chaps, a Kevlar vest and gloves, eye and ear protection, knee and elbow pads, emergency oxygen and a standby paramedic so he can stand there and watch Dad do all that and he never touches or learns how to use such a ‘dangerous weapon’? However does Mom manage to cut and chop food to cook if you want to take that whole thought process to the end?

Us older ones never wore a bicycle helmet, pedaled barefoot (with the ensuing more-than-once-stubbed toe), drank from the hose, hung upside down from tree limbs, caught snakes, whittled a stick with a sharp knife (borrowed for an adult that handed us that sharp knife if we were to young yet to have our own), and went swimming in the creek with no lifeguard within a few miles at the very least.

When did we become the nation of fear, regulation and give our governments, at any level, the power to force us to comply with the ‘norm’ or else? I am hoping some of you will send me some answers because I am truly at a loss.

As always — PEACE!


Rain barrel

Photo by Fotolia/alisonhancock