As children, most of us were taught;
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
Now, God was a smart guy. He knew that He wouldn’t be the only guy hovering over the water and He knew the treacheries of “Wind and Sea”… so he created a manner of conveyance that would insure man’s future.
The reasons for this were legion. We can only presume that He knew, in His infinite wisdom, that man would require safety and shelter and LCD TVs from Walmart, shipped from far off ports in yet undiscovered places like Mainland China and India.
So, He said to Himself;
“Self… before I task man with the loss of a rib so that he may find respite on the Barkalounger nursing a sore chest, as the fruit of his now incomplete ribcage reminds him that he needs to take out the garbage… I must provide a manner by which man can survive all perils.”
It was then that God provided the FIRST ARK… built out of… you guessed it… Shipping Containers.
You thought I was gonna say “earplugs”, didn’t you?
(Man, I can hear John Umland wailing from here… “You blaspheming SOB, you!”)
It’s hard for me to believe that so much of my life has been dedicated to these large steel boxes and that from them rise family-borne dreams, happiness and joy that will survive for generations…
2012 was a year of exploration, claim-staking, heart ache (literally) and dream fulfillment.
It was a year of challenges as we began to lay the foundations for families yet to come, a year of progress and even obstacles…
… as we were forced to cope with Mother Nature, personal issues and health challenges. Many of you know that at year’s end, I had health challenges of my own. We’re resolving those issues now, as life begins teaching me new ways to solve old problems… like delegation of authority and diversification.
While the blossom of 2013 blooms, we shall see if you really can teach old dogs new tricks.
As we begin a new year…
Many readers know that last year I moved my family to the “Wilds of Montana”…
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t rush to the boonies because I thought the world was coming to an end…
I moved here because I wanted peace and solitude and nature… I bought a new dog… a BIG dog… He don’t bark much and he don’t bite, but he’ll sure ram the hell out of you…
I grew tired of traffic congestion, subdivisions and quite frankly, poverty. Big cities are no longer the places of commerce and wealth that we remember from our youths, they are now divided dominions of haves and have-nots, jostling and even jousting for control of whatever assets may be within reach.
When most people think of “sub-divisions”, they see miles and miles of identical houses, pigeonholed into every concrete nook and cranny of the city;
When WE think about sub-divisions, we think about THIS:
Now THAT’S planning…
We’ve learned a lot along the way…
After Hurricane Katrina, we gave “aid and comfort” to those we could reach. We ran a food bank off our front porch. We helped those who needed help, and along the ay, we learned that age old lesson once again;
You can grant aid… or you can help. There is a distinct difference between the two, trust me.
Our goal was to help those in need to learn to help themselves. In some cases, it worked splendidly and we saw our aid magnified as these individuals and families then helped others… But alas, they were the minority.
There are some people that you simply cannot help. In return, these folks reminded us that we were there “to aid them so that they didn’t have to help themselves”.
We saw this more and more, until… the fire just burned out.
My mother always accused me of having a “Messiah Complex”. I admit it, I bring home strays. It drives my family crazy. But, I have one rule;
“If you are in need… I will help you as much as I am able. But, if you then refuse to help yourself? I will kick you to the curb faster than you can say “ex-girlfriend”. I may suffer heartache from it, but I will do it.”
In Mississippi, we considered our plight carefully. We sought the counsel of those we respected and then we applied ourselves, diligently working toward our new goal – to find and secure our own personal freedom.
To those who showed us “the new road” – (you know who you are) – we are thankful beyond measure. The “gift that was given” was priceless… they showed us the road … that led us to our freedom.
So, we hitched our wagon (in the guise of a U-Haul trailer) to the stars and headed for a place where you could look up in the sky and actually see them.
We did it for a myriad of reasons, most of which revolved around getting to a place where life could be lived sustainably, responsibly and (gasp!) modestly, while providing all the elements required to provide happiness.
Readers of my blog(s) know that I preach the “Three R’s” – Reusing, repurposing and recycling.
We teach families to build, by reaching up into the sky… wait… that’s not it… it’s just lunch… but it probably explains my chest pains…
We repurpose ISBUs – old shipping containers, turning them into affordable, sustainable, weather- and even (gasp!) man- resistant structures like this one…
Gawd… it almost looks “residential”, doesn’t it?
Relax, I can assure you that there were a lot of “Fallback Cabins” and “Bug-Out Bunkers” along the way… and there are more to come.
“Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
So, since we didn’t want you to get cracked on the knuckles by a ruler wielding Catholic nun…
We taught you how to reuse old rain gutters, turning them into space saving, easily tended, wall mounted gardens…
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
And Fences. You need fences… Otherwise, your “big dog” will wander out of the yard… before you can get him safely tucked into the freezer…
So… we recycled PVC Pipe, transforming it into “edible fencing”…
and we’ll even reuse old ladders… just like this guy did to plant his herbs… because in Montana, man does not live by “home-brewed beer and beef jerky” alone… you need lots of spices for the marinades!
Wait… that’s “ladder framing”…. never mind..
As we lead families forward, trying to honor those who invested in us by returning that gift that we were so graciously given to others… we remind them that there are useful things all around you that can be incorporated into elements vital to the fulfillment of your dreams…
… dreams given back to each of us, usually by a handful of people that cared that we succeeded above all else. It gives us hope to know that there are still those who think beyond their own walls… as they reach over their fences to help their neighbors.
This year we’ll look at Wildcraft, lore, tools and tech… with a goal of helping you build your toolbox into something that will come to your aid whenever required. We’ll talk about your gardens, your livestock, your implements and your “hardware”. We’ll talk about dealing with emergencies and tasks. We’ll teach you how to use cast-off materials to do things that will surprise you, amuse you and even come to your aid in times of need.
We will share our insights with you and hopefully, you will share your insights with us.
No man is an island.
Regardless of how round he gets after massive consumption of beer and beef jerky, whether or not his belly has it’s own zip code… you cannot do it alone.
To grow, you need some help doing “the heavy lifting”. We ALL do. We gratefully acknowledge those who helped us… and it is because of them that we are achieving our goals and looking forward to helping you accomplish your missions, your goals in 2013. We want you to succeed in spite of those who would watch you fail.
And, we’re going to make sure it happens, as long as you do your part…
So, once again… May the New Year bring you joy, happiness and… success… beyond measure or imagination.
While we’re wishing on new stars… we have one last New Year’s Eve Resolution:
We need to build one of these…
It’s happening… now. Stay tuned!