This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest By Rex J
I’ve had the benefit and privilege of knowing several people, including family members that survived the “Great Depression”, and of hearing how they did it. Most of my family knew how to farm, hunt, fish, and trade.
Today, however, I want to talk about one man’s experience and the advice he gave me concerning surviving hard times in general.
This man lived just North of Arcadia, Louisiana. His father owned a country store that he later took over. Money and many food items were hard to come by along with some fuel items. Mr. Perritt began to trade with the people in his community. He would trade something he had and someone else needed for something they had and he needed.
The community was mostly farm and ranch. Not everyone grew the same things and Mr. Perritt got them to bring their crops to him. He had a gristmill and could produce cornmeal from the corn grown in the area. One could come there and trade beans and peas for corn and potatoes and such.
Everyone in the community was better off during these hard times because of his efforts. Times were hard enough on some that they would trade some land for supplies. Being a good and honest man, Mr. Perritt would give them a contract allowing them seven years to pay their bill plus 1.0% interest and get their land back. Some folks did and some did not.
The advice Mr. Perritt gave me for surviving hard times was this: “If a man owns at least five acres of land with a descent home that is paid for, he has at least $1000 dollars, he has a ¾ ton truck with a flatbed trailer, and he knows how to farm, he can not only survive, he can come out of the hard times in better shape than he went into them.”
Mr. Perritt also suggested having a ½ to ¾ acre pond so my family would have fish to eat. He was assuming I knew how to plant, grow, harvest, and can various produce for my family to eat at the time and during the winter. Some of this produce might also be used to barter with others. The reason for the truck and trailer was that there is always someone wanting something moved or hauled and that could mean cash money or serious barter for something I really need.
He also suggested if I were to have only one firearm, it should be a 12 gage pump shotgun with 28 inch, modified choke barrel. This would handle buckshot well enough and rifled slugs quite well for defense and large game. It would also handle number six shot for taking small game.
Most in the community had chickens and a milk cow, so eggs and milk weren’t a problem. Many raised cattle and some raised hogs, (folks in those days knew how to can meat in jars that would stay good for a year) so meat wasn’t really a problem either.
Times are different now and for the amount of space and feed used, there are some things that could be done differently.
- Six to twelve chickens (with a rooster) will produce all the eggs (and then some) that a family would need.
- One milk goat (with a Billy of course) would produce all the milk needed and is much healthier than cow’s milk. Plus, you’ve got a young goat each year to slaughter.
- Rabbits take up little space and produce more meat per pound of feed than a calf or hog. Rabbit meat is also higher in protein and lower in cholesterol than skinless/boneless chicken breast. Another rabbit advantage is you can breed and slaughter them as needed as apposed to being stuck with 200 to 500 pounds of meat at one time to have to try to preserve.
- Pigeons are another consideration as they take up little space, little feed and taste much like dove.
- One other suggestion was that raised bed gardening would require less space, less equipment, less maintenance, and a quarter acre could produce as much produce as an acre of row type gardening.
I guess this article is getting a little long in the tooth, but you get the idea. My parents and grandparents along with Mr. Perritt’s family and many others survived the great depression (which was one of the hardest times in American history) quite well.
Remember: The future belongs to those who are prepared both Spiritually and Physically. Please add your comments and suggestions in the comments below. Till next time, Rex…
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
- First Prize) Winner will receive a gift certificate for $170 worth of Winchester Ammo donated by Lucky Gunner. A Smith & Wesson Heat Treated Collapsible 21″ Baton and a copy of my book Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.
- Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Food Storage meat bucket and 3 dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids donated by LPC Survival.
- Third Prize) Winner will receive a LifeStraw water filter system donated by Eartheasy and a copy of the Wolf Pack Cookbook.
This contest will end on January 11 2012 so get busy…