Hi, I'm Josh. I'm 38 years old. I was born in Waco, TX., traveled the country working and landed back here in Pinehurst, TX. for the moment.
I was taught throughout my various jobs baking, sales and repair and installation of Dish Network systems. My dad taught me basic automotive skills and a little about cooking - telling me to just put together the things you like and that makes sense (so far so good on that!). I taught myself basic carpentry (I don't know any of the theories, but can pretty much build whatever structure I need) and gardening (again, just getting started on the science of soil health in order to produce beyond organic foods - but can put together a system that will feed our family a good healthy variety of foods that don't have the standard everyday poisons of the commercially available prepared foods). Out of necessity I have learned household appliance repair and how to preserve foods through canning due to our bountiful harvest this first season.
Previous goals and lifestyle:
Until just a few years ago I was like many (most) other Americans. I had a good, steady job. I had a wife, house, kids, yard, dogs, etc. I enjoyed hobbies such as Jeepin', camping, river rafting and such. I enjoyed spending time with my family and drinking America's favorite beverage, beer. I was not much rattled by the Y2K phenomenon nor Hurricane Katrina which hit our neighbors to the east. I was generally happy and thought everything would pretty much be ok for the most part. I was happy to go to the stores and buy the things we needed, without a care as to what might happen if something stopped the "just in time delivery" schedule that the American trucking industry revolved around. In fact, I didn't even know what that was. I believed all the blessings God had provided were safe and would continue.
Just before the recession of 2008, I was looking around at all the glamour. It seemed everyone had a new Lexus or BMW or $60,000 truck. I just couldn't believe it and thought to myself "this must be fake". I'm not sure why I thought that and I wasn't sure how I meant it. I just knew that something wasn't right. I was not an investor and I wasn't that big into politics, although I wasn't happy with Bush and his war mongering or ridiculous war on freedom and liberty. Anyway, I just knew something wasn't right.
Shortly thereafter, the economy tanked and it seemed no-one was safe. Everyone was looking at how to cut spending and my industry was threatened. It seemed that now everyone was looking to save that hundred bucks a month on TV and switching to Netflix Hulu+ and free off-air digital antenna. We were very slow for quite a while but I made it and we made it as an industry. Just a few months after the crash came Hurricane Ike which destroyed much of the Houston and surrounding areas. This, ironically, gave a huge boost in the number of repair jobs we had to make to almost every dish in the area, giving us a good financial boost. I had planned on staying in our house, but as we were sure the storm would be almost a direct hit, we fled (south actually!) to my parents who lived in an old brick home (compared to our mobile). The storm hit and the next day my wife and I returned to our home to find a single piece of vinyl siding off and in our neighbors yard. Two of my neighbors homes were destroyed by 80' falling pines and even my parent's neighbor had a pine fall on his home (we helped him tarp it before returning to our home).
We had, obviously, lost power. For a few days, we ate like kings, grilling and smoking our meats. We thought power would be back on within a few days. Turns out we threw away a few hundred dollars worth of meats and produce. Our water would not be turned back on for weeks, nor our power for almost a month. We had no generator and people were lined up at the convenience store waiting for hours for FEMA ice, water and sandwiches. Things were better in Spring, TX., where my parents lived so our kids stayed there and my wife and I made the trip occasionally to check in on them or to get a fill some gallons of water. We wanted to stay in our house.
Well, after that experience I decided that I would never allow us to be in such a precarious position (I was kind of a slow learner). So, I started storing 10-20 gallon jugs of water in the shed and around June, began dwindling the amount of meat and produce we kept on hand so that if this happened again we wouldn't waste so much. I always kept quite a bit of canned goods on hand, but upped the supply around this time of year. I also began to make sure our gas tanks were always full, so we began to fill our tanks when they got to half empty. My dad gave me a small 2 stroke generator that he had acquired somehow so I made sure I at least had 5 gallons of gas and a bottle of oil for that.
I'm not sure when, but at some point I began to wonder about the recession. It was probably due to listening to AM conservative talk radio on the way home everyday and while picking my daughter up from school. I heard all the talking personalities saying things like "we're going to give banks $700,000,000,000" and then, after we, the People, refused to allow our representatives to allocate the funds, they ended up giving the banks $13 billion! I wondered how this was going to affect the lives of us ordinary Americans and how we could afford to do this if everyone, it seemed, was losing or in fear of losing their jobs. I heard the rhetoric about how Bush Jr. had doubled the debt while he was president and how Obama had almost doubled the debt in his first term. I began to worry about my children and how they would ever repay this debt. Then I found information on money and debt and how they are the same instrument. I was confused by this and it has taken many years for it to wrap around my brain. In fact, I am still not completely sure I understand.
I also began to learn about our food. It seems like all our foods are being poisoned. The geniuses at the Food and Drug Administration have allowed companies to process our fatty foods with lighter fluid. They "general consider as safe"
With all this confusion, I knew that I needed to get a jump on things. I needed a new direction in life and a way to secure my future and that of my family's.
Current lifestyle & Future goals:
I have learned to garden. This was no small feat. My wife had a brown thumb and I never really cared to grow anything. We had planted small flower gardens for her in the past and everything died within weeks. We were slow with the process. Our 1/3 acre was completely covered in trees and barely anything would get enough sun to be able to grow well. We had an oak that had got struck by lightning so we decided to take it out, bury the wood and plant a garden in that spot. This process took a couple of years to complete.
I will go into more of the process, thoughts, theories and ideas in our blog page, so you can check that out as it comes along. Our current lifestyle is one where we have sold our Jeeps, began paying off credit cards and working towards paying off the house and saving toward purchasing a bigger, better homestead/farm in the next half decade. We are working hard toward that goal. We have a 15 year old and an 8 year old daughter, 20 chickens, 30 rabbits and a LGD (livestock guardian dog) in our back yard. The garden, swing set, driveway, mini food forest and 3 pet dogs are in the front. We spend most of our free time tending the garden and animals together and cooking and preserving the bounty God has provided. It's a life of choice, and we love it.
So, our goals include paying off our entire debt, including our mortgage. This will be done by the summer of 2018, which is when our oldest daughter will be graduating. At that time I hope to quit my job to begin pursuing full time work on my own, including installing food producing but attractive gardens or bigger food production systems for people as well as try to get as much 'on the job training' in fields such as welding, construction, small engine and diesel repair. By the year 2020, our youngest daughter will be going into high school. At that time we will make the decision to move to a bigger property in the southern Missouri/northern Arkansas region or allow her to finish high school with all of her friends and then move after she graduates. That must be a family decision. At this time, she is very much looking forward to the move. I hope that remains the case.
In the mean time, we are focusing on learning as much as we can about soil and herbs and growing as much as possible and producing the absolute best produce, meat and beyond organic products possible.