Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prepping and Pocketknives

Rob - who blogs at One Straw- recently posted a genius, if somewhat generalizing, thought about how to tell people who are interested in preparedness and self-sufficiency from those who are not.

"I have often thought that one could draw a loose, but fairly accurate, line through male society along the line of Those That Carry Pocket Knives and Those That Do Not. Go to any birthday party and when the stubborn ribbon hits, there is always one or two people there that quickly reach into their pocket to produce a small tool to do the job."

I grew up around men who carried pocketknives, almost to a person. It seems like a silly little thing to make note of, but it really is indicative of a broader mindset - when push comes to shove, I'll try to do things for myself. I always carry a small folding pocket knife and a leatherman-type tool. I think it's also indicative of the mindset of young people raised in a dependent, frightened, urban environment that most of my students express fear or anxiety when I get my knife out to use it for something. In most of their eyes, a knife is a dangerous thing, and the only reason that someone would have one on them is to do bad things. I hope to raise my kids to understand how to properly use and appreciate tools, and to have an "I'll do it for myself" attitude. In short, I want them to be pocketknife carriers.


  1. Interesting theory. For a while I did not carry my pocketknife at school on account of the "no weapons" policy. They do not have some ridiculous no tolerance policy, but I did not want students seeing me walking around with a knife and think they could do the same; setting a good example and all. There were far too many instances, though, where I would wander around looking for a pair of scissors or something, all the while thinking, "If I had my pocket knife this would not be a problem." It ended up being more of a pain in the ass NOT to carry it.

  2. Hey Mike - I also like your thinking about pocket knives. I read Rob's post (I read all of his stuff), and agree that kids need to learn from an early age how to use and respect tools/knifes/weapons... I also really liked your thoughts about kids and butchering animals in one of your previous posts. We have not done that yet at our "Burbstead" but we will eventually. Teaching our kids about animal life cycles and how they nourish us is just as important as pocket knives! Cheers!