Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cars and Homes

While not directly related to the topic of homesteading, it is most certainly related to our lives right now so today I'm going to talk about cars and how they fit into your life. Well, vehicles more to the point. Where we live, and probably where most homesteaders live you can't take a bus to get to and from everything. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, and the lady of the house and I know at least one. We on the other hand are on the opposite side of the spectrum. While we certainly don't have midwest level drives to get to anything, we have a 24.6 mile drive to work. Not quite a marathon, but you sure as hell can't walk it, and there isn't a bus within 14 miles of where we live other than the school buses that love playing hobb with our commute. So why is this part of our lives right now other than the obvious commute time? Simply, our one car between the two of us had a rather sudden and dramatic death.

 Cars Tie Us Together
In the United States due to the spread out nature of the country even in the most close knit areas cars are a virtual necessity. Only in cities like Boston and New York is it actually possible to exist without major issues without a car. Cars are the things that let us travel, get food home, get to and from work. Cars and good roads tie us together as a country.

But They're Expensive!
Very expensive. Especially right now in the wake of the Cash for Clunkers program getting most of the lower priced cars off the roads in a rather permanent fashion. While that was a boost for car manufacturers and helped emissions by a fraction of a percent (topic for another post), it means that at least in our area that finding an old clunker to get you by isn't reasonable. Indeed, buying a car is something that should be planned for, and if we'd had the option we would have. It is also the reason that we only have one car to begin with, economically it isn't feasible to have two cars on the road as much as it is very frustrating and difficult sharing a car, they are just so expensive between acquiring, registering, insuring, and maintaining before you even get to the prospect of gas!

What About Homesteading
Homesteaders need to transport things. In our case we soon need to get our hands on at least 6, 55 gallon drums, 3 of them food grade. Lumber, tools, livestock, feed, gravel, fence material, the list goes on. There is a reason most people who live out where we are own a pickup truck. We can't afford to drive a truck to and from work, so in buying a new car we didn't get one for now. That said in less than a year of home ownership without even getting into the homesteading aspect, because we honestly haven't, we can see that a truck is high on our list of things we need to save up for and acquire.

But What About The Environment?
Again, this needs to be expanded into another post, but environmentally the emissions from consumers vehicles are such a minuscule part of environmental harm that it is amazing. Beyond that there are reasons for certain types of vehicles, and trucks have a specific job. Farmers are one of the types of people that need those vehicles for that job. At a certain point the tools you have to have are more important than saving every scrap of energy and preventing every breath of emissions.

What Did We Do?
We scrambled around ineffectively for a couple days looking online and asking friends. We eventually got a ride from a friend to look at a car which wasn't the right car, and bounced around a few dealerships which weren't good for what we needed. Finally by somewhere between luck and persistence we found a family sized Honda Civic Hybrid that we can afford with generous help from my father on the down payment.  We hope to be back on our feet and going to and from work normally instead of sleeping on our friend's floors within the next few days.

As with many things in our lives lately, the help of our family and community of friends has been the thing that got us through.

Hope to have a more substantial post about homesteading Thursday!

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