Getting Back To The Land - Ron Melchiore
Categories: Tips & Tricks
The concept of back-to-the land is not new. Back in 1845, Thoreau went to Walden Pond to “live deliberately”. Throughout the generations, the concept has been perpetuated under many guises, with perhaps the latest being urban homesteading.
But it doesn't matter what it is called, self sufficiency and reliance are the goals of those who want to be prepared. This article is written by Ron Melchiore for Back Door Survival blog. Ron lives in canada and in this piece he will talk about what it means to get back to the land.
Getting Back to the Land
by Ron Melchiore
Hello from the wilderness of Canada! I am a newcomer to this site, Backdoor Survival, but I’m a veteran when it comes to off-grid living and homesteading. Back in the late 1970’s ( seems just like yesterday) I became part of the back to the land movement. I purchased a wood lot in northern Maine in 1979 and started on the path to a more self-reliant lifestyle. I’ve lived off-grid ever since.
Thirty-seven years later, my wife and I live so remote, it requires a flight on a float plane to reach us. Talk about peace and solitude! We live alone out here on a pristine lake in the wilderness. There are no roads or trails to get to us. We are truly reliant on ourselves when it comes to our survival and well being.
We shop twice a year and it is only at those times that we buy supplies, take care of any appointments, pick up mail and interact with other humans. We just had our resupply run in early October. Once the float plane dropped us off, lifted off the lake surface and became a small speck in the distance, we became acutely aware our last direct contact with mankind just flew away. Exciting! We won’t see another soul until April. This computer/satellite is our only connection to the outside world now.
I’ve never considered ourselves preppers. That’s somewhat of a new term, one I had never heard of until recent years. As back to the landers, homesteading was the name given to those of us who wanted to get back to our roots, live a more sustainable lifestyle and by its very nature, be more prepared for that food shortage, power outage or event that would tax society.
Those most vulnerable, the people in the cities and the suburbs would be in trouble if something were to occur that disrupts their normal routine. I have always believed we are responsible for ourselves. It’s nice to have friends, neighbors and ultimately a government entity as the last backstop, but I’m not willing to count on any of that. Being armed with knowledge, experience and proper gear and supplies gives us a shot at survival in any situation. By the mere fact we live alone in the wilderness, we must be prepared.
To that end, we provide all our power with a hybrid solar/wind system. We’ve mastered gardening and grow the vast majority of our vegetables and fruit. My wife Johanna cans hundreds of jars of yummy goodness every year so that our pantry is always fully stocked. Instead of raising, slaughtering and butchering livestock like we did during our years in Maine, we now fly in a side of beef and a whole frozen pig. We still cut and wrap meat, make sausages, cure and smoke our hams and bacon and as a last step, render fat to make the majority of our own soap.
Part of the appeal of an off-grid lifestyle aside from the satisfaction we feel, is the freedom we have had. Not only the freedom to live where we do but I have also been able to do some interesting trips. I’ve winter thru hiked all 2100+ miles of the Appalachian Trail and bicycled across the United States from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans. I’ve been touched by a bear, survived forest fires and more. What does some of this stuff have to do with prepping?
Part of being prepared is not only having book smarts, knowledge, and supplies, it’s also having the confidence to act when the need arises. All of these cumulative experiences form a foundation that gives me/us a measure of confidence we’ll be able to cope with whatever life throws our way.
I’ve written a book titled Off Grid and Free:My Path to the Wilderness published by Moon Willow Press which passes on some of the experience and knowledge I learned along the way. It is my hope that my book gives encouragement and a shot of confidence to others to pursue their dreams, regardless of what those aspirations are.
We’ve been published in BackHome Magazine, Small Farmer’s Journal, and Countryside and Small Stock Journal, and appear in Life Off Grid, a documentary film and book about people living off-grid throughout Canada. Life Off Grid aired on British Columbia’s Knowledge Network and is produced by Phillip Vannini and Jonathan Taggart. I also blog for several websites including MotherEarth News.
I welcome comments, questions and feedback. Just as Gaye and her website are trying to be a venue for disbursing information, I am trying to do my part as well. Based on the questions and feedback I receive, I will write a follow up post to address those specific questions and comments. I have a number of YouTube videos and this video will give you a better sense of who I am: Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness.
You are also welcome to get updates on our life via my Facebook page.