What does subsistence living mean to you?

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So essentially it boils down to living more simply, a move away from materialism? What about day to day life. I have read around the subject and there are core themes of living self sufficiently of the land, growing what you can and trading with others. Would that be right?

I have always wondered with morbid curiosity what would happen if the economy were to collapse of something like that, and how we would cope. I think bushcraft skills would definitely come in handy to say the least!
I see what you are saying. History has many examples of human nature corrupting pure intentions and ideals thats for sure.

Yes it would be possible to dress an animal with flint, but very very hard. Tools have evolved for a reason! I think it would be great to learn flintknappping, but it wouldnt be to replace a knife. It would be because 1) I would get intrinsic value out of creating a tool that my ancestors used and 2) If I was in a situation where I didn't have a knife I can make do with what I have around me.

I don't ignore that a knife is a more effective and multi purpose tool than a piece of flint, if you get me? But at the same time, I recognise that when the %&% hits the fan, a solid $20 utility knife would functionally offer almost everything that a $300 branded knife would to get you out of that situation.

At the same time if I had the choice honestly I would still prefer the flash one. Maybe its materialism, maybe its greed, I guess its human nature to want nice things at the end of the day.
a tutor friend of mine showed me how to knapp a stone adze head... i spent several days, hour in & hour out hand rubbing the stone to smooth down the rough surface on a suitable block of sandstone that i took the trouble to search out & find so that i could experience firsthand what it was like...well worth the effort
Hi, I'd think stone tools are pretty much as good if not better than steel ones. They have been used for a lot longer, still used today in some societies (e.g. a lot of New Guinea) and were here until Europeans turned up. Of course that's as much of a function of the timing of discovery and availability of natural resources than anything else....i.e. if iron-bearing rock existed in great quantity in New Guinea, plus people had easy access to it (e.g. it's near the surface and they had access to natural tools for mining such as deer antlers), plus they had the necessity to create hot fires then they may well have discovered it. But they've got on just fine with stone tools until now.

It maybe that steel is more robust (?) but I think it's far more to do with availability of natural resources (there's far more iron around than flint) and the fact that it's much easier to form a good edge out of steel (anyone with a file and a sharepening stone can do that) whereas to do so with stone takes great skill.

I think you're right, Ryan, on the pricing of bush knives. You can make a very good knife out of good steel that is fit for purpose (e.g. old circular saw blades from a saw mill) just by grinding the shape and not even heating or forging it. If you pop down to your local saw mill they generally have stacks of them lying around and are only too happy to let you have one, sometimes for a nominal fee, as otherwise they have to get them taken away. I'd much rather do that than buy one if I didn't want to spend the money, but having done that and forged knives as well, I can now really appreciate the great skill also involved in creating a good bush knife!
having been living a subsistence lifestyle or at least my version of it for many years now, which is for me one of self-reliance...how it all started for me is another story however once i had settled in to my "make do" ways, life became a full on adventure for myself... the skills i learned or put into use was simply the practical thing to do at the time... it was later on that i realized how useful my experience would be should the social-economic system as we know it turn to custard...

for myself i see no problem in having & using a space age knife however it would be a problem for me if my way went belly up from its loss or was totally dependent on it...
absolutely mike...unfortunately most of us are made for the machine, consumers with a consumer mentality... :) nuff said...

the hastings - taupo trip was 2 summers ago, to get to the medieval jousting tournament...that was the 1st long haul for "nanu" my new horse, the pic of him chekin out the campfire was our 1st night out of our 1st trek so we we still getting to know each other & for him to experience for the 1st time some pritty amazing things....
I find it ironic that we are all into a simpler lifestyle, yet are all on the internet talking about it. Technology spreading the word of primitive living!!!! I have a distinct roadblock to living simpler, it is called a Wife (who likes good modern living ) and children. To live Self Sufficiently seems like such a far off dream to me, What ever happened to the days when the wife did what she was told- HAHAHAHA.
I guess my real motives for joining this forum is one of fear of the unknown. I am a city guy at heart and apart from the odd school trip many, many years ago every thing I know has been book learned and untested in the real world.
My main fear or should I say concern is that if or should I say when things go belly up, I don't want to go that way too.
When the Tsunami hit indonesia in 2004, yes it was tragic, yes it was horrific and yes it was a huge spectre world wide. But those that were able to pull it together the quickest were those with primitive life skills, they were still able to survive, eat and find shelter.

When hurricane katrina hit New Orleans, again a tragedy, but due to reliance on government support and coordination etc the effects on the area were or appeared to be more devastating. A realiance on someone else !!!

Are any of us really capable of getting through it. Will 3 days water and a bag of protein bars really do the trick, I don't know.

I am keen to learn basic skills, I am not your weekend tramper, nor your wild wooly trapper type of guy. I am however a realist and believe we all need to have some knowledge......... How to stay warm, how to find food, and how to stay safe.
hmm me thinks It all again boils down to having the ability to use whatever your surounding can give you.
The thing with flint knapping is there aint no flint readily available in nz so if you plan on living here why bother with it. What did Maoris use for knives before the europeans came? (not flint of trademe..)

Me and my partner are working hard in the big smoke now, to be able to buy some land up north in a couple of years, and live a mortgage free more self suficient life.
( I realy dont like USING the city to get there.. but what am I supposed to do..)
Being rich money wise, does not get you anywhere in the end of the day.
Is having the biggest marbel and gold wtarefront Mansion with a hugegantic plasma screen tv, and caviar for dinner realy the best things you can get out of your life...?
Talbert de Jong wrote:
The thing with flint knapping is there aint no flint readily available in nz so if you plan on living here why bother with it. What did Maoris use for knives before the europeans came? (not flint of trademe..)

Without getting off topic too much....

Maori used obsidian a glass like volcanic rock, Mayor Island has large ammounts of it.

It can be flaked like flint and can produce a wickedly sharp blade ( I think Obsidian is used for some types of scapel blades even today).

I've found a lot of Obsidian in the middens in South Bay on Slipper Island.....
Hi, greenstone was used as well, of course (axes and adzes mainly), as was bone (harpoons and fishing hooks) and sometimes even hardwood for some jobs. There is flint to be found in NZ, not very large quantities though as far as I can tell, it seems to be found in greater or lesser degrees where limestone crops up...Hawks bay for eg or Kahurangi....there's some in Wellington harbour (Evans Bay, dropped here by European sailing boats in times gone by as they used it as ballest) but I've never found large quantities on the shoreline there...

So, no, flint isn't huge here, but there are alternatives. I'm interested in flint knapping mainly because of my european roots and for historical reasons. Well off topic now, so getting back to it...

I think you're right in that the key to getting through the kind of survival situation you mention, Billy, is understanding and having skills regarding some of the basics. The more you do and the more you practice these skills, the more confidence you'll get and - really importantly - the better your psychology when you are pushed to it! I wish you well in your learning....
Now perhaps the practical need for a self-made stone knife would be near zero however taking the trouble to give it a go is well worth the effort for an understanding of the just how it was back then & from that an insight can be gained of life without all our modern convenience... i thoroughly recommend giving it a go....


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