Prepare, Sustain, Thrive and Survive Simply

What’s really going on in Costilla County?

This came in my email on Tuesday. Did you see it too?

“Colorado county criminalizes self-reliance: Off-grid living punished like a crime.” By Daniel Barker for Natural News.

After a brief introduction about traditional life without pipes and wires, which is similar to what I say in my ebook The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living, author Daniel Barker notes:

“That style of living may seem far in the past for most of us, but a growing number of people have realized that off-the-grid living may not only represent a happier and healthier existence — it may be the key to survival when disaster strikes.”

My point exactly! When simple unhooked living is done right, with finesse, it is a safe and sane alternative that solves problems.

Daniel Barker then proceeds to the other point I’ve been hammering away on: Just when people in the overdeveloped world really need to remember how to survive simply close to nature — and more are willing to do so because of systemic stress and collapse — it is quickly becoming illegal. Rather then being shut down, people need to preserve the freedom to live simply and learn how to do it well.

The majority of society (city people) don’t know about this loss of freedom and they don’t care. You can read my take on the problem in the first third of my ebook, which can be downloaded free.

Watch this video by Alex Ansary: “Residents Speak Out @ Costilla County Planning Commission” for a real life example of how poor rural people living simply are inconvenienced when their property rights are limited. People expressed themselves eloquently during the meeting in an attempt to educate the commissioners, to stand up for their rights, and speak out against officials coming onto private property armed and haughty. (Read what local grassroots alternative community builder, Vince Edwards, has to say about officials trespassing on his land).

One man at the meeting posed a poignant question to the commission that probably crosses the mind of many rural renegades these days — what’s it going to take for you to come onto my land and shoot me?

Alex Ansary has posted a series of absorbing videos on Youtube that provides glimpses of the characters involved in the land use drama playing out in North American’s largest and highest alpine desert. My impression is that the “alternative” people — the relative newcomers with less money than the old timers, possess values honed for thrival in the 21st century. They are polite and quite aware of reality. It was nice to be able to see them testifying, until a cop there insisted that audio taping is allowable, but not video. I have to say, the cops patrolling a demonstration outside the courthouse, look like they are on a power trip and lack people skills.

Costilla County produced a new code to restrict camping or living in RVs on private property while landowners build their homes. This came after people of modest means, including a number of disabled vets, bought acreage they could afford with small down and monthly payments. New rules also prohibit building a tool shed, an accessory dwelling or guest house. They made building permits more stringent and expensive, and they proposed requirements to install electricity, water and sewer systems before landowners can obtain required building permits. People without conventional homes were being told they had to remove all the structures on their land and find someplace else to live.

One of the vets, Hyram Jensen, is a medically retired US Army military intelligence and infantryman. He says he is opposed to the militarization of the police. He analyzes the Costilla County Sheriff’s Department operating budget in a video that shows some crowd control equipment that concerns him, due to the hostile attitude of the local police.

Michael Morris, who also attends the county meetings and protests outside, explains his vision for sustainable intentional community on the prairie. “We’ve basically left behind the people who want to depend on outside sources,” he says.

“This is me from the County of Costilla and San Luis: If you don’t know your rights, and you don’t know what country you live in, or you don’t know what you’re talking about, or you haven’t met or hung out with any of the people out here on the prairie, please don’t say anything about us…You guys need to realize that what you’re doing is helping other people attack sustainability. If you are advocating unjust immoral laws that prohibit sustainability or being independent from external manipulation, then you’re hurting us, you’re hurting yourself, because when they get through taking our rights, they’re going to come take your rights…and it’s going to get worse. They’re going to get more brash…But make no mistake. It is an attack on sustainability first and foremost, but more than that, it’s an attack on the mind.”

County governments around the nation are generally in denial about the sick status quo they enforce. Meanwhile, their backs are against the wall as they try to assuage citizens living in fear while their budgets are shrinking. So they give in to carrot and stick tactics that play into the global elites agenda, including adoption of stringent land use codes that are unfriendly to simple living, surviving, alternative building methods, no/low water sanitation, etc.

People of lesser monetary means are drawn to counties with lax codes, where they can still get by, and it’s often the haves who instigate stricter codes by complaining about them to officials.

Costilla County is not alone in the crackdown against surviving. Jurisdictions around the country are adopting a slew of regulations that make it impossible for resourceful people of modest means to live in a way that was honorable for America’s forefathers and mothers.

The holier than though status quo attitude energy finally wore down and scattered the eco-village tribe of Graham Ellis in Hawaii, who describes his experience in “My Struggle to Legalize Sustainable Living,” posted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community on Oct. 1, 2015.

In Stevens County, Washington, where I lived, people moved back to the land to live simply in the 60s and 70s. The locals didn’t fight them, but things became much more complicated and costlier after the county adopted the Growth Managment Act — an artifact of UN Agenda 21, which proposes to herd people into cities on the theory that it’s more sustainable.  Combine that with Washington’s draconian anti smoke/wood stove laws, and it’s much more difficult to survive there these days, especially if an uppity neighbor decides they don’t like you for any reason. One elusive thing I wanted when I was there was a sense of security: to know I would not be kicked out of the house I’d invested my vital energy in.

The fact is, the elites have nothing to gain and everything to lose by people living a resourceful minimalist lifestyle in the woods and it plays into their agenda to vilify them on national mainstream media at every opportunity. Because no matter what they pretend, they are not nearly as interested in the environment as they are in money and control.

But there is evidently more under the surface in Costillo County than cracking down on off-grid living because it’s unsafe or threatening to the public. A heated debate on a San Luis street, caught on video by John Sounias, clearly demonstrates the cultural tension in the county. It looks like a common rural clash of entrenched locals vs. newcomers, rut-bound conservatives vs. free thinkers. The rural “haves” — those who  inherited land or got in on careers and mortgages when it was easier to cobble their American dreams together, feel they are more entitled to live in the county than the newcomers. They disdain the “have-nots” who more recently bought cheap land and who are willing to live very simply while improving it.

In fact, right after he turned the camera off, John Souias was verbally threatened by a resident who indicated he would shoot him with his 30-06. He was told the old time locals had run hippies off in the 60s with their rifles and would do so again if they thought they could get away with it. But these rural locals are not the standard white red neck stereotype. They have Spanish accents. Since they are not Native, they were obviously newcomers themselves at some point. John eloquently stands his ground in a subsequent video interview that also shows some of the lay of the land that is the center of so much dispute.

In another video by Alex Ansary, one of the “locals” displays a sign that says he refuses to live next to scumbags. Alex says he agrees with him; that’s why he moved out to the country, and it would be much more productive if they could all work together on pressing issues that should be of mutual concern. There are accusations that these new people are all on food stamps and welfare, and there is also apparently some bad feeling about Colorado’s liberal marijuana law, there in conservative rural Colorado.

Why are these locals so offended? Why are they so threatened by newcomers living out on the dessert, where they can’t even see them? What’s really stirring up the hornet’s nest?

In a slimy move, the planning commission announced a meeting to which many concerned citizens arrived, then canceled it suddenly, postponing it until winter. Watching the videos, I see scorn, derision, and abrasiveness from the county officials and the “locals,” and authenticity from the “newcomers,” who bought land there with hopes and visions of making a better life.

After the Oct. 14 planning commission meeting was suddenly cancelled, Alex Ansary interviewed a couple of newcomers who clearly described what they experienced earlier in the day. The newcomers and Alex all said the police presence felt like there was an altercation expected. The local cops were hovering around as usual, with state cops and their SWAT gear waiting in the wings. Previously Alex noted that under sheriff Andrew Espinoza tries to frighten people. Moreover, the accusations and insults of the locals have escalated to the degree that they are acting like they want to provoke a reaction so the cops can cuff people and throw them in jail.

“There are a number of people that are acting as if they’re all connected to a collective consciousness of hatred…And yet, something angelic, something spiritual is happening here and is drawing people here,” Alex said.

Some people are pushing a fear vibe, he says. and promoting an idea that the newcomers are ‘racist-sovereign-domestic-extremist-terrorists; and other allegations including: water theft and dumping trash, and moving to the prairie to grow a mass amount of marijuana. He notes there are people here who have had their business cut in on since the state of Colorado legalized marijuana. Instead of taking things up with the state of Colorado, they are upset at the newcomers, alleging they are growing marijuana or using up their social services… “What I saw today was free speech being shut down. People being pushed out of a public place.”

Why are the “locals” acting like this ? Alex asks. Have people in Costilla County been paid off by other special interest groups we know nothing about?

In the end, he observes, “What you’re witnessing is what happens when there’s resource depletion and what happens when people are pushed out of their area. And there’s a war on poverty and there’s a fear of those that don’t have enough.” He mentions a man with a sign that says: we have water, we have things, what do you have? “It’s blatant classicism and racism. This is spiritual warfare.”

Alex films a meeting on the street with an Army Ranger who seems to be a spokesman for “Operation Patriot Rally Point,” and tells the prairie people they all need to stick together and that a US Judge informed him that US Marshals are going to be brought into the imbroglio. He said the judge asked him to set up a meeting with the prairie people on Oct. 8th or 9th. But, says Alex, “most observers here believe these guys are shady characters…they don’t trust them.”

Alex interviewed a county resident who was at the street gathering with the Army Ranger/Patriot, where he announced the desired meeting with the judge. The interviewee eloquently explains why he didn’t necessarily trust the guy without a lot more information. The level of awareness possessed by him and all these younger people Alex interviews as part of the Costilla County controversy is spot on and the most heartening aspect to come out of this story.

The meeting with the supposed patriots and judge happened, but it turned a lot of the people off. You can hear a fascinating conversation between Hyram and Michael as they debrief the event while driving back home.

Daniel Barker closes his article with this: “It’s time to let the authorities know that traditional American values include being able to live in a self-reliant fashion.” I agree, and it’s what I’ve been harping on, but there are too many mainstreamers demanding the status quo. It will take societal collapse or a lot of tense meetings and legal footwork to get back to the point where people in all US counties have the freedom to practice smart simple living according to their available resources. The good news is that Costilla County officials did back down on some of the new code regulations that off-gridnewcomers felt were aimed at them.


Mike's Look at Life

Photography, memoirs, random thoughts.


All things TRUTH all things REYMEGA

Breaking Out of the Box

My own personal art therapy journal


An innovative approach to Science, Philosophy, Politics and Economics


Where everyday is the start of a new adventure

Little Dragon Farm

Back to basics living for a new century

Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting

Cosmetic Formulator with Natural Products experience.

Where Are We Going?

Thoughts on the Future of Human Life


Green Thumbed Vagabond

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

L.Y.L. Coop Farm

Growing the nation's food, one city at a time

Homeplace Earth

Education and Design for a Sustainable World


Self sufficency, dignity and security.

Dedicated to freedom in our lifetimes

The Stay-at-home Scientist

Science, Gardening, Work-Life Balance

The Interior of Leaves

A Garden In the Making


A fine site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

Kape Country

My Search For The Simple Life

%d bloggers like this: