Thursday, April 10, 2008

so let's begin

My first job is to identify exactly what is truly necessary for survival. I can play around with the entertainment factor once I have made sure I will be around long enough to need to be entertained.
The basics are clean water, food , shelter and waste removal.
We need to start with choosing our shelter because if we choose wisely the rest of our basic needs should follow. Shelter for our purposes means the land where you will live not the house you will live in ok?
There are two ways of going about this. The first is to invest in a large amount of remote farmland that has a clear, spring water pond, a creek and a large mature forest far away from a nuclear spent rod storage area . The second is to wait until disaster strikes and then takeover the same remote farmland after the owners have gone.
The first one will be expensive, it may be out of the realm of my financial resources.
I may have to scour the real estate ads and make a selection of my top ten and then enter a world in chaos and try to travel to these choices in the mad hope that one of theses places will be truly empty.
That plan is insane.
So we must go back to buying some land. The farther north you go, avoiding all the public hot spots for tourists you can start to see that the land prices begin to drop dramatically. It's really no ones idea of a fun vacation to fight off clouds of black flies.
So it is possible to find land that has the water and the woods and is far enough away that radiation fallout should be survivable.
Remember that in the event that the electrical grid fails and even a mild, sporadic pandemic is raging the people responsible for keeping the cold water flowing over the spent rods may not be able to make it into work. Add a little civil unrest and it's impossible. Some of the storage sites will fail.
So for all of you that spent time fussing over the possibility that the reactors themselves would go boom they have built in, fail safe shut down systems. Unfortunately they seem to have forgotten to provide that service to the site for the waste they create other than the electric grid itself and a back up generator dependent on oil and a willing and living person to service that generator for years. That same waste we haven't got the political will to do anything about because we are a world that is always howling "not in my backyard". A world happy to enjoy the benefits but too selfish to accept the responsibilities.
So the plan has to include avoiding all the shit irresponsible, arrogant triple generations have left laying around. This includes caustic, deadly chemicals forced into an unnatural liquid state left with no backups to keep them from reverting back to their natural,deadly gaseous state.
So the plan must also avoid being anywhere near any factories, small or large.
I know that when employees are struggling with grid problems, rumours of sporadic but fatal viral outbreaks, food shortages and civil unrest they lose the motivation to leave their families alone and undefended. They wont be able to keep a lid on the chemicals..literally and they will be scared of them. They will understand the risks better than any of us.
Remember disaster wont occur over one failure. It will take small, concurrent events and how badly we react to them to get the disaster ball rolling fast enough to overcome our natural ingenuity.
We are living on the tipping point right now, how we respond to it will set our course. You already know my feelings about how we will respond...very, very badly.
The ME,ME,ME generation has never been given the tools to overcome adversity very well. An example would be the thousands of people sitting helpless in the dome in New Orleans despite knowing that a two or three hour walk would have taken them out of the danger area. Thousands refusing to leave a city despite being told they were at risk of death instead waiting for a bus from the "government". We have lost our instincts for survival. We would rather just sit and wait for someone else to come to our rescue.
It's why we are watching the world split at it's seams and then turning the channel to see how Britney is feeling today.
Ever consider that Britney's response to her world was actually normal? Evolution in action. If she survives it means she has successfully adapted to being prey.
Britney should be the example we follow. We all must adapt and devise new strategies to manage a hostile uncaring environment that has no interest in our survival.

So let's say we have purchased our plot of land.Because it has to be incredibly remote to avoid fallout from all airborne chemical or radioactive fallout the land will be rough and very rustic.
It will have to be cleared to make room for a home, a barn, a large market garden and paddocks for livestock.
But first things first. The wells must be dug and the water tested. Everything will rely on the amount of water available and it's quality. The pond must be healthy. Healthy enough to support a diverse selection of wild and domestic creatures. The spring that supplies the pond must be deep and come from the river or creek that runs through the property.It cannot be from the same water table your wells are pumping from.
You have to be able to share all that water amongst yourselves and every other animal and plant that lives alongside you . Their survival will ensure yours.
The next on your list is the health of your woodlots. You must have a good mixture of mature, immature and newborns. You should have proper space to add fruit trees . It will be near impossible to find a place that offers fruit trees that far north. You will have to research what will be able to survive the conditions. You must only add plants that can match their environments. You wont have the time, water or the chemicals to baby fragile trees.
Adding fruit trees wont be an immediate concern but it will be an eventual necessity, start the research and planning as soon as possible.
You will need to have enough mature trees to provide years of firewood. Your woodlot is for your survival in a climate that will be brutal in winter. Make sure you educate yourself before you sign the mortgage.
So now you have a good water supply in a good area. You have a sustainable forest that can survive and thrive despite your needs. You have a water supply for wildlife and livestock.
You do not need livestock to survive but you will have to rely on powdered milk and you will have to find your protein through beans. Having some chickens and a rooster or two , a small herd of four goats, three cows and a steer will be manageable. They will provide milk, eggs and meat protein and their skins can be tanned and used for clothing.
They will require a proper well insulated barn attached to the house by a small hallway. You do not want to freeze to death in a blizzard just to check to see if the chickens are okay.
You must create a garden to scale. The scale is how many are in your group and how much food they need to survive. Concentrate on staples that store well. Carrots, potatoes, all the root vegetables. Corn needs to be grown for the animals and to make flatbreads. Corn is a huge carb source. Great for energy. It can also be stored well and is self seeding.
Wild raspberry should be everywhere. If not grow as many canes as you can around the property. They will attract bees and butterflies that you need for germination. You can also grow blueberries, rhubarb and gooseberries. All fruit that can be jammed and canned.
It is essential that all of this is preplanned and in place. Enough stores of canned goods and feed/hay/straw for the livestock should be bought to last at least five years. It may take you that long to get your farm running efficiently enough to cover your needs.
Investing in silos of corn and wheat will be a huge expense. It will be up to the individual to decide if the local situation is sliding so violently and speedily into catastrophe that the expense is worth it.

Concentrate in your first years on corn, potatoes and carrots. They contain essential vitamins that will prevent diseases of malnutrition.
Your livestock must be hardy and be built for the conditions as they will be self reliant for food until winter. There needs to abundant grassy areas. Enough to keep them fat and enough for you to cut to keep them from starving through the winter. They can be supplemented with corn but crops as we know can be unreliable. If things have settled enough to leave the farm and enter a small town with a feed mill you may be able to gather any grain that has been abandoned. It could be a foolhardy risk. Better to plan ahead when you can to avoid having to contact the outside world. That is why you bought that five years worth of feed before the shit hit the fan right?

To recap once more: you have water, you have wood,you have built a well insulated barn that connects to your house, you have bought five years worth of supplies for yourself and the livestock, you have chickens,goats and cattle and you have fenced them in so they cannot escape but you have given them enough room to find summer food, you have a large enough garden to cover your needs and you have fruit to be canned for the winter.
In the next chapter I have to choose the house I want to live in and then I must choose how I want to produce any energy I need for plumbing.
Solar , wind or maybe the holy grail of geothermal!!! Or my favorite........ friction.
I need to design a waste removal system too.

Then I have to consider how to provide medical care and along with that security.

I will at all costs avoid dressing like an unfortunate polygamists wife so that will bring us finally to how to entertain yourself at the end of the world as you knew it.


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