April 19, 2015: And So It Begins …
We’ve been very busy here on the farm. I’ve had little time to give additional consideration to the Catch 22 that I face. We need organization to survive but the urgent matters seem to frequently overtake the longer-term planning. No one really has much “sit down and think” time. The physical demands of day-to-day subsistence can easily consume the day’s daylight hours as well as one’s physical and mental capacity.
We’ve cleaned out the cow lot and spread the manure on the fields. With no commercial entities available to deliver fertilizer, the manure will have to do. Farmers got along without chemical fertilizers and insect treatments for thousands of years. We’ll have to do it again. We’re very fortunate to have two working tractors and the fuel to run them.
At a very pragmatic level, we need to ensure that anyone else who has seed to plant gets it planted. If they need to utilize our tractors or implements, we need to share. That will drain our fuel resources more quickly than we had anticipated but the fuel has a shelf-life, or sorts, and will eventually go bad if left unused. We might as well use it now to plant and harvest … and store as much as we can while it’s still good.
Continuing to think along those very practical lines, we need renewable fuels. It’s entirely possible that we will require the use of our vehicles and tractors long after our fuel has run out. Ethanol? Biodiesel? We should have done more research on both prior to the crash. I know that it takes hexane to extract the oil from soybeans. We have none. Collect methane from our cattle? It’s unlikely that we have enough cattle to produce the amount we would need.
More challenges for the already challenged.
It seems that the first trickle of city-dwellers has begun. In part, I’m surprised that it took this long for them to arrive. Then again, we’re at least a two-hour drive from anything that could be considered a major metropolitan area – two hours on a good day … before the crash. The people Miriam spotted, while she was on remote guard duty today, were on foot. Traveling roughly 100 miles on foot would take the average person several days – assuming they made no stops along the way. It’s entirely possible that the people we’ve spotted have been stopping along the way at abandoned homes seeking shelter and supplies. With a stop-and-go approach like that, it could take weeks or months to cover 100 miles.
If you had relatives in the area and you were focused on arriving at your destination … one might possibly cover 100 miles in a few days. I remember an Army march where we covered 100 miles in four days. I also remember the blisters on my feet at the end of that march. Only the most motivated with a very specific destination would be likely to press that hard.
The timing doesn’t seem that far off when you put it in that perspective.
After giving it some thought, I believe our best approach with this potential influx of people is an ounce of prevention. If we can keep them out of our neighborhood, we’ll avoid the issue of having to fight them off or turn them away to survive ourselves.
That means a smaller neighborhood. We’re spread over nearly 100 square miles today. There’s simply no way we can cover that amount of geography with the people and resources available.
A smaller neighborhood means people leaving their homes … and building new homes.
Man, this was a whole lot easier when it was just our family!
I’m out of answers. I’m tired. Physically and emotionally. Miriam frequently tells me to stop writing in this journal and get more sleep. That would be nice, but I believe this journal is important. I’m not sure why. I have no idea who will read it and benefit. My hope is that some day someone will read it and find it beneficial, but I have no specific plan for its contents.
Perhaps Miriam is right. Perhaps this journal is a self-indulgent luxury that I simply cannot afford. Maybe another hour of sleep would contribute more to our survival and the rebuilding of civilization than my entries here.
Is it possible that I’m losing faith? If you’re reading this journal, you know my thoughts on faith, hope and reason.
How far behind is reason? What will that mean? Will I slip quietly away like Melody in her bath tub or will I pull others down with me … those who depend up on me, those who’ve appointed me as their leader?
I’d better get some sleep.