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.
Don’t want to be a party pooper but it does not take hexane to extraxt soybean oil. Heat the beans to about 180 degrees F. and then but them in a press utilizing a bottle jack. If you have a pipe cylinder (with a few holes in it) to put the beans into and a rigid bottom with a few holes and begin pumping the bottle jack you will retrieve oil from the beans. I have used this technique in many third world countries to run diesel engines. Hope this helps.
Good info and a great example of how a group of people, with varied skills and experiences, will be more successful in surviving than an individual or small group.
Dave needs to delegate some of the daily stuff to others and just check up on them at random times, he’s burning the candle at both ends and he will burn out if not careful!
IMO, Miriam knows exactly what Dave is doing and does understand as a mother that it needs to be done, but that doesn’t mean she’s not concerned.
Dave, Pete and probably Arieal<sp? need to get their heads together and move people closer together for everybody's safety. Time is a-wasting and they had better be ready before the next problem gets to their door front. It's not a democracy at Union Creek and people need to understand what is real in their lives. The new normal is about survival first and this is not the time to have to hold someones hand!
Took a long ride over the weekend and listened to some history on CD. The stories of the Mayflower and Jamestown were part of the mix and both are instructive in this context. I would particularly recommend reading the Mayflower Compact which the Pilgrims wrote, swore to and signed before reaching Plymouth. They knew they had to create some social contract to hold them together as a group upon arrival in the new world and they used their faith in (and fear of) as the glue.
You can read more here:
My Granny once said “What is old will be new again and what is new will become old.” I can see Dave has a big decision to make. Like our early pioneers does Dave circle the wagons in close for easy defense or leave everyone where they are to defend themselves on their own.
And I see Dave’s wife Miriam, looking ahead to the future, as all women do in their own ways, by advise her husband to get a little extra sleep. Why? She sees the with new arrivals coming into their area of the possibility of another fight for survival and she wants her husband alert, safe and alive after things are all said and done.
Get a still…
Wood Gas! I read an article in Mother Earth News this week and I’ve seen a couple of shows on it. Pretty interesting stuff.
Yes, it will be interesting trying to build a village and talk the outlying neighbors into leaving their places to consolodate around your ranch. The security by numbers is good but you won’t be able to hide it from the walkers or the Chinese.
Great entrie, actions rather than words seems to be the way to go for dave. Great inside to his thoughs!!!!!!! BTW, Typical wife, not understanding the value of what husbands do.
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