First, I would like to thank you for participating in this forum and for this thread in particular. I am now re-reading your book in it's new form. I highly regard your opinion and cherish your wit. Thank you for sharing them!
One theme in the thread you posted struck a cord with me. I am especially concerned about integration into community post collapse. I recently moved to a small town/rural area where the local population strongly identifies as Norwegian. Many people living here descend directly from the first white settlers. I've been here a year. I sometimes wonder if, in the depths of social collapse, whether these people will revert to their viking heritage and sack my place because I am not 'one of them'.
I have substantial resources which I am investing into my farm; planting fruit and nut trees, breeding livestock, buying tools, fertilizing soil, etc. While I maintain a very grey appearance and cultivate a farmer persona, some of this wealth will be obvious in an austere future. Though I am entirely willing to share whatever I can with my community members, I don't know if they will see things that way. Perhaps I'll just be the guy with a whole lot of useful stuff.
I am attempting to reach out to my surrounding neighbors, with some success, just knocking and saying hello. Sharing dinners and such. Also mentoring children through extracurricular activities. I am trying to be an asset to the community for what and who I am more than what I have.
I also try to cultivate a mentality of separation from this worldly wealth. I like to think I could walk away with my bug-out bag if I had to.
Any advise on fitting in, or failing that, not ending up in a ditch over my stuff?
Saturday 30 July 2011 03:01:20 am
joe i think the work you are doing with their children is very very important to connecting. i have felt some brief befriending of neighbors children on occasions was helpful with connecting with neighbors; buying that school whatever, etc; my wife's push BTW as i was too frugal at the time to want to. also they became adults rather quickly, & that in between stage is one of the groups to be most concerned about, at least it is near metro areas. i also bet mother vikings sometimes said to the fathers; skip that island...
Saturday 30 July 2011 05:25:57 am
we own a small rugged rural place in the midwest that has the basics, well, garden, chickens, rugged rural topography, etc. we have been here 11 yrs. i have gardened a lot, & we are quite connected with our 5 or 6 'couple of rock throws away' neighbors. this used to be a small settlement of a dozen households, school, etc.
however suburban pockets are numerous 1/2 mile + away, & the center of a metro area of 1 million is only 30 mi. away. we came here to live 'in the country', no concern about peak oil, etc. at the time. the city is on a large river that may help some, but we have a large military base 30 mi. 'by the crow flies' away.
i learned about peak oil from kunstler's book in 05 & have gotten most retirement funds; paid off the house, 3 ac. & other 'tools' for an energy/money scarce world that might be helpful. but i have become concerned i have deluded myself about the numbers of people closeby[& their mentality], such that i have begun thinking, as i did originally, that we should move to a more rural area. my wife promptly vetoed any such move; & still does because of our 3 adult kids, & their households.
of recent i have felt the first consideration will be to focus on getting thru a bad period when dollars & oil freeze up & we have an initial period of mayhem. the more financial tricks i see the more abrupt i think our fall will be. if this moved directly into famine within a year i think our location would be hazardous at best. we have looked closely at the upper peninsula of michigan as a place for all of us to move to, but we'd have to have lots more bad here for this to be seriously considered by most of the households & we'd have to sell this place; another wife veto; & painful for me to consider as i have a developed garden etc. one of the pluses about the UP of michigan is the low pop. density, great lakes for transport, & nordic heritage & social focus, & a strong sense of self reliance. also there is a lot of very cheap house there. negatives would be fitting in [though lots of people go there for summers], lack of jobs, & harsh winters.
i have decided; as monumental a task as it is, to have some degree of mobility as part of our mental & physical preps.
places i'm off in my thinking?
Saturday 30 July 2011 07:38:38 am
I live in a flat in the middle of a major urban area. Can't afford to move. I don't have any fabulous survival skills that I'm aware of, nor can I currently purchase the tools to develop any. Energy conservation can only go so far in an ill-insulated flat with acres of rickety windows. My back yard veggie garden is coming along nicely, but that alone will hardly feed me. A couple of my immediate neighbors harbor vicious enmity toward me. In the event of a sudden severe collapse, chances are I'll be screwed. But if I starve to death while freezing (or vice versa), at least I'll be able to take comfort in the thought that I'm not deluded.
Saturday 30 July 2011 06:35:19 pm
I live in a rural area that's mixed marshlands and boreal forest, between 70 to 90 meters above sea level and rising the further inland you go. There used to be stone age settlement here along the rivers and by the lakes. The environment's changed since then especially as a lot of the marshland's have been drained, but I think the ditches will fill up in a generation once the machines stop running. Maybe the game animals will return.
It used to be a farming community here, though these days farming's hardly the right word. Many neighbors do have kitchen gardens, even though most buy imported seeds and seed potatoes and onions each year. I'm a newcomer with animals and animals are rare. Those who have them generally have breeds that take heavy feedstuffs to keep them alive. There's nothing to do to feed those animals with a scythe. There's a sheep farm nearby and I think sheep have more going for them, except that they don't feed you through the summer as a milking cow would. The fields, if that's what you'd call them, are mostly dead and won't grow garden plants without a lot of added organic matter. I have some animals for that, but we'll see if I can hold on to them through the turmoil. Chances are a poverty diet of stored grains might see people through without butchering the livestock entirely.
The closest city of about 20k is 30 km away, and the next one at around a 100k some 70 km away. The place is not desolate though. I drive about once a week, but could probably do without it, if I got imaginative with a lot of milk from a nearby dairy or started milking one of my own. I do get hay delivered from outside because the locals have been too drunk to make decent hay for now. The dairy of course needs to run their tractors.
I think there wont' be much here to export in the future except poor lumber from young pine stands, and I don't think that'll be in a high demand. Without any working work horses and only one not working, without fitting horse collars or working equipment to go with them, I think nothing much can be squeezed out of this location. Not grain, not tar. We probably won't see much in terms of a fuel supply in the future, but I don't think that'll necessarily be a big problem. It might, but more fuel could also mean the same old causing more problems. I think a lot depends on how quickly things turn.
One big question is what the families of the old folks will do. Will they have enough of a bond to this place to come live here when their jobs stop paying? I don't know. At age 40 to 50 and below and with young kids of their own, they already grew up on a countryside that was growing less lively by the day and more constrained to a machine business. I'm not sure how the older folks will take the change either. At sixty to seventy years old, will they step up their laid-back gardening hobby that they currently keep to more out of a tradition than for a real enthusiasm for gardening? I'm particularly concerned will they have the energy and the commitment to bridge the gap between this society and the next one, especially if the younger folks won't arrive soon and the collapse is slow enough. Farming would offer a cultural framework for getting along that people are somewhat used to. If more will depend on hunting and gathering, I'm not sure groups of people can make it culturally, or in other words, it's bound to get difficult socially even if the game animals were there. With a transitions where bands of people hunt to supplement the farm, sure. One thing I think I have somewhat figured out are some roles for new arrivals, in case my household gets any from the extended family. It'll take time to adjust to living without simple things like a flushing toilet. Instead of having the bucket toilet become someone's enemy and a sign of the general "filth" they're suddenly living in, it might be helpful to give them a bit of responsibility for spreading mature compost to green up a garden or something. Anyway, just a few thoughts.