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Despair? Determination? Delight? — Let’s Discuss Options
#81 Posted : Friday, August 01, 2008 8:08:15 PM
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Money is just a means of exchanging time and skills.  If it ever comes to a time where money isn't of value, then it will still be the time and skills that will.  Unfortunately, a lot of people have a lot of time, but little skill that will be of value.  Rich or poor, I think the best thing a person can do to really prepare is to augment their current skillset with whatever they think will be of value if there is a big economic collapse.


Earth Home Project:


#82 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2008 3:53:03 PM
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Only those who own homes and have no mortgage payments left will have land for gardening, water reclamation, chickens, goats, etc. -- that's mostly the rich and the elderly.  Nearly everyone else will become homeless because their jobs will evaporate, they will be forced into foreclosure, won't be able to afford rent, and won't be permitted to cultivate what vacant real estate is available.  So most people would have to rely on the rich and the elderly to provide community gardens or communes to allow everyone else to survive. That doesn't seem very likely.  I can't imagine why rural land for homesteading wouldn't cost 10 times or even 100 times what it does now, because that's what its market value could be.
#83 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2008 4:43:20 PM
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Preparing one's household, person, and family is important but far more important is political and social action to change the future. Even the best preparation will fail to protect from the social unrest that will dominate if costs rise and availability of necessities decline. This year Obama could make a real difference. Next year working to keep him and others on task and on message will be essential! Taking control of local government and development will help! Cliff in PA
John Edward Mercier
#84 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2008 5:15:08 PM
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What does that have to do with the scenerio laid out?

It isn't the future, just a question of 'what if?'.


#85 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2008 8:42:41 PM
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have located to a more rural area with 2 1/2 wood acres.  not too worried about gangs as we have two dogs that tell us when a strange vehicle or person is on semi private road.  we are in zone 5 so we do have all seasons.  we are starting out flock of chickens ( 22 hens and 3 roosters).  we are on a co-op water system that has limited membership.  our land is zoned a-1 and we may get a goat or two in the future.  we have a our share of mountain lions, deer, bear, etc. so our chicks are tightly enclosed.  any goats would have to be as well.  for heat and cooking we currently use propane (expensive), but we do have a woodburning fireplace. we will be using the woodburning firplace this winter to cut down on propane useage. we take advantage of the off-peak hours of our electric co-op. we are in the process of saving rain and snow meltoff and with the help of the flock we will be container gardening in the spring and using cold frames as well.  i am looking into short season seeds for the garden.  since we are on a fixed budget solar and wind alternatives are currently out of reach. hopefully next year, i will be canning and dehydrating from our garden and feeding the flock on less than 150 lbs of layer feed.  we purchase our canned goods by the case, when on sale. if there are any suggestions on how we might improve or suggestions on short season seeds, it would be welcome.
#86 Posted : Wednesday, August 06, 2008 9:02:38 PM
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What would I do to prepare for it? For me, it's a simple matter of self-sufficiency. In theory anyway. I'm a realist and harbor no illusions about the worth of precious metals or currencies or stocks and bonds etc... The  only currency I will depend on is goods in hand. Any goods that can be traded to get what I need or want in order to survive whatever is going on. In other words, we all need to be a little bit of a hardware/general store in progress, all the time. And personal skills will be worth more than piles of gold or silver etc... That goes without saying.

The truth of the matter is that for most of humanity, when faced with the topic of this discussion, most will face insurmountable odds of surviving without help. I started preparing for hard times on the eve of 2001 because of my perceived notion that it was quite possibly the beginning of the end the world as we know it. I was wrong, as were many people, but I think it was just the timing. In a very real sense, we are now hurtling toward insurmountable hard times as I type this reply. It would be difficult for anyone to dispute that as anything other than fact, in my opinion. I like to think I saw the writing on the wall back then and acted appropriately. But the fact of the matter is that over the past several years I've relaxed and just lived and followed the path of least resistance. I guess that's human nature, isn't it? I sincerely regret that at this current point in time. But my attitude and actions are both changing, and have been for the past few years.

What to do about it right now? Pray and hope and read and surf the net gleaning knowledge as rapidly as possible. And turning hard cash that still has a reasonable value into hard goods in hand. It's very possible and quite probable that it's much too late to be just getting started in preparing for the coming hard times. Those who have the knowledge and have followed their inner urgings to be a packrat and stockpile hard goods and hone their skills may have a chance. Or not. Time will tell. But one thing is for certain; if you're not prepared or not now preparing, life is going to get way worse than most of us can imagine. The simple act of  sitting down to a nice home-cooked meal will take on a whole new meaning for those who have never done without or had to REALLY work for their food. And I don't mean working a 9 - 5 JOB (just over broke) so you can go to the store and buy it. I'm talking about making your own food from the ground up. And changing the way you think about food altogether. Three square's a day will be a distant memory. People will be forced to start eating to live instead of having the luxury of living to eat.

And not just food either. We'll have to change the way we look at and think about things in general and our way of life in particular. We'll have to make changes in  our  way of life and most folks just don't want to do that and that will be a stumbling block for many. I guess it's pretty apparent that I have a doomer mentality. But that's the way I see things shaking out when our economy collapses. Because face it, if  the cost of everything goes up ten times in the coming five years, our economy, or monetary system, will most likely have already collapsed. And the scary part is that I don't think it's going to take five years to get there at the rate we're going now. I keep up with the news and once again, I think I'm seeing the writing on the wall. I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

#87 Posted : Thursday, August 07, 2008 12:59:35 AM
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we don't believe that prices or resources will improve due to global demand.  we are fortunate to have a small (2 1/2 acre) property, which is zoned agriculture.  we are at zone 5 and above a mile high.  no air problems, but cool and cold.  we will start collecting rain and snow this winter for a very large number of container gardens. we will plant peach trees, blackberry, and raspberry bushes. we will also be planting medicinal plants (those seeds are in hand).  we have two dogs that let us know whenever an unknown vehicle or person is on our semi-private road.  we have 2 acres of trees that could use some thinning for firewood.  we do have a woodburning fireplace.  our source of heat and fuel for cooking is now propane (expensive).  we will be using the fireplace more this winter to save on propane.   we estimate we will use about 4 cords of wood in the winter. we also have an electric oven to use on offpeak hours (.06kwh).  we now have a flock of 22 hens who should start laying in sept. and 3 roosters.  they will also provide us with fertilizer for the garden.  we have already started composting.  our neighbors want us to cut a firebreak for them in exchange for the wood (about 30 trees).  the hens and future garden area need to be completely wired (sides, top, and bottom) to prevent raiding by deer, mountain lion, or bear as well as stray dogs.  the water is also supplied by a co-op that has a limited membership and have very reasonable rates.  we will also be using our grey water for the garden and we do have a septic system.  our income is fixed so wind and solar are out of the question at this time.  i do cook from scratch and buy canned goods by the case when on sale and will be canning and dehydrating next year.  we limit our trips to the big city and use approximately one tank of gas a month.  we are now investigating short season seeds for use in the garden with the help of a cold frame.  suggestions are welcome.

#88 Posted : Thursday, August 07, 2008 1:24:56 PM
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Thanks to all for your contributions.

One limitation I see with many Peak Oil blogs is a one-size-fits-all attitude. This may lead us to try to emulate others, when it really isn't appropriate. For example, I am 59, quite out of shape, live in Saudi Arabia and work for their national oil company as a trainer/consultant. Skills? Was a fire paramedic in CA years ago and spent 5 years at the Findhorn Community. (After which, most of us vowed to never, ever, join another community.)
I have studied Peak Oil from a variety of perspectives for 2+ years and am close to returning to the US to start a new life. And while I love MEN, I hope to God I never own a goat. As far as I'm concerned, singles belong in town, not using a whole farm for a residence.

So, to get to the point: "What would I do if..."

First I plan to spend a year improving my health. My Peak Oil plan is:

·     Move to a “walking town” that has: natural beauty, trees, fishing, water,

·    Choose a town in an agricultural area.

·    Choose a town (if possible) that is a transportation hub—trains, busses, trucks,

·    In order of preference, buy a Duplex (rent half) or buy a house (rent a room) or

·    Get an apartment two blocks from Main St. (I am not a farmer, visit me in town!)

·    Live within walking distance of transport, stores, and services.

·    Learn new skills (bread, winemaking, leather crafts) ·       
Brush up on existing skills: first aid training, group facilitation, team building.

·    Take and Offer classes at night--canning, etc.

·    Create my own Permaculture garden with greenhouse, fruit trees

·    Use bicycle or motorbike around town

·    Get a small RV(truck camper) for occasional outings.

·     Prepare for 3-6 month grid down (which is my own worst case scenario) if you don’t like mine, get your own.

o   lower my energy use (hyperinsulate); get emergency appliances (oil lamps)

o   get a solar oven and use it as much as possible

o   buy handgun, shotgun, and get training

o   store food, water, daily supplies, blankets, extra clothing, sleeping bags, wood,

·     Find ways to exchange needed services (fruit, vegetables), and goods (firewood, kerosene)

·     Join with others for support. Don’t try to cope alone. (But no community J) 

Stay updated on the net.

            My plans suit my age, skills, inclinations, and values. Hope this helps you to clarify what     

            solutions will best fit your life and destiny.



#89 Posted : Friday, August 08, 2008 5:36:55 PM
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I think that is a very valid point.  Nothing is ever one size fits all.  As for the idea of things being 10x more expensive in five years, here in Northern California things have already started heading in that direction very rapidly.  Food being the worst of all.(Even though we are right in the middle of an incredibly diverse agricultural area.)


As for preperation... I am already teaching my children and all of their friends about the joys of foraging, growing your own food and reusing everything.  I would definately be speeding up their lessons, as well as adding new ones.  I know I wouldn't be able to provide for all of our friends and extended family in the scenario presented, so it would give me a little peace to know they would be able to take care of their own basic needs.


A little side note~To everyone I have had wonderful discussions with in the past, I am sorry I have been absent for so long.  My father who taught me EVERYTHING I know about gardening, foraging, recycling, and just about everything else has brain cancer, and I have been taking care of the related issues that go along with it.  Your prayers, and positive energy are very welcome.~Enchanted

#90 Posted : Monday, August 11, 2008 11:58:27 AM
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Hi all.
My name is Carolyn. I am a  beginner modern homesteader. I am interested in homesteading, survival, back to basic simply living. I look forward to participating in this and future discussions on the forums.
You can follow my adventures in homesteading at my Blog http://thebarberbunch.blogspot.com/
#91 Posted : Saturday, August 30, 2008 6:05:23 AM
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How did we do it 100 years ago? You did it to survive. No TV, no cell phone, no internet(NOOO!) no unnecessary things. You helped your neighbour, and he helped you. You bartered, swapped, sewed, knitted, patched and borrowed what you needed to survive. You had a garden or traded meat for veggies, you had a cow, or traded work for food. We need to look after ourselves, because no one will do it for us. We have become "sheep". We have to look at the future as if it depends on us, we need to change our way of living before it's too late.
John Edward Mercier
#92 Posted : Sunday, September 07, 2008 7:43:04 PM
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A hundred years ago...

The population of the US and planet was significantly lower. The US life expectancy was around 30, a mixture of less technology and hygiene the basic causation.

High costs will result in more conservation... the question is where you would personally conserve, and does the individual population realize where everything comes from?

In NE, a pound of steak imported from the midwest... would be much cheaper than the imported feed in transportation costs. But for many... cutting down the forest for pasture, and importing feed/bedding... then replacing the lost firewood with another imported fuel source, is more 'green' than just importing the steak.

The same happens with other formats... transportation in NE (other than trains for long haul) alone would destroy the environment if returned to the 1900s format.


#93 Posted : Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:35:01 AM
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John,you are right about the Northeast pertaining to the pound of steak but do remember 100 years ago the way those 'alternative' forms of energy were used was not very efficient.Fireplaces,box/pot-bellied woodstoves and coal /wood boilers were the norm then and were not designed up to what we would call modern standards by any means.Many small/large cities had electric streetcars that were powered by direct current (and some  cities like Boston and NYC still do run them)and this was/is a far more efficient means to move people/cargo around town.You look around and still can see some old electric poles and track where these systems used to be.What a lot of people don't know is that these  power stations for these small street railway systems and local electric power were normally centered in the metropolitan area.Some were powered by coal boilers that ran steam turbine dc generators and the steam was piped underground to the buildings nearby and sold for space heating.Other street railway systems used 'rotary converters' that turned ac into dc for the streetcars.I believe this is still done in metropolitan areas such as Boston and Providence but I'm not sure.If this kind of 'local' thinking were applied to small towns as well as larger ones we would'nt be in the predicament we're in now.I think railway systems should be used much more for argo transport than they are now.
#94 Posted : Tuesday, September 23, 2008 7:48:26 PM
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John Edward Mercier
#95 Posted : Wednesday, September 24, 2008 6:21:47 PM
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True Dave. But much of NH is rural... the return to equine based travel would require the same dramatic destruction of the pound of steak many times over. One could just cut back on meat, and livestock/poultry specifically. But the horses would need to be fed every day regardless.

NH was nearly deforested at the turn of the century... with only one quarter the population.

#96 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2008 2:12:33 AM
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I'm not talking about an equine setup although I'm guessing that as the cost of running vehicles rises on a daily basis,equine travel for some may be gaining more practicality.The Northeast US/Canada resembles northern Europe in many ways in regards to road layout and population densities.Europe did'nt remove their railroad system in the 50's like we did here,they improved their systems as so to make it more practical to use 'the rails' than to drive.Americans ripped up their tracks because of 'progress'.Tood bad,though I still think we have some old ralroad ROW's.

John Edward Mercier
#97 Posted : Friday, September 26, 2008 3:22:51 PM
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Practical unfortunately doesn't mean efficient... especially for a geography of temperate forest.

If NH were grasslands, it would be very efficient... so much more practical.

I think the State owns most of the railbeds, but no funding and restrictions on private investments come from the municipalities and groups opposed to trains.



#98 Posted : Saturday, September 27, 2008 2:10:38 AM
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LOL,indeed it would be and at one time(and I really still can't picture in my mind all the forested mountains around here laid bare of trees at one time but I have seen pictures and it looked completely different then )it was but that had its ramifications too big time.I asked about who owned the old railbeds and the state still owns transportation ROW's for over 90% of the old beds.Some are active others snowmobile trails ,ski areas and power line easements.I was thinking more along the lines of the electric locomotives that Europe, and Japan now use.Very quiet trains,no  pollution,very fast,easier to stop.If we moved freight as fast as we moved ourselves on railroads trucking could stay much more local rather than long haul.

#99 Posted : Tuesday, October 21, 2008 6:46:52 PM
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This is a hoot.

Your all just fine, but this is my perspective on the WHOLE THING.  I've lived on this farm my whole life..yea I saw what I wanted to see out side of the farm...I'm no bumpkin, I just decided that the same stuff we were doing here when I was a little kid was the best way to live, after I saw the rest.  We wher canning here in my part of the world when times were good...we were tapping trees, hunting, rasing gardens, chickens ect ect long before all this started.  why? we had to. It's called POVERTY!  Not just my household, but all of the people I knew did this stuff to some degree. Even the wealthy did some of it.

  My grandmother would bake Cookies in batches of 200...then freeze them. She'd put me to picking up apples form the tree in the yard till my hands stuck together. Then she'd make apple pies with out the top and freeze them. Never stopping to sleep.. do you know how many pies you can get from one tree?  every month had an all night event. She'd can something ALL NIGHT...and give some away to shut ins, new mothers or whoever had a need.  Every house had 2 freezers.

It didn't stop with food, I thought my name was Kerry Wood Till I was 12. I still burn wood.  It's cheep and practical. you want beef? we do one every year. E feed my sister's family, Mom and dad and my family...I Looking to buy a hog as soon as I can find a butcher to barter with.  My friends and I had a work click when we were just 15 or so..we just coppied our father's and grandfathers example. no one is selfsufishent, that's a myth. It's nice to work toward it, but remember..no man is an island. My friends and I work on stuff together. We have a large  barn here and  a large Kitchen. the fellas come over and we do our deer outside wile our wifes play with our kids together in the house. Speaking of my friends, we all get together and chat about chickeens... we still talk about chics, just not the same kind.  we don't go out for fun, we work together and make that fun.

My point is this, what am I going to do to change? Nothing. I'm going to keep liveing the lifestyle that we were live'n before it became a fad.  I won't feel bad if the world falls apart...no rove'n gang will come out here, they are too afraid of us hillbillys That's just a fear tactic used to sell stuff. I'll keep working with those around me. If the electric is no more...fine, I'll re-open the ice house and build a new spring house.  We could open the creamery down the way and I'll start milking cows again.

Nice thing about live'n in a poor place, nothing realy changes.


John Edward Mercier
#100 Posted : Wednesday, October 22, 2008 2:40:18 PM
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Its a 'What IF' scenerio... not so much a prediction.

If for some reason the cost of something jumped 10 times what changes would you make?

Obviously for some of us a ten times jump in something like property tax would create insolvency and lead to a tax foreclosure...

But another way to look at it... what if your income dropped to 10% of what it currently is?

What would you change, if anything?


The discussion helps us brainstorm new ideas for thrift...

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