A friend in need …

Nearly three years ago, I rounded up 30 people for a conversation. The goal: create a community of friends who would survive and perhaps even thrive during the post-carbon years ahead. The conversation lasted about 18 months, after which we were down to 3 of us (counting my dog).

Oh, everybody thought it was a great diversion, and it allowed us to get together every week or so to draw up plans and get to know each other over food and drink. But when it came time to commit actual resources, such as time or money, my friends and acquaintances scattered like cockroaches when the light was turned on in the dwellings of my grad-school days. A year ago, I was feeling as lonesome as a pea in a boxcar.
By then, I had been predicting oil would hit $150/bbl this July for two years. And $200 by the end of this year. And the end of empire in five years or less. My friends were tolerant, if not exactly appreciative. And they wished me well, for the most part, when we parted ways.
Fast forward to today, and that $150 oil looks like it’ll arrive on schedule. Food riots struck Milwaukee and Detroit last week, and predictions of gasoline at $7/gallon even reached the Tell-Lie-Vision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is taking a beating, and even Forbes magazine is claiming the end is nigh. They’re quick to blame speculators, even though BushCo’s very own Secretary of Energy says high oil prices are resulting from a gap between supply and demand, not speculation.
Hey, maybe I was on to something.
The “obvious” solution remains the same, of course. As Dubya is quick to point out, we are addicted to oil, and our addiction can be slaked only by finding and extracting more black gold. BushCo’s minions in the Bureau of Land Management are making sure we don’t let solar power interfere with the ongoing collapse. Black is white. Night is day. And so on. I’m reminded of the bumper stickers from the last two elections: Bush/Cheney 1984.
Suddenly, my friends and acquaintances are attempting to reconnect. The phone’s always ringing, and everybody wants to do lunch or, better yet, come visit the mud hut. Turns out nameless marauding hordes at the mud hut are the least of my worries. A far bigger problem is presented when people I know show up. If I thought I would face a difficult decision when an unknown face shows up in the sights of my rifle, imagine my chagrin when that face belongs to a friend. And she has children.
Seems not all my angst is existential.
Yes, these people chose ignorance over preparation not so long ago. Is that sufficient reason to play the ant, relegating the grasshoppers I know to starvation, or worse?
Obviously, I do not want to shoot anybody. But I will protect those I love at the mud hut when they are threatened. Current occupants on the property have us at, or perhaps slightly in excess, of carrying capacity. The lifeboat will sink when we take on additional people.
Once again, I seek the sage advice of my wise readers. Our legal agreement at the mud hut precludes long-term visitors. But soon enough, law enforcement comes down to a negotiation, preferably without violence. What to do, when the marauding hordes are friends and their children?

Comments 59

  • Yes Professor Guy,
    I’ll be watching the crude oil future prices on CNBC tomorrow–could be very interesting.
    Is this then, when the ascent to Golgotha begins?

  • But I digress Professor Guy,
    It is an insolvable conundrum,as in a Greek tragedy. The advice you seek in your last paragraph,if there is any to be given,is hidden somewhere in a metaphysical mist that I cannot penetrate.And the same question will be asked many millions of time over by many million of people in many millions of like situations.
    And Claudius was correct,our sorrows are numerous.And great.And so
    varied it seems to hurt the brain just to contemplate them.
    But I’m just one–I too would like to hear what others have to say.

  • Hello Guy: As you know we are about 30 miles from the location of your “mud hut”. Recently I’ve been upping my conversations with folks here regarding the impending calamity which is about to befall us. While there are still deniers (technology and the government will fix the problem), there are also many who are quite aware of the problem. Currently I am collecting the names of people who want to put in solar pumps, in hopes of corralling the local well guy for a period of time (he has become VERY busy with contracts to drill all over the place). Many folks have doubled the size of their gardens and are talking seriously about putting up a LOT of food. The biggest problem that we have right now is finding someone qualified to put in a complete solar system for the house. If you run across anyone in this area, let me know please. In the meantime my husband and son are reading up on it.

  • Newspapers all over the world are reporting that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in Israel giving his Israeli counterpart the OK to bomb Iran.Israeli officials are threatning to bomb Iran. Iran sats it will retaliate by Bombing Israel.Iranian missiles have been moved into place to be launched against Israel. 40 per cent of the world’s imported crude oil moves thru the Strait of Hormuz in Iran,and the Iranian are threating to block it.
    The American news media is silent–are they crazy–is our government putting a news blackout on these subjects ? If so why? These stories are carried by Israeli, Chinese and God knows which other foreign sources. Gas prices in the US could soar out of sight if these events occur and our News media chooses not to utter a peep.
    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • Guy —
    With regards to your original fundamental question —
    For what it’s worth from a moral/ethical perspective, the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark tells that Noah warned his neighbors about the impending flood, but when the rains began “God” closed the door to the Ark and no one was allowed in past that point. It’s your Ark and you get to play Noah and God (unless your wife is in charge as Goddess, which could be a better idea).
    On the other hand, from a practical sense, what is at stake here is survival. That means your survival and that of your household. In cases where others may want to join you belatedly in your survival arrangements, I would suggest that you and your family (perhaps along with the applicants for joining your project) take enough time to calculate the probable cost/benefit ratio of adding your friends to your survival scheme. If your survival probability is increased significantly, then your decision is easier. If it is decreased, your decision is facilitated. If the cost/benefit ratio is minimal or indeterminable, you have to decide if friendship is possibly worth the cost of your survival.
    At some point, such decisions must be coldly calculated because the stakes are high. Compassion can be lethal in two directions and you must make hard choices and then accept them and move on.
    Stan Moore

  • Didn’t actually listen to this yet but it looks from the title as if may have some bearing:
    ‘Weighing Lives’
    Personally, if worse comes to worse, I wouldn’t take in anyone who wasn’t blood or kin to me. Those are the only relations that have any decent hope of surviving these endtimes, if indeed they are nigh.

  • When the first forms of life appeared, they separated themselves from their surroundings by a cell membrane. Every form of more complex life has to have a zone of separation from its environment to maintain its separate identity.
    And the same applies to groups of organisms, whether territorial or not. To maintain their separate identity, they must have a zone somewhere at which they can distinguish the “us” from the “not us”.
    In times of prosperity, that zone may be a nominal one, mostly ignored. In times of peril, though, that zone has to be defended, with the commitment of appropriate resources.
    The issue thus becomes where to place the fence, and after that, to what extent to defend it.

  • How would you evaluate whether to take in “friends” into a survival-themed community?
    Would you do it based on bloodlines — blood is thicker than water?
    Here are the sort of evaluations I would be considering —
    1) Is this person/group going to actively aid in producing food, or just consuming it?
    2) Will he/she/they work hard to ensure adequate water resources?
    3) Will their presence be good for morale or bad for it?
    4) Will they defend the community or will they be likely to compromise security?
    5) Are they trustworthy and honest?
    6) Do they possess unique skills that no one else has?
    7) Do they possess tangible assets that enhance survival and are willing to share them with the community?
    8) Do they possess burdensome liabilities of any sort that will tend to compromise survival for themselves or others in specific, predictable ways?
    Can these be mitigated so as to result in a positive cost/benefit ratio?
    9) When the pressure is on, will they turn on me and put me at risk or my family?
    10) How are their problem solving skills and/or analytical skills?
    11) What are my gut feelings and intuitions about the prospect of linking my family’s survival to this person/these people?
    12) Can we form informal links that allow us to support one another without interdepenence?
    13) Is it better to live together or separately and maintain discrete communications from a distance?
    14) How can we facilitate reliable communications?
    15) Can we improvise medical and health care for chronic or acute or emergency problems?
    16) Can we devise and implement a functional security protocol?
    17) Can we train and maintain training to develop survival skills?
    18) How do we establish governance and will decisions be respected and implemented?
    19) How do we maintain morale despite privation and possible despair until things get better?
    20) Who has wisdom? Courage? Talent? Endurance? Optimism? Compassion? Intelligence?
    Strength? Assets? Improvisation skills? Determination? Karma?
    The nitty gritty will eventually sort this stuff out, but the sooner individuals and communities come to grips with these concepts, the higher their likelihood of survival and the less stress and privation.
    Stan Moore

  • Stan, that’s quite a list. What are you going to do, line them up and interview them individually?
    If this conversation is about the endtimes, and I take it to be, then really the only unit that stands a chance of surviving is a family unit, nuclear, extended, clan, etc. This is not because the family unit is the best one (Lord knows), but because it works. Has in the past and if things go down like the doomers say they will, will in the future. Lacking the aegis of a nation-state’s guarantee of stability, the family unit is the only one that is likely to see groups of people through the bad times. To my mind, some hippy-dippy arrangement based on some sort of supposed common interest or, worse yet, friendship, is not likely to survive the marauding hordes.
    That’s what we’re talking about, right? An apocalypse?
    I should state that I don’t necessarily think that events are headed that way. I just take an interest in it.

  • I know spirituality and religion are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the minute I read your words I thought of Luke 17:33.
    The basic gist of the passage is that anyone seeking to save their life will lose it.
    I don’t like to think of the world coming to angry hordes of starving people, but I already know the odds of me keeping my life (long term) even without angry hordes is nil.
    Really, we should all live life as ready to die tomorrow as we can by loving one another and taking pleasure in whatever little moments of joy we encounter.
    Death is inevitable. I’d like to survive as long as I can (of course), but I already know how the story ends.
    So, I guess the answer to your problem, ultimately, is dictated by whatever choice you feel you can live with, knowing that death is unavoidable–long term. Only you can answer that.

  • FWIW, I just wanted to add, if everyone adopts an “us vs. them” mentality the human race will be screwed.
    Not sharing, caring about others or the environment are the factors that have created the messes we see around us today.
    People who view their fellow man and living things around them as “other” or “not important” and “to be exploited for personal gain” are dead on some fundamental level–I don’t care how much they cleave to “life”.

  • Dear Professor Guy,
    I’m very pleased (for both of us )to tell you that I meet all of Stan Moore’s 20
    points for a perfect survival companion. So All I need from you is your assurance that when the time comes you can guarantee me you’ll have some way to keep the beer cold !!
    On a more serious note the latest poop is this: Bush is determined to go to war with Iran before he leaves office. CNBC’s crude oil expert tells us that means crude oil will be $300 or $400 per barrel. Ergo we enter the post-carbon era this year. Professor Guy,
    where will we get the beer to cool? As if I didn’t have enough to worry about.

  • Professor, I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident. I truly hope you’re wrong, but have the dire fear that you’re dead on. Thank you for keeping this blog as I’ve only been reading it for a day at most and have learned much. Aside from the blaming Bush, who is at very small fault, I mean exactly what do we want him to do, will gas into our tanks? Fingers could be better pointed at any number of other places or all of those places simultaneously. I’m no fan of the current prez, and even less so the possibility of an Obama presidency.
    Iran is little more than a side note, a nuclear armed Iran is a major problem that would make oil go up just as much if not more than when Israel attacks them.
    I do have a question about your “Mud Hut.” I do not want to know exact location though, first off i’m well over 1000 miles from you, and secondly I wouldn’t ask, we all need to have our certain secrets for survival. Disclosing your location could doom it to failure.
    Anyway, How far outside the major city is your spot? It sounds rather remote, or that the odds of actually finding the place are remote, particularly if the “Hordes” are on foot. The Desert Southwest can be particularly brutal, especially if on foot. If it’s far enough out I don’t think anyone would even make it to your spot.
    Stan: Good points on what you must look for in a potential member of your community. One more you should look out for: Someone that says they can do something that they are unable to do.
    Good luck all. This is going to be interesting to watch unfold!

  • We need to have a dialogue on this site. So let me start by criticizing Stan Moore’s long list.
    Stan, please reply to this,and I invite everyone else to do the same.Your 20 point list is hopelessly Utopian and utterly fails to address the reality of human nature. I propose a much simpler and more practical
    criteria list for your consideration.
    1. Figure out how to keep the beer cold.
    2.Have a good sense of humor.
    3.Don’t take yourself to seriously.
    Please reply.
    Frank Mezek
    Sun City,Arizona

  • Luke 17:33 reminds one of the Zen tradition: until the big death, there will be more little deaths.
    In the Judaic tradition, in the Sefer Yetzirah Chap I verse vii refers to “The One without a second”. A person cannot rope off a section of space-time in the universe in which to set up one’s homestead as separate being, when that person fully acknowledges the deity.
    The same “One without a second” is found in Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination, amongst other places in the Hindu tradition.
    This involves ending the sense of a separate identity; the fence is taken down and there are neither limits or locus by which to define oneself.
    However in the sense of biologic beings and social groups, one has to set and sustain parameters by which identity is maintained.

  • In response to various questions and comments —
    My list was not intended to be comprehensive. It was intended to take a brief look at a possible answer to a specific and deadly serious question by Professor McPherson, which it appears that many on this discussion are not taking seriously based on Dr. McPherson’s context, not mine. Go back and read Dr. McPherson’s question and context.
    I cannot speak for most others who are reading and commenting here, who seem to think mankind is entering just another phase of civilization in which some inconveniences will have to be dealt with, such as more expensive fuel for vehicles, some food scarcity, etc.
    My view, based on a lot of intensive research, is that we are facing a massive human die-off, and that includes Americans with all the rest. There is no one single cause, but a convergence of various emergencies, any one of which would be a major threat, but combined and in synchrony equaling a very real extinction threat for all of mankind.
    Anyone who believes their family and clan will enhance their survival of this impending cataclysm had better start organizing their family and clan. That is all I can say — people who care about each other do have a strong incentive to survive together, but not if they are not prepared, which starts with quickly getting informed as to what is going on in the world around them.
    Among other things, we are facing an imminent, and complete collapse of the world’s financial systems. We are facing a collapse of the food supply and distribution systems, including right here in America. Dr. Duncan predicts that this year (2008) we will begin to see the failure of the electrical grid, and that within about twenty years it will have utterly failed and will never be replaced. We are facing the implementation of a police state, right here in America. We are facing global warming with all its ramifications. We are facing Peak Oil, with all its serious ramifications on virtually every segment of our way of life and our survival within present ecology of the planet and human population numbers. We are facing almost certain anarchy in the foreseeable future, with government more likely to be your enemy than your protector in the foreseeable future.
    I do not believe I am exaggerating one iota in any of this. If others want to convince myself that there is time for more business as usual, then be aware that there are self-inflicted consequences for failure to prepare and they will be profound.
    Meanwhile, I will take my leave from this group discussion, because I want to focus on reality and not on distractions at this time.
    Good luck to all.
    Stan Moore

  • In 1998 Osama bin Laden said the West will suffer when crude oil gets to $144 per barrel.Quess what crude hit yesterday.Yep,$144 per barrel.
    As we ascend to Golgatha it is instructive to note also the progress of the front month , crude oil futures contract.The paths are in tandum.

  • Dear Professor Guy,
    I’ve been asking myself if the human animal–the important thing is the animal part,so acclimatized and encultured with the goods/evils of “civilization” can possibly tolerate the sheer shock,the tremendous depredations of the psyche,
    that come with the Post-Carbon era.Are their individuals that possess the requisite stamina,the psychological and philosopical strength to withstand the rigors of the new stone age life.
    In short,after the corn is planted, can the individuals in your mud hut be content to philophically contemplate their navels,or must we all go stark,raving mad?
    Life will go on.The savage tribes of the Amazon rain forest will live their lives as always.Can we emulate them?

  • Supposedly,one dose of the magic mushroom drug will keep a person content for a whole year.Is being stoned the price we must pay to retain our sanity?

  • Stan, If people don’t want to heed your advise, it’s their loss. I think you’re exactly right on every point you made there! You shouldn’t deny those of us that want to listen to you your words because a few think they’re too smart.
    I’ve got a brother who I love very much, but if there’s a societal collapse I want him as far from me as possible, and he’s a DOCTOR! He’s selfish, a know-it-all, lazy, has a big fat zero for mental strength, etc. Though he’d be a huge asset where trauma or disease is concerned, in every other concern, he’s a far greater liability than an asset, and would probably get himself and others killed through his stupidity.
    I work in law enforcement. ask any of us exactly how thin this veneer we call “Society” really is. Let the lights go out for a week in any major American city and see how long “Society” lasts.
    Frank, I don’t see Americans living like the Amazon’s denizens. A “Wild West” solution would be more viable. This isn’t to say that there won’t be a major die off as without black gold we just can’t support the number of people we’ve got living in our country.

  • Frank, I’m pretty sure that in the event the fecal matter hits the spinning air displacement unit, getting high on a psychoactive narcotic will be the exact last thing on my to-do list. :)

  • One suggestion for those clammoring to get back on board: Make sure they get copies of the report prepared by your students (http://www.personalsurvivalskills.com/Welcome.html), which you referenced in a previous post, and which received far fewer responses than this one–perhaps a reflection of our tendency to gravitate toward fear over preparation (not that the two need be mutually exclusive, of course).

  • Obviously Turboguy is the most civilized amongst us,judging by the extreme delicacy of his rhetoric.I hope he realizes that he betrayed that aspect of his personality that is absolutely essential for survival in the new stone age–A SENSE OF HUMOR. another is the ability to chill out. I hope you are reading this Stan Moore. We are with you Stan, and if you have gotten over your snit we welcome you back to our cogenial group.But the point is your list was brilliant but without a sense of humor and the ability to chill out like Turboguy, you are doomed in the post-carbon age.The stresses and trauma to come are so enormous that you cannot survive w/o a sense of humor.And you must be able to laugh at yourself.I for one know that I’m crazy.So Stan understand we are laughing with you ,not at you–OK?  
    There are three other attributes that will be very helpful later.They are intelligence,the ability to conceptualize,and the gift of abstract thinking. I have a joke that tests for all three.Warning this is sacrilegious.I tell people that I am reincarnated from a previous life I lived about 2,000 years ago,and that in that previous life Jesus and I were half-brothers.When I’m asked for an explanation I reply that we had differnt mothers.It is suprising that few people get it.Those that do have the three qualities previously mentioned.For those that don’t get it, you’ll need to question their ability to survive in the new stone age.
    I invite your comments.
    Frank Mezek
    Sun City, Arizona

  • Thanks, everybody for weighing in.
    I’m at the mud hut, and I’ve been out of email range for a few days. And what a busy few days on the blog!
    I’ll respond, albeit briefly, to a few comments. But first notice I’ve deleted a few comments because I thought they were inappropriate. For example, there’s no need to point out the inadequacies of other individual commenters. We’re all in the same boat here, and I think we agree about many things, so let’s not resort to name-calling. I’ll continue to delete multiple submissions of the same comment — failure to load each submitted comment promptly is a common problem with the software I’m using, so I deal with this issue regularly.
    More concretely, then:
    Frank, I’m glad to hear you’ve got all those attributes on Stan’s excellent list. But the mud hut is at carrying capacity already. Let me know if you’re interested, though, and I’ll send you information (off-list) about the nearby property for sale. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a much better place for post-carbon survival than Sun City. And we’ll certainly want a beer-brewer in the neighorhood, even though I don’t imbibe.
    Charlene, you’re correct. If we always seek to find the “other” and act as if we are superior to him/her, we are indeed screwed. History indicates we’re screwed. For a more detailed accouting of my views on this subject, please read my post from 29 August 2007 (The end of civilization and the extinction of humanity; )
    http://blog.ltc.arizona.edu/naturebatslast/2007/08/the_end_of_civilization_and_th.html). I’m hoping for the best. And planning for humans to act like the animals they are.
    Turboguy, the mud hut is about 5 miles from the nearest small town (perhaps 100 people), 30 miles from a town of 12,000, and more than 200 miles from the nearest real city. As you point out, the latter is a long way on foot in the desert southwest.
    Stan, I concur: You are not exaggerating one iota. Please continue to honor us with your insightful comments.
    I’m headed back to work now … specifically, the kind of work for which life in the ivory tower is damned poor preparation. I’m constructing an outdoor kitchen, complete with wood-fired cooking stove. And also digging garden beds, surrounding them on the bottom and sides with hardware cloth to prevent complete consumption by pocket gophers. In this case, nature is batting ALL THE DAMNED TIME.
    Best wishes one and all,

  • Fairly isolated, sounds like a darn good spot.
    Five miles walk is about two hours. In Minnesota (Where I live) and most other places that’s no big deal. In the desert, two hours walk is a major undertaking, particularly if you’re already half starved/dehydrated.
    If things go bad, and I truly believe that things will get to the Post Katrina level when people just can’t get food anymore, social distance will be worth the a 747’s weight in gold!
    Hey Frank, I’m not sane either. I have to face facts here: I do kind of get shot at for a living.

  • A Great Lesson for all of us:
    Please read Turboguy’s posting above.Here’s a man who comes close to death on a regular basis and he can joke about it.This is the sense of humor and balance needed for survival in the Neo-Stone Age.
    Now for a Mea Culpa: Our Patriarch, Professor Guy put me to shame.As he should, he deleted a posting of mine in which I was unkind to one of our breatheren.I’m sorry,and am duly chastened.
    We need to have a meeting somewhere, someplace,soon.
    I’d like to meet all of you in person,and apologoze personally to Stan. I say soon.The resident oil guru for CNBC said that as soon as the Iranian-Israeli-USA war starts oil goes to $300-$400 a barrel.Then we will have entered the Post-Carbon age.Since we are also assured that Bush must attack Iran before he leaves office, it doesn’t leave much time.What do the rest of you think?

  • Here is a new poem I wrote within the past hour, called “Survival Complications”. This is intended to provoke inner contemplation of very difficult issues that have already been described in part.
    Survival Complications
    by Stan Moore
    I’ve got that bastard in my sights
    He’s trying to take what’s mine
    I’m well within my legal rights
    And it’s a tough survival time
    The Long Emergency is here
    I’ve got responsibility
    Survival is at stake — its clear
    Defense begins with me
    I’ll calm my nerves before I shoot
    I’ve got to make it count
    If the shoe was on the other foot
    My life would hardly count
    And yet I sense that something’s wrong
    I wish I couldn’t do it
    A bullet fired is quickly gone
    A mistake — who wants to rue it?
    But protect my family I know I must
    I must do what I must do
    In me they placed all of their trust
    To them I must be true
    So bastard — here’s the trigger pull
    I see you go right down
    I move to see what I have done
    And I fall down to the ground
    I see myself there on the ground
    That is — I see my son
    My only boy I myself have downed
    Thinking he was some other one
    I thought my boy was far away
    I thought that he was safe
    He hoped to surprise me on this day
    By sneaking home quite late
    I thought that I was doing right
    Protecting what was mine
    Instead I joined a needless fight
    I won and lost Big Time
    Survival seemed a simple thing
    But its much more complicated
    There’s right and wrong and in between
    And who is not related?
    If he had been a stranger/threat
    And I killed him just the same
    I wonder could I live with death
    Forswearing guilt and blame

  • I really think Israel will wait and see who wins in November to dictate whether they’ll attack before W. leaves office or wait.
    If Obama takes the reigns, Israel will have to attack Iran ASAP or risk allowing them to become a regional nuclear power. It’d be far better in the long run if Israel just goes ahead and attacks them soon. If they are prevented from stopping the nuke program, the price of oil will quadruple when Iran comes out and says they’ve got the bomb.
    Here’s why: Iran and Saudi are rivals in the area. If Iran goes nuclear, Saudi, Egypt and Kuwait will have to follow suit. A regional arms race is a very bad thing, especially considering that Israel, who is already nuclear armed, will start to feel very threatened. Threatened nuclear powers tend to act rather irrationally, especially when the rest of the area has everything they’ve got pointed at them.
    If Israel attacks Iran, outwardly the various Middle Eastern countries will scream bloody murder, in backrooms they’ll be thanking whatever deity they subscribe to and shaking the hands of Israeli powers.

  • Great poem Stan,
    Is the answer then to Professor Guy’s question, is ,that there is no answer?
    Are we all doomed tragic heros in a final Greek tragedy? In the 1959 movie “On the Beach” everyone knows with absolute certainty that they will all die from nuclear fallout.Stan’s poem implies the death of the Soul,isn’t that worse?
    Turboguy is right on.The age old hatred between the Arabs and the Persians(Iran)knows no bounds.What a strange,strange world we live in.Weren’t the people in “On the Beach” better off than us? At least they knew from whence their demise would come.There are so many threats in this real life world, that it overloads the psyche.
    Which brings me to something I’ve been thinking about lately.The US stock market is on the verge of collapse.When it does it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.Never in history has the American public faced such an enormous array of
    problems.Home prices declining,the cost of fuel and food, job losses,credit problems,crime,illegal immigration,ect.,ect.With stock portfolios evaporating,there is nothing else left to go.The extreme mental and psychological stress of all this is more than people can tolerate. What we are seeing is mass psychological sickness that destroys the Soul.Is a hollow physical body minus a Soul worse than a physically dead one?
    I’ve never in my life asked so many questions that have no answers.What do the rest of you think.
    Frank Mezek
    Sun City,Arizona

  • Another dismal thought.In politics nothing is confirmed until it is officially denied.Bush denies he wants to attack Iran.In the past year the administration has floated many trial balloons to test public opinion on Iran.It looks like they are agitating for a fight with Iran.Is this the prelude to war?
    Why do I ask so damn many questions?

  • Like I said about Iran: it comes down to, “Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.”
    Do nothing and Iran’s going to build a bomb, start a regional nuclear arms race, and oil prices go through the sky. Attack Iran, pound them back to the stone age and cut a fifth of the world’s oil production out, thus driving the price of oil through the sky.
    Pick your poison.

  • Dear Turboguy and Stan,
    If I read you two correctly,
    there are no answers and no hope.When people smarter than I say this–
    what are we to do??

  • Great discussion (and if you’re wondering about the last name, yes we’re related–Guy is my younger and smarter brother). I agree with much of what has been said, but not that there are “no answers and no hope.”
    Possible answers come through preparation, such as through Guy’s mud hut or through the means my spouse and I have chosen–developing relationships with neighbors, expanding garden and storage capabilities, buying bicycles, guns, etc. Perhaps none of it will matter, though I take some comfort in the fact that societies (and even civilization) have survived through some pretty grim times in the past.
    Besides, there are things worse than death. The hope comes from faith. Whether you have faith in God, karma, fate, mankind, science, history, your own abilities, or some combination thereof, there is reason for optimisim (and even Guy is an optimist, while preparing for the worst).
    And if your faith proves misguided–as, indeed, the faith of billions throughout world history has at various times been rendered meaningless (from a “practical” perspective) by such things as war, disease and natural disasters–it may make this life worth living. As I noted, I think there are things worse than death. And a life without joy, faith, optimism or music would be among them.

  • I like the old saying: “As long as there is breath, there is hope.”
    One of the most interesting historic accounts I ever read was about the 900 day seige of Leningrad by the Germans during WWII. Many, many thousands of civilians starved to death. It was horrific almost beyond comprehension.
    And there were atrocities amongst the people. And there were kindnesses. There were noble acts, and there were crimes of nightmarish horror.
    And some people clung to life and thus clung to hope. Many died, some survived.
    People had choices to make. Some made good choices and had bad results. Some made bad choices and had bad results. Some made bad choices and lucked out and had good results.
    No one lived who did not have the desire to cling to life. I don’t think it necessarily mattered where that desire got its nourishment. Maybe it was the hope of seeing a spouse return from war. Maybe it was the hope of becoming a parent one day. Maybe it was an unspoken thing, but tangible enough to provide the energy and the will to endure.
    As long as there is breath, there is hope.
    Stan Moore
    Petaluma, CA

  • Well said, Stan. And where there is hope, there are optimists. A few signs that occurred to me of our optimistic nature:
    Old people plant trees.
    Teachers and parents keep trying to inspire children.
    People who follow politics vote anyway.
    Protestors continue to find causes worth marching for.
    People from all walks of life read poetry.
    Some write it.

  • The Grim Reaper strikes again.
    The nexus of oil and guns is becoming clearer all the time.OAO Gasprom, the Russian oil giant has offered to buy all of Lybia’s oil exports.China,India and others will be trying to buy up and secure for themselves as much of the world’s exported oil as they can.Wouldn’t Hugo Chavez in Venezuela love to strike such a deal with his Chinese friends, who have the inside track to secure all of Africa’s oil for themselves.As I mentioned before here, China has worked and spent vast sums to ingratiate themselves with everyone in Africa and anyone else in the world who has oil.And they have the military might to insure they get theirs. As we make noises about Iran I harken back again to the Chinese helping to finance the building of the Tehran subway system.
    Of couse we also have to have oil. Will future historians be able to talk about the Great Sino-American War?

  • “Will future historians be able to talk about the Great Sino-American War?”
    Perhaps. Of course, assuming anyone reads anything longer than a blog post by then, I’m confident that future leaders will pay as much attention to history as do today’s leaders.

  • Dear Guy,
    I’m in agreement about the human tendency to behave badly. I suppose, all I’m pointing to, is the fact humanity will only survive if it can do the impossible and trascend the self en masse. But, I feel very Zen about it–I guess you could say. Nothing was ever meant to be “sustainable” insofar as sustainable suggests the word everlasting. Change is the only constant.
    Robin, I appreciate the additional perspective. Actually, I read some Zen stories to my kids the other night. I may have my home in Catholicism, but I’m always open to hearing what other traditions have to say. Learning is never a bad thing in my book. :)
    Of course, we each have to survive or at least our bodies regularly tell is that it would be a good thing to continue surviving…push comes to shove…I don’t know what I will do. Particularly since I have children of my own. Still, whatever it is, I hope it will be something good and in accordance with what is right, just, true. Even if that means I die in the process.
    That’s my hope. But, who knows?
    Who knows what my response would be if I were in more of a position to prepare for the worst? Currently, I’m not. So, for sanity, I have to adopt a more zen-like stance.
    Survival is a tough question. How we live is ultimately up to each individual-right or wrong.
    My grandfather said things always work out as they are meant to work out. Everything is put to right in the end. I just kind of trust that is the case.

  • Charlene, I tend toward the same “right in the end” philosophy myself, at times, and have found it works pretty well in my day-to-day life.
    But then I’ve never been a Tutsi, a Nazi-held Jew, a passenger pigeon, or a resident of Bosnia, Darfur, Iraq or New Orleans. So while I think earth itself will be what it will be, I recognize that a lot of people and critters will suffer and die in the process–and one of these days, I may even be one of them.
    The good news is, on my most Zen days, I can live with that. After all, the correct answer to “Why me, God?” is “Why not you?”
    Besides, being in my most Zen-like state doesn’t interfere with me trying increasingly to take responsibility for my future (whatever it may hold), such as growing a larger garden, increasing storage space, buying a bike (funny, I didn’t remember it hurting my butt so much as a kid), building relationships with neighbors, etc.
    Still, like you, I’m far from there, and probably will never be in a position to do everything I’d like in that regard. And I wasn’t in much of a Zen state when I bought my shotgun and boxes of double-ought buckshot.

  • Hello everyone, long time lurker, first time poster : ) sorry about any bad grammar.
    so by the looks of it, everyone is in the US right? well i live in Canada, southern Ontario. about an hour from Hamilton, to be more exact.
    so far i like everyone’s discussions, mainly about the moral aspects of this post carbon age. so far a lot of it are mine and my dad’s views as well.
    obviously you all are a little weary about talking about your plans to survive this, if you are planning at all. but i don’t see any harm in talking about the general idea on how to survive in certain climates.
    My dad and me plan on heading into the canadian shield(northern ontario) and finding a nice huge forest to live in, as if you learn how to, it’s not very hard.
    the pros of this that i can see are:
    1) practically never see anyone else so no real need to fight another human.
    2) if everything else crashes, this is the only thing that WON’T change.
    3) any kind of attack (government, nuclear, other countries) will have minimal effects that far north.
    4) we will have learned how to be nomadic, so we could eventually come back to civilization at any time we think it would be safe (we’ll have a crank CB radio for that)
    anyone mind finding any cons about this way of living? i can think of a few, but if properly prepared, it’s not a problem.

  • One more thing to add to Stan’s ark admission requirements:
    Only non-diabetics need apply. We don’t need to waste a month’s worth of food on someone who by the end of the next month won’t be able to use food anymore. When the insulin starts to go bad, and there’s no more in the pipeline, this will start to take care of some of the population problem, as the 8% of the US population who are diabetic will grind to a halt in about 60 days.
    People on blood-pressure meds may do ok as the lo-carb, lo-protein, lo-fat diet plus the added exercise will resolve the medical issue, but when for years your pancreas has had to deal with daily pints of Haagen-Das, it’s quits once and for all.
    Better get some eyeglasses if you’re depedent on contacts.

  • We have a practial model for survival right off our shores. I visited Cuba on a birding trip in 2004 and was struck by how ready that country is for end times. With almost no inflows since the Soviets pulled out, people have learned to either grow it, repair it or do without. About 10% of the plants in the many gardens I was were going to seed in what to a US gardener looked like terrible waste. Lettuce and onions were in full bloom, to provide seeds for next year.
    Agriculture shifted to lower productivity and stabilized there after no more fertilizers arrived. All the remaining metal stuff that’s around now is durable and fixable. In the one little dump I saw, the only thing in it were completely smashed ceramics, like dishes and roofing tiles. Nothing gets thrown out or wasted.
    No mud huts there but plenty of beautiful, cool, well-made palm-thatched and -sided ones. All you need to build a house anywhere in Cuba is a machete and some neighbors.
    The social infrastructure seemed ready for any tough times. The palm-sided houses all small front porches and were unadorned except for flowers (open-pollinated). The porches had pairs of wooden rocking chairs on the porch which gave a peculiarly welcoming look to the residences. Without the ability to travel far, most live near family members.
    On a Havana day I tracked down some city-dwelling family members of a friend here, and when I found them not home the whole block got involved in tracking them down for me via the one working phone four houses down, and everyone else’s knowledge of where the folks might or might not have gone. I left Cuba with a new appreciation of what a third-world country really is, and why it might not be such a bad place to live.

  • Drew. The #1 problem I see, and this is one I fear I’ll have to deal with too is: Cold. It gets unbelievably cold here, just as it does in your neck of the woods. I’m aware that Eskimos lived in the cold far thousands of years, but they still had an entire village to help them along.
    I personally am going to start moving South. I have a wood stove in my basement, only problem there is that I live in a major metropolitan city and a house with a chimney that’s got smoke coming out of it is a beacon for all the masses to come to. Without the convienence of affordable oil my home, and yours as well, are barely livable and that’s if you’re very, very lucky.
    As you and I both know Drew, cold will kill you fast, even faster than heat! The growing season in Ontario is woefully short (As it is here too) and I just don’t think there’s enough “stuff” there for you to be able to survive. I believe that a line drawn through the middle of Missouri gives you the best chances of surviving the elements as that’s the extent of where it gets too cold and the growing season there is long.
    Now I’m not factoring in the fact that it’s going to get mighty violent as everyone else and their grandmother have exactly the same idea, but it’s the best chance I’ve got and I’ve accepted that.

  • instructive videos —
    I got rid of my television years ago. I had to do a Power Point presentation somewhere recently, which required ability to burn a disc and so I bought a DVD/CD burner and now I can check out DVDs at the local public library.
    Two I watched recently were —
    “The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream” (2004) and “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash” (2007)
    I think the most important point (to me) from The End of Suburbia is the view of J.H. Kunstler that most people and government officials seem to be operating on the theory that we can prop up the current way of life with alternate energy resources and thus maintain our way of life. It just cannot happen that way. If we are successful, we can be like Cuba. If we are not, we will be more like Darfur, in my view.
    A Crude Awakening has a neat clip of M. King Hubbert in a presentation in which he shows the blip of current energy usage in the stream of human history going back and forward 5000 years. The graph is a huge spike, indicating a one time, never to be repeated deal. Later in the movie, Colin Campbell expresses real concerns over societal collapse in the U.S. with violence, runaware fear and what he called “overreaction” to the crisis.
    I think it is reasonable to conclude that a decadent society will react violently to the emerging reality that its days are numbered and the party is over. Matthew Simmons gave some great testimony on the oil supply and demand aspect, but I believe he is overoptimistic about the ability of society to innovate its way out of disaster.
    I don’t think mankind is going back `1000 years, but we are going back 100 – 150 years. If we don’t nuke the planet and bring about nuclear winter, we can stabilize and have thriving communities. One interesting possible by-product may be the re-emergence of herbalists as healers — I enjoy listening to a herbal show on Pacific Radio from time to time and I believe that the loss of modern medicine can be compensated by a return to traditional diet, traditional healing, and a lifestyle that ultimately will be far less stressful than what many people experience now.
    And then, a few decades down the road, our genes will invest us in more attempts to wreck our environment and destroy ourselves in new ways. I think it is inevitable. But I won’t be around to observe that spectacle…
    Stan Moore

  • Turboguy: yes cold is a problem, but if i am able to make a wikiup(i think thats the name) with a fire inside and with proper isolation, i could easily survive the cold, and with modern clothing, and clothing geared towards cold climates such as that, the cold won’t be that big of a problem. also what is your idea of cold? to me it’s about -30c. around -40 and i’m not going anywhere outside my wikiup.
    also i don’t plan on bugging out with just me my dad and my nephew, i plan on leaving with around 10-15 people, so we should be able to survive the cold rather easily. it would be a little rough, but doable.
    also the way i see it, everyone will be moving south, at least most of them will be, so going north means you will find less people.
    and for the growing season, i don’t need to worry too much about the farming seasons, as i will be in a forest, the forest will grow rather well.

  • Grim Reaper News:
    As the US Dollar declines in value,the price of oil rises.The dollar is`about to collapse.If the US government doesn’t bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,it will ruin the US housing market,which will ruin the US economy,which will ruin the dollar,and oil prices rise sharply.
    If the US government does bail out Fannie and Freddie, it will add 5 Trillion dollars to the US debt,which will ruin the credit rating of the US government,which will ruin the dollar,and oil prices rise sharply.
    Did I repeat myself?–ya.
    Is their a way out?–nah.
    This whole thing ends sooner than we think.
    Have a good weekend.

  • Grim Reaper Post-script:
    ———–forgot to mention that either way the stock market will suffer what the media will describe as a “catastrophic breakdown tomorrow”.

  • Out of curiosity, why have you chosen to stay in Arizona? Why didn’t you choose to go someplace with more abundant water and less abundant heat? :)
    I’m asking because I’ve been debating with a friend whether AZ will be a poor choice due to the above-mentioned problems as well as a rise in crossers from Mexico…or if it may be ideal because most people will not want to live here.
    I would also be interested in checking out that spot for sale in your area…but totally understand if you are limiting that kind of info to people you know personally.

  • Drew, we’ve got about the same thoughts about cold. In the Minnesota wintertime it gets in excess of -20 (F)(-30C) regularly and sometimes, when it’s feeling particularly spunky, will hit the -70 (-56C) with windchill. I don’t care who you are, that’s COLD!
    I remember once it was -20(F) for an entire week, then one day it was -2 and I actually felt warm outside. Scary.
    Anyway, I don’t think you’re factoring in that the human body, when in frigid wastelands like yours and my home areas, requires upwards of twice the normal amounts of caloric intake just to stay alive. There’s just not enough there for five people, much less fifteen. This isn’t a knock on Canada, but Canada is largely unpopulated for a reason. It’s too cold for it to support a thriving population.
    You can only shoot so many elk, moose, and bears before they’re depopulated (Assuming everyone else hasn’t shot them for themselves already). Then there’s no food because the summer there is barely long (or warm) enough to grow corn or even harvest the amounts of grub necessary to support your community. You might be able to survive for a year at the outside. After that you’ll be either moving South or dead.
    The forest growing rather well is great, but I’m talking about enough food for fifteen people, in the wintertime, where outside meat your diet is sparse. If that is your plan, to go into the frigid wasteland, I wish you luck, but am skeptical about your real chances of survival.
    Stan: Herbal medicine will never be able to replace, even to a small degree, the modern stuff, as much as I’d love for it to be otherwise. If the oil crash happens in a big way, little ailments that are nothing now will kill you. An appendicitus will be a fatal situation, a staph infection might do you in.

  • Arizona is an ok place to live on or off the grid – at least in my part of it, southeast corner, 4700′ elevation, 8-month frost-free growing season plus easy gardening in winter for greens and brassicas, under screen (grasshoppers till frost) and over wire (gophers). Highs in June get to 105, lows in winter most nights 25 plus or minuse 5 deg. F, 14″ annual rainfall (of which 25% arrived in the past 5 days). Lots of people around my town of Portal are totally off the grid, and others are putting in solar-powered water pumps, which is all I’ll need to be pretty self-sustaining on 12 acres full of high- BTU mesquite.
    This is the perfect climate for passive solar. Our 1600 ft sq house is partially solar. It stays above 55 in winter without any active heating, but wood stove keeps it in the high 60s-70s when desired.
    High deserts here support rabbits, quail and packrats, all of which are better than anything from KFC. Fruit trees do fine (no citrus) – appples, stone fruits, berries etc. but all need watering.
    Northerners should remember that a tiny chickadee can make it through a lot of sub-zero, 15-hour nights in a row with a max of 3/4″ of high R-value down insulation, across which it can maintain a 130-degree + temp. gradient.
    Read the beautifully written book The World Without Us for general uplift and inspiration, plus it’s a good source of insights about what problems you’ll run into when the infrastructure goes away. From it you can make a list of what you will need for maintenance, such as caulking, paint, window and roof repair materials.

  • on the frigid northlands —
    My mentor studied under the late Professor Paul Errington of Iowa State University, and in my desire to learn more about Errington (a very famous wildlife biologist who specialized in the study of predation) I read Errington’s biography “The Red Gods Call”. I highly recommend this book for people who love wildlife, the outdoors, wildlife research, etc. Errington grew up in South Dakota, which was cold enough. He learned to trap furbearing mammals and eventually put himself through college with the income he gained through fur trapping. He described in his book a desire to go up into Canada to trap when he when in his teens, but he knew that the Canadian cold was more severe than the South Dakota cold and he would need better woodcraft and survival skills than he possessed. I always thought that was very interesting because I thought of South Dakota winter as being extreme. But Canadian winters apparently can be significantly more threatening.
    Another wildlifer, a raptor bander is Stuart Houston of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. And Stu is a historian as well. He compiled the journals of naturalist Sir John Richardson into a very interesting, annotated book, particularly with regard to the first expedition of John Franklin by land and canoe up to the Arctic Sea along one of the rivers, the Coppermine, I believe.
    The Franklin Expedition turned out to be a disaster, and it got caught in the Canadian tundra as winter approached and food was very scarce. Men scavenged old carcasses of deer, eating the marrow from the bones, eating their own shoe leather, and eventually some killed each other and are thought to have engaged in cannibalism. John Richardson, for whom the Richardson’s ground squirrel and Richardson’s owl, etc. were named, actually shot a fellow expedition member dead when he suspected that the other guy was stalking him and sizing him up as prey. The narrative of Richardson’s journals was very interesting reading and it showed that wild land is not always easy to survive in, especially when food resources are scarce.
    So, yes, it is possible to survive the frigid north, but it is also easy to die up there.

  • I am a constant reader, seldom writer. Soaking it all in. The North sounds like a bad choice. I am envious of Helen Snyder. She sounds pretty prepared. Guy, I was wondering if you have heard of Michael Reynolds and if so, your opinion please on his earthships. The last serious discussion with my husband confirmed the fact that he will NEVER believe the end will happen in our lifetime. I am doomed to being killed or to starvation. Turboguy, you sound like a great provider! Frank, you are the Grim Reaper! Stan, you are brilliant!!

  • The falling dollar doesn’t mean you have to lose money; just invest in some of the overseas funds. Or do FOREX trading. Or invest in any of the good solar-equipment stocks. A Canada fund I hold has returned 16% last year, 26% average over five, largely due to the USD’s slide against the CAD. I even bought some Exxon Mobile a while ago, just so I could vote on shareholder issues, and just got my first report and proxy the other day. Guess what? The board of directors’ first item was a request for me to vote against the trend in “activist shareholders” – like me. The other 18 items were all propositions put forth by activist shareholders; I voted against the board’s recommendation on every one of them. It makes no sense to me to spurn ownership of the company when I’m on my knees at their pumps all the time, begging for the gasoline to keep flowing out of the hose before by $50 bill is used up.
    Dollar going lower is good for our exports too. And in brings in more foreign tourists. The politicos have to regularly make snorting noises about stopping the dollar’s slide, because to not grumble about it just doesn’t sound American. Oil’s climb in the US has a lot to do w/dollar’s slide though. Use the money you make to go solar, buy a bike, go to an adobe building school and learn to do your own everything.
    Off to Costco to buy 20 years worth of toilet paper…

  • So yes the Canadian winters are rather harsh. now I’m wondering how high you could actually get before finding large changes in wildlife/vegetation. as when i said i was going to the Canadian shield, that doesn’t mean tundra, anywhere above Algonquin park is a good place to be. the wildlife is still abundant, vegetation is still there, and there are still local communities that can provide support of some kind.
    now it seems when i said Canadian shield you guys think barren, hostile frozen land. it is not like that at all, there is plenty of wildlife, hell the native before us survived for generations. they knew to use every part of an animal, every plant they came across had it’s uses, for food, medical, and shelter reasons.
    and for food in the winter, we plan on preserve all of our food, so if we bag 2 deer, and we only need one, the other gets completely preserved, which can easily last upwards of a year if you do it properly. people lived up there before, and will live up there again, you just have to learn how to.
    ps if anything seems offensive it was not meant to be, just typing this up quickly, as i am already late : (

  • I’ve been to Canada many times. Last time I was there it was for a military excercize with the Canadian military and the US Air Force. We were in Edmonton and I found that in stark contrast to the rediculous winter, the women there were stunningly beautiful! I particularly liked the restaraunt “Earl’s.”
    Anyway, good luck with staying up there. I know it’s not like Antarctica, but it’s not like Kansas either. I want as few complications on my survival as I can. Cold is a major complication, bordering on one that could kill outright or through starvation. As much of that as I can avoid, the better and You’ve got copious amounts of cold there.

  • I did want to make a comment on the diabetes comment. :)
    Type 1 diabetics will probably be in dire straits (maybe). But type 2 diabetics, if they have no complications going, will become “the fittest” I think. They’ve got that survival gene going on where they can make due with less food.
    Look at the first Survival winner with his typical type 2 body shape. He was out spearing fish while the rest were languishing under a shady tree.
    Anyway just wanted to throw that out there – as a diet-controlled, no-medication, no-complication, type 2 diabetic myself.

  • Elizabeth, you are so right and I was of course thinking only of type 1, insulin dependent, poorly-controlled diabetes. Several extremely fit older guys here are type II and will probably outlive me.
    I read through Guy’s students Personal Survival Skills and found it almost touching in a way, earnest and innocent. Issues of importance to college-age women are given a lot of though, and 60% of the personal-health material is about female reproductive issues.
    In a real survival situation women of reproductive age won’t be ovulating for long, and in 6 months if they make it will look like a Cirque de Soleil troupe. There will be no need for contraception, and in a truly survival society, a pregnancy might just be greeted as it has been forever in “primitive” societies, as something to celebrate, a sign the tribe isn’t going extinct…yet.
    On the food front, pinon nuts should get a mention, as in some seasons they are plentiful, easy to harvest in quantity, and easily stored. They are probably the highest-fat food available other than the last cattle till they are caught and consumed.
    Likewise “tunas” and nopales from the de-spined and peeled pads of prickly pear cactus. They are commonly eaten in Mexico, and I saw them for sale today in Food City in Tucson, all cut up and ready to cook. They have a mouthfeel kind of like okra, and no particular flavor but closest to an overcooked romano bean pod, and are an easy to gather vegetable, full of moisture. Opuntia fruits are easy to gather and the spines disappear with boiling.
    Lanner wrote a wonderful book about the Pinyon. One of the tree’s attributes is that you can predict the quality of a future crop that is more than a year away by the tiny cones waiting to mature and flower. One of the Native American tribes would practice infanticide based on this ability to know the quality of a future harvest

  • I eat a lot of the traditional foods. Prickly pear pads are one of my favorites, but you would have to be careful as too many of them will cause you to O.D. on oxalic acid, especially the older ones. The younger ones are best and when they are springing up during the rains.
    Sahauro fruit is really good for you too. Are there sahuaros around there?
    Our desert is full of food – mesquite beans and pods, cholla buds, quelitas, yucca root, devil’s claw, many grasses, etc.
    Traditionally the native americans had a month or two of hunger…can’t remember…in June/July? But those are good hot months to dry mesquite cakes, squash and corn for the winter.
    I think something that would be good to have in big supply is wheat berries to sprout and grow into grass. They are usually ready to harvest in days and provide tremendous nutrients.
    Also maybe some bean, corn, and squash seeds.
    Pinyon nuts? Are those the acorn nuts off the oaks trees? Those are really good for you too. If you are going to eat a lot of them you gotta make sure and soak or boil them until they give clear water, to make sure the tannins are leeched out. Or roasting them might help reduce the tannins too.
    Another thing that would be a good idea to have in bulk is some pinole and/or chia seeds. The Indians would run for hundreds of miles with just a little sack of pinole.
    I think I would be okay in the desert as far as food goes. My main concern would be finding water.
    Yikes I better stop, traditional foods are a big interest of mine, you unplugged my mouth cork haha.

  • Pinyon nuts grow on a pine and are found at middle elevations in the “sky island” mountains around Tucson. They look and tast like the ‘pine nuts’ that are sold commercially.
    There is a species of oak that grows just over the line in NM that produces an acorn you can eat without treatment. The kids in Agua Prieta sell little bags of them on the streets, calling out “bellotas?” (acorns). Yummy, like chestnuts, but oaks don’t produce a crop every year. I have had bread made from the meal, mysterious, dense and delicious.
    No saguaros here, just opuntia but the fruits of that are so abundant you can stand in one spot and pick a 3-gallon bucket full of them with kitchen tongs. People here make jelly out of the juice – magenta, needs added sugar, very tasty stuff.
    Good to know about eating the young tunas – I figured there was a reason, but hadn’t heard about the oxalic acid.
    Deserts in Arizona are truly a place of abundance as there are probably 50 lbs of mesquite beans to be raked up right out my front door. I’ve had jelly made from them (sweet, without adding sugar) and the meal is easy to make with a metate and mano.
    Tepary beans grow well here in saguaro country and are a traditional crop for Tohonon O’Odham. I gather there wasn’t much problem w/diabetes when they were a part of the diet. They are delicious.
    European honey bees, and now Africanized bees, are still common here despite the die-offs. I have three colonies within 500 feet of me. I guess I’d wait for a freezing cold winter night to mess with them, though.