Preparing for uncertain futures

By Michael and Cindy Winkelman

One doesn’t have to be a doomsayer or mystic to be able to see that there are a variety of possible — even likely — changes coming to the planet in the near future and that the status quo — socially, economically, politically and ecologically — is likely to change dramatically. This seemed obvious to me more than a decade ago. My own response to this realization began to crystallize with an ayahuasca vision that the planet was to undergo certain destruction in the not too distant future. This was 10 years ago. At the time, my wife could not imagine giving up her career for some “vision” I’d had, and she could not guarantee me that she’d be ready to accompany me. But she also did not want to impinge on me pursuing my intuitions. She began reading and researching the state of things and in time (fortunately) began to see the inevitable changes coming our way.

As a result, we have been on a path to prepare for these uncertainties while looking to improve our quality of life no matter what. The path was not linear, but from its inception it led us to the highlands of central Brazil. The path and method you use for your own adaptations will depend on many factors, including your resources and where you consider a good place. While I believe I was spiritually led to Brazil, we accepted it as a good place for our future based on a critical analysis of geological, ecological, social, political, economic, ethnic, and other factors. But wherever you may go, there are a variety of issues we addressed that will apply in most places and we’d like to share these with you here.

So what can you do to prepare for uncertainties?

There are certainly a lot of resources available such as books and the internet to help you determine how to do this, preparing for everything from the collapse of the U.S. dollar to the collapse of civilization [if it already hasn’t ;)] or to various apocalyptic scenarios of ecological disaster ranging from the return of the 12th planet (Elenin?) and nuclear winter to global warming and rising ocean levels. Can you prepare for everything? No, but you can do a lot! For starters, educate yourself, consider leaving the US/northern hemisphere (or at least populated areas), obtain sustainable living conditions, secure food and water, develop food production, build secure structures, and so on.

Location, Location, Location

If you finally get your move on when the proverbial shit hits the fan, it will probably be too late. Remember the miles of stalled cars fleeing Katrina? You have to be where you want to be when it happens. If you can’t get to a sustainable trajectory now, it will be virtually impossible to achieve it when the collapse happens. You’ll need to be in a safe environment that can provide a lot of the basics of life — particularly water, food and security — if the larger macroeconomic systems fail.

Our initial orientation to survival adaptations suggested that we find a small town to live in with about 5,000 friendly natives located in an agricultural area at least two tanks of gas away from the closest major city. That is tough. Where we’ve ended up in Brazil we are less than a tank of gas from Brasilia and Goiania, cities with more than a million people each. The town we live near (just a few kilometers away) contains 20,000 people. But because of a variety of factors (including ecological, agricultural self-sufficiency, fuel sufficiency, enormous resources, good security apparatus) we do not expect that this area of Brazil will collapse in the same way as the “advanced” economies of the northern hemisphere. We selected this area in part because of local sustainable agriculture and plentiful fresh water. We invested in several tracts of land that have these characteristics, one about 15 miles away from where we live near a town of 4,000 where we immediately planted an orchard and established friendships with some of the locals as a kind of backup plan.

Retirement with Time and Money

Having the time and money to prepare is key. I got mine with an early retirement from a state retirement system. Key issues were: doing as much of my job as possible online; purchasing 10 years of service based on previous employment; paying for service purchase with payroll deductions and rolling over IRAs; working overtime (100%) with part-time jobs at other state institutions for 3 years to double my retirement; and taking a substantial lump sum payment at retirement. My wife’s employment helped us maintain our lifestyle while most of my earnings went into saving for the future. We were able to secure some startup capital, my time is now my own, and I have a continuing source of income as long as the US economic system lasts. If you don’t have resources it is tough, but with time and a good piece of land (with clean water preferably) you can still do a lot (e.g., see Earthbag Building).

Protecting Resources

Protecting the value of my monetary resources began some years ago when it was less apparent that this would be necessary. The inevitable collapse of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency meant putting my savings in something besides dollars. Standard advice includes bank accounts in foreign currency, and land, particularly in foreign country and/or agricultural lands where you want to live. I refinanced my home right before the real estate market crash; I now have an “underwater” house I am renting out in the US and with the funds from the refinance, a home I own free and clear here in Brazil. It may be a little late for you to do this now but the basic principle still applies. Get your home equity into something useful to provide some self-sufficiency.

Preparing for Self-Sufficiency

Self-sufficiency is nearly impossible but it is possible to plan for greater self-reliance. Permaculture is the basic concept — establishing a way to provide for your own subsistence. Three years ago I first planted a fruit orchard on our small 20-acre tract. Last year when we purchased our home here in Brazil I also immediately planted 50 fruit-bearing trees, vines, and bushes. We installed gutters and water-capture tanks this year. We just finished a 12×12 foot fenced garden area with a “pig wire” (much stronger than chicken wire) base on top of a brick foundation, followed with a chicken wire enclosure higher up and a roof with nylon shade cloth, providing protection from pigs, cows, birds, and voracious capybara which consumed an entire garden overnight last September. We have a larger 15×45 foot bean garden with a chicken wire enclosure 1.5 meters high. Likely won’t stop hungry pigs and cows, but it can keep out rabbits.

Storage of Food and Essentials

First, water. Did I mention water? Get a water filter, the small ceramic hand pump variety, as well as a larger passive system. A small hand pump will work for water from your pool, pond, etc. Then think of storing larger quantities in tanks, cisterns, ponds, underground, etc. or make a system to get it to you (hose, canals, etc). We capture rainwater into three tanks totaling 20,000 liters — it isn’t much. We are contemplating a pond to capture run off from the road. Investigate water purification systems — there are a variety of passive systems.

Food. In addition to planting, think about storage. Japanese people were without food for crucial periods after the earthquake. And the infrastructure was still mostly in place. Ditto in the US during the big freeze in early 2011. No fruits, vegetables, meat or milk after 3 days of freeze. What do you need to store? Well after water … First if you are vegetarian/vegan like us, it is easier. I made a plan based on info in the book When Technology Fails. The criteria there offered an idea of a 1 person/year; I modified for vegetarian for 1 month. My wife thinks it is way too much, but I eat 3 times as much as her.

The basic food categories and quantities for 1 month are:

Grains 30 lbs
Legumes 15 lbs
Nuts 5 lbs
Dried/canned fruits 5-10 lbs.
Sprouting seeds (wheat, alfalfa, rice, etc)
Canned vegetables—basically none besides tomato paste, peas and corn but you may have more choices,
Spices, leavening agents, salt, sugar, dried milks
Oils (2 liters+), vinegars, sauces
Drinks (tea, coffee, milk, powdered, etc.)
Seeds for garden
Miscellaneous personal (i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoos) and cleaning supplies.

You are probably best off with low-cook items — thin pastas, pre-cooked cereals, couscous, canned corn and peas. You also need to consider how you will cook your food, especially if the power grid is down. Select foods with a longer shelf life. Freeze twice for 72 hours, two weeks apart, to kill bugs, and then their hatched eggs, then vacuum seal the food in plastic bags for an extended life. In general do not freeze jars or canned items. We store our sealed food in recycled plastic bins with screw lids, generally separating dry and wet items. The size and configuration of bins determined by local availability, dimensions of your storage area, and your strength. We are finishing our 6th, 1-month storage period. It is a surprising amount of work. We will probably continue until we have a year’s worth of food. We hear that “pre-Fukishima food” may have a premium value in the near future.
You might also consider storing “trade items” — for use in barter. Among the things we have seen recommended are: coffee, sugar, salt, soap, toilet paper, perfumes!, canned foods, basic medicines, tools, candles, and books.

Tools and Skills

As we have engaged in various construction projects here I have generally bought whatever tools were needed by workers and kept them. You should consider what your future agricultural and construction activities might require and acquire them. Also acquire the skills to build with local materials. Since, like Guy, I was an academic, I accompanied the workers on all of our projects here in order to acquire knowledge about how to do these things myself. (You can save a lot of time and money and expedite your learning curve by hiring Guy to personally guide you and help you get set up. He’s become an expert through trial and error.)

Another basic suggestion for survival preparation is acquiring skills that can be bartered from wood and metal work to gardening and local foraging. Basic first aid training or good manuals are good ideas. A good first aid kit with simple surgical supplies is also an important item.

Building Shelter

We bought a house because we did not want to rent while we built, nor did I want to live far from my construction site. Purchasing a small home with a large lot in the area we wanted to live also stored our monetary resources in something less susceptible to the dollar’s decline. We first did a number of functional upgrades (guest house, garage, storage building, water storage, etc.) and are now on to constructing our major “catastrophe proof building” basically a super-adobe structure reinforced with steel and concrete foundation and structure. We are calling this planned structure our “mushroom cultivation area” — underground for cool varieties, above ground super-adobe without windows for “night mushrooms” and a second floor brick structure for drying. Earth is the most plentiful building material, and super-adobe techniques have great thermal properties, as well as an ability to resist hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and even solar flares and radiation. It is a relatively cheap structure. You could probably still refinance your house and build a super-adobe structure with the equity. Okay, maybe 1/3 of you have enough financial equity. If you are healthy, you have a lot of “sweat equity” to invest. Good luck.

Community and Security

People you can count on are probably the most important issue for long-term success. These are also people you may have to help. This is a tough issue if you move away, unless you take your highly self-sufficient friends. Good luck. A church network might be particularly advisable. We bought a home in a so-called “ecological community,” a gated community outside of our small town. The few neighbors we have are really just weekend visitors from the big cities who come to enjoy their country home for a few days, but they are all very friendly and nice. This is just our first step.

We also have an 80-acre tract a few miles away that I own with a few associates with a long term plan of building a sustainable community. Right now I am just trying to get to a sustainable home place — my natal chart said to secure personal life before committing to community development. It certainly keeps my marital life together :) In the small, charming colonial town we live near, we are also building relationships with locals. This is imperative for us since we came to a foreign country with no network. As we more diligently address the issue of community, we realize the networks we are building are primarily with local people who work for us in construction and gardening. We are contemplating church involvement for purely social reasons. We also shop locally as much as possible, as opposed to going to the nearby cities in order to build social capital and perhaps future credit. We invite acquaintances, local and foreigners, to visit us with an eye to building the relationships that may help build a supportive network and community.

What to do Next?

Well, more of the above. Stay focused and relaxed. Expand food and water storage, maybe build a pond. Build irrigation systems for food plants. Build secure super adobe buildings. Learn medicinal plants. Acquire water pumps (mechanical?) and an electrical power source and storage areas. Develop friendships locally and stay connected. Good luck.

Comments 152

  • Thank you Cindy and Michael.

    I just received the book “Surviving The Economic Collapse” by Fernando Ferfal Aguirre.Thanks go to Turboguy! for recommending this book.

    Double D

  • I was a bit disappointed to see your “food” section was primarily about storage, rather than production.

    Much of the article has a “survivalist” slant that I think is counter-productive to long-term survival.

    I would like to know more about how you are building and maintaining soil, what animals you use for what purposes, how you’re using perennials, and how you are progressing toward weaning yourself of your retirement income.

    So many people view life as a series of events: financial crashes, peak oil, hurricanes, earthquakes. Yes, events do happen, but I find it more useful to view life as a bunch of inter-connected processes: growing food, producing energy, earning income, building local economy, etc.

    I know I differ with Guy and many others in saying this, but I think humanity will go out with a whimper, not a crash.

    If you prepare for a whimper, you’ll do okay in a crash, as well. But if you only prepare for a crash, they might find your body next to your empty bug-out bag, the floor strewn with wrappers from freeze-dried food that you ate while waiting for the crash that never came, while things were getting steadily, but imperceptibly, worse, from day-to-day.

    “Freeze twice, then vacuum seal” sounds like preparation for a crash, rather than a whimper. When there’s no electricity, will you simply wind up your your hand-cranked freezer/vacuum sealer? :-)

    So Michael and Cindy, I don’t mean to be overly critical, and I am certain you’ve taken a long view as well as a short one. I’d like to hear more of what you’re planning for long-term — call it either post-crash, or during whimper, as you will.

    For example, we’re planting blight-resistant American Chestnut trees this fall. They won’t bear for 6-10 years, and won’t be mature for 40, but from then on, they’ll produce 80% of the oil that canola would produce in the same area, but with zero effort, other than picking up the nuts.

  • Isn’t this just another form of colonialism? Using the power of the US dollar to appropriate land in a less developed country? Aren’t there huge numbers of displaced and impoverished people in Brazil that can’t afford to buy land in their own country?

    Maybe I’m just jealous, but I’m getting really tired of Baby Boomers telling the rest of us how they are preparing for the future by leveraging the economic gains they made by selling out the next generations to buy land and prepare for the collapse. What about those of us who are currently renters and due to the economic collapse have no chance of buying property and learning how to grow food in time? Should we all just quietly die?

    It’s the same individualist thinking that’s gotten us in this predicament in the first place.

  • Jan & James,

    Valid criticisms.

    We should each make our stands where we have lived and worked most of our lives. This is where we used the resources and had our impact. Teach your neighbors by example. My feeble effort includes an ever expanding garden, particularly in my front yard. We have always favored “voluntary simplicity.” The neighbors respect our life style, although they find us a bit odd, but pleasant and harmless.

  • Well Jan Steinman, at the risk of merely repeating myself, before food storage there was “Preparing for Self-Sufficiency”: Three years ago I first planted a fruit orchard on our small 20-acre tract. Last year when we purchased our home here in Brazil I also immediately planted 50 fruit-bearing trees, vines, and bushes. . . . We just finished a 12×12 foot fenced garden area with a “pig wire” [and] have a larger 15×45 foot bean garden with a chicken wire enclosure 1.5 meters high.

    We don’t eat meat so no pigs, cows or chickens of our own. :)
    Whether it is whimper, crash or prolonged decline, we plan to count on the garden that we fertilize with manure acquired from local ranchers and from the big compost pile we maintain by cleaning our lot.

    As to “appropriating” land, we bought a small fraction of a large fazenda. Most rural people have access to land, which they unfortunately use primarily for cattle herding. There is actually a lot of unutilized land in rural Brasil because of the major migrations to the cities where 80% of the population lives.

    As to staying where I grew up, well I am tired of my tax dollars going to support the largest terrorist organization in the world. Hopefully after three years of double taxation I will be able to help reduce that funding for the (miniscule) benefit of all.

    And the new emerging economies of the world are in part growing because people are allocating their resources to areas of the world that are more sustainable, democratic, profitable, etc. We feel that by moving to Brasil we have not only helped contribute to Brasil’s growth, but even more importantly provided a positive example for Brasilians who all too often see “progress” in terms of going to work in the US or Europe. Sustainability and self-sufficiency is a good message to take anywhere.

  • On location, I can sympathize with Curtis’s view to “make our stands where we have lived.”

    On the other hand, I think there’s a one-time opportunity for those who are either not particularly connected to where they live, or who have grave misgivings about the prospects for where they live.

    What if you happened to live in a big city in the desert southwest, and have just recently discovered peak oil or climate change or [name your favourite impending disaster here] — what do you do, go down with the ship?

    I think the ideal location has little to do with “gas tanks from a city,” and much, much more to do with the people who are already there. They are the people Curtis is talking about, who you will be making a stand with. Is there a good sense of community and mutual support? Do they have some understanding of the perilous future that awaits us all? Is there a strong “local” sufficiency ethic? Answers to these questions mean a lot more to me than how far you are from a city. “Establishing friendships with some of the locals” is not a “backup plan;” it is the plan!

    We also chose to leave the US, going to a nearby country that is a net energy exporter. That combination may at some point lead to anschluss, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. To us, the question was: does this country currently support the life-style that we want to lead in the future? The US barely tolerates voluntary simplicity. You’re supposed to be pulling yourself up with your own bootstraps! You’re supposed to marry a millionaire! You’re supposed to be constantly mobiling upward! So we picked a country with guaranteed health care and tolerance for low income. We didn’t intend to be “on the dole,” but we wanted to be “off the grid.” Example: if your gross sales is below $30,000, you don’t have to deal with sales tax — in the US, your first dollar of self-employed income requires you to hire a bookkeeper and an accountant.

    We chose an island — for both positive and negative reasons. If the excrement does get applied to the ventilator, I think it will be better to have a moat around us than to be two gas tanks away from a city. But the positive reasons have been so much more fruitful: an island community is a tight community, much more willing to do business with each other than go off-island to big-box stores. That is what I mean by seeking a certain community ethic above all else.

    I have to agree that moving among poor brown people while living on retirement funds is not the best way to make and keep friends. There will always be a divide, and if the pension “goes away” for some reason, you may find yourself in the midst of resentful strangers.

  • James ~ no, I don’t believe you should “just die quietly”. Hardly! Each generation learns from their predecessors, so take what you’ve learned from our innovations and from our mistakes and change the course of things. Create a better world for yourself and others.

    When I first learned to drive, gas was just 10 cents a gallon and I thought it smelled oh so good. Little did I know…little did my dad know what harm that magical fluid would cause, the pollution, the wars….

    It is not the intention of a previous generation to cause harm to the next, to create a hostile world for their own children. (We have a 28 year old son living in So. California. He is struggling to find his way, even with his excellent education. He doesn’t want to live in Brazil and we understand his perspective.)

    We are well aware of the damage our generation has caused – now, but when we were living it, we were doing only what we thought was right and good. Limited resources were not a concern. Everything seemed so plentiful. Water was always clean. Wildlife was abundant. Wealthy people paid taxes. Life was good. Just in my little lifetime (we are in our 50’s – we retired young on purpose) I’ve seen lakes that I swam in as a teenager become too polluted for my son to swim in now. That’s sad!

    I admit that I had a wonderful life in the US. I received a great education for next to nothing and I had a fabulous career. I traveled to so many places and experience such wonderful things.

    But after my husband’s “vision” and my own self education in my effort to make sense of it all, it’s like I just woke up one day. Once I “got” what was happening, there was no turning back. My career became meaningless. My motivation waned. I’d rather be planting my garden in the hinterlands of Brazil than drinking fine wine in some silly fancy restaurant in NYC.

    To feel that I’d have to leave my country of birth to find a place that gave me peace of mind and offered the basics like plentiful clean air and water is a sad testament indeed to the situation we find ourselves today on this planet.

    I wish I could apologize for what “my generation” did, but we were just living the American dream, something I’d imagine you would also do – if the dream existed now as it did then.

    Listen and learn. If you don’t like the way the “baby boomers” are preparing for the future, then look to create a better one for yourself. Like with every generation, it’s up to you to create a better future, not only for yourself, but your children, and your own generation. I wonder what the next next generation will think of yours.

  • When I read that 80% of the population ended up in the cities, my first thought was “where will they go when things go tits up?”

    I can’t believe that millions of people, many of whom are fresh off the land, will not think “Hey! I used to farm in the bush and there’s no reason not to go back.” What will people, who have prepared extensively, do if those people arrive on their doorstep with little sense of community or allegiance? I think that each of these communities will need major security with physical blocks to access: walls, gates, moats, and so on. Sounds more and more like a feudal system.

    I think people believe that their own ideas of some sort of inherent friendliness will, of course, apply to everyone. They see themselves as part of a wonderful fair community where conflict is resolved through talk and mediation. But that is not how humans behave, particularly “civilized” humans. One only need look to how Europeans treated the indigenous population. Wither the Arawak? And we need not look back to Columbus to find such examples. Look at the Amazonian tribes that are being pushed off their lands and often simply shot out off hand.

    Getting away from the madness of civilization is problematic at best. Michael and Cindy may think they are far from the dangerous crowds, but think of the tribes deep within the forests. They were found and destroyed.

    Their instinct to form community is correct. Only through association with numbers can individuals survive when surrounded by the insane.

    I wish them the best of luck.

    R.A.Davies of the Heirloom Blog.

  • Republican Agonistes

    For those interested in the US debt ceiling debate,I recommend David Brooks article “The Mother Of All No-Brainers” in today’s (Tuesday,July 5,2011) New York Times.Brooks is a Republican oriented conservative,but
    noted for his fair and balanced reporting.

    So it is with great interest to read from his pen “the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party”. He’s referring to the inordinate influence of the Tea Party in the GOP.He is dismayed that the Republicans opposes closing
    tax loopholes and tax subsidies for the wealthy in the debt ceiling talks.

    I’ve had the idea in the back of my mind that the Tea Party adherents
    are the internecine force that could destroy the Republican Party. In
    my 1968 book,”The New Consensus,Conservatism and the GOP”,I posit that the conservative principles of the Republican Party could lead them to
    political dominance in the US. Maybe—but if Brooks is correct,and I suspect that he is,then the GOP has come full circle to it’s own extinction.

    If,according to Brooks,the debt ceiling talks fail,the fault will be seen to fall on responsible Republicans,for their failure to control
    the fanatics (read:Tea Party members)in their midst.In that case independents will conclude that” Republicans are not fit to govern”

    Double D

  • Jan ~ when I first read your comment “I have to agree that moving among poor brown people while living on retirement funds is not the best way to make and keep friends”, I thought you were alarmingly culturally insensitive!

    But then I thought (hoped?!) that you may have misread our statement about building a community network here in our little town. The construction and gardening people we work with here have become part of our network, and I assume that they are who you elude to by the term “poor brown people.” Don’t get us wrong, we definitely do want to be on good terms with them, as well as with people in local business, and even with “church going” folk.

    The Brazilian culture is very friendly and family oriented. In spite of a history of hardships, they tend to have a happy outlook on life. They are peace loving (i.e. 6 wars to the US 78 wars). These cultural characteristics are among the reasons we chose to settle in this southern hemisphere country.

    Unlike Phoenix, where we lived, the “poor brown people” here have small town Brazilian pride. They are not exploited and mistreated like the poor brown illegal immigrants in bigger cities here and like those in the gun totin’ state of Arizona.

    As for our pension, if it dries up we’re screwed either way (although we certainly won’t starve!). But when the sh%& really hits the fan, we believe our chances will be much in our favor here. Besides, it’s an excellent adventure, the lifestyle is awesome, and the language learning keeps my mind exercised!

    To each his/her own ;-)

  • Cindy, Michael, thanks for a great post. I applaud you for having the gumption to get up and do what you think you had to. If it works for you great, if it doesn’t, well at least you had the cojones to get up and do something. I don’t like labels and I don’t like people who think they are experts because they can google. Since the first time I came to this site I have totally enjoyed it because it is people walking the walk. You may not have it right, but who of us do? This is pretty much a first time for all of us.
    There are lots of folks reading this that are trying to decide what they should do, and you add alot of perspective.
    Just briefly here are my thoughts as they differ from yours. Sometimes we want to call our farm Do-over Farm because we have made some many mistakes along the way, so we in no way have it right.
    I lived overseas for 12 years. I used to speak pretty good Arabic and Chinese. I never felt in those 12 years that I was completely accepted by the locals, and those were in good times. We lived in gated communities and we also lived amongst the locals. My kids were born in a government hospital in Riyadh. I grew up in New England, and I know the woods and the animals, but not to the level, I’m learning them now. Starting all over again in Brazil at 50 wouldn’t work for me. We have at least 4 different types of oak trees and 5 maples on our property. Each has its own advantage.
    For us when we started we wanted to have a place that was affordable and that we could get to on a weekend. 5 hours was our limit in the car to and from.
    Ruppert says its too late to bug out, Guy says lights out in 2012.
    I certainly don’t agree with Mike, and my guess is Guy is 2 years too early.

    Here’s hoping all of the NBL folks keep contributing, and that we all keep learning.

  • Michael and Cindy Winkelman, thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences and insights. It is another fine example of “to each their own”.

    Being of brown stock and having done well in America, I have been fortunate enough to bridge that divide to the extent that I do not perceive it as a divide. Having come into close contact with the whole spectrum of society in my profession, I know that human nature is the same everywhere. The differences are primarily cultural and environmental, Your integration into a new culture and environment is to be applauded.

  • Scary for you guys but what about the developing Nations like India where because of sheer pressure of population, no land and fresh water is a luxury no more available to a majority of the people as in order to catch up with the west, Industrialisation is in full swing, rivers are getting converted into gutters, those on the successful bus are buying drinking water, those who are missing the bus are ending up with diseases in horrible hospitals, what way out ? TV is selling the dream –Americana, is bought by gullibel majority.

  • Cindy, Michael, thanks for a great post. I applaud you for having the gumption to get up and do what you think you had to. If it works for you great, if it doesn’t, well at least you had the cojones to get up and do something. I don’t like labels and I don’t like people who think they are experts because they can google. Since the first time I came to this site I have totally enjoyed it because it is people walking the walk.

    Well sai, Ed. I couldn’t put it better, which is why I quoted you!

    Michael and Cindy, the best of luck to the two of you. There are a lot of unknowns out there for all of us. In the next few years we should begin to see things get very poorly in society and possibly in our own lives, those of us NBLers still around. I, too, applaud you for having the courage to walk away from familiarity and into a new life. You are good examples for all of us – having the strength of purpose to do something about it.

    As others have said so well, not everyone has the opportunity you have had, but the important message about that, in my mind however, is that when presented with the opportunity, you took it. That’s admirable.

    Thanks for your contribution and keep us informed from time to time of your experiences.

  • those on the successful bus are buying drinking water, those who are missing the bus are ending up with diseases in horrible hospitals, what way out ? TV is selling the dream –Americana, is bought by gullibel majority.

    zubair ahmed

    I fear no way out now at all. These folks will be on the cutting edge of Collapse and things will continue to deteriorate. TV was ingeniously introduced as a marketing tool. It has always been that. It markets not only products through its sponsors, but acts as a propaganda vehicle for TPTB to infiltrate every nook and cranny of the world selling “the American Dream”, a direct capitalist ploy to bring the entire world under the direct influence of an economic system that is systematically destroying the world and shifting huge wealth into the hands of a few at the expense of the many. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, this system has accelerated dramatically, and has now taken over the world.

    The American Dream is, in truth, the American Nightmare. It will only be stopped when Nature comes up to the plate – and that is imminent.

  • Frank

    The Tea Party is a logical extension of a political system designed to sell one thing – small government, low taxes, reduced regulations – but to deliver ultimately quite another thing – a harsh feudal system under the control of a few elite. The end goal of both political parties in America is to overcome the influence of the people’s Constitution and to install a government more friendly to the control of the international elite – the international banking cartel and the huge multi-national corporations. We are becoming a corporate world owned and financed by a relatively small group of elite, and national governments (and sovereignty) will eventually give way.

    If you are interested in politics, don’t be. It is too late.

  • More good news:

    UN: Only Green Technology Can Avert ‘Planetary Catastrophe’

    Humanity is near to breaching the sustainability of Earth, and needs a technological revolution greater and faster than the industrial revolution to avoid “a major planetary catastrophe,” warns a new United Nations report.

    Download the actual report itself here:

  • Scary for you guys but what about the developing Nations like India

    Sadly, that country has missed the messages of both Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta and Buddhism or for that matter, Sufi-ism as in Sufi Mansoor’s Ana al Haq.

  • Sorry about tfe dead link. Here is a retry:
    Ana al Haq

  • Massive dust storm in Phoenix. Very reminiscent of the Dust Bowl
    One of the problems with choosing a place to settle down and await the coming storm of collapse is not knowing reliably what will happen with our weather anywhere in the world. Somewhat stable weather is essential for agriculture.

  • A couple of products/sites that may be of interest to folks here: Heard great things about these tools at the permies website Will buy #43 when we get closer to nut season. You can crack over a bushel an hour with it. We just purchased one of these. After two Mennonites that we know recommended them we figured the must have some value. Will let you know.

  • Michael and Cindy: excellent post. I echo the others here in my congratulations for following your dreams – literally. I am (almost) envious. :-)

    I have considered South America myself as it is relatively less populated than most other continents and it has far fewer nuclear power plants to irradiate the surrounding area when the power systems fail as well as fewer other relics of the industrial world.

    I decided against a move for several reasons. First is the “grass is always greener” concept. While it may appear from way up here in the north to be a good move free of many of our American problems, I’m sure it has its own unique set of problems that I’ve never considered. Also, as Kathy points out, the locations where the effects of global warming will be worst are unknown at this point. Could be like jumping from the pan into the fire. I’m also not a spring chicken. At 51 I’ve already picked up and started over from scratch several times in my life. I’m just not sure I have the energy to do it again. Compounding all of this are elderly parents who are nearing the end of their lives and who rely on me for their housing and other needs. How could I leave them when I know that these are the last few years (probably the last year for my Dad) I will have them with me?

    Perhaps those are all just excuses but for me, it’s enough. I’ll stay where I am and make the best of it.

    As to the concern of integrating into a community, that’s a challenge for all of us. In the U.S. unless you were born and raised and continue to live in the same rural area, then it’s likely that you are an outsider. But then again most of your community may be made up of outsiders. If you’re “different”, e.g. gay, non-white, non-Christian, disabled, etc., you may be considered an outsider no matter what your origins. I’ve been an outsider all my life. So, in addition to working to integrate into my community, I’ve also developed close ties with other “different” people in my neighborhood. When things get tough, I feel fairly confident that I’ll be able to count on them if no one else.

    Thanks again for a very informative post. I always enjoying reading about what others are doing to prepare.

  • kudos for thinking[& getting…mostly) outside the box cindy & michael; & thanks to guy for posting your story. great that the 2 of you got on the same page! quite creative with your dollars.

    thanks re the dust storm kathy.very good still shot. i had no idea we were having these. here’s another link;

    A massive dust storm descended on the Phoenix area, drastically reducing visibility and delaying flights as strong winds downed trees and left thousands of residents without power.

  • Sam, I can’t even imagine having such a storm pass over. By the way is your hen still setting?

  • Michael and Cindy,

    I greatly appreciated reading about your preparations. I have vastly different circumstances, as I’m sure many do, and as a result have chosen to do the best I can, with what I have, in place. I strove for several years to achieve some level of what you describe, only to be caught in the already unfolding collapse that rendered many of my options like land acquiring or moving to a more survivable region unattainable, at least for the foreseeable future. I now rely heavily on skill building and as you stated “my natal chart said to secure personal life before committing to community development”, I have found securing personal life (or walking the talk) to be a more fruitful activity than my efforts of attempting to cobble together a community. I know Orlov has written about cohesiveness of organically formed communities versus those forcefully created.

    So, here we all are, attempting to piece together some semblance of existence post collapse of industrial civilization. It’s comforting to know you all are out there.

  • James Says: “Isn’t this just another form of colonialism? Using the power of the US dollar to appropriate land in a less developed country? Aren’t there huge numbers of displaced and impoverished people in Brazil that can’t afford to buy land in their own country?”

    All’s fair in love and war… and survival. If you had the means, wouldn’t you?

    James said: “What about those of us who are currently renters and due to the economic collapse have no chance of buying property and learning how to grow food in time? Should we all just quietly die?”

    Let me ask you a question, James: What about you? Do you think they’re supposed to take care of you if you can’t take the time to take care of yourself? Take care of yourself! Do you have a salable skill other than manual labor? Why not? Do you think it’s about time that you got around to getting one? If you’re going to quietly die, that’s your own fault, not anyone else’s.

    What can you do that is usable after a possible collapse? Can you repair a machine? Build a pump? Are you any good at agriculture? Agriculture is *FAR* more difficult than just:

    Step 1 Put seeds in ground
    Step 2 ??????
    Step 3 Profit!

    I’m personally not good at agriculture, but you know who is? Kathy. She’s a singularly talented green-thumber who’d be, I’m sure, more than happy to throw a pointer or two your way if you asked her reeeeealy nicely.

    Go to college and take a basic EMT course. That one course alone would put you right at the top of people that are extremely valuable. Even a “First Responder” certification would go a long way as far as preparation. Bump up to Paramedic if you’re awesome enough.

    I’ve got my paramedic and am really good at protection, in addition to being mechanically inclined and possessing rugged good looks. I’ve surrounded myself with people that fill my shortcomings. My SO is akin to Kathy. She can get anything to grow anywhere! My brother is an extremely talented metalworker and is far more mechanically inclined than I. My other brother is an ER doctor, good friend is a woodworker without peer and we all live very close to each other. (We basically own an entire city block)

    James said: “It’s the same individualist thinking that’s gotten us in this predicament in the first place.”

    No, it’s people that think everyone else needs to help them that are the reason we’re in the predicament we’re in right now. Help yourself. There’s three kinds of people in this world: Productive, Moochers and Looters. Which are you?

    Be an Ant, not a Grasshopper.

    A great place to start is at the Mormon food supply. They’ll throw a year’s worth of food at you for a good price, and that comes with water storage.

    GET IN SHAPE! Remember when the Zombie Apocalypse started, the fatties went first! Rule #1: Cardio. If you’re out of shape you’ll have all kinds of problems when the system starts shutting down. If you’re in shape now you won’t have half as many issues.

    Get your finances in order. You’re a tenant? Are you in an apartment/people hive or a house? If you’re in an apartment, find something else.

    You’ve got nearly the singularly best resource right here at your fingertips. Use it.

  • Turboguy!

    “possessing rugged good looks” do we !!

    Reminds one of the old days on Nature Bats Last.For you new comers,
    Turboguy! is an eminence grise on this site,one of my autochthonous
    brothers here.As such he is entitled to the privilege of self adoration.

    Double D

  • Megan McArdle has added her voice to the chorus of excoriation heaped upon the Republican Party for it’s failure to condemn it’s radical lunatic,read Tea Party fringe.

    Double D

  • I’ll admit I’ve been more than a little puzzled by the variety of opinions and arguments about moving someplace (whether the U.S. or abroad) and buying up land and/or spoils. In the years after the American Civil War, those opportunists were called carpetbaggers, and the sentiments are ugly. I also have misgivings about abandoning the country of my birth, despite serious disagreement with the direction things have been going for at least 60 years (longer than my lifetime). I used to want nothing more than to emigrate. But on July 4th a couple days ago, I marched in a band (playing Sousa marches) down Main Street of a nearby suburb, something I haven’t done in decades, and felt a modest pride swelling in me. As with all things, it’s complicated.

    I also read all the recommendations about what will be valuable post haste, and it all seems to be about healthcare and materials sciences (carpentry, agriculture, metalworking, etc.) but almost never include the humanities. Writers, thinkers, musicians, and others look to be useless, except for the fact that among humanity’s endless appetites are escapist entertainment needs. The mind needs nourishment as much as the belly.

    Sorry, I’m just venting for a change, all in the first person. Ugh.

  • Thank you everyone for your responses, both positive and negative. Each post makes me think for sure! It’s interesting how each person has their own goals, fears, constraints, talents; their own opinions.

    I agree that it’s a scary prospect to move to another country, especially one that speaks a language other than English. Michael and I had the opportunity to take students into Mexico to learn about the culture there for over 15 years (Michael was a cultural anthropologist and had a summer program for college age students). This gave us some first hand experience living in another country and speaking another language and I can tell you, language is not my forte, unfortunately! (I’m using Rosetta Stone…highly recommended.)

    From my view, relationships are personal, no matter what culture you come from. At the end of the day, we are all human. If we treat each other with dignity and respect, then it’s not that difficult to make new friends. I have found that a smile and simple kindness can win the hearts of many, even without good words (as in my case!).

    I am also fortunate in that my parents, who divorced nearly 40 years ago, remarried people 19 and 21 years younger than them! It is a blessing to know that they have young spouses to care for them as they age. Internet technology also makes the distance not so great. I gave both of my parents a tour of my home here via Skype (for Mother’s and Father’s day) and they loved it! They can’t travel, but they enjoy living vicariously through me/us.

    My high school boyfriend (not my husband) was also Mormon and way back then they had a year’s worth of food stored. It is standard practice (as Turboguy suggested). Sometimes when I’m freezing or packing an item of food I wonder what the future will look like when I reopen it. I wonder if it will be me, or perhaps someone else who will benefit perhaps even long after we are gone. It’s hard to know what the future will bring.

    And as for the changing weather, we wonder about that too, but that would be the case no matter where you live on earth. The place we live now has plenty of pristine water, and an arid landscape where lush (food) plants grow year round. It is also among the oldest landscapes on earth. There are so many crystals imbedded in the earth here, that they say you can see it shining from space during a full moon! Not sure if that’s good or bad, but it’s certainly interesting and intriguing.

    I think that no matter where you live, the most important thing is to be aware of where we are headed and prepare, even if just mentally. So many of my “friends” in the US think I’m “such a bummer” because I tell them they should learn how to plant food, store water (at least!) and the like. I’ve actually given some of my US friends 5 gallon water containers, only to discover later that they don’t even get filled. Now that’s sad! They take my caring attitude and my educated outlook as an inconvenience because they don’t want to think about anything so negative. And I suppose that’s their birthright, so I can respect it, but I worry that it could be very difficult and scary for them in the end.

    Finally, we invite you to visit us here if you are so inclined. Guy knows how to contact us if you are interested. Life is a gift, enjoy it!

  • You forgot the most important preparation of all, which far outweighs everything else: mental/spiritual preparation. If you are not mentally prepared for apocalypse, you will simply break and no amount of material preparation will save you. Personally I favor a proactive approach rather than cowering in fear; when the zombie apocalypse starts I plan to be one of the zombie leaders!

  • Dear Cindy and Michael Winkelman,

    I just found your article on and I really liked it. I have been having a hard time lately, I feel like I am living in a pressure cooker…I am psychic and I have just seen too much, starting in 2008, I knew I had to get some roots by 2012 OR ELSE. Just recently moved to Phoenix, mostly to be with my best friend and then I am moving to WA for alittle bit and then after that, I need to get somewhere…somewhere almost permanent. And I am not quite sure where to go yet. I know I need to get somewhere that will be relatively stable in the coming years (I mean seismically/cosmically, I don’t mean financially or even infrastructurally) I have been thinking about Ireland/Scotland, because of my inheritance (last name is hegarty…hah) but those are islands and are a bit too north for my taste, I need tropical, where I can grow tropical fruit trees and eat lots of coconut! And I just recently looked at things again, and I came to the conclusion, that Africa and South America would probably the most stable. I don’t want to live in the Pacific, as much as I love asia and Hawaii, I can’t be near the ring of fire, and the US is too volatile, too many humans, too many bad feelins, I don’t really like Europe very much, Australia … nah …too much of an island…even though its big….So looks like South American or Africa it is…And I have always loved Africa but then Carlos Barrios is my favorite author of all time!!! :) No matter what happens with Elenin, I know it’s a astrological metaphor, and its a big metaphor… Do you have any suggestions for South America besides Brazil? Thanks for your determination….you are the only people that will be left in these changing times


  • Brutus:

    Don’t get caught up in the religious fervor of July 4th. As Jay Leno has shown, many Americans don’t even know what is being celebrated.
    More likely your country has abandoned you, rather than you abandoning it.

    Sean the Mystic:

    Really, how does one prepare mentally for apocalypse? It has to be worse than preparing for war. We have no experience with apocalypse. How do we compare or judge? I understand what you are saying. I myself cannot know what events may take place and how I will react, and I have been expecting this for decades.

    Even in the Middle East where war has been common for decades, I would think that among those who have no experience with it, there is running and screaming when the first bombs fall.

  • Hi Cindy / Michael:

    Is this per person per month? Or the two of you per month?

    Grains 30 lbs
    Legumes 15 lbs

    Also, how do the type of grains break down? Wheat versus rice versus corn, etc.

    Are legumes predominantly beans or peas or ????


  • Curtis, just remember: when the going gets dark, the dark take over. I recommend finding a spiritual path that is far removed from the “goodness and light” bullshit that everyone in the West is raised with — an ideology that is comfortable with death, darkness and violence is essential. I’ve come up with my own eclectic combination of Zen Buddhism, Nietzschean philosophy and Satanism that works for me. Basically I have embraced the dark side and become a Sith Lord-in-training. It isn’t for everyone, but let’s just say that now that I have made fear my ally, I’m rather looking forward to the Apocalypse ;)

  • Sean the Mystic:

    I know about the “going gets dark…” I wrote computer software for 45 years. Mine worked, but a lot of others’ did not. Fear takes over your DNA.

    The upside of the “Pockelipse”, is no new versions of Windows.

  • She’s Alive… Beautiful… Finite… Hurting… Worth Dying for.

    5 mins of beauty and horror

  • @ Turboguy,Thanks for saving me a lot of typing.You sure put James in his/her place.
    M&C winkelman,cudos..although not relocating to a differen’t country(Although your reasons for leaving the States are so valid),we have done the same within our own country,Australia,for all the same reasons and with most of the same idea’s and thought process’s.

    People that get up and actually do something for and to empower themselves are alright in our books and can’t be faulted for trying on any level.

  • Michael and Cindy Winkelman, i have the highest admiration for the intelligence, independence, hard work, fortitude, determination, and forethought u’ve put into collapse preps. marvelous, simply marvelous. i wish u the best, and thanks for sharing what could be very useful, life-saving ideas and knowledge. for those who think they can take a similar path, i highly recommend doing so, and consider u to be likewise very gifted and fortunate sheople (considering our surreal circumstances).

  • Great post! I wish you both the best and have great admiration for you and your choices. I do hope our paths cross down the road. My wife and I are making our own tough choices and it’s nice to know you’re out there making your plans a reality.

  • The mind needs nourishment as much as the belly.

    If one recollects Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the belly comes before the mind. This is particularly true of aesthetics. 

    You forgot the most important preparation of all, which far outweighs everything else: mental/spiritual preparation.

    For a change, a valid point. This addresses issues that lie much deeper than emotions. Emotions modulate the intellect which in turn effects actions. Those issues are usually plastered over with a variety of “religions” which at their core are motivated by commercial issues. However this goes much deeper than any mental (= intellectual) preparation. 

    Really, how does one prepare mentally for apocalypse? It has to be worse than preparing for war. We have no experience with apocalypse. How do we compare or judge?

    The mental preparation referred to here is intellectual preparation. Before that comes the emotions, and the real preparation lies deeper than the emotions. 

    Curtis, just remember: when the going gets dark, the dark take over.

    There is no darkness to a shining lamp. Even when it is taken into the darkest of places, it is surrounded by it’s own light. It is said that the last words of the Buddha were “be a light unto thyself and a lamp unto others”. 

  • Frank: LOL! I remember those days well. I found it funny that I was accused of being the new guy around here.

    That said, slow down the Republican Vs. Democrat stuff. They’re both two sides of the same coin. If the Democrats proposed that we firebomb the city of Phoenix tomorrow, the Republicans would scream foul and propose that we do half at 11:59PM and the other half at 12:01AM! There is absolutely no difference between them aside from the letter before their names.

    The Tea party was co-opted by the Republicans because it was a threat to the party line and the Old Guard. They’re one and the same.

    Resa, I don’t know if this has been talked about recently, but a great way to keep the buggies out of your legumes and grains, and thus make them last considerably longer, is to put a cup of food grade Diatomacious Earth in each bag or container and mix it up. Not only will it keep bugs out of your grub, it’ll keep worms out of YOU! (And your dog)

    Brutus said: “I also read all the recommendations about what will be valuable post haste, and it all seems to be about healthcare and materials sciences (carpentry, agriculture, metalworking, etc.) but almost never include the humanities. Writers, thinkers, musicians, and others look to be useless, except for the fact that among humanity’s endless appetites are escapist entertainment needs. The mind needs nourishment as much as the belly.”

    Indeed! Nothing kills like boredom, and all those things you listed would be a quite salable skill! Giving people a way to escape the doldrums of just making it through today to tomorrow people will nearly kill for!

    The ability to tell a good story, sing a song, or make people laugh is just as important as being able to stitch up a gashed forehead if not moreso. Morale is the glue that turns a bunch of individuals into a team.

  • Not much has been said here about the ExxonMobil oil spill on the Yellowstone River in Montana. Again, a major oil company is attempting a cover-up of vital information needed for clean-up and risk analysis. Again, we have a situation where the company has told local and federal officials one thing about the risk of a pipeline rupture and the time it would take to shut it down, and have demonstrated another when it actually happens.

    One thing the article noted that I believe should be of concern is that for the state, the Yellowstone crossing is only one of some 88 such crossings in the state. And this is just one state. Imagine the number of river crossings in the country! These are crossings where the piping infrastructure might be ageing, rusting, and in other way subject to deterioration due to under-maintenance or river erosion.

    For a country the size of the USA, maintaining a huge infrastructure during difficult economic times is near impossible.

    We will see more of this.

  • And here is news of interest. The Chinese Red Cross up to its neck in corruption.

    Why is this interesting? Much of the corruption is being revealed after thousands of “netizens” read a blog and turn their combined efforts into a mass investigation by searching the Net for information. This event shows the truly awesome power that is coming into play as a result of the Internet. And more importantly, it shows clearly why TPTB are so threatened by it.

  • Thanks, TurboGuy, on the storage tip. Bugs are always an issue. I try to refresh my grains and legumes each summer as they harvest out. Whatever’s left from the previous winter then goes to the livestock. I’m successful most years although last summer was a bum one for corn.

    The garden (thus far) has been producing great. I dug up a couple hundred head of garlic this evening. We’re in the low 80s and a hot spell cures them out nicely. Shallots and potatoes are next. I even managed to get my hay in without being rained on this year. Sweated it out though. Four of the six days were chilly and overcast.

    BTW, you crack me up sometimes with your comments. My sister was an MP for a number of years and some of what she’s talked about parallels your experiences.

  • Kathy
    She’s Alive… Beautiful… Finite… Hurting… Worth Dying for.

    Or what a movie, thank you.

  • She’s Alive… Beautiful

    First time Indian classical music sounded good. Thanks!

  • Kathy

    Great video…..many thanks for that.

  • Resa, as a reference where are you located, approximately? Also what kind of corn are you growing? This is our first year. We are growing a Nothstine Dent (100 days) and Painted Mountain Flour(85 days). Any varieties that you have tried that have worked well for you?

    And for anyone: Experience on how much root crops to put away for the winter. For us in NY, besides potatoes, its time to plant for an early November harvest stuff like beets, rutabages, turnips…. We read 300 pounds for 2 people is enough, but it doesn’t sound like that much. Thx

  • Ed,

    You might try working it calorically. If you know how many calories you’re expecting to eat of these foods you can calculate how many pounds are required to deliver that number of calories, hence how much to store.

  • Ed,

    We’re trying Painted Mountain too. Ours is looking good so far but it was so cold this year that we got a late start. Hopefully the claims of cold hardiness will be true and we will make it through the frost we get the third week of every August. Maybe global warming will save us this year.

    Michael Irving

  • Resa ~ regarding food storage. Grains as you prefer, or ask a nutritionist :-). In any case avoid plain white rice, use parboiled instead for nutrients. And consider low cook grains (couscous, oatmeal, tabouli). As to legumes (yes, red, back, white, pinto, etc, beans, lentils, soy, etc.)

    Kathy ~ what a beautiful video! Thanks for the link. I shared it with my FB friends. Some of the footage reminds me of the BBC’s “Earth” series, a beautiful compilation of plants and animals filmed with state-of-the-art equipment. A must see if you love this planet! It also reminded me of the 1983 film “Koyaanisqatsi – Life Out of Balance” redone in 2002. Also a must see.

    As for the comments regarding mental and spiritual preparation, indeed, this is extremely important. As mentioned in our original post, I was not at all convinced that I should change my career course due to one of Michael’s so called visions. Over time I’ve learned to trust my husband’s (spiritual?) intuitions. They continue to serve us well. But it was tough in the beginning.

    We considered Hawaii, then Utah, then New Zealand and Australia. We traveled to Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. When, for a wide variety of reasons (including spiritual intuitions and coincidences) we decided on Brazil, Michael went after a Fullbright Research Professorship here for one year so that we could travel around, meet people, and experience first hand what life might be like here.

    That first year was TOUGH, no doubt! It was by far the most difficult year of our long marriage. It nearly broke my heart, literally (still brings tears to my eyes just writing about it), to think we might not make it. This was particularly disconcerting because I had already “mentally” readied myself to live here. I’d already bought into not just the adventure, but also the basic necessity, and the looming future.

    Fortunately, two years later we are settled, happy, healthy and thriving in our new homeland. The mental preparation (educating myself was key for me) and spiritual grounding allowed us to survive the initial “culture shock”, making it an overall successful journey.

    I would also like to say that surviving in Brazil with the same sort of entrepreneurial spirit that has allowed so many to be successful in the US is extremely difficult, if not impossible. We had the good fortune or a pension and with that obtained a retirement visa. I highly doubt that we would be able to achieve what we are doing here otherwise.

    Another American we know who is living here came with the intention of making it doing astrology readings. Over the past year, he has lost nearly everything and survives on next to nothing (he’s also here illegally now). He says he’s never felt desperate for something as basic as food before. But in spite of his hardships, he is a happy nearly homeless guy, thanks to his belief that extraterrestrials won’t let anything bad happen to the earth and will be arriving soon to save us all.

    As I said ~ to each his/her own!

  • P.S. Resa ~ the list of foods in the original post was adapted for one person a month based on the book “When Technology Fails”. The book lists twice this much for two people and I thought it was overkill, especially when you are also growing food, etc. I just didn’t think I’d eat that much! We also adapted it for our vegetarian lifestyle. As Turboguy stated above, you can order rations from the Mormon Church. You might look to see what they include. It’s not an exact science for sure. Pick a good healthy balance of foods you like. Freeze and store with intention to avoid bugs. You might also consider foods, items for bartering.

    Just some food for thought ~

  • One more thing I want to mention ~ we also visited Guy to see what he as doing before we left for Brazil on our first big extended stay adventure. He showed us some impressive things. We learned a lot and the experience REALLY helped us with our planning. While we’ve ended up doing some things different, his guidance and example helped ensure our success.

    Plus Guy’s such a super nice and fun guy to be around ;-).

  • Turboguy!

    Great hearing from you.Now listen up everyone: Turboguy! and I are the Old Guard.The rest of you are “new”.

    Clarification: I didnt mean to say or imply that my interest was in a Democratic vs. Republican thing.I’m only interested in the possibility
    of the internal disintegration of the Republican party.Here my view point is slightly differnt from Turboguy’s, in that I see the Tea Party
    as the “monkey on the back”,or the “tail wagging the dog” of the GOP,
    the latter metaphor being most apposite.

    Let’s see what happens.

    Double D

  • Now listen up everyone: Turboguy! and I are the Old Guard.The rest of you are “new”.

    The first time anyone in the world suggested that slavery should end, everyone retorted that slavery always existed, and the world could not function without it, bringing up myriad arguments from effect. The same goes with granting equal status to women and blacks, and now to gays and that government should end. The “Old Guard” represents an impediment to human progress.

  • Michael, Cindy,

    Living, as I do, in a cold place I have trouble equating the size of my garden to the size of yours. What sort of processes do you use (temporal, species selection, fertilizer, irrigation) to get a significant part of your food from less than 1000 square feet? I understand that you can probably get 3 crops a year where I can only get one, but I would be interested in hearing about your techniques.

    Michael Irving

  • My frustration was definitely coming out in my last post. The really difficult thing for me is that it seems like the best way to survive the coming hard times is to band together with other people but so far I haven’t found any. I have yet to meet anyone who really “gets” it much less is willing to do anything about it.

    There are two parts to surviving the collapse – learning how to take care of basic needs outside the system and creating a community of mutual aid. The problem is that the system makes it very hard for either thing to happen. Michael and Cindy are fortunate enough to be able to create a situation that allows the first thing to happen and it sounds like they are working on the second.

    Their experience is a wonderful example for those of you with the resources to try something similar. For those of us without those resources, I have yet to see any reasonable suggestions for a plan of action. For example, Turboguy’s suggestion to become an EMT is not very useful. Being able to provide first aid is a good thing, but it won’t directly put food on the table when things really come apart. I live in a densely populated urban area. If the monetary/government system collapses, it’s going to get ugly fast. I don’t think you could offer the few local farmers a trade for emergency medical services. Hey, you give me some potatoes and I’ll perform CPR on your wife! Yeah, that will work.

  • Frank you wrote “Great hearing from you.Now listen up everyone: Turboguy! and I are the Old Guard.The rest of you are “new”.”

    Step back and listen to yourself. These sound like the words of a 10 year old.

  • kathy
    thanks for asking about my setting hens. we got 6 chicks from ma no. 1. hooray! now there were complications from not separating them from the flock. you might remember i tried this but ma. 1 went bonkers so i left her in w/ the rest, & sorted out new eggs each nite.
    then ma no. 2 got somewhat broody, & eventually got such & they swapped nests a few times before ma. no.1 ‘s chicks hatched; & ma. no. 2 ended up w/ 2 of no. 1’s chicks, but still sitting her clutch as we speak.

    the major complication has been we have lost 4 of 9 hens to foxes[possibly small coyotes]. i now am keeping them all in the pen around the coop 30×100. the foxes were getting thru the cattle fence on one side of our place, 5×10 wire. i may put other wire to close the mesh. lesson…have a good many more than you think you need.

    ma no. 2 has had 3 stillborn/undeveloped chicks but we still have quite a few more eggs she is sitting.

    the chicks, & ma. no 1 are great to watch. when i got back home about 5 pm on a sunday 2 or 3 ago, this was the first attack & every chicken, & 3 of the very new chicks were on the highest roost. i couldn’t believe ma got 3 of 4 chicks way up there. one chick was still running around scared, peeping constantly which alerted me to the problem.

    i am glad to have gotten some chicks the somewhat natural way, & learning the processes. lucky i got broody hens as i remember michael irving saying he had none go broody. kathy did you introduce banties to get better genes, broody- wise, etc.?

  • Sam, thanks for updating me. Watching a mother hen with chicks is worth all the trouble is it not! Foxes sure can wipe you out in a hurry. We eventually got an electric netting fence which keeps foxes and dogs out. One of this years mommas however kept hanging near the edge of the fence and her babies would range outside. We lost 4 chicks before we penned her back up to save the rest. The other hens haven’t lost any.

    So now you have your own experience of a hen clucking her chicks up to a high roost. They have to get there, but it is her clucking that motivates them.

    We introduced banties by happenstance but were glad of it. They make wonderful mothers and we are told they have a better feed to egg ratio. We don’t mind small eggs so that works fine. We had a game banty given to us as a chick and some Wyandotte Banties given to us by a show breeder who was culling his flock. We introduced full size game birds for their genes – they are much more hardy, very broody, but not as good for egg laying or meat. By the way the game banty lived to be 12 years old. We bred some of her daughters this year and have a passel of half banties that are beautiful.

    This morning my husband said in a serious tone, “you won’t believe this, come here”. Well one of our hens who is part Marans (red brown egg layers) and has never gone broody showed up with 6 chicks. We never even noticed her missing. Found the nest after a bit – not far from where we walk every day :). Looks like from the shells that some other hen or hens contributed. A lovely little mishmash of chicks to charm us.

    Hope your #2 hen is not too far off from hatching – a few days timing can work but after that either the chicks or the eggs may suffer.

  • kathy
    thanks for your response!
    with ma no. 2 if the eggs don’t work could i buy a few week old chicks; & good odds for her bonding?

  • Looks like we got ourselves a good old-fashioned Oil Price Spike!

    Brent Crude: 118.30 (+4.68)
    WTI: 98.67 (+2.02)

    This would be oh-so-amazing, if it weren’t oh-so-predictable…

    The Yellowstone thing. My heart hurts to hear it. Isn’t it the longest un-dammed river in the lower 48? I’ve been priviledged to hear its voice a couple of times, now years ago… too long.

    I am beginning to get very, very angry. I’m ready to tear something down. This sucker needs to go down, fast, before the sociopaths-in-chief ruin what’s left of the Earth — of Gaia, if you like.

    It occurs to me that a line must be drawn, somewhere. While I admire the Winkleman’s their resolve and determination — who can fault them for taking their survival into their own hands thus? — I cannot help but think that too many of us have fled, for too long. Reaction becomes ingrained in our patterns of thinking, our modes of behavior.

    For myself, I must begin to retrain my mind to think otherwise. I need to re-learn what it means to be an activist… to make a stand… to draw a line, and hold it.

    Or maybe I just need to get drunk. :)

  • Christopher

    I plan to indulge the drop or two this evening.I recommend the same for you.Tequila is particularly appropriate here in the Sonoran Dessert.

    If you’re in the neighborhood drop in.

    Double D

  • Sam probably not. But you could try it if you are willing to raise the chicks if she won’t.
    Or you could take the two chicks under her an raise them separately – check her eggs first to make sure they are developing.

    Generally they don’t get started clucking the chicks to food until they give up on setting. So if the two chicks don’t start eating after 3 days you have a problem (they are good for 3 days without eating and drinking because just before hatch they absorb the yolk into their stomach and can feed off that). Chicks without a momma will eat on their own. With a momma they usually won’t until she clucks the food. We have had some dunderheaded mommas that almost starved their chicks by not clucking the food.

    If you don’t know when the eggs are due to hatch, candle them. I just use a strong flash light – this shows the size of the air space at various days Just before hatch the air space disappears and often a day before hatch if you hold the egg up to your ear you can hear pecking or even peeping.

  • Kathy

    I had to defend Turboguy!, because someone had the temerity to refer to him as “new”.

    Thank you for the compliment !! I’m 79 years old,and it’s well known that older people revert to their childhood.My emotional age is generally considered to be 5,so it was very sweet of you to double it
    for me.

    Love & XOXO,

    Double D

  • kathy
    ‘often a day before hatch if you hold the egg up to your ear you can hear pecking or even peeping.’

    neat! i’ll check.

    no more raising momma-less chicks[industrial chicks usually]! i’m not set up well for such, & snakes got a bunch, quickly, last year.

    re the chicks w/ ma. no. 2; they are 2 wks. + old. i keep food for them & mom within reach, & ma clucked the first batch of scrambled eggs i gave them; eating her share too. now i keep wild bird seed there, & water. ma took them out once & they are out some on their own occasionally; right at the coop. kinda mixed up but i found the chicks under ma no. 2 probably a couple of days after birth; & they came from ma. no. 1’s clutch. their nests are only 5ft. apart..different corners of one end of the coop. i’m sure i could have made more mistakes! anyway we got some chicks!
    BTW ma. no. 2 seemed halfhearted at first; let me check the eggs, no pecking…until she got the 2 from ma. no. 2…now i have to wear gloves! thanks.

  • ed
    re grains; & corn; Nothstine Dent (100 days).

    i am a cold zone 6[low area]. i have settled on this type as it is good as cornmeal & polenta[grits]. i’ve had good crops 3 yrs. BTW it crossed for me each time i grew some other corn.

    also re a recent comment you made re difficulty of growing grains. i too tried wheat; & gave it up. as i’m sure you know; quite a few think w/o grains we would not be here due to their ability to be stored several years…readily. so i too want to keep some corn going; besides it’ll be one of the sweetest things available. my biggest problem with corn is raccoons. my dogs can keep the deer out [i fence the garden, & station the dogs outside it], but not totally the raccoons; & when my dogs can they will eat the ripe corn too!

  • Robin Datta

    I stand corrected—Turboguy! and I are not Old Guard.
    Rather we are Brahmin, based on our autochthonous status
    and proven excellence.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention

    Double D

  • Goritsas That was a very interesting exercise. If we store 300 pounds of potatoes that is enough for 2 people for one month. We need to have 7 months. What an effing joke. Thank you for that, looks like we need to try a little harder.

    Michael Please let us know how the Painted Mountain does. We got ours in early, and we are supposed to be frost free until 9/20. We gave some abanaki calais flint corn to someone else since it was going to bunch stuff to close together and we were worried about cross pollinating. Corn seed is one of those items when the red flags start to pop up, we are all in on everything we can get our hands on.

    Sam Thanks for that info. Here in NY, there are DEC approved trappers that will come in and take care of your problem. I have learned alot from them, and can probably do it on my own. BTW we are a warm 5, so we are pretty close.

    Kathy: Harold Bloom said that he wants to go through life childlike, not childish. I’m thinking Frank is the former.

    James: I have a couple of ideas. I’ll try in the AM

    You guys and gals are awesome!!

  • Frank, you are welcome, anytime…..

  • James Irving ~ we have found ourselves extremely challenged on the gardening front here for sure. The first garden we planted last year was eaten in ONE night (by capibara we think which are kind of like javalina only bigger!) – and I mean eaten down to the earth. Not one stalk was standing.

    After experiencing the heavy rainy season we finally were able to build a 12 by 12 foot (salad mainly) garden that is completely enclosed with sturdy chicken wire to keep animals out and a structure on top for netting to keep the birds out and plastic to keep the rain out during the raining season.

    I am using a new method I learned about from a friend that relies heavily on good compost. It uses a type of planting that essentially creates a small ecosystem to help manage pests and encourage reseeding. We’ll see. I am growing my plants from seeds mainly purchased locally (another first, we used pony-packs in the US).

    My new garden is just now beginning to grow, and it is really booming! But hazards still remain. I transplanted a nice dill that was growing elsewhere into my new garden space only to find it nearly entirely eaten by the biggest ant I’d ever seen! We found some organic ant repellant (made from ant refuse we understand) which has definitely helped, but I still have to keep an eye out for greedy pests several times a day. We compost diligently and we use goat and cow poop that we get from a neighbor. We also use calcium and lime on the soil because of the clay properties.

    Fortunately, there are several local organic gardeners and a wonderful organic market in our little town each week, so we are never without fresh home grown food even when our own garden is out of commission.

    We’ve planted MANY local fruit and nut trees which are beginning to thrive now that their roots have settled in. We’ve had pretty good luck with pineapples in particular. Mangos and passion fruits and avocados (and persimmons this time of year) are particularly abundant as well as several wonderful fruits that are indigenous to the “Cerrado”, the ecosystem or region where we now live. Finding books about fruits of the cerrado has been very helpful to us and after living here for one full year we find ourselves feeling amazed at the things that grow here.

    We have another area a little bigger than our new garden where we grow beans, squash and peanuts, in addition to other “volunteers” like basil and dill that sprout from our compost.

    With this much space, and a full year growing cycle, we typically have much more than we can ever eat ourselves and we share what we can’t eat. We dry pineapples and mangos, for example, when they are in season and store/eat them the rest of the year. We’ve learned to make many new squash dishes (since they grow SO well here) such as soups, breads, and a delicious squash pie.

    Side note: one food we’ve missed here are Mexican tortillas! I recently began making them myself with huge success. I’m experimenting with different oils (i.e. coconut) and flavors. Today I made them with beet juice and they are a wonderful deep magenta color. Tomorrow I’m planning to try them with passion fruit juice. We’ll see!

    I hope this answers your question!

  • Sam, oh 2 weeks. If she does hatch the eggs under here there may be some trouble by the mismatch of needs. Glad you got them to eat – the eggs is a good starter of course. We sure know how a hen can change as events happen in their lives…We had a very mild mannered mother setting this year and she has been the most difficult post hatch – attacking us when we enter the pen. She may stay there until she weans as we are afraid she will get in trouble out with the flock.

    Do you know when she (no 2) started setting?

  • Thanks, Cindy, for the clarification.

    I originally misinterpreted what you meant by “Grains – 30 pounds.” I translated that into 30 pounds of raw grain, which I then loosely transposed into 30 pounds of wheat, equaling a bushel every two months or 6 bushels a year. Which, at 40 bushels per acre, requires a quarter of an acre to produce.

    Which is a fair amount of ground to dedicate to meet the grain requirements of one person per year.

    It’s also a lot for one person to consume.

    Rough calculations for my annual needs don’t come close to that figure. But then at my end, nobody’s a vegetarian either, so I have greater flexibility when it comes to meeting daily caloric needs.

    Then I thought, shucks, 30 pounds of grain doesn’t need to mean 30 pounds of wheat. It could mean a mix of wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, millet, etc., which is why I asked the question what was included in your 30-pound monthly grain quota.

    Do you raise the corn to make the couscous and the bulgur wheat to make the tabouli and the oats to make the oatmeal?

    Same question for the legumes. Are you able to raise your own dry pulses?

    I’ve never been to Brazil, so am (sadly) clueless on what can be grown in that region …


    I live in the northwest. My springs are notoriously miserable. This spring was the worst. The average distance between last frost date and first frost date is probably close to 120 days, but spring weather is so damp and cold here that it’s difficult to germinate seed early without a hotbed, which is why I only count on about 90 good growing days per year.

    Corn, as you know, does best with warm ground and warm nights. Yesterday we were in the low 80s. Today we topped out at 65 degrees. Tomorrow we might hit 70.

    If I plant 90-day treated hybrid field dent corn, I have a reasonable chance for success. Open-pollinated varieties are a challenge. Last year I tried three new varieties and failed miserably. This year I’m trying two more. One is a 70-80 day parching/flour corn called Mandan. It germinated quickly and is (thus far) growing well. It’s a bushy (lots of tillers) short-stalked variety that tops out at about four feet. The seed was grown 40 miles away, which is why I’m giving it a shot. One drawback is that it produces lavender colored kernels. I really prefer my cornmeal to be yellow or white.

    The second open-pollinated variety I’ve got in the ground is a 100-day flint called Wachichu. I’ve had to replant twice because of poor germination. I’m not holding my breath for success with this one.

    I’ve never tried Painted Mountain although I do have some seed. Maybe next year.


    How are your grain trials coming along?

    My spelt germinated quickly but has since regressed because of rust, which is a disappointment because I do like spelt.

    My black and hull-less oat varieties are doing splendidly. They’re dark green, robust and pushing out heads. So are the barley and hard red wheat.

    Both my millets had poor germination and looked pathetic until this past week when temps rose into the low 80s and perked them up. One variety is doing better than the other. I might get something. It’s a little early to tell yet.

    My quinoa readily germinated, but between the slugs, bugs, and hail, I ended up with only six plants. I have to admit that those six plants have grown well and are starting to put out seed heads. They seem to like my weather. They’re just extremely fragile in the seedling stage.

  • kathy the eggs were added in over a 8 day or so period; & are due probably ending in 4 or 5 days…hence the stillborns about 4 days ago i saw after she put one out of the nest. ma no. 2 was only coming in sitting beside ma no. 1 off & on; then about time i felt ma no. 1 had enough eggs for a clutch[18] ma no 2 had taken up in the other corner w/ several eggs. as i said ma no 2 was docile at first but when ma no 1’s chicks were born she got fierce; & mostly for that reason i never candled her eggs, + i’m disturbing 2 chicks…one of which pecked me as mom was doing. i’m not sure i’m remembering some of this accurately as the 2 mom’s switched nests they were setting….but by hatch time ma no 1 got back; & stayed thru that period. i did candle for no 1; fascinating!
    if no hatches in a couple of days i’ll candle/check. thanks again for your info, & encouraging. i’ll close them in in a few minutes, maybe a chick!

    i hope the eggs didn’t get too cold…there was a cool spell.

  • Frank

    If I ever am, I will. It’d be an honor to drink with a member of the Old Guard. ;)

  • Hi Cindy:

    Saw your later post regarding your new garden adventures. You probably haven’t had a chance to deal much with grains or dry pulses so disregard my inquiries.


  • Cindy

    You’ve referred to trials and tribulations involved with your garden. You didn’t mention it, but have you tried consulting your locals on how they deal with these things? You talked about a good local organic market -perhaps these folks could lend a hand (or a word) – and naturally, that would also help to strengthen your local network?… ;-)

  • Thanks Resa:

    I have recommended the book The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe before. 300 pages of really good information and she farms in your area.

  • Ed,

    I came up with slightly different results to yours. I found a web source for calories in potatoes of 75 Cal per 100g. This works out to about 340 Cal per pound and 34050 Cal per 100 pounds.

    Next, I made an estimate of 2000 Cal per day would be required over some arbitrary period to fuel the human in question. I also realised it would probably be pretty unlikely anyone would be willing, let alone able, to get all 2000 Cal strictly from potatoes. I estimated that 25% from potatoes alone (500 Cal) seemed reasonable.

    Dividing 34050 Cal by 500 Cal per day means 100 pounds of potatoes would last around 15 weeks. If you were able to harvest and store 300 pounds of *edible* potatoes (losses to spoilage and pests seem inevitable), this would last 2 people around 24 weeks.

    Rounding errors are present in the results presented.

  • Ed,

    The USDA maintains a very comprehensive database of foods and their nutritional composition, Nutrient Data Laboratory.

  • or

    3 potatoes/day/person x 2 people x 7 days x 24 weeks x.12 kg/potato (medium sized) = 120.96 kg (~267 lbs).

    Add 20% spoilage (just a guess?), and you have about 320 lbs potatoes, more or less.

    Of course, not everyone is ok with 3 potatoes every day forever. We only have them 2 or 3 times per week. So for us:

    6 potatoes per day x 3 days x 24 weeks x .12 kg/potato = ~52 kg (114 lbs) Add 20% spoilage: 137 lbs (more or less) for 24 weeks – less than 2 gunny sacks.

    Not certain how long a sack of potatoes will last if stored in a dark cool place?

  • Resa ~ you are right! We have not ventured into growing/making our own grains. We have been growing mandioca, which is another staple in the southern hemisphere (Africa and Brazil). It is often processed into flour and widely used in baking here. There are other “pods” similar to mesquite, that can probably also be processed, but we are no where near that far along!

    And Victor, yes, we have consulted with some locals, but we still have so much we can learn from them! There is a wonderful permaculture group here called IPEC that is owned by a Brazilian and Australian (husband and wife team). Here’s a link We’ve consulted with them several times. We would like to get Guy here to present at their place, but they are still in an intense period of growth (building) and they don’t have time nor resources for something like that. We did hear recently, however, that a group of young Americans came for a week to learn and experience what they have to offer.

  • James ~

    I had to give your situation some thought. Indeed, in our current economy, it is difficult to do anything without financial resources. We have another track of land that we’d like to build with a group of “like minded” individuals. We call the project an “intentional community”, although I am personally not yet convinced that you can actually build a community that will endure more than one generation because of the social dynamics of groups, but it is a nice way to think about how things might be.

    We’ve often considered inviting some eager person who “gets it” like yourself to participate by making a contribution other than financial…for example if the project got off the ground, this person could act as “foreman” on the job and live on-site. We don’t have this project far enough along to invite you to even consider, but there are probably other people who might benefit from this type of service (as opposed to financial) contribution. Here’s a link to an intentional community organization, perhaps you can find some good contacts there?

    Finally ~ I think that in the future, any good skill will be worthy of at least bartering! In our “ideal” community, having someone who is a certifies EMT would be highly beneficial ;-). Don’t discount any of the talents and education that you’ve gained so far in life.

    Just some thoughts to consider. Good luck! And don’t hesitate to keep in touch about what’s happening here in these parts.

  • kathy
    well last nite ma 2 had pulled straw up over all her eggs..3in.+ worth…yet still sitting there; so i got the eggs[no cracked ones] & candled. some w/ space like link you gave; but some totally dark. bad?
    some of the leghorn eggs, they don’t seem to be translucent.
    anyway i put out the straw…some bad smells; forgot to listen; but i saw no movement; which the one candling i did w/ no. 1 i saw.
    this AM she is still on the eggs.
    gotta get in the garden now. thanks.

  • Ed,

    If you fancy the British version, go to The Composition of Foods.

  • Sam, your settings sound a bit confusing :)
    You may know all this but I thought maybe it would help to just start at the beginning.

    A hen has in her body a certain number of eggs at various states of development which is known as a clutch. Under normal conditions she lays these eggs over time and does not set on them much longer than to lay the next egg. They are in a sort of stasis at that point. When she has laid her full clutch she starts to set which means she plops down and stays there most of the day. But she also heats up her body and the eggs – even though laid at different times they all begin their 21 day development at the same time because they don’t start developing until she heats them up. I have never put a thermometer under a hen but in an incubator you are advised to keep the temp at 99° and 102° F.

    I also have not put a thermometer under a hen with chicks but the recommended temps if you are raising them is 90-100 degrees for the first week or so, then can be reduced by 5 degrees each week thereafter. Babies can help regulate temperature by going under and out from under the hen when they need cooling or heating. But the hen does have some internal thermometer as well.

    All that said your mother hen may have turned her temp to lower than what the eggs need. Further if any eggs were put under her by other hens after she turned on her heating they will not hatch when the ones at the beginning of her heating hatch. If a hen senses that an egg is bad she will push it out but not always. If a few days pass after chicks are hatched and the rest don’t hatch usually the mother gets up and goes on with life. Your mother may be confused because she got those two chicks early and not know what to do.

    All that said, I think probably you will not get a hatch from the remaining eggs and should just pull them and let momma 2 go on with life.

    We usually set hatching eggs saved from a breeding pair under a different mother – one known to be a reliable setter and mother. We approximately follow this advice “Hatching eggs should be incubated within 1 week to 10 days after they are laid. Hatchability declines rapidly when incubation is postponed for more than 10 days. Until they are incubated, hatching eggs should be stored in cartons or cases—large end up—at 40 to 70° F. (50-60° F. is best)”
    We mark the eggs with a grease pencil (china marker) so that we do not get confused if another hen sneaks an egg in. In the future if you have a hen plop and stay put on eggs it would be advisable to mark them so as to be able to pull newer eggs that some other mother sneaks in.

    Hope that helps.

  • In case anyone is interested, here is a brief video/slideshow of our little town. We live about 5kms away in the cerrado, but this is “our” town of about 20,000 people!

    It is also a tourist destination. People, Brazilians mostly, come here for the waterfalls (there are many beautiful ones that are not displayed in this video) and outdoor adventure in addition to the quaint charm of the town. On some weekends these streets are teeming with tourists!

    Enjoy ~

  • great info for my particular situation kathy. thanks.
    i thought eggs for hatching were a flock deal. i did not place any, but i know some were laid by others; i think in both clutches. i marked after about 18 eggs & pulled any new ones.
    i agree that likely this clutch will not hatch; she seemed to be burying them. if she hadn’t been on them last nite, & then this AM i was going to toss them.

    thanks again.

    weather is sort of off….high of 80 today, & has been 90 or so, & 90 forecast for tomorrow. in fact NOAA in their written forecast said near 80 w/ a specific temp. i remember kathy posting a link where weather folks[ noaa i think] was saying their models were not working well for surface temps.

  • above i meant; without a specific temp.

  • Sam, if she is not on them 95% of the time then you need to toss them. If they go bad they can burst and get nasty green smelly stuff (hydrogen sulfide) all over. If they burst on the chicks it could sicken them I would think. Probably the best would have been to try to get the chicks go back to momma #1 in the first place by boxing in #2 or something like that but too late now.

    Our prediction is 91. We are running out here in the countryside about 5 degrees below prediction. When they were predicting 96 we were running about 10 degrees below prediction. That reads 86 either way :) But right now the humidity and still air makes it suffocating.

    We are getting highly unpredictable storms. We see this sometimes, little bits of storms that hover, appear, disappear etc but it seems more pronounced that usual. Back to watering the garden as our patch of ground seldom is served by these storms (they call them wet microbursts)

  • BTW ~ Sam and Kathy…interesting discussions about chickens and hens. We’ve not ventured there yet, but we did get to see what Guy was doing when we visited him at his place a couple of years ago. Sounds more complex that I’d imagined. The people we know here who have chickens don’t even build a coop to protect them. The chickens just run up in the mango trees to keep safe at night!

  • Cindy Winkelman,

    “The chickens just run up in the mango trees to keep safe at night!”

    Bill Mollison talks about the chooks in his granny’s garden taking refuge under “African Box Thorn”.

    “And the other plant she had planted because of the sea
    winds was in the Solanum family. It’s got huge thorns. It’s called
    African Box Thorn. It’s a Lycium. It’s a frightfully thorny thing. But
    in cool climates it doesn’t spread; you put it in and there it grows;
    it grows to about 15 feet across and 15 feet high. It’s a dome, and it
    stops there forever. We’ve had hedges of it for more than 200 years in
    northern Tasmania. It always has flowers, green berries, and ripe
    berries and the chickens love it. It’s in the Solanacae so there’s
    like millions of little tomatoes falling all the time. When a chook
    (chicken) is going to lay eggs and rear chicks she walks in underneath
    the box thorns, makes a nest, lays her eggs and sits under the box
    thorns because nothing, no hawks, no dogs, nothing can get her in
    there. Then come the chicks and they don’t leave that shelter because
    the berries are the perfect size for little chickens. They eat them
    until they’re quite well fledged, and out they come in the open air
    and then hawks get one or two of them. If they’re in trouble, they run
    into the box thorns, so it’s ideal food and shelter.”

  • Hi there! Results for the summer harvest:

    Weath: 1-5 in weight. I’ll have to save 1/5 for the next one and now I’m eating my own bread. Moderate success, but physically tough.

    Tools: Most of them fckd up. I’ve just bought new ones. Next winter I want to improve my skills as small blacksmith, beause in a few years I will not be able to replace broken tools by buying new ones in the city.

    Donkey: Happy. I’m thinking about looking for a girlfriends for him.

    Vegetables: Great success. I can’t believe the amount and variety of vegetables that a small terrain can provide with some daily work. However, I’d like to eat more meat.

    I also managed to install a net of tubes to feed a small dynamo (it helps to keep my bank of batteries loaded). I needed help from an electrician, but it’s done. Solar panels supply well in summer, but as days become shorter, I’m afraid that the dynamo will be very useful.

    Irrigation system was a pain in the ass, but finally I managed to keep it working. The most difficult thing was to calculate the amount of water for every type of vegetable.

    Right now I’m thinking about getting a cow. I’ve already visited a small cheese factory: next year, I’ll eat my own cheese, as well.

    In western Europe, I can not avoid feeling alarm: every time I see a city, people are more and more upset. In every single revolution there were always two human types: the basic activist (storming barricades, but with no idea of the motives), and the educated people (who have a replacement for the existing system). In this case, there are many “basic activists”, people willing to cut throats… but nobody has a replacement for the neoliberal madness wich is about to collapse.

    I’ll be still here tomorrow; in sunday I’m leaving.

    PS–> I have had contact with a small community of “pseudo hippies”. Definitely, they’re not efficient workers. They prefer growing cannabis rather than weath. :-(

  • Cindy, I recommend you just raise chickens as your neighbors do. They have breeds that appear to fend for themselves just fine. I imagine it is a bit harder to find their eggs or catch them for dinner, but if it works for your neighbors I would let them teach you.

    Here in the US we still have to worry about chickens that are too domesticated to function without us humans protecting them. We have had to deal with hawks, crows, foxes, dogs (one dog massacre took out about 30 chickens in 1 hour – it was pouring rain and we didn’t hear the commotion), weasels, rat snakes and poor genes. That is why we have enjoyed crossing in game (fighting) chickens into our flock. Game breeders don’t breed for eggs or meat but rather strength and vigor. Our domestics tame out some of the game aggressiveness and keep some of the egg laying frequency up. In fact one of the game breeds we have used is the Brazilian Game which is your country’s version of the Shamo game originating in Thailand.

  • Kathy,

    I failed to make that the point of my comment. If the chooks are happily chooking, then the chooks will continue to chook until the chooks come home.

    And probably long afterwards.

  • For raising chickens here in the US I would recommend these two books

    Chickens in your Backyard by Rick and Gail Luttmann

    The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow

    My husband and I make things a bit more complicated because this is our retirement hobby. We have about 15 different breeds in our flock genetics. We enjoy making crosses we pick to see what we get. Almost all of our birds are unique in appearance in some way due to color, size, comb type, shape being crossed back and forth. Thus we have to control who breeds, and not all our birds are genetically programmed to set or be good mothers so we have to manage that as well.

  • Jean – Bravo! Sounds like you are on your way. Hope you find a nice girl for your donkey (and for you)

  • Kathy Says:

    “My husband and I make things a bit more complicated because this is our retirement hobby”.

    Are you for real? If you’re gong to offer advice at least make it something the least of us can make work. You’re raising chickens as a fucking “hobby” and sam is trying to keep his eggs from dying? Listen, you need to connect with something greater than your good fortune to be a boomer.