The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Preparing for Bad Times Thread

This is a thread for comments on how to prepare for bad times. All off-topic comments will be deleted. The thread will be re-upped every Saturday so that resources can build over time.


The Chinese and European Droughts & What They Mean For the Future


Open Thread


  1. GlassHammer

    Before you start preparing you need a budget because going broke or going into debt is the exact opposite of what we want to do.

    And to create and maintain that budget you are going to need a system that anyone can use regardless of ability or income.

    To that end I am recommending the “envelope system”. A nice overview of it can be found here: The short version is to divide your income into spending categories (food, rent, groceries, savings, etc….), decide how much spending goes into each category, take that amount in cash and place it into its corresponding envelope, and only spend what is in that envelope. If the envelope is empty you can’t spend anything on that category until the next paycheck. Additionally you are not allowed to take from another envelope to fill an empty one.

    I used this system for years and it worked well. Just don’t get upset when it shows that your income doesn’t spread too far, just accept it and do the best you can.

  2. Eric Anderson

    Step 1:
    Leave the city and find someplace rural.
    Any discussion that leap frogs this step is masturbatory and you all know it.

  3. Dan Lynch

    As someone who grew up in the Jim Crow South, then entered the workforce in the Jimmy Carter recession, I don’t view “bad times” as a new thing. But things can always get worse.

    If I had to do it over again, I would try to pursue a career in nursing or something health care related, because those jobs can’t be shipped overseas and people don’t stop getting sick during recessions. In a capitalist economy, 90% of survival is making a living. Alas, I have zero aptitude for biological sciences.

    If I had to do it over again, I would not get married or have children, because under U.S. law & custom the downside for men is very high if you divorce, as most U.S. marriages do. She gets the gold mine, you get the shaft. There is no upside for the man. Again, 90% of survival is economic.

    We approach “how to prepare for bad times” in terms of having food or making a living, and that’s certainly vital, but I observe that maintaining your sanity in a crazy world is also challenging. When mainstream institutions fail, many people get sucked into various cults — Qanon, Trump, Bernie, Russiagate, etc.. It’s hard to keep your head when everyone around you is losing theirs. The closest thing I have found to an answer is to stay focused on the most basic ethical issues — be kind, do no harm, etc.. Even in Nazi Germany there were decent people doing good things here and there — they could not change the world but they could be decent human beings, and at least do no harm.

  4. GlassHammer

    “Leave the city and find someplace rural.
    Seriously” – Eric Anderson

    ^It should go without saying that “just move” is terrible advice but just in case let me just say that you should never “move” without having both a plan and the means to live in the place you are going to.

    Also not every city is in some dire state and some might get better as time goes on. I can also tell you the grass isn’t always greener in the country side.

    And to make a broader point, if we aren’t going to offer any advice to folks choosing to live in cities for the long term beyond “just move” then we may as well just have Ian remove these threads.

  5. Ché Pasa

    Yes, Eric.

    There’s a reason why so many cities were abandoned in ancient and not so ancient times. When infrastructure systems cease to function, they become uninhabitable, but well before that terminal breakdown, they become largely unlivable. Those who can leave. We’ve certainly been seeing that happen during the pandemic and I suspect it will continue after the virus is brought under control — assuming it is.

    The absence of necessity to live in a large city for any purpose becomes a powerful motivator to leave.

    The question is where to go, right?

  6. zot23

    Get on friendly terms with your neighbors and learn their skills and hobbies. Go out of your way to develop good relations with them and share your skill set with them. The classic “prepper” scenario is to have seeds, crops, guns, repair skills, and potable water. But if you have one of them and your trusted neighbors have the others (with the requisite skills to match), you have them all. Plus you might have guns and crops, but you can only fire one at a time and eventually have to sleep.

    Trying to survive alone is just yahoo movie stupidity. I’d rather live in a city surrounded by friends than out in the countryside alone. 10x more so in dire times.

  7. borderdenizen

    I have been “prepping” for a long time now (and saw this thread in the past and trepidatious to participate) and the one thing that I have learned is that the first step is to be rich. Then everything else will fall into place. But, for most all of us, we missed this step. And then I see on the interwebs preppers saying to buy guns buy food buy a farm in a rural area, buy buy buy. So the comments above that says “Leave the city and find someplace rural. Seriously.” are disparaging. Especially as an older person, it is like a gut shot when folks talk about moving to Spain or wherever to be an expat. Most people are not mobile and are just flat out stuck. So, the most important part of prepping is to instead build a community around you. GlassHammer is also right on track.

    On the other hand, I also grew up on a ranch and still have links into deep red rural America. In these areas there is a community built already mostly around evangelical or Mormon churches. So, if you want to get work done or get a job? you had better be adapt at putting on a disguise if you are anywhere left of Adolf himself. My contacts in the red county are now super, super brainwashed and will have no patience for anything that is not pre-approved by Fox News. It is awful. I have been out there since ’77 and it is now a super pain in the ass to deal with people I have known for 20 years. I am no hippy, but since i am not in the Trump cult I have to watch my words to avoid getting screamed at for seemingly reasonable remarks. It is awful and deeply saddens me.

    The collapse is here and it will not be an exciting road warrior adventure but a slow grind into tattered infrastructure, antagonistic social relations, and mass poverty. Look around, this is what collapse looks like. Having a financial back-stop and find a supportive community is the only way to accommodate the bottleneck. The awfulness will also be geographically dispersed as well.

  8. I think I can speak a bit to the rural/urban question, having grown up in the Seattle area and then moved to rural Michigan (where my wife has family).

    First of all, on the urban side. Yes, there are efficiencies to be taken advantage of in urban areas, but you’re ultimately 100% dependent upon fossil fuels and functional systems to provide life’s necessities (food, water, clothing, heating if you’re anywhere north). That makes it a non-starter if you think things are going to decay significantly.

    So I think rural is definitely good, but there are downsides. I’m able to provide for all of my necessities (food, water, much clothing, heat, building materials, fertilizer, many medicines etc) in ways that can’t be done in any urban area, but the downside is mostly cultural. While my neighbors are more capable than my old urban friends, they’re also fossil fuel dependent for cutting wood, growing food, and most transportation.

    One good neighbor noted once that “We don’t do any prepping, but we have guns!”, essentially implying that those would allow them to get whatever they needed. They’re likely right, and aren’t alone in thinking that way. Keep that in mind.

    Another issue is that people aren’t as well educated, and thus see no problem with burning their garbage and contaminating my organically managed farm with dioxin. The ones who farm invariably use every chemical under the sun; one who started growing corn/soy laced with neonicotinoid pesticides (he was unable to find seed without it after looking at every local source) has killed my bees, which until that point did very well for years.

    In the end, the more you prep the more you realize what dependencies you still have, whether that’s files to sharpen your crosscut saw for firewood, or plumbing parts to keep your hand pump in operation, or even something as simple as salt.

    Living without the benefits of industrial society will ultimately mean living without large houses or most tools. Another point which I often see overlooked… everything you do for yourself will take about 10x as much time as it would take to work at a decent job and pay for the industrially produced equivalent. It doesn’t take long before you’re putting in 40 hour weeks on top of the 40hr “regular” job, and running yourself ragged.

    Another consideration… While the midwest is generally good if you want to grow your own food (Michigan is second only to California in terms of crop diversity), and generally has good soils, the weather in the midwest is becoming unbearable in the summer imho. It seems fine for now when you can retreat indoors with AC (I went without that for our first 10 years here, but finally succumbed), but your livestock won’t have that option. At the wet-bulb temp of 95 degrees, it’s game over for humans, and we’re probably enduring more than most livestock. Chicago is already bumping up against that for brief periods (they’ve hit 93 or 94 if my memory serves).

    So where would I live, given complete freedom? I’d go back to where I find the most enjoyment — probably sailing Puget Sound and the inside passage on the west coast. Ultimately, prepping doesn’t seem to me like it offers much benefit, and the cost in terms of time and lost experiences is tremendous, even if much of it is interesting and enjoyable.

  9. Ché Pasa

    Plenty of advice is being offered for urban survival, and it’s not a whole lot different than advice for ex-urban survival, minus the farm part — or maybe not since urban agriculture is a thing.

    You need money, community, skills to offer and share, and an appropriate disposition.

    Some cities will continue to lose populations, as they have done many times over throughout history, and some people will continue living amid the ruins — as they do right now and have done for ages. Ever since the US de-industrialization frenzy began, there have been illustrated stories about “living among the ruins” of what used to be. Detroit was among the type-models.

    Not everybody wants to or can move to the country, and not everyone should. But some will.

    And some cities — like now — will thrive. We are some distance from entering another Dark Age (that research shows wasn’t all that Dark after all.)

  10. someofparts

    To me, finding community, be it friend or family, looks like it will be the most important thing. So I guess that makes staying in touch with those people, and making new friends, the main thing to focus on.

    As to where those people are, it varies. One friend is in the countryside well out of the city. We have fallen out of touch, but it is probably time to get back in contact. Others are out of state so the question could become whether an out-of-state destination is better or worse than the current locale. But there are also a few friends right here in the city who may help each other if things get harder for all of us. We could share housing and expenses. Help each other with errands and babysitting.

    Beyond that, culling excess material stuff from the household is the main project right now. Get rid of trifles but make sure to hang on to what matters, like tools and books. Be ready to live in less space and less comfort if need be.

    Even with covid raging there are still community gardens everywhere here. Getting a patch and starting to work it at one of them is another priority, plus a good way to meet neighbors.

  11. Joan

    My personal approach is working in my city to support small-scale, local craftsmen so we don’t need to depend on China for everything. It obviously depends on the city, but in a real crisis my city would receive aid first. Resources for keeping civilization running would be focused here. I can see that it makes sense to move to the countryside and take care of yourself if you are currently living in a city that you think would be left to burn in a crisis.

    Where I live there are a lot of local industries just barely hanging on that can be revived. Shoe makers, tailors, book binders, mechanics, carpenters, furniture makers, table makers. Really, there’s no reason to depend on China for anything. We can make everything we need right here, and rely on close neighbors for trade. That’s local jobs that are skilled and train through apprenticeships rather than university.

    In the US, the huge opening for opportunity is reviving towns. A lot of the city people who are leaving large urban areas but are not interested in, or at all equipped for, homesteading in the countryside should look into whether they can be of any use in revitalizing American towns. I think this is especially a good idea for those who have children and grandchildren.

  12. anon

    A lot of us are city dwellers or suburbanites who realistically will not move to a rural area or have an entire barnyard of survival prep materials. Perhaps some items in our garage or basement, but not enough to last several years. I am more interested in advice regarding real estate and investing (cryptos, silver, hard assets other than cash saved in a bank). I’ve been reading up watching more YouTube videos on these topics.

  13. KT Chong

    Do NOT buy or hoard gold.

    Do NOT listen to conmen like Ron Paul and Peter Schiff, who tells their cultist followers to buy and hoard gold. They have never bothered to mention that, during the Great Depression, Americans were NOT legally allowed to hold gold. The US government passed a law to confiscate the private gold holdings of anyone in the US:

    So the US has a precedence. Which means: if another economic disaster strikes, the US government will pass another legislation to confiscate gold.

  14. Phil in KC

    My first thought is “what am I prepping for?” and my answer is that event which is most likely to happen. In my town, that’s a power outage from an ice storm. So I have propane heaters, crank radios, batteries aplenty, solar charger for cellphones and tablets, and lanterns. I can hold out for two weeks without power.

    What next? Perhaps some kind of urban unrest which would make it ill-advised to leave the house. The above, plus a water supply, canned goods, weapons and ammo for defense. The siege of Vicksburg last 40 days. That’s the mark for me.

    After that, I contemplate EMP/loss of electrical grid, nuclear/biologic warfare, extreme natural disasters (extinction levels), and I haven’t the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed for the basic insurance against these kinds of disasters. I own arable land and have potable ground water, but what are we to do once there? Eat the grass? Plow with a trowel (no draft animals). In these type of events, even the Amish will struggle mightily.

  15. different clue


    I am also semi-burban, as are most people. If I were ( or become) in a position to think about “real estate”, it would be “real estate” for living on and providing as much personal bio-physical subsistence production of this-and-that as is feasible. I wouldn’t think of it as an “investment” for re-selling or flipping or whatever.

    About gold, silver, crypto . . . . I don’t think about these things. I gather gold and silver are considered the “money of last resort”. If organized society decays just enough that only gold and silver are money, I would rather have a reliable surplus of food and water to be able to sell to the starving and the parching. Will you pay a Krugerrand for a hard boiled egg? You will if you are starving enough. Will you pay a bag of Constitutional Silver Dimes for a glass of water?
    You will if you are dehydrated enough.

    If you offered me crypto, I would offer you directions to someone who might care. Crypto is the most anti-social form of “money” there is. How much fossil carbon is burned and skyflooded to keep the BitCoin ” mining-machine” computers computing? I can imagine a lot of survival minded people who would rigidly reject and boycott the owners of “crypto”.

    Food will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no food. Water, too.

  16. guest


    If the conditions you describe come to pass, desperate people aren’t going to be buying food from you. They are going to be stealing and robbing food from you.

  17. Ché Pasa

    Think about how people got through/get through the numerous city destructions if the last 20 years. What happens when infrastructure and transportation are destroyed? How do people survive? Where do they find sustenance? How many escape? How many die? How many prosper? If they prosper how do they prosper?

    There are so many examples. Most of the cities facing destruction/ruin are still inhabited by a remnant population, some are being revived, dispersed populations returning. Or in many cases not.

    The recent past and present is prelude. Catastrophe has been visited on hundreds of millions and yet, and yet, most — so far — survive of only to face catastrophe again.

  18. different clue


    If I were alone, that would happen. If I were part of a reasonably locally-populous and well-armed/ well-trained community who valued my ability to produce food and water and etc. so much that they would protect me as well as eachother from the stealers and robbers, would that still happen?

    Anyway, if someone isn’t planning for things to get that bad, then what are they getting gold and silver for?

    Also, someone named Kurt Saxon wrote a little about the ” killers and robbers” scenario.

  19. Phil in KC

    in Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” a bleakly realistic an extinction-level apocalyptic novel, the Father discovers an intact underground shelter filled with canned foods, propane bottles, and other necessary supplies. In a coffee can he discovers a cache of gold Krugerrands, which he fingers idly and discards. What he needs are bullets, beans, and bandaids. You can’t eat gold, and no one wants it. My point is that precious metals will have limited appeal. If I were looking for currency in a SHTF world, it would be cigarettes and airline bottles of booze. Maybe weed and recreational pharmaceuticals.

  20. Dale

    HeyPhil in KC, you just gave me a wonderful inspiration; I am going to learn how to make potato vodka. Oh, and how to grow some killer ganja. I’m getting too old to do strenuous labor, I have great gardening skills, tons of quart jars. No one will mess with their hooch and weed producer. Especially during hard times.

    On a slightly more serious note, making and having good relations with neighbors and friends is on the top of my list. We grow and share our organic fruits and vegetables. Everyone loves our jams. In return we get all the help we need in doing around the house repairs,etc. We have no plans whatsoever of moving away from the best neighborhood we’ve ever lived in. People have begun to learn how to help one another, and how to ask for help here.

    There is no better place to run away to. Make wherever you’re at the best place to be. Be a good neighbor. Treat everyone with respect. Be willing to help when others need it. You’ll end up with a home you’re happy with in a neighborhood you want to spend the rest of your life in.

  21. someofparts

    Sometimes I forget to factor in covid. The question becomes what can be done to prepare for bad times ahead within the constraints imposed by the pandemic.

    Even as I write this I realize that a person’s attitude toward masking and social distancing is a hard line for me these days. I know some people who just don’t do any of that and we help each other in small ways but I limit our interactions to brief meetings outdoors.

    I see that going forward, for me, establishing covid status will be the first step in any social interaction that goes beyond waving from a distance, and I don’t think I will be the only one approaching things that way. Right now it may be that most of us are still expecting the virus to be decisively contained within a year or two followed by a return to full normalcy. It will be interesting to see how people reorganize social life if covid turns out to be something lingering and permanent.

    For me, it doesn’t change any of the things I’m doing to prepare for a hard future, but it does modify and limit them.

  22. Ché Pasa

    Learn medical skills. I don’t want to be flip about it, but it’s not that hard, and there’s a ton of information online and in actual books to get practically anyone conversant with first aid and a lot more.

    Learn as much about alternative medicine as you can. But don’t neglect to learn about standard western medicine, too. It’s not going to be a whole lot of good without a lot of equipment, machinery and likely unavailable drugs, but you can become familiar enough with processes and procedures, anatomy and certain quick fixes that are used in standard medicine to be useful.

    All of that is an important skill to share when everything goes to shit. Now is the time to learn.

  23. Astrid


    You may want to also look into sunchoke vodka. Sunchokes are ridiculously productive and even easier than potatoes. Their starch isn’t great for human consumption but should be good for vodka. I have trialed about 10 varieties, Supernova and Skorospelka are excellent producers – large tubers, good taste, and sets close to the stem. I have tasted a pretty good sunchoke miso and it makes a decent lacto fermented pickle.

  24. GlassHammer

    So to the topic on hand, once I had a budget and a bit of savings this was the first thing I bought:

    Now you might not be able to get this exact model but there a numerous equally good substitues. I was still living in an apartment at the time I bought this, I wanted a little extra security without pleading with the landlord to install something on the door. This was the best of my limited options.

    I didn’t get it at the time but an inexpensive door alarm that goes off if the door is forced open would have been a good idea. You can find these online for very little.

  25. Astrid

    Having a cache of gold or valuables is good if you intend to escape. You need capital to grease the palms on your way out and have start up capital.

    Breakdowns can happen anywhere, but I do particularly fear living through one in the US. There are so many guns and late capitalism is so antisocial and antagonistic towards collective actions and altruistic behavior, and family/communal ties are so strained. The police departments are already so brutal and corrupt (a lemon market like politics, where being honest and decent ensure you will not last), that the first part of the reset could be extremely ugly. In that situation, survival is a matter of chance rather than rational calculations.

    But that’s assuming a rapid and complete breakdown. If it’s a partial breakdown, having money and no debt, and living in a city that the elite consider of critical importance is often a better option. the elite may still be able to come some kind of order and bring in some food, and salvaging/repair skills will be helpful. Then the hope is keeping a low profile and surviving until a more sensible order is established. In time of crisis, people typically flood into cities as refugees, not out. Not sure what that looks like when cities and suburbs make up 90+ percent of the overall populace, though. No populace in history of the world has been so deskilled from actually being able to live off the land. Even those with alleged survival skills typically rely on products of advanced industrialization for their production. What happens when that breaks down for years or decades?

  26. GlassHammer

    My last piece of advice for this weeks’s discussion (and one plenty of others have hinted at already) is that all modern conveniences and modern logistics networks are ways of reducing “Time Per Task” (TPT).

    When you don’t have these TPT reducers nearly everything you do will take twice as long and that will make you physically/mentally exhausted.

    You will either have to piecemeal your projects or set aside large spans of time to completely finish them. The phrase “done in an afternoon” won’t be uttered by you.

  27. gnokgnoh

    I am impressed by the number of comments that support building community where you are. We live in a close-in incorporated town of 4,500 residents one mile outside a very large Northeastern U.S. city, surrounding by suburbs that came much, much later (my town dates to the late 1700’s). We all live on 1/8 to 1/4 acre of land, not enough space to grow our own food, so, we have joined a coop that gets food from Amish and organic farms less than 30 minutes away by truck.

    Water. Our house has a six-feet wide round brick cistern under the front yard capped by eight inches of concrete. It’s still active and was never filled with gravel as local ordinances require. Every house had one, most now filled with gravel. Our cistern fills up from a creek that runs under our stone foundation house built in 1890 and overflows into the storm water system. We have water.

  28. gnokgnoh

    Solar power and hot water. Since the house has many hips and gables and solar panels are almost impossible, we are putting metal rooves on the front porch and rear kitchen and installing thin film solar sheets that are almost as effective. Also, we’re exploring solar water heating, which we’ll have to get into the attic spaces at the top of the house. We have many large trees overhanging the house, so the goal is just enough to keep refrigeration going and get water heated. Storms in the last five years have caused numerous three-hour to three-day power outages. Fortunately, in the meantime, my rear neighbor whose street seems impervious to power outages lets me run a power cord into his basement to run our refrigerator and freezer. I hate the noisy generators everyone has now, although we used diesel generators for three hours at night to provide electricity in Nigeria, where I grew up. It’s when we did anything that needed electricity.

  29. gnokgnoh

    Communications. I am advocating for our community to engineer a standalone, networked wide area networked that can isolate itself from the Internet if needed. It isn’t actually a heavy lift, but we need some practical reasons and funding to run and maintain it now, so that it is self-sustaining. Amazingly, since many more are now working out of their homes due to the pandemic, suddenly opportunities are emerging.

    Defense. My Trumpian neighbor down the street has a small arsenal. I’ve told him that his weaponry might come in handy some day. Most of us, regardless of politics, know how to use them. He thinks that is brilliant, although his concerns are the deep state.

  30. gnokgnoh

    None of these limitations bothers me whatsoever. My wife and community are a little perplexed by my advocacy for turning most of the K-12’s school football and baseball fields (leave one, we have four for 350 students) into community gardens and for installing solar panels on their massive roofs. It would take at least three years to get the toxic chemicals out of the soils. So far, we’ve only managed to get a small community garden started for the students to learn how to grow vegetables. Smiling helps. Providing generous support and meals to newcomers and families who have experienced a tragedy or something to celebrate helps. The pandemic has been an eye-opening experience.

  31. zot23

    If the USA would turn all the football fields into gardens, this would be a different country indeed. I’m not holding my breath for Texas or Alabama to go for it though 😉

  32. S Brennan

    Joan’s ideas on using local skills/fabrication/manufacture in preference to getting everything from China are good. Basic machining/woodworking used to be part of education, in the FDRist run city I grew-up in they had various shops* at parks throughout the neighborhoods. Those shops are no longer there, when the neoDs took over the Democratic Party, like good neoliberals, they removed all the publicly owned workshops and…any other traces of government directly helping people help themselves.

    Having skills or surplus food to trade is a good thing. Last year when my peaches came in I was able to trade them for Ling cod and snapper. I grow artichokes, blueberries, plums, prunes, Anjou & Bosc pears, alongside chives, basil, oregano, onions on a tiny hillside lot. The pear lasted until Christmas. This year I am going to bring a TIG welder into my small daylight basement/garage/shop. I want to purchase and wire, but not install, solar panel equipment with enough capacity for refrigeration, light and water pump. Water. If you don’t have enough water for a month…you will die. Don’t spend a fortune, use your empty soda bottles or similar such waste items to store water, enough for a month without power. And get keep some incandescent bulbs.

    It’s too late now to learn how to use a rifle and get ammo, so forget about it. In urban areas where every hoodlum will have a weapon/ammo and every “liberal/pregressive/lefty” will be without…it will be difficult to survive even something as minor as a thirty day loss of power. Even if you did have a weapon, you’d be likely to face attack for resources on the premise that, statistically, gang-bangers will assume you don’t have firearm. Acting like you do own a firearm, is a defense and deterrence is the best defense.

    Not that I am not a big believer in a social shtf, that said, I know how effective even a mild EMP is in destroying an electronic equipment that has an amplification circuit in it…which describes about 99.99% of electronic equipment. Remember, EMPs do not have to come from man-made sources, the sun has repeatedly sent EMPs our way. The electronic age, in it’s present form, is, at best, only 40 years old.

    But as a caution:

    Rural land has been bought up…all across the inhabitable west by wealthy urban elites. With interest rates at extreme lows and taxation that encourages people to buy property and not develop there are “bolt holes” throughout rural WA, IA, OR, northern CA where-ever there is water.

    Rural space may look empty but, it’s owned and it’s owners can hold the land as a “bolt hole” for many decades due to a poorly developed tax scheme that impoverishes locals at the expense of absentee land owners who will want to make a killing if they sell or, hold it indefinitely as a refuge. Frankly, given the daily harm these personal “land trusts” create, I doubt many of their owners will face a warm welcome when they show up in a crisis.

  33. Joan

    There’s a lot of good comments in this thread. On learning survival medical and dental skills, two book recommendations are Where there is no Doctor and Where there is no Dentist. Iirc, these were written by someone working in rural Africa at the time, or otherwise somewhere with very limited resources. A lot of it is in the category of “hopefully I’ll never need this” like helping a woman give birth or extracting a tooth, but still good to at least read once.

    For those in the suburbs, a lot of land zoning and regulations are very much against any kind of useful yard work, like organic gardening and keeping chickens. However, honestly, you have to get caught to be punished for such a thing! If no one’s watching, I’d start planting.

  34. Phil in KC

    I should have mentioned earlier the importance of being part of a resilient community, whether its the folks on your block, in your apartment building, your church or club, or any social assembly where people know you and care about you. I just took it for granted, but I shouldn’t have. it is a point that has been made on this site repeatedly, and it is a good point.

    If you don’t have a community, then you will have to hunker down wherever you can and maybe wait it out.

    In a SHTF situation, gangs bent on plunder are more likely to look for the easiest solution. A well-organized group of folks who know and trust each other presents a more formidable obstacle. A single person, no matter how well armed, is much easier to pick off.

  35. anon

    My family doesn’t have a community we can depend on. We have neighbors from hell which is why we were looking to move before the pandemic hit. Having a community that will help you rather than turn on or even kill you when times get bad is very important.

    We are looking to move within the next year to a larger place in a safer neighborhood with a backyard and space to garden and run around in times like these. Whether it be a pandemic or an economic depression, space is going to be more valuable than ever this decade. There will be an eventual return to the city but I don’t see that happening for a long time. There is a demand for space, and as long as companies continue to allow work from home, there will be continued flight to suburban and semi-rural areas 1-2 hours from the city.

    Everyone should learn how to garden and plant their own food. Even people in apartments and condos should have enough space on their windowsill to grow some herbs. It’s organic and more cost effective than buying the same things at the supermarket. Being self-sufficient is always a useful skill to have and we don’t teach it enough in schools. Home improvements, car maintenance, and making your own food are things that we’ve relied too much on other people to do for us.

  36. gnokgnoh

    Joan, that’s rapidly changing. Our town amended its ordinances to allow chickens, rabbits, almost anything you can keep in a coop. Also, the town removed all grass and height requirements and strongly encourages native plantings and wild flowers. Everyone with any time is starting to garden, and the place is looking much wilder and more interesting. Of course, the big, stone houses (mostly doctors) on the other end of town still have magnificent lawns and shrubbery all groomed by armies of recent immigrants.

  37. More seriously:

    Gary Null: Starting Over Part 1

    Gary Null: Starting Over Part 2

    There’s also Part 3 and Part 4. Furthermore, he did a recent special show in this vein, either this past Sunday, or the Sunday before. Don’t want to search further for links. His website is

  38. StewartM

    As for the “go someplace rural” notion:

    That reminds me of the Minnesotan D Congressmen who, during the Jan. 6th Planned Trump Riot, thought that a good response fro him and his fellow Ds was to join a group of Rs to “blend in”—only to look at some of his fellow Ds and realize (as they were non-whites) that they could never “blend in”.

    There is a reason we have the differences in diversity in our rural/urban divides. For some groups, rural America is simply not safe. The reason why they went to the cities and formed communities there was for self-protection. I recall a story in the 1920s, when a group of KKK in Indiana thought they’d travel up to Notre Dame University to ‘beat up some Catholics’ only to get the holy crap knocked out of them by the Catholic students there. In my own university days, I recall some redneck (but privileged) types who went to the gay part of town to “beat up some queers”, and they got beat up by the gays. Moreover, while urban police/minority relations aren’t great, they’re still probably an order of magnitude better than those in rural America. The police did come to that fight provoked by the rednecks, and it was the rednecks, not the gays, who got arrested.

    It depends on the dystopia you’re trying to deal with. If you’re talking about the most immediate danger (a civil war breaking out) for some going rural could be very bad. But even if you’re talking about climate change, I’m not sure most rural Americans today will cope very well; they’re not prepared for it well either.

  39. different clue


    Sometime over the next several years, IF fun-food and/or money should get scarce for stretches of time, those of you growing food might be able to barter some of it for medical care with the big stone house doctors.

  40. different clue


    Those rural people who are manmade global warming deniers will be even worse prepared for it as it overtakes them.

  41. Mary Bennett

    Different Clue, those of us growing food, which I do in full knowledge that there are those who would rather I didn’t, are likely to get it taken away from us, never mind barter. Furthermore, leftist town governments will be, in my estimation, very tempted to allow certain groups or families a monopoly on food production and make home growing illegal for the rest of us. Even now, I find it prudent to keep my garden tools locked away out of sight.

  42. gnokgnoh

    Mary, huh? I don’t know of any town governments like that. That’s a very odd concept, and I’m not sure why a leftist government would want a monopoly on food production. You seem to be channeling Stalin and Ukraine, but he was not exactly a leftist in the way we use it in the US.

    I can see trying to manage/regulate distribution to ensure that everyone gets their fair share. My neighbors and I all share garden tools, seeds, you name it. I give bags of surplus tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, and other delights to my neighbors who don’t have the time to garden (too many kids) or the elderly. I would can the surplus in high season, but don’t have the time.

    At the moment, with 10″ of snow and ice on the ground, I am starting my seedlings in the basement. I start hundreds of them under fluorescent light and give away 2/3 to neighbors for their gardens when they are 6″-12″ high in early April. Many neighbors don’t plant from seed and seedlings at the local nurseries are very expensive.

  43. out there

    My question is how and what role multinationals and corporations will play in collapse. To use a leftist boogeyman like “Mary Bennett” saying that the local governments will deny rights is not useful and not reality, the reality is that our lives are regulated by Nestle, Dow, and Mc Donalds. Where I am from it is large companies and industry groups that push local governments to make regulations for back-yard farming. The industry groups get the FDA to use scare tactics of food safety to discourage gardening. How will this play out when people are desperate. I figure the collapse to be dominated by entities like a Neil Stevenson “burbclave” with company towns regulating life with geographically uneven prosperity/desperation.

    Once the pinch comes, people not in the burbclaves will clamor for order and I suspect that the right/left thing will have little utility. But maybe that is my dream for a better world, a world without the red/blue teams.

  44. different clue

    @Ian Welsh,

    Thank you for starting up a ” surviving the hard times ahead” thread.

    @everyone else,

    If a commanding majority of us treat this opportunity to stockpile survival information here in one growing place, then any trollish minority who do otherwise can be easily seen and deleted, thus enhancing the usefulness of this growing thread.

    If enough people bring enough high value information, concepts, links, sources, etc. to this thread over time, word may spread and this thread may gain more and more readers. Could this thread eventually attract a hundred million readers? Let us each do our small part to make it so.

  45. different clue

    @Mary Bennett,

    Fear of a possible taking-away-of-the-food later will not stop me from learning how to grow some food now. It is always possible that such a high percent of people where I live will be growing some food that the pressure to take food away from any one person will be reduced.
    One never knows.

    Survival in the company of equally prepared and like-minded survivalisers is going to be easier than lone survivalism in the teeth of the Zombie Hordes. Hopefully , those of us who know something, or WILL know something, will be able to de-zombify some of the functional zombies among whom we presently live.

  46. different clue

    I don’t know the mechanics of how threads work. So I don’t know if this one thread will be allowed to get longer and longer or whether we might be offered further “start-again” hard-times-survival-threads once every Saturday, as against this post being re-posted every Saturday for the one thread to grow longer and longer.

    But since this is the Hard Times Survival/Preparation Thread for now, this would be the place to keep adding more such information.

    A few weeks back, Astrid wrote a comment with enough high value information about some good gardening books and other resources, that I decided it might be copying right here on this dedicated thread.

    Astrid PERMALINK
    January 19, 2021
    I’ve probably read thousands of garden books and own hundreds (most from “friends of library” sales but many I paid near full price for). I’m not sure there are many that I regularly refer to. Honestly I’ve came up with a system that mostly works for me. I tweak it every so often and incorporate new ideas I see online or in books. For plant specific advice, Johnny’s Select Seed and Southern Exposure Seed Company probably has the best growing advice for the East Coast. For perennials/shrubs/and trees, specialist growers and specialist boards will likely provide the best advice. For general information, Gardenweb (interface and ads suck now but) still has archives full of opinions and advice on pretty much every garden topic you can think of.

    What works for me (keep in mind that I’m only intensively gardening on about 3,000 sqft total) is an initial dig to get rid of turf and tough perennials, ideally followed by a crop of green manure to compete out the annual weeds (I’ve never actually gotten around to planting green manure because I’m that land hungry), followed by building no-dig rows with 4-6″ of compost. I don’t have a lot of problems with weeds, just don’t let them go to seed and they’re easy to control except for bindweeds. I get free compost at my community garden and very cheap wood chip and compost from my municipality, so I top dress my beds every year with compost and/or wood chips in the spring and compost or fallen leaves in the fall. Most other people may have more land and less access to woodchips/compost, so green manure should be more important to their soil building scheme.

    For books – I recommend checking these books out from the public library before buying any of them, then sign up for emails on their publisher’s website. Chelsea Green is one of my favorite publishers and runs good sales regularly. Mostly, I like these books because they feel lived in. Not just lists and schematics and solutions, but people who actually experienced triumphs and failures in their gardening/farming:

    Timber Press’s Regional Vegetable Garden Guides are pretty good general guide

    The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski is good if you’re consider going into business on some scale (I am not)

    Carol Deppe’s books are all very good and helpful in practically thinking about self sufficiency

    The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier has some excellent innovations on doing things efficiently and writes clearly. Elliot Coleman can also be good, but I feel he’s prosyltizing too much on his ways.

    The Backyard Homestead is a good starter guide for thinking about all pieces of a homestead including orcharding, cereals, animal husbandry, etc. But you’ll need to fill in the gaps. Think of it as the updated US counterpart to John Seymour’s Self Sufficient Gardener.

    Sunset’s Western Garden Book, if you’re anywhere out west or even if you’re not. Sunset zones make much more sense than USDA zones in the west.

    A good book on pruning – Lee Reich’s book is decent

    Ed Smith’s The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is a good one for home gardeners

    If you’re interested in orcharding, a couple orcharding books and at least one that covers grafting.

    Vita Sackville-West’s The Illustrated Garden Book – comfort reading for me, the reason why I have 150 rose bushes in my yard and 400 rooting cuttings in my bathroom.

    An American Cutting Garden by Suzanne McIntire – her observations ring very true to someone who also gardened in DC area community gardens.

    Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs – this is the most sensible and practically minded books on the subject

    I listen to the Davis Garden Show (Davis, CA), Garden Basics with Farmer Fred (Sacramento, CA), and A Way to Garden (near the Berkshires on the New York State side) on podcast. They have mostly sooth voices and sensible advice.

  47. egalitarian

    Astrid is wise. I’m in a doctoral studies program in anthropology that is focused on social change. Here are a couple of resources that might be of interest given the context of this discussion. I am in no way endorsing these, simply sharing information: ; ; . What some consider as the elephant in the room, neoliberal capitalism, is well exposed here: . Finally, assuming the collapse of statism, there is much good material about how societies might reorganize, starting with a redefinition of anarchism: . Cheers!

  48. different clue

    I suspect that for the first few weeks, many of the comments will be about the “why” and “how much” and “for how long” of survivalism and preparationism and so forth. There will be partially-at-least philosophical discussions of the reasons for these topics, which could well help us all sharpen up our thinking. And that will allow us to bring over here better, more informative, more actionable material-information resources when we all decide to do that.

    In that vein, here are some items about Teodor Shanin and the sub-discipline he helped found and start . . . “peasantology”.
    and a bunch of images from here and there around the web . . . images of Teodor Shanin himself. Why? Because I have discovered that when using Yahoo’s All The Web ( before Verizon decides to cancel it), every image has its source-URL clearly noted and clearly clickable.
    And some of those URLs turn out to come from interesting sites and blogs and such. Each such URL is a wormhole-portal to somewhere, and some of the somewheres are worth going, and NONE of them would EVER be found by using the crappy Search Prevention Engines we have today. So here is that link too.;_ylt=A2KIbZzh8CpgKZ4AlxxXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=teodor+shanin+peasantology&fr=sfp

  49. different clue

    Here is an example of image-wormhole searching. I clicked on the Teodor Shanin Images link I offered just above and clicked through images one by one, starting with the one on the topmost left.

    Image number 10 gave me this URL . . .
    to a You Tube uploaded talk called :

    Food Sovereignty
    A critical dialogue
    (September 13-14,2013)
    (Yale University)

    And you know how the You Tube algorithm offers up other things “like” the thing you just clicked on? Well, quite a few of those other things are other talks ( or parts of talks) delivered at that same Food Sovereignty conference at Yale University. That’s what image-wormhole searching can do.

  50. Astrid

    I’ve been very happily delving into Charles Dowding’s YouTube channel recently. I think I’ve ignored his books until now because he is English and gardens in a very different climate from eastern USA, but his general advice on no till and multi-sowing are very reasonable for most gardeners. They’re also well produced and he has a calming and soothing presentation.

    I think gardening is a good hobby, but for people who aren’t interested they’re better off with a CSA subscription. I subscribe to one locally that comes out to less than $25/week for good looking organic produce sufficient for a family of 4. It would include a lot of things that are tricky to grow, such as carrots and celery,c and ones that take a lot of space such as sweet corn and winter squash. Even if my labor was free, seeds, water, soil amendment, tools, etc could easily add up to a couple hundred each year.

  51. Ian Welsh

    Ivermectin Covid Protocol from BC Prof Nurse. (I was asked to put this up, I have no idea if it works.)

    Yes, you can buy Ivermectin from any farm store. They probably have many different formulations of Ivermectin. Any will work, but they might not sell it to you if you tell them that you’re going to use it for humans. You will have to ask authoritatively for a syringe of Ivermectin paste for de-worming a horse.

    Go to their website first and find out what they have. Then decide what you want to buy and go in and buy it. Then read the label, so you can figure out how much Ivermectin is in each ml or cc or whatever.

    What you want to calculte is .2 mg of Ivermectin per kg of body weight. That works out to about, for example, 12 mg for a 130 pound person. The recommendation is here:

    Take a dose of this size on Day 1 and again on Day 3. Repeat both doses again in two weeks. Remember to keep taking vit D and vit C and especially zinc. The entire protocol is in that link.

    Any more questions?

  52. Astrid

    Different Clue added this helpful reminder during a cold time.

    different clue PERMALINK
    February 16, 2021
    Off thread but . . .

    . . . Much of the mid-southern and southern US is going to get 10 degrees or colder Fahrenheit tonight. Many houses there are not built to withstand such cold. Here’s a way to lower the chance of having your pipes freeze and maybe burst.

    Turn a cold water faucet on to a slow dripping trickle and leave it running while temperatures are at or under 10 degrees. Do the same with a hot water faucet. Running water is much harder to freeze than still water.

    If the heating still works in your house, turn up the heat to about 76 degrees or so and leave it there till the Cold Emergency passes.

  53. Zachary Smith

    Last week I made a road trip to fill the salt container of a shut-in relative’s softener. When I stopped at the regular place (cheapest) I found they were out of the standard rock salt. Because I knew the big plastic bin was totally empty, I bit the bullet and paid 25% more for “premium” stuff. Moral of the story, she and I ought to have had a refill ahead, but we didn’t. At another store a few days later I overheard a clerk telling an inquiring customer THEY were out. A check/search a moment ago turned up headlines about “salt shortages”.

    So all the theorizing is fine – so long as you have acquired some necessary “stuff”. Consider sugar. It makes lots of things taste good. It has a lot of calories. (it’s also kind of poisonous and we eat way too much of it) In very hard times it gets rationed or becomes unavailable. But consider at least two other uses. Google Sugar Wound Treatment. Slathering honey on an infected wound has been know for ages to be an effective treatment. White sugar in a paste form works too. Cheap honey might be considered as a binder, with a heavy pinch of povidone iodine to discourage random germs which also love eating sugar. Google the subject. Find what you consider to be a reliable-looking source of instructions. PRINT THEM OUT.

    Sugar #2: Bad water is getting to be more and more common as government becomes increasingly privatized. Those (private?) utilities may have been given total immunity (think NY nursing homes) or their standard corner cutting and maintenance neglect gets to the point half the town catches cholera in the blink of an eye. With nearly everybody sick, the few healthy folks will either have the knowledge and supplies to treat their families and neighbors, or they won’t. Untreated cholera is a real killer. Treatment:

    Oral rehydration does not stop diarrhea, but keeps the body hydrated and healthy until the diarrhea passes. Recipe There are several commercially available products but an inexpensive home-made solution consists of 8 level teaspoons of sugar and 1 level teaspoon of table salt mixed in 1 liter of water. A half cup of orange juice or half of a mashed banana can be added to each liter both to add potassium and to improve taste.

    That’s from the UK Lancet. VERIFY THIS! Actually, that’s the “bare bones” treatment. Better recipes are out there. Find them. PRINT THEM OUT.

    Identify a potential problem. Analyze it from a personal point of view. What kind of food stockpile do I need? What can I afford? Do I have the space? What if the landlord turns me into the FBI as a “potential terrorist”? (can you hide/camouflage? Somewhere else?) Storing sugar is a b*tch. It loves humidity. Ants view it as ambrosia. This says Airtight Containers.

    How-to books are fine but bulky, and for the really important stuff (recipes Etc.) a page or two will usually suffice. PRINT OUT THOSE MATERIALS. Possibly keep them together in a fire box.

    Assume the internet has vanished. To some degree it is already fading fast. Google used to be wonderful. It sure as hell isn’t anymore. Link Rot is real. Some things are deliberately removed. Me: I used to have Survivalblog(dot)com bookmarked. Oh, it was full of Evil Liberals and Jesus Loves Me and My Beautiful Guns, but there was always a nugget of useful stuff there every now and then. That site is the only one I know for certain my ISP is blocking. The techs don’t know why, but admit they can’t reach it either. Other major sites have recently been made to vanish entirely if somebody with authority and/or money got annoyed with them.

    Find the instructions you need, and PRINT THEM OUT. Discreetly acquire the materials need for those recipes. Store a second copy of the rehydration mix with the supplies. Etc. Use credit cards for stuff you don’t mind the entire world knowing about. Have a darned good cover story handy for nosy clerks when you are buying some odd material in quantity. (Fifty seven cans of oysters?) Facial recognition is real, and without some precautions even the use of cash is meaningless. Large Covid Masks, oversized hats, and a few random dirt/soot smudges couldn’t hurt.

  54. different clue


    My advice on dripping faucet water would work and does work here in Michigan, where the gas and electric systems have been designed to withstand subzero weather.

    But in Texas, the heat itself went off too. In that case, with the houses getting as cold as the outdoors itself, the faucets would have to be run much faster than just a trickle or a drip. I hadn’t thought of the heat itself going out when I offered that advice.

    Probably in future such situations in the South or the Deep South, which will happen with our new unstable jet streams wandering around as they do now, people with advice about shutting off and blowing all the water out of in-house water line systems or putting antifreeze in all the pipes or other such measures which I do not know how to apply . . . . would have more to offer than I had.

    Of course, in future near-zero events in the South . . . IF the heat stays on, then my drippy faucets advice would be good enough, just as it is up here.

  55. Astrid

    I am investigating whether we need a blow off kit and will also need to figure out how to drain the boiler in case of long freezing spells. We already shut off and drain the pipes if we leave the house for more than 2 days. Our house was built by an engineer who worked for the local water company and it shows in the quality of the build and design, for which we’re very grateful.

    We have been lucky with our home location so far. The few times we went dark in the past five years, it was only for half a day. But as good as local services and crews are, we can’t count on them if something overwhelms the region. My big worry are the contents of my freezers. If electricity goes, I have maybe 4 bays before i have to throw food out. There are thousands of dollars worth of protein in there and no way to buy dry ice if there is a regional emergency.

    I bought some ivermectin online at TSC and has it delivered. There was a 20 dollar delivery fee but it was easy peasy. Hopefully I’ll never need it.

  56. Cesar

    I think there’s a fair amount of discussion here with regard to preserving a homestead in a Mad Max style collapse. Something akin to “prepping” from a discovery channel show, but more benign. There isn’t a tremendous amount of advice on some more practical steps, for instance preservation of wealth, etc. I know that sometimes that sort of advice seems anathema to the spirit of things, and often when it’s heard, it’s that advice spouted by evangelicals of gold or “cryptos”.

    To me there has always been something pathetic, anti-historical and anti-human to the notion of post-collapse homesteading. It is something that appears to be defiant, but is rather submissive. How does anyone expect to survive alone. I understand that it’s likely a cultural phenomenon that arose in the wake of the atom. As opposed to previous collapses ours would be the final one. We have enough history behind us to doubt this.

    So first off, I characterized what follows as a more practical step because as opposed to preparing for an eventual collapse I am of the opinion that we are undergoing that collapse now. It has all the human misery and tragic comedy, but lacks the dramatics of the cinematic variants were used to. I’m our collapse there is some integrity to some institutions. In our collapse we are like those Soviets at their end of days, our system is failing but the world is moving right along. A sentiment that has been expressed with more frequency these days is Gramci’s “time of monsters.” I agree and the best defense for a monster, as those Japanese movies taught us, is your own monster.

    We have plenty here in the USA. Your politicians, your militarized police, your corporations, the list goes on. If you’re charismatic and connected enough to become a politician, chances are you’re not part of this discussion. There is a fair amount of people that consider arsenal gathering a part of collapse preparation. I am a gun owner and see nothing wrong with owning a gun for provisioning or self defense. But if you think an arsenal is going to keep you safe, you may have more than the two biological arms nature endowed me with.

    The final monster in the short list above is the corporation. I’ve always sensed an underlying socialist streak to the majority of the participation here, so please note that I characterize the corporation as a monster. In this collapse we are experiencing you see a consolidation of corporate power over government, as a matter of fact the capitulation of our government to corporate power is the root cause of our collapse. The great irony in all this is that the collapse of government power begets a collapse of pesky constructs like legality. Ultimately this renders corporate power null and void. What are all the bankers going to work for, what are all the security guards, cops and soldiers going to break necks for, if there is no full faith and no credit to the US government and its dollar?

    To that last question some would say, gold! Or Bitcoin! Both share the one underlying glitch. They are hard to acquire in “physical” form and for lay people even harder to deploy. Sure you can go to the CME and buy gold, take a look at the “delivery” mechanism. Good luck ever getting your hands on your gold. You can do the same for Bitcoin and I’d ask you the same. Both gold and Bitcoin in their “investible” formats are legal constructs that require a government authority to validate their value. Gold in its physical construct at least has some intrinsic value, but crypto value is its dollar denomination; I’ll let you think through that tautology.

    This leaves only a specific breed of monster for you to hide behind. One whose authority doesn’t require the protection of the US government. One that you can legally access now. And one that you could access in the future. The first characteristic indicates a foreign corporation or one that is global enough that it will weather the storm. The second characteristic indicates something you can purchase today with few legal restrictions, so Chinese or Russian corporations are out of the running. The third may even mean that you can physically be present to make your claim to the relevant legal authorities.

    Now this isn’t speculative investment advice, I’m not saying you’ll get rich or beat some benchmark return. But bearing in mind the notion of collapse and preparation I think Canadian equities, in particular banks, for the mold. I prefer them to gigantic US multinationals that may weather the storm such as Apple. The US multinational may pay a dividend denominated in USD, the Canadian bank in CAD. We aren’t worried about relative performance of currencies, the worry is the collapse of a currency. Ease of purchase is self-evident. And finally depending on where you are in the US, Canada is likely one of two countries that is “nearby”.

    I apologize for the tackiness of talking money matters, and I’m definitely not certain of anything so welcome any and all advice. Particularly those suggestions that fulfill the three characteristics of: no need of US legal protection, present ease of access and future ease of access.

  57. Tinky

    Good thread. A couple of micro recommendations:

    Invest in a Berkey stand-alone water filter. They are of superb quality, are useful in the best of times, and can be invaluable when clean water is unavailable.

    I have been using the 8.5L model, which is perfect for a couple. The “black” filters, which may appear to be superficially expensive, are actually remarkable cheap, as they last for ~23,000 litres (equivalent to roughly 10 years of regular use).

    A terrific company and product line, and, as others have noted, clean water will always be of the highest importance during a crisis.

    Next, Oil of Oregano. It is a tremendous all-around, natural health supplement, in my experience. The high levels of carvacrol produce antibacterial properties, and some studies have suggested that the oil has possible anti-viral properties, as well. It’s also a potent antifungal.

    Among other uses, I have found Oil of Oregano to be an effective anti-histamine, as well. I do not suffer significantly from allergies, but when I am experiencing related symptoms, drinking a few drops of oil in a glass of water (mix thoroughly) typically stops them in their tracks.

  58. Trinity

    There is some really great advice here, and I want to thank you all, especially Ian, for the information provided and the existence and quality of this thread.

    To me, it’s not going to be a nationwide overnight crash-and-burn scenario. Too many vested interests still seeking profits. (This situation should, however, be reassessed constantly.) To me, it’s going to be a continual, gradual change/decline in living standards, such as one day no longer having grocery stores full of summer vegetables in the middle of winter (or they are so expensive only the rich can afford them, which is already pretty much true). Ignoring the bleating of the MSM, the real changes have been very gradual, if you think about it, and I think that will continue. Tails they win, heads we lose will also continue.

    We’ve been adjusting to change for many years now without really even thinking about it much. I don’t want people to get discouraged or think “it’s too late” because it isn’t. The reality is that support for disaster relief will be withdrawn but over time, some areas will be abandoned entirely in the future, here in the US we are on our own for healthcare, and the focus on profit over life (of any kind) will continue. As gnohgnok noted, there’s variation in how areas are responding to these changes, and replacing what “they” provide is the key. In other words, making “them” irrelevant to our lives in every way possible.

    So, the most important thing is to stay vigilant to what is happening in your area in terms of general trends in weather, climate, social, and political activities, in addition to changes occurring at the national level. The other is to keep your own mind and body as fit as possible. Learning a useful (low tech) skill that can be bartered is also a good idea.

    One of the things getting me through both the pandemic and everything else has been my study of Taoism, which is really about accepting things as they are and being able to focus instead on what’s really important (to you). It’s much more than that, but absolutely no one will preach Taoism to you, it’s not a religion, it’s more like common sense and what to do when all about you are either losing their minds or driving you crazy. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s probably saved my life, as I’ve been fighting depression for awhile now. What we are dealing with, I think, is loss: of loved ones, of the future that we had envisioned, of our basic understanding of the world and our part in it. Taoism has lots of general good advice. Look for a podcast called What’s This Tao All About, and start at the very beginning.

    Speaking of advice, any advice on places to live or what to look for in a place to live are welcome. I’m looking to get away from Swamp Central.

  59. Zachary Smith

    Captive air tanks used to be inexpensive. They can be pumped up/charged with hand-powered bicycle pumps. Finding the right places to attach the hose to blow out the lines would be the tricky part. That and the fittings. That planning and those purchases need to be done in advance. Everything stored together where none of it will get misplaced. PRINT OUT the instructions along with everything else which needs to be immediately done when the power fails. Forgetting something can be painfully costly.

    Freezers are nice, but extremely risky. I’ve found it heartbreaking to dig a pit and empty endless containers of expensive stuff – simply because I hadn’t installed a temperature sensor which alerted me to the compressor failure. Portable generators work. The good ones are rather expensive. If your house EVER burns down and the Insurance Company finds gasoline cans in the ashes when it sifts them, you won’t get a dime. For people with inexpensive outbuildings this won’t be much of an issue.

    New headline: Some Texans use 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid pickup trucks to power homes amid winter storm (

    This is a bit of genius. The power options vary from 2k to 7k watts. I expect other manufacturers of trucks (and hybrid cars) will copy this ASAP.

    Dry ice can be made at home. You need some large Carbon Dioxide canisters, and some simple supplies, possibly as simple as a sound pillowcase. For some this might be a good option.

    In some cases where you KNOW the freezer food will be wasted, haul out the barbecue grill and start cooking. Invite every neighbor within range to come and help eat it. This kind of goodwill could pay off down the road.

    Texas Headline: When a busy H-E-B lost power, store told Texans gathering supplies to ‘go ahead’ without paying Utter brilliance here. The store manage turned a disaster into success for all concerned. Texas undoubtedly has a lot of fine people. One wonders why the a@@holes there get 98% of the news coverage.

    Protein storage is good. I suggest you consider small tinned hams. Dry beans – these must be kept dry and well sealed from weevils, and will require pressure cooking after a few months storage. Dry soybean products like TVP are expensive, but compared to what? Dry milk – THAT is something (like the soy) to put into your freezer after you empty one. Frozen dried milk keeps nearly forever, and if the power fails, it goes back to its ordinary expiration schedule of a few years. (I use the term “dry freezer” for one which is indifferent to a power outage or compressor failure)

  60. Jason

    What we are dealing with, I think, is loss: of loved ones, of the future that we had envisioned, of our basic understanding of the world and our part in it.

    The last part is the hardest for me.

    Trinity, I’ve been framing my “depression” as a sensitive, sensible response to a sick society. It’s not completely debilitating, so I feel fortunate I have the capacity to mindfully take that approach to it.

  61. Astrid

    I take solace in geological time. Earth has survived great catastrophes before. Even now, what humans can are capable of is dwarfed by natural processes that Earth and it’s ecosystem has survived numerous times.

    Ultimately, we’re just here for less than 100 years each. Take it as a privilege to enjoy and learn what you can. Yes, there’s almost certainly going to be great suffering amongst people we know and people we will never know. Although we are all culpable and responsible in the tiniest way, we don’t have to bear all the responsibility and all the pain along the way. Don’t get too attached to life or death, wrongness or rightness.

  62. Zachary Smith

    Ultimately, we’re just here for less than 100 years each. Take it as a privilege to enjoy and learn what you can. Yes, there’s almost certainly going to be great suffering amongst people we know and people we will never know. Although we are all culpable and responsible in the tiniest way, we don’t have to bear all the responsibility and all the pain along the way. Don’t get too attached to life or death, wrongness or rightness.

    Whether by intention or not, those remarks could very well been uttered by a multi-billionaire psychopath. Or be the motto of the entire class of them.

    If you care to make the effort, make a search for the terms Humans As A Geological Force. Yes, the rock and water of the Earth will remain after we’ve done our worst. But Earth’s biosphere will be finished. A few scattered species may or may not survive. Even a few humans could persist. But not anything which could remotely be defined as “civilization”.

    This thread is about surviving the small screwups we might encounter. Within the lyrics of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables is this: “… And there are storms we cannot weather”.

    If nothing is done about man-made climate change except for useless exercises like “The Paris Accords”, the coming storm will be one of those “we cannot weather”.

  63. Astrid

    I understand where you are coming from, but my perspective is coming from a place of powerless. I don’t have billions to try and effect change (which is likely to fail anyways but there would be responsibility to try, which they have abdicated) I do what I can (I try to reduce my energy consumption where I can, but I know it will just result in incrementally cheaper energy for the next person to use up) but accepts that I (and all of humanity) am very unlikely to change the broad strokes at those point. There will be great suffering for human and nonhumans in the next couple centuries. That will happen no matter what I want or wish for. What’s left behind will be barren for millions of years. All I am clinging onto, is that life on Earth has proved resilient and we’re not a terminal condition for the biosphere and other life will likely spring forth millions of years in the future. This will happen until a billion years from now, when the surface of the planet becomes hostile to complex life.

  64. different clue

    I was once discussing with someone the possibility of enough people within a Power Company’s service area reducing their additive individual electric usages by more than the waste-people could increase theirs by. And maybe attriting the utility’s revenue stream by enough to reduce its political power.

    He said, if you could do that, the utility would just raise its prices to restore its revenue stream to what it was before. I thought and said, unintended genius! If the utility company did that, then the waste people might be confronted with a high enough price rise that they too would be forced to use less electricity.

    I don’t know if a powerful semicott within a particular utility’s service area would force that response. But it would be an interesting experiment.

    I think what Cesar described up above might be what I have read the Air Force refers to as ” degrade gracefully” in its own war-fighting context. I found a similar definition taken from another context.
    Perhaps if enough people adopt a lifestyle of graceful partial collapse, they may be able to guide society itself ( or at least their own regionalocal parts of society) from the hard collapse path onto a graceful degradation path, leaving many people able to survive usefully at the end of it.

  65. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    The power companies typically collect that money through connection charges and such, and you’ll be on the hook as long as your are grid tied.

    We live a world that allow BitCoin mining to use more energy than Argentina. A world that is happy to allocate wealth based on heighten psychopathy (witness Wall Street and billionaires). So sadly, I’m pretty sure my personal energy savings would be literally wasted for counterproductive activities.

  66. different clue

    I live on a power grid called DTE Energy. I remember one time years ago, I used little enough electricurrent per day that the bill said basically, ” you did not use enough power this month for us to be able to charge for the power used, so we are charging you the electric hookup fee.”

    The bill was pretty small. I gather that most people on DTE use enough power that they can charge enough for the power that they don’t need to charge a hookup fee. ( The gas side charges a gas hookup fee regardless). So they made less off me that month than they make from most people most months. And I don’t mind paying a hookup fee to be able to have power when I need it. The grid and the power are real things.

    But the less power I use, the less of my money DTE needs to send along to coal,gas and oil companies to make power with.

  67. Trinity

    Jason, yes to all. I’ve suffered from depression on and off, mostly due to my family and the effects of dealing with them (majority narcissists). I’ve learned to handle them better, but it’s a bit late.

    Taoism helps with the whole “place in the world” part. It’s so many things, but as a philosophy it’s about accepting things as they are, and more importantly, it’s about knowing yourself, knowing who you are and who you are not! This is where freedom really lies. So much of our culture is detrimental to our efforts for knowing who we really are, such as making us wish for (or go broke for) things we don’t need and eventually finding out we didn’t really want or need it anyway. It also forces us to live a specific, certain way, such as forcing us to own a car, as just one example. And this is compounded especially with engineered obsolescence, forcing us to buy and rebuy. I just replaced my two year old (cheap) coffee maker, again. There is even a federal agency that decides how long the chips in your washing machine will last (about five years). And replacing the chip is (surprise!) almost as expensive as replacing the entire machine.

    I keep saying there’s time to prepare, but not centuries. I’ve been following climate change since the early oughts and the most important thing is that they keep adjusting their predictions backward in time. They are predicting an ice-free arctic sometime this decade. That’s when all heck will break loose, probably. It will take time to do so, however. Biden declared a disaster for Texas, but really, how many more times is that going to happen?

    Found another podcast: Breaking Down: Collapse. Important note: if you are sensitive, skip the first eight episodes as he lays outs everything that can (and probably will) go wrong. Yes, it’s pretty depressing spelling it all out in eight hours. This is not a doom prepper site, he advocates building community to survive, and has lots of other advice and recommendations, and that begins with episode 10. I’m somewhere around episode 11, and so far, I’m impressed.

    As time passes, the uncertainties will become certain. There are still lots of options in how we choose to respond. The important thing is to decide for yourself how you want to handle all this information and the uncertainty.

  68. Zachary Smith

    Idle thoughts

    Few people have a stock of properly stored seeds, so come crunch time they may have to “punt”. Popcorn is corn seed. I’ve ground it into cornmeal with a cheap hand mill, but the work left me dripping with sweat. Making corn flour from the popped kernels would obviously be much easier, but this is something I’ve never tried. Pintos are bean seed. Here in Indiana producing “soup” beans is difficult because of the rotting of the pods in late summer. (I understand the commercial products are grown in irrigated deserts where they just turn off the water and fairly soon can bring in the combines.) I’d plan on trying to go with “hull outs” where the mature bean seeds are shelled from the pods and promptly canned. If no canning lids are available, I’d try drying the beans on sheets of metal – perhaps atop a building with a shallow pitched galvanized roof. As a little kid I watched a relative dry “green beans” that way on the roof of a chicken-house.

    Next Halloween consider saving the seeds from the carved pumpkin to add to the rest of the seed stocks. Or scooping out the watermelon seeds next time those are served. Watermelon flesh can be boiled down in giant kettles into a fine sweet syrup. To save the seeds of that fabulous tomato Aunt Millie gave you, spread them on the cheapest type of paper plate and let them dry there. Label it with name and date. Commercial “seed” potatoes are ideal because they were carefully grown to avoid viral contamination, but despite being sprayed to inhibit sprouting, spuds from the produce department will usually (eventually) sprout, and they can be carved up so as to have at least one “eye” to plant. Onions are biennials, but you can produce seed for next year by planting a few large or small bulb in the garden.

    Power machinery is awfully nice for preparing a garden spot, but our ancient ancestors made-do without it. Check your supply of long-handle round-blade utility shovels. If you already have a couple, put on some heavy gloves and sharpen them with a file or power grinder! A few people can do a slow-motion “plowing” operation with the shovels. You’ll need some heavy sharp hoes as well. Soils are loaded with what seems like unlimited amounts of grass/weed seeds, and those unwanted plants must be kept from taking over your vegetable plot.

    Canning lids prices are currently at unbelievable levels. If you can’t acquire an affordable supply, look into large-scale solar drying. This will require acquiring some materials and locating good plans from the internet or Library. The dehydrated food will need to be kept dry, and that’s a reason to save used canning lids recovered from opened food jars. Though they’re 1-time use for pressure canning, the recovered flats will still be fine for airtight seals on jars of dried foods and stored seeds. Learn how to store turnips and the like in earth pits. I once went with an uncle to his old earth-floor barn where he dug out enough for the coming meal. (The barn roof kept rain and snow from being an issue.)

    People might consider contacting a relative in tobacco growing country to get some seeds. Besides the obvious uses of the weed, smoke from much larger burning quantities can de-louse a small building. Old farm books had many other uses for the highly poisonous plant.

    Non-standard foods – consider acorns. I’ve never been successful making the things edible, but plenty of other people have! If the stone-age California Indians could do it, why can’t I?

    During WW2 the US sent the USSR 36,000 tons of seeds during the Lend Lease program. I assume most of those were vegetable seeds the citizens could plant in their version of “Victory” gardens. The Germans had captured the best farm lands, and every available plot needed to be planted with something which could be eaten. Starvation wasn’t on the scale of the Nazi-occupied lands, but hunger was never far away for the Russian peoples during WW2.

  69. Zachary Smith

    The 1902 Sears catalog featured a battery light for $1.72 and a replacement battery for $.39. (In today’s money that’s roughly $56.) For their expenditure the buyer got approximately 6,000 “flashes” of light which would equate to about an hour and forty minutes of continuous run time. Not at all competitive with the assorted solid and liquid fuels for lighting in 1902.

    Today a person can rig what we still call a ‘flashlight’ to run for much longer. For years I was in the race for “brightest” light, but recently I’ve dropped out. (I’m keeping some of the best ‘bright’ ones, but not buying any more.) These days I focus on “run time”, or how long can I coax the batteries into producing useful light. Fortunately we humans have eyes which are highly adaptable to low light levels. So try to buy (or make) a battery light with a “firefly” mode, or at least has a setting of a very few lumens. The really dim ones could be used during power outages as “nightlights” to comfort children and others unfamiliar with total darkness. They’d run for many weeks in this mode. A recently modified 2D Maglite of mine draws 4 milliamps. The Mags focus to a tight spot, and with night-adapted eyes the output is perfectly satisfactory. It’s actually too bright to be a suitable night-light.

    Getting back to little kids, try to locate (or make) flashlights for their own personal use during a power outage. If you can’t get a model with “push-button only”, a drop of epoxy inside the slide switch beside the built-in ‘flash’ button will make it into a light kids can’t turn on, then forget.

    Liquid fuel lamps are expensive, fragile, and dangerous. When the stored kerosene is gone, there will be few prospects of getting more. I’ve given away all of mine except for a brand new ceramic Aladdin mantle lamp (with the extra tall chimney) I found in a Florida charity store. The thing is just gorgeous, and will remain in that condition as a “beautiful art object”.

    If I seem to be obsessive about lighting, it may be on account of reading “At Day’s Close – Night in Times Past” by Roger Ekirch. I’d never imagined home life where adequate lighting with enough expensive candles was strictly a Rich People thing. And the rest of society was universally ‘warped’ by the absence of lighting! A Five-Star book for me.

  70. Astrid

    You can reuse canning jar lids, just wash them carefully, precondition them in hot water, and be tolerant of a slightly higher failure rate. They have a dimple that tells you if the seal is good or bad. So not much danger as long as you check the seal before eating. I am planning to buy a hundred boxes once the prices return to normal

    For popcorn, I would just parch/pop and eat. Even if you have access to lime and make masa, I imagine it would be pain to grind down popcorn. Better off using decorative Indian corn for seeds, they should be a little easier to process than popcorn but you may still want too learn how to make lime and masa.

    Corn would be really low on my survival for list, though above other cereals. Amaranth and quinoa have edible greens as well as seeds. Sunflower is easy to process and highly nutritious. Corn takes a lot of space and nitrogen and water to grow well. I would really hope that even in a partial breakdown, you can get access to bulk food like flour, rice and beans. So hopefully just worry about growing veggies and fruit and protein to supplement.

    I would focus on growing sweet potato (vines are excellent greens and they’re not much buggered by disease or insects), organic potatoes (assuming conventional potatoes are sprayed with a sprouting inhibitor), and various beans from grocery bulk bins. Soy beans are probably a good place to start, some they are a good fresh, dried, or sprouted. Blackeye peas are also probably better for high humidity situation. People with zone 7 or warmer weather can grow fava beans, which also has excellent greens. You might be able to grow squash from seeds, but a lot of them are now hybrids so no guarantees there.

    For survival food, hard to beat Jerusalem artichoke. It has zero insect or disease issues for me. Yield bountifully with minimal water or fertilizer. Just thin it out so the plants are at least 1 feet apart and preferably have 3-4 square feet each. I have trialed about 10 varieties and Supernova from Oikos and the strain sold by FedCo are by far the best. Large, good tasting, and bear close to main stem. Make sure it’s a separate patch, because there will always be so many volunteers.

    You can buy seeds cheaply as sprouting seeds, in the range of about $5-10 per pound. Just be aware that these would just be a stop gap and are likely to have high number of off types. If you can afford the space and costs, buy some basics from Sandhill Preservation Center, Southern Exposure Seed Company, FedCo, Gourmet Seeds,cand Wild Garden seeds. Stored in fridge or freezer in a freezer bag with dessicants, I get good sprouting for about 10 years for most crops except onions and okra, which are probably good for 3 years.

  71. Astrid

    I listen to a lot of podcasts while gardening.
    It makes tedious chores much more enjoyable. Mike Duncan’s History of Rome and Revolutions podcasts are excellent and have taught me more about how to think about our predicament than anything else. Patrick Wyman’s podcast is also very good, but a bit more wide ranging. In Our Times is great for quick pick ups on a wide range of topics, currently with 899 episodes out.

    I use Podkicker, which let’s me play the podcast at 1.6x speed, which somehow make the ads much more bearable.

  72. Astrid

    I recommend watching some of Charles Dowding’s YouTube videos. I do no till(aka no dig) and have an easier time with weeds than any of my neighbors in my community garden. There is more and more research that digging is unnecessary and detrimental to soil. Too much soil prep actually prevent the plants from growing into the native soil.

    I find that the top 4 tools in my kit are a 5 gallon bucket, an expanding hose, a hand hoe, and a digging fork.

  73. different clue


    A hypothetical question, since I haven’t tried it myself.

    If you were to soak some popcorn in water and let it just barely begin to sprout, would it be softened enough to be easy to grind into masa or even just mushy-grits? If so, how would it taste?
    Especially if lime-treated to available-ize the niacin inside the kernels?

  74. Zachary Smith

    You can reuse canning jar lids, just wash them carefully, precondition them in hot water, and be tolerant of a slightly higher failure rate. They have a dimple that tells you if the seal is good or bad. So not much danger as long as you check the seal before eating. I am planning to buy a hundred boxes once the prices return to normal

    So would I, but when writing things a rank amateur might see, it’s best to stick to The Book. There are a few brands of can lid flats whose rubber seal won’t rebound, but most recover well enough for a second use. The ‘failures’ would be consumed at the next meal. If that “dimple” is still down months later, the food inside is as safe as any other. If not, the contents must be discarded in any event.

    Good point about the decorative corn. This would be an instance of storing your corn seed in plain view.
    Relying on corn as a main survival food really is problematical. We’ve already seen major waves of crop wipeout from disease, and more could appear at any time. Worse, a new one might have had some “assistance” from an unfriendly nation or terrorist group.
    One final problem: a diet consisting mostly of corn can be extremely unhealthy. The Indians of the Southwest commonly known as Anasazi went through some very bad times where a little corn was about all they had to eat. A new theory has an explanation for their behavior:

    Niacin Rescues Cannibalistic Hamsters
    The Historical Significance of 1940s Mandatory Niacin Enrichment
    by W. Todd Penberthy, PhD

    (OMNS, Feb 28, 2017) In a newly published research study, Tissier and colleagues at the Universite ‘ de Strasbourg, France, identified wild hamsters that were eating primarily corn monoculture diets and exhibiting siblicide and maternal infanticide. Cannibalism was one of the theories for the decline of their population. Mother hamsters fed exclusively corn would take their pups, place them together with the stashes of corn they had stored in the cage, and start eating their young. Siblicide was also observed. Only 5 percent of the offspring of the females fed corn survived. The rest were eaten. For the other group fed a varied diet, 80 percent of the babies survived. However, supplementation of corn diets with just vitamin B3 (niacin) prevented the aggressive cannibalistic behavior.[1]

    Natives in Mexico somehow learned to avoid this problem by treating their corn with lime.

  75. Zachary Smith

    A year or so back I tried pressure cooking a half cup of popcorn – with very little effect. The next thing I’m going to try is making “popcorn hominy”. Because store-bought lye is hard-to-find, expensive, and dangerous, I’ve roasted some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to make a little jar of sodium carbonate.

    People on the internet tubes say this hominy-making procedure works fine, and have on display pictures of the cutest little white hominy kernels you’ve ever seen.

  76. Astrid

    No idea. Never tried making cornmeal from scratch before. I have sprouted popcorn before and did not enjoy the taste, so I don’t think sprouted ground corn would taste good to me.

    I did assume that grinding with skin would result in a lot of gritty skin pieces that would need to be shifted out, but according to this article, they’re fine to keep in. It seems like grain mill is the way to go.

    If you have a choice, grow flour corn and it’s much easier to grind. Having said that, In 2019, I grew Cascade Ruby Gold ( and glass gem popcorn. The former was bred by Carol Deppe to provide different flavor dried corn (it has 4 colors from gold to maroon) for different purposes. The latter is ubiquitous online for good reason, it’s really beautiful and fairly easy to grow. I recommend starting with that one if you want to dip your toe in growing dry corn. Their pretty enough to be given as gifts even if the popping wasn’t too good.

  77. Astrid

    Indoor seed germination tip. Half and half Promix and vermiculite is remarkably better than Promix alone. I had sown some old Napa cabbage seeds ( maybe 2013) in Promix and got like 10 percent germination. I was doing a trial sowing with the vermiculite mix (Charles Dowling showed very good results for a compost and vermiculite mix for lettuce) and sowed some old seeds. I got probably 85 percent germination and vigorous growth. Many of the other seeds I trialed are also germinating well. This may be the new standard mix for seed starting and I will need to trial this for cutting propagation.

    I vermiculite and perlite from my local Agway, in big 2 cubic foot bags for under $20 each.

  78. TimmyB

    Luckily, I am old enough that I can rationally believe that I die a few decades prior to global climate change induced starvation killing billions of people on this planet.

    These billions will die because the crops needed to feed them, rice, wheat, corn and soy, each require a narrow band of both temperature and precipitation to grow. In the future, those bands will shrink and disappear.

    However, if I were younger and had a family, I would move as far north in North America as I could. Alaska or Northern Canada. I would try to move near a fresh water supply, preferably a lake with fish, that I believed would not disappear during global warming. Make sure there are many trees around for fuel. You are going to have to keep warm during long, very cold winters. I would try to figure out what I and my family could plant and eat that would grow in the shorter growing seasons of the north. I would get some guns, preferably a hunting rifle or two, and stockpile ammunition. Read up on prepper literature, but keep in mind that you are preparing for a world that cannot grow enough food to feed itself for decades and heat that will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable. We aren’t talking about a breakdown of civilization. This will be an extinction level event lasting for hundreds of years.

    You and your family will be spending all of your time stockpiling food and fuel to survive each winter. Hope the future wars between starving and waterless India, China and Pakistan don’t use so many nuclear weapons that radiation kills you. Just in case, stock up on those iodine pills that prevent radiation from building up in your thyroid gland.

    With luck and skill, you and yours might just prevent the human race from going extinct. Good luck.

  79. JimmyC

    Thanks TimmyB. Encouraging. Best to you and yours.

  80. Zachary Smith

    Hope the future wars between starving and waterless India, China and Pakistan don’t use so many nuclear weapons that radiation kills you. Just in case, stock up on those iodine pills that prevent radiation from building up in your thyroid gland.

    A nuclear war between India and Pakistan will be a disaster for the rest of the world, but for the most part that won’t involved the radioactive fallout. Headlines:

    2013: “NUCLEAR FAMINE:A BILLION PEOPLE AT RISK?” https://www(dot)psr(dot)org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/two-billion-at-risk.pdf

    2020: “A regional nuclear conflict would compromise globalfood security” https://www(dot)pnas(dot)org/content/pnas/117/13/7071.full.pdf

    If (God forbid) this happens, starvation will be your main problem. But don’t throw away those Iodine pills – Big Corporations are working hard to keep their antique power reactors open WAY past their planned lifetimes. The things were designed for 40 years, and now they’re talking 80 years. Combine that with the cheapskate maintenance of the things, and you’ve got a very good reason to buy even more Iodine pills.

  81. TimmyB

    If you really wanted to survive climate change, look into moving to Siberia and becoming a fur trapper. Or a Laplander reindeer herder in Europe’s Article circle. I know, you’d think Intuit people would do well, but they depend on the oceans for sustenance. That’s going to be a real problem in the future. But if you join a culture that has learned to live off the land in the Arctic or near Arctic, you will have as good a chance of surviving as anyone on this planet.

    Don’t be a dilettante. Survival is serious business. Moving to Michigan and trying to become a farmer isn’t going to help you survive what’s coming.

  82. Astrid

    Climate change is affecting the polar regions more extremely than at the tropics. And the polar regions don’t have the fertility or top soil to support any more than their present sparse populations.

    Climate change is fast, but human stupidity is faster. So maybe first survive social breakdown in the US in the next 10 year before drawing up plans to join Werner Herzog’s Happy People. You’re assuming that you can survive in the Arctic circle, will be accepted by the local community, and won’t be picked off by the warbands. I would take my chances with temperate non desert northern hemisphere.

  83. different clue

    @Timmy B,

    500 million Chinese and 500 million Indians are probably already thinking of moving into Siberia. How would I compete with all those people?

    More to the point, the ChinaGov and the IndiaGov are probably planning massive geo-engineering to be rolled out and deployed if they see the rest of the world allowing the Big Heat to get anywhere near that point.

  84. TimmyB


    I am aware that climate change is effecting the polar regions more extremely than the tropics. However, the reasons for moving to the polar regions are 1) they are relatively under populated and 2) I suspect they will be be cool enough to support human life while the rest of the planet is too hot to do so. “Temperate non desert North America?” Where do you think that will be when we are 6 degrees Centigrade hotter? If it exists, I suspect it will be north of the Arctic Circle.

    As far as the polar regions being unable to support more than their present population, I’m sure that’s correct. However, when everywhere else on the planet is suffering from huge depopulation, being part of the sparse, but relatively stable population in the polar regions may be a lifesaver. If our species is lucky, small pockets of people will survive and we won’t go extinct. I’m just trying to point out where those small pockets may be located. Thats the optimist in me.

    I also believe if you try to become a member of one of these communities today, you may be accepted by them when the shit hits the fan. I suggest you or your children swiftly marry into the local community.

    Society breaking down is of little concern. Civilizations come and go. Rome was sacked. The Aztecs are no more. Yet humans survived. However, climate change isn’t going to spare anyone. We face extinction, along with many, many other species. If you think you have ten years from the first crop failures to live in cities or the suburbs, think again.

  85. different clue

    About corn, there are interesting information sources and seed sources findable on the internet while it still exists before it breaks down or gets shut down.

    The problem of corn’s survivability outside narrow weather-conditions bands has been raised. So has the problem of corn’s vulnerability to present and future diseases. I think this may be more a problem with today’s narrow-genetic-base super-uniform mainstream hybrid and GMO corn of today than it would be or is with the surviving older-fashioned legacy varieties or with new multi-ancestry input newer varieties being bred from the old ones.

    Here is an example of that: Painted Mountain Corn. I have only read about it, never grown it or used it. It is supposed to be a short season soft-kernel flour corn, developed from many Northern Plains and Mountains Indian Nation varieties to grow and produce in the semi-high and dry and cold-ish country of Western Montana. The breeder is reported to have been trying to breed a corn that would work for individuals and/or tiny farmers in the mid-future global warming conditions expected. Here is the best website I have seen about it so far, offering information about the corn itself as well as some other information as well as some survival preparationist politics which the reader can take or leave. It has many click-links which can lead the reader to further interesting information.

    What about corns for the hot dry Southwest? There is a seed-group called Native Seed Search. They have a small catalog for fans and supporters where one may buy small amounts of various traditional native dry-hot adapted corn types.

    I wish someone in the Southwest would do with these corns what Northern Mountain breeder Dave Christensen did with the Northern Plains/Mountain corn types . . . . and breed a multi-ancestry type tolerant to various sorts of bad conditions and still able to produce enough to survive on. That developer could call it ” Painted Desert corn”.

    And if someone ever did that, then maybe some other someone could breed Painted Mountain AND Painted Desert corns together to get a ” Painted Mountain Desert” corn. Or maybe a ” Painted Desert Mountain” corn. Which could provide a small but predictable subsistence under many sorts of unrelated-to-eachother bad conditions. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    Treating dry corn kernels with lime or lye or ashes has been referrenced up above as the way to liberate the niacin locked in the kernels for human digestive uptake. A business with quite a bit to sell in that regard is called Masienda. Based in Los Angeles, they sell culinary lime( calcium oxide) for nixtamalizing corn with, a book about all this, other supplies, and several types of heirloom corn sourced from particular growers in Mexico. Each corn description warns the buyer that these corns are only for eating, not for growing or transferring to other possible growers, because of the Biodiversity Convention and the Nagoya Protocol. Since I would be too tempted to plant these seeds, I won’t buy any of these corns myself. But those with the self discipline to have these corns in their possession and NOT plant them might well go ahead and buy some. Here is the link.

  86. Astrid


    If the Arctic circle is the only survival option within my lifetime, then all hope is already lost. I would not bother to claw for survival in the denuded (and burning) Tiga against hundreds of millions of desperate Russians, Chinese, and others Eurasians.

    I am glad you brought this up though. Part of this survival thread should address the terms of survival and making peace with what is possible. I am definitely not interested in survival at any cost. I also don’t have children precisely because I felt it would be unconscionable to bring a child into this unraveling world. So while I’m willing to take precautions to survive some decline and civilization collapse, my solution for the more extreme declines is a relatively painless exit for myself and loved ones.

    The other preparation is to live mindfully and relatively happily now. Nobody knows what tomorrow brings, but I think it’s best to try and bring what joy and comfort you can to your life now. Prepare some, but putting yourself through miseries for the extreme outlier scenario that even the best preparation is unlikely to help you survive seems very foolish to me.

  87. Mr Jones

    I also don’t have children precisely because I felt it would be unconscionable to bring a child into this unraveling world.

    Where do children come into this world from? Outer space?

    We grow out of this world, in the same way a plant grows out of the ground.

    This wildly popular figure of speech (we’re bringing a child into this world!) – and the mindset and feelings that accompany it – are at the root of all our problems.

  88. TimmyB

    I believe that if you and your family can join a community near or in the Arctic Circle that currently has the ability to be self-sufficient, it will improve the chances your genetic material will be passed on to future generations. If that’s not a priority for you, then don’t move.

    But, don’t move in the north to a place accessible via roads, rail or ships. You will want to avoid being connected to civilization. Move to a place that you can only get to by a small plane. Away from the coast but on a lake so you have fresh water that may survive climate change. I’d look at the underground water level in case the lake may dry and your progeny will need a well.

    I don’t believe that large numbers of people will flood the Arctic and near Arctic because the food they will be looking for isn’t going to be there. And even if millions tried to live in the Arctic, they will not have the food, fuel, shelter, clothing and skill necessary to survive the first winter they experience. Refugees, if they make it to your isolated location, aren’t going to survive.

    As far as taking half measures go, why bother? It’s philosophical question, I know. We people currently living can take measures to prolong our lives. But those measures won’t mean shit to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those people are fucked no matter how many Krugerrands, solar panels or dried beans you have.

  89. JimmyC

    So, to sum up, you’ll need a small plane and lots of survival skills you don’t have. Good luck, and remember I’ll be dead and don’t really care anyway. -TimmyB

  90. Howard

    @Astrid via @differentclue, I saw your very good book list — we have many of the titles and look forward to checking into others from your list. Another book with a wealth of information that I didn’t see on the list and that we have found extremely useful is John Jeavon’s How to Grow More Vegetables. It’s specifically about the Biointensive method but the extensive charts regarding the seed starting and planting of dozens and dozens of all types of plants, plus the diagrams and tables are useful no matter how you want to grow food. A more abbreviated version is also available as The Sustainable Vegetable Garden.

    A good thing to know about is how to get food that grows without any extra human effort. This could include foraged and hunted food, and we can also be finding out what food-giving plants (native or otherwise) grow unbidden in the specific places we live and planting or otherwise encouraging them on any piece of land that we have access to. Here in Central Texas that would include things like Prickly Pear cactus aka in these parts by its Spanish name of Nopal (Opuntia spp), mesquite, mulberry, dock, dandelion, dewberry (wild blackberry), and yucca, for example.

    In our area, a good general resource has been Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona by Delena Tull. We own an earlier version by the same author with a slightly different title. A companion volume is How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest by Jill Nokes. I am very sure that a several-minute Google search with the terms “[your region] edible plants” would turn up similar things no matter where you live. To test that statement, I just plugged in “Iowa” (I grew up there) in place of “[no region]” and found a bunch of nice resources. Then just for grins I plugged in “Czech Republic” (cause it seemed random) and still got what looks like useful information.

  91. Astrid


    I am not interested in prolonging my genetic material. If a 95% population reduction is going to happen no matter what, I’d like to do my part. I wouldn’t get too attached to ancestry and progeny. I don’t even know the proper names for my great grandparents, they’re strangers to me. I expect the same of progeny. Kids and grandkids are not future expressions of me, they are their own people who must make their own way and will form their own beliefs. If mine aren’t there, someone else’s will fill in the gap.

    I would also say that sparsely populated areas are that way for a reason. Herzog’s Happy People survive by fur trapping and buy food with the money they get. What happens when that supply/demand dries up? I also wouldn’t count on people not making it up there, there are 4.6 billion people in Eurasia. Odds are a bit better in northern Canada, but I’m sure many governments are eyeing that vastness for future expansion.

  92. different clue

    I imagine the next couple or so weeks of this growing thread will be partly devoted to philosophy of preparation . . . . for what and how much and etc. After those couple of weeks, the comments will hopefully become almost all real-information based, as many already are. Commenters could certainly explain what level of preparation or survivalising their information might be meant to assist.

    But as to philosphical discussions which generate their own emotional engagement and investment, I will do my part to avoid that from sinking this thread by not engaging in any. I would not want to see this thread turn into a spinning wheel of hamsters running on meth.

  93. Astrid

    different clue,

    Understood. I’ll try to be more circumspect about my philosophy. My approach is certainly not meant to be the”right” way. I’ve already been wrong about so many things and I’m sure I will be wing many times more. The important thing is to acknowledge mistakes, learn, and improve.

    I will say that for me, acknowledging a personal limit on things is extremely helpful and liberating.

  94. different clue


    I was not thinking specifically of you in particular. I was noting an emerging trend toward philosophic-political argument beginning in several directions and I hope we can get it all out of our systems over the next couple or so weeks and then onward to info-dense information.

  95. different clue

    There must be many hundreds of books about corn and endless thousands of papers and pamphlets and so on. I have read only a relative few. Of those few, here are some even fewer good ones.

    Modern Corn Production by Aldrich and others was one of a pair. The other was Modern Soybean Production. More recently the two books were welded into one book called Modern Corn and Soybean Production. It is geared toward the mainstream commercial producer but the information about the corn plant itself and growing it is fascinating regardless, and some of it can be down-translated to the garden setting. Here is a link to the newer edition than what I have, and there may be even newer editions now existing.

    Another fascinating book about corn is . . . Corn: Its Origin, Evolution and Improvement by Paul Mangelsdorf. His particular theory of that evolution is now considered wrong, but still the descriptive material in this book strikes me as more classic than obsolete. Here is a NOmazon source . . .

    Here is a digital copy of the book Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden. She was a Hidatsa living and gardening in the Northern Plains. She described Hidatsa gardening, most focused on corn, in granular detail, and the person she told it to wrote it down as a book. This was how the Hidatsa grew their Northern-adapted corns before any motorized technology or Westerndustrial-type chemical inputs. If one were t buy a copy of the book, one would still have it even after a Carrington-level solar-coronal mass-ejection event melts all the wires and blows all the transformers and fries all the chips. In the meantime, here is the link to the digitized copy of the book.

    These are the kind of things one might want to find and read over the internets while the internets still exist. Learning about all this and maybe even practicing it before there is a food emergency will leave one better prepared to face the food emergency if it arrives in one’s own lifetime.

  96. Astrid

    different clue,

    Thank you for that! I seen her referenced by other authors but never sought her out. Just read 2 chapters and it’s fascinating.

    Here’s another one in the public domain. though perhaps not so interesting.

  97. Astrid

    The Purdue site on famine foods may be of interest

    Their reference collection is pretty good, including quite possibly the best book written on tropical fruit cultivation.

  98. Astrid

    Grow corn by all means, it’s a fascinating subject. Pay attention to where the corn was developed and be mindful that you will likely have greatest success with varieties from a similar climate.

    Sandhill Preservation Center probably has a biggest overall collection commercially available (same could be said for their collections of tomatoes, squash, beans, poultry, and sweet potato, vast majority produced by one full time high school teacher – if I ever hit the jackpot I always think I’d buy Glenn Drown out and endown a non-profit expressly for the purpose of preserving and breeding useful plants). J L Hudson will have some interesting oddballs, most of which have been exploited by the savvy marketers at Baker’s Creek (I have very mixed feeling about them – they’re not expensive and the seeds are intriguing, but often underdeliver on quality – in the same tray, I have 95% germination with 2-3 year old basil seeds bought elsewhere and 0-10% germination for 2021 basil seeds from them – they definitely have more off types and low germination issues than any company I still do business with). I think Adaptive Seed has a nice collection for the PNW and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is good for the East Coast. If you want to buy Painted Mountain seeds, buy it from Victory Seeds, they get it directly from the developer of the variety and Victory Seeds is a solid company with an excellent selection of blackeye peas and tomatoes (including great tasting 2-5′ tall”dwarf” tomatoes that are ideal for pot culture and might be supported by your normal tomato cage).

    A good beginner’s book on cereal growing (with some coverage of minor grains like buckwheat and sorghum) is Gene Logsdon’s Small-Scale Grain Raising, which also covers some minor grain crops. Do also experiment with minor crops. Most of these will take less work to process and eat, plus sorghum can be used for sweetener and amaranth leaves are tasty. Also, don’t forget potato. Yes, there’s blight and colorado potato beetle, but it’s highly nutritious, tastes good, is easy to grow/process/store. The reason why a million Irish died from the potato famine was precisely because it was so good at letting small poor households feed themselves with a small plot of potato and little else. FedCo and Maine Potato Lady seem to have the cheapest seed potatoes.

  99. Howard

    Growing food
    A good reference for grain growing that goes crop by crop (including corn) is by Gene Logsdon, Small-Scale Grain Raising.

    General thoughts
    Thanks all for the great information and references. It seems that this thread is moving quickly from the philosophical/political to the more nuts and bolts, information-dense phase of the discussion. I think most can agree that, regardless of your position on whether or not to move or where, how good or bad certain political positions are, etc. etc., we can all agree on the basic human needs at the individual or family level, such as water, food, disaster avoidance or recovery, and so forth. One can put the political and philosophical views (I certainly have them) on the shelf and share the basics.

    Suggestion for this thread
    Perhaps we could identify the different main practical topics (water, medical attention, and so forth) and put headings on our posts so folks can sort through them that way.

  100. Zachary Smith

    Howard, my memory of Gene Logsdon’s book was that it offered some advice for use in normal times. Another problem (for me) is that I have zero experience with small grains, and don’t own any of the equipment needed for oats or wheat or rye. Not a good combination.

    In an old Scientific American article titled “The Year Without a Summer” is an image of a tombstone of a man who died in 1849. On it was a tribute to his somehow managing to grow 40 bushels of wheat in that horrible year – enough to keep his family and some neighboring ones alive. Since few other farmers managed to match his feat, a person has to assume there was a substantial bit of good luck involved.

    The 1816 event involved an erupting volcano on the other side of the world, and the world still has plenty of volcanoes! In today’s time a similar event could be on account of a local (or regional) war involving nuclear weapons. If you cannot possibly grow “normal” crops for food, you’re left with a couple of survival choices. 1) have at least a year supply of stored food for everyone. Most of the world is simply too poor to do this. The places which might be able to afford it – won’t. Doing Anything Like This Would Interfere With The Free Market.

    This leaves option 2): planting non-standard crops. leafforlife(dot)org/gen/leaf_concentrate.html

    Earlier Astrid spoke of plants with edible leaves. Expand that concept to ones with “edible leaf juice”. Problem: I don’t know how to use materials I have laying around – or ones I might reasonably purchase – to squeeze out the leaf juice. Somebody really needs to do some research on the topic of inexpensively grinding and pressing tons of “greens” harvested by everybody in the neighborhood If this could be done, we would have a work-around for super-short growing seasons which don’t come close to producing the edible seeds we normally consume.

  101. Astrid


    That site is vague and I wouldn’t rely on information they provide, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t advocating an all leaf diet. Humans can’t extract enough calories from leaves alone to survive. We would need to switch to pastoralism or harvesting of animals that can live on leaves to survive.

    There are short season corn, potatoes, legumes, and buckwheat that can be ready in about 90 days. What kind of scenario are you pondering that’s shorter than 90 days of growing season?

  102. different clue


    Suggestion for this thread seems like a good suggestion. I think I will start headering my comments here.

    Some headers I might start using will be . . .Food, Water, Sanitation, Gardening-farming, household energy, any other names people might come up with, and ” Other” for unclassifiable things.

    And if someone felt they had a useful comment about “what” we are preparing for or “why” or “what it all means”, that could be given the header Philosophical Thoughts”.

    That way, anyone who was not interested in a particular Header/ Headers could bypass that comment.

    And hopefully, if anyones start engaging in angry debates, hopefully Ian Welsh can delete those sort of comments fast and hard, so would-be angry debaters are discouraged fast and hard.

  103. different clue


    I buy the Baker Creek Whole Seed Catolog because it is such fun to read. I had thought of the Baker Creekers as overactive enthusiasts, but they must also be savvy marketers to have lasted this long.

    Some of the over-enthusiastic marketing irritates me at the esthetic level. ” This is the very best tomato we have! Oh, this other one is the very best tomato we have. Ooo! Over here is the very best tomato we have!” and on and on and on . . .

    But if they advertise themselves as having something which I see NOWHERE else, and it seems interesting, I may get some and give it a try and see what happens.

  104. Zachary Smith

    Try making a search for “Leaf Protein Concentrate”. There really is a lot of information out there.


    Protein concentrate from plant leaves obtained by extracting the leaf juice and coagulation of the protein. Leaf protein concentrates can be made from many plants, including alfalfa, cereal fodder, beet tops etc.

    Protein synthesis is one of the chief activities of the green part of the plant. Some forage crops produce leaf protein in large quantities of up to 5 tons per hectare – three to four times that of grain crops. The basic technology for separating the leaf protein from the fibrous part or the leaf has been known for about fifty years, but a technology for large-scale production was not developed until the 1970s. The basic steps for the production of leaf protein concentrate (LPC) are grinding the plant and separating the juice by pressing. The protein is dissolved in the juice, after which it is coagulated, usually by heating, and then dried. The machinery needed for large-scale production is expensive, the minimum economical output being about 10 tons of leaf protein per hour – which means that about 5000 hectares are needed for the commercial production of LPC. Smaller machinery has been designed for use at the village level.

    This is an unfamiliar technology which also has an expensive startup. As a rule of thumb, you’d pulverize a kilogram (1000 grams) to get an output of 100 grams leaf protein. The finished product would surely supplement whatever other edibles which might be scraped up. Especially if you made it from existing human food crops like kale and spinach. Even now this sort of protein supplementation can make a big difference with babies and little kids in really poor places.

    In the past I’ve played around with short-season corn. My Painted Mountain (80-100 days) plantings were all during “normal” seasons, – which may not have been a fair test – for they showed me nothing remarkable. I once planted some Gaspe Flint (70 days) from Quebec, but the productivity here was pitiful. The stuff was very fast growing for sure, but everything about it was also tiny.

    Gaspé’s short plants reaching a height of 2 – 2.5 foot. … it tassels within 30 days. The small cobs measure only 3-4″ long.

    With cobs being only a few inches off the ground, prepare to defend your crop from critters large and small.

    The 1816 volcano event hit the northern parts of the Earth the hardest, but a more substantial eruption – or a series of them – could impact the entire planet. Ditto for mild or major “nuclear winter”. There is no way of predicting how bad a particular event might be. (example: think Jan 1, 2000 covid in US)

    With larger seeds like corn and beans a person might germinate them inside, then plant in the still cold June garden soil outside. This might give enough of an edge. A stringless green bean which was allowed to grow till the seeds started becoming prominent in the pods could then be picked, diced into short bits, and dried. (but I’ve found I can ignore “strings” if the bean pods are diced into small enough pieces.)

    Schemes to covert wood into edible food require factor-scale operations. I fear that homestead production of mushrooms from dry logs would be nearly a waste of time.

    For some situations the best solution is a Government Stockpile, but this won’t happen because anything Government does is evil. Growing numbers say its mere existence is evil. Freezing in the dark isn’t something the Real Men of Texas is afraid of.

  105. different clue

    @Zachary Smith,

    Any states which can be taken over at the state government level by dominant Good Government majorities may well do food stockpiling.

    Meantime and otherwise, religious, social and civicultural groups can study the Mormon Stake System and learn from it and set up their own State Systems to have an ever-freshened rolling 2-year-storage stockpile of necessary and edible food.

  106. Astrid

    Topic: (my) disagreeableness

    I’ll pass on the leaf protein. Maybe nettle protein wouldn’t be terrible, but moringa is nasty stuff based on the plants I grew (from Baker’s Creek seeds). I would worry about accumulation of oxalic acid, heavy metal, and pollutants for your scenario. Seems like a lot of hassle for an outlier possibility and hard to do at a household scale. I’ll plan on mealy worms or termites or trapping groundhogs for my end times protein. And it seems like I would still need to figure out a bulk calories source and supplement the missing amino acid.

    Early vegetables and cereal will definitely not be impressive. Read the yield guidance for early cauliflower or cabbage versus later ones. The difference can be 3-4x for 3 weeks’ difference. The reason to plant early varieties is because climate, pest, disease, or market conditions justify the lower yield. Still, Abenaki Flint or Cascadia Ruby Gold might be better than painted mountain corn as food, I never grew painted mountain but it had a reputation for not being very tasty.

    One of the core responsibilities of most empires is to store several years of cereal against bad harvest years. That lesson was tossed aside since a global supply chain was supposed to protect us from regional poor harvests and market would ensure most efficient distribution. We know that worked out great in 2020 with N95 masks and toilet paper. Now go Marie Kondo your life!

    In case of a global food crisis, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have soy/corn pellets going to feedlots while hundreds of millions or billions starved.

    So, what would go in your “end of the world” food stash? Sure rice and beans and Spam and canned tuna and dried pasta. What else did you decide you can’t live without in 2020? My answer was apparently a lifetime supply of nduja and spot prawns, which I do believe beats out Nancy Pelosi’s mid market gelato selection (everyone knows Dolcezza is what Washingtonians in the know hoard).

  107. Astrid

    different clue,

    Jere Gettle named his two biological daughters Sasha and Malia. This man knows branding!

  108. Zachary Smith

    In case of a global food crisis, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have soy/corn pellets going to feedlots while hundreds of millions or billions starved.

    Greed is good. Morality is for the “little people”. No, it wouldn’t surprise me either.

    I have this crazy notion of wanting to avoid disasters. Of trying to arrange for everyone possible to live through the unavoidable ones. Notice how little discussion there is these days of how the world is overpopulated. Needless to say, there is even less talk about humanely reducing the numbers. IMO something as simple as paying women quite large annual checks so long as they are childless would work wonders. Slightly lower but substantial payments would be handed out every December when they had only 1 child. I’m talking here about every woman on the planet. Cutting back on the root cause of all the pressure for violence and planet trashing? Surely evidence I’m a mush-brained do-gooder who doesn’t understand the “real world”. Lockheed and others will tell us the money should go for thousands of billions of dollars in new and improved weapons.

    What to stockpile? Nobody is alike, and their circumstances vary. Let’s consider what some would call “frills”.

    Coffee in Disaster is something you’ll see in the old Civil Defense literature. The main problem is that the stuff is no longer available in the US in vacuum-sealed metal cans. The modern containers are now cardboard with a metallic-looking liner, or flimsy plastic. Both are “sealed” with a thin aluminum top lid held in place with a ring of glue. Unless the modern coffee cans can be frozen, (and they are quite bulky) consider repackaging it in large glass jars with Mason canning lids. Fill the jars by tamping the ground coffee as tightly as possible, then putting on a new canning lid and loose metal ring. Use a vacuum sealer to evacuate most of the air, then finish by tightening the ring. Those lids ought to be usable later for pressure canning if carefully removed. The same system could also keep seeds dry while in a long-term storage freezer. Multi-vitamin tablets don’t need the vacuum, but a tight seal (for the freezer) is a good idea. In situations where food is limited you want to make darned sure your vitamin intake is adequate. It’s been my experience acetaminophen tables are very stable at room temperature, but aspirin most definitely is not. Frozen aspirin is the only way I can see to keep them from spoiling. Having an oversized stock of painkillers seems reasonable, for there are some really awful diseases where pain relief would be about the only treatment available. Shock from extreme pain can kill! Pulling orphan socks over the filled glass jars wouldn’t hurt. Don’t want them to break from inadvertent banging together.

    Disaster chocolate is not to be despised. Keeping morale up in really bad situations could be aided by a tiny daily dole of mini-chocolate bars or bits of larger ones. Or less expensively by hard candy. I avoid the soft candies for very long unless I can freeze them.

  109. Astrid

    Green unroasted coffee beans, kept in sealed mylar bags with oxygen absorbers should last a very long time. You’d have to roast them though.

    Or learn to enjoy pu’er or oolong tea, both can age for decades and still be drinkable. You can grow team in zone 7-9 on the east coast and maybe in PNW, though production of fine tea is extremely laborious. I would just stick in a mylar bag and store in freezer.

    Or grow some mint and beebalm, both things that you only have to plant once and forever.

  110. different clue

    For those who have enough a yard to plant something in, and who want their very own self-grown source of caffeine for if/when tea and coffee disappear for good, there is the yaupon holly ( Ilex vomitoria) with caffeine-bearing leaves. It got the unfortunate species name “vomitoria” because the Cherokee would mix it with other vomitogenic herbs for springtime purges to greet the spring.
    The Ilex itself is not vomitogenic. It is related to the Yerba Mate’ plant of southern South America.

    Here is a link.

  111. Astrid

    Anyone here to across good discussions/articles about how to procure and store common medications such as pain killers and antibiotics? Or not so easy and common stuff like insulin, antimalarials, etc.

    If you’re on maintenance medications, 2021 may be a good year to lose some bottles accidentally and request an extra script. Or perhaps everyone else already get their medication from Canada or Mexico or anonymous Chindian sources on the internet. Funny how gun nuts go on about something mostly good as a penile enhancement, but USian freedumb doesn’t stretch to things like ability to buy life saving medication.

  112. Astrid

    An NC commenter mentioned that the Canadian government is loosening its points system to make up for missing immigration in 2020. I wonder if Australia is considering something similar. It might be worth considering catching this bus if you have the option to be mobile.

  113. Zachary Smith

    The amount of discussion about “bugging out” on Survival Sites is pretty amazing. Mostly the authors speak of what you ought to have in your Bug Out Bag – or BOB. More thoughtful ones get into the issue of “where are you going to go” and “how are you going to get there”. The US is the third most populous nation in the world, and if there are places where the population density is low, that’s because the “carrying capacity” of that area is also low. So in reality, heading for a wilderness wasteland isn’t a whole lot better than staking out a campground in Death Valley. There are a great many disasters where “staying home” is the “least bad” option. Except for the worst ones, that’s my opinion too.

    But suppose your choice comes down to leaving, or remaining to die. With Katrina, you’d have drowned if you stayed. For the poorest people without access to cars they started walking, and instantly became scary and unwanted refugees. Google “Katrina” “Gretna” “police” and “bridge”. Don’t expect to be welcomed anywhere.

    Assuming you have some kind of plan to get past the roadblocks, the “take enough along” issue might be alleviated with something like Vietnamese cargo bicycles. Even healthy young men can’t carry enough on their backs for everything they’ll need during a prolonged journey, and not everyone is a healthy young man. I think I’d remove the seats and pedals to make theft less desirable. IMO a distant second solution would be a modified 2-wheel appliance hand-truck/dolly. Their much smaller wheels would require more effort from the user in the best of conditions, and they’d be of lesser use in the fields or woods. There is no point of me creating a list of things you need to have along – the internet is full of excellent BOB instructions. With a wheeled carrier you can take along most of the suggested items. (and transporting 88-year-old grandma in a rickshaw device isn’t impossible) Look for inspiration and guidance wherever you can find it. Experiences of illegal aliens should be considered. Google “Bug Out and Refugee Considerations”. As a refugee you’ll become one of those folks for most every local Police Department and Citizen’s Committee you encounter along the way.

    Obviously lots of people will jump into their cars and take off. All at the same time. Here is what they can expect in a mass evacuation. (Katrina again)

    It took us 35 hours of nonstop driving to drive to Dallas. It’s usually a four hour drive or so. About twelve hours or so in you had to drive around a car that had run out of fuel every fifty feet or less. They were everywhere. It was hot, too, and we saw hundreds of families standing on the side of the road sweating. A lot had infants and little kids.

    Jesus was quoted in Matthew 24:20 as saying “And pray that your flight will not be in winter…” No kidding!

    So again, for most disasters which don’t involve immediate death, you probably ought to stay home. There you may have a roof over your head, and such supplies as you’ve managed to accumulate. The only other exceptions would be the folks with a defined destination, and who leave early on their trip to that place.

  114. Trinity

    Someone asked why we have this thread?

    Risk, No Safety Net, and Uncertainty

    We can’t count on the feds or anyone else swooping in to restore whatever was lost, be it a structure, water, electricity, or food.

    Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and occurring in places not adapted to them (e.g. freezing Texas), fire, hurricanes, pandemics, etc.

    And finally just the uncertainty we live with, which can include loss of employment, loss of mobility, loss of support, loss of an asset, loss of health, etc.

    I started stockpiling canned food before the pandemic because I was facing uncertainty at my job at that time. Buying a couple extra cans every time you shop really works. I only buy stuff on sale, even drug stores put their stuff on sale occasionally, dollar stores, just be sure to buy things you will actually eat. Same with beans and rice, stored in the fridge. Start with a goal of 30 days of stored food and go from there. Also flavorings such as bouillon, spices, salt, dry gravies, anything to make canned food palatable, etc. Don’t forget canned and dried fruits, although they are rarely on sale in my area. Thirty days of stock buys you some time, and peace of mind, but don’t stop there. Keep going as time and funds allow. It’s now possible to buy individual packets of the “just add water” long-term-storage dehydrated foods, so I’m testing a couple of these at minimal cost to see if I want to invest more money.

    For chocolate I would go with semi-sweet chips. Not only a treat, but mood stabilizer, provides energy, no sugar crash, etc. Great for a treat, just not before bedtime. Can be mixed with nuts or oats or dried fruits or peanut butter for a healthy energy boost.

    Once you have a decent pantry going, start rotating your food and replacing what you use to keep your supply fresh. Then you can consider longer term things like learning to grow food.

    OR think about learning a low-tech but needed skill you can barter with (if the proverbial hits the fan). Apprentice with someone, take a class, develop a YouTube curriculum, and practice! This not only expands your horizons and gets you out of a rut (and focused on something positive) but again and most important of all, it increases your sense of security.

    And that’s really what we are all fighting, isn’t it? I’m starting to notice it at work, people are … different. They may be kinder (than they ever were) or have a shorter temper (than they had before) but there is clearly this feeling of impending doom, or at least feeling that things are very unsettled, and these feelings aren’t diminishing with time or speeches or press conferences or the next news cycle. And I work with well paid people and we all have secure jobs. It’s just that little something in the back of the mind that is just there, and making us all feel uneasy. What is the world going to look like in five or ten years? And looking back we can see how much has changed for similar lengths of time.

    And that’s really what these activities are about … doing things that will give you the feeling that you do have a little control over your life. That things are going to be okay because you have a little something set aside for the future, whatever that future turns out to be.

  115. Dale

    Zachary, good comment about human overpopulation. Have you noticed how many economists are now screaming about the drop in reproductive rates in many countries? To me this is a very good thing. The primary reason appears to be a drop in male fertility due to environmental issues. But a secondary reason is that young people state that they cannot afford children. Capitalism at its finest.

    On a second issue, I use mason jars and a vacuum sealer extensively. I buy dry foods (coffee, beans, rice, etc.)in bulk and store them in Masson jars. Stock rotation is key, but jasmine rice and beans have kept well for over a decade so far. Thanks for the idea of orphan socks. I never would have thought of that.

    I share with our neighbors excess fruit and veggies from our garden. We also make a lot of jams, the majority of which is now given to friends and neighbors as gifts. I know all of our neighbors on a first name basis. I am now old and whenever I need help around the house and yard I can trust that one of my neighbors will be there to help me. We are also learning how to share yard and gardening tools.

    The world that I grew up in is disappearing. The economy and environment are degrading. But the collapse is slow. Don’t despair! Look to the long term. Make long term plans and achievable goals. Modify as necessary. Develop good relations with those around you. Life is what you make of it.

  116. Astrid

    I believe the smarter BOB people do cache stashes in roadless area walkable from their home. I agree that outside of extreme situations like extreme hurricanes, fires, or invading armies, shelter in place is the better bet. Not only do you have more resources and protection, you are also more able to protect your long term resource and shelter from destruction. I think the better solution to BOB, if possible, is to have reciprocal relationships with friends/family nearby, to escape to when things get bad. Now is a good time to mend fences if you can. I know a lot of people have lost their humanity but many more are not beyond saving.

    A 3 wheel cargo bike would be a great idea, maybe even better would be an electric assist one? Would be an interest business line for bike/atv/golfcart shop owner.

    Freeze dried hiker meals can be bought at REI or Costco (search emergency, you don’t need membership to shop most of their online store). I would only consider them for BOB or if you would use them for camping/hiking. They’re expensive and not exactly tasty or hearty. MREs are another option, but apparently quite expensive and I find them gross and unhealthy. In survival situations, I would just pack in some survival rations, a good water filter, and call it a day. Okay, I would also toss in a couple bags of Kirkland brand precooked bacon bits and some of my lifetime supply of nduja and whatever cheese and dried fruit I have around.

    For home in outage situations, just stock up your larder with shelf stable items that you’d want to eat. I find Trader Joe’s has the best nut and dried fruit selection, though they never have sales.

  117. “Running on fear generally loses to running on Hope.” – Ian Welsh

  118. Zachary Smith

    Tornadoes have been always been a fact of life in the US of A. It seems to me that they’re on the verge of becoming something which can happen any month of the year.

    Basements are good – if you happen to have one. For those who do not, some thought needs to be given as to what you’d do if the TV starts saying to take shelter instantly.

    ”Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business” (FEMA L-233 Brochure)

    This is a later version of the instruction book I used when I built a safe room for a relative. The garage was large enough I could squeeze in a small shelter on one end, yet leave enough space for a second car – if that car was a compact. As I recall, the 2×4” wall studs were doubled and on 12” centers. Next exterior layer was some heavy sheet metal – a ‘splinter’ catcher. Atop that, two sheets of 3/4” plywood. The roof was the same. The 36” steel-frame metal door (with three deadbolts) was the weakest point, and I later added an inch and a half of wood to the outside of that door. Entire structure tied with metal connectors and lots of epoxy to the concrete floor.

    Upside: very, very strong, and something a determined single person can build. Downsides: it uses garage space and the cost of the materials has nearly tripled on account of the epidemic.

    To save money, a sawed-off version of the above Safe Room could be built. Go with 4-5’ ceilings. The door – built to wall specs – would be shoved into place after entry. (The store-bought doors are 4-7 hundred dollars!) The door/plug would be held in position with huge wingnuts and/or crossbars. A person could, if necessary, spend the night there, for it would have electric lights and vent fans. The space above the low shelter could be made into efficient storage space. Or a little kid play area?

    A final possibility – install a ‘retro’ garage pit, but not in the garage. (modern code problems with ventilation plus “iffy” resale issues) Partly bury it at the outside edge of an open or closed back porch. Above-ground part would be surrounded by concrete block walls or a lot of earth. “How to install Garage Pits – Classic Car How To Guides and Articles” This would be a modern “slit trench”.

    Naturally, there is another “list” of things to have in case your house actually does blow away. “Here’s Your Tornado Shelter Supplies Checklist”

    I once walked through a town where an F4 tornado had visited an hour and a half earlier. Strangest sight I saw was a row of three houses where the first and the third were neat piles of kindling. The middle one appeared to be untouched.

  119. dsrcwt

    I’ve been homesteading now for about 10 years, not as a prepper or survivalist, but because I enjoy the lifestyle, and because I couldn’t bring myself to commit my life to working in a system that I know is doomed to fail. Over the years I have had a lot of time to observe and think. Firstly I would say that there is no such thing as “survival”, only existence. Everything dies, so the question is what to do until the day, and how to push it off as long as possible. I raise and slaughter food animals, and my feeling on the ethics of eating animals is that the ethical decision is not made at the time of slaughter, but at the time of conception. Once I permit an animal to be born it will die, either by predation, disease, old age or starvation. The question becomes whether I can give it a quality of life between birth and death that is better than never having been born. In the wild most animals die as babies, so my preventing their early death gives them “bonus days” that if of sufficient quality, ameliorate my guilt over their deaths. My birds all free range in multigenerational flocks, fly and swim and my rabbits are in colonies, not cages. I believe that my animals pass my quality of life test, but I believe that most factory farmed animals probably don’t and would be better off never being born.

    In terms of practical advice, I would say learn to forage. Dandelions, dock, stinging nettle are all good food, available even in urban environments and don’t need any cultivation. If I could only raise one meat animal it would probably be rabbits. I use commercial feed, but I augment with grass, weeds, edible tree branches (connifers, willow, fruit tree clippings, etc) and could probably sustain them without commercial feed if I needed to. I don’t use the pelts I’m afraid, as in our system they are just not worth the trouble, but in a truly desperate situation I could tan hides and save duck down and feathers. Also, confront your mortality. It is coming whether you acknowledge it or not. Put it off as long as possible, but don’t be afraid.

  120. Zachary Smith

    Do you have specific reasons for preferring rabbits to chickens?

  121. roxan

    Most drugs keep in the fridge for a long timr, years even. Exception would be tetracycline, which I think goes bad, and injectable solutions. Some keep, soje don’t. Your pharmacist would know. Most things keep a long time in a cool, dry place although sometimes a can goes. Those things that come in boxes, like soup or juice, don’t keep well. I put things 8n glass jars, popcorn tins and steel garbage cans. Dried grains such as lentils, every sort flour, ground nuts, oats, nut butters. Baking cocoa keeps forever and very nutritious. Protein powder, works. Buy stuff you like! No one wants to live on beans and spam for long. I find kale grows almost year round, and dandelions have a long season. If you have a place for chickens, they are a dependable food source. You won’t get many eggs if you can’t feed them.

  122. dsrcwt

    Re: chickens vs. rabbits, I keep both, and can see an advantage in chickens as you can eat eggs, or sell eggs, without having to kill the hens. However, I find them finicky. I find even the heritage breeds I keep are not great mums, and that I need artificial incubation to get a decent hatch. I can imagine situations well short of going full Cormac McCarthy where that might not be possible. When I lived in the suburbs, my neighbours kept rabbits “as pets” in a backyard hutch and no one was any the wiser. Can’t be done with chickens. I haven’t tried raising any of my animals without commercial feed as I don’t want to run afoul of SPCA by departing conventional best practices, but have a gut feeling that the rabbits would be easiest to feed on wild sources I have available. Essentially, my ducks and chickens are omnivores and need more protein than they can get off of grass, while the rabbits are pure herbivore. I would like to try something like vermicomposting or black soldierfly to generate the protein, as I know I am not sustainable with the current level of external inputs, but haven’t had the time to implement. Rabbits also function as accelerated composters. Garden weeds and excess produce go into the rabbit house and are almost instantly converted into pelletized fertilizer which can be applied directly to the garden without burning. The downside to rabbits is that it is like eating pets. We call them “pets with benefits”. Also, I have no control on the fertility cycle as I run colonies and don’t separate bucks from does. With birds I can take the eggs or thin a nest to control population, but with rabbits I have to cull. On the plus side, I get rabbits year round, while birds are seasonal. This is also a curse.

  123. different clue


    The distinction between ” survival-survivalism” and “existence” is worth considering and thinking about, but the word-cluster around “survival-survivalism-etc.” is well enough entrenched and understood to be not-meaning-immortality-anyway, that I will continue using it.

    About even heritage chickens being not good mums, I wonder if this offers an opportunity for some long-term Darwin-filtering. If a little corner of time-effort-feed-etc. can be spared without impairing basic existence in the meantime, would it make sense to let enough chickens try reproducing to see if some are more successful in ways meaningful to you than others are? And if some are, allow only their chicks to grow to reproduce and keep selecting for ” good mumhood and good mumness” till you have a population of chickens that are reproductive enough to be worth your while? Just a thought.

    I remember in one of Gabe Brown’s videos from You Tube where Brown was talking about how he tried breeding/maintaining his cattle for individual hugeness and prize-winningness just like most other stockmen, because that is what the Official Spokesfolk and Standard Setters of Mainstream Ag all said to do. Till he realized it was compromising his ability to make a living with cattle as part of his operation. Then he began selecting for smaller cattle which could survive on their own through the North Dakota winter eating standing forage in the snow and the cold, and etc. He was pushing his cattle through a Darwin Filter of his own design over the cattle generations till he had a low maintainance/ high profit smaller type of cows.

    And in one of his videos he says that ” our animals have a very good life and then one very bad day.”

  124. Ché Pasa

    A somewhat different take on prepping and survivalism:

    I sometimes watch Urbex videos since I’m at home so much and I’ve always been fascinated by ruins of one kind or another. New Mexico, for example is full of them, ancient and modern, but it’s far from alone in that.

    One Urbex channel I’m subscribed to is Bros. of Decay, a couple of young Belgian brothers who tramp around Europe (and Japan) exploring abandoned castles and humble farm houses which seem to be everywhere. Many of them are ruins, but some are in nearly pristine condition. What I’ve noticed is that the abandoned country places that were just left as is often have pantries full of canned and preserved foods, much of it no doubt grown on premises. There are wine cellars full of bottles full of wine. These people were prepped up the wahzoo, and at some point, everything was left behind to rot and collapse and go bad. Why it was all abandoned isn’t always clear, but in some cases it wasn’t because the homeowners died. Instead, they just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

    I think this stands as a warning to those who would prep themselves to the gills. They may intend to survive whatever calamity is at hand, and maybe they will, but at the same time, there are plenty of things we can’t prep for, and in some cases at least, all that prepping will be for naught.

    Not to say don’t do it, just to give a little perspective.

  125. dsrcwt

    Different Clue, I agree you get what you breed for, and I do keep the good mums. I think the problem is that there are mutually exclusive qualities at play. The successful moms need a place away from the other hens, because the nests fail through too many hens piling their eggs under the broody hen, cuckoo fashion. I leave some vacant housing available, and hope that the good moms will find them,, instead of laying in the woods where predators almost always find them. Alternatively, I drop a box over the nest once the mom is well and truly broody. I think what they are lacking is aggression to defend their nests, but having a bunch of very aggressive chickens is no great thrill either. I’m spoiled because my other birds are muskovy ducks which are just about the best moms in existence, consistently hatching out 15-25 ducklings.

    I agree too about how animals have been bred to be more “productive” but less resilient, just like the rest of society. I have friends who have dairy farmed for generations and they tell me that the Holstein now is nothing like it was in the 1920s and that although they produce something like 4 gallons a day (I think), they can only do it on a diet of corn silage and grain, unlike their forebearers how could produce on grass and hay.

    Re: survival, I guess what I was saying is that it is a life, so don’t choose it unless you enjoy it. More life that you hate is not an unalloyed good. We have a friend who was raised this way and to this day hates her parents for the lack of family vacations and consumer comforts. Very hard to go on vacation when you have a cow and a couple of dozen chickens.

  126. different clue

    There is a permaculture guy whose name I forget who has a website and also runs the permies discussions. He has an article about permaculture-raising of chickens, in case it might be interesting or useful.

  127. Zachary Smith

    Very hard to go on vacation when you have a cow and a couple of dozen chickens.

    That’s precisely why I don’t have any animals. My extended family lives in several distant states and in 2019 it was still practical to take off at the drop of a hat and go visiting. The Covid epidemic has halted that for me, and I can foresee other events interrupting travel. During WW2 the “A” gasoline ration card allowed the purchase of 3 gallons, and the national speed limit was 35mph. On the flip side, the US had a fully functioning train system back then. Not Anymore!

    The title of this thread is “Preparing For Bad Times Thread”, and so far I’ve been treating it as ‘preparing for disaster’. The Depression in the US was genuine “hard times” for most, and a lot of citizens in WW2 considered 1942-1945 to be the same. With the outbreak of war in Europe, jobs started becoming available again. After December 7, 1941, anyone who wanted a job could get one. But now that a nice paycheck was coming in, you couldn’t find decent housing near your job! Worse than that, virtually everything was rationed. Citizens were beginning to roll in money, but were unable to spend it for all the things they wanted and could now afford.

    “Making do” was the theme song from the start of the Depression till the end of WW2. During the Thirties you could find tips telling how to whittle some your own foot gear out of wood. Sandals with carved bottoms, and Japanese Geta, (toe thong on flat board sitting atop two wooden strips) or fancier European wooden shoes. During that and earlier eras things got repaired for as long as possible. Cola bottles were taken back to be refilled.

    A few years ago “voluntary simplicity” was a thing, and I suspect the song “Castles in the Air” came from that era. I don’t have a romantic view of being a peasant, but the need to be prepared for this lifestyle – or worse – is ever-present. How many of us are just a few paychecks away from homelessness? In neighborhoods still retaining some prosperity, I suspect roving lepers would be as welcome as the homeless. Good Christian Citizens just want them to disappear. It’s my aim to live as well as I can, but to be able to react well if it ever becomes my turn to start easing into poverty. A person can lose his entire life savings with one serious illness, for the US of A has the most expensive and cruelest health care system on the planet. And some of the crappiest payment dodging private insurance companies.

    You don’t see much about it in the Mainstream Media, but people who had some food reserves for “Disaster” have often found them useful during “Hard Times” which hit them on their blindside. Likewise, when poor people have almost no money at all for doctors, the availability of animal drugs at the farm store may pull them through an infection. Or it may not, but the alternative was near certain death.

    The US wealth divide continues to expand. The super rich don’t have everything yet, and that’s a problem they’re working hard to solve. Their eyes are strictly on increasing their wealth, for they can’t imagine any situations which can’t be solved by spending a little of their money. They live in their own gated neighborhoods with massive security and their own utility systems. They send their kids to private schools nobody else can afford. They hop into their private jets to travel. The rest of us can make do with underfunded water, sewage, and power systems. Crappy falling-in roads and public schools. No good jobs because the super-rich encourage the continual import of desperate “illegal” people to keep down wages and keep out unions. And they ship entire factories overseas if they see the chance to increase their immense wealth by a few more percentage points.

    So to me “Voluntary Simplicity” translates into “Studying To Be A Serf”. Learning to make my own pure water or to live with extremely limited energy is a good thing. It’s necessary that I learn the skills, but I don’t have to celebrate the prospect.

  128. different clue

    Some people might take survival through hard times only so far as . . . survivalishness or survivalness, or survivalness-lite. And that will be enough for some of the hard times which will emerge.

    Survivalness-lite is about as survivalistic as I will realistically get.

    I will also, then, lift a finger towards doing things which would enhance collective group co-survival if enough other people also do them. Making some regionalocal areas robust and resilient may enhance survival chances for the people of those areas in the face of some kinds of cutbacks or breakdowns.

  129. dsrcwt

    @Zachary Smith

    Don’t get me wrong, my peasant life is awesome. I spend a great deal of time in nature. We have a small pond and spend a mid-morning sanity break watching the wild birds, insects and my muscovies on the pond. It is just that what I do makes no financial sense as long as our system continues and it is impossible to entirely leave our system which continues to insist “there is no alternative (TINA)” My kid can’t go to school in rabbit skins, nor can I pay taxes in eggs, so there is this sort of cognitive dissonance where you are suspended between the two systems. The price of factory food is so cheap, and although everyone claims to want humane meat, very few are willing to pay extra for it. At least in the country. My wife teases me about the stupidity of raising our own animals, because at certain times of year the local classifieds are full of unwanted roosters and ducks that people don’t know how to or don’t want to slaughter. I could easily get 100 chickens per year that way. On Sunday I slaughtered and butchered an unwanted pig. I gave most of it away, I did it as a favour to the farmer.

    So why do I do it? Because I can, because we eat well, because it gives us some resilience in case of bad times, but mostly because I enjoy it. So yes, study to be a peasant, learn some skills and hopefully put some of it into practice, but do it because you enjoy it. Our system is broken and can’t last forever, but it has consistently amazed me how long it has continued past the point of irrationality.

    One other thing. If you are lucky enough to have some land, aim at “homesteading” not farming. There is a world of difference. Aim to feed yourself, and if you have surplus, you might share, or sell some. But to farm means equipment, debt, etc.

  130. Zachary Smith

    You were not the target of my rant. Sorry for being so vague. It’s just that I get irritated by folks who seem to believe all the world’s problems will magically go away if I buy an electric car, go vegetarian, and support open borders. Sometime I get sort of carried way… 🙂

  131. dsrcwt

    I didn’t actually see a rant. I think we’re largely in agreement, and just trying to finesse the details. Thanks for the conversation

  132. Zachary Smith


  133. Larry B

    For those who have land and a long term plan, I highly recommend Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke. Two volumes and pricey… $110 new, with used priced up to $160. How to integrate perennials in a complementary system (from low level grasses through seasonals like asparagus to low/mid level fruit bushes to nut trees). Properly designed and managed, an edible forest garden can provide a substantial year round supply of food. Temperate forests produce twice as many food calories as modern agricultural land. Not a turnkey design template, but certainly can be a valuable tool for anyone planning long term. Try on interlibrary loan before you buy.

  134. Astrid

    dsrcwt: thanks so much for your comments, definitely helped me clarify some of my thinking about rabbits v. poultry. I am curious about why you keep chickens at all, since you are able to keep ducks more easily. Is it because of the food that chicken provides or their specific role in your permaculture guild? Would your thoughts about chickens change if you were buying hatchlings and not keeping a self sustaining flock?

  135. dsrcwt

    Astrid: I keep chickens because my wife wanted them, because they are entertaining, and because people seem to have an aversion to buying duck eggs, not that I intended to sell any, but I sell some things when I have surplus, in order to establish connections/support community. Chickens are great “micro-plows” and will rototill areas of soil before planting. I mostly keep mine in the orchard where I think they help with over-wintering pests like coddling moth. Also, we make a lot of bone broth from carcasses (we do farm slaughter) and it is amazing how quickly 20 or 30 chickens can make 6 cooked rabbit carcasses disappear. Also, chickens are flocking birds, whereas the ducks really aren’t. Therefore the chickens have a more diverse language, post sentries and raise predator alarms that the ducks have learned to recognize even though they couldn’t make them themselves. We added turkeys to the guild 4 years ago, and although they are a minor (or major) PITA, they take the chickens’ alertness and raise it to a whole new level. If I hear the turkey alarm I know it is time to grab a shotgun. Also, they are physically intimidating, so the eagles which are my second worse predator (after mink) have seemed to be deterred ever since I got them.

  136. Astrid

    dsrcwt: thanks so much for the information. I am tempted by chickens because of their reputation for eating insects and weeds, so it’s good to get confirmation from someone with first hand experience. Not going to happen in my current suburban yard but maybe that can change one day.

    Do you live in an area with any Asian populations? I know Chinese people prefer duck eggs and I imagine that’s a very common throughout East Asia and SE Asia. I think they are tastier than chicken eggs and can be made into century eggs or salted eggs. The few times I’ve seen them in farmers markets they have gone for $1.50-2 each.

  137. Astrid

    Different Clue mentioned defense against fire. You can establish a defensive perimeter around the house and also use flame resistant material on the house, but I feel like living in California, the Southwest, and Colorado is probably just a bad bet. Not only are the forests all turning into tinder due to drought and the pine beetles, but it’s also running out of water and dealing with more extreme climate. Seems better to cash out at currently inflated prices and move north or northeast or east.

  138. dsrcwt

    There aren’t a lot of Asian people in my immediate vicinity, although I do have one who century eggs and one request for balut eggs (look it up). Some people with allergies find that they can eat duck eggs. We also do a preserved duck yolk which is dehydrated in a bed of salt, and then you grate it over pasta. Mainly though, I don’t sell, because I don’t want to farm. Food is stupidly priced and profit margins so slim that I could bust my hump for chump change. I’ve never really crunched my costs, but I expect that profit might end up being something like $1 or $2 for a whole rabbit or duck. Even if I pushed my systems and land to produce 400-500 hundred of each a year, we’re still talking chump change. On top of that, trying to farm means regulatory compliance which means commercial slaughter. Nobody wants to slaughter ducks, so they charge something like $12/animal for kill, pluck, gut, and the nearest place that does it is an hour away. Better to stay small, feed yourself, and build cheap infrastructure capacity that you can expand if the system ever down-scales.

  139. C.

    @ Astrid:

    I can’t speak for Zachary, but Monsanto has admitted that they’re adding gene drives to their seeds. They say it’s about pests, but there’s a LOT of us who think it’s about permanently eliminating competition from organic farmers. Right now, they routinely win cases against organic farmers who are unlucky enough to have Monsanto seeds waft onto their fields. Between the case law and emerging science, within a few seasons they’ll be no more potatoes/buckwheat/etc. without Monsanto permission. GMO seeds saved from before the GMO drives were introduced will not be viable, so ALL crops must be grown with explicit Monsanto permission — and royalties.

    I know it sounds nuts, but I went to college in Iowa and I’ve seen these f***** up close and personal. It is clear every farmer I met that the first paragraph is the ultimate goal. They make John Wayne Gacy look like Mr. Rogers.

    At that point, all you need is something outside their control that upsets their supply chains — like WWIII — and they’ll be no staple crops. At all.

    If that happens, I really don’t know what the solution is. Maybe re-read James C. Scott and try to figure out what non-farmable plants in your neighborhood are edible, like purslane and acorns?

  140. different clue

    I am not sure what ” gene drives” is or how it does/doesn’t overlap with genetic engineering. I found a website which could probably explain it with several hours at least of slow careful reading.
    It is the Navdanya website which I believe is Vandana Shiva’s eco-agro-activism website. So here it is, the website and its articles about “gene drives” .

    I sort of understand GMOing itself. After a couple of decades it is becoming a little bit familiar. The responses to the GMO threat could come in two groups . . . . the survival responses which belong on this thread, and the economic combat/ economic counteroffensive responses which might better go on Tony Wikrent’s Weekly Wrapup thread.

    So some survival thoughts . . . How do we protect edible freedom crops against the International GMO Conspiracy to pollute the genes of many key crop plants? If we learn which plants reproduce in what ways, we can decide which plants are more defensible against GMO pollution and defend those plants. More highly skilled people can defend the more hard-to-defend plants.

    Some of the plant defense methods would be the same as the varieties-of-choice isolation and hand-pollination techniques already used by breeders, seed-savers, etc. In this case just think of ourselves as excluding any GMO polluted pollen grains from landing on any pistils of any flowers of the plants we are personally defending from any other unwanted pollen already. Make our defenses pollen-tight. Amateur seed-saving and plant-breeding books talk about various ways to do this. Growing lettuce for seed saving under alien-pollen-exclusion greenhouse type shelters and curtained cages and so forth. 50 million back yard lettuce seed savers would be running 50 million little bunkers protecting their lettuce-for-seed plants from bioactive frankengenetic fallout, for example. It would keep varieties alive and unpolluted.

    Here is an article from the Seed Savers Exchange about hand pollinating corn. These methods would work just as well against GMO pollution of the corn as against clean-genes pollen from other kinds of unpolluted corn which are perfectly fine in their own right, but not what you yourself want. Here is the link.

    Self-pollinating plants like beans, tomatoes, etc. should be even easier to protect from GMO gene pollution.

    Some food plants can reproduce either sexually or asexually. Potatoes can reproduce either way. If you are growing a clean-genes frankenfree potato you can keep replanting some of the potatoes year after year after year. Polluted pollen may well land on the potato flower and pollute the seeds, but that gene pollution will not make its physical way through the mother plant to its potatoes under the ground. So by just re-re-re planting some potato tubers each year from initially non-polluted plants, you can grow non-polluted potatoes.

    Organic seed breeder-sellers will try doing these same things on a broader scale to keep having non polluted seed to sell to their organic customer bases. The labor involved will make
    the seed cost more and if that makes the organic food cost more, customers should accept that as the price of anti-Monsanto defense.

    As long as many “minor” crops are ignored by the GMO Conspiracy as being ” not worth the effort” to pollute with GMO-frankengenes, switching your eating over to those “minor crops” will take you out of the line of Monsanto fire.

    And there are bush, shrub and tree crops which live for many years, producing some food each year. If the GMO Conspirators begin gene-polluting seeds of these trees, any trees already growing from before the GMO gene-pollution specimens are released would be legacy-GMO-free by virtue of having been planted before their type was GMOd. Tree nuts whose names we all know, tree beans like mesquite, siberian pea shrub, etc. These can become alternative staples if planted widely enough and adopted widely enough starting now.

    And there are some breeders working on trying to make some crop plants GMO-infection proof. Blue River Organic breeders have been working on a corn concept called PuraMaize for making some corns GMO pollen-proof. Here is the website itself which can explain better than I can.

    So all is not yet lost. It is still possible to defend against GMO pollution or evade it by growing plants not-yet-of-interest to the GMO Conspiracy or by growing perennial plants with too long a lifespan to be immediately vulnerable to genetic infiltration and subversion by agents of the International GMO Conspiracy.

    Now . . . . as to how thousands or millions or tens of millions of people can organize their efforts to carry the battle to the heart of the enemy, comments about that would fit better on the Weekly Wikrent WrapUp threads.

    The ideal goal of course would be the extermination and liquidation of every GMO conspiracy company and the permanent unemployment and unemployability of all their GMO scientists and technicians, such that those scientists and technicians all starve to death and die, along with their evil knowledge. That is the only route to long term safety of unpolluted plants.

  141. different clue

    The rate of contributions to this thread is slowing down. I hope Ian Welsh will keep re-hoisting it to the front every Saturday regardless. As someone has something real to contribute, they can do so.

    There is preparing to live through the long crisis-punctuated decline. And then again there is preparing to live through some short-term shocks or transient hard times in the meantime. One such type of come-and-go hard times for people in the West, Lower Midwest, and South to think about, is the bigger better heat waves to come in our man made global warming future. In the West, they would be Death Valley Heat Waves. Elsewhere, they would be Tropical Heat Waves . . . 100 degrees in the shade and 100 % humidity. What might people do to survive a week or two weeks of that . . . . after the power goes down and blacks out because everybody turned every air conditioner all the way up at the same time?

    Something to think about.
    Something to prepare for.

  142. Astrid

    Sorry, I got caught up in exercising some of my more negative emotions last weekend I have really appreciated the comments here and hope they keep coming.

    This far, I don’t think GMO is as threatening as its most ardent opponents make it. Europe is mostly GMO free except for for one variety of corn. The contamination issue can be limited by distance and is relatively easy for insect pollinated plants. The problem is more that the production of GMO out compete and forces or traditional varieties, reducing diversity that we may need to rely on to provide in a hotter, less predictable weather future.

    The much bigger fear is, of course, manipulation of microbes and animal DNA. All we need is one accident or one determined terrorist, and it’s game over for human civilization as we know it. Considering that there are USian politicians and officials who believe they will literally be raptured up to heaven in the event of an apocalypse, and can undoubtedly rationalize that they are doing God’s will…multiply it by all the other people crazy, desperate, deluded, lazy, angry enough to try.

    The bigger problem for now may be the abusive IP regime, which is almost entirely rent seeking. In my mind, no IP should have greater than 10 year life, period. That should be able time for

  143. Astrid

    I truly don’t think most of us have to worry about 35 degree wet bulb in our lifetime. Hotter and more humid may happen, but likely can be coped with traditional evaporative cooling. People in India and the middleeast might be in more trouble.

    If you want to prepare, I guess a geothermal HVAC unit or living in an Earthship might offer protection. Insulation of the attic and attic fan will minimize hear build up. Basements may be significant cooler than the rest of the house. Traditional southern home features that permit substantial airflow and shading would help. In a pinch, a water spray bottle or wet towel, combined with a fan, can encourage evaporative cooling. If indoors is insufferably hot, see if you can locate an outdoor location with good air circulation to sleep in. Adjustable deck chairs are acceptable as impromptu sleepers.

    Remember to drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat stroke and shift any outdoors activity to mornings and evenings.

  144. different clue

    Header: sale on gardening books/ soil books/ other agri-books.

    Every March Acres USA holds its Acres USA Bookstore March Sale. The little blurbo descriptions give an idea of what each book is about.

    Acres USA has lately been having some very interesting soil science and soil practice books translated from German into English and having them printed under its own press-name. These books can be seen here and there in the book listings. Those would be very worth owning and learning for soil understanding and soil upbuildment.

    Also, Growing Vegetables With A Smile, by Nikolai Kurdyumov, translated from Russian. Very sale price.

    Also, The Organic Method Primer, by Bargyla and Gylver Rateaver. This began life as a self-published $250 book and a few years ago Acres USA got an unsold bunch of these books when Bargyla Rateaver died and her business folded. Now being sold at a very very sale price.

  145. different clue

    I found what few images Yahoo would aggregate for “Bargyla Rateaver”. Many of them are totally irrelevant. But a few of them are relevant to “Bargyla Rateaver” in general and to The Organic Method Primer in particular. So here is the link.;_ylt=AwrJ6y0_iltg330A8Q5XNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Nj?p=bargyla+rateaver+image&fr=sfp

  146. different clue

    Header: Solar Energy Cooking

    Here is a little article about what the article writers think are the best commercially available solar cookers.

    It also has some links to solar other stuff.

  147. different clue

    Header: general thought on short-sharp hard-times preparation

    When a short sharp hard-times shock hits, it is too late to prepare for the effects of that particular shock. For any shock one thinks one “can” prepare for, pre-preparation in advance is the way to have those ride-out-the-shock preparations in place. Part of that might involve the permanent adoption of certain mid-shock lifestyle features.

    So if the water system goes down, you will wish you had water. If you pre-store enough water for your realistic planned-for needs for whatever timespan you are planning for, you can start using that water instead of current real-time from-the-tap water to practice living within that water budget. So if you line one wall ( where the floor is strong enough to take it) with stacks of 5-gallon-buckets full of water and whatever iodine-disinfectant is needed to keep the water sickness-bacteria free, you can use up all the water in one stack of buckets and then refill those buckets from the tap and use the next stack of buckets. Then refill that and use the next stack of buckets. By the time you have used and refilled the last stack of buckets, you are ready to use the water from the refilled first stack of buckets. And so on.

    So when the water system goes down, you already are used to living on a restricted water budget and you know how much water and time you have before you have to set up your longer range water-finding and home-water disinfecting systems for pond water/ stream water/ etc.

    If anyone sees flaws in this logic, this would be a fine thread to point them out.

  148. Astrid

    As someone who regularly use 5 gallon buckets to haul water (and compost and tanbark) in garden settings, I would not do it. They’re a really awkward size when fully filled with water. I would recommend something a bit smaller and not bucket shaped. Also, you have to consider the time to fill and until the buckets, that’s a lot of time waiting for it to fill and (awkwardly) getting water out. Then worry about algae and contamination from multiple uses.

    If you were going with such a system, I recommend 1 or 2 gallon jugs, easier to handle and fill/unfill. But it just seems like a lot of wasted time and potential spills waiting to happen.

    I’m pretty lazy about my water preparedness. I have a 55 gallon filled food safe barrel in my utility room, and I bought a Water Bob for when bad weather is forecasted.
    I store about 10 gallons in 1.33 gallon Heinz white vinegar jugs. I have a pump water filter and iodine tablets for back up situations. In extreme situations, we’re about half a mile walk from a fairly clean creek. If I was starting over again, I would probably go with Water Brick or something a bit more portable.

  149. roxan

    There are a number of seed places that have heirloom varieties. About 10 years ago, I bought some purple cherokee tomatoes at a farm stand. They were awesome, so I saved the seeds and grew them ever since. I like Territorial seeds, and Sustainable Seeds, especially. We grew all our food organically when I was a kid. The problems I emcounter now os a lack of pollinators and disease. This area is too urban for bees, so I hand pollinate some things. Everyone seems to want seeds, now. It’s hard to get a lot of items, difficult to get compost and even some of the gardening tools.

  150. dsrcwt

    Different Clue, while that water regime would make an interesting and useful drill, maybe for a week to see where the weaknesses are, I think that we should revel in the advantages of modern civilization as long as we can. We lose electricity here at least once a year, for a few hours to several days. When the power goes out we lose the well, and the toilets. Buckets of water come out and we economize. When the power comes back I revel in, and am thankful for hot and cold running water. Water is heavy, and dealing with it takes time and energy. While the system persists, use your energy in the most efficient ways. If you wear yourself down before you need to, you’ll fall at the first hurdle.

  151. Astrid

    I assume you don’t save seeds from bee pollinated fruits. One possible strategy is to plant bee friendly plants such as salvia and basil near your veggies, to draw in pollinators. I actually have a hard time imagining a place too urban for bees, outside of certain Asian megacities. They’re already quite active around my hellebores and daffodils yesterday.

    I have to counter the Territorial endorsement.
    They are very expensive and very specific to wetside PNW region. They’re also heavy on hybrids and don’t have a great selection of open pollinated and landrace seeds. I ordered from them a couple times from years ago, I recall things sprouted fine, but weren’t as plump and evenly sized as Johnny’s or even FedCo.

    For PNW, Victory Seeds, Wild Garden Seeds, and Adaptive Seeds are all worth looking at, even for non PNW gardeners. They have unique open pollinated varieties not available elsewhere. Sandhill Preservation Center and Heritage Seed Market are inexpensive and have enormous tomato seed selections. For east of the Mississippi, FedCo and Southern Exposure are hard to beat in my opinion. I will grant that Johnny’s and High Mowing had great germination and very high quality seeds, but the high price of smaller packets are not so home gardener friendly.

  152. Astrid

    I would like to hear folks’ thoughts about financial planning, physical safety, and connecting with their respective communities. Also, what sort of disruptions are we planning for? A general decline in income with things becoming harder and harder? Extreme climate impacts (in which case the best option is to leave especially vulnerable area such as the Southwest and coastal southeast ASAP). A panopticon dystopia where BigTech and BigGov pry into every aspect of our lives? Aftermath of social breakdown and war (won/lost/continuing)?

    There’s a lot of books on food growing and gardening, because it’s fun and a visceral way to provide safety for ones family. Even things like off grid electrical generation, water sourcing, hunting, animal pasturing and butchering, wood chopping and burning, and nontraditional building, all seem to get a lot written about them because they’re fun and constructive.

    But what about just physical safety? Will we be living in a future where everyone has metal bars in their window and doors (would that do any good when the housing stock is largely stick built?). Where the rich will retreat to gated communities with armed guards while the rest are too poor to be worth targeting? What happens when those gun hoarders think it’s time to assume their place at the top of the heap? How will national guard, military, and police act in that situation?

    Same for financial safety, what does that even mean?

    As for community. The US was already fragmenting based on Neoliberal economics that force people to move far from their family for job opportunities, then separating people based on class and political identifications. Facebook and various media echo chambers are making people who should be bound by ties of family into bitter haters of each other. Are we going to end up like Yugoslavia, but with a lot more guns and bigger trucks?

  153. different clue


    I suspect that the chances of physical safety are enhanced if one is part of a viable community of people all protecting eachothers’ safety.

    In places where a majority of people would be amenable to a Transition Town approach or a Power Down approach, such people can pre-resilientise and pre-robustify their communities for viable community survival in the face of the Long Decline. That way, organized mutual co-safety may be preserved.

    If one suspects one will be a lone human or lone family of humans amid the hordes of violent LARPing prepper zombies, personal safety becomes much tougher.

    Somewhere along the ragged edge between these two possibility poles, Kurt Saxon wrote a book called the Poor Man’s James Bond. Here is what I hope is a NOmazon link.

    Several decades ago, in Saratoga Springs New York, I spent a summer working for a Landscaping Company, mowing lawns and such. One weekend, the owner took us instead to
    his father’s land and house-in-process-of-being-built , to do this and that. The shell of the house was up and it looked to me like poured concrete, not stick-built. And it had a few window spaces in the one side that we could see, The window spaces looked to be about 3 feet tall and 4-6 inches wide as I remember. I said, ” gee, those look sort of like rifle ports”. And the company owner, whose father’s house it was going to be said, ” yes, they do, don’t they”.

  154. different clue


    Also, the retreat from the man made global warming death zones which you suggest or even maybe just foresee, presents the reality-based global warming acceptance community with a chance to begin a slow quiet stealth sell-off and retreat, covering the cost of retreat by selling off their houses, land, etc. to members of the faith-based global warming denialist community.

    Hopefully all the global warming reality accepters will be making their Last Stand on higher colder ground, and all the global warming reality deniers will be ingathered unto the Future Death Valleys and rising sea flood zones of tomorrow. Where they can all live out the true meaning of their beliefs.

    And who knows, they might be right and we might be wrong. Lets undertake to achieve the Last Sort, and let Darwin take the hindmost.

  155. Astrid

    Gosh, sorry for bringing this conversation into a rather bleak state. If order breaks down enough that communal security once again becomes necessary, I do think we will settle on something above war of all against all, but might be at a level where we must pay off local protection rackets and all have bars on our windows.

    Even then, most construction throughout the world is made with stone, concrete, cinder blocks. In the US, much of the housing stock is wood, not really a defensive position. I am thinking of late Rome, when cities that had not needed walls for centuries hastily built to defend against the (minor) barbarian hordes and suffered through the predations of the major ones.

    In the meantime, I am going to plant some ramps under my oaks.

  156. different clue


    Its a rather bleak subject. People should either prepare or not bother preparing for what they think will happen, will likely happen, might happen, could happen , etc. in that order. Thought doesn’t have to be happy to be reality-based.

    People should not worry about not being prepared for things they can not possibly be prepared for. Prepare how one can for what one can and beyond that, hope for the lucky best.
    And also, doing things in the meantime which will actually keep some actual society actually maintained and actually viable may reduce the amount of worst cases one might have to prepare for.

    And live an okay-life even while preparing for whatever one can and will prepare for. A misery-based life devoted to preparing for some future something won’t inspire any friends and neighbors to prepare for things.

    So planting ramps can be a perfectly okayness-building activity for living the okay life in the meantime while preparing ( or not) for this and that.

  157. different clue

    Header: website with some randomly sprinkled cheapness and survivalness information inside it.

    This link literally links to an interesting theory about American society’s social-economic-status class structure. But the top of the page which opens also offers some category-titles to click on.
    The two categories called About This Project and Topics lead to some interesting items on preparation and survival and pleasant-living cheapness.

    So I thought it deserves to be here.

  158. different clue

    Header: site with links to various information.

  159. different clue

    Header: Link to site with huge numbers of links and link-to-links about various kinds of intelligent low-input lifestyling and etc.

  160. Astrid

    The first minute of this video gives a nice insight to resiliency (in addition to being very cheerful and can-do spirited).

    It would appear that the US no longer have such a reserve.

  161. Pandemonical Order of Good Cheer

    Have read widely on these issues for years and two things stand out:

    1) Thinking about it and moving to do something about it are quite different states, not easy to move between.

    2) Of all the preparations, the most challenging and perhaps essential are psychological / spiritual — for some this will mean a serious meditation practice, mindfulness, compassion, impermanence, an activist practice.

    Tall order. Good resources include the work of Joanna Macy and Pema Chodron…starting perhaps in the latter case with Things Fall Apart.

  162. Astrid

    I should mention that for USians, the university extension services are of a great resource, far better than the commercial sites often written by people without expertise, friendly with wrong identifications and erroneous basic assumptions.

  163. different clue

    Header: The Soil and Health Library.

    The Soil and Health Library is a project of putting complete copies of informationally valuable old and classical books about agriculture, agronomy and health on line for people to freely read (before the Internet goes dark for good).

  164. rangoon78

    Hunter-gatherer societies were able to achieve affluence by desiring little and meeting those needs/desires with what was available to them. It all changed come agriculture, where a surplus was created, which was then taxed, plundered or paid as rent to elites, whether they were princes, bandits or landlords. Since then, only “The “Four Horsemen” of leveling –mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues— have decreased inequality.

  165. rangoon78

    Ian gave us a blueprint for getting through the coming bad tomes five years ago:
    “Post-capitalism, if it is any good, will restore the ability to grow and make what they need to the people. Not like feudalism, but a craft-based, hunter-gatherer society. Work 20 hours a week to meet the essentials, spend the rest of the time as you wish and choose how and when to work those 20 hours.“

  166. Astrid


    Thanks so much for the recommendations! Now that I’ve had my two shots, I may soon venture to my local library for some paper based reading. I feel that I have a lot of work ahead of me, yet I’m so tired by everything that I just want to lie in bed all weekend.

  167. Astrid

    At the risk of making clear how brainwashed I am, I will say that the advent of cable TV and streaming services is a real boon to the medium. I was watching “Upload” on Amazon Prime (yes, I know, but they have just enough shows that I really enjoy such as The Expanse and Sneaky Pete, and enough stuff that’s tricky to buy elsewhere, that it’s hard to cut the cord) and was struck by how perceptive and subversive it was. I really believe the most original thinkers of this age write for TV because it’s the most remunerative and one that is likely to gain them the biggest audience. Sure, it can be used for evil and to alienate is further from reality, but it also has the potential to tell great stories and be hugely entertaining.

    It is a reminder that while the would is burning around me, there are some real perks with living in the current age and I should appreciate and partake.

  168. Astrid

    My parents just spent the afternoon digging up about 60 lbs of edible bamboo shoots from somebody else’s backyard. So perhaps the best way to benefit from a bamboo grove is to know somebody with one! You can process it for drying, blanch and freeze, or cook it down with soy sauce for a chewy high fiber snack. You might be able to sell it if there are small mom and pop Adrian grocery stores nearby, or have access to a farmer’s market with Asian shoppers.

  169. Astrid

    Anyone here contemplated getting or have gotten an Irish passport based on ancestry? It seems like a good compromise for people with an Irish born grandparent or parent, since it doesn’t have residency requirements and permits dual citizenship. I think this might be my best option since my better half is unwilling to move and our jobs are hard to move out of the US, and not working isn’t an option for the foreseeable future. There are a gradient of ancestry based citizenship amongst EU countries (also considered Taiwan), but it seems that most at least require giving up US citizenship.

    For the young under 30s, emigrating to ANZ or Canada seems to be the way to go. If I was considering college today, I would opt for school abroad in a heartbeat.

  170. Joan

    @Astrid, Re: Irish heritage.

    That’s a fascinating idea, and I’m tempted to tell you to go for it. I wonder what the Irish think about this? Are you planning to learn Irish at all? It’s on Glossika and Duolingo, though surely book learning is better.

    A friend of a friend is from Dublin and she *hates* it when Americans are like “Omg I’m Irish too!” haha. I know that’s not what you’re saying though. 😉

  171. Astrid

    Irish ancestry citizenship probably not going to work, parent didn’t register in time. You have to be “born” as the child or grandchild as an Irish citizen, which requires parent to register in the Irish birth registry before you’re born (or by 1986, when the law changed to limit this option to 2 generations). Anyone who qualifies really should do this, it’s cheap (around 200 euros total) and opens up opportunities for you and your progeny.

    Anyone with Italian ancestry can apply for the Italian ancestry citizenship without generational limitations. Alas, not qualifying for us. But again a dual citizenship available with minimum burdens. It’s really a good idea to get started in this, just in case the laws tighten in the future.

    Still exploring the Polish ancestry, which use bizarrely Byzantine. Frankly it was so Kafkaesque that we had to double-check that Kafka was Bohemian and not Polish.

    But most likely the ancestry option is out and we would need to look at the Portuguese golden visa, which we can afford but seems likely to expose us to scams and involve moving large sums of money around when our pile use that not big. The live in requirements are light (2 weeks per year though there are three uncertainty of overseas travel amongst continued Covid) and Portugal has perfect weather and low costs to work for our retirement plans. It’s also a family plan, so we can get the same rights at various stages together. I’m urging spouse on a quick move on those as the conditions will likely to change. On the other hand, the economic pressured brought by COVID to the smaller poorer European states may encourage more such schemes in the future. I am also looking more closely at residency options for Taiwan, now that I’m fairly satisfied that hot fighting is unlikely to take place and I suspect the Taiwanese will drift into Chinese hemisphere once they see the writing on the wall with their erstwhile USian “protectors”, who won’t do more for them than what’s been done for Ukrainians, Chechens, Kurds, etc.

    Obviously, even thinking about these schemes indicate an immense amount of privilege, I’m well aware of how lucky we are compared to most.

  172. Astrid

    We are definitely not the sort to study language for fun. My husband, despite 5 years of French and 4 years of German, nearly manages basic restaurant ordering and navigating in Germany and France, though he managed a 3 months internship in Germany once. I’m better with Chinese (though written is very rusty) but my romance language skills are limited to reading a French restaurant menu and counting to 20.

    The Portuguese citizenship does require a basic language competency component. We’d have to hope that it’s quite quite basic.

  173. different clue


    Perhaps the Irish-in-Ireland can force a solution to the problem of Irish-ancestry people elsewhere calling themselves “Irish” by referring to such people as ” Irishians”.

    Irish living in Ireland get to be Irish. Irish-ancestry people living outside of Ireland can be

  174. Joan

    @different clue, LOL thanks for making me laugh! Irishians sound like they appear in the New Testament alongside the Galatians.


    Thank you for pointing this out to me. This has been quite fascinating and sent me around searching for my options. Unfortunately I don’t have any. I am a descendant of 20th century migrants from Europe to the US, but most of them were fleeing WW1, so it’s far enough removed I cannot claim anything.

    We are instead doing the long and slow process of “We moved here, and we’ve worked, brought money into the country and spent it locally, we vacation here, we speak the language, we have character references, we pay our taxes on time…and we like it here very much!”

  175. Astrid


    Italy seems to be the most liberal of the bunch, since there are no generational limitations. If you or your husband had any Irish ancestry, I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask if they registered for the birth registry since that is by far the best option if it’s open to you. But it doesn’t hurt to check back to all the great grandparents and see if any you might fit in. Ancestry based citizenship is just so much easier than naturalization. It’s certainly an arbitrary privilege but one might as well take advantage of them if one is able to do so.

    Still contemplating the Portuguese golden visa. If we can make the investment with our retirement accounts, it becomes pretty straightforward. Otherwise it may require cobbling together money from different sources, including asking for an advance on inheritance, which would be drama.

  176. Astrid

    The Chinese actually have a pretty good solution. All people with Chinese ancestry are call huaren (ethnic Chinese person), but citizens of PRC are called zhongguoren (person of the Chinese state). It’s kind of the reverse of the US, where you (blank)-American (haha, which American country). In China, they would identify you as American Chinese, rather than Chinese American. Though it’s interesting to note that the dominance of Han Chinese is overwhelming that it’s rarely mentioned. There are lots of talk about what region you(or even parents and grandparents) are from, but the Han ethnicity is obviously a construct of many many ethic ground over millenniums, so that people from different parts are physically very distinctive from each other but still “Han”.

    Did the Irish Americans identify themselves as Irish American or just Irish? I could see the latter being offensive if the Americans have no connection to Ireland being a few trips and not having to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. But the former seems quite reasonable as Irish American was a distinct cultural grouping until very recently.

  177. Jeremy

    “If a tower falls in a city and no one hears or sees it, has it fallen?”

    Israeli strikes destroy Gaza tower housing media organisations:

  178. Joan


    When I finally get to meet this Irish friend of a friend, I’ll ask exactly what the Americans say, haha.

    We don’t have any Irish ancestry, or ancestry in the country we live in, though both my husband and I have pretty clear records of who is from where since both our families are twentieth century migrants. It sounds like it’s worth looking into. Is there a specific test that you guys got that’s considered official? All we’ve done is spit in a tube in a Walmart parking lot (I think it was 23&me).

    The Portuguese golden visa sounds fascinating. I for one would be interested in hearing more details if you guys go for it, though in our case we’ll never have the means. If things were to ever go south really quickly here, we do have family in Europe, just not nearby.

    I don’t want to pull this too far off the topic of Preparing for Bad Times Ahead, so I’ll leave it there!

  179. Astrid


    The standards are based on the nationality laws of each country. A qualifying ancestor’s birth certificate or citizenship record, plus evidence tying you to them, should be sufficient. This may mean visiting the parish or church records in the ancestral village to obtain copies, as was done by a friend claiming Italian ancestry. It definitely requires clear lineages of descent and”ancestry testing” would not be meaningful. Wikipedia actually have pretty detailed information on this topic so it’s worth looking there first and then maybe review the actual promulgated law.

    The Portuguese golden visa is a 5 year path to citizenship and ability to live and travel in Europe in the meantime. It looks like we can just “invest” in a fund rather than buying property or a business. This would enable us to continue with our current jobs but with an eye to moving to Europe in the future. We are no longer young and don’t have a high demand job backgrounds, so this might be the best option to get out.

    The other option is just to move to Latin America. That’s not a great option for us since we don’t speak Spanish and because many of the countries are severely destabilizes by US actions in the past. But they are considerably cheaper options for people looking to get out and don’t have other means.

  180. Astrid

    I need to severely throttle back my news consumption. It’s enough to know that the world is bad but I’m wallowing in it. This isn’t doing me or anyone else any good. I will continue to track and participate on this thread and scan Naked Capitalism headlines, but I need to do myself a favor and take a news holiday.

  181. Joan

    @Astrid, thanks again for the information. I’ll jump over to wiki and see what I can figure out for myself or my husband.

    I definitely concur with a news fast! It’ll do you a lot of good. At some point Ian’s advice kicks in about how our second-hand suffering doesn’t actually help anyone. It’s spring; enjoy the new leaves and sunshine, etc.

    Babbel has Portuguese, though from the flag it must be Brazilian. I’ve tried a lot of the language learning platforms online (Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Glossika) and Babbel is by far my favorite. It approaches things the way you’re used to if you went to high school in the US: grammar lessons with mild explanations in English that don’t get too technical with linguistic jargon. I much prefer that to wholly organic methods that only show you the target language and never explain anything. If moving to Europe is still years out for you, you can afford to start casually learning so it’s not overwhelming all at once.

    I watched a street stall owner grift an American tourist who couldn’t speak a word of the language here. He took her five euros for a slice of pizza and didn’t give any change, whereas he gave me exact change back (based on the signage) because I can speak the language. Furthermore, I *know* I have an American accent still, so it wasn’t necessarily my nationality, just the fact that I made the effort to communicate with him.

  182. Howard

    <Migrating and news consumption

    I think we just have to accept being where we are, for better or for worse. The options are narrowing rapidly.

    And at any rate, there are lots of folks in the US like me, who basically as far back as I know (early 1800s) are descended from people who were all in place in the midwest before the mid-1800s, having migrated there from either New England or Appalachia. So not many options for claiming birthright citizenship anywhere else (oh, wait, does a quebecois great-great-great grandparent count?).

    And, yes, scanning the NakedCapitalism headlines (with an occasional click) is my preferred form of news consumption. Unless I am going to become an activist around some issue, I don't think much more is needed. I wonder (mostly idle curiosity, but would be interesting to know) when "the daily news" became a thing, and when having to know about it became a mark of good citizenship.

  183. Howard

    <Short-term survival (6-12 months)

    Given the possibility of food shortages and public utility outages very, very soon, what are folks' thoughts on:
    My brief thought is to rig some sort of way to distill potable water and, if necessary, figure out how to get it out of the atmosphere if there is no other supply.
    Garden where possible (which crops are easy to grow and can serve as staples?) but if you can't garden at sufficient scale (or at all), how can one stock up?

    I am sort of turned off by all those youtube prepper vids. Something doesn't work there, can't put my finger on it.

  184. Astrid

    For short run water needs, a hand pump water filter with iodine tablet backup and some sort of water storage approach is enough. Maybe identify nearby sources of relatively clean water, so hauling water becomes an option for the slightly longer term.

    For longer term, I’d put in a deep well and a rooftop water collection system. I guess if you have enough land, digging ponds or diverting from nearby creeks or rivers might be something to keep in mind. Definitely think about how you’ll do laundry, bath, and deal with toilets in a water scarce situation.

    If those are not workable options for your location, then think about how you can move to a more water secure location once your existing water options goes away. I can’t imagine solar distillation being an option for anything beyond maybe drinking water from an extremely compromised water source.

  185. Astrid

    For food. Short run, you’re much better off just having a rotating larder. A couple bags of flour, rice, beans, sugar, salt and multivitamins handles the basics, doable for $100 and storable in a few 5 gallon buckets (Costco online sells food service plastic buckets that I use for storage. Some jams, chocolates, spice mixes, canned tuna, canned tomatoes, etc for variety. Supplement by learning about available wild and forageable foods, maybe hunting/trapping smaller game. I’m a food hoarder certainly.

    Safety in growing your own food is pretty illusory for really hard times. How would you be able to defend your possessions from the more desperate? It can supplement in high food scarcity but still relatively stable situations, but not “when all hell breaks loose”. In an all hell breaks loose situation, it’s important to just bunker down, be inconspicuous (which unfortunately may mean not sharing resources with anyone outside a very small trusted circle), and hope it passes quickly (and prepare to run if things don’t look good).

    Longer term, take a look at Carol Deppe’s books on surviving hard times. I think she takes a sensible approach and gives good advice. She’s not a prepper but she’s a smart woman who lived through personal hard times. Cereals other than corn are hard to grow, thrash, and prepare, skip them. Winter squash, potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, yams, corn are good staples to grow. With a cold cellar, you can store carrots, endured, Napa cabbage, cabbage, onions, potatoes, beets, and more through winter. Supplement with canned, fermented and dried vegetables.

    What grows well is very much location dependent. This is especially the case if you want to venture into fruits. For me in Mid Atlantic USA, collards and Swiss chard are good year around (but need insect barrier fabric to survive late summer bug onslaught). Most traditional fruits will require constant spraying East of the Rockies, for zone 5 and southwards. Orchard fruits are a dicey proposition in hard times anyways, but persimmons, pawpaw’s, jujubes, and pears can bear without spraying. Melons are probably the best bets but they take a lot of room and have their own insect issues.

  186. Astrid

    Birthright citizenship is just a freak perk/privilege. Like inherited wealth or high IQ, it’s just a random thing you win by coming out of the right womb. If you’re not moving right away, it’s a hail Mary anyways, since who knows if they can be used when things actually get bad. With them, you may just end up as refugees with slightly improved right of entry. But migration earlier than 1900 is likely to be very hard to prove, even if you have ancestry from a country like Italy where there is no generational cutoffs.

    If you’re young, skilled and come from the “first world”, you don’t really need birthright citizenship to move but it can facilitate it. If you are older in the US and willing to move, the Dutch American friendship agreement, varies golden visa schemes, and many very pleasant “third countries” granting residency if you can demonstrate a modest income. But you have to be willing to move and make a break from what you’ve built up all your life. That’s very hard for most people.

  187. Astrid

    I believe there is agreement in the thread that the greatest part to surviving whatever is to come is not”prepping” in the conventional sense.

    What about things that help us with:

    Getting useful information and effectively print it to work

    Maintain good relationship with neighbors, family, PTB that we may need to rely on in the future

    Physically hardening the home, making it more defensible, energy self sufficient, easier to repair and maintain

    Non automotive transportation

    Maintaining good mental health in stressful times

    Preparing for loss of income and access to savings

    Rearing kids and mentoring young people though this uncertain world

  188. Astrid

    More generally, what do you do to cope? Do you meditate like Ian? Pick arguments with strangers on the internet? Read religious or philosophical texts? Read pulp sci-fi novels? Workout? Go hiking? Podcasts?

    What do you do to take a sanity break from a system determined to break us all down?

  189. Howard

    >References for getting through hard times

    This page is panning one “hard times” book, but then goes on to give recommendations for the best ones in the riewers’ opinion.

  190. Dr. Mercola recently interviewed a senior research scientist at MIT for over five decades, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., about her new paper “Expert evaluation on adverse effects of the Pfizer-COVID-19 vaccination”. The article on mercola’s website, on this is “COVID Vaccines May Bring Avalanche of Neurological Disease”. A transcript is available.

    From Mercola’s article about the interview, he has the following recommendations, for people who have taken an mRNA vaccine. I have copied it, verbatim; but note that the blood level of the “vitamin” he mentions, is vitamin D. Mercola recently removed all references to Vit D, Vit C, and zinc, relating to covid, from his website, due to personal threats. (He was OK with fighting harassment in the courts; but his persecutors went next level.)

    How Can You Protect Yourself From the Vaccine or Exposure to Those That Were Vaccinated?
    Indeed, that is the question of the day. We talked about shedding from the vaccine. Obviously, the vaccine does not classically shed virus particles but it can easily cause people to shed spike proteins, and it is these spike proteins that may cause just as much damage as the virus.

    While Seneff’s paper didn’t delve deeply into solutions, it provides a major clue, which is that your body has the capacity to address many of these problems through a process called autophagy. This is the process of removal of damaged proteins in your body.

    One effective strategy that will upregulate autophagy is periodic fasting or time-restricted eating. Most people eat more than 12 hours a day. Gradually lowering that to a six- to eight-hour window will radically improve your metabolic flexibility and decrease insulin resistance.

    Another beneficial practice is sauna therapy, which upregulates heat shock proteins. I have discussed this extensively in previous articles. Heat shock proteins work by refolding proteins that are misfolded. They also tag damaged proteins and target them for removal.

    Another vital strategy is to eliminate all processed vegetable oils (seed oils), which means eliminating virtually all processed foods as they are loaded with them. Seed oils will radically impair mitochondrial energy production, increase oxidative stress and damage your immune system.

    Seed oils also are likely to contain glyphosate, as it is heavily used on the crops that produce them. Obviously, it is important to avoid glyphosate contamination in all your food, which you can minimize by buying only certified organic foods.

    Finally, you want to optimize your innate immune system and one of the best ways to do that is to get enough sun exposure, wearing in your bathing suit, to have your vitamin level reach 60 to 80 ng/ml (100 to 150 nmol/l).

    Although Mercola doesn’t mention it, I’m pretty sure that taking “Restore” by Dr. Zach Bush /Bionic Sciences, helps alleviate the damage to the intestinal lining caused by glyphosate intake. Mercola, himself, may sell something similar.

  191. different clue

    Header . . . short philosophical thought.

    People living in dense-packed towns or cities are dependent on their collective survival grids. If one or more of those grids goes down for good, thousands-to-millions of people will die. So urban survivalism probably means collective action to secure and protect and defend the functioning of all those grids . . . power , water , gas , fuel , etc.

    One element of urban survivalism may then be deep or even extreme personal conservation of resources so as to keep demand on those grids low enough that the grids will not collapse under un-meetable demand. That would require everyone in those urban areas conserving deeply or extremely on water, gas, electricity, fuel, etc.

    SUBurban survivalism may involve some individual action in those suburbs where the yards are big enough to produce some aspects of bare survival. Rainwater harvesting systems, waterless toilet systems, super-insulate the house to where minimal power is needed to run minimal stand-alone electric powered survival systems, etc. Of course that’s talking about barely surviving, not truly living. For truly living, SUBurbanites must also defend and protect the viability of all the grids which make true living truly possible. Like the gas, water, power, etc. grids.

  192. different clue

    Texas may provide some examples of that concept this summer. If Texas gets a truly educational summer heat wave ( a week of temperatures at or over 100 degrees and humididity at or over 95%), and if all the air conditioning demand makes the Don’t-Mess-With-Texas Freedom Grid go down and black out all over Houston, Dallas, etc. . . . . then we will see if numbers of people die in the unrelievable heat.

    If no one does, then my theory will have been proven just-that-much wrong.

  193. Astrid

    Different clue,

    I don’t think governments and populaces that can’t get masking right is capable of collective action to save their own skins. Maybe they will after several very harsh lessons, but in the meantime, the best option for the alert resident is to figure out how to shelter in place (with a generator and window unit, in precooled basement with minimum of activity) or run. The temptation to be selfish and cheat in the face of adversity is always strong, and half of this insane country has decided to turn it into a virtue that they’ll defend (with somebody else’s lives).

    The Texas freeze this winter tells you how well they can handle any extremely conditions. A bunch of people getting by on generators and the rest not even having enough information/knowledge to prevent their pipes from bursting.

  194. Astrid

    Perhaps it would be instructive to observe which communities are handling situations better and move to those communities whenever possible. Conversely, to treat bad leadership cultures and selfish populace as a threat on par with heightened chance of wild fire and hurricanes.

  195. Astrid

    In light of what I just seen posted by Different Clue on the other thread, I’m no longer going to post in response to him here. Anyone who is so biased against peoples whom he has no understanding about, and who can’t judge good information from bad (on China, check it YouTube videos by Daniel Dumbrill as well as reporting by The Gray Zone), is not really worth engaging with.

  196. Joan

    On urban versus suburban living:

    So long as cities hold power, they will get help first in a crisis and rural people will be left to fend for themselves, in the case of a power outage or what have you. This is for small or mid-sized cities. I’m thinking of NYC after Hurricane Sandy, in which a lot of people were left in the dark. There’s some point at which the city is too big in this regard, even if emergency aid is sent straight there.

    In terms of relying on the grid, electricity is a relatively new invention, same with contemporary refrigeration, and people have been living in cities for much longer. I think it’s worthwhile to examine your lifestyle in a city and see how you would live without electricity for a few days, in case the grid goes down and the government diverts resources to keeping critical services going.

    What I disagree with a lot of the people here on is the functionality of the suburbs. If you’re a small-scale farmer set up to completely fend for yourself, that’s one thing. That’s a farm in the countryside. Suburbs, on the other hand, are a flex. You might keep a garden, and that’s great, but if roving bands of looters become a thing, you’re a sitting duck of perceived wealth, even if you’re up to your eyeballs in debt.

    The only way a suburb could function in a crisis is if it’s functionally a small town: defensible, well-connected, self-reliant through its own production and bordering farms, etc.

    I see a burb house the way I see someone walking around with a thousand-dollar iPhone or a several thousand dollar Mac Airbook. (Maybe they aren’t actually that expensive?) I just can’t believe someone hasn’t given them the slip and taken their expensive toy away.

  197. Astrid

    Historically, when crises came, people flee to cities until the very end. Even though there’s concentration of risks, disease, food scarcity, and other issues, cities are also defensible spaces for populations.

    Still, the scale and complexity of modern cities are such, that I wonder if it’s possible to keep up once more than a few pieces come loose. Witness how well Houston handled the freeze this spring or NYC handled COVID. Can these places step up enough when time comes? They might handle smaller warbands but might be targeted by larger warbands and armies.

    Suburbs are not defensible or self sustaining spaces right now. But in a slow collapse situation, it may be possible to cultivate more land for food and build security alliances over time. Though there still is the problem getting clean water, bulk calories, and power necessary to keep everything running and within reach.

  198. Astrid

    I wonder if Palestinians’experience with surviving in refugee camp, West Bank, and Gaza would be instructive of how to survive hard and hostile times.

  199. different clue

    The very newest Open Thread has a discussion between SomeOfParts and Astrid which offers some very high value very granular advice about several cities which might be promising places to go live in and prepare to Survive In Place in. More than that, the exchange of comments offers a menu of high-value thinking about what to think about when evaluating a town or city for moving to in order to prepare to Survive In Place.

    Here is the link to that Open Thread and its discussion.

  200. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    I apologise for my earlier comment. I realize now that you were probably just being sarcastic and I really overreacted. Onwards, then!

    (Rather than committing to less news consumption like I swore to do, I went down the YouTube rabbit hole on Uyghurs and Hong Kong demonstrators. It have me a lot of clarity about how much the narrative is intentionally fabricated by US department state and actually make me think much better of China than I’m used to.)

  201. Astrid

    Naked Capitalism put up this thread for people to share what they see on the ground. I’ve always found this type of temperature taking thread to be fascinating.

  202. different clue

    testing . . . testing . . .

  203. Astrid

    Only something you need to work about against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, etc 😉

  204. Astrid

    Adding in the Collapse subreddit here as well.

    A lot of the advice seems quite sensible and non-prepper-ish. I’m glad to see that for many, the work is on coping with what can be coped and enjoying the moment.

  205. Astrid

    It does feel like an uneasy calm ahead of something. Covid variants is the obvious problem. The US war party, well unmasked to the rest of the world in its incompetence and blindness, is another. Fires, mass shootings, floods, hurricanes we take for granted.

    Yet I feel like something else might be coming. Perhaps the collapse of the natural world is coming to the point when we will no longer have seafood. Perhaps the next solar cycle will bring a Carrington Event. Perhaps one or more of the quiet faults along the Pacific rim will do a full rip big enough to send devastating tsunamis to other shores. Perhaps the Greenland Ice Sheet will now begin its melting in earnest.

    Can we expect basic decency of our neighbors when it does happen?

  206. someofparts

    Well, since Diff Clue linked to the conversation Astrid and I had in a previous thread, I will continue it here. At the very least I want to thank Astrid for all the great ideas and advice. You have been very encouraging and I really appreciate it.

    I took a long look at Harrisburg and it seems very appealing. I used google street view to stroll around and it looks pretty and walkable. I also found a charming, affordable downtown apartment with big windows and a river view on craigslist. I worry a bit about snow, because I’ve never lived around it, but I’m a bookworm and a housecat from way back, so it should be fine.

    For the time being, I’m going to step up efforts to get my household and personal business in good shape so that I can move quickly if that turns out to be the best plan. There are a couple of dear friends here that I would miss, but neither of them would be able to help me if I got priced out of town.

    I read the thread at NC that Astrid linked to where various folks in comments described economic conditions in different parts of the country. It gave me the sense that the upheavals I’m seeing locally are happening everywhere. That makes the calculations about relocating more complicated.

    On one hand, it is a big plus that I know my way around this town because I grew up here. The older I get the more that seems to matter. On the other hand, things may be a bit worse here because ruling classes in the New South tend to be prosperous and greedy but come up short by educational metrics. Even within the city (and especially outside of it), it is literally hard for me to communicate with people because they find me shocking if I talk the way I am speaking right now. It is also the case that in this town the quality of healthcare is harshly segregated by economic status. Living in a poor part of the city can easily subject a person to catastrophically substandard care.

    The case for moving to a place like Harrisburg is that it may be a much better cultural and economic fit in addition to offering more reliable access to good healthcare. I might get there and wish I had made the move sooner.

    I’m just going to keep getting personal things organized and pay attention to the portents. It’s already so hot here that everyone stays inside from mid-morning until early evening. I’m also noticing a dramatic uptick in the tribalism/cluelessness of the liberal associates/relations I’ve spent my life around. They actually think that spending time at this website means I am now in thrall to Q-Anon, so it might not be hard at all to find a town where people are more sensible.

  207. someofparts

    “Yet I feel like something else might be coming.”

    A drought of biblical proportions is already underway out West. They may have another season of massive wildfires. The day when multitudes of people out there realize they have to leave seems imminent, so that will be a tsunami of internal migration.

    Also, the bridge on Highway 41 between Arkansas and Tennessee has been closed because it is too dangerous. This has thrown a monkey wrench into every branch of commerce in the region, which is apparently a major shipping hub for the country.

  208. Astrid

    Oh dear! It looks like the new format may not accommodate more than 100 comments, as I now only see the most recent 9 comments. Is this something that can be fixed? I admit that I really prefer the old format over this, inclusive of the Raven, but I supposed this”cleaner” but more opaque look is the new web standard.

  209. Astrid


    Sounds like a very sensible plan! Sometimes having a plan is enough, even if you never have to execute it.

    I don’t find snow troublesome locally. We only get 2-3 real snow storms a winter and the local governments are equipped for it. Even after 20-30 inches of snow, my residential street (a cul-de-sac and well off the main roads) is fully plowed by mid morning next day. It’s possible that pedestrian walkways are not as well managed, but I think overall it’s just no big deal compared to when major snow events happen in DC and definitely nothing like when now than an inch falls in the southeast.

    Winters are certainly colder on average compared to Greenville, SC, which probably has a weather roughly equivalent to Atlanta (my in-laws seem to have many days in the 60s in “winter” when we’re in the 40s. We seem to get a lot of winter days in the 30s and low 40s, with a few stretches when it gets warmer (60s or even 70s) or colder (there are occasional dips into 10-20s for highs and single digits for lows). It’s not a tundra by any means. Winter seems to be December to February, though we can get snow in November and March.

    In the summer, we get a lot of days in the 80s and lows in the 60s. 90+ stretches do happen but is not the norm. Maybe 1-2 times a year, we’ll get a stretch near 100. It’s usually not too sticky.

    There are a lot of hospitals in the Harrisburg area, both on the West Shore and in Hershey. There should be specialists for any kind of care within 30 minutes drive of Harrisburg. We’re pretty healthy overall but we’ve been happy with the few specialist and procedures we’ve gotten.

  210. Astrid

    About the drought in the west. I think there’s enough water flow plus aquifer tapping, that the stampede isn’t going to start yet. Fire season is bad, yet our friends there, who could literally sell out of their homes for millions of dollars, are still doubling down there. Most people who move are moving for cool places like Austin, Boulder, or Portland, not for the soggy East and Midwest.

    Having lived in the CA for a number of years, we both find it incredibly appealing. We always assumed that we would settle there permanently, then that we would move back ASAP, until the reality of high RE prices, climate change, and a couple ready to go major earthquake faults finally locked us out.

    When we were young and comparatively poor, we used to take weekend road trips to the national parks and longer driving trips up and down the coast. We would sleep in the car or camp along the way. We were so happy and free. Even now, everytime we vacation west of the Rockies, I am captivated by the mountains, the vegetations, and just the quality of the light. If I grew up with that or lived with that day to day, I’m not sure I can give that up.

  211. Astrid

    Different Clue,

    I’m sorry that this is a bit off topic, though I think critical thinking and interpretation of news is a big part of preparing for whatever future has in store for us. I started this discussion without particular sympathy to the Chinese government and was only alarmed by the saber rattling that can directly harm some of the Chinese people that I know and like. But as I dived into this topic, I am finding the alternative narrative to be rather compelling and more logical than the picture I had in mind.

    I know you mentioned that you don’t have time for a reassessment of China right now, but I hope you’ll take time to watch this video.

    I think Eric Li’s expressed view (it’s possible that unmentioned “difficulties” is doing a lot of heavy lifting) are extremely sanguine, given that climate change and resource depletion is breathing down everyone’s neck. Also, powers and institutions have a way of becoming corrupted over time.

    Nonetheless, I hope you will at least open your mind to the possibility that a government might understand that its power and legitimacy coming from social cohesion and welfare of all its people. That it learned lessons from Singapore and the success stories of modern times (East Asian Tigers) and that observed the failure of liberal democracies, all of which are essentially oligarchies where the populace helplessly watch as the people they vote into office betray them at every turn. To be told that they’re free because they have a choice, while living in utter precarity and having no actual political representation.

    We shall see about the Tibetans and Uighurs. I see them growing in population and prosperity, I see plenty of cultural and religious life for them within China, I clearly see NED handprints in the separatist movement and at least for Uighurs, many easily debunked lies (so easily debunked that it’s damning on the MSM that continue to traffic in them) and no coherent vision for improving the lives of their peoples (and with violent xenophobic and oligarchic ideology that make the Bundys seem moderate by comparison). Again, please think about why there are no masses of Tibetan and Uighur refugees. Why despite an incredibly digitized population who record lots of other bad things happening in China, there’s basically no credible footage of Uighur or Tibetan suppression and lots of nice footage of people living nice lives there? Why do many Chinese people travel and get educated abroad, and then return to China? Why do intelligent westerners that you agree with on most other things and who are very knowledgeable about China, largely support China and are not alarmed by their rise (they often identify serious problems and think it can’t continue its rise, but they don’t think it’s an evil empire).

    Most importantly. Why would you allow a government and MSM, whom you don’t trust on anything else, to tell you what to think on this topic?

  212. Krystyn Podgajski

    The best way to prepare is to act like the worst is already here. I live in a van with few possessions. Any suffering you experience will be temporary and you will become conditioned to it. I have a way to filter water in emergencies and always have a week of some kind of food.

    Also, my health. Cannot believe how many obese people I see living this lifestyle. First, how? Second, why? I stopped all my medications as well (I have Bipolar Disorder) and this was only really possible through diet, lifestyle, and knowing my genetics. And meditations, very important. Lao Tzu, Buddha, Christ, they all had a messages concerning suffering.

    If you still live in a house you are deluding yourself that you are even close to ready.

  213. Astrid


    I am glad to hear that you’re doing well and is van intact. I am one of those people who missed your voice and was hoping that you were doing okay.

    I do disagree with your assumption. The worst is that I’m dead, by any number of ways. I can try to tip things in favor of a hopefully comfortable survival, but really, I’m predestined to die from the moment I was born. Living the time in-between is what matters. I want to try to live it as well, happily, and with as much self determination as I can. For me, that means I will cling onto showers, indoor plumbing, air-conditioning, and gardening for as long as reasonably possible. There may come a moment when that’s no longer possible, but I’m not interested in intentionally cutting off my access prematurely.

    I don’t think anyone on this thread, which is currently lacking 200 comments, think they’re ready. In any case, ready for what? It could be anything from not having power for a couple days, loss of job, personal bankruptcy, continuing to live in this crazy world of humans…to everybody is dead in a world unsuitable for human habitation. Nobody knows what their personal worst is, that’s a caused for much of the anxiety.

    Housing offers shelter and stability. Just as it can be cathartic and freeing to cast an old life aside, there is something to be said for having a place of safety and comfort to assess the present and future from.

  214. Astrid

    It looks like the older comments are there and accessible if you click on”previous” on the bottom, it just doesn’t display the total comment count for each message.

  215. Willy

    Has anybody on this thread discussed the science of knowing who to trust?

  216. somecomputerguy

    There was some interest in cargo bikes. I recommend looking at a Yuba Boda Boda, if you can find one that is non-electrified. I saw one on sale at REI a year ago for $1200, and I wished I had jumped on it.

    It will fit a bike rack on a bus, it has a 200lb cargo capacity, in addition to the rider (I have seldom needed more than 100lbs), the stock gearing on the non-electric version I saw was exactly right, which is highly unusual. And you can add an electric setup later. That way you can get an electrified setup that will suit your needs that is sanely priced.

    I have been unwilling to try electrified bikes, because I think they are ridiculously over-priced, especially since the stock setups look under-powered.
    Another potentially fabulous tool for poor people priced to be a fashion accessory.

    I have spent long periods of my life without a car. The best transportation I have ever owned was a Yuba Mundo. The forest service uses them for back-country trail maintenance.

    I bought it as a bare frame and built it from that. I had intended to electrify it but I decided to ride it without for a while, and never got around to electrifying it.

    It rode like a hard-tail mountain bike. I had no problem taking it, loaded, anywhere I would have taken a mountain bike. Bearing in mind I rode it as transportation, not as a dirt bike without an engine.

    Rated cargo capacity is 400lbs in addition to the rider. With 50lbs of cargo, you barely noticed. With 135lbs on the back, you knew you were pulling some weight but it was still no problem. At 185lbs, I was glad I didn’t have far to go, but that could have been because I needed to distribute the load better.

    I installed the beefiest front fork racks I could buy, and almost never used them.
    I bought a bicycle trailer as well (a good one) and if I had a choice, I left the trailer home, because the Mundo carried weight that much better.

    Before I rode one, it never occurred to me to ask why poor people don’t just build trailers and attach them to regular bikes.

    This was one of the very few things I have ever owned that really made my life better. The difference between a cargo bike and a regular bike, is like the difference between a mountain bike and everything that preceded it. I can’t understand why cargo bikes haven’t had more impact.

    On anything I peddle, I throw out the stock drive train and install a mountain triple crankset in front and a rear cassette with the biggest rear sprocket I can find. I only ever use bb7 disc brakes if possible.

    I hope this is useful. Please don’t be offended if I can’t reply.

  217. Ché Pasa

    I wasn’t going to plant this year for a variety of reasons, water being one of them, but force of habit, I guess, and I started corn, squash and beans (the Native Trinity) in different areas of our place than in prior years. Also some tomatoes, peppers and spinach, because why not? And the seedlings were a gift through a local farmer up the road and his connection with the Bonnie greenhouses 20 miles or so away.

    The corn is blue corn. I got the seed corn from Pojoaque Pueblo probably in 2019, since we didn’t go anywhere last year. The squash seeds were older than that (probably 2016 or maybe older) and I don’t know what varieties (though we’ve saved butternut and acorn squash seeds in the past. The packets weren’t labeled.) The beans are pinto and bolito from the farm up the road.

    We’re being very conservative with water, and we’ve adapted Native planting and growing techniques (waffle gardens, snake channeling, etc.) to conserve water and make it easier to maintain the plants — all of which are doing really well. So far.

    I also planted sunflowers, but unfortunately the animals got to them, and there’s only one left standing.

    We’ve had very little rain (7 drops yesterday, whoo-hoo!) and the wind has been bad, worse than I can recall in quite a long time. Dust storms are no fun, either.

    As for rural areas not being necessarily safe for a diverse population, refugees from the cities, etc., that’s true depending on where you are. I guess we’re lucky here in that the residents are not all one ethnicity or other. The farmer I refer to frequently is third or fourth generation (Anglo) settler family — he’s got cousins farming elsewhere in the county, too. His wife is Syrian-American. 6 kids, 5 of whom work the farm, the sixth is a state trooper.

    The population is about half Latinx (“Spanish!”), a little more than a third Anglo, not many Natives, but there are some, and an assortment of Asian, Black, mixed and Other ethnicities round out the locals. Quite a few gay households (well, for the size of the population.) Lots of retirees, broken down cowboys and the like. A few ricos, most of the rest are scraping by one way or another. Some of those ways are sketchy, but you know what? Very few care. As long as you aren’t making other people’s lives miserable, what’s the big deal? Live and let live, eh?

    The sheriff and local constables keep track of the trouble-makers and leave pretty much everyone else alone.

    Is it safe for everyone? Probably not. No, not everyone can or should “go rural.” But it’s an option.

  218. Krystyn Podgajski

    Hey Astrid, I do not know if you will hear my voice much on NC, it seems that Yves is not publishing my comments suddenly. Censorship is everywhere. I tried again today, we will see.

    Regarding your comment “I want to try to live it as well, happily, and with as much self determination as I can. For me, that means I will cling onto showers, indoor plumbing, air-conditioning, and gardening for as long as reasonably possible. ”

    To me this is just Nihilism, and I am fine with that if that is how you want to approach it. But your assumption is that one cannot be happy without, or with less, of the things you mentioned. That is just wrong. It is our conditioning that makes us cling, that fills us with desire, and that keeps the planet and society the way it is; horrible.

    I live the future I want. And not just for myself, for everyone.

    “Housing offers shelter and stability.” That is just fear talking. While I am offering possibilities, that statement confines. For me, I have just as much shelter and stability in my van than I had in any apartment.

  219. Astrid


    Everyone will feel differently. It doesn’t have to be fear but a tangible QoL difference. I have never been homeless, but I’ve done enough camping and relatively rough travel to know what this entails. It’s not the end of the world and can even be liberating, but it comes with its own anxieties (especially finding a safe place to park overnight) and discomforts. Since my consumption does not affect the overall trajectory of decline one bit, I prefer to be more comfortable than less comfortable. Without being able to make that distinction, there would truly be no point in living.

    Yves can be an odd and prickly person sometimes, but presumably you have to be to keep going as she does. I’m glad her hissy fit this winter/spring didn’t drive away the commenters, as I learn a tremendous amount from the peanut gallery.

  220. Astrid


    Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge about cargo bikes. It looks like REI is selling a non-electric Yuba cargo bike for $1,200.

  221. Plague Species

    Has anybody on this thread discussed the science of knowing who to trust?

    Raises hand zealously. I have. My conclusion? Trust no one, not even yourself. It’s not “trust but verify,” it’s “mistrust and verify.”

    Most everyone, maybe even everyone, I’ve run across on the internet is scum. A bunch of posturing bullies and cowards. I take all of it with a grain of salt.

  222. different clue

    @Che Pasa’

    Are mesquite trees/bushes able to grow in your area? Because if they are, I wonder if a garden-zone-surrounding planting of mesquites would over time fill their grown-into airspace-volume with enough thin branches to be able to slow the force of any wind blowing through them in any direction. A southern semi-desert application of the Northern Plains windbreak principle, so to speak.

    ” Wyoming Fence” . . . an approach to fencing. Lets half the wind through and slows it down.
    Could mesquite be planted to grow up some and do the same thing?

  223. different clue

    Also, does it ever snow in your part of New Mexico in the winter? Because if it does, and if you live on an acre or so of land, perhaps you can plant “windbreaks” designed to make snow fall out into drifts targeted to where you want them to be. Such drifts would hang around longer than flat-on-the-ground snow, and might last long enough to put some of their meltwater into already-thawed-out soil, thereby solving some water problems.

  224. Ché Pasa

    Oh sure, we’re at about 6,200′. Snows every winter. Last winter’s total was about 2″. In a good year, we might see 8′(feet) of snow, but good years have been getting rarer.

    Lots of people have tried planting windbreaks (mostly pines) but without much success. It is really hard to keep them alive under local conditions. This is high plains, not forest, land. Mesquite? No. Pinon, yucca, ocotillo and chamisa yes, but don’t count on it. They’re native, but they like somewhat less stressful conditions. We have trees that have been here for a century or more like the house, elms; believe it or not, but they are really stressed by the drought and we’ll probably lose a couple of them by next year. There are no seedlings this year. First year I can recall with no seed or seedlings from the trees.

    Fencing, yes. Coyote fencing cuts the wind near ground level, but can’t add humidity. It makes use of lots of deadwood, though, so there’s that.

    We use a greenhouse for earlier planting, and we keep a lot of plants under shade cloth because of the intensity of sunlight. Beautiful, painterly skies though. When they’re not full of dust! Note: dust storms are not typical here. When the land was heavily plowed in the ’30s and ’50s dust was bad, but locals mostly figured out what they were doing wrong, and after about 1955, dust storms were almost unheard of — until this year when we’ve had six or so already. Not because of plowing. There’s no ground cover because it’s been so dry. So the bare ground just blows away in the sometimes fierce winds. Couple of days ago, 70mph gusts 40mph sustained — for a few hours anyway. Nasty. Thought I was in Los Angeles and the Santa Ana winds.

  225. somecomputerguy

    Thanks for looking, but the ad is not real. I have been keeping an eye out for a year. Yuba appears to be getting rid of their non-electrified line.

    That is why I have been kicking myself; that sale was the last time that model is going to be easy to find. Used versions are going to stay hard to find and expensive.

    I am currently riding a recumbent tadpole tricycle. I have owned and used two different models. My review of these is more mixed.

    If you have trouble riding an upright or a two-wheel for some reason, they are flat-out awesome. With no qualifications.
    They may be the best human-powered option for long-distance touring.

    However, I have found tricycles to not be as practical as they look.

    They are bulkier and heavier than cargo bikes.
    Most of the conventional upright Trikes I have seen are not very well made, heavy, and not as stable as the design would make you think.

    Most recumbents have the same poor cargo capacity as upright bicycles, which is frustrating, because they should be able to carry more.

    If you are interested in recumbent trikes, the first company to look at is Terratrike. I have one of their Rover models.
    The Rover was the most easily adapted to carrying cargo or similar uses, for the cheapest price. I paid about $900 for mine new.
    They aren’t being made anymore either, but they should be a lot easier to find used.

  226. Astrid


    Here’s the REI listing. Low inventory, but seems to be available.

    Thanks for the trike suggestions. My husband and I don’t have the balance ability for bikes, but trikes might be an option.

  227. different clue

    I am not a bicycle expert. So I can only say that this company “seems” interesting. So for what it is worth, Worksman Cycles.

  228. someofparts

    Well, I have a survival question that I could use some help with. I do not normally even mention it out loud, because I fear it would be too extreme, too shocking for most conversations, but if there is any site where I can speak the truth, however unconventional, this is it, so here goes.

    I inherited two very nice, well-maintained handguns from my parents. I am deciding whether to sell both of them, because I could use the money, or keep at least one of them in case I need to use it on myself.

    I don’t think the idea of dying frightens me. It just makes me sad. But the idea of not controlling the terms of my death is something I do fear. I would like to be able to choose to shoot myself one day if that becomes a better option than whatever else may befall me.

    My problem and my question are simple. Where can I find help, find guidance, on how to do it right? I have heard that if I don’t know what I’m doing, and do it wrong, that I could just disable myself, making things much worse, instead of giving myself the relatively quick and merciful ending that would be my actual objective.

    Again, my apologies if this is an alarming, gruesome topic, but I am serious and would appreciate some help. If this topic is inappropriate for some reason I trust that Ian will just decline to post it. If this post does go up, I would appreciate advice if anyone has it. Where can I go, who can I talk to, that will teach me how to do it right if the day comes when I want to spare myself something worse than a quick, merciful death?

  229. Astrid

    I’m reluctant to comment, not because I think people don’t deserve the ability to choose their exit, but due to this society’s liability culture and Christianity derived taboos on the topic. I don’t want get Ian in trouble so he’s free to delete even this veiled comment. I’d say make sure the gun caliber is sufficient to do the job and get some aid to ensure targeting the primitive brain.

  230. someofparts

    You’re right Astrid. My apologies to the community and to Ian for creating the risk.

  231. Joan

    @someofparts, one solution is to befriend your local undertaker. They’ve seen and embalmed the ones who did it effectively. I have one in my family who has mentioned such things before (while still being respectful of the dead). It’s not like they sit around at a bar laughing about stuff like this, just more like they end up with all kinds of stories from their job.

    Anyone that helps the local first responders also knows this. A lot of people who go missing in the mountains are later found as having taken their own life. I knew a guy who helped with local search and rescue as an EMT. Half the time, those calls were people who went into the mountains for that purpose. It really depressed him. I too think that people deserve an ethical death, but someone has to then find you.

    Also, just in the process of getting licensed to handle your handguns safely, you’ll probably learn what you need to know about that.

    (And of course if Ian chooses not to post this, I understand.)

  232. Astrid

    @someofparts:. I’m definitely didn’t mean to make you feel bad for asking a very sensible question and one that I’ve pondered much about myself! I’m so sorry that I have that impression! It’s just the irrationality of American culture of liability and TINA on end of life care, so I feel I had to give Ian an opt out of he’s not comfortable with the conversation.

    Many cultures see suicide as the honorable way out in impossible situations. It is amusing for me to ponder that Christianity’s strong prohibition against suicide doesn’t prevent celebration of martyrdom, which is essentially suicide by cops.

  233. somecomputerguy

    Since my military service, I make it a point to try to own at least one firearm. I wouldn’t use a gun for ending my own life, if I had access to any other means, and there are almost always other better means.

    A gun is one of those things that you have to learn how to use, regardless of how or when you intend to use it. Saving one, and learning how to use it on the day that you need it, is already halfway to disaster.
    It nothing like as hard as learning to drive, but it is required.

    I would encourage you get some instruction (call a range or a gun store), do some shooting, and then decide what you want to do.

    If you decide to sell; take them to the largest real gun store you can find, and explain that you want them appraised for insurance purposes, then ask the store what they would retail them for. Anything inherited is potentially more valuable than it looks.

  234. different clue

    Header: short term heat wave survival.

    A usually-political You Tube channel-caster named Beau of the Fifth Column has this little video-cast with some most basic elementary fire-risk-reduction and deep-heat-survival advice.

  235. ricardo2000

    Form a community as team work is the only survival strategy that works long term. Avoid ‘little emperors’ as their egos will crush your spirit and they will take everything from the your community to serve inflated egos. Value honesty and kindness. Remove treacherous lying creeps. Learn animal husbandry, gardening, and farming. Learn to brew beer and wine. Use brew results to make vinegar for food preservation. Learn to pickle and dry food reliably to survive the winter. Learn to maintain and use good tools. Learn First Nations tech: canoes, kayaks, canoes, and travois.

  236. Astrid

    Now is probably a good time to stock up with N95 masks, zinc, Ivermectin, and alcohol based hand sanitizers. On Amazon, I see bulk 3M N95 masks going for less than $1 each and zinc tablets going for $6/100 tablets. If I have to go back to the office, I plan to be masked and eat my lunches outside until at least next spring, when we should get a better sense of variant development and vaccine effectiveness.

    I have found the KN95s to be pretty unsecure on their own, but they are okay if I pull up the loops with a small hairclip.

    I’m buying a lot, since I figure they will eventually get used for something (even if it’s to give to West Coast friends for their fire seasons) and should last a couple years. I would rather have too much than not be able to share my stash with friends and family if there’s another shortage.

  237. Astrid

    For my next home (or possibly this one if we end up staying), I am planning to build safe room a short distance from the house.
    Probably a large capacity septic tank completely buried into the ground (preferably hillside with controllable passive venting, concealed entrance, and sufficient supplies to last at least 2 weeks without leaving for 2-4 people. It also doubles as a cellar for vegetable storage, wine cellar, and ham aging for normal times. Place to bug out when heat, cold, fire, hurricane, atomic warfare, or tornado hits.

    I think this is soon going to be the next upper middle class must have. Free business plan people!

    I can’t be the only one who looked at that basement in Parasite and thought “I want one of those please!”

  238. Astrid

    Reposting here as it summarizes a lot of my evolving thinking on the topic.

    There’s some discussion about location in the survival thread. Generally, access to water and lack of natural disasters risks good, but as PNW and European heat waves show, all bets are off once climate gets weird. Eastern NA and temperate South America looks the best so far, but no guarantee that nature won’t flip a switch and turn our lives upside down going forward. Don’t expect it to be just like before, but X degrees warmer year around.

    Local population is another wild card. Having a system where you can establish an active support system or at least seamlessly blend in is better than not. Think about how your neighbors might use their guns and skills when time gets tough, will it be to protect you and share venison? Establish a protection racket? Or do they expect to do the “taking” without reciprocity? Is moving to a place with higher social trust and cohesion an option?

    I think if you can afford it, it does make sense to think about defensibility and flexibility in your home. My current home contain enough space to house my parents and in-laws, should they lose the ability to live independently Space for friends and family, if they need shelter. Nice neighbors are worth seeking out and helping out. Your resources may be best expended to help people who will remember your help in time (don’t count on reciprocity, just expend your limited resources on good people).

    If you can, stay away from new construction even if it’s more energy efficient, it’s all made of plywood and foam boards. Pick something made out of brick, concrete, stone, or cinder block. Weatherproof and insulate as much as possible, secure weatherproof roofing, metal shutters or metal bars on windows and doors, dig a well and install a small scale home power grid as a backup, install passive cooling such as outside shutters and slats to optimize seasonal solar exposure. Be really careful about big trees near the house, I have several near my home and if I stay here, they will be severely trimmed back or cut down, as I do not want to worry about one of them falling on my roof once things get tight. Think about digging a cellar or making a safe room, for your respective climate (heat, cold, flood, tornado, fire) emergency. Get your power and plumbing system as much up to date as possible, you might not have the chance to upgrade later.

    And don’t just think in terms of one breakdown situation as it can come in many forms. Could be everything from inflation and higher unemployment, to post Katrina NOLA. Be prepared for as many as possible but know you can’t prepare for them all.

  239. Ché Pasa

    On making do:

    Humankind has been making do with what they have or can easily acquire — and not necessarily through taking from someone else — for all of human history. The consumerist requirement to purchase everything that’s being marketed as the latest thing you must have or you’ll die is malarkey but most of us go along with it because it’s drummed into us from birth.

    It can be hard to break those kinds of habits as I well know.

    During the early part of the pandemic, we didn’t have access to many of the things and products we “had to have or we would die.” Cleaning supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and/or products to make it yourself (aloe and alcohol), MASKS, and so on. I don’t know how long shortages lasted in urban areas but out here in the wilderness, we didn’t have most of these things for at least six months, and for some, not for a year.

    Well, as Astrid says, stock up now while there is no shortage and prices aren’t yet through the roof. They will be. Survival supplies of pretty much any kind will increase in price at double or triple the rate of inflation. But there will come a point — as we saw last year — where what you must have or you’ll die is not available either at any price or at a price you can pay.

    What then? You make do to the extent you can, risks and all. As long as you have water, you have the essential cleaning product. But after a time, and it won’t be long, you realize obsessive cleaning is not necessary. You’ll find, as odd and counter intuitive as it seems, “dirt” can actually be protective. So you can do without a lot of those supplies you have to have or you’ll die.

    Masks? When there was an absence in the market last year, hundreds of thousands of makers made them from whatever scrap materials they had available, and many of these self-made masks worked fine. Many did not. Whether they would protect from deadly virus seemed to be mostly a crapshoot anyway as masking up seemed to be most effective when you weren’t in contact with that many people anyway.

    Which is a key: all the talk of community is good, but there should be a caveat. Under pandemic conditions — which we are entering once again, and we may be permanently in a pandemic — forming close physical bonds with others in community is not advisable unless your community is closed, really closed, which is almost impossible and will be until literally everything goes to shit.

    Community yes, but at a safe distance. Living lightly on the land, reducing conceptual requirements, purchasing as little as possible as infrequently as possible and making do for as long as possible with what you have (“Reuse, reduce, recycle, repair.”) Life changing when you get to that point.

    More than anything, humor is what will get you through. Nobody wants to be around, and few will help, a sad-sack-sourpuss. So learn to laugh if you haven’t already. 😀

  240. Trinity

    Che, it’s not only the push to “buy, baby, buy” i think. I found this little nugget this morning, and a lightbulb went off:

    ‘I have contempt for the culture of the American consumer, in which people have no confidence in their ability to do anything for themselves, or to recover from a mistake, but have religious faith in institutions and “experts”’.

    I think this is yet another area of persuasion they deliberately instill in us, and this kind of woke me up, relative to a particular problem I’ve needed to solve. It resonated with me, and may with others.

    But more related to this thread, and something I wrote for Che’s discussion on permaculture in a different thread:

    Permaculture is about working with what’s already there, like building a pond in the low spot of the yard that fills with water anyway after every storm. It’s about working with nature as it is, instead of forcing nature into something it can’t sustain (industrial agriculture).

    It’s a really good philosophy of life as well: work with what you’ve already got, where you are. Identify your strengths and play to them. Identify what’s working in your area that’s valuable, and encourage it.

    It’s about working with what’s already working (very Daoist), and also about learning what works where, and what doesn’t. Its about recognizing that both nature and people operate in a cyclical environment and this does affect people, not just diurnal, but seasonally as well. It’s about NOT forcing issues and instead learning and recognizing the right time and place that will make someone or something “bloom”, whether it’s a relationship, a garden, a business, or a project.

    For permaculture, it’s about soil and water and vegetation, natural cycles in both space and time, but it works just as well as a “how to live” philosophy. And maybe something worth learning more about.

  241. Ché Pasa

    Trinity, yes.

    It’s a way of living that more people will come to… I hope. If they don’t do it on their own, or they can’t, they’ll be forced to one way or another by circumstances well outside our control — whether it’s the consequences climate change/global warming or virulent disease that we can’t check or something else.

    One commenter posted on the other thread about how adaptable we are, and I agree. We’re part of nature, after all.

  242. Astrid

    There is nature’s way, which in itself is not kind or friendly to humans, it just is and we should work with it. But that gets hidden and distorted under human ways. And most of us don’t have the luxury of stripping away the human ways, we simply can’t live if we don’t abide by human ways of getting a job, paying taxes, and following the orders of the police and judges and politicians.

    Modern western human is so alienated from national that they wouldn’t even know where to start. Even traditional societies with time tested ways to live along side nature (to a degree, the moas and giant ground sloths did not go extinct because of Western capitalism) must deal with new challenges that they don’t have folkways for managing.

    I do suggest studying what’s happening right now in South Africa very carefully.

  243. Trinity

    Che, thanks so much. I hope so, too.

  244. different clue

    @ Che’ Pasa,

    Header: High altitude smallholding dryland management example in New Mexico.

    Copy-pasted from Naked Capitalism.

    “The orchardist rescuing fruit trees in New Mexico” (photo essay) [High Country News]. “Tucked into the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it’s not just trees that matter on the small 15-acre farm. Tooley’s land is lively: The rich soil is home to diverse species of grasses, insects, pollinators — and, of course, trees. Crucially, no ground is left uncovered, the groundwater level is kept at high levels, and bats and birds feast day and night on would-be pests. Everyone plays a role, and Tooley uses his encyclopedic understanding of the land to teach others how to work within the ecosystem…”

    Here is the link itself.

    And the source itself of certain New Mexico adapted trees.

  245. Astrid

    This NYT fire season article might be a good starting point to fire season prepping.

  246. Astrid

    Just adding in a random thought bubble I added to a different post. Getting the right level of collaboration and resistance with PTB is likely very important going forward.

    I understand the impulse to inflict pain to enforce better conduct in others, but with a low trust society such as the US and where avg people need to conserve their resources for the hard days ahead, a sensible person really need to be careful with where to expend their resources.

    The safe basic strategy is to keep a low profile, be on as good terms with friends/family/neighbors/colleagues/bosses/authority as possible, and conserve your resources. You should be on as good terms with everyone as possible, but also notice who is helpful and reasonable, who isn’t in one or more ways, and who is a disaster area that you need to carefully maneuver around. Be careful with sunk cost fallacy with your own identity, your relationship with others, and things that you’ve invested aspects of your life into. But at the same time, realize that what you have built in your life this far has value and shouldn’t be ditched lightly

    In some ways, navigating Ian’s comment section is a low stakes way to learn about interpersonal interactions. I definitely wouldn’t say what I’m doing is best practices, but I’d like to think I’m learning about myself.

  247. someofparts

    I couldn’t agree with you more Astrid. I am currently watching people in the building where I live practice the kind of careful judgement you advise. A new tenant has proven to be impossible to communicate with and deplorably racist. The good will and helpfulness that exists among the rest of the tenants remains, but socializing in the public areas of the complex has stopped because of her. Everyone quietly and politely just leaves the problem tenant alone.

  248. Ché Pasa


    Thanks for the Tooley’s reference and links. They’ve done good and long-lasting work as have numerous others in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The great thing is that they all learn from one another and share their knowledge and experience with everyone else.

    Most of them, I think, would ask me, “Why the hell do you live there??” Because they know, as we do, that our area is a harsh land, a hard land for any sort of agriculture. We’re much drier than the areas up north, we don’t have good soil, there’s no surface water, and Natives never settled here. There were pueblos south and north, west and east but none here abouts. We’re told that buffalo and raiding tribes passed over this land, we still see pronghorn, coyotes and even elk now and then, and they say there are bears in the nearby mountains, but other than that…

    There were no permanent settlements in this area until after 1900, and only after wells were drilled to bring water to the surface was reliable agriculture beyond cattle and sheep ranching possible. (There are no sheep here now, but there are goat, emu, and ostrich places.)

    Dryland (unirrigated) farming is only possible with reliable rainfall, and this we do not have. Some years it’s great, other years there’s essentially no rain. We visited a pueblo to the north one summer, long since abandoned — well before the Spanish came — probably due to drought. Very little remained of the pueblo buildings but low mounds and ridges marking their outlines; millions of decorated pottery sherds littered the ground but not much else. Some of what remained, though, showed how water was captured and stored and how gardens — they weren’t really farm fields — were irrigated. There was, for example, an earthen dam across an arroyo, quite a large dam holding back a large reservoir when rains were good enough. The gardens were irrigated from this reservoir together with rainfall, and given the large size of the pueblo, it must have been very successful in good years. There were other catch basins and smaller reservoirs within the pueblo and just outside it. They captured as much water as they could. But then when the rains didn’t come… as too often they didn’t… eventually the pueblo had to be abandoned. Even when the rains came back, the people didn’t. By the time the Spanish arrived, there was almost nothing left. The archaeologist/guide said the dam was probably breached after the pueblo was abandoned, but how long after he couldn’t say. He pointed out that settlers tried to make a go of it in among the ruins in the 19th Century but failed. Their abandoned efforts sit among and on top of the Native ruins. This is reality in New Mexico. We all should know it.

    I’d dearly love to grow fruit trees on our place and will probably try it next year, but it’ll be tough, we know that. One of the local farmers has a row of apple trees on the edge of his property. They’ve been there for 30-40 years, and some have given up the ghost. But others are doing OK. And he planted more this year that look to be doing wonderfully. But then I look across the road from his place, and all of the trees planted around the cemetery about 10 years ago are frizzled, dried up and dead. Almost all the pine trees planted around here in the last 10 years have died. The last 10 years have been really dry, and there’s not a lot we can do about it. On the other hand, the Future Climate Maps suggest this dry spell may be ending thanks to Climate Change, and it should get much wetter for the foreseeable. We’ll see. The weather people are very skeptical about that!

  249. Astrid


    Indeed! It’s one thing for me to tell and push back against some people here (I know they won’t listen but maybe less invested people will and make up their minds differently) but if I encountered them in reality, I would have gently tested out their tendencies and usually kept my mouth politely shut. It’s so hard to change the minds of others, it’s practically never worth it even for generally well intentioned people, because if they are wrong on something important, it means they were “bad” or “wrong” people harboring bad thoughts and ideas and actions. That’s utterly unacceptable to most of the populace. The best I seem to be able to get selective amnesia where the better set of facts gets quietly slipped in without their notice and take place of the original bad ideas.

    I find this is even the case for low stakes gardening or vacation ideas. Once someone gets themselves settled on an idea, typically no amount of persuasion or experience will move them from their bad idea to say, go on a quick trip to Yosemite for 4th of July or plant full sun perennials in a place that gets 1 hour of (filtered) sunlight per day. Even when their ideas are utter fails they won’t admit it and I am polite enough to not point it out.

  250. different clue

    Header: heat wave preparation

    Having a feeling about what kind and how much heat waves to prepare for can help the heat-wave prepper to prepare better.

    So here is an article about one possible scenario for kind and amounts of near-future heat waves, worth considering and preparing for. Individuals preparing individually AND all-the-individuals co-preparing collectively at the same time would be the best way to prepare. But people will pick what they will do, together and/or separately.

    Here is the link.

  251. different clue

    Here is an article about thawing permafrost destabilizing the Alaska oil pipeline which is built on that permafrost. But the reason I bring it here is because of an interesting technology used to rechill little zones of melting permafrost right around support structures. It is called a “thermosyphon” and while it looks like the kind of thing that only a high-tech industrial civilization can build, it also looks ” self-propelled” without any outside-power-source-driven energy inputs. I will offer a link to the article and interested readers can scroll down to the picture-chart of a “thermosiphon” and then expand it to see it better.

    And here’s a wiki article about “thermosiphons”. Could a version of this technology be used to keep a thermal safe-room cool when there is no electricity anywhere?

    This appears to be a different application of that same basic principle. A far-sighted civilization would make and deploy hundreds of millions of this basic kind of thing while it still can’t, so people can avoid super-heat death when no such civilization exists anymore.

  252. claude

    Before making any big changes, make sure your personal (and family, if applicable) need/want meters are calibrated and up to date. This is especially true if this comment makes no sense to the reader.

  253. Astrid

    I totally understand if Ian removed this as off topic, but I wanted to highlight this interaction to show something of how “different clue” and I behave under duress. Do scroll to the end as well.

    I think understanding human nature and human interaction is the most important part of preparing for whatever comes next.

    My online persona is not nice and it sure as heck is not good at grammar and sentence construction (my IRL persona is only marginally better even with grammar check and proofreads). I occasionally tries to be kind and considerate and (probably often fails at) fair-minded but online is where I vent my id and anger at a world gone mad. I liked to think that when I attack another commenter’s positions, I’m using their words against them, not my projections about who they are or are not. But I might be completely deluding myself. You’ve been warned.

  254. Paul

    DIY air purifier using box fans and either MERV (at least #13) or HEPA filters.

  255. Astrid

    For those trying to get by on little or no HVAC, a quiet electrical fan may be very helpful, especially in places with higher humidity where evaporative cooling is not enough. I really like Rowenta’s turbo silence fans, which are practically silent at the lowest setting and still very tolerable at higher settings. They’re typically quite expensive, but I’ve bought them off of Amazon (yeah sorry) for under $50, use Camelcamelcamel to track when prices come down.

  256. different clue

    Header: Coronavid Infection management for the personally infected.

    NaCap has just had an interesting couple comments on possible things to do and take if you are early in the Coronavid infection process. I will copy paste them here.

    Don Midwest
    August 8, 2021 at 2:39 pm
    IM Doc, do you use the protocols posted by FLCCC – Front Line Covid Critical Associates?

    Their preventive and early treatment phases have other off the shelf drugs — vitamin C, vitamin D, mouth wash, etc.

    There is a lot of excellent information on their web page

    Including a 50 page manual for doctors which has important graphs of phases of the disease and treatments for various phases. 15 pages are references.

    Reply ↓
    IM Doc
    August 8, 2021 at 4:29 pm
    The answer is yes.
    In my opinion, when all the dust is settled – those brave folks will be the heroes of this entire situation.

    Because copy-pasting may lose the clickability of a link, I will again offer the above link its own self in a hopefully clickable form.

  257. Jason


    The FLCCC updated their guidance on August 11 in response to what they’re seeing on the ground so far with the Delta variant. On their webpage, in the upper left-hand corner, it states in red letters:

    Our medical team strengthened the I-MASK+ prevention & early treatment protocol to counter the new COVID-19 variant.

    Click on “Get the August 11, 2021 version HERE” and it will bring up the latest protocol:

    The date – August 11 – is at the bottom of the document, if one wishes to confirm they are in fact being linked to the most recent guidance.

  258. Unfortunately, I heard that the Math+ protocol is not as effective in late stage against the delta variant as against the alpha. This underscores the need to get treated early.

    Also, it’s worth noting that for some reason I can’t fathom, even doctors who are bravely standing up to the medical mafia never seem to show the least bit interest in hydrogen peroxide treatment. It’s almost as though even they have a pharmaceutical oriented mania.

    As per a post I made quite a while ago, it was known that using heat (“fomentations” in sanitariums; nowadays called hydrotherapy) drastically cut the death rate from the Spanish flu. While I could see such knowledge being forgotten, since a layman like myself can lean about it, the honest medical professionals should have learned about it, sooner.

    You can approximate a “fomentation” by doing prolonged saunas and/or hot showers, to the point of discomfort. OK, that needs to be made more scientific, but it has to do with core body temperature. I think you can get a rough estimate from just body temperature. (“fomentations” involved keeping the head cool, while the rest of the body was heated)

    One can also buy liquid cooling systems for PC’s. I think rigging up a couple of them should not be a big deal.

  259. Jason

    OK, that needs to be made more scientific

    Why? It works, it works.

  260. Ah-h-h, you have to heat meat in order to sterilize it.

    But to what temperature? And for how long?

    I don’t know how long the fomentations were done, for, but that’s a clue to what minimum length of time is needed.

    BTW, my father got a body heating therapy as an alternative approach to treating cancer, back in the 70’s. I’ve never heard of anything, since, about this, so I assume it wasn’t very effective.

  261. different clue

    Header: source of informative books about gardening/agronomy/etc.

    The Acres USA bookstore runs an August sale every year and once again this year. The books are lower-priced than usual. Some of these books might interest some people here who would like to have actionable information about gardening/agronomy, small-scale animal raising, etc.

    When the internet goes dark for good, and computers themselves become limited to the rich and big institutions, normal people will once again be restricted to real books for their information. Maybe people should begin laying in stores of informative books with actionable information before they become unavailable too.

    Here is the website. Interested people can decide if any of these books look interesting and/or worthwhile. I would imagine Acres USA will exist for several more years at least, and so will the bookstore, and maybe even the annual August sale. I don’t expect civilization to collapse so fast and so soon that this could turn out to be the last year of the sale. If that happens, we all have bigger things to worry about anyway.

  262. Astrid

    An NC comment led me to this rather interesting book review. I wish I read it twenty years ago. But I probably would not have appreciated it properly at the time.

    Overall, as many great comments as this post started with, it does feel quite spent. I’m enjoying the Collapse subreddit’s weekly signs of collapse thread. At least it makes me feel less alone.

  263. different clue

    Blogger Ran Prieur just offered a thought so important to effective survival through hard times that I will offer a bit of it here and then the link to the rest of it in case anyone wants to read the whole thing.

    ” August 23. Back to the subject of internet-aided mass insanity, and paraphrasing myself from July 30: What’s rarely said about all the influencers and disinfo agents, is that they’re not in charge, and their followers are not innocent. This is because nobody ever believed anything unless they got something out of it.

    Where survival is difficult, it’s important for beliefs to help you survive: these plants are edible; those animals are dangerous.

    In the modern first world, where survival is easy and mental health is difficult, it’s less important for a belief to help you survive, and more important for it to make you feel good.

    One might think that counter-evidence beliefs would be mostly optimistic, but they’re often pessimistic or hostile. This is because what makes humans feel best, is not the thought that their future life will be easy and fun, but the thought that, right now, they belong to a community that has special and important knowledge. ”

    And for those who think that was good and hope the rest of it might be good as well, here is the link to the whole post.

  264. Gary Null, who started the Progressive Radio Network,, is having a program this Sunday, Aug 29th,j on “Surviving COVID”. Among other topics, he will be discussing drug therapies, of which he was one of the early advocates. But also, legal means of dealing with vaccine mandates, including moving to states (and maybe countries?) that respect personal choice and human rights with regard to medical treatment.

    I don’t see anything on his website about this, But, if you listen to his recent podcasts on, he mentions details. I think, maybe, if you’re in the NYC area, you can also attend a live event, but it’s also online. Null has 2 shows on One is called “the Progressive Commentary Hour”, and the other one is “The Gary Null show”.

  265. rwjones

    I use the rule of 3s from survival school as a guideline for identifying havens for bad times:

    * 3 minutes without air: make sure there is medical support/infrastructure available
    * 3 hours without shelter: make sure there is habitability infrastructure available (e.g., roads, sewer systems, Internet, etc.)
    * 3 days without water: make sure there is a fresh water supply
    * 3 weeks without food: make sure there is a resilient food supply
    * 3 months without sex (that’s a joke): make sure your community is people of your own kind on whom you can rely (and vice versa)

  266. different clue

    Here is a comment about a protocol of nutritional supplements and phytochemicals which may confer resistance to initial infection by coronavid viruses. I will copy-paste it here.

    Condottiere says:
    August 31, 2021 at 8:55 pm
    Back in March 2020 While every lemming was hoarding toilet paper, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and N-95 masks I bought two years supply of Resveratrol, quercetin, pterostilben, and turmeric. All these are simple antioxidants you can buy off Amazon or your local vitamin store. I flew all over the country all during the heat of the pandemic sitting next to coughing passengers. At times I was even the only passenger on the whole aircraft. I did not catch it once. I took an antibody test a while back and it was negative. I was even exposed recently to carriers that were fully vaxed. Others around me coughs it. I had a Negative test.

    Resveratrol has been already proven (pre-COVID19) stop SARS and MERS in its tracks by blocking the virus RNA replication and downgrading the cytokines storm. Post COVID19 studies show promising results as well.

    Other studies show pterostilbene, a more bioavailabe and longer half life cousins of resveratrol, to work as well.

    Another study used an IBM supercomputer to determine substances that could help block entry of COVID19 by binding to the virus s-protein or ACE2 receptor. Two of the top five substances you can buy at the grocery store were quercetin and turmeric.

    Another way to look at this is COVID19 comorbidities are all inflammatory illnesses. The virus kills you through inflammation (cytokines storm) All four of these are powerful anti inflammatories.

  267. Ché Pasa

    * 3 minutes without air: make sure there is medical support/infrastructure available
    * 3 hours without shelter: make sure there is habitability infrastructure available (e.g., roads, sewer systems, Internet, etc.)
    * 3 days without water: make sure there is a fresh water supply
    * 3 weeks without food: make sure there is a resilient food supply

    These were pretty much exactly the criteria we used fifteen years ago in selecting the place where we live now.

    Nothing is perfect, but we have the basics and can get most of what else we’d need — including urgent medical care — within a short distance. Most of the local roads are paved — a rarity in parts of rural New Mexico. There’s electricity to be had — or seized — if everything goes to shit from a solar array now dedicated to Facebook. As long as there is electricity, water can be pumped from underground. The internet is not likely to survive long after the collapse, but we have thousands of books, some of which are “survivalist” by accident if not design. We’re not the only ones in the area with extensive libraries. We live in a ranching/farming region that can supply adequate food for those who aren’t able to or willing to grow their own. Everyone may have a garden, but it’s difficult to grow enough for a household. Those that can, do. But not everyone can. The local farmers and ranchers are community minded though they sell far and wide. If their markets are cut off, they’re likely to serve their own communities.

    One of those community characteristics is that people and households make do and help each other out.

  268. Seattle Resident

    @Different Clue

    I’m a little concerned about a side effect of using pterostilbene: Elevated LDL. If one has cholesterol issues, you might end up facilitating heart disease in spite of knocking out the covid-19. Maybe a combo of resveratrol, along with some vitamin D, C, zinc, and quercetin may suffice.

  269. Ian Welsh

    Synoptocon, I’ve seen some minor shortages, things that are out of stocks for weeks at a time, then come back into stock. Nothing like what Matt is talking about, but there.

  270. different clue

    Very recently Naked Capitalism ran a post called . . . Jackpot Readiness: The ( Literal ) Pressure Cooker.

    It is about pressure cookers, their uses, various varieties of them, and thoughts in the comments about how they can be used to conserve fuel and time and even food ( the bones you wouldn’t even try to eat otherwise can maybe get softened down to where you can eat the ends off the bones).

  271. different clue

    This is just a little gif-mini/video showing how traditional pitchforks were made in less industrial times. It suggests that life in hard times will be hard, but also that it may be possible.

  272. Joan

    I just wanted to post an update that I am teaching myself a new skill relating to preparing for bad times ahead/industrial supply chain breakdown and such. It is really fun! I’ve been focusing on gathering supplies locally and stocking up. In case there are winter lockdowns, I will have enough to work with and practice through the winter. But I really hope there aren’t lockdowns! Anyway, here’s me encouraging everyone to teach themselves a new skill that will be useful in the future ahead.

  273. somecomputerguy

    A woman I knew who was living alone in an isolated rural setting heard men’s voices. There was no reason for anyone to be around. Cell coverage was poor, since this was built as a vacation home. She was terrified, and ended up hiding in a crawlspace. Finally she realized they were cable guys, and the landlord had forgotten to tell her they were coming.

    I told her to use the experience; figure out the best escape route from her house, and walk that route, preferably multiple times, preferably until she could run it at night.

    If something scares you, design a plan to handle it, and rehearse that plan until it becomes automatic.

    This is one of the best lessons the military teaches; rehearse, rehearse, rehearse (along with all arbitrary authority is mediocrity) . This is the real reason a small number of ‘commandos’ can defeat a much larger force; as a group, they have mapped out how they want to react to every likely situation. They practice that reaction as a group, until they can execute it automatically.

    If one individual can’t execute the tree-trump throwing part of the maneuver, that person is given a different role, adjustments are made and you start again.

    In situations where individuals are overcoming fear to act together, you are also training each other, that you can count on each other. That you will be there, and they will be there for you.

    The advantage this gives over people who haven’t trained this way, better armed or not, more numerous or not, can scarcely be believed.

    This is why Gene Sharp’s playbook often speaks powerfully to military people; we recognize the social engineering. All collective action benefits from rehearsal, those that involve fear or coordination problems especially so.

  274. different clue

    Header: speculative thought . . .

    Ian Welsh’s most recent posting about thawing/melting permafrost and rising sky methane point to there being two basic sorts of hard times to prepare for ( or not).

    One is the short sharp shocks which last a little while and then more-or-less normal returns. Things like particular storms or fires or heat waves or power blackouts or water shutoffs or etc. If you are prepared to withstand a week to a month of such passing hardship, you will survive the hard time and then get back to living or existing or whatever you did before the short sharp hard time.

    Then there is the long grinding decline ahead of us. Post-peak everything (except for disasters. Disasters will just keep peaking and peaking and then peaking some more.) The limits to growth getting firm and then hard. The Revolution of Falling Expectations. Big Heat Rising. The long slow slide down the far side of Hubbert’s Peak till we come to our final rest at the bottom of Hubbert’s Pit. The Long Emergency. The Long Jackpot. Etc.

    That kind of hard times will require a different kind of perma-preparation of knowledge, skill, social-interaction capacity, inner resignation and acceptance, and so forth. The skills required for that long-term survival will be much more the pre-digital and even pre-Power-Age technologies which can function without the big grids of today.

    Part of such long-term survival preparation will involve buying today the tools and instruments produced by our modern civilization so you will have them when the civilization no longer exists to produce them.

  275. someofparts

    The Mycelium Mesh Project is testing DIY networks that can be quickly deployed on trees or lamp posts during a political uprising.

  276. jo6pac

    Krystyn Podgajski

    I was wondering what happened to your voice at NC. I’ve close to being banned there and I have a lot of comments never make. Stay safe.

    I’ve been taking Vit. C, D, and Zinc since the beginning it i did get sick for just 3 days. I did buy Ivermectin online and it got rid the side effects I was having.

  277. Joan

    @different clue,

    The Revolution of Falling Expectations is a fantastic phrase; is it yours? I’m going to use it, and thank you for the chuckle!

  278. Malenkov

    Oh, this is easy. Food and water sufficient for a few days (temporary emergency) plus cyanide capsule (breakdown of authority or Red State rebellion). I’d rather be gone before they come to get me — and in my part of the country, on the basis of, umm, certain demographic features of mine I know they’d be coming to get me. And even if not, is it a world I’d want to live in anyway? Now if only there were a safe and sure way to get hold of that capsule . . .

  279. different clue

    ” Blueprint for how to be self-sufficient on a 1/4 acre yard.”

    Worth a look and a little thinking-about?

  280. different clue

    Potatoes will be an important subsistence/ survival crop for some people going forward. Controlling insects in them will remain a problem. Here is a video of someone who has invented a device to capture Colorado potato beetles from off of potato plants without using any chemicals. Here is the link. The mechanically-inclined could perhaps study the hand-pushed beetle catcher in this video and figure out how to make one.

  281. Seattle Resident


    After looking at the moon of alabama link, I’m thinking:

    If I had millions of dollars, I would try to convince my wife to emigrate to Canada to escape this festering right wing crazyhouse–We’re too old and we’re not young high earning professionals who could pay more into their safety net than to take from it to earn our way into citizenship or legal alien status or whatever.

    However, we do have cash reserves for emergencies, if need be.

    Given our reserves, we don’t have much of a choice but to age in place, hopefully with some old age living facility if we need it and can afford it.

    We live in a condo as opposed to a SFH, so planting our own food is out, lest we get a hydroponic garden.

    We have some food and water reserves to hopefully survive the eruption of the Seattle Fault, assuming it happens in our lifetime.

    The best I can say is that we don’t live in a red or purple state, for the right wing forces in those places are so much stronger and they would attempt to assert their armed clout on everybody else if things went to shite, economically and politically.

  282. Astrid

    I encourage you to look into CSAs and local farmers markets. Honestly even financially, I would be much better off subscribing to a CSA for maybe $600 a year, than what I spend on tools, seeds, containers, equipment, etc.

    If you have a sunny patio or balcony, you could consider a couple Earthboxes for greens, herbs, and maybe a cherry tomato plant.
    Or do indoor gardening with a few LED lights, nice for herbs and a little bit of baby salad greens, but mostly to lift the spirit.

    If you really feel like sinking your hands into dirt, look for community garden near you. I started working community garden plot when living in small apartments and have been at it for about 15 years. It’s great for an instant community of like minded people, though you also deal with petty politics and learn how hard it is for most people to keep up even a small plot (expect at least half the plots to be overgrown weed patches by August). Nowadays I still do most of my veggie gardening in my community garden plot because it’s fenced against animals, unobstructed sunshine, and has a ready supply of compost in the spring.

    PNW is lovely. My husband and I would have moved there but for the Cascadia Fault and because we don’t have any family or connections there. The food, weather, and access to nature is superb, albeit apparently getting compromised by climate change. All the best places have faults. Silicon Valley plutocrats may not realize that the Alpine Fault in New Zealand has an even higher “big one” potential in the next 50 years, and that’s before we get to the megavolcano. Portugal as also due for a pretty big earthquake.

  283. different clue

    I just saw in a Naked Capitalism comment a reference to a website with some legacy Whole Earth Catalog and CoEvolution Quarterly material archived on it. A lot of that material is very survival-relevant. Here is the website for people to mine for information before the Internet goes extinct.

  284. Astrid

    Someofparts suggested this site for reading about contaminants in your local tap water.

    I personally find it a bit too alarmist regarding what is safe and I’m afraid it’ll lead people to rely more on bottled water, which isn’t safer in most cases and much worse environmentally. Nevertheless, it’s good information to have.

  285. different clue

    Beau of the Fifth Column has a video where he explains why he thinks that Texas is not prepared for another Deep Winter outburst like last year. If it happens this winter in Texas, Texas will have another large scale power outage. He then gives advice to any listener who cares to take it on how to be personally survival-prepared to endure several days of Deep Winter without any power in Texas, just in case another Deep Winter like last Winter causes another power failure like last Winter’s power failure.

    Here is the link.

  286. somecomputerguy

    Consider trying Linux, Tor Browser

    If Microsoft or Apple go out of business, there is no way to tell how long their products will continue to work.

    The only thing worse than MS or Apple going out of business, is them staying in business.

    If the U.S. government orders, or more likely offers to pay Microsoft or Apple to surveil their customers, they will be eager to do it.

    Gnu-Linux and the free software movement exist to subvert surveillance and control and rent-seeking.

    Linux’s existence is not dependent on a single firm being profitable or even existing. Linux is developed and maintained by a globally-distributed community that includes multiple for-profit firms, non-profit organizations and millions of individuals.

    Linux is officially 30 years old. Changes to Linux are not driven by a 3 year marketing cycle. Linux is called “open source software” because the underlying computer code is freely available and viewable. When changes are made, it is done via a peer-review process, and only because those changes are thought to make it better.

    If anyone in the world suspects there is a problem-malware, back-doors, or bugs, they can look, or ask someone else with the expertise look at the code and see, at any time. They are encouraged to. You are encouraged to. If you want to learn how to code, you can download all the tools you need to fix Linux yourself, for free. You are encouraged to do that as well. This has resulted in very secure and stable software.

    Because of it’s reliability, Linux is very popular for servers. Fun fact; ‘Server Operating System’ is a marketing term invented by Microsoft to charge a premium for the same laughably mediocre software they were selling for desktops. Originally, all you had to do was change a registry setting to turn Windows NT into Windows NT Server, and save several hundred bucks. For a month or so anyway. Not that anyone wanted to actually use Windows NT server.

    So I guess I am currently using the ‘server’ version of Linux to write this comment. For free. It is the same Linux that powers a huge portion of the internet. If I download Apache, another free software project, I can serve web pages from my little 11-watt micro-desktop using the same software running on giant server farms. The only cost is the effort needed to learn it.

    I have read that Linux is quirky, or complicated or hard to learn. I think Linux is easier to learn than Windows because you only have to learn it once.

    I first became familiar with Linux 25 years ago. Because I was forced to use Microsoft products at work, I have had to relearn and trouble-shoot Microsoft software through at least 5 versions. Software, incidentally, that added no new functionality, but still required upgrading to last years supercomputer to run.

    I have had no problems taking up the latest version of Linux after a several year gap using it.

    Here is why Linux might not work for you.
    Hardware compatibility. Linux runs on obsolete and low-powered equipment, but it does not run on everything.
    Most Linux installations come with all the software most people need. However, if you are used to a specialized application, there may not be a Linux equivalent. Bleeding-edge video games are a problem area for both hardware and software.

    Sometimes change sucks. Stick with what makes your life easiest.

    When Linux doesn’t run, as far as I can tell, it is because the information needed to make it work, is being withheld or placed off-limits for commercial reasons. Often, the companies doing this are themselves using open-source code.

    There are hardware compatibility websites, but the most efficient way to see if Linux might work for you is to just google ‘Ubuntu Linux’, and go to the page that says ‘download Ubuntu desktop’. Figure out how to make an installation USB stick for Ubuntu 20.04.3 LTS, and try it.

    Ubuntu Linux (like many versions) starts up in a try-before-you-buy mode; it will load into memory so you can see if you like it, but it will not touch your computer unless you tell it to. You can use this preview mode to see if everything works as it should, and if Ubuntu might work for you. Some people don’t bother installing at all, and just run Linux from the USB stick.

    If you have access to an old computer no one wants anymore, try running Linux on that. Most computers are discarded after 2-3 years because of software problems. The hardware is usually fine. All they really need is to have their software re-installed. If you learn how to install an operating system, you will know how to fix at least 50% of all computer problems.

    If you don’t like the look of the Ubuntu ‘distro’, you should know that there many, many versions. The next most popular distribution after Ubuntu is Mint Linux. Unlike Windows, the graphical user interface, and the core operating system are separate. There are many user experiences to choose from; there used to be Linux distros that looked just like Windows ’95.

    A caution; ‘Ubuntu server’ is just ‘Ubuntu desktop’ with no applications. It is a stripped down, bare-bones version put up to save server admins the trouble of uninstalling unneeded applications.

    If you want to browse the internet without being tracked or spied on, you should check out the Tor Browser. This is another free software project. The Tor Browser looks and works like Firefox. It works by putting a volunteer-maintained ‘relay network’ in between you and the web sites you visit. Any site you visit will see a randomly generated internet address that disappears when you are finished.

  287. Astrid


    Thanks for the reminder about Linux. We have a 10 year old Thinkpad that’s still going strong but uses a version of Windows that will soon be out of support, which incidentally is why we had to ditch our last, also functional and well loved, Thinkpad from the early 00s. I’m used to the new Windows OS for work but it’s unpleasant. Might be time for the OS switch.

    I do wonder about Tor. I heard various accusations of USG putting backdoors in it and that having it on your computer is just painting a bullseye on yourself. But I never seriously considered it and did not investigate those accusations for validity. I’ve been using a mix of Chrome and Duckduckgo on my phone.

    I am thinking about VPN. It’s ubiquitous amongst the Chinese in my acquaintance and both my husband and I used VPN for accessing our work environments from home. Is the security worth the trade-off in cost and performance penalty, if we don’t travel a lot?

  288. different clue


    My understanding of everything “Linux” is that it is for devoted computer and programming hobbyists who enjoy working around inside the programming to do this and that and make all kinds of custom adjustments and so forth.

    I am an old analog refugee in this new digital world, and I deeply hate and resent being expected to “love” computers and “love” programming. I want something totally and entirely plug and play and set-and-forget. If/when I ever get a computer of my very own, and programming with it, it will of course be able to run microsoft, and microsoft will be what it runs till microsoft goes out of business as you hope.

    If that happens, and Linux is still designed for devoted computer hobbyists who just love understanding programming and stuff, I will just give up on “having a computer” and go back to not having one.

  289. StewartM


    My understanding of everything “Linux” is that it is for devoted computer and programming hobbyists who enjoy working around inside the programming to do this and that and make all kinds of custom adjustments and so forth.

    As someone who migrated from Winders to Linux many years ago, I think you are mistaken. There are versions (“distributions”) of Linux which are easier to set up than a Windows installation (something most people don’t realize as they never installed Windows by themselves; they bought a computer where someone else did it for them).

    Linux is certainly very customizable, much more so than WIndows (or Mac) which may contribute to the impression that it’s solely for “tinkerers”. But hasn’t there been things about your Windows computer(s) that you’d like to change, but couldn’t? With Linux, you usually CAN change them, thought some things are trivial to change and some things not-so-trivial. But with most of the popular distros, the things that most people want to do (email, browse the web, etc) work out-of the-box. I’d recommend Mint over Ubuntu now if you want the additional security/privacy of the /home encryption option, which encrypts all your files and protects your data (though with the caveat from Bruce Schneier that if the government really really wants to crack your box, they probably can, if they can target you in advance). Both distros have encryption, but the full-disk encryption option of Ubuntu (and Mint too) is much more a pain to set up and customize than the /home encryption option still offered in Mint.

    Most of the things that somecomputerguy said was true. I ran my 13-year old desktop on it until the motherboard died, then I bought a new desktop. My 13-year old laptop still runs on a supported version of Linux. You couldn’t do that with WIndows and probably not Mac either. Just from the money perspective, it gets me off “give us more money” never-ending merry-go-round of deliberately enforced obsolescence (the goal of MS and Apple) that not only saves me money but also generated less hardware e-waste.

  290. StewartM

    Just glancing over some of the comments, it seems that no one has really defined the “bad times” scenario and what it means. Are we talking about:

    1) Groups of right-wing militias looking to “off” the libs/pedos/”not real” Americans or to drive them away?

    2) A fascist takeover of the government (could be worse than, or less worse than, or mixed in with, #1)

    3) The continued slow deterioration of US infrastructure and economy, so that increasingly, things don’t work but we soldier on somewhat normally politically?

    4) The complete collapse of everything? (government, economy, infrastructure, everything).

    This of course isn’t a complete list of the possibilities, and I also realize these options are not exclusionary, but some will happen sooner than others and what one thinks will happen first will drive what one’s response will be. For instance, early in this thread Eric wrote:

    Leave the city and find someplace rural.
    Any discussion that leap frogs this step is masturbatory and you all know it

    Which is definitely NOT true if you think threat model #1 is any significance to you. There was a reason why persecuted minorities formed ghettos in the inner cities, it was for their own protection; they could protect each other that way. If you’re visibly “one of them” to the militias or those who seek to do you harm, you are NOT safer living amongst your would-be enemies in the countryside, generally speaking. This is especially true if the police will turn a blind eye to what is done to you.

    In a neighboring county to mine, there was a newspaper article years ago about the last black person in that county dying. That’s because all the other black people in the county were run out of the county and fled for their lives after a black man was accused of raping a white woman nearly 100 years ago (ps: many of those alledged “rapes” were people involved in consensual relationships). That man who died that the newspaper article cited was the only black person that was tolerated living there. Even today, I’ve heard stories about towns and counties here in Appalachia where “if you’re black, make sure you’re gone by sunset”.

    So, no, it’s not always a good idea to “go rural” and people who don’t go rural aren’t being crazy.

  291. different clue


    I don’t have a computer of my own. Or a laptop or an IPad or a smartphone or even a cellphone.
    I use the computers at my place of work when I am on break, or I use the computers at the public library on my day off.

    Some day I hope to have my very own personal computer which squats proudly on the center of its very own computer desk. But I am going to have to de-hoardify and clear up my dwelling space enough to fit one in. If/ when I reach that happy place, I will hope you are correct about the existence of Linux-derived systems which can be super-easy installed and then used without my having to “love computers” or “love programming”. In the meantime, I will think/ am thinking about what you have written here.

  292. different clue


    I also thought the “go rural or you are just mental masturbating” concept to be false, misplaced and innaplicable to many people, and not even worthy of serious consideration.

    How could a non-Republicanazi non-Typhoid MAGA non-Jonestown Trumpanon be happy or even safe living in Trump Country? If there are any rural zones which are not some or all of the above, then they might be considered socially and personally safe to live in. But that still leaves the issue of incumbent rural-dweller nastiness and fraudfulness against the new arrival to consider and guard against.

    For that cluster of reasons, I suspect many people would find the most safety in a small-house/ large-yard place in a suburban setting. As the suburbs decline into suburban rural slum villages, the cities will decay into mega-deathtraps. Which would be more survival-possible?

    There are lots of different kinds of Hard Times. Anyone offering a survival and/or preparation idea here might want to say what kind or level of Hard Times they are trying to prepare for. If we are being asked to bow down and worship any particular kind or theory of Hard Times, I think we should just politely ignore that request. There is a “Hard Times” for every taste in “Hard Times”.

  293. Willy

    Speculative hard times for me are of two kinds:

    1: Tens of millions of poor Latin Americans swarm the border “wall” like a scene out of WWZ after the climate change methane release spirals out of control, panicking to escape a wet bulb death. Makes me wonder what insulae romans did after Rome’s aqueducts were cut and they had to live under barbarian rule.

    2. “Republicans” go full fascist and take over. Francoist Spain, or Pinochet, or some other unpleasant history all over again. Ratting on neighbors, death squads, political rivals being disappeared… I suppose I could directly ask somebody like Badempenada who might personally know people who were targeted yet survived.

    Something tells me that trying to defend a little garden from starving well-armed zombies could be a bit of a chore.

  294. Astrid

    I would say that commenters on this Reddit thread have a pretty healthy view about collapse –

    There are degrees of collapse that can be prepared for, to reduce exposure and be mentally ready when it comes, in big and small ways. But collapse isn’t something one can bargain with, as in grow so many rows of potatoes and you’ll be spared when the time comes. Maybe the potatoes will prevent hunger for a winter. Maybe someone else will take it away from you at gunpoint. Maybe blight or bad weather will destroy the crop. I would argue that most of prepping, now that “preventing” collapse has come and gone and even global efforts to mitigate collapse is going nowhere, is about living as good of a life as you can now. Reduce the suffering amongst the living and make peace with our collective mortality. Maybe we’ll get lucky and our alien Overlords are arriving next Tuesday.

  295. StewartM


    There are lots of different kinds of Hard Times. Anyone offering a survival and/or preparation idea here might want to say what kind or level of Hard Times they are trying to prepare for.

    That was just my point. How and what you prepare for is driven by what you think will happen, and will happen first.

    To me, the first thing that will happen is likely the end of American democracy and the rule of law. This too could end in progressive stages, with both the “norms” of democracy and the rule of law deteriorating as the quality of American life deteriorates. The latter will drive the former, as the Trumpists (and movement conservatives) have always interpreted any failure of their ideology to be not a sign of any flaw in their ideology, but to their lack of doubling-down even harder. Eventually these will decide that “democracy” is standing in the way of that doubling-down even harder and (like Hitler) that the fault lies in the American people being ‘unworthy’ of conservatism, not in their ideology.

    The first step of this will be felt by (visible) minority groups, as police protection is removed for them (i.e., militias/vigilantes will kill or torment them aka like the KKK did with the police being “unable” to solve those crimes). That is why I mentioned that for some, moving to the countryside is a non-starter. Eventually, though, as at least some in the white lower classes realize they’ve been had, this repression will spread.

    The very worst case would be a Stalinist Q-anon terror with people condemning their friends and families as secret members of the Satanist pedophile cabal. I don’t know if this would last, nor do I think a “Proud Boys” reign of terror would last, as a society where everyone is in terror or being beaten up on whim is in the long run unproductive for our Wall Street lords and masters. Hitler did end up neutering his SA for that reason.

    Climate change and economic collapse and masses of refugees will hit too, but at a slower pace. By the time they hit, we’ll be in the die-off period. I fear, based on previous world history political instability (including war) will start killing off people long before they are killed directly by climate change.

  296. Willy

    But one positive about those little gardens. China may see its chance and offer their services to get rid of our well-armed zombies, in exchange for those little gardens. And then maybe we’d get high speed rail after all.

  297. different clue


    I remember way back when the ReaganAdmin was sponsoring a guerilla-terrorist war against the Sandinist government in Nicaragua. I remember that at the same time but in separate parallel, the Spanish language government of Nicaragua began behaving like classical Spanish conquistadors against the Indian Nations of Eastern “Nicaragua”, and large groups of those Indians began insurging. Apparently CIA contacts offered them assistance and apparently those groups politely declined the CIA assistance as not being compatible with their goal of Indian Nation Autonomy or maybe even Sovereignty as an antidote to Sandinista Colonialism.

    The Sandinists tried concentration-camping as many of them as it had the partial power to concentration-camp. But it couldn’t concentration-campify enough of them to stop the rest from still insurging. So the Sandinista Colonialists tried to find and destroy all their foodgrowing and foodstorage capacity. But the Indian Nations also had a parallel perennial polyculture food-growing system hidden in among the tropical forest itself. So they could avoid starvation with the Sandinists ever quite figuring out how they avoided starvation in the teeth of Sandinist efforts to starve them into submission.

    I read about this ongoingly in the Iroquois League Sovereignty Newsletter “Akwesasne Notes”. I remember once beginning to discuss these things with a Sandinist sympathiser on campus where I was at the time and was about to tell him about this rain-forest-based “parallel food system” until I realized that if he didn’t already know about this, and I told him about this, he would immediately try to tell his Sandinist soul mates about it. So I said nothing just in case silence was still golden.

  298. Astrid

    Though I don’t know the ins and outs of 1980s Nicaragua, I’m pretty dubious of any US originated claims about genocide and persecution by socialist governments. Undoubtedly the socialists did things wrong, and possibly catastrophically wrong, but casually mentioning this stuff in passing without proper sourcing seems far more likely to be passing US propaganda and normalizing an imperialist and interventionist narrative.

  299. Astrid

    Going back to short term preparation for likely Omicron derived supply chain disruptions. I will say what I’ve been doing recently:

    Buy N95 masks (in my case, 3M Auras from the whipcrackers at Amazon. I haven’t been able to find a good alternative source. They’re more comfortable and better fitting than any other I’ve tried (and I’ve tried probably 7-8 in the last year plus more from Ebola scares a couple years ago) and works for my glass wearing spouse. At about $370 for a box of 440, it’s not expensive and I’ve repacked them in ziplock bags to gift to friends and family.)

    Shopping infrequently at nonbusy times – usually this translates to once a month on Tuesday or Wednesday near closing time at my local Costco. Costco closes by 7 here, so it’s an awkward time for most people to shop. For produce, onions, potato, carrots, turnips, fennel bulbs, celery, brussel sprouts, cabbage, apples, citrus, Asian pears, fuyu persimmons, and winter squash will easily last 4 weeks under refrigeration or in a dark cool cupboard. This can be extended with frozen fruits and veggies for more fragile produce. The only thing this doesn’t work for is lettuce, which typically has 2 weeks of shelf life in optimal circumstances, but cabbage slaws are a tolerable substitute (we prefer them, especially with Kewpie roasted sesame dressing) and we don’t eat lettuce salad often except in May-June.

    Mail order – in the past year, I’ve been buying most of my meats and seafood online. It’s not cheap, but not more expensive compared to supermarket prices and the quality is far better (even compared to Wegmans and Costco and Karns, who tend to have the best quality meats in my area). D’Artagnan’s has 30-40% sales pretty regularly that knocks their grass fed beef and heritage pork into about $10 a pound range. Shipping is remarkably cheap for me because I probably live within 100 miles of their distribution center, but probably much higher outside of New England or the Mid Atlantic. (available to those without membership to the warehouse) sells NZ lamb for about $10 a lb, bacon for about$5.50 a lb, and elk medallions for about $22 a pound. I understand that any meat is becoming luxuries for a good chunk of the population, but these are options that might be better than what is locally available for you. For seafood bought locally, I buy pretty much exclusively frozen as the thawed quality is better than”fresh”.

    All this is harder to do if you don’t have a free standing freezer. Though the meats come with free shipping and not particularly large quantities, so it might work into a monthly buying schedule.

  300. Astrid

    Some discussion on respirators and masks here:

    I do appreciate Ian hoisting this thread up on a weekly basis, even though it’s not getting much activity anymore. There’s definitely some very useful information and thoughts, especially towards the top. Hopefully they’re helpful a few people think and prepare.

  301. Astrid

    I found some of the comments in this NC post to elucidate some helpful information regarding N95s. Also a possibly pretty good source for the masks if you’re in Canada. The hard shell 3M masks are excellent for secure fit and durability, though not very comfortable for long duration wear. It’s what we used before we tried 3M Auras.

  302. Willy

    I once worked with a refugee from the killing fields of Cambodia back in 1990.

    His family had enabled his and his eldest brothers escape to Thailand. And now here were working together at a major corporation near Seattle. At the time he didn’t know what had come of his family. I tried to bring up his past experiences during lunch in the cafeteria once. But when he turned all zombielike, moving his food around his plate rhythmically, one lunch buddy kicked me under the table while the other slowly shook his head as if telling me to knock it off. So I did.

    I knew that zombielike behavior. My grandmother lost her entire family to the Bolsheviks in St. Petersburg. She fled to Estonia, where her Estonian military husband was eventually made cannon fodder then killed and she had to flee again with the refugee masses in front of the retreating Nazi army. Lest her son be made cannon fodder and her daughter raped I suppose. She wound up in Minneapolis wearing black and carrying around a copy of the Gulag Archipelago the rest of her days.

    I suppose that these and my own personal experiences profoundly influenced my firm beliefs about who it is that tends to attain power, at the end of any day, regardless of publicly-stated ideology or publicly-stated intentions.

    Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find scientific, or even crafty ways to hedge our bets as these very same types of people attain power in our so-called “capitalism”. My point is that besides the well-hidden jungle garden, an escape plan should also be at the ready.

    I’m aging but am reasonably skilled at bushcraft. I also excelled at hide and seek back when I was a kid. I’m a bit weak on evading high tech surveillance and high tech booby traps though. I could use some ideas on those things.

  303. Astrid

    Some helpful suggestions for downloading wikipedia and other useful information:

  304. different clue


    I am just a layman struggling to understand these things. My body is too old and my skillset too little to be able to do Evasion, Escape and Survival. My only realistic hope will be Survival In Place and Hiding In Plain Sight. “Going Gray” is considered a version of that. ( I am having trouble finding any online referrence to the concept just now).

    I may have a small measure of natural talent in that regard. 4 separate times in the last 30 or so years, I have been mistaken for homeless, including once by a homeless person. So I may be sort of safe in terms of appearing “not worth noticing” unless society breeds armed jackal-packs of recreational homeless hunters who hunt and kill homeless people for sport.

    About evading high-tech surveillance? Study how the low-functioning dull normals live and live some of the visible part of your life in order to blend in to the cursory scan-view. If the high-tech surveillers are looking for who is “different”, you may be overlooked by looking ” the same”. Also, don’t do cultural-rebel things like always paying cash and making a loud noisy thing of putting all your money ( if any) into gold and silver and etc.

    Use enough checks and credit cards so that you look like a ” good credit-using citizen” to the cursory surveillance view.

    If you can afford health-wise to get a little bit fat now, go ahead and do so. That way, if we enter a period of food shortage and breadlines and so forth, you will be able to lose weight in visible view of all the neighbors who will also be losing weight. Also, be sure to show up in every breadline so your potentially jealous and envious neighbors, friends and family don’t suspect you of having secret food caches. If you trust yourself to know who is trustworthy, you might take a risk on sharing your breadline rations with those people.

    But be careful. You never know ahead of time which of your friends, family and neigbors will turn out to be the cannibal zombies of dystopian futurology.

    I like the way Kurt Saxon once put it in a different context. He once wrote an article ( which I have never been able to find a second time) about how to grow marijuana indoors and keep it hidden. A key point he emphasized very firmly was “let no one know”. EsPECially, do NOT allow your future ex-wife or ex-husband, future ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, or future ex-children know about it.

    And if people decide to be afraid of having their blog-comments analysed and name-linked by Big Spy, they can lern to reespel tingz inn zuch uh vay azz too vhere know ortivizhl inn telly gents Al go rhythm can figure it out.

    How to do that? Here is a clue. Anguish Languish.
    Here is a story written in Anguish Languish. Blur your mind’s eye just a bit and read it real fast.

    Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
    The Story of a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull

  305. different clue

    Gnaw debt eye ding abutt id, hairs bench murre tails ridden wit Anguish Languish, together hung avid.

  306. different clue

    The more one practices Anguish Languish, the better one gets. I can’t even remember what ” together hung avid” was supposed to mean. But I would rewrite the first part of the sentence as . .” Gnaw debt eye ding abutted, hairs bench murre tells ridden inner Anguish Languish.”

    And yes. Murre is a real word for a real bird.

  307. different clue

    An article about preparing for effects of climate change run on the most recent Wikrent’s Weekly Wrap-up was so fitting to this thread that I will copy-paste it here.
    ( If Ian Welsh disapproves of the practice of moving a link from “there” to “here”, then I suppose this comment will quietly not appear).

    Here is the link. And the linked-to article itself contains an internal link to a place of further information.

    Part of the problem is one has to let one’s imagination roam freely to anticipate what possible strange new events might impact you so you can think about how to reduce the sharpness of that impact. For example, if you live outside one of the old normal traditional tornado alleys, a new-normal tornado might not respect that and might visit your very own house. And it might be an F6 or F7 tornado ( numbers which have not yet been created or assigned, but which tomorrow’s global warming ultra-super hyper-mega tornadoes might call for). If a tornado with 400 mph winds parked itself over your house for a while, throwing cinder blocks and bowling balls and other big things at it, how would you stay safe? Preparing for things like that might enhance one’s survival chances.

  308. Astrid

    The grow your own food craze appears to have cooled. Even though the logistics breakdown food shortages seem to be the worst they’ve ever been, I don’t hear about people rushing to grow things this year. Buying seeds this time last year was hit and miss, but all my usual seed surveyors seem to have ample supplies this year. People may just not have the money or ability to plan ahead as they have for the last two years. I’m suseptible to this malaise too, I haven’t done a leaf blowing for 6 weeks and haven’t cut my raspberries or roses back yet. Never put away my Earthboxes(hopefully not cracked by the recent cold) and haven’t dug up most of my sunchokes (probably 200 lbs in the ground, I really need to learn to make moonshine or miso with this stuff) I have dozens of varieties of primroses that I had slated as this winter’s project, but just couldn’t…

    Nevertheless, the tease and hopes of a new seed catalog season is hard to resist. was recommended by one of my garden podcasts (Davis Garden Show) for a long keeping tomato called Itz a Keeper tomato, which apparently did spectacularly well in extremely hot and dry climate. I ended up buying quite a few packs from this company as they are not expensive ($2.99 per packet, 20% off if you buy more than 20 packs) for good hybrid varieties. Itz a Keeper sounds only slightly better than supermarket tomatoes for taste, but you might get 50+ good, long keeping half pounders from a single plant. I also picked up some Chef’s Choice tomatoes as they’re supposed to be great for taste and productivity, most of them recent AAS winners.

    On DGS’s recommendation, I also bought Bodacious tomato seeds from Walmart. You can buy directly from Burpee, but you’re be paying $7 a pack plus shipping for seeds you can buy for $2 a pack with free shipping from Walmart. I suppose I might have paid the difference if it was a pet seedhouse like Fedco, Victory Seed, SESE, Select Seeds, JSS, Sandhill, Artisan, or Wild Garden Seeds, but Burpee never made this cut so their poor bargaining with Wally World is my gain.

    Even though open pollenated purists sneer at hybrids, for normal people they will perform better in variable weather, without off types and typically better disease resistance. I’ve grow mostly open pollinated varieties in the past for their taste and because I didn’t care about productivity, but this year I’m going to give hybrids a try and look into donating the extras to a local food bank or for pantry.

    In the other end of the spectrum, I’m trudging through Experimental Farm Network’s landraces and breeder’s mixes. Landraces are often a good option if you like some variety in a single pack but still likely to perform well and taste good. You can save the best ones for seeds and start your own variety.

    Finally, I will put in a good word for Heritage Seed Market if you’re an apartment dweller dreaming about growing your own tomatoes. Ellie has the best collection of micromini tomatoes around. Little plants that will fruit well in quart size pots. Combine with a cheap LED light fixture in a shelf or bookcase, and you can at least grow a few tomatoes (and perhaps some basil) to add to your salads.

    I already paid for 35 weeks 2022 CSA subscription, so I really don’t need any more veggies. I’m planning to put my plots to winter squash, dry corn, and melons this year, though I’m sure peppers and tomatoes will sneak in as they always do.

    Right now it can feel like spring is lifetime away. But some seeds can at least bring some hope and interest in the dark months ahead.

  309. Astrid

    Warning about Seedsnsuch. Just found out that it’s now owned by the same people who owns Jung’s and RH Shumway, who have a mixed at best reputation. Still, they have some of the lowest prices on good hybrid seed varieties and in the past I’ve bought from another of their companies, Totally Tomatoes, without any problems.

    If you want reputable seedhouse that supplies hybrids, Fedco and Pinetree are probably your best options, price and selection-wise. Johnny’s Select Seed is the gold standard and reasonably priced for larger lots, but very expensive for single packets.

    Growing your own food is probably never going to be worth it in terms of return for time, money, and effort. Do it because it’s fun and challenging. But finding the right Farmer’s market or CSA will do more for your food security (my organic CSA works out to be less than $25 per week for enough food to feed 4 adults, stay away from Farmer’s market that charge more than $5/lb for tomatoes. Farmer’s markets should be priced to support farmers, but they don’t have to charge you $7/lb for tomatoes to make ends meet. If they are, they’re either vastly overcharging you or doing it wrong).

  310. Astrid

    Here’s an intriguing thread from someone living through Lebanon’s slow moving collapse, which may well have some valuable lesson for our fates. Apparently you still have to work, go to the bank, try to build a community with your neighbors. Lebanon had certain advantages as it’s gone through this before. The Lebanese also have a well traveled diaspora that is able to send money back. Still… if your central bank offers a ridiculously high yielding CD, it’s time to buy gold and hide it under your floor boards.

  311. different clue

    At seedsnsuch, I notice that the one same photograph illustrates both the Mr. Stripey or Tigerella tomato seeds and also the German Johnson pink tomato seeds.

  312. Astrid

    Occasional photo mix ups are not uncommon at such commodity seedseller sites. Just about everyone (with a few notable exceptions) buys their seeds from elsewhere. Wrong photos indicates a certain lack of attention to detail that might translate to higher rates of mixed up or poor quality seeds, but not necessarily anything more nefarious. They’re likely not doing systematic trials and germination testing that reputable seed houses like FedCo and JSS do. If you want good growing information, JSS’s site and catalog is the gold standard reference.

    (Occasional quality control fails isn’t always a bad thing. Baker’s Creek’s marketing is much better than their quality control, which is why I ended up having great success with offtype of this winter squash – appears to be an accidental cross pollenation with an acorn squash and resulted two vines each yielding about 5 squashes of 6-10 lbs each plus another 5 immature squashes, tastes like kabocha with smooth edible skin, looks great after 4 months of storage. I had two vines that matches the type, which tasted good but didn’t stores as well or were nearly so productive. Am growing out saved seeds this year. )

    I’m not endorsing Seedsnsuch as I have no prior history with them, but they appear to be reputable and delivered for Don Shor, whose opinions I do strongly trust (though he gardens in a very different climate zone so much of it is not directly applicable to me).

    For those three tomato varieties, Southern Exposure Seed Company is a very reputable source that grows their own seeds or contacts out growing to family farmers in their SE USA bioregion. I don’t think much of those three varieties though. Grew once or twice and didn’t stand out. Artisan Seeds, Victory Seeds, Heritage Seeds Market, and Sandhill Preservation Center would be my recommendation if one wants to go down the rabbit hole of hobbyist tomato growing.

    Pruden’s Pink is my favored heirloom pink beefsteak, consistently good taste, good shape, and good yields. Rebel Yell is a close second. Azoychka is my favorite yellow tomato, early and productive on a healthy plant, good taste and shape. Berkeley Pink Tie Dye is a good dark striped tomato. Wapsi peach or garden peach are low acid and productive and disease resistance.
    Momotaro and Juliet are the two hybrid must grows for me every year, though Big Beef is a close third. It’s always struggle trying to keep my tomato growing list below 50 varieties in any given year. Every March I start with the intention of just growing a few for fresh eating and giving to away, and end up with rows of them anyways.

    Just started eggplants, onions, and peppers on a heating mat yesterday. They need about 12 weeks before transplanting so this will get them ready by late April. The lettuce and greens started now will go out in mid to late March if the weather cooperates, with another round started in late February.

  313. different clue

    Preserving local societies and economies can pre-make certain coming hard times less hard when they actually come.

    Buying food locally and hyper-locally can keep some local society alive against the day when local society may keep its members alive when they would all die off if they were a mere bunch of lone wolves.

    Maybe personal gardening of some things can enhance one’s ability to pay for some other things and if that is so, gardening may allow one to strengthen the local society one lives in.

    Also , many farmers still don’t know all about soil-mineral buildup and maintainance and balancing, and therefor don’t know all about growing food as high-density nutravitamineral rich as it could be. If the home gardener can learn more about this than the regional farmers know so far, the home gardener can grow food with more high-density nutravitamineral content-value, which over the long run could help the home gardener maintain his/her health ( and family’s health) at a higher level than what relying on nutrient-free virtual vegetables alone can maintain.

    Here is a website seeking to explore and spread that concept.

    If this is as valid as I think and hope it is, it might over time come to seem that way to others as well. If so, those others might want to prepare for garden-impacting hard times in the form of soil-ammendment shortages by pre-buying and stockpiling a couple-decades worth of the relevant soil ammendments for maintaining high nutra-dense gardening ability in their own gardens. And Fedco, for example, has a very wide range of tasty goor-may garden soil ammendments. And so do some others.

    I have read that corn seed is supposed to remain viable in personal amateur storage for about 3-5 years. And yet Hickory Cane corn I grew in 2010 and still have seed-on-the-cob ears of is still viable for planting. Did I know what I was doing? Or did I just get lucky? Either way, I will plant seed from those ears every year until it is no longer viable, and in that way select for “longer viability of seed” in homedweller amateur storage.

  314. different clue

    Eventually the internet will either shut down on its own, or if the ruling class decides it isn’t decaying out of existence fast enough on its own, they will kill-switch it once and for all when they are tired of people like us being able to share and/or find information easy-as-keyboarding.

    So maybe people should find and then share internet-findable information as fast and furious as possible over the next few years before it is all kill-switched and go-darked and then remote-stealth-erased on all its locatable servers once and for all.

    In the meantime, one fine way to find random URL-sites of interest is to look for aggregated bunches of images of your subject/object of interest as findable on certain search engines. I have found the yahoo-alltheweb search engine the very best for that purpose so far. ( I have found the google search engine to be the very worst for that purpose so far.).

    When the yahoo search engine . . . gives you a bunch of images, it gives you a clickable URL for every image. You can look at all the images one by one, and if any URL for an image seems intriguing, one can click on that URL and see if the site it takes you to is worth further reading in its own right. That’s an analog explanation for analog people like me who try using the digital internet to find things.

    Here is an example. I read about an interesting corn-type from Oaxaca State in Mexico. So I called up all the findable images for Zapalote Chico Corn on the yahoo search engine. Here is what the yahoo search engine brought me . . .;_ylt=A0geKeeo9PZh3f0AM_hXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTAxOV8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=zapalote+chico+corn+image&fr=sfp

    As I clicked every image one-by-one to check each image’s source-URL, I chanced upon the following interesting-seeming URL . . .
    This is a single individual living near Knoxville, Tennessee with a few-acre plot of land and a blog. He has interesting articles about his small scale corn breeding experiments plus some interesting information for lay amateur corn-breeding hobbyists about corn breeding in general, plus selling a couple of kinds of corn seed directly to wanna-buy seedseekers who stumble upon his blog.

    Other images offer other interesting URLs. This was just one example. I call this method of searching by the name Image Wormholing. The URL is a wormhole straight to a portal to possibly interesting information which you will never ever find if you use the Search Obstruction and Prevention Engines the way the Establishment wants you to use them. ( Maybe SOABE would be a good acronym for Search Obstruction And Prevention Engine. ” Soabes” = “search obstruction and prevention engines”. Maybe I will just say “soabes” from now on and hope people know what I mean.)

    Here is another interesting Wormhole URL Portal I found through this same process on this same bunch of aggregated images. ( Interestingly enough, the URL shown for the image just said . . . ”” , but when I clicked on it I got this particular destination withIN the permies site.

    When I clicked on that URL, I got this . . . .

    And I got to see the article and thread portalled-to by that particular link. And besides being interesting itself, it lead to further clickable links within the body of the text.
    One of the participants in that thread is named Joseph Lofthouse who is a very respected plant breeder within the Alternative and Parallel plant-breeding community but who avoids fame by defending his obscurity very aggressively against detection by the ” wider mainstream”. Here is one of several links to what he does.
    Here is another.

    ( I would suggest using the Yahoo image aggregator firstest of allest because it is the best I have found in my limited searches and also because Verizon bought Yahoo a year ago or so and Verizon does not give a rat’s ass about any one particular legacy Yahoo feature or another and Verizon may well decide to abolish Yahoo image aggregator at any moment when Verizon decides to “clear out the attic”. )

  315. someofparts

    Spotted this morning. Looks like plenty of good ideas/tips.

  316. different clue

    Here is a video from Beau of the Fifth Column titled . . . ” Let’s talk about staying warm without power . . . ” I think it offers some high-value thinking and information which normal people could well apply in a sudden several-days gas-out and power-out situation. Here is the link.

  317. Astrid

    For those looking for an exit, I came across Portugal’s D7 visa scheme, popular with retirees and”digital nomads”, which allows people with rather modest fixed income (can be wages) to move there and provide an avenue to citizenship after 5 years. It’s probably still more expensive than moving to Latin America or SE Asia, but has excellent cheap healthcare and transportation. It sounds like 2,000 euros a month should be quite comfortable for a couple in Lisbon or Porto, and the other locations should be significantly cheaper.

    Just figured that I would pass this along. We’re still looking at the golden visa option because it allows for a pathway to citizenship with minimal residency requirements.

  318. Astrid

    I’m curious about what people do to blend in or otherwise protect themselves from others with different opinions. I obviously hold minority views on the Chinese and now Russians and frankly COVID in my location, and I am wondering if others have tips on how to assume a protective cover from people around them who disagrees.

    One is that I will voluntarily make ambiguous comments that others can construed to support their position and plead ignorance on deeper knowledge. It gives people what they want from me and avoids further escalation.

  319. Joan

    Thanks for the Portugal D7 information, Astrid!

    On blending and avoiding in regards to differing strong opinions, I use the “space case” method. If you are spacey, people tend to give you a free pass. I walk right by people sometimes, and don’t realize they’re trying to talk to me. At first it was accidental, but now I do it on purpose if someone is trying to take advantage of default social courtesy, like a petitioner. Of course I would help an old lady across the street or stop for someone if they were genuinely lost, but this is for those trying to push you into buying or signing something.

    Even if someone comes up to you and wants to tell you something, if you space out really hard, they’ll think you’re not even hearing them. You get to edge out of their way, and they don’t even take it personally and just go find someone else. (This is probably more effective in a multilingual city where people assume you might not understand them.)

    If you are trapped somewhere and someone is talking at you, I employ what I observed from someone who was “Minnesota Nice.” She listens like she’s not quite sure of the situation and doesn’t know enough to add anything, and then if the person pauses long enough to force a response, she just goes “Ooh…” and then doesn’t add any substance. Then take your exit when you can! If you’ve cultivated your space-case persona, you can even excuse yourself in the middle of their chat without a reason. Just smile and say “Oh okay, bye,” and give a wave and go. They’ll think you’re spacey, but they won’t think you’re trying to insult them. It’s effective and neutral.

  320. Astrid

    Thanks Joan! I can do space cadet!

    Also, sorry to sound like a broken clock but everyone who can stock up on food should do so. This means rice and dry pasta, tinned tuna, block cheese, hamburger meat, and stuff that makes food tasty. If you can afford to join a CSA, that may be one way to buy into fresh foods at close to last year’s prices (my CSA is raising their prices by 5%, but held them constant for people who renewed before March). For veggies, if you have a spot that gets 2-3 hours of sun, you can grow greens.
    Spinach and lettuce and arugula for quick spring crops, kale and collard can start now for harvest to July or through the year, depending on heat and bug pressure, and swiss chard, malabar spinach, and sweet potatoes for summer greens.

    The knock on effects of Ukraine on chip production and just about everything is… if you can afford to buy any durable goods now, do it. Having hoarded about as much food as it’s possible on a normal suburban home, I am also buying a lot of books from my Amazon wishlist (as much outside of Amazon as possible).

  321. different clue

    Header: coping with higher gas prices.

    The USGov has decided to forbid any US buyers from buying any Russian oil. Beau of the Fifth Column expects this will cause gas prices to rise and he made an advice video about how to cope as an individual and how social-minded individuals can do things to have an additive collective restraining impact on how high gas prices can go.

    The video is called . . . ” Let’s talk about Russian oil and American costs . . . ” Here is the link.

  322. Astrid

    As Ian said, if you can accelerated your purchase of big ticket items, do so. So far, Russia has barely placed any counter sanctions and export bans of its own, despite losing ability to access its dollar and Euro denominated accounts. So far, China has tried as hard as possible to stay neutral while indicating it will not cave to American pressure. It’s also in a likely month long lockdown for the two industrial powerhouses (Shenzhen and Shanghai areas).

    Even in a best case scenario where things go back as much to normal as quickly as possible, very severe disruptions on everything is already baked in. There’s a global economic realignment happening in front of our eyes, but somehow the stock market (not just US but also its satrapies) is going up again.

    As we are contemplating the very real possibility of nuclear war, think about whether you want to survive the aftermath of one. If the answer is yes, get some iodine tablets and identify an earth sheltered hiding spot. Think about your food and water supplies. Get to know your neighbors. I do believe once it starts, it won’t be limited but quickly escalate and the US will nuke China and India too, just because it can.

  323. Lex

    I’m sure some (most) of what I’ll say has been said, nonetheless. One must garden. Self-sufficiency is unlikely for all but a select few for many reasons. But every little bit helps a lot. To build a garden bed:

    Dig the bed out as deep as your energy will allow. 2’ is a good target. Set aside all the soil, if there is turf, separate that from lower levels of soil. Now begin filling the bed with yard waste. Large limbs and even stumps can go in the bottom. Fill in spaces with green waste and smaller trimmings, even some brown leaves. Flood it. Lay in the turf, green side down. Flood it. Continuing layering with leaves, twigs, green waste, wood chips and the soil pile you set aside. Make everything finer grade as you move up. It may go above the level of grade and that’s great. You can put a perimeter of wood or stone around it to hold shape.

    The top 2” or so should be compost, finely chopped green waste and finely chopped brown waste (shoot for 1:3 of these. You can juice the top layer with simple fertilizers that are cheap. Kelp meal is fantastic. Alfalfa meal in small quantities. There are lots of others, search “no-till” gardening for lists.

    Seed this with cover crops like crimson clover, winter peas, etc. (this can be done in the fall if you pre make the bed or even in the spring before serious planting). If it’s a new bed in the spring, go ahead and seed in cool weather crops too. Mulch it well either with straw or chopped leaves. If you can, this is a great time to put in a mixture of red wiggler and nightcrawler worms. Even works from a bait shop will be fine.

    Stand back and watch. Never pull any weeds. Same goes for cover crops. Cut them at the crown of the plant and let the plant material fall on the mulch. The same goes for finished production plants. Do not pull out the roots. Cut the stem just above the soil and leave it. The most you’ll ever dig this bed is to put in transplants.

    I use production crops as cover crops in the growing season. So I’ll scatter leafy greens, peas, etc (mostly fairly fast crops, not tomatoes or peppers) randomly. If something comes up where it’s in the way, chop it. If it can stay for a while and produce a little, leave it and chop it when it’s really in the way. You want the bed to be wall to wall green all the time. I plant some flowers like marigolds and annual poppies too and let some of them go to seed.

    At the end of the season chop everything and leave it where it falls. I prefer to chop, gather, mulch with the lawn mower and scatter (because mastication is the first step of digestion) but it’s unnecessary. You can add a bit of compost at the end of the season. This is also the time to add any new amendments like more kelp meal. Mulch it again and plant cover crops. Winter peas and crimson clover will usually come up and establish before being killed by frost.

    The next spring most of the cover crop will likely come back. Let it go, add a bit too it and start your planting. The bed will get better every year with almost no new labor beyond planting/harvesting. I have tested this pretty rigorously and grown vegetables just about every way one can (except massive commercial production). This is the best way I’ve found.

    It’s low cost, high initial labor and very low operational labor. Excellent results with vigorous, healthy plants resistant to stress. It also minimizes water usage. For the most part, pest pressure will be taken care of naturally because the pests are prey. Biology is doing all your “work” with this method. Seriously, you’ll find that you chop down plant material and two days later look to find it gone.

  324. different clue

    Header: Garden Inputs Stockpiling . . .


    This seems very good and valuable. For people who feel assured of having uncontested and unthreatened use of the single same one area-space of gardenable land for at least 5 years, this would be very worth doing because the work would pay off within the five years.

    The need for alfalfa meal and/or kelp meal to get started suggests the wisdom of buying and stockpiling a life-time supply of alfalfa meal and/or kelp meal if one feels confident one will have a lifetime to use it on the one same garden space. Because kelp meal and alfalfa meal could become unavailable in a collapsing supply-chain future.

    Other rock-and-mineral source meals and powders should perhaps also be considered for personal home-dweller stockpiling. Perhaps one should get one’s soil tested to see what one’s soil is shortest of, and focus on stockpiling a lifetime supply of that type of input first. Then other input sources. Names like granite meal, greensand, azomite, basalt meal, rock and/or colloidal phosphate, high calcium lime, wollastonite, etc. come immediately to mind.

    If the garden is going to be a major part of one’s survival going forward, even if not the whole survival going forward, perhaps the concept of buying big ticket items ahead of time should apply to necessary garden tools. People will have to decide what garden tools they need to have based on what their own personal style of gardening is and what they want to achieve over the next few decades or a lifetime.

    About nuclear war, if the DC FedRegime decides to nuke India and China ” because it can” . . . then India and China will nuke the physical territory dominated by the DC FedRegime right back . . . ” because they can”. And the RussiaGov will nuke the DC FedRegime dominated territory right back too, of course, in this scenario. It all sounds like a Rapture Christian’s delight.

  325. Astrid

    2 feet is admirable but probably unnecessary unless you’re building a heck of a hugelbed. I start beds by digging maybe 4 inches down to get rid of the perennial weeds, mixed back with maybe 4 inches of compost, then do a top dress of 2 inches. I also use glysophate for killing lawns in preparation (usually takes 2 passes 2 weeks apart). Then dump 4 inches of compost on top, the grass rots away during the season. I’m a pretty lazy gardener and usually the soil more than a foot down just isn’t very nice and tend to get rocky, so I focus on top dress and no till.

    I have 2 plots in a community garden and every year, the rototiller gardeners have great looking gardens until about mid June, then eventually gives way to weeds patches for the rest of the year. Tilling brings up weed seeds whereas no till and being vigilant about weeding means less weeds each year…or rather, it would mean less weeds if my neighbors kept up with their weeds.

    Subsequent years, I weeds and clean up in early spring and dump 2-3 inches of compost on top. Getting a sunny spot, watering deeply once a week, and compost is really magic.

  326. Hickory

    I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts on my situation. From a bit of luck earlier in life I have 200k in cash, and no debt, and 36 rural acres in western North Carolina in the US. I’m curious your thoughts on what to do with the cash.

    I still occasionally fantasize about leaving the country, but I have no obvious other place to go and do have roots where I’m at, so while I fully expect the violence in the US which Ian foresees, I don’t have another clear option, and I do have a decent situation here – clean water, garden space, privacy, hunting, orchards (someday, when the trees grow up!).

    As for the cash – I know owning an asset is wiser than cash. I was waiting for the housing market to cool down and buy a small home nearby to rent out, but with all the chaos and unknown now I’m considering pulling the trigger on buying a small place to rent out, and at least put that final bit of savings into an income producing asset.- a double wide manufactured home on city water/sewer in a wet/getting wetter region from a climate perspective.

    Do you have any other ideas for preserving the value of the savings, even partially? I know inflation and dollar-losing-reserve-status will eat away at all assets and cash especially, so I’m looking for options. It’s not enough cash to buy much farmland.

    I have no debt, decent health, working vehicle, no family, a small amount of precious metal. I consider the precious metal enough as insurance and don’t want more, since it’s so easy to imagine it not actually being helpful in the future. I’m building soil to enrich the garden as fast as possible, accumulating tools and expertise and books, and continue making friends locally. Any advice is welcome… especially for allocating that cash wisely. Many thanks for your thoughts!

  327. Ian Welsh

    Can’t speak to what assets to buy. Bad at that. If you can get your hands on antibiotics and other medicines that are widely useful and can store them such that they will last, consider getting some. Painkillers, too, if possible and it won’t get you into trouble with the law. In any time of real trouble, even short of a collapse, that sort of stuff will both be useful to you and to others. It can buy you friends or help or food, or whatever. Just don’t go talking about having it or where you keep it.

  328. Hickory

    I haven’t needed medicine much in my life, so that hasn’t been a high priority. But I’ve seen them make a big difference to a friend on hospice in severe pain, and reading your stories has driven home their value too. Thanks for that suggestion Ian.

  329. Astrid

    On buying property, as the interest rates are still very low for 15 year, I recommend putting no more than 20% down rather than paying lumps sum. While the future of the dollar does not look good, you might as well give yourself the flexibility of having the cash around and potentially putting it towards insulation, energy efficient improvements, productive farm land and well, if you can. One thing that my paranoid self constantly considers is putting secure metal bars and shutters for windows and doors. This is pretty much universal for poorer countries and I see property crime on the increase as people get more desperate.

    It sounds like your rural acres are going unused, in which case you may want to assess what you want to it for and if it’s not much, it might be better to sell it and use the money towards property that’s more convenient or productive. If you do have plans for it, perhaps put in the groundworks to help those future plans to fruition.

  330. Astrid

    For antibiotics and painkillers, I wonder how difficult it would be to bring over from LatAm.

    Another possible use of money is medical tourism or health fixes. If you were thinking about lasik, getting dental work done, etc., do it now.

  331. different clue


    I am a bi-weekly wage worker and so have very little conceptual knowledge of what to do with “money” beyond storing it in a safe place or buying things with it.

    So here’s some well-intended free advice, even if it is worth every cent. Land once surrendered will never be gettable-back. Never. Ever. That land is survivalist safety for the future.

    What if the dollar goes to zero? What if “money” itself goes to zero? You will be left holding a hundred thousand worthless dollars. The chances of that are low but still . . . why not spend some of those dollars now on a lifetime supply of every single survival input and pleasant living input you and your garden will need for the rest of your life on your land? Soil ammendments and fertility-restorers will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no soil-ammendments and fertility restorers.

    Why not buy all the tools and inputs and facilities you would need to create the kind of gardens and food-zones which you could still work if-when you become old and partially disabled? That would allow you to retire and survive in place rather than have to go to a nursing prison if nursing prisons still exist by that time.

    If I was in your position having what you describe yourself as having, I would invest in every aspect of survivalism-in-place. A super-insulated super-fortified house ( looking like an ordinary house on the outside), home-generated survival electricity, water, etc.

    And I would rigidly exclude any trace of glyphosate from any aspect of my operation. In fact, I already rigdly exclude glyphosate from my tiny yard and garden and avoid glyphosate-tainted food every which way I can.

    Here is a video of Don Huber discussing some of the problems which have emerged due to glyphosate use. There are others.

    Here is a metalink-site to a whole lotta buncha Don Huber interviews and papers.

    Here is a fairly extensive Curriculum Vitae for Professor Don Huber so you can decide if his material is worth your time.

    In my purely amateur science-buff layman’s opinion, glyphosate will compromise your survival every day in every way. The damage will take time to manifest, as with smoking. If you haven’t permitted glyphosate to taint your land, I would suggest forbidding glyphosate from tainting your land throughout the future as well.

    Those who believe otherwise should feel free to go right ahead and use all the glyphosate they want, as long as they share that fact with anyone they give or sell their glyphood to.

  332. Hickory

    Thanks for these tips you all.

    I don’t buy glyphosate-foods, though I’ll eat them if provided free or dumpstered in some cases. And I have a strong zero toxin-in-the-soil policy where I live, though I add grocery store food scraps to
    compost, some biocide there. Likewise I’m minimizing plastic exposure which is frustratingly hard.

    I moved into this rural land last summer. I just planted a bunch of fruit and nut trees with climate weirding in mind (ie still likely to bear fruit even with erratic/late last frosts), making tons of garden beds and building soil, and so on. So I’m definitely investing here. Homes (cabins) are not the best insulated, need to work on that for sure.

    I looked through the earlier thread posts and saw your discussions of soil amendments. I’ll consider those. I intend to create closed loop-systems as much as I can so I don’t need to keep amending forever, just adding as much compost as I can. I’m setting up black soldier fly system (awesome insect harvesting… so much fun!) which generates huge amounts of fat and protein from food scraps, and so on.

    To give back to this thread, here are some helpful things I’ve learned:
    * plant fruit bearing trees on the north or east facing slope. They fruit based on feeling the soil temperature rise in the spring, and if planted here they will fruit later than if planted on south facing land. (For northern hemisphere). Thus a late frost is less likely to kill their young flowers and hence their fruits for the year.

    * Here’s a great 8-part series on black soldier fly harvesting (grub harvesting) for those interested:

    * the book “backyard sugarin’” is an excellent resource for tapping maple trees to make syrup w/o spending much.

    My intention is to spend most of the cash on a small rental home and plant a fruit/nut orchard there. That way I have a small financial income as long as that lasts. And, I will leave some cash on hand for medical emergencies, building my stocks (ie of medicines, tools, amendments, etc), vehicle issues, and generally not being house-poor. While cash will definitely be worth zero someday, it would be foolish to act as if that date is coming any day now (though it surely could be). Already made some poor decisions in life based on that stressful belief.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts everyone.

  333. Astrid


    Sorry to have misunderstood your situation. I do think keeping some cash aside and getting a fixed rate mortgage is a no brainer right now. You always have the option of paying up later. Income property, maybe in the form of a trailer (or even small parking lot to provide a safe place for folks living out of vans and cars) may be good investments and an opportunity to build a community. Besides all the obvious improvements, do also consider your food storage options. A large hidden cellar can be very helpful for many things including severe weather events, bandits, and storing valuables (including potatoes). I just broke down and bought a basic 25 cubic foot fridge, both as backup to my primary fridge and to store more food. Chest freezers are relatively cheap and energy efficient, and an easy way to store excess garden produce compared to canning. Buying food safe 5 gallon plastic buckets (some people can source them from restaurants and cafeterias), water collection and storage solutions, etc.

    On use of glysophate use. I’m not surprised that I’m in the minority but my thinking is that this is a chemical with a very short life, with significant usage over decades, and there is no convincing evidence of significant toxicity to humans. It’s frankly so overused that exposure to a single use to clear out land seems minimal compared to everything else in already exposed to. The main thing is to keep it away from water sources as one of the round up additives is extremely toxic to amphibians, but you can buy pure glysophate without additives for less money and then add in a safer sticker for your application. Or not. Folks that can manage organic are awesome and I am pretty much 100% organic except glysophate in turf removal, using chemical fertilizers to grow seedlings and houseplants, and applying premethrin on myself and my clothes to reduce tick risks (I also wear a full body swimsuit when gardening in overgrown areas and shower/tick check tight afterwards, and still find ticks attaching, seriously consider guinea hens if you can tolerate the screeching).

    Also, if using glysophate means minimizing soil disturbance, use of heavy machinery (you can rent lawn cutters to remove the grass), and throwing out my back, it’s worthwhile for me. Alternative of just putting up cardboard and mulching can work as well, you just have to deal with more perennial weeds for the first couple years.

  334. Willy

    This guy has some good backyard self-sufficiency ideas:

    The picture in the opening banner says it all. A military accident injured Aussie bloke (doesn’t say how he got injured) who likes to say g’day a lot, who discovered the practicality of high yield backyard food growing using raised beds and low fruit trees on the cheap. He admits his advantage of living in subtropical Brisbane (similarly moist and mild conditions to places like Orlando and Okinawa) but many positive comments do come from a wide variety of other kinds of places like temperate cold zone countries.

  335. Astrid

    Another thing to consider, if you have the money, is to spend some of it enjoying yourself. If it means travelling somewhere high on your bucket list, hike the John Muir trail, buying yourself a nice car or bike or chipper shredder, a good pair of shoes, etc., do it now. YOLO is a stupid concept as typically applied, but you don’t want to look back in the future and regret not getting to do something that you really want to do.

  336. different clue

    About the pure chemical glyphosate in and of itself, issues of Roundup’s other ingredients aside, I offered links to Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology Don Huber of Purdue University because he has spent years just lately studying this and gathering up studies on this done by other agricultural academics. Rather than my trying to reprise it all here, I will just say that people who want to explore the issue could begin with the Don Huber links.

    Glyphosate-the-molecule endures for years in the soil. Glyphosate-the-molecule is a very strong chelator and it binds to various plant-nutrient cations in the soil, rendering them metabolically unavailable to plants, leading to malnourished plants and plant products. The plant can try uptaking manganese, for example, and just finds itself full of mangenese-glyphosate chelates which render the manganese unavailable for any metabolic or enzyme-cofactoring purpose within the plant. And also unavailable to any consumer who thought they were getting nutri-manganese when they ate the plant. Don Huber explains all this and more besides.

    Glyphosate stops the shikimic acid pathway in plants from working. Bacteria share the same shikimic acid pathway that plants have. Intestinal bacteria of the microbiome share the same shikimic acid pathway that other bacteria share with plants. Glyphosate delivered to the bacteria of the intestinal microbiome kill the most shikimic-acid-pathway-disruption vulnerable, leaving ecological “space” for pathogenic organisms to fill and cause disease in.

    ” Correlation is not causation”, so they say . . . . but here is a link to some images of charts and graphs revealing the near one-to-one correspondence between the rise of various diseases in human populations with the rise of glyphosate use and the ubiquitous rising presence of bio-active glyphosate fallout all over the earth.;_ylt=A0geK.irxDhixOMAR3FXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTAzOF8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=glyphosate+rise+disease+rise+chart+graph+image&fr=sfp

    But people who feel that I and others have unfairly maligned glyphosate, and that glyphosate deserves support, can certainly find and eat all the most glyphosate-rich food that exists, to show their support in the marketplace for glyphosate.

    By the way, here is a farmer with a 5,000 acre operation who farms with near zero soil disturbance and zero glyphosate use.;_ylt=AwrJ6SSbxThiA_4AtihXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANMT0NVSTAzOF8xBHNlYwNzYw–?p=youtube+gabe+brown&fr=sfp

  337. Hickory

    Psh, spend the money on myself? Now that’s hard! Thanks for the reminder.

    I notice I often feel stressed about a harder future, and wanting to resist it by preparing. I then resist instead of enjoying the present, and instead of generating the future I want, still given the full awareness of our present situation.

  338. Lex

    I agree on depth. I prefer to front load labor to the extent possible. And for hugel work used for food gardening I prefer it mostly to be at grade finished rather than above grade mounded. I also use fairly large pieces of wood in the base layer. I don’t till at all anymore. I’m not against tilling but it is very damaging to the soil microbiome, particularly fungal mycelium.

    As for inputs, most of the no-till inputs are cheap and for a home sized garden aren’t required in vast quantities. I can get kelp locally for $5.99/5#. Rock dust is a good addition, either glacial or basalt. More important than added nutrition is nutrient cycling and carbon additions. The former is done with soil health and the latter is readily available as yard waste.

    And of course compost. The nicest part about no-till is that the bulk of your composting is in place, cold composting rather than working a pile. I still manage a three stage pile for other yard waste, but most of what happens in the food beds stays in the food beds.

    It’s also worth looking at bio-accumulating plantings. Alfalfa is one, don’t use it as a cover crop though as it’s perennial. But you can plant it elsewhere and harvest it for composting. Clover is a great cover crop because of its nitrogen fixing. Dandelion is an excellent compost input. And there are others.

    For those into DIY, take a look at Korean Natural Farming which uses a lot of fermentation of various waste streams to make nutrient inputs.

  339. different clue


    Have you looked into which garden or garden-adaptable plants have the deepest strongest taproots? Tap roots that don’t turn aside if they hit a stiff clay-rich layer but slowly and patiently bore into it and maybe through it, still going straight down?

  340. different clue

    Ran Prieur recently wrote something interesting and relevant to thinking about living through hard times. The background is that years ago he had bought some rough semi-wild land with hopes to “neo-homestead” it and finally sold it after finding it too tough and time-sucking and frankly survival dis-enhancing to keep doing. Here is what he has recently written . . .

    . . . I bought the land with the idea that by living there I could escape the money economy and hang out in the woods all day. It turns out, homesteading is for workaholics who love driving. In practice, you’re going to have to go into town so much that you’re basically a remote suburbanite, and many back-to-the-landers are just little developers, extending the human-made world into increasingly remote places.

    It’s not even a good way to survive economic collapse, as Toby Hemenway explained in two essays in Permaculture Activist magazine, which I’ve saved here.”

    And the “here” links to these two links by Toby Hemenway, who was a somewhat known and reasonably respected permaculture practitioner-teacher and writer.

    These offer a useful reality-based re-think of just exactly what sort of place and situation would be most survival-possible in. Maybe “deep country” will be the most dangerous place of all once the gas and oil run all the way out so far as we of the non-rich majority are concerned.

  341. Ian Welsh

    It really depends what you need. Not so long ago (in my lifetime) there were still plenty of mountain men and remote trappers. Some of them would come into town 1 to 3 times a year. Most would buy flour, ammunition and some tools and very little else. One needs to think it thru rather carefully. The best lifestyle is something fairly close to a hunter-gatherer: where you don’t actually work more than about 20 hours a week.

    Those guys didn’t have electricity, chopped wood and had fires. In the modern world perhaps you can use solar or something else which requires little work/maintainance once set up and have electricity.

    For each thing, the question is what it requires to set it up and what it requires to maintain it and whether you can be happy and healthy without it if it requires too much maintainence.

    For that which you do still need to get from town, what can you get to buy it with that requires little work? How much money do you really need? Do you already have enough, perhaps, to last till you die?

    Do you want/need the presence of another human? Lot of these guys lived alone or had a dog, and that was it. Maybe you have a wife/husband. That means you need more food, etc… but if between you you do less work apiece, then it’s a benefit. The guys with dogs usually had dogs who helped with the hunting, or if they had a few animals, helped protect those animals.

    If you want kids, well, that’s going to increase the workload massively, but maybe they’ll care for you in your last days. In some hunter-gatherer groups (mostly nomadic, when a person got too incapable, they made a decision and just didn’t go with the group next time they moved; which is to say, they accepted death earlier than it otherwise would have been. Are you willing to do that? To lose a few years of life at the end?

    Then there is the issue of aid? You could have an accident and need help, or nursing. How are you going to arrange for that and what risks/ends are you willing to accept?

    Farming is a lot of work. Perhaps find a way to get perennial food. For example, chestnut trees work well and in the days before most of them died, in the Appalachians they just let pigs run wild and eat the chestnuts, then hunted them when they wanted meat.

    So much of this stuff is so much harder now because we’ve denuded the land and seas of rich ecosphere. Once you could easily live in the Pacific Northwest and have more than you needed because food was so abundant, including fish, that it was trivial to get. Smoke some for preservation, make a pemican equivalent and you have food for the bad times (mostly bad weather).

    Even so, you may be able to figure out a way.

  342. Willy

    Dick Proennicke lived alone in the Alaskan wilderness from age 51 to over 80 YO. His lifeline to the outside world was a bush pilot friend who occasionally brough him supplies he couldn’t find on his own. There are books and videos about his adventures. But all that happened a few decades ago.

  343. different clue

    Header: local nature observation for better yard-garden management: an example . . .

    There are two apricot trees near where I live. One bears fair apricots and one bears good apricots. I gather a few of the unwanted apricots from off of the ground before they can rot because nobody else cares or even notices them.

    A “problem” with apricot trees is that they bloom very early in the season, often before pollinator insects have warmed up enough to be active, sometimes before the last kill-frost which will burn off all the blossoms. I don’t know how to make them bloom later than they naturally bloom.

    This year we had two early hot days coinciding with the flush-of-bloom on the apricot trees. I noticed some ( not a lot) of various pollinator insects at them. Then it got cold again . . . down to low 30s at night. The next chance I got to see the trees, it was about 60 degrees out, and the flowers had zero pollinators exCEPT for a few bumblebees. At 60 degrees out, bumblebees can generate enough of their own body heat to get out there and pollinate apricot flowers.

    What could someone with a yard and some apricot trees do to have more bumblebees at apricot blossom time? The only thing I can think of is to figure out what bumblebees like and need to eat all through the season and plant enough all-season bumblebee-food plants so as to have maximum bumblebee survival by winter.
    That might offer more bumblebees in existence by next spring to do more pollinating of the apricot trees.

  344. Howard

    a technical comment to Ian about these comments or perhaps a request for technical help from someone else:
    It would be a great help in the use of these comments if one could view them in descending chronological order, that is, by seeing the latest comments at the top. Is there a way to do this? Thanks.

  345. different clue


    If the blog-platform that Ian Welsh operates on does not allow Ian Welsh to do this, there may be a way to ” reverse-do-it” for one’s own self. The comments are already in chronological order. They are in what could be called “ascending” chronological order.
    The very top comment is the very first comment that was published. Each comment after that in the thread was the comment that was sequentially next-in-time after the comment just before it. So instead of having the very newest comment at the “top”, the very newest comment is at the “bottom”.

    So all one has to do is to go to the very bottom and read that comment first, and then scroll back up one comment at a time to read the next newest, and then the third newest, and then the fourth newest comment just above that, and then the fifth newest comment just above that, and so on back upstream in thread and in time.

    ( I am one of what is possibly a majority of people who are used to the concept of the “first” comment to appear at the top of a thread being the “first-in-time” comment that got written and sent in. I personally hope that our host does not rip up and destroy the whole mainstream near-consensus placement of first-comments-in-space being first-comments-in-time, because that would work a hardship on me and perhaps most of us. And on our host if he were to try ripping up the whole thread architecture and try re-engineering the whole pile of disconnected comments. If might be easier all around to just simply begin reading from the “bottom” in order to start with the “most recent comment”.)

  346. different clue

    Header: Baby Formula substitution make-do?

    If you have a baby and heeshee is formula dependent and you have no formula and none for sale anywhere, you are facing a Bad Time. If Baby ain’t happy , ain’t Nobody happy.

    Colonel Lang at Turcopolier blog just recently ran an article about stop-gap home formula substitute making. I don’t know enough to know if this is completely safe and viable or not. But here it is, just in case.

  347. anon y'mouse

    if anyone is wealthy enough to build or carry out extreme modification their home, here’s an article dropped from the Journal of Light Construction on passive house construction in fire zones.

  348. different clue

    Here is a random reddit thread I stumbled upon with some dilute but real advice about ” buying things that last a lifetime” for those things you want to have and to use. Having crucial tools or appliances or other things break at crucial times can make okay times hard and hard times harder.

    Perhaps this thread may have some leads of ” good tools for good use” aquisition which can make future times less hard. Just in case, here it is.

    And given that the internet will be destroyed in a few years, if one is going to read things like this, it is either now, soon, or never.

  349. different clue

    thumbnail guide for ” how to self-regulate using neuropsychology” . . . for short-term relief of certain short term mood or attention or thinking problems . . .

  350. Howard

    Could someone tell us if there is a way to display all these comments so that the last comments shows up first? I think it would add a lot to their usefulness and might also encourage more people to contribute. This would make it much easier for me to check regularly for the latest comments.

    I’m quite open to the possibility that there is some simple little trick I’m missing here and would be very grateful if someone could enlighten me.

  351. Astrid

    Agree that the scrolling is rather annoying on smartphones. What I do is do a find for “leave a reply”, which will take me to the bottom of the page, right after the last comment.

    I do feel like this thread may have ran its course, though the first 200 comments contain a lot of great thoughts. Permaculture or paid off mortgage or NZ bolthole can help at the margins, but what can we do living in a system so determined to stupid itself to death? Maybe the Chinese can succeed but I kinda doubt it, they’re trapped in their own ideas about modernity as well.

  352. different clue

    As long as this thread exists, people can come here to leave things. Finding things will be harder in a 256 comment thread.

    Perhaps starting every comment which is leaving something with a very descriptive header about the general subject of what is being left would be helpful, especially if the whole readership agrees on some shared names for subject headers . . . like . . .
    growing food.
    preserving food.
    homemade indoor climate control.
    homemade alternative energy.
    energy efficient cooking.
    energy efficient transport,
    any other semi-general but just-specific-enough headers that people might think of.

    and maybe Information Goldmine for a site which itself has lots of information about different survivalistic things.

  353. Astrid

    I’m not sure how tagging and atomizing information, thus greatly increasing complexity and administrative overhead, is helpful for a blog that gets maybe 30 comments per day. Even websites with highly knowledgeable and dedicated moderators can often fall behind and have regular commentators ignore rules because they introduce barriers to participation.

    In addition, when the information quantity is not overwhelming (and a couple hundred comments over the course of many months is not), I personally enjoy reading through all the comments and learning about things that did not occur to me, that I wouldn’t have sought out if they were narrowly ghettoized into their discrete threads.

    I was once an participant in a bulletin board where people made comments about good dining experiences they’ve had in a particular city. That system worked great, people can scan to the latest comments for some ideas about good places to hit. People wanting something specific from a city or location can ask questions and have others respond as generally or specifically as they like. The owner of the bulletin board took it upon himself to break out the comments into individual restaurants. Massive undertaking from someone who didn’t have great follow through on the best of days, and what he did made the information extremely annoying to access and supply, and blocked the native conversational flow on the site. Eventually most of the people on the board stopped commenting and went off to live their lives elsewhere. Maybe something that would happen anyways as text based bulletin boards have been dying off in the last 15 years, but the own goaling over the advice of many contributors certainly didn’t help in this case.

    Here lies possible general rules about organizing. Have as few rules as possible, be a lumper, so everything you can to minimize administration because it will always go wrong somehow.

  354. different clue

    My suggestion is/was that commenters themselves headerise their comment as to what basic aspect of survival was covered.

    That way, other readers can scroll down and find something of possible promise to their interest area.

    Obviously, the blog-keeper cannot do this.

    So readers who want such a thing can do it themselves and over time the readers who want it and do it can shake down into a few agreed-upon-in-practice general intro-sentences or headers which indicate what the comment will offer.

    Like . . . . gardening . . . or home energy conservation . . . or home water harvesting. . . or food. It doesn’t have to be hundreds and hundreds of headers, or even tens and tens. Just a basic few will emerge.

  355. different clue

    ” How to stay cool in hot weather”.

    That’s an eye-grabbing header which says what the comment will be about.

    Naked Capitalism just recently ran a post called ” How to Stay Cool in Hot Weather”. It contains valuable information and also some valuable links. If it is left at Naked Capitalism, it will disappear under the ever-flowing mudslide of millions upon millions of words. So I will offer the link here. People who remember that Ian Welsh has offered a One Single Place where people may come to hunt for survival information will come here to this One Single Place and if they are patient enough, they will find it among the thousands of words that are here. Better chance of finding it among thousands of words here than finding it among millions of words over there.

    Here is the link.

  356. Astrid

    Well, good luck with that.

    BTW, today’s NC comments contain a good discussion about Internet anonymity when you have to access Faceborg.

    I’m not surprised that Yves is looking to expatriate, she’s the perfect digital nomad without any family tethering her to the USA and not being subject to US insurance regime will save her a mint. She said she’s down to two, I’m guessing Portugal and Thailand/Mexico, since high quality low cost healthcare is likely very important. Will be curious to hear her discussion on this.

  357. different clue

    removing ticks ( including disease ticks) from the body . . .

    As the global warms, various disease ticks ( Lyme Disease, Powassan Fever, etc.) will spread north including deeper into East Canada. Someone sent an intriguing note on how to detach ticks in to a recent Naked Capitalism thread. Here it is . . .

    Slick Tick Trick:

    A few years ago I watched in amazement as a friend removed a tick by merely swirling a wet q-tip around it half a dozen times and off it came.

    Anyone who spots a tick on a body could try this to see if it works. If it does, here is a tick-removal method.

  358. Jim Harmon

    Navigating to the bottom of this thread is easy. (At least on my setup.)

    Disclaimer) I’m using Firefox on a W10 laptop.

    1) On this site’s main page, scroll down to (or do a FIND on) “bad times”.

    2) Under the Bad Times thread title should be a COMMENTS link. Right-click on that
    link, then click on the “Open Link in New Tab” option.

    3) A new thread will open containing all Bad Times comments. Hit Ctrl+End to skip to
    the bottom of the comments.

    Good luck.

  359. different clue

    I find it easy to get to the “bottom” of the threads too, even though I am just an old analog refugee in this new digital world.

    What I do is . . . one right click on the title Preparing For Bad Times Thread. When that opens, I find just below the top of the thread the words in red letters . . . add comment ->
    I left-click on that with just one left-click and it drops me right down to the comments field where I can leave a comment. The “bottom” of the thread is right above that comments field area.

  360. Astrid

    Collapse subreddit discussion on emigration, with some useful links.

  361. different clue

    Header: Keeping warm in winter.

    Lambert Strether of Naked Capitalism recently wrote an article on wood stoves and how he upgraded his house and wood stove. The article and subsequent thread are information-rich enough that I have decided to offer the link here. ( Yes, they banned me over there but at some point one swallow’s one’s bitterness and moves on).

    Here is the link.

  362. different clue

    Header: keeping cool in a heat wave.

    Beau of the Fifth Column offers this little video of advice about how to keep cool ( or at least not too dangerously hot) in a deep heat wave.

  363. different clue

    Header: ” How to survive extreme heat without air conditioning” ( an advice post from reddit)

  364. Willy

    Long ago, I was shown a house by a realtor. Exurban acreage, beautiful detail-crafted custom house owned by a talented finish carpenter. Behind a thick laurel hedge I could hear what sounded like a pirate convention. Lots of course manly laughter, loud swearing, and the occasional “Arrrr!” going on back there. I pushed through the hedge to investigate. What I discovered was a biker gang having a wild party. Needless to say, I didn’t buy the place. Plus there’s no way I could live large today.

    As my little story relates to this thread, I rather like the idea of knowing my edible weeds. Hell, edible anything. In case you’ve been kicked off your exurban homestead by a well-armed biker/pirate gang sent by your mortgage bank. Building safe, warm/cool, dry, and concealed dugout shelters seems another good skill worth having.

  365. different clue

    Part of chronic bad times means not being able to replace something that is very useful in your daily life if it breaks or fails, either from not enough money or non-availability of the something itself. Cultivating the approach of making what you have last as long as possible can make the bad times of chronic shortages less bad.

    Here is a little poster of instructions telling you how to take that approach with a cast iron frying pan. How to take care of it so it can last “forever”, which in practical terms could mean several centuries if succeeding generations take the same care of the particular cast-iron pan in question.

  366. Astrid

    Not entirely on topic, but this seems like a useful list for people still reading through internet comments.

    BTW – my parents excitedly called me up to say that they booked a cruise for November, because nobody is masking for Covid anymore so it’s totally fine. At least I discouraged them from booking a December cruise in addition.

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