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Farmsteading

# Let's just be honest here.  I like the idea of "autonomous living".  Beholden to none, dependent on nobody.  Being able to provide food, shelter and clothing and never having to leave the ranch.

I'm not a hermit or a bunker-dwelling survivalist and I like going to the mall or the movies as much as the next guy. I also like eating meat I raised and eggs I gathered from my own land.

Being totally autonomous on only a few acres is not realistic.  The homesteaders often had 160 acres and lots of them didn't make it.  For most of us, myself included, we need to find a middle ground if we want to have any degree of independence.

All that said, as a society, we here in the US seem to be on a razors edge for so many of our critical supplies.  Even small disturbances throw us into a tailspin.  Some nutjob in the middle east starts throwing his weight around and the futures traders run the cost of crude oil up.  Our refinery capacity is so close that even one refinery going offline for a week or two means increased cost and short supply.  The power grid has shown it's frailty more than once.  We keep hearing about the vulnerability of our food supply - underscored by recent outbreaks of ecoli in spinach, mad cow in the beef herd, Salmonella in peanut butter and tainted pet food.  Financial markets keep showing their stupidity - from the S&L "crisis" of the 80's to todays collapsing "subprime mortgage" market, not to mention all the "interest-only" mortgages that have been written - who really thought it was a good idea to borrow $250K, pay for 10 years and still owe $250K?  And remember all those loans tied to the LIBOR when it was at an historic all-time under 2% low?  Guess where the LIBOR is today ... yup, over 5%, like it was back at the turn of the century (2000, not 1900).

#

Hurricane Katrina was a microcosm and should serve as a wakeup call. People were not prepared for the hurricane. The government should not be depended upon to provide for your needs before or after a civil disaster.

I have this nagging feeling that some "Big Kerfuffle" could change life as we know it, at least for the short term.  The power grid could go offline for an extended period.  Our oil supply might be disrupted.  The Bird Flu pandemic could finally happen.  Maybe the next great depression.  And I've been thinking we should consider how we'd get along without electricity, oil and/or other critical services for 6 months or a year, or longer.  And so, the reason for this site - my personal information depot for a post-kerfuffle world.  And, along the way, things that interest me.

The astute reader will immdeiately object that if the power grid is down, I can't access the web, or even fire up the computer.  Solar panels are at the top of the wish list.  The website will be backed up locally so I can peruse it at will without an internet connection, running on solar power.  An alternative would be the One Laptop Per Child initiative, which seems headed towards selling a consumer version for $200.  This little gem is supposed to have all the basics, including wifi internet AND a "wind up" handle to charge the battery.  Further, here is an enterprising guy in India with a wi-fi equipped "internet truck".  He makes the rounds daily to small towns without internet access and updates their local computers.  This is similar to the pre-internet days, if you remember.

anvil The pages herein will examine what might be valuable in a post-kerfuffle world.  Will money still have any value if it's backed by the full faith and credit of a government huddled in bunkers trying to figure out how to restore electricity?  What then would be a valuable currency?  What skills will be valuable?  Certainly stock brokers won't be very useful if the stock market is closed.  How about the Blacksmith?  He'll be a lot more than a renaissance faire novelty.

What about sugar?  Once upon a time, sugar was a luxury item (as it probably should still be, but that's for the health-nut page), so what will you use to sweeten your tea, because coffee is also in short supply?  How about honey?  Maybe it's a good time for a beehive or two out back..

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