12 January 2010

Tin Foil Hats All Around!

Sometime in my late teens or early 20s I started planning for the inevitable -- the collapse of civilization as we know it. (I had high hopes for Y2K but, alas, it was not to be.) I started learning how to do stuff myself and to collect books on pioneer and DIY skills. An earlyish version of my website included my luddite skillset -- stuff like building fires, growing my own food, and knitting. Heck, years back Hubby and I even joined Victoria LETS (Local Exchange and Trading Society) -- basically a barter group -- but were disappointed by the lack of variety and activity in the group. We also tried making tofu and could do that again, if we had to -- right now, I'm happier to pay the $3 for someone else to do it.

seeds Tonight, I spent some time sorting through and doing an inventory of my seeds, spawned in part by a discussion on Facebook about the movie Collapse (my take: the guy is probably a nutbar but has some decent insights, too. It's playing at Cinecenta next month and I plan to go see it, despite its potential effect on my psyche) and in part by some Frankenfood Fear thanks to finding a study that revealed organ damage in mammals linked to three varieties of Monsanto corn currently being used for food and for animal feed out there. Gah.

Happily, now that my seeds have been inventoried (there were almost 60 packets, varying in age and amount used, ranging from personally saved seeds to some purchased at local markets to certified organic to basic, er, over the counter seeds) and my goal this year is to use as many as I can through the season. I have a LOT of mesclun mix seeds -- probably because I like having greens available year-round -- and I am planning to grow at least some on the deck where I can pick them in any weather. I also sent Hubby some tutorials on mini-greenhouses for starting seeds and to extend the growing season (right now my cabbage and broccoli are struggling but the leeks have perked up).

Outside of gardening, I am still proud of the number of things I know I can do if need be, though there are a few I have yet to master, or even try. While I believe I could maintain or even (re-)build a home and make do with what I had on hand for some time, I am lacking some pioneer skills. (For instance if there is no one with whom I can barter meat or fish after civilization falls, I will become a vegetarian pretty fast. ) I think I could manage to raise chickens as long as I didn't have to kill them so at least I could have eggs. If I could figure out how to shear a sheep (this does not look comfortable for either party), I could probably get from there to yarn somehow. And I might be willing to try my hand at raising a goat I could milk.

**While I am on an agriculture tangent, I have been considering whether I can donate to the Land Conservancy to save Madrona Farm (I really do want as much local farmland as possible to stay as such) without getting on a sucker list. (Oooh, looks like I can give money to some lawyer-types to hold in trust. Pondering.)**

Anyway, if I had the right supplies I could make or mend clothing, make candles, soap (though I've never tried, I understand the principles), and bread. I can preserve food, make paper, and perform basic first aid (Hubby is the star on that front though). I can do math long-hand, use most hand tools and make a bird-feeder out of a milk jug.

So, start saving your tin-foil kids, you're going to need it for the hats.


p.s. Would you rather celebrate the end of the world? Do it wearing a Haiku for the Masses t-shirt. ;)


Star said...

I am not sure how it would apply but you probably have the largest and most diverse vocabulary of anyone I know.

Ted Godwin said...

Yeah watch out for the TLC mailing list. We were members for one year and did not renew. That was four years ago and we got full members newsletters for at least two years afterwards and we still get large chunks of mail (losts more than just a "we miss you" postcard) to this day.

Anne said...

We sure do think alike!

I don't know that I have quite as many skills as you, but in a pinch I know I could do a lot.

Just this morning I was telling Nolan how I'd be expanding the garden, and he chuckled and said, "we'll be ready for the apocolypse!"

Don't forget knowledge of edible wild plants... Pojar & MacKinnon's "Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast" is the best identification guide I've used for plants.

Ada Saab said...

that settles it. when the big one occurs, we all meet at your house

Cheryl said...

Star - I don't think my vocab will do me any favours in post-apocalyptic society but you never know.

Ted - good to know I read that one right.

Anne - yes! Urban foraging is a good thing.

Ada - fine, but you get to dig the pit toilets.

Anne said...

There's a new book out (vanity press POD) about a major catastrophe on my island...


I now have a copy in my hands to review. It could be painful. I'll keep you posted!

Also, I came across this today!


I'm planning to do some sort of garden related craft in May, and this popped up when I was searching for ideas.