BEING SKILLED, SUPPLIED AND WISE, EARNING WELL and READY FOR ANY DISASTER.
The reason why we would want to think of the terrible things that could happen to this planet, and be ready for them is LESS about BEING READY for catastrophe than it is about being peaceful for the years that the catastrophe doesn't come. The interim.
Out of ten people you talk to you'll get ten different answers about what could happen to this world. The Great Depression? All Stock markets collapsed, all people homeless? WAR? YELLOWSTONE CALDERA blowing up? Tsunami across Atlantic? A Krakatoa volcano complete with volcanic ash cloaking planet for a year? (Nothing grows in the dark so FAMINE.) The Muslims getting fed up and doing Suicide A bombs? All of these are pretty convincing terrors.
Take the most benign of these terrors. Think of what happens if the stock market goes down for months or even years: banks, railroads, public utilities, telephone lines, military communications, and financial markets in a hole.First thing that happens is half the jobs disappear. The homeless, evicted, foreclosed, hungry are wandering around and there's a crime wave to beat the band. Do you have home security? A gun? Second thing that happens is Social Security goes bankrupt with the BOOMERS coming of age, and the Gov has to dismantle Med-i-care and we all have to let our SENIORS live in our bachelor apartments in a corner lying on a potato sack. These institutions are actually all on the verge of a crash anyway. We already have the beginnings of another GREAT DEPRESSION due to the Enronization of the corporate sector, A MELTDOWN due to Banksters out of control, or rather, they so controlled the government that they could tweak the system to make megaprofits, draining the sytem of life. The resulting loss of faith in the American Stock market has already started to spread to other Stock Markets and Banking sectors and is affecting millions of people.
There are other possibilities. Concerted terror attacks in many cities at once. What if an asteroid hits? The one they see out there, heading to within 600,000 miles of us (if it doesn't get billiard balled by anything else out there,) due here in 200 years. If that hits, the smoke that surrounds this planet will kill most growing plants and put tigers that can see in the dark at the top of the food chain overnight.
What, me worry? I have a 7,000 square feet lot under my tiny cottage and am using it to grow every kind of food bearing plant, tree, vine that I can cram in. Chicory, arugula, avocado, berries, oranges, peaches, grapes, apricots, beets, mulberries, chayotes, walnuts. A strange diet maybe but it'll get me through it if I learn to sprout mung beans and such. Due to overload of trees, I can only grow things that do well in dappled sunlight. Many vegies can work there, but not all.
To grow anywhere you need very very rich soil. Average soil doesn't grow food. Join me in getting your lot ready for this work by creating a 100 x 50 foot compost pile. Every inch of available soil should be under a two foot layer of leaves, weeds, neighbors' trash cans of same, emptied, watered weekly. The Minimum size compost pile would be your driveway strip, a 30 x 6 pile acessible to your rolling in your neighbor's green garbage can.
To have your orchards, fruit trees and veggies flourish, turn the driveway beds into a compost pile by collecting every twig, blade and waste material from neighbors' green cans. Get fish scales and bones from fish vendors. Chicken scratch from the local egg vendor who's glad to have you dig it out. Mine is. With compost you can build an acre of fine, deep soil.
Create your raised beds, narrow paths. Fill the alley found wood edgings with another foot of soil, that you make. Do the weeding, digging with shovel or trowel an hour a day. A garden doesn't take more time. You can quit the gym, still stay fit and create a home garden. Better yet, get an acre, 46,000 square feet, one gas tank away from LA, put in a septic tank, orchard. If you have time, start building a cob house or a straw bale or something cheap. CHEAP n EASY GARDEN INDEX & ARCHIVE is good for files on different ways to build a city garden into a food bearing yard.
THE GROVE PLANTING PLAN is what works. Plant an orchard of food bearing trees (lots of protein like almonds, nuts, avocados) and grow vines around the trees. Then find sunny corners, set aside these sunny spaces for veggies. Get friends to mail you what they grow, all of you plant seeds that the other one doesn't have, so there's a barter community. Worst comes to worst, the asteroid crash or market crash comes and you survive. If NOTHING happens, at least you have a Mediterranean villa in the fresh air, and you and your pals get to give away a lot of GOAT CHEESE at Xmas time. Best comes to best, your line of descendants will make it into the next century and have a pied-a-terre in town and the farm Granny built with this big ancient statue to the Goat!
Leave family members in the city (even if they have a fruit tree), they'll need Ak-47's and gun turrets. But at your age, with your sensibilities, how long could you live that way? He who lives by the gun dies by it. There is no surviving looters on a scale like this. 40% of America lives from a gov't check. Many work at HUGHES, G.E, TRW, and these businesses depend on govm't contracts. When the check stops, Watch out. They will not be polite about opening your screen door and coming to see what's in your freezer. You can shoot two dozen looters, the 25th has your freezer contents for lunch and your niece for dessert.
So get it together. Get a solar powered country villa, a generator, tools to build a house with. Your sons are talented. They can add 50k a yr to your earnings doing ATTIC CLEANING FOR GERIATRICS and putting the booty on EBAY and CRAIGS LIST. *(free ads in every city!)
Your daughters are handy, artistic. SO MANY ART CAREERS for them, right out of their craft room (which you turn the garage into, with heaters!). Even if this is only a practice event, the work will sharpen their skills. Here are what my contributing experts say about this. BE A MERCANTILIST. BE AN IMPORT/ EXPORTER.
I ASKED some BUSINESS MEN what they thought would be useful to learn. A CPA told me: "First, give the family training in these new skills. The Department of Rehabilitation(run by State, in all the 50 states) will pay all costs for any kind of re-training that seems like it might be job-related. You have to qualify by needing job re-training. IN other words, fill out the form stating that you USED to do business X as a job, but that you became ill when doing it and couldn't continue. Meaning your knees got problematic, your back went out or carpal syndrome struck you if a typist or clerk, maybe mental illness, maybe eye strain. Some malady. That's necessary for Dept Rehab to pay! They're not big on checking with your doctors. Besides, you can say that you couldn't afford a doctor. Stress that you had to quit that line of work or you felt you'd die. Now, they can check the type of employment you did, so it should be by time frame and job description, what you really did. Dept of Rehab pays for your books, buses, tuition, all of it. Some employers will pay for your training, job related or not."
Next, I asked the HOMESTEADERS' list if anyone cared to suggest a prioritized list of typical Vo-Tech skills-classes for the "equipped" homesteader? E.g., take metalworking first, then arc welding, then woodworking, then gas welding, then auto-mechanic-ing. I got an answer from Tvoivozhd, who said "oh boy --- dog in a butcher shop! Metalworking is generally understood as sheet-metal, useful but lower in priority to heavier metal fabrication which is incorporated in the welding courses. I'd start with arc welding, both AC and DC rods, and including MIG, TIG wire-spool---they are easiest, make good welds without a lot of practice, and will handle all the welding (up to 1/2-inch plate) that you are likely to need.
You might do gas-welding, though it is chiefly useful for cutting, and the newer plasma-cutters are displacing gas. I've fought enough with gas suppliers over my oxygen and acetylene bottles--if I were in a remote area and if younger, maybe where I am, I would buy a Taiwanese water-electrolysis unit and make my own oxygen and hydrogen cheaper than I can buy it from the friendly gas-conspiracy people.
Next, I would do foundry, both ferrous cupola and non-ferrous. Make our own foundry , your own charcoal (hard to get coking coal any more) and other equipment from the Lindsay Gingery books---and don't forget aluminum injection-molding and thermoplastic injection-molding. Gingery has a book on the latter, and I have plans for a simple aluminum-injection machine somewhere around here. Get your catalog from this website: http://www.keynet.net/~lindsay/inq/
Following that I would do automotive mechanics---that will cover diesel as well as IC engines. No good mechanic need worry about where to find part-time or full-time employment, and I know a lot of them earning well above $50,000 a year. Need a heated, well-lit, well-equipped shop to work in though---the dirt is bearable, but cold, dampness and poor lighting isn't.
And then there's electronics. You wouldn't want to repair TV's, briefly had a shop when black and white TV was the mainstay) though its interesting because they are not essential to communications and business and the work doesn't pay enough.
Computers are another matter Anyone who can quickly (or at all) diagnose and repair a problem can name his/her ticket. The Hewlett Packard rep in this area wouldn't get out of bed if he couldn't see $50,000 in his pot---and he's good enough to get more if he wants it. It is useless and hideously expensive to take a computer in for repair to the big three computer repair operations. They are not necessarily dishonest, just uniformly incompetent. To them Plug and Play means blindly replacing all the components until the machine works again---eight or nine hundred dollars later they might get it right, or maybe it still won't work..
Woodworking skills are an essential part of homesteading, building houses or building furniture, but unless incorporated in your small shop production-line as a business---making furniture for example, it may save you money, but won't make much. Still, it's something to think about if you have some good hardwoods in your woodlot, and plans to make or buy a lumbermaking bandsaw."
TO GET through the RECESSION we will need community organizations. Imagine
a band of hungry boys breaking in at 2 am. You dial the org, an alarm goes
out and ten MEN WITH RIFLES show up, manacles, rope, and CATCH THE KIDS who
maybe do not have guns...
A COMMUNITY helping each other. VIGILANTE, no. More like STRONG, LOYAL MALE
FRIENDS. You can't get that without a meeting and some bonding. So this
community is hopefully ON YOUR BLOCK COMPOSED of FRIENDS, or NEW FRIENDS.
ALSO in THIS BRAVE NEW WORLD, there will have to be Less dependence on huge
market places. SO IF ONE MAN MAKS SANDALS and ONE WOMAN MAKES DRESSES,
there's LOW COST GARB
SOME STATES WILL try to become free states to knock free of huge taxation.
NEW HAMPSHIRE is attempting that already. If they WIN THEIR FREEDOM, it
would serve as an example as what is possible for other states. Reduction
of government income/ property taxes, state gasoline taxes and point of
purchase taxes would be a good start to leaving people with the cash for
food, rent, tuition.
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