Friday, August 28, 2009

Our society has become so strange I cannot even comment on it any longer. I am now in the ignore mode. I've been centering on my own little world and there is quite enough to do there. My little shed, laboratory, workshop or whatever you may call it is in constant need of cleaning and organizing. I need to check the tires on my segway, cut and trim the backyard...and all this is enough for me right now.

My JoJo is at war with what she calls the "Demon Squirrel". We have a large Pecan tree right off the back porch and the Demon Squirrel eats well. Now it's not that my wife begrudges the demon squirrel a square meal...apparently he lies in wait to throw whole pecans at her when she is working in the yard, and hangs upside down staring and chattering squirrel curses at her.
So the pronouncement was made that the demon squirrel must go...even to the point that JoJo advised that she would accept the Karmic consequences...I was hired as the hit man free of karmic death responsibility. I was without proper equipment for this assignment so to the Internet shopping I went and purchased an air rifle. There are good deals available on these things, plastic stock, heavy barrel, scope, and ammo all included in a reasonable base price. I also thought an air rifle might not be without use in the survival supplies or for future pest removal for the garden. I ordered a Gamo air rifle that is pictured above. Of course as soon as we ordered the rifle----the Demon Squirrel has apparently disappeared! Good for him. If he felt the vibes of the upcoming future and split my job is accomplished....and I have a cool air rifle with zero bad karma.

We are about done for the year with the garden...we could of course plant some "winterish" stuff but we have decided to work the beds over during the fall and the winter instead of planting. I feel bad about the end of it. I have gotten so used to seeing things growing and flourishing out in the back yard that watching it end is tough.
JoJo is still canning. So far she has made and put up salsa, tomatoes, English style pickles, green beans, plum "stuff" (i don't really know what it is so...) applesauce, apple pie filling and there is probably more canning to come. The best thing is that everything actually tastes far I've eaten the salsa and pickles and they taste great and look like what they are supposed to be. Amazing. The Kitchen has been like a chemistry lab for the past couple of weeks tho.

I have a thing about organization and preparation. I sort of fell in love with the photo displayed above for those very reasons. I have completed my 3 day walk-out bag for the Prius and am very happy with the result. Being organized and prepared makes me feel as if I can adequately handle any situation which arises and i simply feel better when I address these needs.
The homestead has 3 months worth of long term food supplies in stock and 160 gallons of rainwater collected. I am planning on expanding to 6 months food supply over time but right now i feel satisfied that 3 months will cover us for any upcoming emergency.
I did recently order an additional case of 12 MRE's this month. I am still concerned in regards to the coming influenza season. I have previously alternated between buying mre's and freeze dried food for long term storage. Mre's contain a complete response with snacks, spoon, toilet paper, spices etc. With mre's there are no additional elements requiring storage. From this point on I believe that I will focus on laying in mre's only for simplification.

Photography can be the window to our soul as a nation.
Brian Ulrich, has been photographing the results of our current depression on abandoned housing developments. He has now completed an exhibition of abandoned commerical real estate across the country titled "DARK STORES".
It is disturbing to clinically see what we have done to ourselves and our wasteful stupidity as a people. You owe it to yourself to look at these photographs and view our future wasteland.

"And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths, and carp and anchovies, and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit-bats and large chu..."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

As I sit here I am pretty pleased.
The yards front and back are completely Gran Torino'd...we have excellent blooming flowers in the front beds...both cars are washed and clean..I'm still averaging over 50mpg with the Prius..and work was not too bad this week. I got some reading in and organizing. Tomorrow I may actually get a chance to tune up the Segway and go for a ride. The kitchen counters are covered with vegetables we grew ourselves...Life seems pretty good today...and I am going to appreciate it.

We are done with the farmers market for the year. We have sold and given away our excess production, which was the plan. Now the produce we have left and what will be created from this point on will be stored. Home canning is the next project.
This is the first time we are going to try to can food we produced ourselves...It should be somewhat interesting. I am undecided about this. The stuff I remember as home canned was brown and you were really unable to determine what was in the jar....Now my mother was a lousy cook and it's probably pretty hard to can stuff with Vodka as her "little helper" so that may explain why anything home canned appeared to be some type of medical school teaching prop to me as a child ....I'm going to give home canned food a non-judgemental shot as best I can. If what we can appears close to the photo's of normal people's canned foods on the net then I'll go along with it. If this process turns out to be just like mama used to make, then it's outa here.
We are pulling out the used up portions of the gardens and it's tough seeing our plants go. I do not believe we will plant a fall garden-----rather we will use the time to work on building up the garden beds again. All our soil we the more we work on composting and resting our created soil all the better for our produce next year.

I remembered reading about these houses as a child in the 1960's--the Futuro House. Portable by truck or by helicopter and designed by Finnish Architect Matti Suuronen this structure was usually featured right after the articles on how personal jet packs were the coming mode of transportation. I've never seen one although constructed complete by prefabrication there were 100 sold. The Futuro House is not just an artifact of an Architect's fantasy it is an artifact of a future we believed in---a future that never occurred.
I understand that the Futuro House was actually very well insulated and easy to heat ( da-Finnish architect eh?) and actually was useful in areas as a vacation home or a small family house. Capable of being hooked to services much like an RV site set up was remarkably easy. The Futuro House stands as the future we all at one time, thought was coming, but never showed up--the free energy car---unlimited nuclear power---personal submarines---the future believed in completely, it was coming, we were told by those my generation's parents believed in. It would happen any moment. Like the Jetsons we would step out of our Futuro Home, strap on our Jet pack, zoom to work, where we would supervise automated machinery and then zoom home again to a happy family. It was just a little bit away---any time now.
This belief structure of the wondrous future just suddenly stopped. It did not slowly die, it passed away overnight. It became obvious that we, as a society, had either, wasted our future's opportunity or missed the correct path to this future. Magazines stopped showing us the future. It was as if our culture woke up one morning realizing that this dream of the technological good life for all would never, never happen. Sad eh?

The atomic clock (pictured above) that your wristwatch connects to for time set (if you have that feature) had always been one of those mystery's to me. Not any longer thanks to the link below. I had imagined a complex piece of equipment deep below the surface of a mountain, serviced by a squad of geeks. I was almost on target----

If you haven't you need to:

I've been reading several articles on the web and I believe there is also a book on the subject of why, cheap is bad for our society. I thought on this subject quite awhile after reading this material and decided this was a true concept..Cheap is bad...I began to realize that there is no middle ground in the products we use, need or want any longer. Everything is cheap or tremendously expensive. There is no middle in terms of cost or quality. We face the fact that when we buy a $5.00 belt at walmart we understand that it is a cheap piece of Chinese shit and will without a doubt, if we are lucky, last 6 months---but we accept this situation due to what fact? It is cheap.
We also silently accept the fact that there is now nowhere else to go...unless you wish to order a $30 or $60 dollar belt off the Internet that is of course a better quality, with a subsequent longer use life---but with the drop in our true, real individual income over the past 8 years--- $60.00 or $30.00 for a good quality belt may be out of the question for immediate purchase. The middle ground for the American consumer of the $15.00, good quality belt is, like the typewriter, simply gone.
The truth is we are paying so much more than we realize for cheap---we have been forced into this situation by the redistribution of wealth in this country from the middle class to the rich during the Bush Administration...we as a society accepted this via our elections and actually encouraged this transfer of wealth to occur. The next time you vote look at your belt.

Sometimes you must chew off your foot, to get out of life's little traps.........

Saturday, August 15, 2009

JoJo and I started our downsized, responsible, prepared, urban homestead living process nearly 3 years ago now. It was really JoJo's idea--but I've sort of taken it and run with it.
Our social circle was astounded when we sold our 4800 sq. foot home on a hill and paid cash for a 1200 sq. foot, 1905 bungalow right off downtown that needed allot of work. Friends shook their head when I sold my Porsche and bought a Prius....when i tell them we have no TV they really step back...and stare.
We have been working pretty much non-stop on rebuilding/restoring the house. Paying cash as we go....Planting gardens for food...working our way bit by bit through solar power....and those i work with and those who are our friends still, I think, do not know what to make of what we are doing.

Very occasionally someone will mention how we got ahead of the housing bubble collapse...or how much less gas I am buying than they are...but society has short memories...people have forgotten 4.00 a gallon gas, have gotten over their initial outrage at AIG and the bailout...if they are working, then the depression we are suffering through is something other people have to deal with, not them.... it appears as if many are still running in the wheel created for them by others having learned nothing, paying no attention to the signs around us that the world is changing and doing nothing to adapt to what is coming.
JoJo and I took these steps so that we could be free. Free in our old age together. Free from worry, free from money problems, free from outside opinions on what we could/would/should do.... at one time these outside--TV talking head opinions were, important in our considerations for the future, but they are now totally irrelevant and unimportant to our future. We now grow our lives like the flowers we use for centerpieces...on our own and made into personal art. Independent we are and capable of self sustaining our own art and our lifestyle, regardless of what occurs around us. It feels really good.

A good week at our 50' x 90' urban homestead. Although we are pulling out area's of the garden that have become unproductive after fulfilling their requirements and are done for...(which actually hurts to do by the way) The Tomatoes have come in full force, and we have produced enough all around vegetables this week to make $50.00 today at the farmers market, give away multiple bags of produce to friends and neighbors, feed ourselves all we want, and store some for next year. Not too shabby for our first year. There are still many-many things we need to refine in our process however such as---

Solar power: I still can't get excel energy (the local supplier) to contact me about getting on their small producers listing and hooking my system up to our meter--Excel Energy made a big deal of offering this small solar supplier program but they are apparently incompetent at actually making it work, I am afraid that this must be a PR stunt only. But I will keep trying. I'm producing electric and trying to use it all but I really want to feed it back into my household meter against our use...for this I need the energy company to cooperate---still struggling on that one.

Urban Chickens: basically I want them, JOJO does not. I can really see the value in keeping two chickens providing both eggs for personal use, and manure. Based on this years gardening experience with a couple of laying chickens on hand cooped in the way-way back of the yard we could have ignored the grocery store for a good bit of the summer if we wished... i would like to have that option available in advance of societal problems. So I am working on JOJO alittle bit at a time to go the Urban Chicken route. We'll have to see tho....

We are, actually, in extremely good shape when one steps back and examines what we have done from a distance.
Our Rain barrels are full, we now can absolutely purify drinking water out of our 160 stored gallons if necessary. We have 3 months of, ready to eat food stored, and working on making it 6 months. Speciality supplies are on hand in case of a very bad flu season. I am capable of dumping my vehicle and walking home from anywhere within a 40 mile radius if necessary via my vehicle bug-out-bag that i am now carrying. We are just shy of purchasing a recumbent bike for JOJO which combined with my Segway could allow us to be completely oil independent around town if desired or necessary. I am averaging over 51.0 miles per gallon weekly in our Prius so our contribution to the Bush family oil overlords is basically nothing compared to the society that surrounds us.
When I step back to look at what we have accomplished, even I am impressed---with the cravat of there's always more to do.

I've taken to wearing a straight bladed knife around the property. I love folding knives, pocket knives, Swiss Army Knives, don't get me wrong. They are my constant companion at work...but when I'm at home over the weekend I often simply forget to slip
one in my pocket at the start of the day and are SOL when i need a knife for some project. So...I began to model John Locke on LOST. I now wear a 2 inch web belt with a straight blade sheathed knife on it all the time around the house. Immediately after starting this process i was dumbfounded how useful having a knife like this available all the time was and of course I required a whole new equipment set-up. I just ordered a fisherman's 2 inch web belt with fast-tex buckle and a straight bladed, camping, utility knife from Ka-Bar knives called the Becker companion knife and tool. This Becker designed Ka-Bar knife has a 5 star rating and fits my personal requirements for a utility knife foremost of which is NO SAW TEETH ON A KNIFE BLADE. I hate those John Rambo style, useless saw makes the knife look ninja warrior like but other than that saw teeth are impossible to sharpen and are useless, unable to even cut a tree branch. Saw teeth on a knife you actually use just takes up blade space and allows you to cut yourself this simple Ka-Bar was the knife for me. Just so long as I don't forget i have it on and leave the property upsetting the neighborhood in the process...... I have enough problems with the world not understanding me as it is.

I made a vow to get my blog off of weird personal issues that are happening to me right now and back to thoughts, concepts, experiments, urban homesteading and other more important things than what I had been focused on..hope it worked! Thanks for putting up with me the last few postings. I appreciate it.