So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
We all fall down together
Some people look at my off the grid electric power, veggie powered vehicle, wind powered boat, and other gadgets and think I’m set for collapse. The way I see, those things are nice and very useful now, but of only of limited and temporary use in a major collapse.
Solar electric power is a marvel. There’s very little that can wrong with it. If the grid went down it would most likely keep functioning for months or even years. Most likely. Components do fail. A close lightning strike could fry the electronics. High winds could drop a tree on my solar panels. Sometimes stuff just wears out. Eventually the battery bank will stop holding a charge and need to be replaced. Nothing lasts forever.
My waste vegetable oil powered vehicle is only useful if everyone else is driving cars. Roads won’t be maintained just for me. If no one can afford to eat out at restaurants, there will be no waste vegetable oil for my vehicle. Already it’s harder to get because so much waste veggie goes into commercial biodiesel. Temporary oil shocks I can handle. My basement has a big rack of jugs full of veggie, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.
By the way, those of you who are smug that you are riding a bicycle, you won’t go forever either. Bike parts wear out too and there’s a heck of a long supply chain for most components. Are bicycle tires even made in North America anymore?
All the cool stuff eventually breaks or wears out. Then what do you do? You do what a philosopher does after enlightenment: chop wood and carry water.
Living in a rural forested area, I can heat and cook burning wood. I’ve axes, and manual saws that will last a long long time. Even if those are gone, it’s still possible to gather wood with primitive homemade tools. Anyone can pick a stick off the ground.
Having access to potable water is key. My well constantly overflows. All I need is a bucket or a cup. Diogenes, the philosopher, simplified his life and threw his cup away when he saw a child drinking from his cupped hand.
Some preppers have taken the hard core approach. They look a the way the natives used to live in their environment and learn the old skills. They practice how to make everything from stone arrow heads, to pottery, to rope from natural fibers -everything necessary for life. All their technology is stuff that can be fashioned from local materials by small bands of people. These are all good skills to have.
We’ve got a resource that was unavailable to the natives: piles and piles of junk. We’ve got a metals and synthetic materials unknown to our predecessors. We’ll be able to strip a car the way a Plains Indian could use every part of a Buffalo.
The gadgets are nice for temporary disruptions. Odds are that they’ll get a homestead through in something approaching modern comfort. Should something like a massive solar flare take down technological civilization, having a good location and skills will be key.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.