Sunday, March 28, 2010

full plate

now that spring is here, i am trying to ready the ground, start my veggies in cold frames, prep the ground for the asparagus, grapes, orchard extension and repair the roads and outbuildings. the winter was vicious and there is a massive amount to do. we have found 6-8 previously undiscovered apple trees while hiking and hunting this winter as well as several naturalized blueberries and sweet cherry trees. when the plants start coming in earnest, the search for edible and medicinal wild plants will be productive and fun. this is my favorite time of year. to watch people going about there lives with no viable plan for feeding themselves seems so tragic. the ministrey of truth must be really effective at keeping everyone sleepwalking because only amounst the people living in the mountains do i here and sense the coming storm. I guess that should not suprise me because rural people have infinitly more common sense and they vagely understand that a major change is coming. not so with the sophisticated city types. Within 24 months, even the ministry of truth will choke on it's own words and by then.....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Walking man dues

I have always loved hiking the mountains and never knew that hours spent walking land is the only way to really value it. I am still a rookie but here is what I have. Winter is the very best time to size up land so it is important to be able to identify most all native trees. It is equally important to know the value of trees to a sawmill {on the stump}. After learning the price of timber on the stump, you then use common sense to deduce likely future trends in timber value. This requires a knowledge of the countless uses for various species and is beyond the scope of this short blog, but one example may help. Seeing lots of white pine on land in 2008, a person may have thought these were valuable based on 2007 prices, however , knowing they have little use beyond log cabin construction and the gig was up for that market, the 80% loss in value the last 24 months was perfectly predictable. Conversely. a two acre black locust grove averaging 12-14 inch diameter and located near an old logging road is like finding gold. Locust has real utility as rot resistant post for barns, fences, and all outbuildings and has held its value much better. Oak, hickory, cherry and , to a lesser degree, hemlock have also held much of there value. Winter is also the best time to discover locations that give a line of sight to critical spots { roads, streams, open fields, adjoining ridges and gaps, distant ranges}.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

preparing for multiple scenerios

what is preparedness? Good plans will show positive results whether society completely collapses or gently powers down over a period of decades. I believe locations exist in the more remote areas of the southern Appalachians that can be used as a compound for an extended family or divided into four or five 10 acre tracts and marketed accordingly. The real estate mantra of location applies here in a novel way. Imagining a future with more expensive energy and an increasingly debt-stricken and overwhelmed nation-state, never buy land without a dominant southern orientation, lots of strong springs, and a google map view that shows zero optical detail. The ideal location looks like hazy green horseshoe [ when viewed from google maps ] with the highest ridge to the north and steams and springs running within 10 degrees of due south. Northern access should be very difficult even on foot. [ think vertical cliffs and ice 8 months of the year] Understanding the mindset of any potential competition for these boulder strewn hellscapes can be help full in controlling vehicular access from east and west. On a continuum from starving predator to developer selling 'view lots', visualize 'warlord' as resting dead center between the two and you now have a picture of the real competition. Outsmart him and your kids survive and maybe thrive. till then, dirt time

Monday, February 22, 2010

truth leaks

The governors conference last weekend in D.C. provided a rare but incomplete look into the current state of our national affairs. Our trusted guv-nuhs are no more truthful or honest than national politicians but they have one major disadvantage. States don't print money and must therefore deal with the bankruptcy of state and local governments. The ministry of truth must hate it when even bloomberg is forced to cover Harrisburg, PA.'s impending chapter nine bankruptcy and the fact that this is but one domino in a long line of municipal failures that will occur in 2010 and 2011. Pondering the fate of all the petty bureaucrats i have dealt with througout the years, i can only snicker at the likely outcome. Maybe the deadweight cubical dwellers will now have to actually produce something or starve. Welcome to the real world. Grab a shovel and go to work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

all aboard

All construction bids and cost estimates have a schedule of values. The first item should be called "mobilization". It seems to me the industrial revolution of 1800's Britain was the mobilization that allowed for the greatest infrastructure build-out of history. Not only were projects like the Hoover Dam, Empire State Building, roads and bridges, electrical grid and the entire water and sewer pipes of america built mostly on time and on budget, but the quality was excellent. Now much of this craft is rotting in and above ground as sedated and obese sheeple graze on the productive efforts of others before us. As my son would say "epic fail". As i re-modeled, re-configured, deconstructed and generally obsessed over the bungalows and real mansions of the 1920's @ 30's during the go-go decade of real estate boom and bust, i realized J. H. Kunstler had it partially right about his "geography of nowhere". Quality and craft died a slow death with-in the trades between 1950 and 1980 and then we proceeded to produce mostly plastic shit for structure for the last 30 years. Our precious Mcmansions will be carved into boarding houses in our soon to appear suburban ghettos. What will future generations of carpenters be thinking when they cut into these cardboard barns we called suburbia? When our society decided the architect was needed more than a master builder in the name of "code compliance", we sealed our fate. As we suffer through a ominous and brutal winter and the yuppies cruise to the firing ranges in the range rovers, many people are dealing with the fear of the future with the thought of hunkering down. I mobilize to hunkerdown elsewhere. Where the mountain lions and bear are a greater threat than the mentally institutionalized people of my home town. Choose wisely were you hunker. Good luck.

Monday, February 15, 2010

resilient communities

John Robb's blog is a good source of info, however his idea of 'open source, desktop manufacturing type of resilence is not only outside of my current skilset, but also seems to be putting the cart before the horse. my idea of resilience is based on my experience as a survivor and a builder. I must first finish restoring while improving an abandoned farm for a friend so my priority list is a bit jammed.I prefer to say the farm is located in the semi-autonamous region of appalachia and is much improved from the overgrown mess of last year. Extreme rockiness is more than compensated for by ample springs and a souther exposure but only because of permaculture concepts. Maximising food production, building sheds, learning to harvest the local wildlife as well as the most brutel winter in 40 years has made for a real challenge which i happen to enjoy. Life is good, a good women is very helpful and i am preparing.