being a typical lazy American, i'm training an ox team. those
hand plows are too much work ;)
for anyone contemplating a small homestead, look at Irish
Dexter cattle. meat, milk *and* draft, in a small package
(around 300 pounds). nice temperment, & easy keepers too.
i'm looking into a greenhouse so i can grow coffee... gotta
have that to make lattι. i think i'll need to grow cocoa too.
so if i put a 2nd greenhouse out in Savannah (NY), can you
keep an eye on the coffee there? ;) seriously though, i'm
not a huge fan of straight roasted chicory. what other
locally growable coffee substitutes are there? we've got
brewing beer & cider down, but i'll need more flatish land
to grow grain. the hops grow like crazy here, plus we have
several non-hop plants for preserving beers (creeping
charlie, for example). there's a dammed pond on our property
that is rumored in the town history to be the first local
grain mill. the flow is restricted currently by a Fish &
Game dam upstream, but that is currently failing...
mine? no, because the state doesn't know it exists (and i'm
not going to press the issue so that they find out).
the F&G dam was not in good shape before the flooding this
past spring, & that certainly didn't improve anything. i will
see F&G tomorrow and ask about that dam. it really doesn't
serve much purpose, except to slightly (about 2') artificially
raise the water level in a spring fed pond. i suspect the
reason F&G has control over that dam & section of stream is
more for access to the pond for stocking efforts.
of course, if they don't do some work on it, i strongly
suspect the road is going to go away in the next flood... the
under road culvert can't take that much water going through.
we had 8" over the road, along with the culvert's load. it
washed a cement block i left on my dam over 300 feet
downstream... there was too much water coming in for me to get
the drain at the bottom of the dam open, but i suspect that's
a good thing really. there was no damage to my dam at all
(it's earth & rock, at least 200 years old).
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 01:02:43 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"
Actually, we cannot. Grain is a currency in the global economy.
Given your scenario, I think you will be amazed at how expensive your
food will become. Oil is inextricably tied to your food cost.
To say that people will move closer to their jobs ignores the
fundamental reason that they moved to a suburb/exburb to begin with;
that being they could not afford to live in the urban area. Prices are
not likely to fall when demand increases for "closer" real estate.
Labor costs are not likely to fall given higher real estate, food, and
transportation costs of the labor force. That was what drove those
jobs to cheaper labor in the first place.
It is impossible for transport costs to "eclipse" the cost of labor on
a net unit basis given the many countries that would love to be an
exploited workforce. It will still be more profitable to import
products from low wage producers than it will be to export products
from high wage producers. IOW, it makes no sense to pay American wages
and attempt to compete globally. That's not going to change.
Unless of course you are suggesting that Americans will soon be living
as third world populations live now. That's a possibility.
No they won't. First of all, as transport costs increase we are not
going to produce heavier items to transport. Second, glass, wood,
paper, and metal need oil from the mining through the manufacturing
processes so their prices will skyrocket.
Plastic can, and will be, produced from synthetic oil as much of it is
now. Corn starch products have begun to replace many wood and paper
You had better pray that low-low-low priced throwaway products, like
half the junk Wally World carries is still around.
You are going to pay more, receive lower quality, and make less.
I don't mean to sound smartassed, but you really need to get a better
understanding of how your food and product chain works now, and how it
There are no skilled artisans waiting for the collapse of oil to turn
out goods in towns across America. Ask the kid at McDonald's to make a
wooden bowl for you. Remember, in the good old days labor was a lower
percentage of cost than materials were. Still can't wait to go back to
goods and products that were everyday then?
What other country is as dependent upon cheaply transported mass
produced clothing, shelter, food, and consumables as we are?
No Ted, the population of the U.S. wants the borders sealed so we
don't have to compete with an immigrant workforce that is not as
spoiled, naive, or lazy as we are. Increased immigrant populations
have historically kept prices low. For example, how much do you want
to be paid an hour to pick lettuce?
Maybe enough to feed and cloth your family?
Factory jobs are gone.
You don't need a truck to deliver information.
Obviously, as a society we need to put our money into education (value
added) but the oligarchs of our kleptocracy are bent on more money and
more power for the oligarchs. The oligarchs only need us to repair the
roads, deliver the mail, build the houses, do the spare jobs, and above
all these days, be cannon fodder.
You'll never know what's going on by listening to corporate (oligarch )
Who are you going to believe? Your President or your lying eyes?
The US is not the world and since the US needs world participation to keep
it economically strong, it will be just as stuffed as any other country when
oil production ceases to be effective. The US is also very relaint of oil
for food transport and food production.
Yep. That means most modern cloth we wear, our computers our tupperware,
much of our bedding materials, much of our furnishing cloth, the stuffing in
our furniture, our shampoos, soaps, detergents, ice cream, tyres, car
components - the list is very long.
Yes and since then it's found it's way into just about everything in your
house. If you really want a scar, check out each household item and figure
out where it comes from. so much of it needs petrochemicals.
Ummmm. I don't think you have got the right idea about the availablity of
synthetics and where they come from.
Nope. It will be in deep doodoo, just as the rest of the 'developed' world
will be. And remember there are 4 (I think that is the figure I recall)
guns for every person in the US. Not a pretty thought.
Interesting article Charlie; thanks for posting it. There are a few
problems with it though.
As a producer of beef cattle, I really disagree strongly with what he wrote
about the need to be vegetarian. His view is very restricted as it relys on
the belief that all animals are lot fed and that therefore one must have
land to grow hay and grain. Balderdash I say. Such a concept only applies
in farming areas of full snow cover over winter and even then in the dark
ages, few beasts were kept over winter - just enough to breed stock for the
I'm currenly looking for some sheep (mainly for fleece) but I will have any
surplus killed. Sheep/goats/poultry (chooks, ducks, pigeons etc)/rabbits
would be the sensible stock for non vegetarians to keep and these could be
kept in smaller areas with a bit of effort.
Another thing which really irritated me about this article is that the
author didn't even mention the need to use old fashioned non hybrid
varieties of seed. All gardeners should know abut the need to be seed
savers if they want to have a self succient garden.
There were a few other things about the article that I thought he missed but
enough for now.
Are you talking about smaller animals here or cattle? If cattle I have
problems with this paragraph.
Also the inefficiency in land use and water consumption of taking vegetable
calories and feeding them to animals (which you eat) instead of eating them
yourself is quite clear. I don't mean to say we could eat grass but the
same land and water will feed more people if turned to vegetable food
production instead of pasture.
Having said that I would much prefer to remain an omnivore. I hope it
doesn't get to the point where meat becomes a luxury but it's possible. In
the dark-ages meat was a luxury, the commoners (that's me and I assume you)
only ate meat on feast days and holy days.
not all land is suitable for vegetable production.
cattle/sheep/goats can thrive on land too hilly or rocky to be
useful for food production.
i take it you are not familiar with the Northeast of the US?
we have plenty of water, but not a huge amount of decent flat
land suitable for food crop production. there's a reason old
Yankees were dairy farmers & shephrds.
if you stop looking at 'meat' as being only high maintainance
modern beef breeds (or dairy being only Holsteins), you will
see that it should be possible to continue your omnivore habit
lee <who can get potable water from my well without electricty
just fine & heat my house with wood if i have too>
Since you have divorced what I wrote from the context of the article on
which I was commenting and have also snipped any mention of small animals,
then clearly I'm writing about cattle.
To put it back in context. The author of the article assumed that all
cattle are fed on grain. You and I boht know that is not the case although
it may be the case for most of the time in the US (although God knows why
given the falvour of grain fed beef).
It IS possible in limited circumstances most of which don't apply across the
breadth of drought ravaged Australia where animals will be able to forage
and survive where a vegetaive food would shrivel to a crisp. The animals
won't in general be prime killing stock for frying/grilling but they will
certainly be edible in casserole/stew form. I suspect you must live in a
water rich area to write what you did.
Haven't you been to a butchers recently? It's already getting to that
OK then how does reducing stock over winter relate to raising beef? What
proportion of your stock go to market at less than 12 months? I don't see
what you are getting at.
My comments were not restricted to Australia and there are many places here
and overseas where a crop could replace pasture.
Are you claiming that if things get tough as in our doomsday scenario we
will be able to go right on eating as much meat as we do now? This
paragraph and your later comments suggest that you will answer no. In which
case we agree.
Not to the level where it's feast days only.
Once again we seem to be coming to agreement.
I knew that :-)).
Remember, I was commenting on the article - this is not about the age at
which we sell our beasts.
The author of the article wrote that the best thing (and I'm paraphasing so
you see what I'm on about) post oil would be to be a veggie because
"vegetable production requires far less land than animal production. Even
the pasture land for a cow is about one hectare, and more land is needed to
produce hay, grain, and other foods for that animal."
and "of animals is not easy"
and "The third problem is that of cost: animals get sick, animals need to be
fed, animals need to be enclosed, and the bills add up quickly. Finally,
vegetable food requires less labor than animal food to produce; less labor,
in turn, means more time to spend on other things"
Basically most of that is rot and/or assumes that animals are fed on
grain/hay or 'other foods'.
If we were immediately tossed into a post oil world, I'd keep our cattle.
They are easy to raise (unlike his thoughts on that - occasionally one will
meet its maker through natural causes but that is seldom). They can be
raised purely on grass because we don't like in a climate where they have to
be put in a barn and fed over winter (thus no need to grow food for them)
and they'd be a good thing to own where syntheic products like vinyl and
plastic is no longer available. And sometimes they'd also be 'meat' but
really they'd be too useful to just be 'meat'.
My real quibble with the article was that the guy seemd to have a very
limited view of what would happen in a post oil world. He, and many other
people, don't seem to know where event he most basic things that would make
life worth living (like soap and light) would come from in such a scenario.
I've always been fascinated by how people lived pre electricity and pre oil.
I think the worst thing would be getting proper clothing.
Yes it could BUT most countries these days are becoming less and less
capable of supporting themsleves in food production. Oz is still one of the
lucky ones but if we keep going the way we are with appallingly cheap
imports then it won't be long before we are in the same boat as much of the
rest of the world.
Yep we do agree on the fact that there will be reduced meat eating. But if
we had rabbits then that would be a different thing altogether. I still
remember pre battery hen days when chook was a feast day food and I was born
and raised on a poultry farm.
Grass fed beef, slow to maturity, is some of the best I have eaten,
along with bison, which is available locally for us. Harvesting and
storing winter feed is certaily doable, on a limited scale, though work
it is. Most of the time here, snow cover is not total through the
Also, depending upon your location, deer, elk, etc. are there for the
harvesting, at least for now. I used to hunt, and eat whitetail deer.
Still eat some every year, as the boys both hunt and I always help them
butcher. I haven't killed for about ten years, but am able and
prepared to do so.
Same for all sorts of wild meat here in the u$.....fish, frogs,
squirrel, rabbit, wildfowl, upland game and some critters that I have
eaten years ago, such as raccon and some that I haven't been hungry
enough to try yet, such as possum. Depends upon your locale. Have I
read that 'roo is eaten in your country? Should be plenty of them to
Rabbits are simple to raise, and the old idea of having individual
hutches, breeding boxes, etc., is not necessary. We've raised rabbits
in a shed with straw bale shelters, free to roam about the shed, and
they did great and gave us a great harvest.
I've been raising only heirloom garden produce for ten years and saving
seeds. This is *essential* if we want to survive a downturn.
Absolutely essential. I continually recommend heirlooms to people.
I try and maintain a selection that produces in dry climates and in
normally moist years. COvering bases. People alos need to research
what the native peoples rased before modern methods took over......such
as in the u$, where Native Americans raised much maize, beans. and
squashes, all good storage items.
I agree, but the overview and the exhortation to thik about doing for
oneself when the tide turns is the true value of the article.
Maybe, just maybe, some of us will make it. Hope it doesn't go all Mad
Max on us.
Let's see. Gouged by the oil companies (record profits). Consolidation
and subsidizing of food production (Cargill, Archer Daniel Midlands,
Dow). Historic foreign debt and a total American debt of $161,287 per
man, woman and child. Information, mostly controlled by 10 corporations,
that is manufactured to generate consent (Iraq had no-thing to do with
9/11 or WMDs).
Debtor countries required to follow strict rules to repay debt,
reduction of social programs for health and safety, repression of trade
unions, and as in Chile and Argentina, martial law.
We have done it to others and the chickens are coming home to roost.
Who you going to believe? Your President and his gang or your own lying
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