AuthorTopic: A Time of Seven Generations  (Read 13588 times)

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2017, 05:17:30 PM »
The answer to RE's question though, IMO, as of now, 100% self sufficiency is not possible in our society for INDIVIDUALS, or even small nuclear families.  As Eddie pointed out, 90% is possible, but not 100%.  It takes community...period.  And lots of people are going to die.  It's too late to do anything about that now.
Of course, as long as your resources are large compared to your needs, 100% self-sufficiency IS possible, even on the family or individual level.  Just look at that one family in Russia that survived for decades in the remote Siberian wilderness.  Besides lack of competition, you also have to be willing to go down to the barest level of survival to achieve 100% self-sufficiency at that scale.

And of course, on a generational scale, it's pointless.... either you are going to have severe inbreeding, or you will go extinct.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2017, 05:21:06 PM »
One of the first things I cover with new permie clients is exactly what you just stated JDW.  I say something like "you have to want to be engaged with your landscape if you have a permaculture design.  If it is successful then you will have to harvest all of those apples and berries because if you don't they will end up on the ground and it will become a mess and attract unwanted wild life."  Something like that.  This is important when you live in McMansionville and have an HOA (I have such a client). 
Ironically, my blackberries don't end up on the ground -- in the middle of winter, the dried up berries are still on the canes.  I keep swearing that I am going harvest the dried berries (when I cut out the dead canes) and add them to my chicken scratch.  Then I invoke my mantra... "Maybe this year, maybe next".

I have a client that was telling me that she cuts her canes.  I wasn't aware that's what you are supposed to do.  Why?  Wild blackberries don't get cut, and they are hugely prolific?  What gives?

Is this sort of the same as the debate between whether you should prune your fruit trees or not?  I know Mark Shepard doesn't.  He has the s.t.u.n. method for his trees (sheer total utter neglect).  I agree with his assessment on that (although I do lightly prune my fruit trees just to keep branches from crossing one another...but I only have like 15 fruit trees and he's got hundreds). 

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2017, 05:31:26 PM »
The answer to RE's question though, IMO, as of now, 100% self sufficiency is not possible in our society for INDIVIDUALS, or even small nuclear families.  As Eddie pointed out, 90% is possible, but not 100%.  It takes community...period.  And lots of people are going to die.  It's too late to do anything about that now.
Of course, as long as your resources are large compared to your needs, 100% self-sufficiency IS possible, even on the family or individual level.  Just look at that one family in Russia that survived for decades in the remote Siberian wilderness.  Besides lack of competition, you also have to be willing to go down to the barest level of survival to achieve 100% self-sufficiency at that scale.

And of course, on a generational scale, it's pointless.... either you are going to have severe inbreeding, or you will go extinct.

I mean by that measure you can be 100% self sufficient by hunting and gathering wild plants and shrooms.  Just in my yard I can eat the burdock, plantain, clover, chickweed, dandelion, queen anns lace, wild onion, wild garlic...and that's just the wild shit I could eat.  Never mind all of the perennial food crops I have, or the annuals I grow every year.

Then there are a couple hundred acres of "deer woods" behind my house that I could hunt deer, rabbit, squirrel, racoon, bear, turkey, and wild hogs in with my 30/30.  Then there are the snakes and other wild birds like dove, robin, and mockingbird that I could shoot and eat with my 12 gauge.  Plus there are the rodents that could be trapped and ate, and then there are all of the bugs that I could eat. 

Plus I have chickens I could eat (and I have a rooster so I could make more chickens). 

Staying alive is not that difficult if you are willing to eat bugs and wild plants.  I would not eat bugs because I would not need to.  I would hunt for meat, there is plenty of it, and I would cultivate annuals and perennials like I am already doing. 

And I have enough preps to easily make it 6 months just on the preps with my family of 5. 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 05:33:08 PM by luciddreams »

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2017, 05:48:50 PM »
I have a client that was telling me that she cuts her canes.  I wasn't aware that's what you are supposed to do.  Why?  Wild blackberries don't get cut, and they are hugely prolific?  What gives?

Is this sort of the same as the debate between whether you should prune your fruit trees or not?
Almost exactly!

When I get around to it, I will cut first year canes while they are dormant right where they start to bend down.  While cutting off the tip of the berries, it forces them to put more fruit into the side branches.  If you do it before they are dormant, though, they just grow longer side branches.  After dormancy is broken, they won't put more fruit into the side branches.

It's really unnecessary, but it probably doubles their productivity for about an hour or two total work per season.

Cutting out the dead canes is just a matter of making it easier to harvest the berries -- also unnecessary, but worthwhile in terms of increasing harvest speed more than the time spent removing dead canes.  This can be done anytime after the leaves turn brown.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2017, 06:02:47 PM »
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!
I think this will be a case of fast-slow mosaic collapse.  I predict 1000 years from now, if anyone is still alive, there will be someone who knows how to make metal tools.  But in many locations, the supply of metal tools (cheaply-made) will be gone 10 years after TSHTF and no one locally will have any idea how to make more.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2017, 06:05:22 PM »
There seems to be an obssession with steel tools here.  Even now steel is so expensive that it is effectively not available to the world's poor, so they use alternative materials as they have done for millennia.

A wooden plough powered by oxen and a man:



Wooden spade:



Wood and stone adze:



Wood and stone axe:



Wood and stone hammer:



And from my own collection of hand tools found within 30 metres of my house:



There's certain places in my creek bed where the recent currents have swept the sediment away leaving the local pebbles exposed.  I expect the kids were sent to collect any handy-looking rocks every day, to give them something useful to do and keep them out of the kitchen while Mum gets on with the cooking.

These rocks include quartz, which when heated in the fire and then dropped into cold water, shatter to produce razor-sharp edges.  They blunt very quickly but hey, there's always more quartz rocks.

Blocks of oysters bound in coral limestone can be found on the exposed coastal headlands, and carried inland like this one was.



The shells are very fragile, so this pointed tool could only have been used for very delicate work like painting dots on skin.



String is made from the bark on the ends of fig tree branches, soaked until the woody parts peel off from the fibre, then plaited multiple times, then dried - wet again before use, then dried in situ, and sealed with gum from Bloodwood.

Come on you guys, you're still thinking hi-tech, and want things to last more than 100 years.  Start thinking primitive.  There's going to be no TV, so what are you going to do round the campfire at night but hone your stone tools and plait string?  - yeah, I know, play your electric guitar, power by solar panels and stored in lead-acid batteries.

"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2017, 06:20:46 PM »
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!
I think this will be a case of fast-slow mosaic collapse.  I predict 1000 years from now, if anyone is still alive, there will be someone who knows how to make metal tools.  But in many locations, the supply of metal tools (cheaply-made) will be gone 10 years after TSHTF and no one locally will have any idea how to make more.
If we have not reestablished a multi layered local economy with either local currency or barter and some specialization within 100 years we are dead as a species.  As a proponent of the slower collapse school I think some of us make it.  There is no telling  if the secret sauce is relearned by North Americans though.  We are very self centered as a culture with huge blinders pretending if WE don't make it the species ends.  Why us?  Lots of parts of the world live way closer to a subsistence existence  then us.  The smart money should be on them adapting fast enough and eventually repopulating our wastelands.... There's some doom for you!
Truth be told I know I can provide about 25 % of my calories right now.  I live with 100000 acres of crown land behind my property and 12 lakes within a 30 minute walk though.  I think deer, fish, and cattail root's would be my staple foods.  Maybe Me and mine make it, I don't know.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 06:33:34 PM by David B. »
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline Farmer McGregor

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2017, 06:49:52 PM »
Bill (Mollison) asserts that if just 10%of the people of the world undertook this form of self-sufficiency, we could feed the world.

My first question here for this thread is whether this is really true?  Could 10% of the population feed everyone else, all 7.3B people currently walking the earth?
No.

This statement, supposedly from BM, sounds taken out of context, or else it's just more of the Permacultist (no I did not misspell that) fantasy; "Permaculture can save the world!"  And pigs can fly.  Well, there's always Eddie's piggies and a trebuchet... ;)

Too many variables go unstated here: on which part of the planet are we going to build this Permaculture Paradise?  Where the populations reside, or in the prime equatorial rain forests with year-round growing and plenty of water?  How will this food be distributed because we know that the population, especially here in the USA, doesn't necessarily live where the food can be grown, especially since we paved over the best of it!

It's a bogus proposal, a fantasy.
I'd love to elaborate to discuss the positive sides of making the effort; things we can and should and are doing that will make a big difference in the future, but I just can't take the time -- I need to go work on the doing of those things.  It's too large of a topic.  Cheers! 
--Greg
For years we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. This is a mistake. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billions of dollars to the agribusiness industry.  --Wendell Berry after the 2008 crash

Offline RE

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2017, 07:25:43 PM »
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!

I'm quite aware you can make charcoal from wood and use it to smelt iron.  That's how the Romans burned down all their forests.  It's a very energy intensive process.

Even more than the heat though being in short supply, high quality iron ore is also in short supply, and in hard to reach places that require heavy equipment to dig it up, then railroads to bring it where it can be smelted for the iron.  Over the millenia since the beginning of the Iron Age we mined out all the EZ to reach places.

Is there a good source of iron ore within 100 mile radius of your doomstead?  Could you mine it without a Caterpillar Back Hoe and Front End Loader?

Remember also, this is just Iron, not steel which you need Coke for, and certainly not any fancy alloys that are resistant to rusting.

So the fancy garden shears, the post hole diggers, the metal shovels...all going bye-bye.  Not in your lifetime, but pretty certainly by the lifetime of your great-grandchildren.  Are you going to have the knowledge to pass down to them for how to live without metal tools?

RE
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 07:34:36 PM by RE »
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Offline RE

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2017, 07:42:10 PM »
I'd love to elaborate to discuss the positive sides of making the effort; things we can and should and are doing that will make a big difference in the future, but I just can't take the time -- I need to go work on the doing of those things.  It's too large of a topic.  Cheers! 
--Greg

You keep saying that, but it's a bogus excuse.  You don't need to address the whole topic in one post.  You start a thread on the topic, and then while you are eating breakfast you multi task and keyboard out 2 or 3 paragraphs on the subject.  Before you know it, in a week or two you have a fully fleshed out topic.

People who say they don't have time to write really are just too lazy to write.  Everybody has enough time, except maybe slaves in a Soth African Gold Mine.

RE
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2017, 07:56:43 PM »
I know this wasn't the original slant but funny enough I live about 10 km from the Irondale river.  Iron ore is everywhere here.  They did not shut down the pick and shovel mines of the 19th century because they ran out of ore they did it because they could not compete with machinery and open pits.  Could I recreate the entire technological suite of the 19th century? Of course not.  My view has always been that the doomsteading is stage one after the "oh shit now what" moment.  A localized economy with some specialization will reemerge. If not here then somewhere else.  I think my biggest weakness here is lack of arable land and lack of population density to allow said specialization. What can you do you play the cards you have.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 08:00:04 PM by David B. »
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline RE

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2017, 08:04:07 PM »
My first thought would be that the iron age did not start with the fossil fuel age but ran on charcoal made from wood.  The roman legions had iron swords, tools, armour all forged on biomass.  The plows of the middle ages were mostly wood but the leading edges were iron.  All before the first piece of coal left the mine.  Huge collapse sure but iron is here to stay.

Thanks for the history I was looking for David, I couldn't agree more.  I knew that metal hand tools would not be disappearing, but I didn't have the stored knowledge and did not feel like researching it. 

It will be interesting to see what RE says about this now!

I'm quite aware you can make charcoal from wood and use it to smelt iron.  That's how the Romans burned down all their forests.  It's a very energy intensive process.

Even more than the heat though being in short supply, high quality iron ore is also in short supply, and in hard to reach places that require heavy equipment to dig it up, then railroads to bring it where it can be smelted for the iron.  Over the millenia since the beginning of the Iron Age we mined out all the EZ to reach places.

Is there a good source of iron ore within 100 mile radius of your doomstead?  Could you mine it without a Caterpillar Back Hoe and Front End Loader?

Remember also, this is just Iron, not steel which you need Coke for, and certainly not any fancy alloys that are resistant to rusting.

So the fancy garden shears, the post hole diggers, the metal shovels...all going bye-bye.  Not in your lifetime, but pretty certainly by the lifetime of your great-grandchildren.  Are you going to have the knowledge to pass down to them for how to live without metal tools?

RE

Also, we can't even go back the Bronze Age.  We've also mined up all the EZ to reach Copper & Tin. We've also used up most of the good sand for making concrete.

The New Stone Age is on the Horizon.  The tools PY put up pics of are the ones you need to learn how to make out of locally available materials.

Stone Knives & Bearskins Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/yfJXd0rSCqo" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/yfJXd0rSCqo</a>

RE
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2017, 08:16:29 PM »
We will have to agree to disagree... strongly. Our dumps offer a concentration of ores our mining ancestors could never imagine.  A single steel tower skeleton would provide hundreds of tons of steel.  Most of the resources used in steel go into the original blooming from raw ore.  We would not be back to that stage for centuries at least.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline RE

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2017, 08:18:55 PM »
I know this wasn't the original slant but funny enough I live about 10 km from the Irondale river.  Iron ore is everywhere here.  They did not shut down the pick and shovel mines of the 19th century because they ran out of ore they did it because they could not compete with machinery and open pits.  Could I recreate the entire technological suite of the 19th century? Of course not.  My view has always been that the doomsteading is stage one after the "oh shit now what" moment.  A localized economy with some specialization will reemerge. If not here then somewhere else.  I think my biggest weakness here is lack of arable land and lack of population density to allow said specialization. What can you do you play the cards you have.

Yes, there are still some places with iron ore, but they're usually not 10km away from the location of good arable land which is generally bottom land around rivers.  We have lots of minerals still packed in the mountains up here, including plenty of coal left too for a small population.

However, it is unlikely any of the metal tools we make up here will make it down to the Lower 48.  Remember, your economy is going to be local, and you're not going to get much coming from far away.

Even if you can make some basic Iron tools, they're not the same kind of refined metal alloy, machined tools you are accustomed to using.  An iron shovel or plow sheathing is going to rust PDQ, which means more smelting to make new ones more often, which means more burning of wood to make charcoal, which means you burn through your Food Forest.  See the Romans for this.

For a truly sustainable system, you can't use metal.  You can only use renewable resources that are local to your area.

RE
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Offline RE

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Re: Self-Sufficiency: Can it be achieved in time?
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2017, 08:23:42 PM »
We will have to agree to disagree... strongly. Our dumps offer a concentration of ores our mining ancestors could never imagine.  A single steel tower skeleton would provide hundreds of tons of steel.  Most of the resources used in steel go into the original blooming from raw ore.  We would not be back to that stage for centuries at least.

First of all, those steel towers will crumble and rust without regular maintenance.  They will collapse to rubble over time.  Maybe they stay standing 200 years. Maybe.

Second, how is the person who has no blow torch going to carve up those massive girders into usable sections he can carry with him back to wherever his doomstead is?  ???  :icon_scratch:

RE
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