Open Thread

Lots of comments and links lately, I’ve been buried under a few hundred thousand tons of snow here. Shoveled 2′ off the roof last night at 11:00 pm, woke up to a bunch more. Don’t know if I dare walk out there and tempt my fate or not. This is highly unusual for this area, climate change here means SNOW!! At least, until the nuclear bombs start raining down… and then we’ll all be dealing with fallout.

That’s a car under that drift. I won’t be seeing that again for a few months I imagine. I’d already knocked the snow off the tent in the background. That’s my emergency shelter, after losing the two storage buildings a few weeks back.

I’m definitely advocating underground… done right, snowfall won’t be a problem. My search and efforts for a backhoe continues, I simply don’t have two years to dig this out by hand. Underground cistern, water lines and septic system, along with house, root cellar and storage.

A hard winter means a delayed spring, unless things heat up very quickly, I’ll be delaying any plans for a while. Can’t imagine what this is going to mean when all this snow melts, huge runoffs and quit probably some dangerous slides. The roads will be horrific in some areas. Without petroleum, I can’t see how traversing territory like this would even be possible.

Think hard about your landing zone when it all shuts down. I’ve shared that climate change is the big unknown, how will it affect your area? Will it too too dry? Or even too wet? Too cold? What about the jet stream, will it change path and dramatically start affecting your area? Something is happening here it seems, almost like a “lake affect”, with higher then normal snow fall.

Drought continues in many parts of the country, I’ve long expected this situation to continue to migrate further north. But, it’s the weather, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. Stand around long enough and sure as hell, it’ll change on you.

Open thread, have fun.


admin at survivalacres dot com

8 thoughts on “Open Thread

  • January 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Very true about the energy required to live in a snowbound climate.

    I spend most of 2007 in New Brunswick, Canada (a small town called Mirimichi). Even though it was a relatively mild winter (-35C was the coldest), the snow was high enough to be a major pain. I walked to work, amazed at the machines ploughing the roads and sidewalks. How, I wondered, would they do that job without oil?

    This year, the snow fell much harder (luckily, I’d left by then). It hit in mid-November, and last I heard, it was shoudler-high. Going to work was described as “walking through a tunnel”.

    One year there (even a mild one) was enough to cure me of the idea of settling in such a climate. I think you’d have to be born to it, or to be exceptionally driven.

    Which is a shame, as real estate there was ridiculously cheap. I saw a 48 acre hobby farm with a modern farmhouse for sale for about $60K CA.

  • January 27, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Been thinking about the growing of food issue since you posted the question about “who is growing all their food without petroleum.
    I wonder about the seed issue. Obviously, our diets will change since we won’t be getting food from all over the world.
    Meat and ‘taters and garden grown vegggies is what I foresee for me. Plus some of the wild berries etc. locally available. Where I live is far away from population centers and there are plenty elk, ( a herd of 100 passes through here frequently) so meat is not an issue.
    So, back to seeds. It seems to me that one tomato has enough seeds for the whole next planting, same with peppers and other veggies. If I don’t plan on eating grains why won’t my garden be self sustaining without saving 25% ( which is admin’s recomendation)of my crop for seeds.
    Even if I save two tomatoes, pumpkins, squash etc. that is a bunch of seeds. What am I missing?

  • January 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Woot woo!

    I just sent you my first food order– the first of several to come.

    Thank you for being here!


    INRE: gardening for self-sustainability, most sources DO say that it takes ~1/4 acre per person for self-sustainability (plus grains). In saving seeds, also keep in mind that not all seeds in a single fruit will be viable for germination, so it is best to save seeds from several vegetables/fruits, and from several different plants of the same type. Make sure to save from the best and strongest.


  • January 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Seeds….yeah, they’re really not a huge problem for some crops. If you grow an open pollinated variety it should come true to seed the next season. I use the seeds from about 5 tomatoes, 1 pepper, squash, etc…so you are right, there.
    Potato sets are the smaller potatoes and you usually get plenty of those, and sometimes the taters that got too soft to eat…or…there’s a potato you can grow from seed now.

    So yeah…seed-saving isn’t that hard. Onions are a two-year crop in the short season here….carrots produce seed the second year they are grown, so you simply mulch well and overwinter some crops like that. sweet potatoes…an excellent food, are easily slipped with a few tubers, especially if you start a little early.

    As far as grain-like crops…look into amaranth, quinoa; sunflower for oils..possibly…and it’s not at all unusual to grow grains on a small scale outside western civilisation.

    Of course, I favor integrating perennials…fruit trees, shrubs, cane, strawberries…the nice thing about fruit is it’s easily preserved, and nuts keep well, of course.

  • January 27, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you! Already processed, sent you a confirmation. Internet has been intermittent today, so I’m working while I can.

  • January 27, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Other no-till crops we have in zone 4 are: hazelnuts/black walnuts (high protein), chestnuts(very high carb), jerusalem artichokes(blood sugar regulation), and a multitude of native shrubs that have blue-purple berries. These are rich in anthocyanins that are essential for brain functioning(antioxidants too, iron, +vit c,e and a). This is a nutrient almost completely absent in modern diets as the modern strains of blueberry for example no longer have the nutrients.

    These bushes include:native blueberries like rubel/elliott, elderberries-need to be cooked, mulbery, juneberry, bilberry,garden huckleberries/sunberries/wonderberries, black chokcherries,grapes, chokeberries(aronia) and black currant(my favorite) which also has a rich source of essential fatty acids(omega 3), one of the few non -fish/non-mercury contaminated sources(along with flax seeds)

    For no-till chicken forage we have the siberian pea shrub’s whose seeds are 37%protein. For bee forage we have mostly perennial plants, native prairie flowers and legumes. Most of the favorite bee forage are high in EFA’s as well(borage, flax, primrose, anise hyssop, herbs, echium..)

    Tried grain last year, amaranth was impossible to kill had several hot hot weeks with no rain.

    This year we will be adding perennial veggies like good king wenceslaus,sorrel, types of endives and sea kale(which needs mulch over winter)These are also no-till perennials.

  • January 28, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Im also huge on underground, if anyone here is thinking underground or earth sheltered then check out Rob Roys books on Cordwood masonry, Timber Framing and Earth Sheltered Houses. Also check out The Passive Solar House by James Kachadorian for solar slab heat circulation. And of course check out Mike Oehlers books for cost savings.

    I wont lie, I’m probably going to try and build something small in the 350 sq ft size because my money is limited. I dont have the huge cash outlays those authors do.

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