Foodgrowing – Scared Spitless

I just spent most of the last two weeks getting my ass kicked by a virus. When I was feeling like I might live but still too weak to be worth a damn I spent a lot of time catching up on news at home and around the world. We don’t have tv at our home (by design) so most of this was reading online.

When you are working ‘can see to can’t see’ a lot of stuff slips right past you on the periphery of your consciousness. When you take the time to bring it into focus, it’s kind of like seeing a kid when they’re say ten years old and then not seeing them for half a year and you go, “Who the hell is this?” they’ve changed so much. Well I went, hoolleee shit, stuff has really gone in the crapper since I last took the time to really examine things.

I challenge you to back up from your day to day, 24/7 news coverage and compare where you are, and the rest of the world is, compared to last year at this same time. Then compare it to a year before that and just keep going. It will be downright scary. Each day things are just a little worse compared to the day before and we all get so busy that it fails to register, nothing is getting better anymore. Our rights have been trampled, our money, what little we have left, is becoming worthless, stocks are imploding all around the world, shipping is down and the cost of virtually everything is going up. If I tell a crass joke I’m at risk of being cited for racist or some other kind of speech.

A therein is where being scared comes into this food growing thing. There’s an old joke “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the bottom”. After getting caught up on the news these past weeks I’ve come to the conclusion the entire world is in free fall. If you are not mentally, spiritually, physically, skills, supplies, tools and group ready for the sudden stop that’s coming up, your existence is going to be in a world of hurt.

I’ve shared a little about growing a truck garden. I almost feel I’ve done you a disservice in sharing this information because it is only part of the picture, a small part of the picture.

I want you to, as soon as you finish reading the next couple of sentences, to do what I ask you to do, really do it – then come back to this article. Go into your kitchen or pantry and open the door to your storage cupboards. Take an inventory of what you can’t live without, then inventory what you don’t want to live without. Do the same thing with your refrigerator. Now add in the things that you are out of and need to run to the store to get. I’ll do the same thing here. After you are done come back to this article.

Ok, I’m back and as much as I hate to say it, I’ll bet the vast majority of you never bothered to move away from the computer. I’ve shared this before, don’t remember if it was here or not but when the crash happens I don’t want to just survive, I want to enjoy life. Come a Sunday morning I don’t want instant oatmeal from a foil package for breakfast. I want a two egg omelet with bacon and diced tomatoes, diced peppers, chopped mushrooms, a spoon or two of cottage cheese, maybe a sprinkling of sausage, fresh grated cheddar cheese, a healthy dose of sour cream and several shots of tobasco sauce. Which would you rather have? How about a strawberry waffle smothered in fresh butter and whipped topping? Maybe bacon, two eggs over easy and hashbrowns with a short stack beside ’em. These menu options sure beats those survival rations.

Back to our list of food things from the kitchen (or even our list of ingredients for the above few meals). How many of them do you know how to grow, raise or make? How many of them are you prepared to do starting tomorrow? Folks, I have to tell you, and maybe I’m preaching to the choir, but most of you aren’t ready for the coming shit storm and your group, if you have one, isn’t ready either. They probably think they are because they’re all up on their SUT and have a whole armory of AR15’s and ammo by the pallet load. They don’t have just a first aid kit, everyone of theirs is a IFAK. They have comms and battle plans and night vision and….

Here’s how the coming crash is going to get you and it’s not because you don’t have enough beans, bullets and band aids. It will get you because, without of lifetime of experience doing it, you can’t do it all and the people you have helping you won’t care as much you do about what needs to be done. I had a guy covering chores for me while I was down. He only had time to do just the minimum each day, checking the water and feeding stock. This still took him about four hours each day. All the other things just kind of slid on by because there was no one to pay attention. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitching about the job he did and he did it without complaint on top of his own full schedule.

But Friday I get out to the barn and damned if a milk cow, who was due to drop a calf next month, hasn’t dropped twin calves, a little bull and a little heifer, in the barn. They’re both at least two days dead. Now I’m not going to say if I was up and about that they would have lived but when you are around stock day in and day out you just naturally keep track of how they’re doing. I most likely would have noticed something was going on with her. Not only that but the afterbirth has hung up in her and rotten afterbirth makes a skunk smell like the sweetest perfume. I had to go in, pop the button and clean her out, a nasty bit work let me tell you. Anyway, two lost beef animals, a cow that has come fresh and not been milked in three days. A whole lot of grief.

Later I’m taking a walk around what I call the home place and over in a corner, hidden out of sight, is a ewe on her back in a small depression in the ground, she’s deader than a doornail. She was due to lamb any day now. Hell’s bells and panther tracks, I don’t need any more bad news. Between the calves and ewe the coyotes will be eating well tonight.

This is what is going to get you in the long term when you are surviving. Your one and only of anything is going to die, fail, break or what have you and all you’ll be left with is a big dumb look on your face as you realize you may as well bend over, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

Folks if you haven’t already, you better be putting together a knowledge base of information in hard form. You better be making the time available to practice putting that knowledge to use. You better be learning how to make things, not just what you eat. You better be learning how to do things.

When I had to clean the cow out I had a fellow with me that has nearly seventy years of country living under his belt. He’s one of the most widely read guys I know and he had no idea what to do to deal with hung afterbirth.

You better be thinking about where your meat, poultry and dairy as well as your garden veggies is going to come from. You better be learning how to be a mechanic and how mechanical things work. You better be developing an understanding of electricity, water, energy and medicine, shit the list is almost endless, or you better be looking for people to include in your group that has this kind of knowledge.

Folks, I’m scared for you, and you’re out of time.

PS as soon as Wirecutter figures out how to get the seed starting article up I have a couple of food growing articles lined out to follow it, I promise.

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20 Responses to Foodgrowing – Scared Spitless

  1. Alex says:

    I don’t mean to be snarky but all those preps you are talking about had been developed over the centuries and in total is called civilization. You see we’ve already done that once and now we want to do it all individually again. So now a guy who is a stock broker all his life has to become a mechanic, electrician, plumber, farmer, probably thief, rifleman. Not gonna happen. There will be lots of theft and burglarizing at first till that runs out. Look at Syria after years of fighting, what did those folks do? They either died or they became refugees and got out. Thank you Germany. So see, they had somewhere to go. Many had outside help, Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, U.S. Gov food drops, etc. Having grown a large vegetable garden for 13 years now, growing veggies for summer starts in the previous fall with much planning. If there is a drought, I know you are aware, not having enough water will ruin everything, plants and animals. Water is pumped with electric pumps mostly from reservoirs or lakes or aquifers. I don’t have an answer but keep in mind many will die. We live in a fallen world full of convicts, a prison really. It may help to view each other as prisoners and we are here for a reason.

    • foodgrower says:

      Yes, in many cases your points are correct. However, when civilization breaks down you have two choices, die or survive as there won’t be any becoming a refugee and having outside help from the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders and the rest of your list and many more. We won’t have a Germany or any other country or place willing to take itself into a death spiral and welcoming us with open arms and free living. I believe in Christ and Christian principals yet I have had to come to grips with the fact I won’t be able to save everyone and at some point if I help someone else survive, I may condemn me and mine to death. I pray that I never have to face it but I have already intellectualized it. A grim reality to be sure.

      The stock broker either better have some skills, or a very strong back because nature does not tolerate freeloaders for very long and his lifetime of stockbroking skills will be absolutely worthless as nature returns to her most base form.

      With the collapse of technology, knowledge and skills will be even more important. In an area with a scant six to eight inches of annual rainfall I know where there are several year round springs. That is knowledge that means life. You don’t necessarily get that knowledge from a book, you get it from experience.

      Eventually one can hope that some semblance of “civilization” will return but until that possible eventuality becomes a reality if you are not a maker, your only other option will be to be a taker and in a zero sum environment, takers will not be tolerated.

      I don’t wish to imply there is no hope, for where there is life there is always hope, but the time for people to have a hand in their hope is rapidly running out.

      Thanks for the discussion.

      foodgrower

  2. MM says:

    If the SHTF then millions will die in the first 30 days. Then there will be a slower and much larger die off as the needed skills are not available. I know everyone wants to live but in a country that will degenerate into desperation very rapidly as the thin veneer of civilization is peeled away, seriously, do you want a seat on a life boat like that?

    It’ll be much harder for younger people to accept that. Me, I’ve lived a long full life and though I would like to enjoy as much more as possible, I could walk away looking back and know it was quite a party.

    So while I’m a very handy guy, can still get a tight grouping and enjoy gardening in the summer, I’ll keep doing what makes me happy, which is working with glass. I just don’t have the time or inclination to become an expert at self sufficiency.

    I do have money overseas and am working on a second passport but that’s about as far as I’ll go in the just in case department.

  3. Steve in CA says:

    Dude, you’re got the wrong mindset. If things go tits up in the US of A, there won’t be any other place to go.

    • MM says:

      That’s not necessarily true. The 2 most probable SHTF scenarios are an EMP or a financial collapse. Countries like Chile-where I’m working on obtaining my second passport-or Singapore-where I have money invested and saved-will not be the target of EMPs and both countries are very financially sound.

      You labor under the false impression that the world will end without the United States-it won’t. It certainly will be a less hospitable place but life will go on else where.

  4. lineman says:

    Why do you think I keep pushing so hard on forming Community’s that are self sufficient…

    • Wirecutter says:

      Agreed. Small self sufficient communities are the only ones that’s going to survive. Certain skill sets are essential to the survival of the community as a whole, such as Gamegetter’s mass feeding classes.

      I do a lot of research on small towns in my area and the census back after the town had been established for a while was pretty damned interesting. There was your town blacksmith, cooper, several stores, a couple saloons, and about a billion farmers. You can break that down to the owners of large acreage who are raising crops for export and that still leaves a lot for farmers that are actively providing that town with food through trade and commerce. But my point being is there were enough people with the right skill sets living in that area.
      Nowadays, we’d be fucked. I thought I knew enough about gardening to survive – until I started reading foodgrower’s articles. I think most folks are like that. Same thing with metal or woodworking – I’ve done it, but not without modern tools. Raising livestock? I know the bare bones basics, but that’s only from living in an ag area for so long.

      You can arm up all you want and think you can isolate yourself, but sooner or later you’re gonna need something that somebody else has, and you can’t eat bullets.

      • lineman says:

        Exactly right Brother… Keep telling people that and they think as long as they have beans, bullets, and bandaids they will be fine…Even Preppers, Survalist, have normalcy bias…If you don’t have a group times are going to be much harder maybe even deadly no matter how well your prepared… Look I’m probably one of the most prepared of your readers since I have had a six figured income since I was 20 and have been preparing for over 10 years…I live in probably one of the best spots in the US for survivability and I still know I need more tribe because I know I can’t do it alone…I have made friends with a lot of my neighbors and they are a wealth of knowledge and help but I know that is still not enough… If we don’t have a Community set up and in play by the time it crashes its going to be rougher than shit…Problem is that by the time people wake up to that fact because its gotten so bad it will be to late to do anything but survive the best we can…Look at this article this guy is a self sufficient guy and he still has to hire someone to come and do chores when he goes down…If he had tribe they would have been there to support him and they would of had the same concern about his livelihood because they knew the importance of it to their survival…I could go on for hours about the importance of this…

        • foodgrower says:

          Actually I didn’t hire anyone, he helped me out just as I’ve helped him out in the past and we’ve both helped others out over time and been help back – a community of tribe, if you will.

          Also, had we been in a real post SHFT situation I would have had much closer and immediate help in the form of family and close associates as school and work and various and sundry things like shopping and hair appointments and doctors visits would not have been occurring, but your point is taken.

          The main thrust of my intent was to nudge people that have always had the benefits of modern civilization to become aware of just how vast the gulf between their current lifestyle and what is in store when the bottom falls out.

          Not everyone will make it, if the official estimates are anywhere near accurate (I think they under project) ninety percent will not survive but I write these for the ones that would like the chance to at least improve their odds of being one of the ten percent that do survive.

          The biggest problem with tribe is being sure that the man that has your back doesn’t stick a knife in it.

          Good discussion

          foodgrower

    • gamegetterII says:

      Same reason I keep pushing the mobile kitchen,and saying people need to learn how to cook for their tribe when there ain’t no natural gas,or electric stoves and ovens,and the last bottle of propane just ran out.
      Because it’s something that we have to do,or we won’t make it.
      No one’s going to make by themselves-that’s pure fantasy.

      • Wirecutter says:

        Ask somebody what the proper hearth/flue ratio is when building a chimney that will draw properly. The past 5 generations have forgotten more survival skills than we can ever hope to reacquire.

  5. rightwingterrorist says:

    Heh.
    Guess I got lucky.
    I’ve been sick for the last 3 weeks or so, probably bronchitis turned into pneumonia, but I’m doing better.
    Lost one of my best laying hens today.
    Something got it. A bunch of feathers and it was dead nearby without any visible wounds.
    Sort of thinking it was my dog, and if it was…
    See, once they start, they don’t stop.

    • Odgreen says:

      This may ring hollow on those who don’t “Trust in the Lord always, lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” but if you believe that and follow it, you may die but you’ll live forever. We grow our own stuff, milk cow, sheep and hogs too but if you aren’t looking for that “bright day coming when the wicked will not stand” then it’s all folly. I know I’ll probably be flamed for this but it’s ok, married to the same beautiful Godly woman for 33 years, 7 well behaved, homeschooled patriot children, I don’t care, it’s good to feel like whatever happens, we’re going to be ok. Foodgrower, you have wonderful words of wisdom, God tells us, above all, get wisdom. Thanks Kenny for allowing my rant, I appreciate it.

      • foodgrower says:

        Truth

        Thirty three years here as well only four kids though, I’m not as tough as you. vbg

        foodgrower

    • gamegetterII says:

      Raccoons got 4 of ours plus a rooster last summer,they just killed ’em,didn’t eat ’em.
      Got one trying to get to the 3 that are left-He hasn’t been able to get to ’em so far,I put up extra chicken wire,and made a wood frame covered with chicken wire to go over the fence around the front of hen house.
      If it’s ‘coons killing your hens-take Wisco Dave’s advice-use a golf club. I tried shooting with an air rifle because I can’t shoot on our side of the road-(it’s national park,got to cross the road to discharge firearms)-had to shoot them 3-4 times with a 1200fps .177 cal. air rifle.
      Just bash the evil little fuckers with a 9 iron-much more effective.

      • rightwingterrorist says:

        Oh, I do quite well with critter control.
        I’m the only guy that I know locally who actively traps and predator hunts.

        …and the hits keep on coming.
        Lost an American Blackbelly lamb last night, it was about a week old.
        It just disappeared.
        I guess I’ll set some traps closer to the pasture, but I have seen a rather large Red-tailed Hawk around lately. I wonder if it is big enough to snatch up that lamb.
        Coyotes and coon generally give my place a wide berth, as they usually end up dead.

        • gamegetterII says:

          Maybe a red or gray fox?
          A hawk snatched a friends rooster right in front of him,in his back yard.

          • rightwingterrorist says:

            Looks like I lost one of my Rhode Island Reds.
            If it’s a fox, coyote, or coon I’ve a hand full more traps set.
            I’m starting to get irate.

  6. Malgus says:

    I stop by from time to time to see what you’ve written. Don’t comment much, but enjoy your posts…

    Let me get to the point – if a nuke is biffed high enough (above the ionosphere), it will set up a monster EMP via what’s called The Compton Effect. This is supercharging the EMP. Anything within LOS will be blown back to the 16th century, technology-wise. We will be – in a word – fucked.

    I’ve been on the prepping trail for going on 15 years now. Unless you have a giant pile of disposable discretionary cash laying around, prepping for a family takes time and a fair bit of forward planning. But buying stuff like your basic B’s isn’t going to cut it. Given a big enough black swan, those supplies WILL run out. Then what, cowboy?

    We bought a small farm 6 years ago. Reclaimed a horse pasture gone to weeds. Space is at a premium, so anything useless or superfluous was made gone. Planted a small orchard. Apples, nuts, plums.. stuff we could not only subsist on, but actually make other stuff from – apple jack, plum wine, ‘shine, crushed walnut hulls (for dye and as a polishing media), etc – so for our own use or for trade. Assembling a good number of hand tools and learning how to use them – I mean things like various planes, bits and brace, how to make trennels properly (look it up), old construction techniques, etc.

    Think of it as middle 19th century Living History – because that’s about as good as you’re gonna get. Aside from things like the rare Pre-1980 vehicle that doesn’t have the electronics to burn out or perhaps a laptop that you squirreled away in a Faraday Cage, you’re either gonna have to run what you brung, or learn to make what you need. Books telling you HOW to make those things do exist. Anyone wanting a list can just ask… I might post them anyway, just to help y’all.

    I won’t get into the doom and gloom shit. There’s enough of that around as it is. I will offer some caveats: Silver buys food. Gold buys your life. Lead will get you both. But, you can’t eat any of them.

    Learning how to grow stuff is fine, but you need to learn good techniques – you just don’t throw seeds at the ground and then harvest pizzas 4 months later. You need to practice composting religiously.

    Why? Because without our technology, fixed nitrogen goes out the window – which means a great deal, being as all our fertilizers (and a great deal of other things) are made using fixed nitrogen techniques. I won’t get into the HOW – you can look that up on your own – but what it means is unless you have a mechanical and chemical engineer at your disposal and a light manufacturing facility that still has power, you probably won’t see any of it again in your lifetime…

    So that means you have to learn how to compost, how to rotate your crops, how to control pests without pesticides, etc…

    Last thing is TRIBE UP!

    Find likeminded folks and tribe up with them. Mutual support and defense. No man can do everything, but everyone knows how to do something. Plus, whatever they’re into can augment you and yours. Like eggs but can’t stand yard-bird coz they’re dirty and nasty? Then trade the wool from your sheep for eggs with the guy down the road. Or maybe a quart of high test shine for a few dozen eggs – it’s more than just booze, you know. 200 proof shine is one helluva parts degreaser and is also useful for wound cleaning, sterilizing instruments, etc. You just don’t kill brain cells with it…

    That’s all I got. Good luck to y’all.

    M

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