Log in

No account? Create an account
27 February 2013 @ 10:40 am
retreat! retreat!  

I awakened this morning with the not-unfamiliar conviction that the only smart thing to do would be return to Alaska’s North Road and homestead in preparation for coming social and climate collapse.

I assume this is perfectly normal.

In the modern world with modern technology, with enough time and patience (and money, but time and patience would trump *huge* amounts of money), I think even I could create a satisfyingly self-sufficient homestead. I mean, there are a thousand-million things I’d have to learn, like what crops you can grow besides potatoes on the North Road, but potatoes are a very good staple food. There’s a guy out in Bethel who is doing buried-greenhouse growing, and is starting to be able to deliver fresh veg to the villages on the Alaskan west coast; that’s clearly something you’d want to pursue.

Heritage grains, insofar as they can be grown there. If the greenhouses were successful, non-local fruits and vegetables would be great. Berries grow well in the short summers there, though: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants are all local berries and could very easily be cultivated as well as picked in the wild.

The salmon runs may be badly depleted these days, but a dipnet, some patience, and a smokehouse will go a long way toward getting you through the winter. Add a moose or caribou or two and you’re in pretty good shape. Obviously a few cattle and pigs would be really ideal. Cultivating beehives would be *smart*. I wouldn’t know anything about how to get other kinds of sugar in a post-collapse society, so yeah, beehives.

Immediately available energy resources: Solar panels, obviously. One does not wish to waste 20 hours of daily summertime sunlight. Runoff water storage. Timber–this is one of the reasons I’d want to return to Alaska. (Also because the population there is very low, even now.) Clear the land, dry the timber, perhaps build with it, definitely use it as fuel. Use modern building techniques and insulate the house to perfection; run a deep heat sink to use solar power from the ground as well as what falls out of the sky. And if you’re homesteading, if you *can*, you’re gonna find a chunk of land with a river or stream running through it, so you can harness that for energy needs as well.

You’d want to lay T1 or some other kind of broadband, for as long as the internet remained viable, but what you’d really want is a thousand thousand books about farming, first aid, subsistence, etc.

Nearly everything would of course be vastly easier with modern equipment and the fuel to run it on, but this is why one would want to do it *in advance*, you know.

The question of post-collapse security comes up, because hey, paranoia. One way to protect is is to build deep, so there’s less visible on the surface as a target. Not flaunting one’s wealth, also, but the truth is you can still have a very private life in Alaska if you choose to, so while you might want to stock up on massive fencing materials for if things got really bad, probably you’d be okay for quite a while. Society’s probably not going to collapse overnight; you’d have time to prepare for unfriendly neighbors.

Yes. Yes, I have been reading too much doomsaying climate change stuff recently. Why do you ask? On the other hand, this is the kind of thing I think about anyway. Don’t you?

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Geek of Weird Shit: weldinggows on February 27th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
Considering that I have been learning through experience how to do quite a bit of this over the last several years, yes, this is something I think about often. Not in preparation for The End Of The World, but because I believe self-reliance is a good skill to have.
kitmizkit on February 27th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
You are, and I am not joking when I say this, in many ways living the Good Life, one that I envy in terms of this kind of thing. I admire you enormously for it.

You can handle the goats at our Alaskan retreat. :)
(no subject) - gows on February 28th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gows on February 28th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - irishkate on March 1st, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on March 1st, 2013 01:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Bryantbryant on February 27th, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
Relevant link one which you may already have: http://www.resilientcommunities.com

Relevant link two which you may already have: http://opensourceecology.org/gvcs.php
kitmizkit on February 27th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
I have neither of those, and can see many long hours of enthralled reading in my future. :)
Seconding Links - amberley on February 28th, 2013 01:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Seconding Links - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
freyaw: evil meerkatfreyaw on February 27th, 2013 03:25 pm (UTC)
Buckwheat. They grow buckwheat in Scandinavia, so I assume that (although technically not a grain) it can be grown in Alaska. Google says that it is a grainlike thing for short growing seasons. It's too hot for it here in South Australia :-P

What I want to do is make a biogas generator for cooking fuel. Wood for heat, yes (insofar as one actually needs heat in South Australia, the land of no frost unless it doesn't rain in winter) but now that I've gotten used to it, I like cooking on my gas stove. The one I have plans for uses blackwater to create burnable gas.
kitmizkit on February 27th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a flipping awesome generator. *waits with fascination*

Also, I didn't know that about buckwheat. Cool! Good to know!
UrsulaVursulav on February 27th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
See, I've come to the point where I'm on too many medications, so if society collapses, I'll just quietly die of Things.

...and anyway, you'll need a source of manure.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 27th, 2013 05:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
silkiemom on February 27th, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
Would you need bees to pollinate anything that you'd grow?
kitmizkit on February 27th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
I truly do not know! Probably. They pollinate a lot. Apples, for example.
(no subject) - liralen on February 27th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 09:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 09:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
Chrysoulachrysoula on February 27th, 2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
Not as much since having children; they make me have panic attacks about any kind of end of the world scenario. Maybe when they're older?

I do comfort myself sometimes that my skill in spinning gives me _some_ value after the apocalypse.
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on February 27th, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
Clearly I need to learn to raise moose. Them's good eatin'. Er. Rather, them's lotsa eatin'.
kitmizkit on February 28th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
Caribou (reindeer) are really the ones people raise. :)
HL Henriksonveilofgrace on February 27th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)

I love your LJ. Just sayin'.
HL Henrikson: victorianveilofgrace on February 28th, 2013 10:34 am (UTC)
Also? I'm a birth doula. Which is kind of like a post-collapse epidural, only lots healthier. No giant needles, either! Somebody has to provide human services beyond survival, right? (I'd say this question had nothing to do with my choice to become a doula, but...er...well, my pants would be on fire. Just a little.)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 01:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - veilofgrace on March 4th, 2013 11:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Childlightchildlight on February 28th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC)
We are planning to move back out to the country. One of the things I want to do there is set up bee hives. I am somewhat terrified of bees. But we need honeybees for so many reasons and they are disappearing. So hives it is. I also want chickens and maybe a goat.
kitmizkit on February 28th, 2013 01:10 pm (UTC)
Chickens are exceedingly practical, yeah. And I gather you get used to the bees after a while, so just be brave for a bit! <3 :)
(no subject) - peartreealley on February 28th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on February 28th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
-peartreealley on February 28th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
*chuckles* Not so extreme, but yeah, we've been trying to get more self sufficient on our large-ish city lot, mostly for the fun and joy of it. But it's nice to know the organic vegetable garden, orchard, chickens, knitting, and spinning skills may all have some value at the End of the World.

In the meantime, it'll just continue to be an odd eccentricity in our industrial, urban world and people will keep telling me I can get my socks for $2 at Wal*Mart, rather than knitting them myself (which I do, simply because I enjoy knitting socks).

Edited at 2013-02-28 02:33 pm (UTC)
kitmizkit on February 28th, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
And how long do your knitted socks last, I wondered?

Yes, this is the extreme version, of course. Despite reading climate-based doomsday scenarios left and right, the world is probably not going to end...but I could see a dramatic shift happening in my lifetime, and I'd like to have some degree of preparation for that!
(no subject) - peartreealley on February 28th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - esmerel on March 1st, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
irishkateirishkate on March 1st, 2013 01:06 pm (UTC)
Doesn't everyone have a plan of this sort?
kitmizkit on March 1st, 2013 01:07 pm (UTC)
Apparently everyone I'm friends with does, at least. Which either says something about me or the world... :)
irishkateirishkate on March 1st, 2013 01:13 pm (UTC)
...Except your plan is in Alaska and mine is in Ireland - so apart from the caribou and moose they look a lot alike really.. Though I don't have all the volunteers lined up and I was going for defensive position rather than hiding in the wilderness.

But then of course with no access to my meds I wouldn't really care after a while.
kitmizkit on March 1st, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
In Ireland I'd also go for a defensive position. Fortunately you guys build walls around EVERYTHING. :)

We'll raid pharmacies the moment the shit hits the fan. You'll be fine for ages. :)
(no subject) - irishkate on March 1st, 2013 01:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on March 1st, 2013 01:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Flitterbyflit on March 2nd, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
What kind of climates do sugar beets grow in? If they are hardier than cane, that may be an alternate source of sugar. But bees are cooler and also essential to fertilization, and it's probably easier to process their honey than to process sugar beets.
Flitterbyflit on March 2nd, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Also this makes me wonder if it's possible to DIY porcine thyroid, because I stop being functional at all without hormone replacement. I could be the ornamental sleeping person. It's easier than being a type 1 diabetic, I guess?
(no subject) - silkblade on March 7th, 2013 04:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mizkit on March 7th, 2013 07:16 am (UTC) (Expand)