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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)

 
 
 
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.
Liralen Liliralen on February 27th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Yes. About half of the world's plant foodstuffs need a pollinator. Grasses/grains don't so much (they mostly rely on wind, but that doesn't stop a honey bee from collecting corn pollen). But nearly everything else does.

I'll do bee wrangling. I'm getting two new colonies this spring, one by natural means (splitting someone else's colony and I'll get to do all the heavy lifting in about a week or two *laughs*), one through commercial queen rearers. It'll be interesting to see if the locally raised and grown colony will be the stronger one, I'm betting so. Though here in Colorado it's pretty much assumed that if you're over 7000 feet, all you get are bumblebees. I'm not sure how Alaska's cold would change things.

And, yes, we have our solar panels. *laughs* It's good to have power when everyone else in the neighborhood doesn't.

I've also heard that in Alaska cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and that whole family does splendidly.
kitmizkit on February 28th, 2013 09:36 am (UTC)
I think we mostly have bumblebees in Alaska. I donno, though. I'm not sure I was aware until I was an adult that there were different kinds of bees, though. :)

*puts you down as bee wrangler*

Yeah, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley is particularly well-known for its incredible cabbages, but you can grow 'em anywhere in Alaska, pretty much.

(I just went and looked out of curiosity and it turns out you can't homestead in Alaska anymore. I'd have to buy the land. OTOH, that's got less stringent residential and farming requirements than homesteading, so not necessarily bad. If, you know, I actually had any chance of doing something like this...)
kitmizkit on February 28th, 2013 09:54 am (UTC)
(...though this 40 acre parcel in the MatSu might be ideal. If I had $40K and somebody to go check it out: http://kenai.craigslist.org/reo/3587791024.html :))