What seniors can reasonably do

BSV
By BSV on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 - 10:23pm

Someone needs to start this new discussion thread, and so here goes. I'm a 68 year old who lives on an 87 acre working farm (though we call it a ranch) in Central Texas. From a preparedness standpoint, we're better off than most because we began preparing five years ago and have accomplished a lot. But there is still much to do and it may be that we will never get everything done. We are nearing self-sufficiency in food production (we have about eight dozen chickens and a small cow-calf operation plus extensive vegetable gardens). That's simply not practical for most readers, though there is much that can be done.

Seniors can indeed become pretty well prepared. A good starting point is a candid assessment of personal circumstances. For example, do you live in an owned home or a rented place? How much space do you have in which to grow food? Do local ordinances permit you to raise chickens? What about self-defense? in your jurisdiction are you allowed to defend yourself against intruders? These issues might become significant.

As a Texas Master Gardener, my passion is teaching people how to grow food in tiny spaces. Even if you have only a tiny back yard, you can still grow food using biointensive gardening techniques, containers and either square foot gardening or a keyhole garden or two. These take up little space. Many cities allow backyard chickens (though quite a number of them prohibit roosters). You don't need roosters to get eggs.

I highly recommend looking into keyhole gardens. They are very efficient and once constructed, do not require much bending over to tend. Alternatively, even a small back yard will accommodate one or more square foot garden frames. There is no point in repeating what has already been said on other discussion threads here -- just review them for sound advice about setting up your own gardens.

Other good points that have already been raised on this site include keeping your car gas tank topped off, having a supply of necessities on hand and keeping your pantry stocked with food. Everyone should keep in mind that America's grocery supply system depends on 18 wheeler trucks and our grocery stores generally stock about three day's supply of food. It does not take much imagination to visualize a scenerio in which a fuel supply interruption stops the trucks from rolling for a time. People will begin to panic within a few days and civil unrest will follow. If you prepare, you'll have some options.

Even if you live in a small rented apartment you can grow food in containers on your patio or porch. Vegetables can be grown in tiny spaces. So don't be discouraged and give up even if you only have access to a small area in which to grow food. It can be done. Strive to become resourceful, learn all you can and learn from your mistakes.

One of the early purchases should be a standby water purification system, and a very good one is the Big Berkey. If municipal water supplies should become unsafe, you can filter your water and you will not become sick. I believe most people should have one of these on a shelf somewhere, ready to be pressed into service.

Advancing age does not mean loss of preparedness. At our age we generally have more time to think about these things and take sensible steps to prepare. So that's a start on this thread and I hope others will add to it for us seniors.

Note: If you're reading this and are not yet a member of Peak Prosperity's Elders Group, please consider joining it now. It's where our active community of "seniors" (or those approaching that age group) share information, support, insights and knowledgable daily discussion on the opportunities and challenges of building resilience later in life. Simply go here and click the "Join Today" button.

52 Comments

ptwisewoman's picture
ptwisewoman
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Joined: Nov 18 2008
Posts: 56
senior strategies

I retired early and bought my five acres seven years ago so like BSV I may be further along than some who are still concerned and stuck in place.  I find that to be a common problem, regardless of age.  But I've also met a number of seniors who tend to use their age, and their infirmities, as an excuse for not doing more for themselves.  So, my first suggestion is don't go there.  Age and infirmities must be considered but they should not be excuses.  My even older mother lives with me and still has her projects she works on most days in the yard.  Neighbors are forever commenting on seeing her weeding the front beds or helping me with putting in the food forest.

I am growing the majority of our vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs at this point and purchase locally raised chickens, pork and beef from a young couple not too far from my home.  In time I will be adding chickens for eggs and manure, dairy goats for milk and bees but I won't likely get into butchering myself.  If I have to do without meat, I will.  The issue is space, time and inclination.

I heartily agree with BSV the first place to start is 1) Grow Something!  Pick just one thing you like to eat and can be grown in your circumstances and get started.  Work to make the food nutrient-dense and the best tasting thing ever.  Grow a heritage variety and save your seed.  If you do have some land and bending over is an issue, put in raised beds.  If you can't do that yourself, hire some local folks or buy a kit from any number of gardening places online.  Just get started.  Once you do you may be surprised at your interest in expanding your gardening activities.

I have found that I run out of steam before I run out of projects and willingness to work.  If I keep pushing, the next day I am down in my back (40 year old back injury) so I've figured out how much I can do of different projects and try to do something every day but keep it to the point I will be able to do some hard work the next day.  Then move to less physically intensive projects.  2) Pace yourself but get going!

Identify people in your community who are either in business and are reliable or can be hired for short-term projects.  Use them when necessary and know that you are supporting your local community.  Maybe partner with one or more seniors to help each other.  3) Being resilient and self-reliant doesn't mean you have to do it all yourself.

I do make a habit out of engaging younger folks in conversation.  They are the future.  Since I don't have children by choice, I am invested in everyone else's.  Be interested in them as people and don't treat them like children.  I find they often come back and ask questions and return the interest in some of my projects.  4) As elders in our communities we must be more willing to help others come along to a different mindset, before the sh..tuff really starts hitting the fan.

Okay, you shy folks out there, let's hear your take on being a resilient senior.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Posts: 84
Thank you for getting this thing started

BSV and ptwisewoman, I cannot thank you enough for getting discussion underway for this group.  And, your example and ideas are invaluable.  After starting the group, I started arguing with myself about why preparing for resilience by elders should be any different from other age groups.  So, I was stuck relative to beginning a discussion.  And, as you've shown, an admirable amount of self-sufficiency can be attained at any age.  My mother-in-law continued growing a large garden well into her 80's thanks to the help of a younger neighbor who helped with the tilling, planting, and maintenance in exchange for part of the harvest.  The importance of community support cannot be overemphasized!

I find myself straddling two different worlds.  The first is the traditional concept of retirement, embraced by my spouse, of carefree recreation and fun.  This has determined where we currently live - in a northern climate close to great skiing in the winter and incredible sailing in the summer.  It also comes with a very short growing season and sandy, rocky soil.  Because we're away so much during the summer months on the boat, maintaining a decent garden is difficult, even though we do have a couple of raised beds. 

I sound like I'm making excuses, and I hate that.  But, that's reality now.

The othe world I inhabit is mine - deeply concerned about the future and convinced that status quo that supports the happy carefree retirement is going to collapse.  I have been prepping on my own for many years now.  I've accumulated dehydrated food, a water filter/purifier (Katadyn)  (There's plenty of water in the lake in front of the house), and a disorganized deepening pantry.   We had extra insulation put on the house several years ago, and recently I had the lower level (which I noticed was quite cozy in the winter months) completely remodeled into a second home within the house.  The heat from the boiler when it heats hot water is enough to warm the entire space.  (While natural gas is reasonably priced now, I expect it to become quite expensive in the future).  Also, the upper levels of our house, with a glass wall facing North for a lake view and ridiculously high ceilings, is incredibly expensive and difficult to heat.  We even have a back up wood/coal boiler that came with the house, but I'm afraid we'd burn the house down before we got it to function.

We also purchased a whole-house natural gas generator to provide electricity during outages, but I can envision an interruption of natural gas service, so I don't put all of my faith in it.  I've been exploring solar but local "experts" advise that it'll have limited usefulness, due to the predominately overcast skies of the upper Great Lakes during the cold weather months.  I'm still not sure about this, but I'd love to have the backup.  And, my experience with the locals is that they're most comfortable putting in systems that they have been selling for years and tend to pooh-pooh anything new.

I've started to think of other things to stock up on (like OTC medicines, and various remedies mentioned on the PP site).  As I've mentioned in another thread, I have lots of toilet paper!  For some reason, I began accumulating extra paper products several years ago.  I'd hate to run out of that!

As I review my preparations, my main strategy has been to spend money, and it has consumed a goodly part of my discretionary income and savings.  However, it has given me peace of mind.  When possible, I make PM purchases.  That, too, provides a sense of at least doing something to prepare for the future.

It is sometimes difficult to live in two opposite worlds, and I probably should be doing more reading and commenting on the Reluctant Spouses thread.  We have a pretty social neighborhood comprised of retirees much like ourselves, so there is a potential community.  I'm aware of only one neighbor who shares my concerns about the future, and his preparations include a lot of gardening and weaponry in addition to purchasing PMs. 

I had thought of doing an informal survey of our friends and neighbors on their expectations relative to the 3 Es. - Economy, Energy, and Environment asking if they expect things to improve, stay pretty much the same or get worse.  I thought the results of the survey would be interesting to share with this group, and also provide a way to initiate discussion with my community about what they're thinking of doing if they expect things to get worse. 

If I were to about to retire now, I'd have an entirely different plan in mind for where to locate.  I look longingly at real estate listings for small farms in the southern part of our state now.  However, I'd still have a "happy retirement" perspective of my spouse to contend with.  Maybe it wouldn't be different. 

Thank you again for getting things started in this group.  I think I'll begin my surveying today.  Thanks for all of the encouragement you've offered to those of us in the Elders category.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Posts: 3125
retiree thoughts

I retired last Sept. but have been prepping for about 5-6 years.  My wife is onboard, although she is still working.  In retirement I have basically kicked up my efforts in creating a 'forest garden' around my house and planting larger trees and a more or less conventional gardening in the next ring out from the house.

I echo what ptwisewoman had to say about investing time with youth.  We moved here 20 years ago because we were having children and wanted them to grow up in a rural area with woods and fields to explore.  With my daughter, who just graduated with a BS in biology, concentrating in forest pathology, that has paid off big time.  I spent time teaching her what I knew about trees and forest ecosystems and now the student has become the teacher.  I consult with her anytime I want to do something concerning planting, pruning or thinning trees, or treating illnesses or pests in our trees.

I also advocate staying active and pushing the limits of our aging bodies.  Make no mistake, extensive gardening and/or farming is hard work.  An active weight training program, particularly over the winters, is essential to maintaining strength and agility for the never ending chores necessary to keep a food growing operation going.

My operating theory about how best to manage my operation is based on permaculture practices.  My belief is that heavily front loading the labor portion of creating a forest garden while I am still strong will pay off in less physical labor later on as the forest garden matures and starts producing food, and as we have to adapt to the inevitable depredations of aging.  At the age of 66 I still expect to be around and functioning a couple decades from now.  A big part of my prepping is based on the possibility that times will get much harder and I want to create a refuge for our kids if things really begin to suck out there.  Also, I recently attended a permaculture workshop and have developed a dream of pursuing certification so that I can create another stream of income consulting with others who are designing permaculture systems.  Another way of doing well by doing good.

Kathy

I, too, live near the Great Lakes in the lake effect region off Lake Erie.  We had a grid tied solar array installed last year despite the cloud cover we have much of the winter.  With the subsidies still out there, we figure on about a 9 year payback period.  So far, the meter runs backward much of the summer and our electric bills in the winter, when the panels are covered with snow a significant portion of the time, are about half what they used to be.  I am still working on ways to tighten up the house and reduce our electric load.

Thanks BSV for starting this thread.  It will hopefully foster extensive discussions about issues unique to elders.

Doug

ptwisewoman's picture
ptwisewoman
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Posts: 56
Permaculture principles a must for seniors

Doug, I 150% agree that understanding some basic permaculture principles and putting them into practice can help with structuring a resilient homestead for seniors.  I am in the process of completing Geoff Lawton's first online certification course and am already looking at what is here differently.  I too am putting harder work into the food systems now while I can still do hard work outside for several hours a day.  And as I work to accommodate my mother's desire to be active and useful in this effort, I figure I will have adapted systems for my advanced senior years!

Kathy, you aren't the first person I've met where the spouse has a very different view of retirement.  I'm not sure how well that would work for me but I admire your resilience in gently moving forward.  I'm not sure where the 24 hour playing in retirement came from.  My grandparents grew their food until the day my grandfather died.  In fact, we came home from his funeral to put up the corn from his worm/corn bed.  The ears were the length of my forearm and some seriously good corn.  We had a wonderful family dinner that night with lots of corn, laughter, crying and storytelling.

I try to have at least 3 ways to do everything that is critical/basic.  We generally cook with electricity.  I have a set of two burner propane stoves and two biomass stoves and am building a fire pit.  I have a bit over an acre in woods and can run both biomass stoves with small limbs and downed branches.  Same goes for backup power.  I have replaced a number of activities with manual appliances (coffee roasting and making, grain grinding, dishwashing, clothes drying, etc) and we have a small gas generator but that would only work for a short period after a hurricane.  I too would like to add a solar generator this year.  Since I live about as far south as you can get without going down the Florida peninsula we have plenty of sunshine but I still find locals try to talk you out of it.  We need more small business people who are in the business of helping people be resilient and independent.  Or just learn to ignore the advise.

Sharon

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1891
So Awesome To See This Discussion!

I just want to chime in as a supporter and cheerleader.

My parents average around age 70. My father has a degree as an agronomist and has decades of experience in commercial agriculture. My mother grew up in the countryside.

They never lost their green thumbs. They grow sweet potatoes (for the edible leaves) and have a couple of small peach trees, a guava tree, a persimmon tree, a loquat tree, a wax apple (Syzygium samarangense) tree, an avocado tree, a pomelo tree, even goji berries for the health benefits - all kept very small in their suburban Southern California back yard.

It makes a huge difference in their lives to eat fresh organic fruit that the local insect population isn't too interested in. And they share a lot of their bounty with us and with friends and relatives when they visit. Certainly a great way to nourish relationships!

Poet

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Posts: 84
Solar in the Great Lakes region

 

Doug,

I'm really glad to hear about your success with solar around Lake Erie.  That's encouraging enough to get me going on shopping for an installation.  I have one great south facing roof that'd be perfect.  I actually hadn't thought about the advantage in the summer.  We do use AC in the summer, more than I'd ever imagined would be needed in the upper Great Lakes.  The solar supplement would definitely help.

Thanks for the encouragement.

 

shastatodd's picture
shastatodd
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Posts: 49
job one before solar

just a fyi - solar modules are very energy intensive to make... so we dont want them powering waste. this means job one (before solar) is super insulating your home, upgrading your efficiency and learning how to conserve.

by way of comparision, the national average consumption is 35 kWh a day, which usually does not include heating. our home uses 14 kWh a day which includes heating in our cold, snowy winters here.

conservation and efficiency upgrades will mean your solar system will be smaller, costing you less money and the earth fewer resources. a win-win!

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Posts: 1982
Seniors in training

This is a marvelous group, and we hope to learn and participate. My husband and I are both 58 years old, and qualify for an AARP membership, so I am joining. We married 4 years ago this month, and part of why we chose each other was our shared values regarding planning for our all-too-soon retirement. Both of our exes, who abandoned us, have their heads buried in the sand, trying to make things work like they did 30 or 40 years ago. It's sad, but not what killed our first marriages since neither my new husband or I were preppers until after we were married.

Speaking of right after we were married. I had a preview of what it would be like to have limited mobility when I had a congenital hip problem repaired six months after we tied the knot. All I can say is that--as long as I paced myself-- the more I gardened and worked on projects, the more I recovered. Gardening helps you stay healthy. Working on preps keep both my husband and me mobile, and exerises our brains as we learn new skills. And we save money on food and energy both right now and will during our "retirement" - which we expect to use helping others.

And, horray, it looks like we will finally be able to afford our full set of solar panels this year.  It's nice to hear others are in a similar situation.

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Posts: 84
How nice to be a "senior in training!"

Wendy,

You are so very fortunate to be in the position of planning for retirement at this time.  It is a totally different world from 15-20 years ago when my husband and I were planning for and entering retirement.  Knowing what we know now, we would have done things (like choosing where to locate) very differently.  I think my husband's focus would still be on recreation, but resilience would be primary.

ptwisewoman remarked that she didn't know where the idea of 24 hour playing in retirement came from, but I recall the beginning of the gated "retirement communities" that emphasized play, play, play.  Recall reading about the original Sun City communities from the 1960s?  We've seen many such communities throughout the country that certainly send the message that retirement is a time to be with other retirees enjoying golf, swimming, bridge, shuffleboard, etc.  I think that historians will look back at this as a very strange phenomenon of the latter part of the 20th Century.  Now you read that few elders in the future will ever be able to retire full time due to a lack of savings, pension plans, and government programs. 

I was fortunate to land part time work after retiring from my full time professional career.  I really like my profession and the mental stimulation and social engagement it provided, and the extra money came in very handy for financing some of my resilience projects.  Funding for jobs have dried up recently, so I'm turning to more volunteer activities to keep my brain engaged and provide new learning opportunties. 

Like you, I've had hip replacements and now absolutely savor unimpeded mobility.  Staying as healthy as possible with exercise, a healthy diet, and healthy weight (BMI no higher than 20) is a high priority for both my husband and me.  The longer we can ward off the infirmities of ageing, the more resilient we'll be.

I share your goal of learning and participating in this group.  I'm looking forward to your perspective.

Kathy

 

 

Oliveoilguy's picture
Oliveoilguy
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Posts: 578
Prepping is Keeping Us Young

We are excited to join the discussion. I'm 61, so if Wendy qualifies, then I must. 

We have been at it about 5 years, and have come a long way in physical preparedness and perhaps more in expanding our awareness. 

I just completed an intensive Solar Design Course (80 hours over 6 weeks with 18 exams) and enjoyed the heck out of it. Point being...I can still learn stuff at my tender age.

We find that health issues are what slow us down the most...so we try to do what we can to keep in the best shape possible. We eat white meat organic chicken (costco) and wild caught fish and try to grow a good portion of our vegetables, potatoes, salads, as possible in the climate here. Actually, winter gardens are the best, and july and August are burn out time when not much grows.

We have learned about firearms and will be taking some advanced defensive training in July. We both have CHL permits.

I still work as a general contractor. Obviously this helps us with the construction side of what we are doing. Our place is pretty well built out with the last remaing "big" project our solar greenhouse/ aquaponics area. But I've finally learned to be patient and finish things before starting new projects. It may be a year before we break ground on the greenhouse.

I'm very willing to help with construction related questions. 

Let's keep this tread going. Thanks BSV for kicking this off. 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Posts: 1763
Don't Get Fat

I appreciate the numerous posts above pertaining care and preservation of our aging bodies.  

As a 59 year-old new to chopping wood, gardening and sinking fence posts, I am finding that the physical demands are significant.  Squatting and kneeling for weeding long garden rows are difficult.   Poor flexibility, lack of strength in back and gluteal area are newly discovered problems and abdominal fat makes squatting and lifting uncomfortable.  :-(  I am paying more attention to the deadlift exercise in our twice weekly weightlifting, walking up and down hills and stairs and stretching my hips and low back.

As an ER doctor, I have often found that people require hospital admission and nursing home placement not because of a significant disease, but because of the combination of frailty with obesity.  In addition, a person with 100+ extra pounds of fat is GUARENTEED to have terrible arthritis in back, knees and hips which erodes their love for physical activity even further creating a devastating downward spiral of deterioration--inactivity, further weight gain, more joint pain, more inactivity, less strength, greater weight, etc, etc.  Very destructive of the ability to care for one's life.

Generally speaking, we need to be put into nursing homes when we are unable to rise out of a chair, get up off the floor and out of a bathtub and balance standing on one foot.  These are not "diseases" but are results of deteriorating strength, flexibility and balance and, the huge issue, whether we are fat.  Perhaps we can't "control" all of these, but we certainly can influence them by the way we live.

I'm off to the gym.

 

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
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Posts: 561
the bonus of age is experience

What a great idea for a thread! The one great advantage we have being older is the benefit if experience, and the (we hope) wisdom to use it to good effect.

I am in my mid 50's, and being on my own as well as being profoundly deaf presents its own unique challenges. Like many others I was previously married but as time went on the differences in values became too great to overcome. I have always been fairly independent though, and after reading the divorce rate for deaf people is 90%, I am not too keen to venture down that path again. I decided to stick to my plan of first and foremost being able to take care of myself well. Whatever happens after that is a bonus.

I do not let being on my own or the limitations posed by my hearing loss prevent me from living independently, and I think I do so quite well. I am in a rental situation however I have small gardens that are planted intensively, and supplemented with container gardening. In this coastal BC climate I can grow veggies year round, and my plan has me striving to have something to eat from the garden every month of the year. Right now I am still working on last year's kale, and starting in on this years lettuce. I grew enough bean, beets, carrots and tomatoes to fill my freezer for the winter. Plus many other crops. And I know as a novice gardener I can do even better. Each year gets better! I recently planted a small strawberry garden, a rhubarb plant and some lovage in old wine crates I got for free. My idea of "permaculture". If I have to move at least I can take them with me!

One of my greatest assets is my curiosity of how to do things, or how things are made. If something breaks I will take it apart and try to fix it myself. Over the years I did some work in cabinet making so I have slowly built up a good inventory of power tools which I am now supplementing with hand held tools. I built from scratch custom furniture to fit my very small living space. I am so proud of that, and it is this sense of gratification that keeps me going. Woodworking remains a hobby, and I plan to enhance my skills in furniture repair for a possible retirement income.

My love of the outdoors is the other great asset, and goes to my emotional resilience. Being deaf is like living in a vacuum. It places restrictions on social interactions that most people do not identify with. I have to pick and choose my interactions so that they work for me, and do not depress me if I don't do well. As much as I would love to at some point attend a one of the PP weekend retreats, those circumstances do not work for me, and I would miss so much of the conversation. Even though I can speak well and interact like a hearing person in most circumstances, I know where I do not do well. Part of my emotional resilence has become making good decisions about what I can and cannot do socially, and accepting that. Easier said than done...

I take solace in nature, finding a certain peace when in the forest or on a lake. When friends cannot come with me I go out alone - I have confidence to do so because I prepare well for my outings and I carry an emergency GPS locator with me at all times. It is amazing how much peace of mind that little device gives! I recently took fly fishing lessons, which have me "hooked" to the point that yesterday on my day off I went out and "invested" in an inflatable kayak. It is small enough that I can handle it myself and store it in my limited space. But boy, is it good on the water!  I felt like I had died and gone to heaven in my first outing yesterday afternoon, and afterwards, I was so very pleased that I was able to get it all folded up and put back in my vehicle without difficulty! Now I can get out there to catch some fish to supplement my veggies. There are about 8 fresh water lakes, all well stocked, within a half-hour to hour drive of where I live. Now I have incentive to get out there more.

It will be important to focus on staying fit and healthy so that we can continue to do the things that we love. Part of that is also accepting, and I am bad for this, that we are not the spring chickens that we once were. We just have to pace ourselves a little more.

I am really happy with how life has evolved for me since I started on this path towards resilience and self-sufficiency. I have a self-confidence that money cannot buy. That in itself is priceless.

Jan

 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1763
Appreciate Jan's suggestions

Jan,

You may be happy to know that I followed your suggestion for intensive gardening in a small space and went around poking a finger sized hole into every empty spot of dirt and dropped beet or carrot seed into the hole.  Thanks.

Becca Martenson was very attentive to my limited hearing ability last year at the retreat in Kripalu, something I greatly appreciate.  Everyone used a microphone, sat me right in front of a speaker and check in on me frequently to make sure I could hear.

sand_puppy

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1148
walk and eat more...

...beans. I grow 4-6 varieties of beans.

robie(who me? I'm not old)

Sirocco's picture
Sirocco
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Posts: 31
Benefits of age

I already love this thread!

In 2007, my partner, myself, and my two older brothers purchased 60 acres of forest land in NE Washington state with the goal of eventually building a single shared house and all retiring there together. I am the youngest of the group, currently being about a month shy of 60. Over the years, we've combined funds to thin the forest; put in a gravel road to the center of the property; add a gravelled trailer pad; clear a meadow near the trailer pad and plant it in grass and clover (the deer love it); bury electric lines to the building site and run a line to the trailer pad for an RV hookup; dig a well and run water lines to the building site and trailer pad; install the septic tank for our future house. Each year has brought visible improvements to the land, as well as increaded comfort to us on our yearly extended summer camping trips to the land. So far, we've been able to pay for everything as we go - so no debt.

My partner and I have lived in SW Idaho for the past 12 years. We moved here for our jobs (ie money), but it was never a place where we intended to stay. For one thing, SW Idaho is a desert, and I love trees and mountains... I recently retired early from my job, partly for my sanity and partly to devote my full attention to getting us prepared to move permanently to our land. Unfortunately for us, both of my brothers recently decided to not move to the land after all - which was a huge disappointment for me & my partner. After a period of grieving and adjusting to my brothers' decision, we are now working on plans for an energy efficient house, nailing down a hard bid from our builder, and securing a bank loan for a portion of the construction costs. If all proceeds as planned (which rarely happens), construction will start this fall and we will move in early next summer. I can't wait!

In the meantime, we've been planting shade trees (oaks, maples, birches) around the meadow. The trees are small now, but in time they will add their colors to the absolutely stunning natural color-fest that NE WA does in the fall, and the leaves will help add organic material to the soil. I have plans for planting many more trees and shrubs that will create a smorgasboard for the birds, bees, and other wildlife that abounds in our area. I was a forester by trade for the first half of my life, before turning to IT (Geographic Information Systems actually) in part for the money and intellectual challenge, but also because I ethically couldn't continue to have a hand in cutting down the remaining <10% of old growth forests in the NW, so I have the skills to care for the land. Plus, I figure 60 acres of trees, stewarded wisely, will allow us to keep our woodstove running forever. 

The area where our land is relatively remote; not a lot of people. Which has pros and cons. The nearest hospital is a 40 minute drive, in good weather. The locals are, by and large, friendly and very self-sufficient. We have great neighbors on the parcel next to ours. The small town (pop under 300) that is 4 miles down the road has been involved in a state-sponsored multi-year project to build self-reliance, with some concrete positive outcomes such as a well-used community center and an annual fruit tree sale to build food security on a community level. Wildlife is abundant; we have resident wild turkeys all over, several deer that come every evening to our meadow to graze the clover, and a number of bears that pass by camp from time to time. I'm not a hunter, but if hunting became necessary, at least there is something to hunt.

My partner and I see this land as a small slice of heaven, and we are eager to live there year around, get our orchard and garden going, steward the land and watch the seasons come and go. Like Jan, I find great solace and peace in nature. I'm blessed with relatively hearty genetics, my father lived into his 90s and was quite active until just before he died. I suspect I will be the same. My one hesitation about the whole deal is lack of family nearby. Neither me nor my partner have children. Only one of my brothers had kids, who are grown now and have kids of their own; and none of the younger folks in our extended family have shown the slightest interest in even visiting the land, let alone getting involved. If/when we can find the right people, I would love to "adopt" a younger family (or individual), have them join us and share our lives and the land, eventually leaving the land to them when we pass on. While I don't mind being alone, I get a lot of joy out of sharing life with friends and family.

We are headed out, tomorrow or the next day, for our summer trip to our land. Being so remote means that internet connections are hard to come by, so I look forward to seeing all the posts on this thread when we get back home in July. If I can figure out how to do it, maybe I'll post some photos when we get back...

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robie robinson
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if hunting is hard now?

it will be impossible during the SHTF moment(the long emergency). Gone quickly will be wild game. The farmers will be guarding with zeal their critters. The protien available during the long emergency will be quickly exhausted, its foolish to think otherwise as its always been that way. a kitchen garden will buy us time at best. Beans and more beans mixed with meat for flavor and grain for complimentary protiens.

i cant believe ive typed this much.  robie

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aggrivated
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permaculture in the south east

I still refuse to count my 62 year old self as a senior since I plan to work until at least 70, but am willing to take my discounts when offered by merchants.  Geoff Lawton's Permaculture online course has been fun and extremely educational for myself also.  It was a great opportunity I just couldn't miss.  I'd love to make some connections with others on this site that live in the south east USA so we can share successful growing techniques, especially plant varieties. 

My wife and I are in West Tennessee and I expect have more severe winters than you do as a rule.  They oficcially call this area zone 7b, but some maps plug our south west corner of the state into zone 8. 

Regarding your progress, it sounds like you are further down the 'self' part of self reliance than I am since you have gone off grid for many household chores.  When we lived in Virginia years ago, drying clothes outside was easy, but here the 90%+ humidity can make it a two day affair.  Are you drying in open air or do you have a glass house as Geoff calls our greenhouses?

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Doug
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Robie
Quote:

it will be impossible during the SHTF moment(the long emergency). Gone quickly will be wild game.

Totally agree.  Most of my neighbors are life long residents and avid hunters.  They know the terrain within many miles like the backs of their hands and know where the game trails are.  If they feel the need, the game will be gone in a hurry.

Doug

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pinecarr
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What kinds of beans, Robie?

Hey Robie,  what kind of beans do you grow?  I have experimented with different types of beans for drying over the last few years, figuring like you that they are important as a sustainable food source.  I have had the best luck with Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans (I think I got that right!).  Have you found any varieties that do particularly well for you? The black beans grow and produce like crazy for me.  -I'm in the northeast US, Zone 5. I've also been able to save the beans, and use the seeds I saved to grow the next year's crop successfully a couple of years in a row. I know, probably not a big deal to do that with beans, but it gives me a much-needed boost in confidence in my novice gardening attempts!

Also, do you grow the grains you use for the complementary proteins?  Just curious what you use; I'm not sure what to do in this regard where I live.

 

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permaculture thinking

I agree, the course is proving to be great fun.  He is a good teacher and it is really making me think about this land and my resilience in new ways.  It would be great to make connections in the SE.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of permies down here.  I've met a few through some other permaculture forums but there can never be too many good contacts.

I'm in 8b but I think by the time I'm 75 (I too am 62 now) it will be more like 9.  In October I had about 1.5 acres of my property cleared of some thick secondary growth and had two swales put in.  I am manually creating a ditch behind each and planting a food forest at the top, and a corn/bean/squash patch between the two swales with the bottom section including a greenhouse.  Lots of work but I am already seeing some results.  Much less rain ending up at the bottom of the property running off in the ditch so I'm holding it onsite much better.

We have a good breeze here most days, even in the summer.  Our humidity can be pretty miserable, it has been in the 60-70 range this week but a few weeks ago it was in the 25-35 range.  Because we do get some moderating breeze from the Gulf it tends to be a bit less miserable here during the summer than up the road near Montgomery.  Drying clothes, most weeks isn't too bad.  Winter is actually a bit trickier than summer.

I am also enjoying the return to manual labor.  Roasting my own coffee and grinding it by hand is a bit of an art and certainly gets you into the activity much better than an electric coffee pot does.  Same with grinding grains, making yogurt, churning butter, and making sour cream.  And it is fun to listen to my Mom talk about her mother doing these same activities and things she remembers that are funny or instructive.  The whole set of skills has given us more to do together.

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aggrivated
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permaculturing experiences

I have an Ethiopian friend who said that the polite thing to do after roasting your coffee beans over the stove in a skillet it to take it around the room and let each guest have a moment to smell.  If it is anything like my hot air popcorn popper roast, the experience must be one that grows on you!  Do you grow okra?  This is my first year to incorporate into our front yard flowers.  I'm waiting to see how the historic neighborhood accepts the change.  I personally think it is quite the way things used to be around here.  More later.

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aggrivated
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personal permaculture

Sand Puppy

I too am growing more and more aware of our need to stay fit.  I think, since permaculture seems to be more than just agriculture, that whatever we do to make ourselves more able to successfully work and physically remain active is a form of personal permaculture. It is our way of linking into our environment more effectively. Fleeing carbohydrates this past year has increased my flexibility since 35 pounds are no longer being lifted every time I bend over.  What a difference!  The stronger guys seem to last the longest.---http://www.jfmccaffreymd.com/strength-longevity.html

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fresh roasted coffee, permaculture, and fitness

@aggrivated, yes, I can see how your Ethiopian friend is right on.  The smell is truly wonderful.  I think of all the things I might have to give up at some point, the loss of freshly roasted coffee and the taste is one I will truly miss.  I actually use a stovetop popcorn popper to roast my coffee.  Easier to keep the beans moving so some don't burn.

Yes, I do grow okra, amongst the flowers, around the corn/bean and squash patch and in and amongst the herbs and vegetables.  I love the flowers more than I like the taste of okra but I eat them anyone.  I do like the added taste in most soups.  To me okra added to soup is like adding bay leaves.  You aren't sure it adds anything until you leave it out.  And okra isn't fussy, can tolerate some dry days without watering and will bear until frost.  Like peppers down here, they are a good summer vegetable.

Fitness is important.  Eating nutrient dense foods is as well.  Epigenetics tells us it is never to late to significantly improve your eating to give the body what it needs to rebuild and heal.  Fitness doesn't necessarily mean formal exercise.  It can be using manual tools to mow or remove tall grasses, moving items with a hand cart and not pulling them with the ATV or riding lawnmower with cart.  I am always a bit amused by folks who do traditional exercising and then claim issues with working in the yard and mow small properties with a riding lawnmower.  And permaculture if applied well to your property should pretty much eliminate most mowing of any kind.  Yeah!!!!

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Meditation

Another practice that has been shown to enhance health and well being in seniors (and all ages)  is meditation.  A substantial body of research is showing the beneficial effects of practicing meditation on brain health and maintenance of cognitive function in seniors.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-b... and http://pubs.aarp.org/aarptm/20130607_PR/?pg=43&u1=coverleaf&search=Is%20My%20Memory%20normal?#article_id=296696.  (Just a couple of sample articles about it).

I bring this topic up because of an opportunity The Chopra Center brings to everyone a couple of times a year.  They usually often offer a 21 Day Meditation Challenge which features daily guided meditations to help people develop the habit of meditation (and to de-mystify the practice).  This summer's offering is a 15 Day Healing Rhythms program.  It's free and the only information you have to provide to the Chopra Center is your email address and a password.  You can do it any time of the day, and if you miss a day or two, the practices are available for about a week for participating at any time.

Here's the website for anyone interested:http://www.mentorschannel.com/bestsellers/LandingPage.aspx?BookId=177

I have found meditation an important part of my ability to develop resilience.  My favorite 21 Day Challenges, Perfect Health and The Mind Body Connection are still available for purchase, too.

If you don't already practice meditation, trying it for just 15 minutes a day might get you started.

 

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Doug
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Tai Chi

Meditation has never worked for me, probably my ADHD ;^).  Sitting quietly makes me very agitated.  However, add a physical component and I'm onboard.  That's what Tai Chi does.  Done properly it not only has a meditative quality, but gives you a really good, but gentle, workout.  Going through the basic 124 moves (number varies depending on source) stretches and strengthens every muscle, tendon and ligament in your body.  Plus, you can do it according to your current ability.

Doug

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PP Elders, I need your advice

There are a couple of things I've been mulling over and would appreciate any advice from the elders here on PP.

Bug Out Bags (BOB): I just can't see us carrying heavy backpacks anymore. We plan on staying in our home as collapse plays out, but if we needed to evacuate for some reason (pandemic, nuclear fallout), we would most likely drive out. So, I'm thinking instead of backpacks, I could put stuff into those cubes used to pack clothes in suitcases so they are ready to go into our rolling suitcases at a moment's notice. Even if we walked out, the rolling suitcases would be much easier to manage. What are you doing about BOBs and do you have similar concerns?

Awhile back I bought an electric bike. Trouble is, it's too heavy for me and I'm afraid to ride it for fear of falling over. My balance is compromised to begin with so it is a real concern. So it just sits in the garage collecting dust. I have to face facts that I'm just too old to use it now. But I hesitate to try to sell it because it is my answer to increasingly high gas prices as time goes on. I live in the mountains and the road to town is a bit hilly, that's why I got the electric assist. Town is about 3 miles away which would be doable by foot now but may not be as I continue to age. What are you doing about alternative transportation in your area? There are no buses where I am. Another consideration is, even if I can't use it, someone near me may be able to and I could barter time on the bike for other things. What do you think? Is it worth keeping?

Thanks, Joyce

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Doug
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jdye51 wrote:There are a
jdye51 wrote:

There are a couple of things I've been mulling over and would appreciate any advice from the elders here on PP.

Bug Out Bags (BOB): I just can't see us carrying heavy backpacks anymore. We plan on staying in our home as collapse plays out, but if we needed to evacuate for some reason (pandemic, nuclear fallout), we would most likely drive out. So, I'm thinking instead of backpacks, I could put stuff into those cubes used to pack clothes in suitcases so they are ready to go into our rolling suitcases at a moment's notice. Even if we walked out, the rolling suitcases would be much easier to manage. What are you doing about BOBs and do you have similar concerns?

Awhile back I bought an electric bike. Trouble is, it's too heavy for me and I'm afraid to ride it for fear of falling over. My balance is compromised to begin with so it is a real concern. So it just sits in the garage collecting dust. I have to face facts that I'm just too old to use it now. But I hesitate to try to sell it because it is my answer to increasingly high gas prices as time goes on. I live in the mountains and the road to town is a bit hilly, that's why I got the electric assist. Town is about 3 miles away which would be doable by foot now but may not be as I continue to age. What are you doing about alternative transportation in your area? There are no buses where I am. Another consideration is, even if I can't use it, someone near me may be able to and I could barter time on the bike for other things. What do you think? Is it worth keeping?

Thanks, Joyce

BOBs

Frankly, I have no intention of bugging out anywhere.  My only concern in that regard is getting my family here in a shtf situation.  We just have way too much invested here (in preps, money, resources, food and water that just isn't portable) to think about going somewhere else.  It is the stuff we have here that makes us secure.  Most of it can't be moved practically.  Also, this is where the people I know and can count on are.  Plus, I can't think of anyplace more secure. 

Wrt rolling suitcases, they are great on even pavement or floors, but otherwise no more useful than any other carrying device.  You can at least strap on backpacks.  My gospel for backpacking is light weight.  Figure out how to carry the very least necessary for whatever your purposes are, and then figure out how to make it very light, cost be damned.  When backpacking there is no greater luxury that a light pack.  F'r instance, I have never carried a water filter.  I have a small bottle (really a vial) of iodine I use for treating water.  The treated water doesn't taste great, but I've never had giardia and the vial ia very small and weighs very little.

I don't know what your physical problems are, but if you can strengthen and gain  mobility through exercise, then I would definitely hang onto the electric bike.  It would be ideal in my situation where the trip to the nearest small town is about 5 miles downhill and 5 miles back uphill (about 600 ft elevation change in one direction).  I've done it with a regular bike, but an electric bike would make it much easier.  OTOH, there is a woman (probably in her mid 60s as a guess) who I frequently see walking or cycling into town and carrying her shopping items back home on her bike, with a pack or pulling a wagon.  I don't think she has to do anything else to stay in terrific shape.

Doug

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BOBs and Electric Bikes

The only reason I would pull out my BOB would be a cat 5 hurricane bearing down on our property or massive flooding above us and coming down the nearby river.  They are in easily grabbed rolling suitcases.  In the vast majority of other circumstances we would hunker down here.  I have an 85 year old mother that would not evacuate well and certainly wouldn't be hiking through the woods with a backpack and I don't think I would want to be there either ;-).  Seriously, even the circumstances you mention would likely be better lived through at your home unless the nuclear fallout was bearing directly over your house.  Pandemics are much easier to combat by sheltering in place and limiting contact with folks who may be contagious.  If the pandemic was large enough that would be what people would be asked to do.

As far as transportation you might consider a three wheeled motorcycle if the electric bike is a problem, though I think the bike would be a bit more useful unless you can make your own fuel.  An ATV might also work.  There are also really nice three wheeled electric bikes out there now.  While gasoline will certainly get more expensive, it will be around a while yet.  We are at the peak, not at the bottom of the cycle.  Since we are well out in the country we don't do a lot of driving and plan the trips we do make, limiting our gas bills to less than $50 a month and that includes the gas for the equipment we use on our property.  Getting gas might be more of an issue if you are well out in the country.  It really depends on how far you are from the critical places you need to visit, the conditions of the route and your own physical abilities.  Every circumstance would be a bit different.  Not sure I would get rid of it until you are sure it is not the best solution for you.

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KathyP
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BOBs and Alternative Transportation

Joyce,

I hate to even think about the emergency evacuation possibility, but westcoastjan offered some terrific suggestions awhile back.  I'll search for the thread.  She did suggest a rolling duffle bag that you keep packed with your various emergency necessities and ready to go in your garage.  As you pointed out, with early enough warning (and good enough conditions), you would probably drive out so the duffel bags could be easily thrown into the car trunk.

I'm sorry your electric bike doesn't seem feasible.  We're running up against the limits of strength, too, as we found yesterday when we tried to move a fiberglass dinghy from one place on the property to another for winter storage.  We've decided to get rid of the dinghy as a result of our failed efforts.  Anyhow, I found a web site that shows a number of alternative transportation vehicles.  http://electric-bikes.com/  Some neat vehicles there.  Perhaps your electric bike could be used as a trade-in on a different kind of vehicle. 

We're a good 10 miles out of town, with some pretty hilly areas on our route.  I drive a 9 year old Honda Civic Hybrid which has been getting over 50 MPG this summer (I haven't used the AC).  I plan my trips to town pretty carefully, so I usually have to buy gasoline only once a month. 

Another thing we do is always check with our neighbors when we're going to town to see if there's anything we can pick up for them.  Most of the neighbors do this, and it saves a lot of extra trips for just one or two things. 

I wouldn't feed badly about getting rid of the electric bike (selling it or using it as a trade-in).  I'm at a time in my life where I feel compelled to get rid of stuff I don't or can't use anymore.  Better now, while I can still problem solve pretty well, than later when a change of living arrangement has to be made quickly. 

Kathy

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jdye51
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Posts: 157
Thanks Folks

Doug, ptwisewomen and Kathy P,

Thanks for your input. I live in western N.Carolina in the Appalachian mountains so fortunately I don't need to worry about things like hurricanes. We deliberately considered the weather when deciding where to retire from disaster prone California. When it comes to evacuating, I was thinking more in terms of a forced evacuation which I don't consider a very likely scenario but I wanted to be ready just in case. I think my idea of putting supplies in packing cubes that we could quickly pack into our rolling suitcases in probably the thing to do. I have chronic neck and back issues that a backpack would make worse. The suitcases with 4 rolling casters work so well when travelling!

As for the bike, I've seen electric trikes online too. I think what I'll do is look into that and see whether or not a trade- in would be possible. Or, just keep the bike and add the trike as money is available. I would hate to be forced to walk everywhere which would really limit where I could go and electric bikes seem like such a good answer (assuming a good power source - though I could ride it manually). When leaving my neighborhood, there is a fairly busy 2 lane road with no bike lanes that goes straight into town, so I probably wouldn't use the bike until the gas situation was so bad, most everyone would need to walk or bike to get around. But as ptwisewoman said, that could be awhile and by then I might be too decrepit to ride it! So hard making these decisions not knowing the shape things are going to take and where to spend money. I have a 10 yr. old Honda Civic hybrid also that I don't drive all that much either, but I am trying to anticipate different scenarios and prepare for them. In the meantime, continuing to make my home more resilient is an ongoing project. Part of that is our decision to have extra gasoline on site which would help temorarily.

Have any of you considered an electric bike? What are you going to do as you age in place and get to a point of having difficulty walking very far? A horse and carriage would be great but I don't see that happening for me. I know they make carts you can attach to the back of your electric bike which would make it easier to transport larger items. That would be good.

Of course, as TEPCO starts to try and remove the fuel rods from the spent pool starting in November, all of our plans could be moot if they have a problem and large amounts of radiation are released or there is an explosion. I've also wondered whether to buy protective suits and masks but I can't quite get myself there yet. It brings back memories of "duck and cover" at school. Remember them? I guess it's just not possible to prepare for everything, so I will continue to do what I can with what I have.

Thanks again,

Joyce

 

Doug's picture
Doug
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Bikes

I have considered electric bikes, but am more likely to buy a scooter.  As I recall, they are about the same price and the scooters seem more functional.  We have enough gas storage that I can run a scooter for quite a while doing no more than running local errands.  We have a Prius that averages 50 mpg no matter what, so don't feel a desperate need for more efficient transportation yet.

At age 67 I'm still pretty mobile.  I've had a couple meniscus ops which have ended my running days, but I can still walk pretty much as I always have.  Bicycling is no problem as far as moving about, but they do create other problems for me.  My wife is excited about "eliptical bikes" that she recently ran across.

http://www.leisurefitness.com/Elliptigo-C460.aspx?gclid=CIbGhOm3zrkCFVOe4AodXFoADQ

Apparently on a flat road you can do up to 25mph and cruise at 15 mph.  I don't think they are commonly available yet, so I'm not seriously considering them.  I have an eliptical trainer at home that I use frequently.  Its stress free on the joints, but gives me a good workout.  If they are as functional as they promise, I could easily see using them as I would a bicycle.

Doug

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hi my 2 cents, i have my

hi my 2 cents, i have my pickup stocked as a bugged back and yet to be in a bag. my concern is going into ann arbor and needing to get back10-15 miles  to my off the grid homestead that is well stocked and nuke ready. .

in case of a nuclear fallout type, you might be looking at sheltering in place whereever you find yourself...so water is the thing one needs, you can live if you have water.you do not want to be in a vehicle or outside in the fallout. most fallout situations like a bomb pass in a few days-few weeks, a fukashima type fallout is an ongoing thing...btw,we are getting that fallout here in the usa every day since it started..smll dose but they accumulate.

those of us in the elders category have already survived lots of radiation, and we are still here....something to think about.

if you can't ride the bike now why keep it? the older i get, the less stuff i want. i don't play catch anymore or bowl and those things have gone out to the road where people take within an hour.a bike is no different. how you want to get rid of is up to you.

i would narrow your situations down to those you actually might face....in michigan i rule out hurricanes and major earthquakes. there is not much left of detroit so rule that out. i live very close to I-94 so a toxsemi spill would be my most logical reason to bug by police order. but i would have to leave way before they got around to telling me. i'm 40 miles west of fermi 2 and have a 5 x 15 fallout /rootcellar under my front porch. i plan  to shelter in place and plan to tell the invading army that i will grow nice veggies for them if they leave me alone. at some point we have to stop the imagination.

i don't think i can do it all, so i am meeting neighbors, especially younger than me ones. it's time to think granny and take them cookies etc...!good will is a good bob's

worse case senario, the police grab me, take me to a gymnasium somewhere(that's what they did for fukashima residents), and i get a 10'x10' cubicle to call my own....which i am mentally prepare to do if that happens.

even at 80, i think i would put on the cameo grab a gun and a few things and head for the woods....history shows you only need to do that if the armies are both fighting on your land.

the jews of europe during ww2 had their suitcases packed with all kinds of things...got off the train , set them down as instructed and walked off to have a nice shower.

 

i try to stay as fit as i can. there were a few 300 pounders in the towers that couldn't do the stairs and that was down not up.

so again i would say figure out your situation and prep only for that. you can't prep for every possible senario.

 

 

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ferralhen
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i have a lawn tractor and i

i have a lawn tractor and i might fill it up and us that.

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Bugging out -- to where?

Hi Joyce and the rest of you pondering the bug out situation.

I'm no spring chicken either and the idea of putting on a 65# ruck sack and hiking like a commando through the mountain passes is just not going to happen.  A little too old, a bit too much arthritis, a bit over-weight.   So I am probably not going anywhere that I can't drive too!  Extra gas cans would be my main bug out prep.   And, like Doug, ptwisewoman and Kathy P also said, all my food and water is at home--it would be very hard for me to find a reason to leave home.  

I guess the bug out vehicle depends on where you want to go. Out into the woods to camp and hide?   A "dirt bike" might get me deep into some national forest land that I couldn't get to otherwise.  I would want to have a specific destination in mind.    Do you have a camp area WITH WATER with some natural shelter in mind?  If you do have a destination in mind, you could take some supplies (a tent, cooking supplies, mosquito netting, etc.)  to that location ahead of time and store them there. 

To the home of a relative or friend who lives in a more resilient location?  In this case a car would be best.

Another transportation issue to ponder is a "descent vehicle,"  that is, a way to get around in an environment where gas is, say $30/gallon, but not a full on SHTF situation.  An option is a little 1 - 1.5 HP motor that can be attached to a bicycle or tricycle.  These kits have gotten quite reliable and workable in the last few years.  They give about 200+ mpg and only hold about 4 oz of gas.  My advice is to not use them for speed, but only to increase your range, the number of miles you can travel before reaching fatigue.  If you go fast on them, you will wear out brakes, tires and rims much more quickly.  Also, be prepared to do road side bicycle repairs. For my next one, I would put it on a heavy steal framed bike, like a beach cruiser with fenders.   They are not quiet, and you sound like "a guy with a weed eater" coming up the road -- about 75 - 84 db.

And lastly, I like Charles Hugh Smiths ideas that the biggest changes we are likely to see is that things just get more expensive and we have less income.  No major SHTF.  :-)

And we each need to find the teenagers in our neighborhood willing to chop wood for a plate of chocolate chip cookies!

 

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jdye51
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Posts: 157
Hey Doug, thanks for the

Hey Doug, thanks for the link. I think I like the idea of sitting down while riding! - the eliptical bikes look more like they're built for exercise and I get that on the eliptical at the gym. The reason for the bike is, as sand puppy says, for a time when gas is very high in price - maybe high enough so as to be unaffordable. There are solar panels you can get to charge the bike so then there is no dependence on fossil fuels for fuel at all. The transportation equivalent of being off grid. I don't think I would feel safe on a scooter as long as there are cars on the road. I did look them up on the web too. I would use the bike to get to town for groceries or for medical appts. not to bug out on - though I suppose it could be used for that. And, I don't really anticipate needing to leave either. Maybe I've read too many survival sites where they really emphasize BOBs and what to put in them. I have accumulated various items for them but hesitate spending the money for backpacks given our ages and health. Thus my question.

So it doesn't sound like you all are making BOBs a priority because you plan on staying put, and will rely on cars for transportation for the time being. I did get a bag for med supplies to put in my car and I have more medical supplies at home.

Sometimes I feel rather fatalistic you might say. So much is not under my control so if something happened on a global level - Fukushima explodes or NTE arrives or any other planetary catastrophe, so be it. I'm going to die sometime. Even with the preps I have now, I have more than the vast majority of people in this country. One day at a time.

Joyce

 

ptwisewoman's picture
ptwisewoman
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 18 2008
Posts: 56
Forced evac

Joyce, having spent the last decade of my working life dealing with community preparedness and public health I would like to make a few points about forced evacs.  Most community and state preparedness plans do not involve forced evacs except in very limited and specific conditions.  And many states do not have forced evacs, especially in the south.  They are voluntary only, though strongly encouraged.  Sheltering in place is used much more often, even for things you might think would involve evacs.  Imminent flooding, forest fires and coastal impacts from hurricanes generally are the most common events involving evacuations.  Train derailments and nuclear accidents (usually 20 miles out or less) much less common but also fall in the evac category.  It is good to know what is in your county's plan and your state's evacuation policies.  While I've seen folks worried about federal forced evacs, in most circumstances the feds are not involved during the evacuation stage but in the response stage.  Even in a large pandemic where the feds would likely be involved early through the CDC, sheltering in place would be the response, not evacuation.  The feds have limited power to force evacs.  While that has changed some in the last few decades, it is still not that easy, especially should it be in a state where the State government might not be on board.

BOBs are useful if you live in metro areas, areas of potential impact of any of the above or you just feel you aren't in a safe place and have a better place to go should the SHTF.  They are relatively easy to do and often the first place people start.  If you do a lot of vehicle traveling they are very useful, especially in northern climates or in or out of metro areas that can become gridlocked in a sudden event.  Having said all of that I think that sometimes people put too much emphasis on BOBs (especially the vision of strapping on a backpack and hiking to woods where no one else will be) and less on creating a homestead of sufficient resilience to withstand a fair number of slow and medium rollouts of sh...tuff and most events that are sudden and more critical like natural disasters.  For those of us above the age of forty, imagining leaving home on an off-road vehicle or bike or on foot carrying everything you might need is enough to cause nightmares, regardless of how well we take care of ourselves.  If you have grandchildren or parents it is really hard to see it being successful.  The scenario is great for TV and movies, not so much in real life.  I am much more useful to myself, my Mom and my neighbors if I am here and available to help respond and recover and not trying to hide from civilization in the woods.  I am conscious of security and have reasonable means of enforcing it should I need to but I don't spend a lot of time envisioning zombie hordes.  I am not scared of my neighbors, even those I don't know, and I have reached the age where I know what will happen, will happen.  Be prepared and settle in for the ride and try to find joy even in the midst of mess.  We not only can't be prepared for everything, trying to be can seriously impact any effort in enjoying life right now.  My grandmother always advocated finding balance and the older I get, the more I understand just how important it is.

As far as TEPCO goes, you are far enough away in NC that you will be able to get away with limiting outdoor actvities for some period of time depending on wind patterns and you might need to limit air exchange in your home for a limited time but I doubt either of those will be necessary on the east coast.  By the time it goes that far it will be defuse enough to just add to the cancer deaths not cause immediate deaths.  Just don't buy "fresh" vegetables from the grocery that were grown on the west coast.  This is where growing your own, putting it up and eating it will be the best response.  The folks in Japan will not be so lucky. 

jdye51's picture
jdye51
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
ptwisewoman

Thanks for filling me in on forced evacs. It helps to hear from someone familiar with community preparedness. I also can't imagine strapping on a backpack and heading into the woods. I'd much rather face whatever comes in my own home and neighborhood, even if it means dying here versus taking a chance on the forest. Or at least I say that now!

And Fukushima? Not anything I can do about it. What will be, will be. I have stopped eating the canned tuna from Santa Cruz, CA I used to buy when living in Ca. and that I have ordered a couple of times after moving here - really any fish from the Pacific. I agree that growing and preserving my own food as much as possible is the best way to go.

I feel so sorry for the Japanese people.

Joyce

Sirocco's picture
Sirocco
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 17 2013
Posts: 31
Bug out bags, old age, and TEPCO

First a question regarding the Fukishima nuclear problem - isn't the primary release of radiation via the leaking contaminated water? Is there a credible threat of significant airborne radiation? I live in the northwest, should I be worried about airborne radiation?

Regarding bug out bags, I currently live in a suburban setting in an area where high winds and fire mix to create some truly horrific wild and residential fires. I also currently live less than 1/2 mile from a major railway where I am sure that hazardous materials are routinely transported. My family keeps a bug out bag, just in case - but the chances of us ever needing to use it are, by our calculations, pretty darn slim. However, we agree that we'd rather make the investment in a bug out bag, than need one and not have it. In general, we have about 2-3 days worth of spare clothes, tolietries, dried and freeze dried food, some cash, and some pet supplies (we have 2 dogs that are our  family). Meds and IDs would have to be grabbed as we exit the house. Our bug out scenarios all include loading dogs and stuff into one of our vehicles, driving a safe distance, and either staying with friends or getting a motel room until we can get back into our neighborhood. Rather obviously, our BUG OUT scenarios are all constructed around short term and rather localized events.

Events that happen on a longer time horizon or effect a wider geographic scale, might require a different strategy. My long term strategy, as mentioned by multiple other people above, is to move to a location where it is possible to become as self- and community -reliant and sustainable as possible. In my view, while any number of natural or human-made disasters could certainly happen at any time, most of us are already facing the effects of declining incomes, resource and energy shortages, and completely incompetent government. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/employment-gap-between-rich-poor-widest-record-072956259.html).

I am pretty darn sure that as the years roll by, most of us will see our incomes and job opportunities continue to shrink year by year, constantly pay more for fuel and electricity, scrape to pay for food that continues to be priced out of reach, and suffer from "leaders" who refuse to cooperate or address real issues. It is my opinion that the descent into bone-crushing poverty for the majority of us will probably be slow, but it will be unstoppable. That is the "disaster" that I am preparing for - and no bug out bag or BUG OUT strategy will help with that. My family and I like to eat, so we have purchased and are preparing to move to a place with enough land and rain to grow a large garden, we will be planting our orchard next year, we are building an energy efficient home with solar PV, and we have a woodstove and plenty of firewood so that we can always stay warm. I guess, to sum it up, our plan is to "bug in" - be prepared for poverty (or whatever might come), but at a minimum be able to stay warm, dry, fed, and contribute constructively to our community. And hopefully, we will have a lot of fun in the meantime.

jdye51's picture
jdye51
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
Fukushima

Sirocco re Fukushima, you might want to check out www.fairewinds.com and Arne Gundersen. Arne was formerly in the nuclear industry and has been reporting on Fukushima from day 1. Also, Dr. Helen Caldicott. She is a physician and anti- nuclear activist.

From what I've read, if I have this straight, the concern is with the Reactor #4 building with the spent fuel pool on top. In November, TEPCO will attempt to start pulling out the rods. The problem is the crane used to do that has been destroyed and there is no computer to assist. There is debris on top of the rod assembly. There is something like 1300 rods (?) and TEPCO estimates it will take 2 years to remove them. The issue here is that the rods have likely been damaged and in trying to remove them, a rod could break and fall or hit another rod which could cause a fire and even an explosion if a chain reaction begins. Great precision is needed to remove rods under normal circumstances. Trying to do it manually where workers can only work for brief periods before receiving too much radiation, is a nail-biting process. And, there is still a danger from earthquakes and hurricanes during that time. Arne describes the fuel assembly like a crumpled cigarette pack and you're trying to remove a cigarette without breaking it .TEPCO doesn't exactly inspire confidence in their competency.  At any rate, I suggest checking these people out and what they say could happen. Unfortunately, it looks like some radiation already reached the west coast after the initial disaster. Cesium has been found in tuna and in seaweed in S. California. TEPCO has consistently lied about what happened. For example they said reactors 1-3 were in "cold shutdown" and now they admit that the cores of each one have breached containment and are sinking into the ground. The other issue is that the buildings are sinking because of so much water going into them to cool the cores and the pool on top of #4. The dirt underneath is unstable and even liquified in some areas. If building 4 moved, the rods would go. The pool holds tens of thousands of pounds of plutonium alone. A miniscule amount will kill an adult. Another problem is that in some areas, radioactive debris is being burned to get rid of it which sends it right into the atmosphere.

Really, the eyes of the world should be on Fukushima. TEPCO and the Japanese gov't have refused offers of help. Arne went to Tokoyo and took random samples from the city. He carried them back to the US and had them analyzed. Each one would be considered hazardous waste here and  sent to a depository in Texas. The city is around 125 miles from Fukushima. The insanity is that Japan has been awarded the Olympics for 2020! Abe wants to turn around the Japanese economy and turning the reactors in Japan back on is part of his plan. So he downplays anything negative about Fukushima.

Sorry to ruin your day!

Joyce

 

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Posts: 1763
Water supplies for "The Fukushima Bug In"

I have no background in public health and have not given any comprehensive thought or research to the issue of surviving fallout or a wind-borne radioactive dust cloud.  So, with that limitation, I do know that  water storage will be a essential to the *stay-indoors-for-two-weeks-to-a-month* strategy.  But how much water do you need?

We can estimate water need by the general rule of 1.5 gallons per person per day.  But this estimate  depends on several assumptions:  1)  You are not using water to flush toilets, 2) not taking baths or showers (yuk),  3)  not watering your garden, and, 4) no family members or neighbors suddenly show up looking scared because they have NO FOOD OR STORED WATER AT ALL and they know that you do.  [Several family members have advised that they think that my preps are "crazy," "paranoid," "unrealistic" and that they disapprove of the whole approach of "living life in negativity," but if TSHTF they will be right over!!]

This is a 300 gallon water tank (called an "IBC Tote") from Craig's List for sale in my area for $100 or so.  They are used to transport food ingredients from one factory to another factory and then are discarded afterwards.  New, they can be purchased for $375, used and dirty for $60, used and clean for $100 - $125.  300 gallons of water weighs just over 1 ton, so set it on a cement floor or outside on level ground.  The valves on the bottom are not designed for repeated use, so filling and empting the tank should be done by putting a hose in through the top hole.

JasonW posted an article about a family going without running water for 48 hours.  She uses the same 5 gallon container PP Prep recommends and tranfers water from large storage tanks in the basement to 5 gallon tanks with spigotts located at each sink.  If I were not able to carry 5 gallon containers of water (40 pounds) up stairs due to a medical problem, I would want to get a small pump from the hardware store and a hose, otherwise a siphon will do.

Tractor Supply Company has a 325 gallon tank that will fit nicely in a basement or garage. But new at $600, that seems prohibitive for all but the most wealthy.

Sirocco's picture
Sirocco
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 17 2013
Posts: 31
What is wrong with humans?

Well, that is depressing...

Joyce, your post about a possible catastrophic airborne radiation release as TEPCO tries to remove fuel rods in November, made me do some research. I found a couple of web sitse with similar content to the one (www.fairwinds.com) you recommend and read up on the situation a bit. What a mess!

(Warning: mini-rant to follow) It seems like the human race in general is both homicidal and suicidal. We are very busy killing each other, any animal that moves, and the planet. Logic says that we are part of a natural system, can't live without the natural system, and yet humans are destroying that system as fast as we can. The only logical outcome of human actions is the extinction of all or almost all life on Earth; we certainly will not survive ourselves (without massive and lasting changes).  

Why do we put image before substance? Why is winning absolutely everything and morality irrelevent? Why is greed good and integrity/ethics only for losers?

Why do the 90% (or 99%) allow the 10% (or 1%) to rule us, ruin us, abuse us, kill us?

What is wrong with us??!! (That is a serious question)

 

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 5 2013
Posts: 147
One fundamental law of Nature

Nature has one fundamental very clear law that all life is subject to, and humanity is breaking it every day. This law has developed over billions of years and it is this, nothing in nature takes more than it needs. And when something does it becomes subject to this law and dies off. There is a term for something inside the body that takes more than it needs, Cancer!

Rose

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
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Posts: 147
Critical thinking skills followed by action

Often times when you go looking for what's wrong, you'll discover what's right.

I will start, even small actions are extremely powerful. LOVE! and that's not utopian.

Rose

jdye51's picture
jdye51
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Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
Sirocco, RoseHip - it does

Sirocco, RoseHip - it does make one wonder what will become of us. We are supposedly intelligent creatures yet manage to ignore the consequences of our actions. We pretend we are not inextricably connected to the web of Life. Our very existence depends on it, yet in our hubris we act as though our intellect will find a way around material limits. The rules don't apply to us.

Fukushima is a perfect example of human arrogance combined with incompetence meeting the forces of Nature. To me, that's why nuclear energy is so dangerous. And now we have this critical situation being managed by the same people who created the problem. While the world's attention is focused on Syria and other crises, the most important one of all is barely mentioned.

So . .  . other than keeping my fingers and toes crossed for 2 years, there isn't anything I can do about it. Well, I pray.

Joyce

 

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
And Here is your Serious Answer.

 

And 

 

Serious scholars can find much more where that comes from.

If world leaders did ayahuaska the world would change.

ptwisewoman's picture
ptwisewoman
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 18 2008
Posts: 56
Full of hubris, arrogrance and short-sightedness

Humans with all our awareness and consciousness are also arrogrant and short-sighted.  We are into short-term and convenience, ours not any other creatures.  As far as I'm concerned nuclear power built in earthquake areas and along the Pacific coast where tsunamis are not an unknown event is without a doubt one of the dumbest things we've done as a species.  If we want to talk about a mess we are leaving our descendents, the whole nuclear grab bag is a beaut.  I have used the analogy of cancer a number of times in discussing the way humans insist on living on this wonderful gift called earth.

My understanding is some radiation has already reached the west coast though what we have been told is it wasn't a level of concern.  I've given up the fish and the CA vegetables from the area, not that I ate much of the vegetables before hand but I do miss the fish.  I think folks on the west coast need to get as much info that is absent either a Japanese slant or a western media slant and try to start making some decisions about possibilities and best responses given their circumstances.  Keep ears open for thyroid problems and rises in cancer rates.  I really don't see the upcoming effort coming out any better than all the other bungles for the past two years.  The amount of radiated water they are trying to store alone is a problem should another earthquake occur and heaven knows there is no place to put it that isn't earthquake prone.  I too feel sorry for the Japanese.  One of my best friends is part Japanese and this is just worrying her mother to death.  In terms of water.  Folks on the west coast should determine where their water is coming from.  Surface water could become contaminated.  Ground water would be less of a problem.  Most water processing allows water to sit out in open tanks as it is chlorinated and cleaned.  Power plants melt down, they aren't bombs.  Contamination of the Pacific is a given.  It already is and will get worse.  But there will be radiation in the air if they fail with this upcoming effort.

I am a believer in BOBs.  I don't want anyone to think I think they are a waste of time.  I just find that some folks who work at being prepared put way too much into BOBs, guns and leaving civilization when things get bad.  I just don't feel that is a response that most should consider or would find reasonable and it requires experience most folks don't have.  I also shifts the brain from thinking about resilience and creating a better recovery from whatever might happen to survival.  I want my family and community to thrive after the dust settles, not just survive.  If I lived in a metro area with multiple man-made technological accident possibilities my BOB would be sitting by the door loaded and ready like it was when I lived in Houston.  Nowadays it is in the closet and doesn't get checked as often but it is still ready.

I too saw Japan won the Olympics bid and found that to be another fine example of short-sighted stupidity.

Joyce, I'm pretty sure NC is a voluntary evac state.  It has been a while since I interacted with anyone from NC in emergency management, and it could have changed, but I doubt it.  The south tends to voluntary evacuation but some areas do make you sign that you understand you are on your own if you don't leave.  You might contact your local emergency management office, probably county unless you are in a metro area.  They should be able to tell you about evacuation and what risks they believe are possibilities that they plan for.

ferralhen's picture
ferralhen
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 151
fukashima

at first i filled 100 sandbags of pre fuk sand and it' stored in my garage to put on the main floor over an area i would inhabit a few feet past my fallout area. i watched  the weather patterns(which i do alot anyway) and tracked the fallout. in the beginning  alot went north into canada,,,,ok then i read about cesium an d decided to get collard green seeds to grow in my soil. the collards would uptake calcium out of the soil or in this case cesium. then i thought about covering a section of my garden so the compost could be scraped off. then i thought i won't be out when it rains and i won't eat the snow like our teachers told us back in th 50-60's. then i thought i won't track in any dirt (a big ha ha there) and i will take a shower each night when i come in and wash it off. i stopped eating anything from california and colorado and texas. and i never have eaten fish or anything from the water. my thryoid trashed in 1986 and i suspect from chernobyl...i was outdoors alot that spring.and summeri got to the point where i couldn't keep up and fear laden as i was, i was aging and couldn't keep up with solutions and ideas..2 months after fukashima i figured out i was pushing a boulder up a hill. and i resumed lifelet go the worry and accepted an early, premature death was in slate for me. whatever...i let it all go.

i grew up in a prestigious neighborhood in se michigan on a chain of lakes. turns out all the byproducts from the chroming industry for autos had  a huge toxic dump up the chain. the residents of this neighborhood kept mum to keep the property values up. 100% yes that is correct, 100% of the houses had an incident of cancer. young people moving in died within 3 years of moving there...the undertaker finally made enough money to move into the neighborhood and they were both dead within 5 years..both my parents had cancer....my mother had stage 4 ovairan cancer in 1976. she is now 85 and my father 87.

my take away is some people have good genes and are resistant to cancer and others don't. the other conclusion is the water we consume.i distill mine and i'm working on a simple filter idea....if everything stops we may need to come up with a new set of kosher...which makes me wonder if pigs hold more crap in their meat that other meats and shell fish too?(i'll just leave out all the implications that statement means) 

some of us will survive to old age. some won't. at 60 i think i already have-- by historical standards.i still have my teeth too.

so i spend my time getting a place set up here.

it's good to know what's going on as long as it doesn't derail me.as we get older, our metabolisms slow down...the elders in japan offered to do clean up work at fukashima. could we do the same? i won't.i, not a hero. but as i've said in other posts, i hope to be leaving behind a place where life can be maintained. stress, worry, can kill just as many people as cesium can.

i think we have to adopt a resilent attitude and to go til we don't type thinking and trash the omg one.and of course do what ever else makes sense.

 

ferralhen's picture
ferralhen
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 151
aging is suppose to use the

aging is suppose to use the letting go that aging naturally brings to bring and pass on wisdom to those younger than us, to help them survive, to not make the same mistakes and to have some perspective  of the long term of human folly and survival.

the elders of the past told stories. some were recorded. some passed down for centuries by word of mouth

the boomer generation....what are we passing on.?

jdye51's picture
jdye51
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
Dangerous Times

The Man-yi typhoon hit Japan and has moved out to sea. It dumped a whole lot of water onto the Fukushima area. I saw a news item that they released 1000 tons of water into the sea under the classification "rainwater".  Might they also have used this situation to release some of the water in the storage tanks that are leaking? I just don't trust TEPCO. They lied about the 300 tons/day going into the Pacific over the past two years. So far, there hasn't been anything on wind damage to the reactor buildings. Man-yi was a Category 1. What if a more energetic typhoon should hit or a 6.0 or higher earthquake, both things are quite possible.

Atmospheric nuclear tests released plenty of radionuclides into the air before they were banned. Countries dumped defunct nuclear reactors and other material into the oceans before that was banned (did you know about that?). Now radioactivity is being continually released into the Pacific ocean. We have a history of using the planet as a dumping ground for our detritus. This includes all the cases of corporate dumping of waste materials as well. I read somewhere that half the rivers in China are gone and the rest are polluted. How does any of this make sense? Who is it that thought it was an OK idea? To use the cancer analogy, the mutant cells are releasing toxins that will help kill the host.

I bought the book "Nuclear Roulette: The True Story About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth" by Gar Smith but haven't read it yet. I suspect it will be depressing and alarming to read. It's in my stack of other books on Permaculture, composting and edible landscaping that are more uplifting. But with all that is going on in Japan, I think I'll move it to the top of the stack. In a moment of fear over Syria, I bought another book, "Nuclear War Survival Skills" by Cresson H. Kearny. I haven't read that yet either. Glancing through it just now, there is something about the prevention of thyroid damage and fallout shelters. Maybe I should read it first! Not to scare myself but to learn more about the dangers and what it's possible to do.

Many people would scoff at such concerns (they would about the 3 E's too). But take a good look around you at the world. Nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry. Increasing tensions over scarce resources. Is it such a big leap of imagination to think someone will eventually use the bomb? Or that a spent rod will slip and hit another one sparking a fire that releases large amounts of radionuclides into the air? We do seem to be set on killing ourselves off, don't we?

Prep and pray, prep and pray.

Joyce

 

 

 

jdye51's picture
jdye51
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 157
Tuna

Here is an article on the bluefin tuna caught off California in 2011

http://intellihub.com/2013/05/29/absolutely-every-one-bluefin-tuna-teste...

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