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  • in reply to: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space – Part 1 #23194

    Largely through the thinking on this site, several years ago I took a walk in the woods. I am/was a pensioner at that time with a small guaranteed income of some $1800 a month. Adequate for survival but with inflation eating away my purchasing power, the writing was on the wall, even considering governments reneging on pensions in the future.

    I had no land, no savings, and my work skills were quite specialized. I managed to enter into a share cropping experience with a landowner and bought 6 weaner pigs. Over the last three years, my herd has grown to about 40 pigs. I have not sold any and butchered only one for personal use. My pension has just been adequate enough to buy fencing materials and food over the winter for my animals. The government has found ways to reduce my pension income by over $300 so I have had to cut my personal living expenses considerably so that I could keep feeding my herd. My original sharecropping agreement was settled with a cash payment and I have had to find two other locations on which I now pay a small rent.

    I am now 75 years old and the benefits of the decision have been gratifying. My health has improved with the daily exercise I have to do in maintaining my herd. My respect and love of nature has improved in watching pigs breed, eat and survive. I have also gained in personal friendships as people in the community have observed my efforts. If I was to liquify my herd at this moment, I would probably realize 12 – 15,000 dollars. But that in a sense would only be a break even point financially after I deducted all my expenses. So from a business point of view, I am not successful.

    However, in terms of health, community, and having an asset to barter with if our system collapses, I am in excellent shape. I also have skills that would help others to survive and a surplus of female pigs that would allow them to start herds of their own while killing and eating the boars for personal survival and bartering.

    Personally, I am rather surprised that the economic situation has held together as long as it has but I still have faith that it will crash very soon. To echo some advise I received from grandfather who lived through the depression through farming and raised 8 children, it was this: “In the depression you could buy a loaf of bread for a nickel, but no one had a nickel.”

    He had a working farm and a large family so he not only was able to take care of his own, but had surplus to help others. I was amazed at the number of people who came to me at my grandfather and later my grandmother’s funeral who told me how much help they had given to others in those terrible times.

    in reply to: Behind The Global – Game Of – Thrones #19057

    You are addressing the psychological factors that lead to the dysfunction of large powerful organizations. As these dysfunctions not only affect the individual, but by the nature of the dysfunction, ie the need or desire for power, they affect the greater arena that these dysfunctions manifest in. In other words, were a dysfunction might normally affect a family or personal relationships, these particular dysfunctions affect the much larger family of nations and nation systems.

    How can this be avoided is a relevant question. I would answer bluntly that just as the criminal justice system will order a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether the subject holds enough sanity to be charged in court for an offence, we should institute a psychological evaluation of those who are given positions of power and influence within our society.

    These evaluations should become as common as an IQ test we are often asked to take we when we apply for certain types of employment. Due to the nature of the results of this testing, it should be done by a triad of mental health professionals that not only interview the individual but gather information of past decisions and behaviours that will also contribute to the final evaluations. Leaders of political parties, members of parliament, senior bureaucrats, individuals that are called on to make decisions affecting others etc. I think it should be a fundamental principle of society they we have the right to have sane and wise people in positions of power.

    In fact, in terms of organizations such as the IMF or Nato, they should be analyzed to determine whether there actions would pass definitions of insanity or dysfunction that harms the greater society.

    in reply to: Creating Community in the Modern World #3187

    Very nice thought piece. Like other posters I have no solution to put on the table, but I do live in one of those possible survival communities, so I have some thoughts based on observation.

    First, find older communities that had turn of the century infrastructure – such as old farms, orchards, fishing areas, woodlots. Second, utilize the existing knowledge base of seniors who are still alive and remember those times. Three, plan upgrades to old technologies, example, splitting wood by hand is a bitch while with a log splitter it is fast and efficient. Four, find energy resources locally. Water power, wood lots, old coal seams and recognize that a world at its worst might have no grid, no petroleum. Five, make sure there is enough protein production in the area to feed the local population on a sustainable basis. Look to high productivity animals for protein such as chickens, rabbits and pigs, goats and sheep. Cattle are important but often require the most time to be productive. Six, store some stuff that you can’t live without, salt and sugar, soap and detergent, thread and needles etc. But the most important would be 100 or so gallons of gas and some oil that would only be used on small engines such as chain saws, horsepower motors for pumps or garden tillers. You will never be able to put away enough fuel for transportation. Transportation is going to be a bitch. Have a bicycle, a four wheel small wagon like a childs toy, if you can find a horse but remember a horse requires a lot of things for only one horsepower of work. Think windmills for pumps, use jacks and leverage to solve muscle problems. Have essential items, hand tools, garden tools, wheelbarrow, matches, rope, twine, bailing wire, pulleys and hand saws.

    That of course is only a short list to indicate how to think, but more important is to notice how it used to be done and read old books about it. Now the next and most important is a key group of committed, similar thinking, hard working, balanced personalities to set an example. Everyone is going to have to change if collapse comes. That key group can provide the structure and model of how to do many things and they will be glad to share, thereby setting an example of lateral government rather than hierarchal government. At whatever cost, resist the formation of violent gangs, thieves and manipulators. For those are the terminal illnesses in a thousand guises that will kill community. Talk about it and organize for it. Create outcastes and shunning as non violent ways to prevent and isolate violence. If you must have an armed group, be very a vigilant that they stay committed to health of the community rather than to themselves.

    Recognize that you create a community in which all survive no matter how desperate the times or you create a community in which only the strong and violent survive and the rest perish. It’s gonna be tough but you have to look it in the eye and pre-think a lot of these type of things so have some directions and principles to work and then you have to make sure they are lived.

    in reply to: Complexity is Killing Me! #2794

    Hi William:

    This quote struck home for me:

    “The complexity is one thing but the lies and double talk makes the new paradigm impossible to figure in any logical manner.”

    You know that most of us have experienced in personal relationships a number of people who expose over time their dysfunctional aspects. Some are manic/depressive going from wild enthusiasm to hopeless despair. Some are pathological liars who speak so well that it seems the truth. Others are locked into belief systems that any logical thought would call irrational or worse. Note Brevik in Norway who killed 77 young people over his belief that Muslims are taking over Europe.

    Then we have the professionals – ha ha. The worst being careerist who totally lose their moral compass to hold onto a job or to kiss the ass of a superior who they hope may reward them. Then their are the nut cases like David Horiwitz who happen to hold positions of credibility like being a University Prof. Lets not forget the masters of deceit, the politicians who promise one thing and deliver the exact opposite. And finally there is the greed group, all the way from the corporate elite -ha ha to the banksters and other profit seekers for their own gain.

    I say a pox on them all! Give me a man who deals with the real world of weather, soil, animals, machinery and family. Who talk straight, respect you as a person and relate to you as an interesting human being.

    Frankly, I am close to throwing my computer into the garbage for I find it makes my life more miserable and confused than whatever gains I seem to get out of it. Let’s face it, the old saying,”Ignorance is bliss.” has some true wisdom in it. “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you.” is another saying that has some profundity in it. Disinformation hurts you. If you don’t listen to the noise and deal with reality, you may still get hurt by some bureaucrat, police officer, banker or other idiot but at least you will deal with it in the here and know, not in the “what if this may be true” mode that most information seems to lead the mind.

    Well, that’s my spew for the morning, time to turn off the monster and go pull some weeds.

    in reply to: National Animal Identification System #2666

    I don’t have the time this morning to write a lengthy post so I would ask you to go to this website to read a comprehensive article about Michigan murdering pigs under a stupid law.


    If you want more indepth understanding of this stupidity then Google Bakers Green Acres Farm which has the most extensive information of how this has affected one family.

    in reply to: National Animal Identification System #2164

    I know I am posting a lot and not getting much fedback but then the whole comments section does not seem as active as I would have expected. Still readership will grow.

    Here is a link to about a 8 minute video of the farmer who is leading the fight against Michigan’s draconian law. It helps to put a face to a fight and this is a good face of an honest man and his family. Also some nice pig pictures.


    in reply to: National Animal Identification System #2143

    Well, it seems the more I wander around the internet the weirder Government Laws are coming into view. My latest discovery is a law in Michigan that was originally proposed to allow Government Officers to go onto family farms and kill any farm animal species they decide is an “invasive species” like heritage hogs.

    Below is the law of 2010. It is insane. If you want to do some serious ivestigation of this you can Google Michigan Invasive Species Act and get up to date. It’s scary.

    Michigan’s Invasive Species Act Targets Family Farms

    Mar 28th, 2012 | By Tim George | Category: Today’s Off The Grid News | Print This Article

    MICHIGAN – The Department of Natural Resources of the state of Michigan is about to impose on farmers the Invasive Species Act, issued in December 2010. That means by April 1, farmers must destroy heritage, or “wild”, breeds of swine or they will be violating the law.

    While many states have much needed laws against introducing non-indigenous animals into the wild, NaturalNews.com reports that the Michigan statute targets family farms and breeds of pigs normally considered safe and breeds of choice for many restaurants.

    Possession of just a single such animal is now a felony crime in Michigan and punishable by up to four years in prison. State officials say they are prepared to begin destroying targeted pig herds the beginning of April. The likelihood of criminal arrests now looms over dozens of family farms and private hunting ranges.

    Though the pigs listed in the Invasive Species Act have been raised by farmers and ranchers for decades without any negative impact on the environment, it is now a felony to own them. Many small farmers see evidence the legislation is intended to eliminate competition to the conventional pork industry.

    Aaron Butts, Executive Chef at Joseph Decuis, says the same kind of regulation, if enacted in Indiana, would not only hurt farmers, but also the culinary industry. He says if Indiana’s DNR implemented that regulation, Joseph Decuis would have to outsource pork, most likely from confined animal farming operations which are exempt from Michigan’s Invasive Species Order.

    “It’s definitely a big part of what we’re known for. We’re known for quality and how we source our ingredients, and the farm is a huge part of the restaurant. People respect the fact that when they come in they know where their food’s coming from.” Butts said. “I could get a lot of pork for a lot less cost, but it’s not going to be good, and our customers aren’t going to come for that. They’re not going to settle for that.”

    Which Pigs are now illegal?

    Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources issued an official document outlining nine traits of what they are now labeling “feral pigs”. The statute is written in such a way that virtually all types of pigs raised by family ranchers across the state of Michigan are now considered illegal in the state.

    For a pig to be classified as “feral” it only has to have one or more of the following traits:

    Bristle-tip coloration: exhibit bristle tips that are lighter in color (e.g., white, cream, or buff) than the rest of the hair shaft.
    Dark point coloration: exhibits “points” (i.e., distal portions of the snout, ears, legs, and tail) that are dark brown to black in coloration, and lack light-colored tips on the bristles.
    Coat coloration: exhibit a number of coat coloration patterns:solid black, solid red / brown, black and white spotted, black and red / brown spotted.
    Underfur: exhibit the presence of underfur that is lighter in color (e.g., smoke gray to brown) than the overlying dark brown to black bristles/guard hairs.
    Juvenile coat pattern: exhibit striped coat patterns — a light grayish-tan to brown base coat, with a dark brown to black spinal stripe and three to four brown irregular longitudinal stripes with dark margins along the length of the body.
    Skeletal appearance: Structures include skull morphology, dorsal profile, and external body measurements including tail length, head-body length, hind foot length, ear length, snout length, and shoulder height.
    Tail structure: Straight tails.
    Ear structure: Erect ear structure.
    “Other characteristics not currently known to the MDNR that are identified by the scientific community.”
    As with so much in this country these days, the act is being carried out under the guise of “for the good of the people”. Under the cloak of government benevolence, family farmers are about to have their animals destroyed and be arrested on felony charges.

    ©2012 Off the Grid News

    in reply to: National Animal Identification System #2092

    Hi Glennda:

    Yes I probably should have deleted the answers to his essay but they are so much fun to read I decided to paste them in.

    Your question was a good one so I went to Wikipedia and did some reading. Pretty mind numbing stuff and yes I could find much after 2006 until this article. So they gave up after two years but promised to be back with a new and improved version in 2012. I think one of the last comments stated that Obama had signed it into law in 2012 but I couldn’t find verification of that.

    So here is the lengthy article if it will past, if not I will post the URL.

    March 26, 2012
    9:34 PM

    National Animal Identification System
    Scrapped by U.S. Government

    Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

    In abandoning the program, called the National Animal Identification System, officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.

    The officials said that it would be left to the states to devise many aspects of a new system, including requirements for identifying livestock.

    New federal rules will be developed but the officials said they would apply only to animals being moved in interstate commerce, such as cattle raised in one state being transported to a slaughterhouse in another state.

    It could take two years or more to create new federal rules, the officials said, and it was not clear how far the government would go to restrict the movement of livestock between states if the animals did not meet basic traceability standards.

    The old system, created by the Bush administration in 2004, received $142 million in federal financing, but gained the participation of only 40 percent of the nation’s livestock producers, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

    When Mr. Vilsack took over the Agriculture Department last year, he began a series of public meetings on the identification program and was bombarded by strident opposition.

    Agriculture officials said that most details of a new system would be worked out in the coming months through consultation with the livestock industry and the states.

    Source: The New York Times, February 5, 2010

    However, the USDA’s announcement raises questions, acccording to Paul Hamby, of Missouri Campaign for Liberty:

    What happens to producers in states where mandatory NAIS is already implemented, such as Wisconsin?

    What happens to producers who were sued, fined or have pending charges in those states?

    Will USDA try to redefine interstate commerce as was done in 1942 with Wickard vs Filburn ( https://conservapedia.com/Wickard_v._Filburn)?

    USDA states new policy will be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process. Does this mean USDA bureaucrats will again make law for animal ID, subverting power away from Congress or state legislatures?
    USDA Questions and Answers: New Animal Disease Traceability Framework: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_version/faq_traceability.pdf.

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    A couple of comments. Apparently they have a system of sorts in Europe that compliments the NAIS system as originally proposed.

    Nice way to blow a $142 million of your tax money for a dubious end result even if it had of worked.

    in reply to: LEAVING DODGE CITY #2056

    Rereading your post, I was struck by the concept of “disruption” that you mention. Personally, I don’t think this is going to end in disruption, I think it is going to end in collapse.

    And in collapse, the guy who owns a pig is richer than a guy with a gold coin. For the gold coin you have that you invested in for mega dollars is heavily discounted by two things. One, the pig farmer does not need gold, he needs pig feed. Two, your family is hungry and that changes the trade equation from value exchanged to desperation to get that pig.

    The closer your wealth is to basic human needs such as food, warmth, shelter, the more dependable your wealth is. Cash, gold, silver is a fiat currency against a real reality. Hunger, cold, disease, are values that you either have or not. Personally, I don’t think I don’t think your needs can be fulfilled by offering me paper for my pig. I will want something tangible that allows me to keep being productive.

    So, rather than investing in gold or Treasury Bonds, I suggest that in really hard times, a gallon of gas as a tangible thing trumps all those fiat values that you hold for security.

    Right now, you determine the price of my pig. And I am getting screwed for the price you offer is barely able to meet my costs. What happens when I determine the price of my pig and you are the one getting screwed. For in truth, I would rather give my pig to a bunch of mothers with kids than give it to you for your handful of paper.

    So, without going through your posting line by line, my answer is to get something tangible and trust mother nature to increase your wealth rather than a banker or a dude with a Phd. In the depression of the 30’s a Dr. would treat you for a ham or a dozen eggs for that was a more valuable exchange of his skills for your problem than him doing nothing because you had no cash.

    Just thinking out loud here.

    in reply to: Lawrence of Arabia #2054

    This is a really interesting topic. It’s just to bad that Reverse Engineer’s posting is a blank page. Very difficult to comment on an empty space

    in reply to: Shedding #1948

    Responding to the last post, I would like to offer some thoughts. Cities, at least as we know them as mega gatherings of population may very well be a historical aberration. The main reason is they have to suck their sustainability from a large area. Think of all the food, minerals, water, resources that have to be gathered somewhere and brought to a central location to support massive amounts of people.

    As long as the periphery can support the city, it works. But – but what happens when the farmers no longer farm. When the transportation system can no longer move the goods from wildly divergent areas to your location. Also, the periphery itself gets depleted. The forest get cut down, the oil wells dry up, the agricultural lands get depleted, the mines run out of ore. These are realities the city person seldom sees and to date we have managed to compensate by going farther afield – but the field is finite and we are at the edges of it in many ways.

    So, it seems to me that we have to disperse. We have to go back to small groups, villages, towns at the most and that we have to be sustainable within that area to a very large degree. Doing that is a several generation type of learning. If a city person goes to the country, they literally know nothing. Think, do you know how to help a sheep birth a lamb? Do you know how to slaughter a pig? Do you know how to dig a well or find water?

    Our civilization is built on two factors. One is electricity and the second is fossil fuels. If you read the stats, we are already close to our capacity in electrical generation and our grid may soon become unreliable. It appears we are at the top of the curve on peak oil and though we are comfortable at the moment, if you look at the graphs, the decline is fast.

    And finally, we have to look at governance. Over the last 4 – 5 hundred years our systems of governance have become huge and the individual is more and more finding themselves limited by governance which exists for those at the top rather than for the greater community. Wars are the result – not of you and me who would find it difficult to harm another human being but by a few we have given authority or they have taken the authority to engage in this most hateful practice. A practice which destroys life, property, infrastructure and community. Small communities of tribal size may have violent disagreements that lead to one individual killing another but they don’t develop bunker buster bombs or nuclear devices that kill and destroy thousands. Our civilization is very uncivilized as long as we have war which comes from governance by a few of the many.

    The new pioneer is not the one who goes to the moon and stars. In my opinion, the new pioneer learns sustainability within a limited ecosystem and raises their children with that ethos.

    in reply to: Theory of Everything #1947

    I appreciate your comments but I have some niggly’s with the group approach. I have read extensively on communities that have tried to start as a group, going back to the 1800’s all the way up to the hippie communities of my youth. Most – to all failed. Why? It usually boils down to human nature. Leadership by a charismatic leader often works until succession comes along. Sharing resources works as an initial starting point but dividing assets as time goes on often breeds resentments. Different levels of commitment among members breeds discontent. Most of us are, in some way dysfunctional. We bring personal baggage to any endeavor. The ability of communities to handle personal dysfunction, whether it is power trippers, the lazy, the greedy, the me first, etc seem to create dysfunctional communities.

    I have just finished reading about the Doukabours, a Russian pacifist group that came to Canada at the turn of the Century. Wildly successful with their religious, commune based model, they did very well and were are able to put together large amounts of capital, skills that led to growth and stability. Then they ran into leadership succession problems, dishonesty at the top and finally by the 30’s financial ruin. Yet in their heyday, that had hundreds of thousands of acres owned and were productive in various areas.

    The Hutterites, probably the most successful group effort in Canada still are functioning and growing, but they made one crucial decision. Whenever a commune reached 300 members a new commune was started. (I am going by memory here on the 300 number but if not that then a similar small number.) They found through trial and error that groups over 300 developed schisms that led to major problems.

    What seems to me more sustainable is the idea of co-ops or affiliations that you belong to while still remaining autonomous. Therefore you can be you within your domain and yet still benefit from like minded and co-operative people but have the leave to decide your own level of participation.

    I would suggest that finding communities that already have working groups and joining them and integrating into their already existing models as an individual allows a blending of their needs with your needs that does not trigger the dysfunctions of committed groups.

    Of course, I am talking without a lot of knowledge and could very well be wrong. But, I have put a lot of noodling into this concept and have some practical experience.

    in reply to: LEAVING DODGE CITY #1903

    Let me weigh in here with a little practical experience. I got out of Dodge about 6 months ago. I subsist on a small income that is not dependent on work – it will last till the system crashes.

    First, downsize big time. You can’t go to a strange town in a strange environment and live like you do in a big city. The pace is different, the resources are very limited and people have been living close to the bone in these small rural communities for a long time. Be humble. They know how to survive. You know how to be a consumer.

    Two, small communities pay much more attention to character than big cities. So, you have to establish your worth. Volunteer is the first and best way to start developing your character in a small community. Second, watch what others are doing and see if you can emulate some of their strategies. Forget all the things you think you know and recognize the locals have a hundred years of community living behind them while you have probably been a specialist in a consumer society. Small towns breed generalists. They can carpenter, cut firewood, plant a garden, get out of a snowstorm, know what their neighbors are good at and have relationships for advice and help. You probably have none of those things. To them – you are not only stupid but arrogant.

    Three, recognize a couple of facts. Gardening gives you one crop a year – period. You need a lot of garden. Two, storing food is really labor intensive. That can of peas you buy for a dollar is a lot different than the can of peas you have jarred and put in a pantry you have never used. Four, animals take time to raise and then they have to be killed. Meat does not last long so you have to invest a lot of energy in preserving meat. All things in the country have problems. Their is mud, there is bugs, there are seasons that make easy things become hard. Heat is not a thermostat, it is a big -big wood pile that you have to create out of trees that are hard to get, hard to cut, hard to split and take a long time to dry. You have to learn to live not for next weeks cheque, but for next years needs, for everything in the country takes time to grow, mature, process and store.

    If and when the shit hits the fan the learning curve will be immense and the resources will be scarce. Get used to sore backs, calloused hands, old work clothes, limited personal hygiene, stores with limited stocks often far away.

    If you are rural, get used to the dark, be very cautious, injury and help are often far away or limited in response. Give to others as much as you can so that when you need others will give to you. Well, I’m not going to write a book, but I would advise you to go to the library and read old settler books and what they had to learn to survive. It’s more than a university education.

    in reply to: Theory of Everything #1902

    A Long and detailed analysis – thought experiment. Personally, I think a Black Swan Event is more probable than a continuing decline.

    As to moving to an area of remoteness with agricultural land – of which there is quite a bit. Though the the local population cannot absorb very much population growth and they tend to put up subtle barriers to outsiders. The outsider, knows nothing of this environment when he moves in and unless he has mega-bucks to buy up property and the tools needed to make it productive the average wage earner just does not have enough money and time to relocate and establish the necessaries of survival. When things go to hell, the local population will resent these newcomers and restrict their access to community services.

    I’ll give you an example of my current place. I am the newcomer. I have not too much money though I do have cash flow. I cannot afford to buy so I have two choices. Work with someone who has land and is already successful or rent or lease land that I can afford. Now this community has been thinking ahead for years and has a local food sustainability program of small organic farmers striving to compete with the supermarket and they can’t so they stay very marginal.

    What they do is donate their surplus to a local food bank, which had a policy of take what you need, rather than what we give you. This has worked well for several years and twice a week you can go to this food bank and get about a third of your grocery needs free. However, just this winter, there has been a higher demand for food than can be supported on this idealistic basis and so there seem to be two solutions being considered. One is to shut down the food bank. Two is to limit what each individual gets, much like food banks in the city.

    As you can see, we are not even in a crisis situation yet and but we are forced to act this way because the need is slowly increasing and the donating community can only afford so much. Those running this idealistic food bank are caught between the hard place of societies needs and societies ability to support those needs.

    Extrapolating, I can see a near future where supporting outsiders who come into this area is restricted by the local populations resentment and the need to support the needs of locals who find themselves poor or in seasonal employment with no reserves for winter or other slow seasons. The next step is then to actively evict or harass outsiders who come here to try and start a survival lifestyle as a self defense measure to protect the long time inhabitants.

    So, if you are procrastinating about moving, I suggest you move now while it is still possible. Second, immediately volunteer as a way to develop a personal profile in the community. Third, do not be arrogant because you were a big wheel somewhere else because you are probably a liability until you prove your worth to the community and they will be skeptical.

    in reply to: A new breed of wood cook stove… #1901

    I started searching the web for this as I wanted to know the price. What a shock to find out they want $3500 for this baby. Sorry, way beyond my budget.

    in reply to: Shedding #1763

    Great little essay. What a neat life experience! The only true learning comes from doing, all the rest is just regurgitating someone else’s knowledge. The future will belong to those who can do – not to those who just read and comment.

    Keep telling us of your experience which is sharing your knowledge. It is not so much that we will do what you do but your experiences show us what we can do.

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