With your Host, Category5. Bah. Bah.
(MrsC5 chimes in, “alot of people wont get the joke. Some people dont know what ruminants are”. Fair enough. Here is Wikipedia. “Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions.”)
While down here in Barbados, I find myself becoming one of The Men Who Stare At Goats
There is a lot of semi-urban sheep and goats here. It is a preferred meat source. There is a tethered goat just across the street that I see from our balcony.
Now that is a goat with a serious goatee. We could be brothers.
Ya, ya. I know. I’m in touch with my inner Burt Gummer. What can I say. I’m oldschool retro.
And each year that goes by, MrsC5 becomes more and more like this.
Same suppressed rage and anger control issues.
What a combo in one place. Burt and Sarah. That is a movie I would pay to see.
But before we get there.
I am not a big fan of preppers that refer to themselves as sheep dogs. Talk about delusional. A sheep dog is really just a wolf that more consistently knows what’s for dinner. The wolf if more honest about himself being a wolf. The sheep dog is a Bad Guy that has carefully scripted his own narrative so he can believe he is really a Good Guy.
The Sheep are not fooled.
The only difference is one is inside the fence and one is outside the fence. Meditate on that, my young Padawans. Preppers referring to people as sheeple got on my nerves pretty quick. Considering the rather short term preps that I observed from meeting and talking to preppers, there sense of their place in the world is greatly overblown. It’s the ancient instinct to dehumanize those you have decided to kill. Demonize them. Seal them in. Cut them off and kill them. You have to call them a slur and create a narrative that they are foreign and not of the same species.
Well this is a shout out to My Sheeps.
Well, my narrative starts to break down about this point. So sue me. I am talking about goats and I was looking for any excuse to say “My Sheeps”. If I was talking about poultry, it would have been “My Peeps”. Never mind.
My survival advice from the Caribbean series is going to be quite short because our farm sitters bailed. I mentioned before that I would be returning soon unless I pulled a miracle out of my ass. No miracle was forthcoming.
That said, I actually did pull a minor miracle out of my ass. “My Sheeps” stepped up. A few of my friends have decided to take shifts at Dark Green Mountain. Goddess, blessed them. They have bought Mrs.C5 and myself an extra month down here. So it is a month and a half for me here to learn as much as I can and finish my final mental rest up before a permanent return to DGM . Boy, do I ever have some favors to return when I get back.
This has happened BECAUSE I prepped for this. It’s because I have a longer term vision. I realized Solo Survivalism had No Future Whatsoever. For the last 8 years it has almost been a full-time job for me trying to start a group. A community of people. On the whole, this has been a Huge Fail. A lot of wasted effort. A lot of heartache. And just when I am ready to give up, my real community has stepped up and said “We have got you covered”. (MrsC5 chimes in, “Stop calling it a FAIL. I have realized we actually achieved our goal. It just looks a bit different from what we had pictured) Fair enough. Some of my crew have become good friends simply because WE introduced them. Its still just the beginning. My Plan has worked
It’s been a long hard row to find these friends. One of the most important C5 rules that I have had the privilege to share with the world is…
C5 Rule of Survival – The single greatest survival skill set is … (envelop please)… the dinner party.
Building social networks. Considering the history of homo sapiens, this should be obvious.
But it spits in the eye of traditional survivalist thinking, like Trust No One, OPSEC, or the sheep will kill me for my canned wieners. Etc..
Thus – C5 Rule of Survival- Take all the old survivalist “wisdom” and pretty much do the complete opposite.
Though It is still true, it is the misfits, the outcasts and the “scapegoats” that have greater insight into collapse simply because they have no commitment to the general society. No need to propagate the idea that “Everything is AWESOME”.
But when it comes down to getting shit done or producing Actual Survival…
C5 Rule of Survival – Survival goes to the Most Social.
That is a hard pill for me to swallow. Neither Mrs.C5 or myself are That Type. We are cranky, rude, insensitive and on the whole, we don’t have a very high opinion of people. And it gets worse with each year we age. Someone mentioned recently that there faith in humanity at the moment is at an All Time Low. We just nodded and I gave a sarcastic but sympathetic “Yup”. My general theory as to WHY this happened is simple. Over twice as many people have showed up on the planet since I got pooped out. Twice the Humans = Twice the Human Evil… in Half the Space…with all the good resources already used up. What could possibly go wrong.
That’s why it is nice to have a few friends that we just like hanging out with, chewing the cud. It’s taken a long time and our full commitment to find them. It makes them more precious to me than gold. So,…
Let me raise a beer to “My Sheeps”.
I sure use alot of christian imaging considering I no longer suck up to the Gods. Its just that my Zoroastrianism and Confucianism is a little week. Never Mind.
Now, I am more likely to identify with goats, being an Aries by temperament. Aries, being ruled by the head, do have a tendency to like cool hats and even cooler sunglasses.
More importantly, my history is a repeating story of being cast into the role of “Scapegoat”. The one blamed and cast out. We get the English term scapegoat from Judaic animal sacrifice rituals. An unblemished sheep became a symbol of blood sacrifice to pay for sin. The goat had a different purpose. By the laying on of hands, the sins of the people were put onto the goat. Then it was cursed and driven out of the community. I have played this role too many times for it to be a coincidence. I suspect there is something inherent going on. It has shaped my personality into someone that won’t take Any More of other people’s Shit. If you fuck with the ram, you are going to get the horns… until I have to use the pressure washer to spray away the bits of scull fragments and brain jello from the driveway.
The photos at the top of the page are Bajan black belly sheep. They only look like goats. You will notice they are just let out into the soccer field to graze. They keep the field mowed and fertilized. The owner gets free grazing and he calls them in at night.
But what really got me thinking about goats in a world of resource depletion, economic hardship and the collapse of the suburban experience, was this guy who herds his goats around our neighborhood.
He is not a sheep dog. He is the Good Shepherd. The goats and sheep follow him and he leadeth them to green pastures. He gives a low whistle and they coming running. The goats don’t want to find themselves alone to face any big bad wolves. This Good Rasta Shepherd takes them around to the waste places of the neighborhood. Abandoned and overgrown yards. Grazing amongst the rubble.
This symbolism is Epic. The survival advice Potent.
In the dark future I see coming, I see a return of the animal herder. I can picture some Yuppy business man in a tattered suit and bare feet being left to follow around the goats, in all weather because I couldn’t figure out what else to do with him. This is what I would do with useless survivalists like YankeePrepper. What a Douche. That or gathering dead fall branches for firewood. The only good side is that it is added security for the community because it is a set of eyes and ears left outside all year.
After our semi-fail in pig breeding, (MrsC5 chimes in again, “The pigs were not a fail”. Fair enough. It was the learning curve. We learned pigs are more of a community project than a solo venture. We learned we would need a full time Swine Herder) we know we have to replace that meat and lard source with an animal that is more manageable and less destructive. My mind has been turning back to goats. I think this is the next step in food security for us though it may take a couple of years till we are ready to be overwhelmed by animals again. On the plus side, we have huge hay fields and grazing lands so we have little excuse not to have grass eating animals. Animals turning undigestible hay into very edible protein and fat. But enough about our plans.
I am ruminating on ruminants. Chewing the cud about survival advice for the rest of us. The only good news of the failing suburban experience is that all of those lawns have preserved a lot of precious top soil that would have been depleted if it was being used by industrial agriculture. Most industrial farm soil is now devoid of all life and is simply a sponge for petrochemical fertilizers. When that spout shuts off so does the food. Insert the four horseman of the apocalypse here.
This begs the question, what would be the Four Food Groups of the Apocalypse. Behold, I saw a pale horse and on it road assorted squashes of the winter storable variety. Then I saw a pestilence of leafy greens until you can’t stand eating any more leafy greens. Then came a war of winter storable root vegetables. And death came in the form of goats.
I am impressed with myself for that one.
I had my mind on goats from an early age. I wanted the larger alpine goats that came with the bonus that they could be used as pack animals. Even cart pullers. But life had not given me enough stability for animals. I had this illusion of goat ownership burst pretty early though. I had been around a few goat farms and … they up and die for not good reason. I had assumed goats were sturdy animals. Nope. They kill themselves all the time. Luckily they breed fast enough to get past the death rate.
Christ on a surfboard. I had totally forgotten about that I actually did own a goat once. Well, that is a sign of age and a traumatic life when you don’t even remember owning a goat… even when writing an article about goats. “Well it is not the years, honey. It is the mileage”. I guess my memory at the time was more focused on that my first wife was fucking around on me. The goat died painfully of bloat from eating too much lawn grass. I think it just committed suicide to avoid the drama of what was about to happen next. I would suddenly discover smoking addiction, binge drinking and pot soon after. The idea of goats got replaced with a motorcycle and a much darker world view.
Seven motorcycles, three dozen lovers and a few continents later, I guess I am ready to start thinking about goats again.
Several survivaly minded folks get goats thinking they will be able to eat anything. Here’s the deal though. They all end up having to buy hay and drive to were they can get it. Fantasy gets trashed by reality poking its head up the poop shoot of life. Down here in Barbados they can graze all year, live outside and fuck anytime they want. Not so much in Canada or other cold areas. These are the main problems that must be added into the equation.
We had all of this beaten into our heads with the pigs. I thought I was so clever. I could grow storage pig food. No need for hay cutting and storage. They breed profusely and I solved the high cost of fencing by learning to tether a pig… like a goat.
We all know how that ended. If not, you can read about the story here. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/c5-and-the-post-apocalyptic-permaculture-pig-redux/
Pig ate about 10 times more than I was figuring. Suddenly, hay and grazing seems more appealing. The fencing issue gets solved, once again, by tethering… just like they do in the rest of the world. The really good news is that it is WAY easier to put a big dog collar on a goat than a complicated harness on a daily growing pig.
This buck is trying to stay close to his harem. Lots of rope though.
The youngsters stay near momma, un-tethered…so they don’t get tangled
Its not just the sheep and goats. All the cows are grazed this way as well.
Goats are notoriously Breakie Outie.. but nothing like the pigs that just saw a fence as something to break for fun or boredom.
The other issues is humping control. The male must be fully separated. Sucks to be a male. First you get eaten before reaching puberty. If you are the sole survivor, you only get laid for a few weeks a year. Yeah. That’s the story of 80% of my life. I made up for that in spades the other 20%.
If the buck isn’t separated, that means births in winter where everyone dies. Even a late summer birth means momma can’t put on enough weight to get through a winter.
The other cold weather consideration is infrastructure. They will need a barn to winter in. That also means you will need bedding and you will have to muck it out. That is a good news/bad news situation. Good news #1, That there is your necessary garden fertilizer in a world without petrochemical fertilizer. From plate to poop to plate again. Goods news #2, If you keep adding bedding over the poop in the winter, that is hot compost. It will heat the barn and animals. Bad news #1, That is one big, matted, smelly mess to muck out in the spring. Oh joy. More work followed by more work followed by more work. I was hired to do that job once. That was a big awful heavy messy job.
Then there is still the infrastructure for hay storage. The shipping container seems win win for small scale. Fast, cheap, sturdy and it is fireproof. Barn fires are no joke. They happen all the time near me. let’s just put combustible hay near faulty wiring and add animals that break things. Compressed, damp hay can also spontaneously combust. Barn fires have a tendency to spread to house fires and in a world of fewer fire fighters, that will also spread to forest fires leading to more house and barn fires. Yup. I like the idea of shipping containers as resilience against a declining future.
Here is a tip though. Traditional hay stacks are a way to lessen your infrastructure. I have made a mainly failed experiment of this at Dark Green Mountain. It molded inside. I had done it wrong. So I went back and learned how to do it right. It should have looked more like this.
They missed a step. You want to rake the outside of it. This makes water run off the sides instead of sinking in.
Much more on that here- http://www.leafpile.com/TravelLog/Romania/Farming/MakingaHaystack/MakingHaystack.htm
Of course there is still the hot summer job of cutting hay but I will leave that for its own post. I’ll do some scything and making hay doodles.
So it won’t be as simple as the bohemian way of doing things in warm climates where sheep and goats can graze all year. So much for the romantic ease of goats. Still, a man has got to have meat. Especially for getting through a northern winter with more polar vortexes becoming a regular feature of our future.
I suppose the last issue to talk about is how to tether an animal. A tree is good, also offering shade. Goats may decide to eat the bark though, killing the tree. A piece of rebar is usually pounded into the ground and a rope is attached. That is a mobile option. The other mobile option is using a large tire as an anchor. And that should be fairly easy to move short distances as you move the animal along to continue grazing. And I almost forgot. You will haul to haul water to your tethered animals. Murphy says, they will knock it over.
So the big and first question for those considering goats for the apocalypse is to ask yourself, “Do I have hay field”. Without that it’s a dead idea walking. One last upside of goats, if your homestead has a problem with brambles or blackberry take over, goats are the only animal that will eat it, thus clearing your land so grassland can return.
And… on a completely different subject…just encase, somehow, you managed to miss this. http://www.businessinsider.com/officials-in-cape-town-warn-day-zero-will-be-worst-disaster-since-sept-11-water-shortage-2018-1/#the-drought-is-the-regions-worst-in-over-a-century-1
I guess that has been why I have been getting regular hits to this old post. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/c5-survival-advice-from-south-america-part-5-ass-pain-episode-ii-the-ass-gods-strike-back/
C5 Rule of Survival- Location. Location. Location.
Once again, This post goes out to My Sheeps…. and all the other Free Range Goats out there.