With you Host, Category5.
Come on inside today for a tour. Shake off your boots and warm up by the fire.
It’s been a LONG and psychologically challenging winter. Still, I can feel the sun creeping back with my improving mood. Even with the cold, we are getting a few hours of heating from the greenhouse being pumped into the house. Our wood supply should run out in the next couple of days. No worries. We keep an extra years supply of 5 year seasoned hardwood for just this reason. Next winters wood is piled up out front to begin drying. I think I will top it up a bit more. I hear, people are crying out on crackbook to find seasoned wood because they ran out. Winter started early, here.
In the same way, our food storage is shrinking this time of year… but it is worth a look, just to de-mystify the idea to others. To make it seem less weird.
I have mentioned several times, C5’s F5’s of Adaptation. Food Storage. Food Production. Firewood. Fuel Storage (short term) and Friends (long term)
We sort of have our own grocery store in the back room that we pull from and re stock when loss leader sales show up. Hold that thought. We will get back to that at the end of the tour.
Might as well start in the kitchen… walking to the fridge. Quick grab stuff. We are not the most organized people. The glass containers keep mice out and are not air or moisture permeable. I’ll grab any commercial sized pickle jars when I can find them.
I was looking in the fridge and that made me say, WOW, it must be getting close to the end of winter. Its not as packed as it usually is. This is MrsC5s domain. It’s always a mystery as to what is in there and I can never find anything… but nothing goes to waste. We continue to use what others would throw out. There is still veggies in there from last falls small harvest. They might not look pretty but they are still cookable.
Its a barren wasteland in there. LOL. A full fridge uses less energy, BTW. I had hopped to show you what a fully utilized fridge looked like but I missed the opportunity. Take this, then cram another third into it.
With the returning light, the chickens are really pushing out the eggs at this point after the winter of being squeezed shut. About 6 a day. I will be sick of eggs very soon.
The photo up top of the article is the guest bedroom. I cant believe we actually have a guest bedroom, considering my past of living in a van and such. Still, it’s not exactly Martha Stuart living. I think of it as emergency refugee housing. Lets head there next.
But before we can even get there we have to get through the hallway.
Home canned stuff is really light this year since we lost much of last years harvest. Just dismal. We will see how this year goes… but I am expecting it to be challenging.
Now lets go see the refugee room. Its a little tight. If you come here as a refugee, all you can expect is a bed. Curtains flip down over the food though, to make it a bit more nice in there. Plus it keeps light down which degrades some food nutrition.
Now, the guest bed is a bit higher than most beds. That is because it sits on top of these.
Not a good shot but you get the idea. This is the long term storage stuff. Properly stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, in food grade buckets to keep the mice out. Rice. Beans. Animal grade wheat berries. Spaghetti.
Now, before anyone says anything, we are going to be eating all of this. We generally don’t need stuff with a 25 year shelf life because we are rotating through it. Except for the long term stuff, most of this is cycled through with 2 years. I would love a bunch of freeze dried stuff that just sits there and looks pretty…but it is outside our price range. Very little of this was bought at full price. Most of it was AT LEAST half price. We got it when it was on sale. We will eat it. Then we will replace it when we find it on sale again. It only seems odd because you have been paying some other corporate fuck to be storing it for you, in warehouses to be doled out by “Just in time, delivery”. What could possibly go wrong?
The days of having a larder, root cellar, butcher and cool room, smoke house, spring house or ice storage house are now gone, lost arts, and are slipping out of human memory… though that was once just normal life. We gave that all away for the illusion of wealth and “progress”. How is that working out for you?
The best WE personally can pull off is what you see. I’m sort of proud of it. It might seem excessive but it really wasn’t all that expensive. We built it up over time and got good at spotting sales. It was way less than one of your vacations or house renos. Way less. We simply missed one vacation and bought food security instead. That is not quite true. We didn’t throw the money away. We just got ahead of the game a bit. The grocery money is still right there, waiting to be eaten, in its cycle.
The next freak out I might hear would be someone screaming, “HORDING!!!!! Don’t you know that other kids are starving in Japan?”
Oh please. We didn’t build this during a food shortage, taking it from others mouths. You just decided to buy some other expensive things on credit instead, while we squirreled away a few cans here. A few jars there. And if things go tits up, we are one less person you need to get food to. We can be proactive and help others.
Speaking of the proactive part. Some people Game out in their heads, how they will feed themselves in a collapse. Because we have at least a year covered, I play a much more advanced game in my head. Hold that thought.
I mentioned in a previous post, that this is our buffer against a failed harvest or collapsed food system inputs. This buys us a year to substantially ramp up other food systems we have been growing in experience with. But if we take on even one more couple, that halves our time… and becomes untenable. We would all die slow.
With that said… I have a plan. I like to think it’s what you would be expecting from me and how I use my experience and grey matter. I have been Gaming this out in my head for years. It’s my mental popcorn.
In my Game, I work through, in my head, how to keep 4 other families alive… indefinitely. And in this mental game, I don’t start in the spring. I start at the beginning of winter. Worst case scenario. 6 months of winter before we can even get at production.
It’s my rubix cube. Just in case you ever wonder what is going on in that unusual head of C5. I try to solve impossible problems and I have been doing this for ever. As a teen, I survived school internment by Gaming out how to survive a nuclear war without a fallout shelter or supplies. That makes feeding 10 people on 2 peoples food much easier. Difficult… but it’s what I do.
That is what I mean by being proactive.
Lets move on with the tour. We are not done yet. To the laundry room.
Oh, My poor onions. We are defiantly going to run out of them before next harvest comes in. I suppose it’s important to tell people, I am writing this on March 7 so you understand where we are in the storage cycle. And the bigger totes are for bulkier foods, once again to keep mice out. Plus they stack well. A pain to get access to, though.
I just had Mythos over and he went, “WOW. You still have Zukini”. This is the value of proper sun hardening them, setting them in the greenhouse to finish instead of leaving them in the field.
Well, I guess the last ones are coming up on 5- 6 months of storage. That took some practice.
Potatoes are also light (and small) this year because of the mid summer heat wave and drought. Squashes are just tucked into any available crevice. I just discovered these.
Butternut squashes are the food of the apocalypse, dudes and dudetts. Trust me on this. During all the mid winter parties we went to, it was becoming a joke. Some version of squash soup showed up at every single one of them. I am sick of squash soup… but I heard the peanut satay squash stew was to die for. I passed on it because I was already squashed. We usually still have a few as the next harvest is ready to be gathered.
Almost done. Back to the mysterious no go zone of MrsC5. I hear there is still a lot of Mr Woo, the giant pig, still in there. I wouldn’t know. I have been kicked out of the freezer.
Always packed, every inch… and if you look carefully, anything store bought in there has a 50 percent off sticker on it. You will also notice the second mini freezer. We only use that late summer to fall when we have abundant solar. Part of food processing. Frozen tomatoes and grapes and such. A freeze helps get skins off before canning. Plus we can hold off some canning until we have more time.
And if, for some reason, electrical is taken out, we have more than 100 canning jars ready to go and much of this can be saved. I just noticed we still have a lot of last years corn harvest in there. Must eat that.
Soooo…..When I am talking about the Adapters Principle, MAKE FOOD FIRST AGAIN, you can see I am not talking out of my ass. I prefer to show instead of just tell.
And this concludes our post apocalyptic food tour. Please come again. Tell your friends. Pick up some eggs from the gift shop on your way out. Don’t forget to put a TIP in the donation box by door, where it says,”Giving Just The Tip”. And bundle up. It’s only minus 17c with the wind chill, outside. I’m glad for the late dump of snow though. When spring hits, it will hit fast and I want that water to store in the soil for as long as possible. I am expecting more drought this year.
One last thought before you go, to take with you. A few months back, Farmgal put out a warning to her readers. She mentioned that she hadn’t been finding the loss leader sales as much this year, and it was time to give up, break down and buy food at regular cost. I agree. It’s what I have noticed as well… and I was just waiting for the right opportunity to tell people. Thus, this tour. I am still pulling off 50% off deals in the perishables. We are kick ass at that skill. But on other non perishables, the sales haven’t been all that good, while regular prices rise and purchasing power lowers. Just in case you forgot about all that heat and drought last year, reducing crops. And while we have been freezing because of the Northern oscillation faltering, on the other side of the planet, Australia was getting cooked…then flooded… then cooked again. Fish dying. Even the Kangaroos…and Camels were dropping dead… and not in small amounts.
Bonus reads are a little lite this post. This one is just to badger a previous point- https://undark.org/article/the-psychology-and-allure-of-conspiracy-theories/
This one is also a bit lite. But it is also to badgers a previous point. I like the cover photo though… and the sub title. “Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification- https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-02-26/the-future-is-rural-the-unexpected-consequence-of-energy-descent/
And how about ending this episode with another DJ-C5 song… once again from the Danish symphony, taking me way back to the original Blade Runner soundtrack. A fave. Obviously someone else’s as well.
And I missed the opportunity, last post, for some Bob Marley, with the Jamaica, The Yard and Trench Town reference. I never liked Marley before that. But After… I found a huge respect for the man, that he could find so much positivity wile living in such a rough place. And that is why Marley gets his place in the Post Apocalyptic soundtrack.
Movie scenes I can relate to. “I’ve seen things… ”