Posts Tagged ‘2012’

Back in March I built a solar still in my backyard.  As Arizona is a dry place and my backyard does not have a creek in it, I tried to suck moisture out of plants.

This did not work.

I finally got around to editing the video.  Watch below if you care to watch my failed attempt as well as my first use of the fast-forward function.  If you don’t care to watch the video, the short version is that a solar still is a ridiculous amount of work for a ridiculously small amount of water.

On a side note, the raised garden did not work either.

This is perfect for an icon for discussion boards where the discussion is the end of the world.  .

The image is originally from a UNICEF ad campaign to raise money for ex-child soldiers in Buruni.  It was part of a 30 second commercial where the Smurfs get carpet-bombed.  You can find it on youtube, I would link but the link moves.  The intent was to show children the horrors of war.  UNICEF released the pilot commercial in Holland.  The immediate response by the internet was that this was just wrong, just plain gargamellly.

Murphy’s Law of the apoclaypse  

  • An animal that is too easy to catch ain’t worth eating.
  • You will get sick of beans.
  • Mice will get to your beans.
  • The mice in your beans will be easy to catch.
  • The mice in your beans will have Hantavirus.
  • People will betray you because of the temptation for meat.
  • You will be the meat.
  • There will always be someone meaner.

In a magical time called the 90’s things were good.  Our worry’s were about the President’s sexual indiscretions and not about collapsing housing markets or mountains of national debt. The wars we fought in were far away and small.  Few came back with scars for life.  The wars were in isolated places like Rwanda or the Balkans, places where the threat of hate spreading across borders was not a major concern.  Times were good.

The darkest thing we had on the horizon was a threat called Y2K.  People were terrified of the prospect that computers dependent on the numbers “0” and “1”  would not be able to handle the math of a changing century.  We imagined planes falling out of the sky, entire credit card networks committing hari kari, electonic security systems whispering off to silence, a silent grid.

Wal-Mart refused to let people return gasoline powered generations.  We feared desperate times made desperate people.

Nothing happened.  Everything was fine.  It was not for another 10 years or so that we faced true crisis.  We grew weak and bloated.  In fact, most of us still are.

I have come to the sad conculsion that I am not in any kind of physical shape for the apocalypse. I just read the pre-notes for the Survivial School I am taking this weekend. The first piece of advice he gives is to arrive to the class in shape. Apparently wandering around the desert all day looking for edible plants can wear a man out.  The improtance of being in physical shape is one of the best things one can do to get ready has popped up multiple times in prepper books and forums.

I believe I am in the worst shape of my life. The 6 mile hike I did a couple of weekends ago  zapped me for two days.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to find the build the habit of exercising on a regular bais. Lately I have been thinking that maybe a goal would help and then the warrior dash crossed my radar. I missed the one held last weekend, but perhaps I should set the goal to run the “3.4 Hellish Miles” next year. Assuming society still exists come April 2012.

In the meantime, I have been doing more of the the only type of execise I really enjoy, which is hiking.  This week I managed to go for three steep but quick hikes.

Next weekend I am taking a survival class for four days, we are going to walk a lot. I hope I am ready.

Below: Saw this tree blooming in the desert. Anybody got any idea what it is? It is pink flowers, and short stubby leaves. More photos at the flickr page, follow the link from the photo.

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Thank you Tommy Cannon for showing me how!

Neil Strauss has already wandered deep down the rabbit hole I am currently exploring.  Many of the same conclusions I am reaching (for example how we are more likely to help rather than hurt each other when the SHTF)  are chapters in his book, Emergency: This Book will save your life.  While I have been exploring what one would need to know when society crumbles for the last 4 months, he spent 3 years doing this and wrote a book when he was finished.

If one is looking for a practical “How to guide” for surviving the end of the days then this book is not for you, perhaps How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times is a better choice for that.   But if one is looking for a journal of how goes about learning how to prepare or one wants to reflect on the lessons learned while prepping then this is a book worth reading.

Since reading it I have caught myself a couple of times thinking when blogging “Is this my observation or Strauss’s?”    He killed a goat, learned how to make a knife, was instructed on how to respond to a disaster, cooked a fish and survived a wet night in the woods.  However, these things he did are not as valuable to the reader as his reflections of what conclusions one reaches when one does these things.  For that reason, if nothing else, it is worth reading.

In the meantime, I am going to take a least one of his specific recommendations, which is to take a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class.

Between the trip to NYC last week and participating in the Phoenix Fringe Festival for the next two weekends I have been a little light on the postings. 

Ernesto Moncada wrote and is directing the Arcana Collective in an experimental theatre performance that “embarks you on a captivating journey through underground ceremonies and shadowy thresholds.”  Ernesto wrote into the piece a character named “Apocalypse Man.”  Guess who he had in mind for the role?  My character shows the audience “why the Apocalypse is just another chaotic epiphany organized by romantic phantoms” whatever that means.

We have 5 performances in the next two weeks and I have been concentrating on remembering my parts. 

In the meantime, how about a video?

Below is Ashley Naftule and Kevin Flanagan doing a bit they did for Space 55’s 7 minutes in heaven show.   It is a relevant video for this post as Ashley is also performing in the Fringe Festival and in the video, Ashley and Kevin perform what is most likely NOT going to be the cause of the Apocalypse.

Most unlikely cause of the apocalypse from son of patter on Vimeo.

Before leaving for 9 days I asked my neighbor to water my garden once while I was gone. I can tell from the exact position where I left the hose that he did not. Despite that everything (except the gopher attacked agave) looks good. In fact, I am glad the garden did not get any grid-fed water for a week. The plants look healthier than when I left, which leads me to think I was over-watering, which is bad for two reasons, 1: Overwatering is bad and 2: Overwatering will be near impossible when the grid falls.  By then I should have an idea of how to grow with the least water possible.
The plants I am growing all have been specifically selected because they are Southwest friendly, meaning they don’t need a lot of water (for example, like celery would.) I have planted bush beans, pole beans, winter squash, summer squash, tomatillos, and habanero peppers.The return of seeds and/or seedlings producing actual plants though seems very low. The first batch of seeds went into the ground on Feb 22. I then planted another round three weeks later, thinking I don’t want all the veggies to come in at once.
I seem to be getting about 2 plants for every 10 or so seeds planted. I am not sure why the low yield.

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Above: From Front to Back, tomatillo, bush beans, summer squash, more bush beans, and winter squash. About 12 sees planted to each row, but each row is only producing 2 to 3 plants each, but those plants look strong.

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Above: I have had no luck with the Habanero peppers, not even a single weed, much less an actual wanted plant has grown in the elevated garden. The elevated garden was made from a discarded baby bed I found in the alleyway. I think my mix of manure, compost, and soil in the backyard has too much of the backyard soil.

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Above: On a positive note, the Blue Palo Verde I planted a week and have ago seems to have survivied the shock of transplanting.

One of the rules or expressions among the preppers is “eat what you store and store what you eat.”  Another sentiment is “practice is better than just reading,” which I totally agree with.  With those two sentiments in mind the Survival Mom is challenging her readers this month to cook rice and beans seven days in a row.

So, I bought some dried black beans (instead of the canned ones) to see what I could do with them.  I soaked them for three and a half days, instead of overnight, because I read somewhere that will help cut down on the cooking time, which will be helpful when wood is scarce.   I did replace the water they were soaking in every day.  The water would be dyed a little less black with each replacement of water.

Soaking them so long led to a funky smell, and some scum-like stuff floating on the top of the water.  I am not sure if this would make them unsafe to eat.    An internet search gives a unclonclusive answer.

Some say that I have fermented the beans and this is good, because it makes it easier to digest the nutrients while others say that I should throw them out.

I ate them.  They tasted very bland.

Lesson learned: Stockpile spices for the apocalypse.  Because who doesn’t like a little flavor once life has become dreary!