Posts Tagged ‘Post-Apocalypse Landscaping’

It is starting to get hot in Phoenix.  For the grand experiment I am going to see how long I can go without turning on the air.  At some point it becomes too hot to sleep, and I have a day job.  The goal is to see if I can make it to June  15.   If I could make it to the Summer Solstice, June 22, that would be amazing, or at least I would think that would be amazing.  Phoenix gets hot, like Baghdad hot.

For this to work I have got to make my front yard more livable. It gets the better summer shade and cools down quickest.  So this weekend was all about that,  one bougavellia plant gone, while the thorny plant was good to help protect the windows it was just a pain in the ass, and took up all of the best shade.  Second, was prepping and planning and scouting and raking.  Anybody got any ideas on where I can get 9feet by 9feet of Flagstone?

I also spent a Sunday Morning at Grow in beautiful downtown Phoenix, helping them get ready to hunker down for summer.  I wanted to see how they were approaching it.

Below: Sunflower seeds at Grow.

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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.

A while back I declared a truce with the gophers.  They, however, did not see my white flag.  Last week, they went at one of the two agave plants I have in the backyard. 

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Upon my return (I was gone for a week) I found one of the agaves dug out from underneath.  The agave is now in 6 parts.  The roots have been thoroughly gnawed.  I assume the plant is going to die, but the nice thing about agaves is they are like Abe Vigoda and take a while to die.  I have replanted the different parts to see if I can salvage any of the plant.  The stems that aren’t going to make it I am using by rubbing on my skin, giving me a nice glow.  (Sidenote: The agave nectar is a thousand times better for my dry skin that the expensive lotion I have been buying from the store.)   

I think the gophers attacked the plant’s roots because the agave was weak from overwatering.  I had recently pruned the mesquite tree behind it and also planted a brittlebush beside it.  Both activities involve a couple of deep watering.  I think the water caused root rot on the agave and the gophers saw a weakness.  This is the first time the gophers have committed a frontal attack on one of the plants in the yard.

As I been getting the garden ready, I been debating how I should landscape for the Apocalypse.

My front and backyards have already got some things going for them.  I have bougainvillea plants under two of the front windows, good for keeping the marauders out.

There is a large pine tree in my front yard.  This will be great if I ever need wood for burning.  Also the pine needles are great for the compost pile.  I never water this tree.  I think the roots have run underneath my neighbor’s yard.  She waters her grass every day.

I have two orange trees in the yard.  One of these trees I never water, and weirdly enough it is the one that does much better.  I have three aloe vera plants in the yard.  Good for medicine.

My backyard has a lot of bermuda grass.  I also never water this grass but it just keeps on growing.  The bermuda grass was there when I moved in.  I have never really encouraged nor discouraged its growth.  My orange trees, cacti, and mesquite trees have grown despite the fact that bermuda grass has.  I been debating is bermuda grass good or bad?

On the plus side, It grows on its own without me trying to help or hurt it.  It is good straw for adobe bricks.  It could be used to goose the solar still.

On the negative side it is not good for the compost pile and is bad for garden.

Below:  My front yard.

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