Protection From Silent Killers That Stalk the Nation’s Food Supply
Two recent events raise the specter of radioactive contamination once again as silent killers stalk the nation’s food supply.
Just because it might take a little longer to kill you does not make it less deadly.
Just because you cannot apprehend it with your five senses does not make it less deadly.
Whether GMO contamination, glyphosate contamination or radioactive fallout contamination, you can protect yourself if you have right information and you take the right action. Information alone is worthless without appropriate action.
The good news is that there are practical steps you can take to alleviate these conditions. Rather than reacting to specific threats as they may arise in your life, it is far better to adopt a way of life that inoculates you from mortal unseen threats and allows you to profit and grow stronger in the process. Nicholas Taleb coined the term “antifragility” to describe this phenomenon. I delve into this concept at length and describe many practical applications in my book The Atomic Trekker. (Click here to learn more)
Radioactivity does not sleep. It’s there 24/7 radiating silently away. From Fukushima to the old hydrogen bomb test sites in the South Pacific to an obscure middle school in Ohio the atomic legacy strikes in unsuspected ways in diverse locations.
Now, the old Enewetak Test Site in the South Pacific is in the news again. Despite the grotesque concrete dome, it appears that radioactive material is seeping through the porous coral soil. (Click here for news article source)
Who would have thought?
"UN chief warns nuclear waste could be leaking into the Pacific" Cracks in a 40-year-old nuclear 'coffin' are raising concern. (Click here for news article)
“WHOI geochemist Ken Buesseler carries a hand-held Geiger counter as he prepares to ascend...”
Deja vu all over again. That old test site just keeps giving and giving. I wrote about it in my April 2017 article on why I don’t eat sweet corn anymore. (Click here to read "Atomic Harvest" by New Ordnance)
No thanks! I don’t think I will be climbing that dome to sniff out any leaks. My predilection is to go in the opposite direction. Here in the US we have plenty of radioactive seeps and leaks of our own – from Hanford in Washington State leaking into the Columbia river, Oak Ridge contamination in the TVA lakes, the lost radioactive dumps on the Pajarito Caldera surrounding Los Alamos, Rocky Flats north of Denver, Pantex near Amarillo, the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and other places you never heard of. The list goes on and on. Sooner or later they all seep and leak.
Governments always lie in these matters because it is in their best interest to do so.
If you wait for the government to tell you about it, it’s too late.
Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Ohio closed due to radioactive contamination. (Click here for the news article)
According to the school district, enriched uranium and neptunium-237, two highly carcinogenic radioactive chemicals, were detected inside the building and at a DOE air monitor next to the school.
The Department of Energy's Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which is located about two miles from the Zahn's Corner Middle School in Piketon, Ohio, may be the source of the contamination that closed the school.
(U.S. Department of Energy)
“Between 2010 to 2014, the cancer incidence rate in the county was almost 488 per 100,000, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The rate is 10 percent higher than the national average.” (NBC News)
Unfortunately, the news was too late for the children of Zahn's Corner Middle School. Big Brother did not take care of them.
Depending on government to take care of you is the fatal mistake that all other fatal mistakes are based on.
Far better to take personal responsibility for your food supply and the basic necessities of life going forward. The priorities never change – air, shelter, water, food, medical care and defense. Cover the basics and come what may and you are free to pursue the antifragile life to build family, tribe and community.
It may seem too complex. That’s one reason I wrote the book – to show that it’s not the end of the world if your crops are contaminated by fallout. Some plants are easily decontaminated and others are not. You are better off growing Painted Mountain Corn beans and squash rather than broccoli, cauliflower and wheat. Some plants absorb certain radioactive isotopes more readily than others. There are no magic bullets but you might discover why I plan on growing lots of Lemon Balm for my herb chest.
As you can see from the picture at the beginning of the article, the portable take-away garden that I started planting a little over a month ago is yielding an abundant crop of super greens. (Click here to read the original how-to post)
I now have 12 bins with detached covers that can be easily transported to another location given enough time. In extremis, I would have higher priority items to transport in a sudden bug-out situation.
Of course, the antifragile strategy is to live at your bug-out location already. The chances of getting out of Dodge when the flag goes up are grid-locked slim.
It’s been raining steadily the past few days with a cold cloudy wind blowing in from the east, pushing scud banks through the gaps in the mountains with more snow on the high peaks – perfect hypothermia weather but it makes that famous Montana grass grow. That same ol’ springtime buffalo grass that lured those long horn cattle drivers from Texas to Montana, chronicled by Larry McMurtry in Lonesome Dove and portrayed with a quintessential performance by Robert Duvall.
Stay safe my brothers and sisters and never loose that joie de vivre.
May 20, 2019
Somewhere in the mountains of Montana
Yeah, I know you’re stuck TDY in a city or suburb and it’s planting time.
What are you going to do?
The early spring snow squalls come and go and it’s past time to “get out of Dodge.”
There are wars and rumors of war – even civil war and you are stuck for a while.
Here is a cheap, down and dirty trick you might want to take a look at.
It also offers crop protection from errant clouds of radioactive fallout that might come your way and from the over-spray of zealous poison purveyors, with Roundup or their favorite flavor of glyphosate, out to attack any dandelion that dares to poke it’s yellow head above that unblemished expanse of green lawn.
I picked up five used translucent plastic storage bins at a local thrift shop for a buck apiece and drilled numbers of 1/4 inch holes in the bottoms to facilitate water drainage. I discovered that the plastic will crack when drilled unless backed up with a piece of wood or whatever. Cracks did not concern me as long as the structural integrity of the bottom was not compromised.
I then shoveled in about about 2 inches of free road gravel that I scavenged to cover the holes. I got a big bag of organic top soil and 2 smaller bags of composted sheep manure on sale at a local hardware store for about $12 – enough for 8 inches on top of the gravel when mixed together in each bin with some left over. Yes, there were some small wood chips but it wasn’t too bad.
The bins came with no covers so I got out my worm drive SKIL Saw made in the US and purchased for $99.00 in 1984. It was still running strong and I managed to rip 2 white wood 2” X 4” X 8’’s without losing any fingers.
I then built rectangular cover frames, using 1 #16 box nail and 1 torx screw at each corner. The frames were sized to fit loose so they did not have to be exactly square which made construction simple when assembled on a flat surface such as the sidewalk or living room floor.
The frames were covered with cheap translucent 6 mil plastic film, about $6 for a small roll. I rolled out some plastic on the living room carpet and placed a frame on the plastic. Without measuring anything, I took a pair of scissors and cut a rectangle of plastic about 4 inches outside the frame.
With an old Arrow T-50 hand stapler normally used to staple up targets, I tacked the plastic onto the frame keeping the film reasonably tight and centered. The excess 4 inches of plastic on each side was folded over about 3 times on itself and stapled to the frame with 1 staple about every 2 inches.
The plastic was fairly secure with just staples through the folded edges. Excess plastic was quickly trimmed off with the scissors. If it had been in a high wind area, I would have nailed wood battens over the staples but in this case the staples alone should suffice.
Now for a little thermal mass and heat storage, I rustled up some empty 1 liter plastic drink bottles and a couple of old 1 gallon anti-freeze containers – the ones that have a narrow profile. Rummaging through the paint locker, I found a partially full can of flat black spray paint and another partial can of dark brown camo.
Stretching on a pair of those blue nitrile gloves, I held a bottle in one hand and sprayed with the other over the dead grass of the lawn that had recently emerged from two feet of snow. Making quick work of it, I placed the bottles on the ground under the lip of the porch to dry - not too concerned with the old leaves and winter’s detritus messing up the paint job – good enough for this kind of work.
The containers were filled with tap water and snugged into the soil at the rear of each bin with the front of the bin facing true south. Each rectangular bin was oriented with the longer sides on an east/west axis so that the front would see the sun as it circumscribed an arc through the southern sky. For this application, rough “rules of thumb” are good enough for a simple, direct-gain solar grow box. No need to labor over heat transfer calculations, I know from long experience that this will work fantastically to serve our purpose. I am sure that you see this intuitively and will have ideas for other improvements to suit your own needs and climatic conditions.
The lids are sized so that the frames are totally outside the lips of the bins with the plastic film resting on the lips forming a perfect seal to limit the night-time infiltration of cold air that might freeze the young plants that would otherwise thrive in these typical Montana, early-spring conditions.
The lids are easily secured to the bins with bungee cords that are attached
to loops of rope that run under the bins. During the day, the lids can either be completely removed or positioned to partially cover the bins as conditions warrant. At night, the lids are fastened back down. The lids are easily removed for watering with a sprinkling can as required.
Yes, one can make technical improvements to these rudimentary grow boxes but are they worth it? I figure what I have here will add 3 to 4 weeks on each side of the growing season. That’s like skipping down one or two climate regions to the south. The UV radiation at these higher elevations will disintegrate the cheap plastic film in one season but so what. I have minimum investment and ubiquitous plastic is easy to replace in this case.
The light transmission through the translucent bins may be only 80% and for the single layer covers maybe 85% if I had to guess. But guess what? The plants love it because of the diffusion characteristics of the plastic which refracts the light more evenly throughout the container. Besides, in above freezing daytime weather, the lids will be off and the plants will receive direct sunlight.
The downside until non-freezing summer temperatures arrive, is that twice a day, just like milking animals, you have to attend to adjusting the lids so you don’t fry the plants in the day or freeze them at night.
During the day, the water bottles will absorb heat from the sun, even on cloudy days. At night, the bottles will radiate the heat back to the plants.
Theoretically, black is the best heat absorption and emission color but in practice a deep green or dark brown will suffice. Water is a good heat storage medium because of it’s excellent heat capacity per unit volume and weight characteristics in a cheap and commonly available material. Metal water containers would have better heat exchange characteristics over plastic bottles but you can’t beat the cost and ubiquity of throw-away drink containers. Then, we could get into the volume of the containers vs their light exposed surface areas etc. etc. on and on with considerations that are complete overkill for our little project here. But you get the point about some of the simple but subtle principles of passive solar design that can be used to design structures and buildings of any size.
I do have plans for more sophisticated solar grow boxes that will extend into deep winter but they are heavier and more bulky with insulated sides and better, more permanent double glazing that is angled to catch the sun that is much lower on the winter horizon.
(Image: My small spectator)
Here, we have a simple strategy to grow many densely packed salad greens of early maturity that will be selectively clipped while young at 2 to 3 inches height in a manner that will allow most of the plants to keep growing with minimum thinning for a period of time into the summer – kinda like mowing the lawn we hope. We are not interested in letting the plants reach full maturity – not enough room in the boxes for that. We are after early nutrient density.
To that end, I have added some choice soil amendments to assure that the plants are highly mineralized rather than reaching for optimum percentages of NPK. This is the same strategy that we employed in the development of our Alpine Varietal of Painted Mountain Corn seed (click here to learn more) which was a resounding nutritional success.
Here are the secret details:
1st Soil Amendment
The first soil amendment is AZOMITE, a naturally occurring mineral-rich composite which relies on the “The Law of the Minimum.”
AZOMITE® is a natural product in Utah mined from an ancient volcanic eruption into a seabed and is distinct from any other mineral deposit in the world.
I submit that “The Law of the Minimum” also applies to humans and animals as I discuss in my soon to be released new book, The Atomic Trekker. The details are spelled out in the sections on the "New Agricultural Paradigm Poised to Replace Big Ag" and the nutritional program that became a way of life for the resurrection of my own health and continuing longevity. (Click here and scroll down for more)
2nd Soil Amendment
GLACIAL ROCK DUST
GAIA GREEN Glacial Rock Dust is mined from a glacial moraine in Canada, and is the result of thousands of years of piedmont glacial action. As the glaciers traveled from north to south during the last ice age, they picked up rocks containing a range of minerals and trace elements. As the glacier receded at the end of the ice age, it left behind deposits of glacial moraine. These deposits are mined, dried, and screened to be used as a natural soil amendment.
Of course, you may live in an area where the soil is already heavily glaciated – the result of glaciers from the last ice age that covered northern portions of the US and the western mountains. (Click here to learn more)
I sprinkled small quantities of the finely powdered AZOMITE and Glacial Rock Dust into the soil as I was mixing it up in each container.
The water bottles were placed in the back of the containers before the beds were planted so as to not disturb the planted seed bed. The beds were leveled and smoothed with a flat wood slat and shallow north/south rows were pressed out with the slat creating little trenches about an inch apart. The tiny seed was sown by hand in each trench. A planting map of each container was drawn up on a sheet of paper to show at a glance what was planted where. Rather than attempting to move the dirt back over the trenches to the correct planting depth, a cup of soil had been retained to sprinkle over the seed to get the correct planting depth for each type of seed.
Before the seed was covered with soil I added another powerful ingredient.
3rd Soil Amendment - The Secret Ingredient
BIOZOME is a very interesting product containing micro-organisms from the biological Domain Archaea, ancient life-forms astonishingly discovered only in the 1970’s. Archaea are so totally different from bacteria, plants and animals as to require a new category of biological classification. Archaea are found widely distributed in the natural world including the extreme environments of hot springs, salt lakes and volcanic fumaroles.
Certain Archaea have the ability to literally eat rocks and allow the bound minerals to be easily assimilated by plants. Cellulose is quickly digested into compost and agricultural hydrocarbon pesticide residues in soil are digested rendering them harmless to life. Archaea are also deployed in oil spills to metabolize the petroleum into non-toxic metabolites that are useful to plants.
BIOZOME is a soil amendment containing the kind of Archaea that are particularly friendly to plants, quickly breaking down soil nutrients into forms that are easily absorbed – processes that otherwise might require a number of years. In this BIOZOME product the Archaea are mixed with a very fine Bentonite powder which is a benign, naturally-occurring clay that is used in many applications, from cosmetics to sealing well casings and pond linings.
I have a small stash of the original BIOZOME acquired from a guy in Texas who made the stuff back in the day before a corporation consolidated all the production rights and ran him out of business. A professor, now deceased, at the University of Texas in Austin, developed this particular Archaea product. The person I bought the BIOZOME from had a connection to the professor and was an agricultural evangelist for the product. Now that person has been cut out of the picture and you can no longer buy the original uncut BIOZOME. You can however purchase a commercial product that contains BIOZOME in a mixture of other organic soil amendments. The new product is Called Jobe’s Biozome and you can find out where to purchase it by clicking here.
It appears to be widely distributed and I am sure you can find a source in your area.
Now, back to our soil amendment and the application of it.
While the planted seeds are lying in their bed before being covered with soil, I sprinkle a small line of BIOZOME down each row directly on top of the seeds. It’s very light in color and easy to see. It’s best to do this in little to no wind because it’s a fine dust and easily blows away. There are a lot of different ways to apply it but this is how I did it here. The seeds are then covered with the specified depth of soil and I pat down the entire bed with my hands to compact the soil so the seeds don’t float away when watered, which is the next step for the application of:
4th Soil Amendment
Liquid Seaweed is a product derived from Ascophylum nodosum Seaweed – brown in color, the most common seaweed found in the Atlantic Ocean. It contains micro-elements found in seawater: Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc…etc. – virtually the atomic chart of the natural elements plus vegetal hormones, amino acids and sugars which stimulate healthy and quick crop growth and resistance to pests.
Good stuff. I like it.
I followed the directions for seed germination and mixed 2 tablespoons per gallon of water in the hand sprinkler - then carefully sprinkled the seed beds and wet them down. I put the lids on the bins and that was that.
I had planted:
4 varieties of Arugula
6 varieties of Lettuce
2 varieties of Chard
Tatsoi Asian Greens
All varieties were traditional open pollinated – no hybrids.
Now I am ready. When my TDY here is finished, the bins go in the truck and I am off to location A where supplies and amenities are pre-positioned on the edge of a wilderness and the primary threats are bears, wolves and mountain lion.
If the hammer drops before my time is up at this location, my Portable TDY Garden of Nutrient-Dense Super Greens still goes with me unless it’s gridlock and I have to abandon the truck to hit the treeline with my Glock and backpack ready to escape and evade across that snowy mountain range in the distance in an adventure ripped right out of the pages of The Atomic Trekker.
Stay safe my brothers and sisters and forget not the joie de vivre with the Easter-Tide upon us all.
Mountains of Montana
Palm Sunday, 2019
Costco Drops Roundup Weedkiller After $80 Million Awarded In Second Cancer Case.
Home Depot & Lowe’s May Soon Follow.
How Farmers and Ranchers Trapped in the Big Ag Paradigm Can Get Out Now
Save Your Bacon and Avoid Financial Debacle
As if floods are not enough - get out now and stop trying to swim against the tide of history which has turned against you.
The handwriting is on the wall.
It’s not entirely your fault but you are responsible for your actions. For generations you were indoctrinated and sold the “green revolution” KoolAid – sticky sweet going down but bitter in the belly.
You are the “salt of the earth” in America’s heartland and exponent of our traditional values but you let yourself be hijacked and captured by the old siren song.
That wholesome way of life has been co-opted by chemical cartels and genetic manipulators intent on controlling the earth’s populations by controlling their food supply.
Government regulatory agencies and university agriculture departments have long been captured by these corporate interests. They have a hammerlock on you and the information you are allowed to receive.
You are mesmerized and kept in line by the incessant propaganda riding into country and western music and culture while Big Tech plots your demise through Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
It all comes down to human endeavor vs inhuman replication – life vs pseudo-life – the creations of the natural world vs the mis-creations of the artificial world.
It’s not too late though.
You can still get on the right side.
It’s not a matter of scale. You can scale up or down.
It’s not a matter of production agriculture vs small farms and gardens.
It is a matter of production of pseudo-food commodities vs production of real food.
You can still be a producer.
You still have a chance.
But it’s decision time long past.
We have heard this before.
Choose now who you will serve.
I am sure you will see which side mammon is on.
As I point out in The Atomic Trekker, Gabe Brown has the answer – the truly new paradigm. Click here to learn more.
Growers of Painted Mountain Corn in the United States and Beyond:
200 million Americans now at risk of catastrophic flooding.
1 million calves lost in Nebraska.
(Photo from DroneBase via AP)
“Nearly two-thirds of the country is at risk of flooding through May, the NOAA said Thursday. About half of those states face the potential for major or moderate flooding, situations that could affect nearly 200 million Americans this season."
"The extensive flooding we've seen in the past two weeks will continue through May and become more dire and may be exacerbated in the coming weeks as the water flows downstream," said Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center.
"This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season."
You might ask the rhetorical question, “how does the flooding in the mid-west affect me?"
If you are in the low lands of the river bottoms and flood plains or below a dam that ruptured, you know the answer to that question because you are directly experiencing the effects now or could be soon.
If you are on higher ground and your lives are more or less proceeding in their normal trajectory you may think that it could never happen to you. Such events of God and nature fall into the realm of “force majeure” beyond your control, so why disrupt your busy schedule?
"force majeure" describes those uncontrollable events (such as war, labor stoppages, or extreme weather) that are not the fault of any party and that make it difficult or impossible to carry out normal business. A company may insert a force majeure clause into a contract to absolve itself from liability in the event it cannot fulfill the terms of a contract (or if attempting to do so will result in loss or damage of goods) for reasons beyond its control.
Beware of “normalcy bias,” the fatal conceit that leads to self-sabotage with terminal consequences.
You will be affected regardless of your physical location.
You may avoid the direct effects but the indirect and “knock on” effects can be just as deadly.
Rules of Thumb as Your Guide to Black Swans and Other Disasters
Rules of thumb can help you avoid or mitigate natural and man-made disasters whether from floods or radioactive fallout.
Western civilization with all it’s inter-dependencies and accouterments that we take for granted is a complex system growing ever more complex with advances in digital technology. One could argue that the rate of complexity is accelerating. One could beg the question and ask to what end? Is that end a digital paradise or digital oblivion? Or is it more simply, that complexity increases because it can until it can not.
With sufficient feed-back loops the system may self-correct and continue at a lower level of complexity or the system may collapse into it’s primordial constituents.
You may want to check out Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond to discover how a Viking colony flourished for almost 500 years in ice-covered Greenland and then suddenly disappeared.
I tire easily with the abstractions and windy expositions of academics but sometimes you need to listen closer to winnow the wheat from the chaff. You might find out that your lives are governed by the theories of dead economists.
The floods are destroying the means of production for a significant portion of the nation’s food supply along with the means of transportation for the food supply via roads, rails and river barges.
Granted that almost all the corn is GMO and fed to livestock, exported or distilled into ethanol under federal mandate. All the soybeans are GMO and either exported or crushed into oil which is sold and traded around the world and meal which is fed to livestock. Wheat is exported or consumed in myriad wheat products.
This is the Big Ag paradigm and so called “green revolution” dating from the 1960’s that has fed the world albeit one can argue that it is a poisonous paradigm considering the chemicals that are necessary to keep it going and their deleterious effects on health and the natural environment.
Take economics at it’s rudiments. Consider the simple concept of supply and demand applied to food in big cities. Drill down further with this econometric model and apply it to EBT card recipients.
A pretty good assumption for big city EBT recipients is that the demand for burgers, fries and shakes will stay the same or increase over a given period of time. If the supply of food that market segment is accustomed to suddenly decreases or if the price for those staples suddenly increases, what is a reasonable resultant for that equation? Notice I said “reasonable” because there is hardly any precision at all in applying mathematics to human propensities despite the protestations of the faculties of the so-called Social Sciences.
Instead, we use “rules of thumb” that are accurate enough for real world applications.
Demand > Affordable Supply = Riots + Burning Cities
Who will question our rule of thumb food equation for EBT recipients in big cities?
Maybe or maybe not.
In my book The Atomic Trekker I get into a detailed discussion of how “rules of thumb” can guide your quest for antifragility which is a state beyond mere resiliency or robustness. Everyone should study Taleb’s work to understand the unseen forces at play that have major impacts on your world and determine whether you succeed or fail in life.You will be affected regardless of your physical location.
This is an excerpt from the Prologue of The Atomic Trekker:
Take another look at our previous supply and demand equation, a rule of thumb with time-honored and proven origins.
In our case of big city dwelling EBT recipients, the Demand for burgers, fries and shakes is greater than the available (affordable) Supply, equating to Riots plus Burning Cities.
Demand > Affordable Supply = Riots + Burning Cities
Hence, we see a derivation for practical corollaries that are becoming quite familiar as tactical guidance going forward.
Come out of the cities.
Stay away from crowds.
I submit that our economic actions today are still guided by the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith from where he has been resting quietly in Canongate, Edinburgh since 1790 after penning The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776).
The astute reader will note that 1776 was a banner year which saw the publication of three seminal treatises that inform the destiny of a people that would be free – a rare condition in the history of mankind.
1. The Declaration of Independence authored by the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.
2. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
3. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon.
In what may be known as "The Great Floods of 2019" here are some practical tools that will help you to find out what is going on underneath the pronouncements of government agencies that tell you what a great job they are doing while obscuring the facts.
Track river gages, floods and water conditions for your state: https://water.usgs.gov/floods/
I was going to put up the link to the NOAA Spring hydrological forecast but it’s inaccurate in my opinion. I would say laughable except for the Nebraska farmers and ranchers who got wiped out when NOAA predicted only moderate flooding is not a laughing matter. I can tell you that there is no love lost between farm and ranch communities and the Army Corp of Engineers either.
Don’t depend on Big Brother Agencies.
Develop your own flood networks for on-the-ground reporting of conditions in your state and AO (Area of Operations). It can be as simple as this report from myself which I will post on my fledgling blog. Feel free to comment – add your own local reports and we will see where it goes as a real time experiment. In the interest of Operational Security, comments will be screened to maintain anonymity. Alternatively, you can send reports to ChiefYak@TheAtomicTrekker.com and they will be edited for anonymity and posted.
Custer’s Last Stand – Flooded Deja Vu
Yep, they closed Interstate 90 at Hardin, Montana right there on the Little Bighorn near Custer’s Last Stand. The Interstate was shut down for 50 miles all the way to the Wyoming line. Normally the Little Bighorn is not much to look at – so little water you hardly notice it.
Goes to show ya what an ice jam and the Spring runoff from just the surrounding low lands will do in a wet year. Meanwhile the snowpack in the Beartooths and the Bighorns keeps building. No telling when that will let loose. Could be a couple of more months yet.
Could be about the time ole Custer met his final denouement on June 25 in 1876 – a lesson in fatal hubris almost 100 years to the week after the signing of the Declaration of Independence – which leads us to a recitation of eternal verities to guide you on your way.
At times the wheels of karma grind exceedingly slow but rest assured that they grind exceedingly fine.
Mountains of Montana
March 29, 2019
by New Ordnance
The data does not lie and climate scientists agree that we are in a period of minimum sunspot activity which corresponds with lower earth temperatures. These cycles have been thoroughly identified through the historical record. We are entering a natural cycle of global cooling and very likely a “Grand” cycle which is driven by the coincidence of a number of large long-term cycles that have resulted in mini-ice ages in the ancient and near past.
The Rocky Mountains and a good part of the northern US were covered by glaciers not so long ago as measured in geologic epochs.
Remember the old wood-cuts of Londoners ice skating on the Thames back in Dickens's time?
I grew up with anecdotal tales of mule-skinners driving wagons across frozen lower tributaries of the Mississippi River in certain years back in the 19th century.
Not wanting to get too friendly with cloned and resurrected woolly mammoths all over again, I think it would be prudent to focus on practical matters this spring.
Looking out the window I see 18 inches of snow on the ground which is highly unusual to say the least. The last two years, the snow at these lower elevations has gone out in the third week of February. Night-time temperatures are still in the single digits.
If there is an extended power outage most folks in the yuppified cities will probably die of hypothermia and exposure before they die of starvation – even up here in Montana. The survivors could be faced with eating their storage food through a number of growing seasons while they scramble to keep their houses warm. Even if they heat their ranch houses with wood, most people don’t live up in the timber (that burns up every summer). They make excursions into the mountains to cut and bring the firewood down.
Under these conditions energy efficiency is all important.
Far better to have a passive solar house that uses the latent heat stored in the earth as a great diurnal heat source and heat sink to change the temperature profile of the earth surrounding the house.
Far better to have a simple Montana pit garden that uses these passive principles to double your growing season and produce all the vegetables that you could ever want under adverse growing conditions including epic wind, hail and low temperatures. Automatic drip irrigation from your underground off-grid water cistern is a natural compliment.
Far better to have the Alpine Varietal of Painted Mountain Corn (click here to learn more) in your regular garden. Painted Mountain was already cold-hardy before we developed the Alpine Varietal. It grows at elevations with short growing seasons where no other grain will grow, even barley. It became our high-protein, staple grain that could be hand grown and harvested without dependence on machinery.
In retrospect, I can say that our Montana homestead was built utilizing anti-fragile principles.
I could leave the house unattended in the middle of the winter with no heat source other than the sun and earth. The water system inside would never freeze, even at thirty to forty below.
What we are talking about here is true sustainability that relies on subtle, usually unrecognized principles and low-tech natural systems.
Look at the word sustainable in it’s original definition – not the globalist propaganda cliché with it’s attendant sociopolitical baggage.
Sustainable… being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
– Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.
I have been there before and know how to thrive under those conditions and you can too.
To become truly antifragile, rely on Gabe Brown’s system of sustainable food production going forward under these or any other conditions. That means you will use the correct livestock in your new agricultural paradigm that relies on the natural symbiotic relationships between plant and animals that evolved for eons on this planet.
Going forward into The Grand Solar Minimum I will rely on three animals.
Saanens are a milk breed from Switzerland that are extremely cold hardy in my experience. When the children were young we had two Saanens that yielded copious quantities of excellent milk as long as their minimal requirements were met. They are a large breed yet gentle, to the point where children can tend them, and not ornery and stubborn as other goats can be. The goats had their own small shed that was well ventilated and a small yard surrounded by four to five foot high snow fence. They were quite happy in their own domain as long as they were milked twice a day and good food and water was provided. They never jumped the fence. Of course if the gate was left open they would go out and forage like all goats, eating the bark off the newly planted Siberian Elms.
Saanen milk is very rich and mild, not having the “goaty” taste that most people associate with other breeds. Of course that can change if the goats free-range out into the sagebrush. Free range feed can be exploited and controlled to a certain extent by staking them out in good grass with a long rope. They can wear bells or not, depending on your operational security requirements.
One winter the temperature was routinely plunging to thirty-five degrees F. below zero at night. With good alfalfa hay, the Saanens produced a lot of body heat. On going out to the breezy goat shed for the morning milking, we would find the animals all in a pile. The two goats were at the bottom, bedded happily in the fresh straw renewed every day. Several cats that normally lived in the woodpile would be in the heap seeking the warmth of the heat-producing goats. The bantam chickens that someone had given us were scattered on and around the heap. Inevitably, several “bantys” would be frozen solid. They were small and not well adapted to the cold – a tragic but necessary object lesson for the children on the way of the natural world.
The animals would welcome the first rays of the sun through the large south facing window that illuminated the interior of their winter home as the milking got underway. The cats and the children were underfoot, greedily awaiting a squirt of warm milk in their direction.
Going forward, I am determined to try Tibetan Yaks as the necessary animal component of the new/old agricultural paradigm as elucidated and demonstrated by Gabe Brown and others in the no-till, mob-grazing natural production operation that easily scales up or down. (Click here to learn more.)
Yaks are reputedly easy to handle with a mild disposition but I will follow my own rule of thumb and never turn my back on large beasts in close proximity, particularly bulls. Some of you ranchers out there can school me on this. I need advice here. From what I have read Yaks are twice as efficient in converting feed to weight as ordinary cattle. Put another way, they can put on an equivalent amount of weight with 50% less feed, the epitome of a guiding principle that maximizes Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI).
Scottish Highlands Cattle
I have observed this breed here in Montana and they seem to maximize the cold-hardy requirement but are not popular with the current ranching production model because they take longer to bring to market.
I see more Black Angus here than anything else. Ranchers like Black Angus for their hardiness and short feed to weight production characteristics that are necessary to maintain their annual bottom line to finance all the machinery, chemicals and irrigation equipment required for the current farm-ranch paradigm. This terribly flawed model could well prove to be quite ephemeral as we get deeper into the Grand Solar Minimum.
Use these suggestions freely to build your own self-reliant life for tribe and family. In a fractured and frozen society, foster interdependence at the local level in your own communities and eliminate dependence on centralized command and control from afar.
The Atomic Trekker
You can learn these lessons and many more from my successes and mistakes of a similar nature that I wrote about in The Atomic Trekker (click here to order) which is now ready for publication.
With The Atomic Trekker you will discover how to build a blast and radiation home shelter that also functions as an excellent Grand Solar Minimum Shelter.
From my experience, a properly designed shelter will sustain you through those cold nights with no heat sources required other than healthy bodies and the latent heat stored in the earth.
Until then, stay warm my brothers and sisters. Come out of the cities and avoid crowds. (Hat Tip to Old Remus)