Gary’s Blog: Some factoids and thoughts

Terracing almost complete

Terrace detail

Gary driving the deuce

March 18, 2015

From: Gary


Another pretty day, temperature about 80 F, bright and sunny with the occasional clouds drifting by.

We worked in the garden this morning, on the last full length terrace, and will finish it up in the morning. After that I see about two and a half mornings to finish the last stub terrace, and then maybe a week working the slopes…  So basically we are a couple weeks work from having the garden ready for planting, with the planting season starting in April.

Yesterday we went to town, and did some minor shopping. We got lucky and ran into another down-sized pick hoe, Truper, a Mexican brand, and bought it for $16. In the same store got a Miracle Fruit plant for $30, that looks about 5 years old.  Miracle Fruit is rather amazing stuff, the fruits are small and red when ripe, and a rather large seed inside, so there is this thin layer of fruit under the skin.  If you eat one, for about 15 minutes after that, you can eat anything tart and it tastes amazingly sweet. I have literally drunk glasses of pure lemon juice with miracle fruit, and it tastes like Anita Bryant’s finest orange juice, with several times the vitamin C.  The lemons here are NOT like the ones in the US. They look like oranges, and are called Limon Acido, and are several times stronger than commercial lemons you are familiar with…

Anyway, Tami is waiting until the rains of Primavera to plant the tree of Miracle Fruit. She also bought a couple pineapples, and so will be planting the tops, which will take about 2 years to start producing pineapples, so she will be buying more fresh pineapples in the interim,  and by the time the first arrive from her plantings, she will have a herd of them coming behind.

This morning we cut another stalk of Bananas, she has bananas setting everywhere..  quite the sale on them. Probably 75 lbs in the last week for absolutely free…

We may be poorer than living in the US, but we can have some cereal on our bananas instead of vice versa.

This morning on terracing, Tami got into a rocky spot, and when I looked over, she had a big pile, She is getting pretty good at worrying out rocks and brush stumps. I think she has come to realize what an effect doing dirt work can have,  that it changes everything.

I’m looking  forward to finishing up the garden slopes etc, it will look nice then.  And we can start planting soon.  It’s a huge area, and what we don’t have seeds for we will plant in corn.  Which will give us pretty good food security for ourselves, dogs, and coming chickens. 

Corn is an interesting study from the subsistence and survival perspective.  I have long said that if I had to go to another planet, and could only take one seed, it would be corn.

It’s a plant that seems designed for processing manually. And it is a heavy producer with also a very large ratio of grains from just one seed. Generally hundreds of times what you plant..  The stalks are good animal fodder and can be pressed like sugar cane, and the shucks and leaves have been used for everything from bedding to making dolls for little girls. One can search images for corn husk dolls and be enchanted by the creativity of something that started out as a Native American tradition, and is probably more mentally healthy than plastic Barbie dolls for young girl’s minds.  Kids who play with plastic toys grow up to become plastic people.

I’d be interested in trying to do a traditional Christmas, that contained no plastic..

When I was a kid, we got a lot of home made gifts, My mother sewed a lot, and my aunt liked to sew and also make other things for gifts. She would make Christmas gifts like wooden tool boxes, and wooden gun racks, or boards for spools of threads and sewing notions etc.  These things and the home made clothing were always more of a delight than boughten stuff.  My family made and built things for themselves like it was the normal thing to do.  I used to see other kids just get plastic garbage.  It seemed they were creatively impoverished to me.

People used to make the things they needed, now they just have time for working wage slave jobs, and buy everything already made.  It is a slow form of cultural suicide. And every generation sees its children more molded into the roles of stealth slavery. The American founding fathers had it right, without freedom, you really have nothing. And the average American is now buying his way into a steel collar, when they could be working their way free instead. Before it’s over, they will squeal like pigs.

If you don’t make things for yourself, You can’t have anything better than what ever some capitalist thinks you will be stupid enough to buy for the most money and least actual value possible. It also has created a society of people who buy their mates with economic strata levels, and get exactly as they deserve; shallow and vain mates, to produce dumbed down children, who think life is all about money.  It’s a down hill trip, but won’t go on much longer, because as Arthur C. Clark pointed out; “We will never run out of matter or energy to manipulate, we will run out of brains.”

What you don’t use, you lose..  be it freedoms, skills, or brains.

Anyway, after digging, I sharpened a small pick hoe, and also epoxy bedded a small forged garden hoe head onto a home made Cortesa handle. It should last a couple of life times now.  The pick hoe was one of the down sized units, a copy of the old military one hand pick hoe head, but with a long handle.  They are available now in hardware stores in the US, and would be my recommendation for what to buy for a survival hoe. Light enough to pack, and heavy duty enough to build a garden from scratch just about anywhere.  Funny how I never see any survivalists on you tube talking about such hoes. You would think they were going to make gardens with Semi-auto rifles.

I think most of them are more security insecure, than subsistence wise…

Anyway, teaching subsistence skills is no popularity contest.  It’s not romantic, it’s not a kiss your aft end educational course.  It’s just learning how to work smart, the antithesis of city people trying to be smart and not work.

But I never have to wait until 5:00 to go home. My life is my own to order. And I would rather work for myself than have to pretend to be working.

We also found a nice larger forged hoe for Tami a couple of weeks back, an Imacasa, made in El Salvador, with a long 9 inch by 7 inch wide blade. The perfect hoe for digging in raised beds, a tillage hoe. Suggest any gardeners check out, a  good company, they make the best machetes and Rulas in the world, and their other tools are good quality, but a bit less finished than American tools. Their axes are very good and use slip handles like a tomahawk. Which is a good idea for a post crash tool. It facilitates making and installing handles. And this in a full sized axe.

Such tools, axes and forged hoes, run $10-$15 here for the heads. A very wise investment in steel. With way more post collapse value than gold.

And the Imacasa 28 inch Rula is probably the best edged weapon ever made for fighting unarmored foes….

I sent several as gifts to the martial arts instructors teaching my kids.

It was nice having Jen here, she and Tami seemed to have a good time together, and I got to listen to all kinds of Traverse City talk.  And I had fun teasing them about their flat-lander Michigander accents. Jen is doing a lot of traveling around Mexico, Central, and South America, and she seemed to like it here, and why not? Perfect climate, great soil and water, good neighbors, and affordable real estate for retirement or escape and evade survivalism or homey subsistence, and a good area for business start ups and small investments.  She liked one of the neighboring properties a lot, and had me ask about it. It is not for sale at the moment because of paper work issues but the owner said they wanted to sell it after the problem got cleaned up.

It is a very pretty place, with a house on a small ridge between two creek valleys, beautiful view, and gravity water. It was 4 or 5 hectares, so maybe ten to fifteen acres, with some forest, nice pastures for horses etc. and garden areas etc.   We also heard of several other properties in the area that are for sale. But I suspect that most will wait until the food crisis really hits before they begin to think, and by then places such as this will be out of reach for all except the very rich. And everyone else can stand in line to buy water or some shriveled vegetables.  There is a saying; that as goes its agriculture, goes a country.  And the US has two remaining major exports; food and weapons….

And the food is going away. 

So prediction is fairly easy;

Live by the sword….  Die by the sword.

Those who stay, will have interesting times, and rather exciting endings. But probably not too happy on the endings part….

It’s all simple cause and effect working through personal choices.  Bad decisions make for bad stories….



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