Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part VI

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie VI]

Suppose your situation is such that you need to effect a swift change of venue. The circumstances that prompt this relocation can be quite varied, but the common and foreseeable ones are:

1. There is no fresh water where you are. The reservoirs are dry and dusty, the artesian wells are either no longer producing or are producing water laced with arsenic and heavy metals, and the few desalination plants bottle their water and sell it at prices you cannot afford. What was once fields and pasture is reverting to sand dunes. Forests have dried out, burned down, and are now a lunar landscape criscrossed by deep ravines eroded by sporadic torrential downpours—too sporadic and too torrential to be of benefit.

2. The place where you live is under a few feet of ocean water mixed with raw sewage—not all the time, but often enough that staying there has become a very bad idea. An onshore wind combined with a high tide and a bit of rain are enough to make contaminated, brackish water spew out of every storm drain. With each passing year and more and more basements are flooded, more and more foundations undermined, more and more buildings condemned. Places further inland flood more rarely but are already too crowded, and will be subject to the same conditions after a slight delay.

3. Your country has been overrun by “refugees” who have looted the shops, occupied many of the public buildings and are busy beating up the men and raping the women (like they are doing in Sweden, which is now the second-rapiest country in the world, Lesotho in South Africa is the rapiest). There are large sections of your city where even the military, never mind the police, fear to venture. But the rest of the city is not the least bit safe. Beardless men and women without proper headdress are attacked without warning. Property crimes and home invasions by “refugees” are not persecuted for fear of giving them an excuse to start a riot.

4. Your country has gone full-retard fascist. Your best option is to work a soul-destroying corporate job while slowly sinking deeper and deeper into debt, hoping against hope that you will make it all the way to retirement, even as you watch your colleagues being replaced by machines, illegal immigrants and underpaid foreign contractors. Your second-best choice is to subsist on meager social benefits, most of which go to pay for drugs, which you need in order to hold on to what remains of your sanity while the pressure of perverse government incentives destroys your family and your children turn feral. Whichever option you choose, you are electronically monitored 24/7 and are absorbed into the prison system for the tiniest transgression, where your best chance to survive is by working as a slave.

5. You are doing fine economically, but you find your environment, both physical and human, increasingly unsatisfactory. Everything you see around you is cheaply slapped together out of industrially produced components, dressed up with a gaudy plastic veneer to make it “look nice.” It all looks computer-generated because, in fact, it is. All the people around you walk around ignoring the real world, which they might as well, since their physical environment is just an older, no longer fashionable version of what they see on the screens of the mobile computing devices to which they are hopelessly addicted. They are obese, emotionally stunted, physically helpless and, as far as you are concerned, might as well not be there. In fact, you'd enjoy seeing them replaced with cages of parakeets, potted plants or nice round rocks in a Zen garden. Their parents and grandparents once got things done by pushing buttons on machines, but now it is the machines that push their buttons and program them to say and feel various things on command. You can't help obsessing over the fact that this is not real life—that real life is somewhere else, and that you must go and find it before you run out of time.

6. Any combination of the above, including all of the above.

Let us further assume that the logistics and the political situation around your relocation have been sorted out: your papers are in order and you have a berth on a ship that will take you to a river port near your destination. From there, a river boat will take you upstream to a spot near your assigned 100 hectares (250 acres) of land, where you, perhaps with a group of like-minded others, will be left with enough supplies to make a fresh start. You slip away in the night with just a change of clothing and a pocketful of mementos, quiet as a cat, never to be heard from again.

Your land is being granted to you by the government in the form of a perpetual, heritable lease, with no commercial rights over it whatsoever, for you and your children to use sustainably in perpetuity, for as long as you physically reside on the land. The terms are not particularly onerous: you are taxed only on home-produced goods that you sell, and one of your sons may be conscripted in case of a national emergency, provided he is not your only or your eldest son, and not a younger son either if he is the family's main provider.

But there is a problem: your land is quite far north. Nine months out of the year, the temperature there is near or below freezing, and during the coldest 4-5 months it can get as cold as -40ºC. In the dead of winter there are only three hours of sunlight. But during the other three months the temperatures soar to +35ºC and there is 21 hours of sunlight. Another problem is that the land is not easily accessible. There are no roads; nor are there plans to build any. During the summer it is accessible on foot and over water; during the winter it is accessible by ski and sled, over snow-covered land and frozen water. During spring, when trails turn to mud and broken ice rushes down streams and rivers, it is not accessible at all. Nor is it accessible during autumn, when snow falls on ground that isn't frozen yet and forms a heavy, wet slush, and when the ice on waterways is already too think to navigate but not yet thick and solid enough to travel over. But there is also good news: each year, the climate is getting warmer, with the frosts arriving later, the thaws setting in earlier, the growing season getting longer, and more and more deciduous trees taking root in sunny, sheltered spots.

A river boat will drop you off a the water's edge within less than a day's hike of your land. It will be in early summer, after the rivers are clear of ice and the riverbanks are no longer flooded. You will have just enough time to prepare for next winter, so that you can survive it.

What you can take with you is what you and members of your party can carry on their shoulders, ferrying supplies from the river's edge to your plot of land. This basic kit includes:

1. An axe, and spare axe heads
2. A knife, and several knife blades without handles
3. Shovel heads
4. Saw blades
5. A file for keeping all of these sharp
6. A shotgun and a dozen shells
7. Heavy boots, a parka and other cold weather gear
8. Several changes of clothing per person
9. Emergency medical kit
10. A few pots, cups, spoons, forks
12. A samovar
12. Several sacks of grain (rye)
13. Several sacks of potatoes
14. Assorted seed packets
15. Canvas tents
16. A small assortment of tools (such as sewing kit) and supplies (such as tea)

You will also be bringing with you a few animals:

1. Dogs (one of them male) to serve as your security system and to help you hunt and pull sleds
2. Cats (one of them male) to keep the rodent population under control
3. Chickens (one of them male) to provide eggs, meat and to keep the bugs under control

This, plus your body, is all of your initial “hardware” which you will use to bootstrap the entire operation; everything else is “software”—and it has to be downloaded directly to your brain before you begin, with a full back-up in somebody else's brain in case something goes wrong with yours. This is your Naturelike Technology Suite (NTS), and if you use it correctly, your chances of surviving, living a long and happy life, and leaving behind happy, healthy, self-reliant children are much better than in any and all of the typical scenarios outlined above.

The land is neither farmland nor pasture but boreal forest, thick with coniferous trees, mostly pines and firs. There is plenty of animals you will be sharing it with, especially in the summer when the migratory birds make their appearance and lots of other animals come out of hibernation. But your first concern is with bears, who have come out of hibernation some time ago, but are still hungry and very ornery. The local wolves may also take a keen interest in your camp. You will need to impress it upon all of them that this is now your territory as well as theirs, by keeping fires lit at night, never going anywhere without a shotgun, or at least a forked stick, screaming at them and physically threatening them whenever you see them and other such measures. Shooting one alpha male of both the wolf tribe and the bear tribe, using up a few shotgun shells from your precious collection, then tanning the skins and sewing them into hats sends an unmistakable message: there is a new apex predator in these woods; act accordingly. As for the rest, you should try to make peace with them or let your animals handle them. If you leave them alone and sometimes (but only sometimes, on specific occasions) offer them food, they will become semi-tame over time, and will be much easier to catch by setting traps. Of these, back-breaking deadfalls are the most humane.

But your first and primary task is to fell trees—as quickly as possible, propping up the logs in sunny places so that they have a chance to dry out. The time to harvest timber is before thaws set in and the sap starts running, because after that the logs become much heavier and more difficult to work with and move, will not burn as well, and will rot much faster if you build with them. But you have arrived too late to do that, and have to make do with wet, heavy logs. (By the way, this is the exact opposite of what you would do in the tropics. There, you would harvest wood when it is full of sap, to protect it against insects and rot.) Regardless of the time of year, the best time to fell trees is on a full moon.

Your second task is to get food, to avoid depleting your supplies, which are for planting, not for eating. A spring thaw is an excellent time to get moose and reindeer, which can't run away because of the heavy, wet snow. Until the ice breaks, ice fishing also remains a possibility, and you can preserve your supply over the warm months by hot-smoking and drying the meat and the fish. But, again, you arrived too late, and your best chance to catch enough food is by setting traps and building weirs.

Your third task begins once the ground is thawed out enough and dry enough to dig. You need to move out of tents and into a slightly more permanent dwelling before winter. Constructing a log cabin during the first season is out of the question, because there is simply too much else to do, and because you arrived too late to get logs that are free of sap. But you can certainly harvest enough logs to build a dugout bunker that will last a few seasons. This is done by choosing a patch of land with good drainage and digging a trench. At the back of it is a hearth, along the sides are bunk beds. The roof is created using a layer of logs, the cracks between them packed with moss, and insulated by covering it with a thick a layer of dirt and sod. The hearth should have a flue, and a chimney high enough to stick out above the snow, or your fire will keep getting extinguished by meltwater. Two doors with a vestibule between them are an excellent idea. The vestibule will be used to store your supplies of frozen meat. The doors must open in rather than out, or you will be trapped inside by snowdrifts.

Your bunker should be surrounded by a wicker fence, constructed by driving stakes into the ground at intervals and filling the spaces between them with tightly packed twigs or saplings. Make the fence round rather than square, for a 25% increase in the amount of area encompassed for the same length of fence. A round fence also makes it easier for your animals to catch interlopers because there are no corners where they can hide and burrow. Curved fences are also better at resisting wind and snow drifts.

Your fourth task will be to grow food. The land you've cleared by chopping down trees is covered with a thin layer of poor forest soil, acidic because of all the pine and fir needles, and is not immediately useful for planting. But if you dig various things into it, you will be able to use it to grow all of your staples: potatoes, rye, cabbages and turnips. Ashes from the hearth, thoroughly rotted tree trunks and mud dredged out of nearby streams all make useful soil amendments. Potatoes can be planted as chunks containing eyes, or buds, with one or two eyes per chunk, and the rest of the potato can be eaten. Rye can be grown in quite poor soils and is amazingly stubborn and keeps going until it goes to seed. Because of the nearly 24-hour sunlight and warm temperatures everything will grow very fast. Your animals will be kept busy, and well fed, by all the moles, voles and mice that will be trying to eat your produce.

By the time you are done growing and harvesting the food, days will start getting shorter and by sunrise frost will appear on trees and the walls of your tent. It will be time to move inside your bunker and start heating. Before the migratory fowl fly away, be sure to get some geese, or, failing that, ducks, and save their fat for the winter. Goose fat is smeared on any exposed skin when you venture outside in the dead of winter, to avoid frostbite.

Once the temperatures stay reliably below freezing, but before the winter blizzards set in, try to stockpile as many animal carcasses as you can, to gradually hack away at and defrost as the winter wears on. This is the time of year when animals are at their fattest and most complacent, and those that are the oldest and the least likely to survive the winter are ripe for the picking; if you don't get them the wolves will. The fat is particulary important: in a cold climate, it is almost impossible to get enough calories to stay warm while working outside in any other way, and how much winter work you will get done will be directly determined by how much animal fat you can get your hands on.

At the beginning of winter, most of your work outside will involve cutting, splitting and stacking firewood out of the logs you harvested in the springtime, since you do not want to be out swinging an axe when it's -40ºC outside and blowing a blizzard. But once your supply of firewood is laid in, there are other tasks to attend to.

First, you need to get serious about trapping for fur. The parka you brought with you will wear out and will need to be replaced with a fur parka you will need to sew yourself. The animals you trap will be frozen solid by the time you get to them, and can stay that way until springtime. You can gut them and skin them when they thaw out, saving the brain and the liver for tanning the pelt. The pelts will also serve as valuable trade goods—about the only ones you will be able to come up with during the first few seasons—and you will need trade goods in order to barter for the supplies you will need.

Second, if you are close enough to a river or a lake to make it there and back during daylight, you might also attempt some ice fishing, although without skis and a sled (unless you found time to make them already) your range will be quite limited.

Other than that, most of what you will do during the winter is cook, feed yourself, feed the animals, drink tea, tend the all-important fire and sleep a lot. The tea is important because working outside in cold temperatures is extremely dehydrating: the cold air sucks the moisture right out of you. This is why a samovar (which is stoked using pine cones or wood chips) is included in your initial survival kit. Trying to boil enough water in a pot over a hearth is far too slow and rather inefficient. But a bucket hung over the hearth is quite useful for melting snow, to get water for drinking and washing without going anywhere.

Before spring thaw arrives, you will need to get busy harvesting logs—for next winter's firewood as well as for building the log cabin. Once that's done, you will have won, surviving the most difficult first season without starving or dying of exposure, and ready to build your homestead. Once that's done, you will be well on your way to making a perfectly reasonable life for yourself and your family, using the rest of your NTS, which we will describe next.


Zoltar said...

Your prescriptions will certainly involve some substantial changes in my current lifestyle.

I gather that Wi-Fi may not be reliable. Should I pack a cable modem?

Can you suggest some tasty vegan alternatives to animal fat?

Should I name my first son Ivan or Igor?

forrest said...

Um, our actual USian experience with refugees (Mexico, Central America & mostly "illegal") has been low-profile, generally law-abiding, impacting the economy mainly by doing under-the-table shitwork for too little, getting too-often stiffed by employers, pretty much winked-at because employers like docile cheap labor -- while remaining a great target for the Daily Hate among the screwed-over classes of this country.

Refugees from our militarily-wasted nations on other continents (Vietnam, Iraq, etc) are probably mostly-legal (with obligatory family-fudging as needed) and from formerly-prosperous families, operators of liquor stores & cheapshitstores, starters of family restaurants (& probably some black-market activities where that works) -- anyway, pretty-much nuthin like the boogie-persons of your recent pieces.

(I suppose that could change depending on what cultures people come from, but San Diego [particularly my neighborhood] has been one of the most-affected parts of the US for the obvious geographical reasons, and the big crimes hereabouts are so far done 'legally' by local richfolks, sorry!

Paul Steer said...

And if someone is lucky enough to be located next to a settlement of indigenous people, it might be possible to learn a thing or two from them, thus enhancing your ability to survive just a little bit longer. Also, look for potential garden plots on south-facing slopes, the steeper the better. Especially look for abandoned pit latrine sites which may be put to good use. Terracing these slopes, (which are also likely to contain more of the precious silt and topsoil that have been gradually washed down over millennia) will help create small, but warmer micro-climates where a greater array of produce might be planted and grown. Root crops and frost-tolerant greens will do best, but with protection and determination, a few heroic tomatoes might prevail.

Wolfgang Brinck said...

When I was a senior in high school, I helped a man named Wendell Beckwith build a log cabin in the boreal forest north of Lake Nipigon in Ontario. Wendell and I drove up to Armstrong Station, unloaded all the gear, packed it into two canoes rigged up as a catamaran and started paddling. When we got to the end of the lake, we unloaded all the gear, took the catamaran rig apart and portaged everything to the next lake. Then we put the catamaran rig back together, loaded the canoes and paddled till we got to the end of that lake. On the third day or so we got to a stretch were there were 4 portages separated by short lakes. At the end of the day we had made 4 portages and progressed something like 3 miles. After that the lakes got longer again and the portages farther apart and we eventually reached our destination, an island on Whitewater Lake. Once at our destination, we were joined by the businessman who was funding this adventure and a friend of his both of whom came in by float plane. Then the work started. We only used downed trees, of which there were a lot since a strong wind a year earlier had knocked down a big patch of trees. My job was to peel the bark off the logs. It was summer and hot and the blackflies and mosquitoes were out in force. But it was also too hot to work with a shirt on so I worked bareback and ignored the bugs.
A half hour's worth of fishing usually produced enough fish for supper. But other than that, there was no wildlife. We left a few weeks later, leaving the guy who was building the cabin by himself. The businessman who was funding him hired him a helper to finish the log cabin. Eventually Wendell built more structures. Google Wendell Beckwith and you will come up with more on Wendell and also get lots of photos of his log cabins.

Wolfgang Brinck said...

A few things worth mentioning about life in the north. Life in the boreal forest can get very lonely unless you bring your community with you or live close enough to other people to have a social life or are a hermit by nature. This is especially true for teens starting to look for mates. Actually, it's up to the community to assure that their kids don't take up with first cousins. Finding sexual partners in isolated places is always a challenge and sex with minors and violence against women is much more common in the far north.
For adults, finding people worth having conversations with can be a challenge. On the other hand, a life lived close to nature makes the need for intellectual conversations much less pressing. Given that you will be isolated from the larger world, you will not care who is president or governor. Politics will be strictly local.
But not all is peace and love in the boreal forests and the tundra to the north. People do go insane periodically and you have to deal with them. Likewise, bullies have to be dealt with. People who do subsistence hunting shoot animals on a regular basis have lowered resistance to using violence on their neighbors. You either endure bad neighbors or you deal with them. On the plus side, bodies are easy to lose. On the negative side, in a small community, it is hard to do anything that everybody does not know about. A friend of mine who teaches in remote schools in Alaska had pissed off the locals to the point where he had death threats against him. After that until his contract was up he never ventured outside the village unless he had someone along to cover his back.
A note on handtools - they can be gotten quite cheaply at flea markets because no one uses them any more. They are invariably dull, so you will have to learn how to sharpen them. Saws are more of a challenge. You will need special files, a vice for clamping the saw, a saw set. But if you don't have internet or a TV to watch, spending an hour or so sharpening tools can be quite satisfying. Some adzes for carving bowls and carving knives for carving spoons would also be a good investment.
And finally, a book recommendation: Wilderness by Rockwell Kent which is an account of a winter spent in a cabin on an island not too far from Seward Alaska. It will give you a good feel for the prodigious amount of lumber you have to cut and split to keep a log cabin warm in winter.

NowhereMan said...

LOVE IT! Keep it coming, Dmitry!

Ien in the Kootenays said...
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Wolfgang Brinck said...

Some more points regarding survival in arctic or desert regions. Local food is usually available seasonally. Surviving here means knowing what comes available when. Whether it is migrating birds, fish, whales or seals hauling out to mate or mesquite bearing fruit or acorns ripening. Many of the cultures that survived in extreme climates depended on staples that could be had only once a year. Over a period of a few weeks they had to harvest what would be the greater portion of their food for the next year. Not only did they have to harvest the food but also process it and preserve it so that it would last and then store it in a manner that would keep it safe from other animals. So there's a considerable amount of native food harvesting and processing technology to be mastered if you are going to survive in a given place.
I don't know that the average city dwelling cubicle working fast food eating individual would know what to do if dropped off in the boreal forest with the supplies you mentioned. I would guess that success rate would be quite low unless they first had some training or a coach to guide them when they arrived. Along these lines, an anecdote. A retired fireman told me that toward the end of his career when they got more and more college graduates applying for fire fighting jobs, they discovered that a lot of them didn't know how to put up a ladder on the side of a building, so they made part of the selection criteria for candidate a test where they had to take a tall ladder laying on the ground and get it tilted up on the side of a building. Hard to believe, yes, but now imagine a person who can't put up a ladder fell trees, trim them, notch them get them up to make a wall etc. etc.
And one more thing, lots of survival activities such as hunting or house building are best done by groups of people cooperating with each other. Lots of activities require a minimum number of cooperating people to be successful. The lone individual in his bugout cabin is not a likely candidate for success. Rugged individualism places far behind a community that has figured out how to work for their mutual benefit when the need arises.

KevPilot said...

Further, I would recommend adding a decent-quality bow and several dozen arrows with various heads for hunting and fishing. I'd say go with a take-down recurve bow for simplicity and storage rather than a complicated compound - too many moving parts. Arrows are almost infinity re-usable (as opposed to trying to reload your shotgun shells in the field) and you could always fashion new ones in the future. Same for bow strings: easy to pack replacements but you can still make your own later if need be.

Among the tools in your survival kit, did you include hoes and/or a mattock? If I could bring only one, I'd like to have a Pulaski Tool. It was developed for fighting wild fires in the Mountain US. It has the adze blade of a mattock on one side and a fire-ax blade on the other. Given the choice, I think I'd prefer fiberglass handles for these tools. I have yet to break one and they are a little easier to find in low-light conditions when the handles are bright red, yellow or orange.

One more important tool I'd like to bring: heavy-duty spearheads in both single point and trident. We can make the shafts on site but these will be handy for larger game and spear fishing.

Along the idea that if you want to get rich in a gold rush, you should be the one SELLING the picks and pans, not the one BUYING them: I'd like to set up a business outfitting these intrepid pioneers. Establish it on the frontier and set them up with the tools you've recommended plus others if they want, need or can haul them.

1) A portable lathe for arrow and handle making.
2) Assorted hand tools
3) Trading post for barter
4) Friction fire starters
5) Various seed-corn supplies
6) Polypropylene rope

Shawn Sincoski said...

If I was 20 years younger, I'd ask where to sign up.

Dr. Doom said...

One box of shotgun shells in the forest wilderness you describe is not nearly enough, unless you're Davey Crockett reincarnate.

wisdomchaser said...

This was interesting. We live in central Florida. I do not wish to live in the icy north. I would gladly move back to the Northwest where really cold weather is brief and mostly it is just wet. If Florida goes underwater here I'd like to move just far enough north to get away from that. When sea levels rise 20 - 30 meters we to want to be out of here. If you are going to write about making do in different types of environments that would be great.

ajandjim said...

Netflix has a movie " Happy People : A Year in the Taiga" describing the exact scenario you describe. I recommend it for education and entertainment.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Social media are anti-social said...

Small correction, Dmitry. Lesotho is not in South Africa. It is an independent country, though the reality is, of course, that, being landlocked within South Africa and having only diamonds and water to export, it is hopelessly dependent on South Africa. I don't know if Lesotho also exports rapine, but I'm guessing yes.

MoonShadow said...

A smart splitter & a khukuri knife (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukri) would be high on my list short list of survival tools, and I happen to own and use both. As for firewood goes, tightly bound bundles of sticks, each about the size of a grown man's thumb in thickness, burn fast & hot. Which is exactly what you want inside of a woodstove or hearth with decent thermal mass, particularly on the more mild fall & spring mornings. www.woodheat.org is a wealth of useful information in this regard. The Samovar thing is new to me, and interesting, but reminds me of a fancy version of a Kelly Kettle. (http://www.kellykettleusa.com/)

@Wisdomchaser, You won't be so fond of the sub-tropics if yellow fever ever makes a comeback in the United States. The only way to escape those "tropical" diseases that once made life very difficult prior to antibiotics is to live in a region that freezes every now and again.

Of course, this also presumes the scenario presented is the one we end up with, which remains in doubt as far as I'm concerned.

MoonShadow said...

A lathe? Really? And make your arrow shafts & bows by hand when you get there, it's not like it's particularly tricky technology. An English style longbow is as effective for bow hunting as a recurve is, and much less difficult to create without significant trial & error.

lev said...

Dimitry what you are describing is Prophetic. you're either a prophet of read the works of some Prophets and/or visionaries. This isn't a doomsday scenario but what I and a few others believe will actually happen. Obviously you're describing northern Siberia, and its interesting to note that Americas greatest prophet Edgar Cayce once said; "Russia will become beacon of hope for the world". "Climatic and seismic cataclysms are to shake the whole planet and, consequently, change it greatly", Cayce predicted. "But Russia will suffer least of all. It will lead the reviving civilization with the centre in Western Siberia".
A well known Bulgarian prophet Baba Vanga once predicted in 1979, "Everything will melt like ice, only one will remain intact — the glory of Vladimir, the glory of Russia"
Its interesting that some of the best known prophets prediction's agree as to what events are to occur in Russia. This doesn't even include the many prophecies by figures in the Greek and Russian Orthodox church going back hundreds of years who also predicted a bright future for Russia.
Although not prophecy but still worth mentioning is a book I read not too long ago titled "Mass Dreams of the Future" in which the author Hypnotizes thousands of subjects and has them look 100 - 300 years into the future. Whats fascinating is how close the visions of the future are amongst the subjects. Whats more interesting in regards to the subject is when the author decides to hypnotize himself and look into the future around 2050. He finds himself in Russia in what is now Novaya Zemlya and the air is brisk, not cold and young trees are growing around.
Are you familiar with any of these predictions or others I don't know about, or is this your own vision of the future?
Feel free to not post this comment if you think its too much.

Unknown said...

What about transition with some technology available (portable two-way radios)?

Laureli said...

Wow, what a bleak existence. I didn't read the prior posts on this topic, so I don't know the purpose of it. Is this what Rambo type lone preppers are fantasizing of, or is this a reality coming? In the case of an EMP or CME event, who would 'need' any gov't to 'give them' land? Barring an extinction event/teotwawki event, what .gov will ever hand anyone 250 acres anywhere? I could see them sending out unrelated groups to huddle in their indiv. hovels on maybe 60 acres each - something just too shy of enough for reasonable, and additionally having to start off with contentions over boundary lines and river rights! Maybe they would do it for the purpose of some experiment.

I would think for sanity (did you say below freezing for NINE months of the year?!) you had better take supplies to 'whittle away' the long hours cooped up, at least a knife to whittle with. But why deny a favorite book, colored pencils, a pack of paper... esp. for that first year of adjustment. And music instruments- even juiceharps and harmonicas or flutes can fit in a pocket. Such small things allow for expression and give you a way to vent and share good times with those you are pent up with.

Unknown said...

The problem with this technology is that it packs the same anti-nature mentality. Basically an extractive mindset. That's one of the most potent and virulent political technologies there is: an extractive mindset, at best and unease with nature not owing us a thing but giving us a chance to go along, at worst a mortal fear of life, the ability to see your surroundings in terms of GDP and your own survival as a primary goal to employ your surroundings for, often intertwined with a stubborn inability to see your surroundings or your part in life in any other way.

The question is, why would any of the communities (both human and non-human should count) already there want you there? Would they? Would you go regardless?

It's a dead end for us unless we can grow culturally and learn this lesson, a dead end of chasing an increasingly neurotic escape and an increasingly fragile "safety" because we never could perceive ourselves living by nature's rules, only by our own. Live and die wise, become someone worth descending from. Prerequisites for any naturelike technology.

chazz said...


I think the idea is when there's not enough to go around, things tend to get a little dicey. There are many historical examples. I do think Dmitri is being overly dramatic, but I could be wrong.

http://cherihuka.blogspot.com said...

Ah Chazz, have you seen "Civilization is Only Nine Meals Away from Anarchy"?
Historically, 'dicey' is all it takes!


Bootstrapper said...

Hi Dmitry,

Quite different from the scenario described in "The New Age of Sail" and much harder and riskier. Of the two, I would choose the Sea, and make a living as a trader.


Rob Rhodes said...

While I don't think Mr. Orlov's purpose here is a how to on wilderness pioneering I must comment on KevPilot's suggestion to take polypropylene rope. Don't. Polypropylene is cheap rope that degrades quickly in the sun, is weak compared to any other synthetic and has pour resistance to abrasion. So don't take it anywhere, not even car camping never mind where you safety may depend on it. Take polyester (Dacron is a common brand) and nylon. Both have better in all of the ways poly is bad. Moreover they have fine endless fibres that can be unlaid to make thread or string as needed. Dacron has little or no stretch, nylon is quire springy especially if it is three strand rather than braided. I especially recommend a spool of number 96 seine twine which is three strand tarred nylon and can easily be spliced. Also some polyester whipping twine, very strong and you can even make those replacement bowstrings out of it (until you learn to extract sinew :-) ). Oh, and learn to tie a constrictor knot, you will make and repair many things with it, I even use it rather than a hose clamp to repair garden hoses.

Scott said...

I am part of the new generation of natural (regenerative) farmers. We have learned a lot about growing food naturally. What I practise, and so do many others is a no dig type of ag, where we use succession as the fertility engine. We design harmonious plant communities that we steer rather than control absolutely. This is new stuff and getting good at it is up to the individual, as nothing is prescriptive or linear. It is an evolution of permaculture etc. I combine Korean natural farming, the work of Fukuoka, permaculture design and most of all holistic management to make up a kind of mma of farming. I understand that at the onset one must shock the soil ecology so nutrients are unlocked and one can initiate succession to go in the direction of choice, and digging will do this (only once though), but I would humbly suggest hugelkulture, and promote the indigenous soil microbes for long term fertility.