[After somewhat of a hiatus I am going to try to get back to blogging here again.]
Its been some time since I have blogged here on peaknix and in some ways its because of the chaos thats been going on in our lives that completely mirrors whats been going on in the US economy and the world.
Like so many people, I had some clue something was up. I mean, you couldnt NOT know, watching the news throughout 2007 – 2008. When it came time for my experience of being laid off I was prepared on some levels and not on others. Writing about all that here didnt really seem to do it for me because I didnt want to sound like I was complaining – who does. So much of it is really personal, like it is for everyone, and some of it is that, you can spend all sorts of time processing it and it still doesnt matter whether you talk about it or not. Until you actually get a job, the problems wont be solved. Its an on or off, black and white kind of thing – if you have a job, things are ok, you cook along.
If you dont have a job then things come to a screeching halt in a disconcerting way, like after an accident. If you have ever had a car accident its like you go from moving to complete stop and your brain, maybe its shock, but your brain is still moving, still has those ideas and maybe illusions of going forward but you not moving any more and you are in the same place. Only now you have problems that you didnt have literally a minute before. A certain amount of planning, car insurance, unemployment or whatever, can be there for you when you get laid off or have an accident, but depending on how long your job loss lasts your planning can only buffer you against so much. Relative to this blog, there is only so much I can write about that without getting really repetitive.
I am not an economic whiz and I am not going to tell you why this or that happened, I dont have the technicals. A lot of people have done that over the years and it turns out much of that speculation was just distraction or marginally related to the core issues.
Some times its very hard to tell what the core issues are. This mortgage morass is an example of a situation where its clear that this is the next stage of the collapse – but what exactly IS going on. Is it it simply the collapse of the mortgage market? Or is it some kind of engineered emergency to push for further TARP-like “investments” in the banking industry as corporations go to any and all lengths to make a profit for themselves.
Before it was about making widgets, now its about grabbing the hand-out.
I look at this latest mortgage “crisis” and I wonder exactly what IS the base nature of this situation. Its hard for me, someone who doesnt have a PhD in mortgages, something you practically need to understand just basic mortgages let alone all the derivative layers above. Its hard for me to characterize the illusion that we are being given, from the critical core issues.
This blog is about writing about living the Peak and what comes after. I am marginally at peace now, since 2008 (a sort of Peak moment for me), with not finding full time traditional employment. That sort of “peace” is certainly not as easy as you might imagine. It still sucks that I am not doing what I was trained for.
If you are a longer term reader you know we have started building a food production system on our land – a homestead is what I call it, its certainly not a farm. I see it as a long term project and while I havent wanted to get too scientific about the production of food, I think I am going to get more rigorous in the coming years so that I can put some of our land into use more intensively. I am also going to be putting some more thought into how to use food output more effectively on our homestead.
As you might imagine, my thoughts on what this homestead means to me and my kids have matured over time. Its not the ultimate answer, its not the only way, or THE way to get through collapse, we have many external inputs that are required and make us dependent on others. If I could set up my land so that we could grow the feed for our animals then I would feel a lot better about that but we dont live on land suitable for growing feed grain crops. We are still trying to find the balance between the number of dairy animals (goats), how much we put into them (the feed costs – the dependence on externally sourced feed and hay) vs the milk we get. For now its about high quality nutrition and re-skilling vs self sufficiency.
I have a strong desire for my kids to not be “zombies” and I dont want to be a “zombie” – I know its not simply earning/putting away enough money to build the perfect self-sufficient lifestyle/compound.
Its more about what goes on in your mind than whats going on in the backyard.
That can be taken away from you. You could spend a lot of time on your backyard paradise but a flood could come and wash all your work away – exactly like what happened at the Quail Springs permaculture farm in the US southwest – they had spent decades building a wonderful permacultural site and they lost it all in a flood (I guess they built everything on a flood plain). Or you could lose your paradise to fire or to a job loss.
Its more about building in your children’s minds a worldview of Resilience and that is certainly something I have always been aware of but have never been able to do for myself. On the deep child-self level, I have always tended toward some dogmatic solution, for someone that assures me that its going to be ok, for someone to ride in on a white horse – saving the day – somewhere deep inside I seem to need that. Its not like I am waiting but its still there – some resentment about the fact that I have to find all the solutions. Some people thrive on that but I feel stress that to be the provider is some how not the job that I necessarily want and now that I am no longer in that position – I am no longer the main breadwinner – I am feeling a little more free to explore what the next steps are on this homestead are and how to build that resilient worldview for me and my children.
Just because you know how to grow a garden or how to raise goats or chickens, how to grow them for meat or eggs, how to milk goats, how to midwife them in the kidding season, these things – they are not the answer to building Resilience because that is only the answer to working well within the environment in our backyard.
Does Resilience mean understanding how to eat in the wild and to be able to camp rough and to like it and not feel stressed out? That is a kind of knowledge that provides a certain kind of Resilience when you are living in an uncertain world where you may be forced to leave what you built for yourself. This sort of world seems possible in the future as climate change and economic collapse forces population upheaval.
What will it be for my children? Can I really expect to be able to prepare them to be resilient to this? Whereas a parent used to strive to build a farm and then give it to the kids when they were gone, or parents worked to make enough money to give to the kids when they are gone, or parents worked to make enough money to give the kids an education for financial independence, or assisting the kids in taking out loans for their own education (the most recent and least self-sufficient way of doing things).
But now, its about getting your kids ready to face any possible change whatsoever because the future represents a huge vista of potential outcomes, great uncertainty that seems more vast than what I grew up with. That is something that I was not necessarily socialized to cope with. I do not have the answer to these things. It might be enough at the moment that I am thinking of it in this way.
If you have any wisdom to offer relating to Resilience, creating a Resilient mindset for our kids in the face of such massive uncertainty, cultivating not only curiosity about the world but the ability to consume that uncertainty in a way that doesn’t cause an identity crisis, cause insecurity, cause so much stress such that they would want to completely withdraw from the world, how to build an internal structure to cope with those types of uncertainties – how do you do that? For yourself or your children?
Because it is that kind of resiliency that will be necessary to cope with what is coming.