The Cat is Out of the Bag

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is worried about the current world situation. Bob and his wife (names have been changed for safety) have started to buy food for storage and try to figure out other things they might need for surviving the Hitler… I mean trump administration. By the time we left the restaurant, we still had not heard about the threats made towards Iran or the friction between ourselves and one of our greatest allies, the Australians. What we did know was that Trump had ordered a raid on a house in Yemen that resulted in the deaths of 9 women and children and one 8 year old girl who was a US citizen. Keep in mind we have not been in Yemen since early 2015. When the white house was asked about this they stated it was “collateral damage.” There it is. The status of humans in this country or others doesn’t matter to the president of the united states. While others would have pretended to care this guy does not give a shit. That is what scares the hell out of me.

I found out a few weeks ago, that I am going to be a father. While many would say “there is never a good time in life to have a child” my question is: what about a time in history? The scientist that run the doomsday clock have moved the minute had to the closest time ever set even beating the height of the cold war. My long term concern of climate change has been something I always thought would be something I could teach my kids to adapt to and survive.  Now with the crazy nut job that the few in this country elected I don’t know if any of us will be around more than a few years from now.

My friend Bob has a right to be concerned. His daughter is old enough to remember the good old days and still adapt to the new world she will be growing into. My kid however, all of this crazy shit, will be normal. Maybe that’s for the better. There won’t be a chance to deny what is happening or a longing for what we once had.

With the new year, and a new job title that I will have in the coming year (dad) I started to take some steps to try and adapt to the new world. I cleaned out my house taking several boxes of items to the local goodwill. After all the things you own end up owning you. I took out the canning jars from the basement and sorted the seeds I would be planting in the spring. Currently I have four lights focused on tomato and pepper seeds for future planting. My closet was cleaned out and books thinned out to make space for those I would read and concentrated on those that are important and educational. By important I mean classics, anything pertaining to survival.

While my girlfriend and I have discussed moving in together there is one thing that stands out, both of us are upside down in or mortgages. Neither of us can sell. The upside is that I have a huge yard that I can grow food for us in, and I can use several square feet of the house as a tax write off for a personal business. Eventually we will get tired of paying so much for two houses we don’t need but then we have to figure out who’s credit is ruined because of the mistakes made by Alan Greenspan and George W Bush.  The world is changing and my life is changing with it. the garden I hope will relieve some burden from that stress while providing organic healthy food for the three of us.

If I had a child during the bush administration I would have told my child not to join the military, a large problem solve with a simple statement. These days I will have to teach all of the material from my books plus some extras. Camping, fishing, hunting, gardening, shooting, archery, trapping, and much much more. The world of my books, a science fiction/ fantasy world of dystopian rule has become reality. Thanks Trump.


Planting Seeds

This week I took the first step in securing food for the rest of the year. My girlfriend and I went through the seed bank I collected over the years and picked out the food that we wanted to harvest in the spring and summer months. In the past, my garden produced enough food during June and July that I didn’t have to buy groceries until after August. This was during a year that Kalamazoo was in a drought and most of my co-workers had gardens that died before summer had arrived. I had canned enough tomatoes that I ran out of jars and took the extras to work for people to take home. I had a lot of success in the past and then I stopped. Priorities changed over time and with a little financial success I traded the ability to grow food for the ability to buy and store it.

My seed bank, a large plastic tote I keep in the basement, is filled with a few hundred varieties and ranging from tomatoes to squash. We filled a coffee can with the seeds we are planning to grow. Even with the coffee can filled the overall seed bank hadn’t been touched. For a few years, I would go to places like Menards, Meijer, and Lowe’s when the spring season was over and buy several packets for $.25 apiece. The plants that grew well in the yard I would harvest seeds and restock those breeds into the seed bank.

Yesterday I hauled an old aquarium out of the basement and put it in the bathroom. I cleaned out the water pump and all of the little decorations that come with having fish. I left the rocks in the bottom and plugged in the halogen light. My hope is that the aquarium will be a great environment for peppers to grow. Purple, chocolate, red sweet, and green bell peppers wait to sprout if I did things correctly. On a stand next to the aquarium, I have tomatoes sitting under a full spectrum light. The rest of the seeds we had picked out are direct into the ground varieties that I simply have to wait to plant.

The yard is a mess. Even under the snow I can tell that several hours will be needed to work the soil back to gardening conditions. Weeds took over two years ago and although I tried to grow tomatoes last year I never harvested the few that did produce. The compost piles on the side of the yard have broken down to the point of only being two feet tall. The humus that I pull out in the spring will help replenish the soil before planting. By the time I’m finished cleaning out the yard and garden the compost pile will be filled all over again and for the better. The year of the drought my plants fared well without being watered. Humus, the product of composting, holds more water in the soil than normal top soil does. Add a little mulch from mowing the yard and you have a well-balanced foundation for a drought resistant garden. I don’t know what the next year will bring. It could be another hottest year on record or we could have a cold spell from everything being out of whack. Either way learning to grow my own food for myself and others is one of my priorities this year. I have an overall lack of trust with the world these days and whatever I can do to be self-sufficient is another step closer to feeling secure in this odd chaotic world we suddenly have.