Homestead update

While the rooster is plowing away on his hens, I carry pale after pale of water to the garden. We have several small plots and one that I am particularly caring for tonight. Fresh compost was spread over the top of a potato field. My wife needed her small pool cleaned out. So, why waste the water by dumping it into the grass nearby? I carried two five-gallon buckets time and time again to the rows of potatoes and watched as it traveled down the small trenches to the foot tall stalks that have grown over the last month. Its crazy to think that our last frost was in the middle of June.

There is a short list of plants that survived that ordeal. Tomatoes, potatoes, okra, pepper plants, beans, beets, radish, and strawberries. The plants that died overnight include; tobacco, peppers, bush beans, soy beans, corn, and tomatoes. In the cases where the same plant is mentioned different varieties handled the frost differently. The better boy tomatoes did better than the cherry tomatoes. Bell pepper plants didn’t do so well as the jalapeño. I was surprised to see Okra was still standing but maybe its those stubborn southern genes.

The soil is slowly coming together with fresh compost being added as the bins break down and are turned. Currently one bin is the home to volunteer cantaloupe. I also noticed that a rare blue butterfly is fond of the coffee ground tossed in and I have found their chrysalis hanging from the sides of the bin. When the lawn is moved large piles of fresh grass are added to the bins. The chicken runs are raked up and the coops cleaned out to added their manure to the pile. Then there are the rabbit cages. Our buck is a white and brown dwarf rabbit while the doe is a giant grey/ black variety that rivals the cat in size. Unlike the feces of most animals their waste is spread out over sections of the garden to break down with the weather.

After hours of work, planning, and designs the root cellar roof is still leaking. Three layers of plastic, a wooden framed gutter to direct the flow of water, and several inches of dirt did nothing to stop the incoming flood that continues by the entryway. My next option… build a metal roof over the cement one. The trial of the Hobbit roof is over and I don’t know how Bilbo Baggins ever kept his collection of maps dry while living in that hill.

The chicken massacre of 2021 finally came to an end after I ran netting over the top of the run. A hawk feather was found in the run after one of our grey chickens disappeared except for a fist full of feathers. It would appear this one put up a fight and was not going peacefully. RIP young grey chicken. Our current number stands at 16 and I think we will stay there for a while. The last four to have joined the flock finished their hazing phase and are now running around in the chaos. It will still be a while before any of the new chickens start to lay eggs.

In addition to the rabbits, we have there are the wild hare that run amuck on the property. There seems to be a large number of rabbits on our 15 acres and I haven’t seen any signs of coyote since winter. I’m not going to complain since rabbit taste better than coyote. We have partridge and turkeys as well. Only in a few cases have I see large flocks of turkey, lately the sightings have involved a Tom and a few hens. On rare occasions I will see a hen with baby turkey following behind. The deer are doubling their numbers again. The bucks have been busy with most does being accompanied by a fawn and the one doe with twins running around in my back yard. Even with all the gun shots I heard last winter the deer population doesn’t appear to have gone down at all.

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Being Elmer Fudd

This year, like previous years, I have failed to drag a deer home during hunting season. I thought things would change having bought my own land and seeing deer non-stop since the move. While I could come up with a list of excuses as to why this is the case there is one thing I have to admit, I am not good at this. I could go squirrel, quail, or turkey hunting and bring something home without question, and some would say these things are harder to do. I could say this is similar to fishing, I can catch blue gill, crappie, and sun fish until the sun goes down, but you won’t see me pulling a bass out of the water any time soon.

This year, like most years, not only have the deer eluded me but they have come to taunt me as well. A few years ago, I was fed up after a week of spending hours out I the woods with squirrel barking their insults at me and decided it was time to teach them a lesson. I went out with my shotgun bringing small game loads and filled my bag in an hour. I ran through the woods taking our every barking offender that dared to show their furry face. Walking back to the car I came over a hill to see two large does starring at me from thirty feet away. A clear and open side shot perfectly positioned and me without a slug in my shotgun. They looked at me for over a minute before turning away and running into the woods. In the end that bag of squirrels had the last laugh.

This year the mocking is even worse than before. On opening day, I went out to the spot I had decided on and brought one of my trusted Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54r bolt action rifles. This one had the smaller scope that was easier to use. The cold windy rain didn’t discourage me from marching out and claiming my prize. As I reached the back of the property, I set up next to an abandoned outhouse in the middle of a small field and waited a minute until a large doe walked out of the woods and looked at me. I raised my rifle and looked into the scope to see nothing but fog. Both sides of the scope were completely fogged over and sine it was mounted on the rear sight I couldn’t use iron sights to make the shot. On opening day, the deer got the better of me.

I set up a pop-up blind near that spot knowing that the deer move through that area. It’s not uncommon to see anywhere from two to seven deer moving through into the swampy woods behind the property. The first day I had the blind up a doe came out of the opposite end of the woods. A tree blocking my shot as its head looked around, then turning around to only give me the ass end before disappearing. The next morning, I opened the windows of he blind to see a set of tracks walking up to the blind and a pile of fresh doe scat sitting in front of it. At this point the score might be deer 3, Fudd 0.

Other odd things have happened since then. I went out to my car and found tracks and doe scat next to the drive and passenger side doors, no joke. Later in the morning when I go out to feed the chickens a doe and yearling will march through the small field behind our house in full view not giving me the time of day. It wasn’t long before I moved my pop-up blind again and realized I had to do something differently.

I spent an evening following the deer trails on the property and found four scrapes, a place where a buck marks a tree and clears the ground to pee on it. Its like a truck stop bathroom way of telling does, for a good time meet me here at this time. This buck was wanting to get some and I was willing to meet him at one of his spots. The next morning, I went out early, an hour before day break only to hear the snort and rustle of hoof prints as the buck ran off leaving me rejected and disappointed. Before heading back to the house, I unzipped my pants and left my own, for a good time call, on his clear patch of dirt next to the scraped-up trunk of a young tree. He has yet to call me.

For the last week and a half, I have heard the distance rings of shots across the land as my neighbors thin the herd and fill their freezers. At the local hardware store, I hear a young man talking about his brother getting two does in the first week and how his brother was disappointed about not getting a buck. The old man behind the counter says “how come? It only got antlers. They don’t taste any different.” My neighbor tells me today about our over neighbor bagging a big buck for the first time in a few years, likely my romantic rejection. Then he goes on to tell me that he usually bags three to four deer a year. Meanwhile, in Matt land, I can not bag one. There is always some detail I miss. I don’t go out early enough. I don’t stay out late enough. I brought the wrong gun for the weather. I put my blind in the wrong spot. I use a blind where I shouldn’t. Granted, I didn’t start hunting until I was 32. I didn’t start deer hunting until I was 34. After six years you would think I would have learned something. This is one sport/ hobby/ pastime that has a lot of trials and even more errors. I am worse that buckless Yooper in Escanaba in Da Moonlight. There are a few days left. I might be able to pull something off, but my hopes of filling the freezer or using any of my ammo for something other than target shooting are low. The deer mock me, they taunt me, and at this rate they know that my place is one of the safest in the area. Right now, they are going around telling their friends to go hang out at the fudge suckers house, while you’re at it crap next to his car. I’m guessing this is the deer equivalent to egging a house.

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The Collapse Experiment Redux

I sold my house today. The 1911 stucco Dutch three bedroom that I called my home for 15 years is now in the hands of a tiny Mexican woman who paid for it, in cash. I walked away with not much but something after paying the remainder of the mortgage and dropping the price more than 15k. I had the monthly payments paid up until January first and now I no longer have to worry about another house payment. A burden is lifted and my life of paying rent to a mortgage company for a house that I really didn’t own is over.

From the memories of that house are the beginnings of this blog. Years of gardening in the back yard. Learning how to compost just about anything. Canning, root cellaring, and cooking my first squirrel to include in the bundle. While trying to learn how to grow my own food I over did it with the backyard harvest, with the surplus going to co-workers because I ran out of canning jars to use. It wasn’t always good though. There was the purchase of my first shotgun after a police officer was killed a block from my house. There was the girl shot in front of my house walking home from school. The day a baseball size bag of crack cocaine was thrown into my back yard while a man was running from the police. There was the night three guys threatened to teach me whose neighborhood it was. Then the endless list of stabbings, break-ins, shots fired, meth lab explosions, hit and runs, graffiti, and crackheads knocking on the door at 3am asking for money.

Now I have no reason to ever go back to that neighborhood ever again. The house is no longer mine and is hopefully in the hands of someone who will appreciate it more that I have.

Considering the craziness that is 2020, the house that my wife and I bought this summer is more suitable for what we wanted to do. Our early 1900 Dutch houses were traded in for a 1926 barn house sitting on 15 acres in a town with a population of 250. Deer season is in full swing and if there is anything I learned in the last week its that these deer are not the tame, stupid and deaf variety that I hunted in southern Michigan, the type of dear that one could walk up on and they would stand in front of you dumbfounded as you pointed your shotgun. The deer in the north can hear you from half a mile away and you won’t see them the rest of the day. Snow plows are rare on the highway, as I learned today driving through a blizzard doing 35MPH. on a positive note, the hardware store had a new fuel line not only for my chainsaw but also my snow blower, both I bought second hand at estate sales before moving up here. The chainsaw I picked up for $40, a 1970s McCulloch pro master 610, and according to the YouTube videos I found on it I picked up a beast for a cheap price. The snow blower ended up being at a sale on day two which meant it was half off. The $70 of equipment I bought was fixed with $3.50 in parts from the hardware store.

The fifteen acres we own has room for small fields of corn and soy, a garden, fruit trees, and grape vines. Across the street is a no wake lake filled with trout and bass. Deer will be my biggest pest when it comes to the gardens, a fair trade from the crackheads who would break my fence and look over my tomato plants making sure it wasn’t weed they could steal. The chickens have been safe so far in their new coup and run that I built. If need be there is an outlet nearby I can plug a heater into. Freezing water has been an issue lately and I have yet to hear any good solutions that that problem. There is the pond that feeds the wildlife and plenty of firewood to be harvested from out woods. The birch trees are filled with Chaga Fungus. Outside the land is quiet. The rooster has learned how to push his voice beyond the backyard of a city lot and far into the dense woods of northern Michigan. On the way to work the other day I watched a group of sea gulls attacking a bald eagle over lake Mitchell. Signs on the side of the road warn of black bears for the next three miles. A sign going into town reminds drivers that horse and buggies are common in these parts. This is our new home. Neighbors wave from a distance. Piles of rocks sit randomly along the side of the road. Every yard has a deer stand. Here you can only be bored if you try. Here you get out of the land what you put in, if you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort you get back as much as you put in. in this place it isn’t the job that defines you its what you want to get out of it.

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How to prosper during the coming depression, food

 

As I write this there is the beginning of a food shortage happening in the United States. Many of the thing we are witnessing happened before during the great depression with farmers dumping milk they can not sell and food rotting in the fields. At the moment this only applies to meat and milk, however fruit and vegetables will be next since those seasons have not started and this virus in nowhere near finished with its agenda.

The last time I was at the local supermarket I saw the empty shelves and freezers wondering where my Cornish hens were and the cheap cuts of beef that I know how to turn into a $50 steak. Everything was gone except for some ground turkey that had been pulled out of a deep freeze.

I had to become crafty in finding places that would not be affected by the current shortage and if you have any granola eating, tidied wearing, “I only eat local” friends you may have a good idea where you can score some food in the coming years.

Two places came to mind in my town. The first is a small market where the owner is middle eastern and has local sources for meat that butcher it in the Halal style that Islam requires. This type of meat is not going to be produced by a large corporation and therefore the majority of his meat is also from similar, smaller, outlets. To this day his coolers have been filled with fresh meat and poultry with no problems in supply.

The second place that I started going to is a newly opened market downtown that is smaller and more expensive but there is an advantage to shopping here. One of the owners is a third-generation rancher and has access to beef all year round. The beef is butchered and processed by the owner cutting out any middle men. This place also has connections with local Indian tribes for smoked fish and Amish farmers who supply them with chicken and pork. These are the places I have found so far for my own food but here are some ideas for where you can look for your own food in your area.

Farmers markets are opening and it wouldn’t hurt to make friends with your local farmers who like having regular customers they can depend on for income. Even better than a farmer’s market is joining a CSA and having your share of a farm delivered every week for a majority of the season. The lump some up front might hurt but not needing to buy fresh produce over several months takes a burden off your grocery bill. While other people are struggling to find produce that might not make it to the shelves of the grocery stores your food is set aside and waiting for you because somebody grew it specifically for you. Some CSA farms also offer meat and poultry as well as vegetables, expanding what is available and making the hunt for good quality food easier.

Growing your own food is always an option even if you have limited space. For those of you who own your own house you have a huge advantage over the millions of people who don’t. That nice green lawn that you might be proud of, you can tear that up any time now. The luxury of having a lawn is an idea that needs to go the way of the dodo. In Europe, royalty would flaunt their wealth by having vast, unused fields of green grass showing the public that they had no need to work that land for their food. It was a gross mismanagement of wealth that continued to the united states and unfortunately didn’t die along with the control over the country by the British. Some of their bad habits stayed with us and now it’s time to kick it to the curb.

Victory gardens are springing up again, a tradition from WWII that kept the publics need for food down and meant more resources could go to the war effort. This time around the Victory garden could make sure you have food on the table while items are limited at the stores and harder to find. Several books are available for new gardeners and I will include a list of titles are the end of this article for those people who are interested.

Foraging is a favorite pass time for quarantine victims looking to get outdoors these days. On recent fishing trips it was common to see people walking through the woods with their heads hung low looking for morels. Mushrooms might be one of the few things to look for in the spring but other times of the year there will be berries, various greens, maple syrup, and nuts. I have spent many afternoons in early July collecting raspberries and black berries to freeze at home or turn into wines or jam. There was that time I collected dandelion leaves for salad and every year I make a batch of dandelion wine from the flowers. Foraging is a great way to learn how much food is located in your own yard.

Hunting is the last subject I will discuss in this post. Living in Michigan, hunting is a part of our culture. This was a subject that I was introduced to later in life, heading into the woods for the first time at 33. I have had some success and while I can’t remember how many squirrels, I have taken home, I can tell you that I bagged two turkeys over the years but have yet to drag home a deer. Hunting is a complicated subject and one should check their state laws before marching into the forests to bring home some meat. The cost of starting to hunt can be high for those who do not already own the equipment for it. Firearms, bows and arrows, muzzleloaders, boots, blinds, warm clothes, calls, bait, the list goes on and on. There is an investment of time to consider as well. We have all heard those stories of the guy who walks into the woods, kills a deer in five minutes, loads it into his truck and drives off. Odds are that will not be you. The years I have spent going to the same public land I know where the deer are, how they travel, and where to be. I have sent guys in telling them where fresh tracks are and the kind of deer in area. Later I get a thank you and find out they bagged a deer either that day or the next right where I told them. They had the time to spend waiting, I did not. It can be as simple as that.

Hunting is a long and vast subject in which I will cover in future posts, but for the moment it is a place to consider getting protein when it is difficult to find in the store. The amount of meat you can get from a deer for the cost of a few hours and a $1.50 shotgun shell doesn’t compare to the cost of a T-bone steak.

List of gardening books:

Gardening when it counts by Steve Solomon

Square foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Crockett’s Victory Garden by James Underwood Crockett

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Letters to Harrison: 9

I came across a signed copy of Julip Saturday and bought it. Maybe you would think of me as an idiot or maybe you would be surprised that someone would keep such a thing, who knows? What is the point of collecting something just because a person signed it, one that you have never met and never will? Your grave is still a mystery and yet you would visit the graves of those that you admired if you had the chance. I can hope that you had your ashes spread and by chance a part of you is somewhere close, inhabiting the landscape in a way that haunts that which you enjoyed and loved so much. There is a film crew tracking your steps, visiting the bars and walkways you once traveled. I don’t know what they will find along the way or how accurate their movie will be. Everything is about perspective and if they want to paint you in a positive light or make you out to be the crass asshole you could be at times. I personally hope they find a middle ground and point out that you were just a man. Your aversion in being compared to Hemingway is understandable, a high marker that no man should be compared to because no matter how hard you try nobody could live up to the expectations one would immediately have on you. How fair is that anyway? It was a different time, a different world and only one person could possibly live the life is the one that he lived. That mold was filled and it was not reproduced with you. I was tempted to try my hand at ordering off of a menu as you had done, pointing to various items and saying “this… and this… oh and this too” going on until the table was filled and I would have to sit there until my buttons popped and people looked at me like I was a crazed individual that had just escaped from a concentration camp. Instead, I ordered the pork belly BLT and called it good. I’m not at that point yet plus I need a reason to go back and try something else. My life isn’t on the road and if I am to be in towns often that I don’t know I need something to look forward to. The sky finally cleared today, the weekend was clouded in gray and the cold rain hung over like a wet blanket of despair. Winter is not here yet and already I dread the lack of sun and the depression that comes with it. On the other hand, it leaves no option than to sit down and write, something I am lacking these days. I have noticed that once in a while you will mention books that you have read over your lifetime and I’m thinking about starting a list. Of course, I don’t know what exactly you enjoyed and what you didn’t but I have to assume that if you liked something that’s what you would have recalled, if I’m wrong you can always haunt my ass and set me straight. The deer are on the move lately, roaming the streets searching for food to prepare for winter. A giant buck has made it clear to me who owns this neighborhood and I am nothing but a nuisance in his eyes. I have considered going deer hunting this fall and after seeing him I wonder if I could actually pull the trigger this time if the option presented itself. There is a big difference between shooting a squirrel, catching a fish and having that disconnect between yourself and the life you took. The deer on the other hand seems to be a beast that knows you are out to get him and has an opinion about it. I suppose if I was hungry these thoughts wouldn’t come to mind and that could be the trick to a successful hunt. Leave with an empty stomach and you won’t have any qualms about taking a shot and dragging something out of the woods. Sorry bucko, I have mouths to feed and you looked pretty good at the time. It is the nature of things. Would things have been different this weekend if I had to shoot the pig behind the brewery to enjoy that BLT? I would like to say not but I know better. There is something different in a person that can take a life and even though I have been the end to many squirrel and fish I don’t know if I have it in me to take something bigger. That could be the next challenge I face this year. What is the worse that can happen? I have a nice day out in the woods? One couldn’t ask for less on a good day.

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Letters to Harrison: 4

The woods were silent yesterday morning except for the roar of truck tires on 131 to the west. The sun was hidden by the morning fog over the field as we walked through the grass trying to find a trail. The state park has been doing the best it can to erase our footprints. Two track trails are cut off by fallen trees and streams that appeared out of nowhere, eroded through the soil and sand, etching its way into the swamp below. The shotgun in my hands wasn’t as heavy as I remembered. The squirrels reminded me just how dumb we are. Creatures with the technology to send us to the moon in our pants pockets can be tricked by the slight of hand of the woods. In the early hours of the morning the woods came alive to the sound of woodpeckers, deer snorting at the scent of two men wearing freshly laundered clothes, crickets in the field, and blue jays fighting over the remains of a nest they bullied their way into. The hunting was good, but it wasn’t great. One rabbit slipped past us disappearing into the three-foot-high grass and we found more coyote tracks than we did deer. At the end of the hunt two unfortunate souls were in our bag. Last night we enjoyed wine, a Chianti and a Spanish red I had never heard of. Both were thoroughly enjoyed over much needed conversation. It is during hard times that we learn who our friends are and receive the comfort that we need. There is a magic in air as I walk through the trails and listen to absolute silence and a good drink is one that is enjoyed with friends. There is still joy to be found in the roughest of seas, calm waters do not make a good sailor. The world has a strange measure of perfection that is expected from everyone but no one can achieve. The woods don’t judge. The world is perfect in its imperfect beauty. It is rare that man will create something that will improve on its own. The empty lots and dilapidated houses of my own town remind me of that. This system that we created will fade away on its own, eaten up by its own rules and horrible expectations. The only solution is to castrate the world and let mankind disappear in a low whimper. Life continues to go on. Is there anything more to ask for than good company, a walk in the woods, some wine, and a full belly. Anything more than that doesn’t matter.

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After the Day for the last time

This book saved my life. Poorly written, and breaking barriers no one wanted to see broken, what started out as a way to kill long lonely nights turned into a gateway to freedom that I needed. Five years ago, I put a book on Amazon before knowing what it was. It was raw, filled with misspelled words, bad grammar, and horrible dialogue and somehow it sold.
At that time in my life I was divorce, living alone, dating life had a bunch of downs and no ups, and debt was pulling me down. I had branched out into various hobbies, things that I had wanted to do early on in life but held back by different things which no longer influenced my life. Included in these hobbies was writing.
One of the first things I did after my wife and I split was going to best buy and picking up a laptop to write on. It sat in a closet for a year before I took it out and started pecking the keys. I had many adventures after my thirtieth birthday. Fishing, hunting, and gardening took up a good portion of my free time. Once hunting season was over and winter was in full throttle I was stuck inside, without a television and the radio my only outside friend. Sitting in my dining room with a bottle of red wine and a pipe filled with captain black gold I started to write a short story. I had lost track of where it was going and so I wrote another. I continued this process until I had three or our stories in front of me and realized I was writing them all in the same world.
The last couple of days have taken me back to that time. Sitting at a dining room table like I do now and listening to classical music from NPR, I go over my first novel and rewrite the work for the last time. I found the original version, the one I uploaded with all of its horrible flaws, before the suggestions, edits, and critics took over. Starting from scratch I’m turning it into what it could have been all along and something that is truly mine again. I have learned some lessons along the way. Don’t look at sales figures. Don’t read the reviews. Don’t let people distract you with other projects that are not your own. Drink less beer. Write drunk. Edit sober… sometimes. So maybe I haven’t learned my lessons on a lot of things or maybe some of those things are myths to begin with. You don’t have to always enjoy what it is that you are doing but it helps.
As I go through these pages and play with the words, slowly transforming this thing into something else entirely, I know that I will still come back to it a few times. Reading an audiobook will point out a few more changes along the way and that is okay. After this year I will no longer come back to this book. My life has changed since that time and I have written several things since then that nobody wants to read or talk about. After the Day has turned into my white whale and it is time to put it down for good.

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Daisy: CHAPTER EIGHT

“Why do we have to wait here in the cold,” Daisy asked her father as they sit in a blind made from nearby tree limbs and branches.
“Deer run away when you go out looking for them,” Bill replied.
“There has got to be a better way to do this?” Daisy said trying to stay warm while snowflakes fall around them. “Why don’t people hunt in the summer?”
“You already know that from your hunting safety class. The cold preserves the meat so that nothing goes to waste. Now pipe down, all this talking is going to scare everything away. We won’t even leave with a squirrel.”
“That’s gross,” daisy said shrugging her shoulders.
“There may come a day when you have to eat what you can.”
“I’ll wait until then,” Daisy said. A second later the sound of leaves crackling followed by a twig caught their attention. Bill tapped Daisy on the shoulder to ready her shotgun, a .410 they had bought the summer before. She spent a few hours at the range with it, becoming comfortable with the kick. Neither of them said a word as they looked at the ridge, waiting to see what would climb over.
The pounding in her chest made her wonder if her heart was going to explode from her ribcage. Her breathing slowed down as her eyes focused on the ridge line. The cracking and popping of leaves and sticks continued and a second later a pair of brown ears extended from the earth. The deer ascended and a large doe appeared, thick and stocking it was a few years old and ate well before the winter. The doe faced Daisy and had not notice the two hunters behind the blind. Bill put his hand on Daisy’s shoulder and squeezed. She lifted the .410 and waited for the kill shot to appear.
Long seconds passed. Daisy took long deep breaths trying to slow her heart beat but nothing worked. Her skin tingled and the blood rushing through her veins was warm. Every sound, every movement, happened in slow motion. The deer was taking its time until it turned, looking at a tree, sniffing the bark for a potential meal. The side was exposed and Daisy could see the furnace, the hotbox of death. One clear shot and there wouldn’t be a chase, no tracking to find her kill. Daisy clicked the safety off in front of the trigger and took a deep breath. Her heart was still beating fast, the veins in her neck throbbed as she closed her left eye and lined up the sight.
The shot happened. The loud clap of gas exploding out of the barrel caught her off guard and she was startled when the deer stumbled and fell to the side, down the hill and out of sight. Daisy panicked and rushed out of the blind before bill could stop her.
The ridge overlooked the start of a swamp and on the other end was the open fields the older hunters preferred. The public hunting lands were thousands of acres of everything a deer needed to thrive. The sun was setting with a blood red hew painted across the sky. Daisy could see an orange clad figure walking in the field a mile away, his hunt ruined by the shot she had made. Looking down she found her kill and a few feet below that was a fawn that she had never seen. The mother was dead, the fawn looked at Daisy, turned and ran. A few seconds later the fawn disappeared into the swamp, thick brush hiding it from predators like Daisy.
“You did good.” Bill walked up behind her seeing the clean kill.
“It had a fawn,” Daisy said. “I just watched it run away into the swamp.”
“It will be fine,” Bill said.
“Are you sure?” Daisy asked.
“This deer was a fawn like that one at one time. Trust me, it will make due.” Bill pulled a buck knife from his pocket and unfolded the blade. “Remember not to nick the intestines.”

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Creating the Man of Tomorrow

The future doesn’t consist of a world where one can become anything they want just by pursuing it through hard work and really wanting it, although that was a myth. Instead we have a future where we have a very good idea of what is going to happen, the only catch is that we don’t know how soon it will happen. Currently the predictions of climate change are speeding up and what climate scientist originally thought was going to take decades to happen is now occurring at this present moment. The year (2017) has seen the second year that the arctic hasn’t frozen over and the current temperature (Feb 9, 2017) is fifty degrees higher than normal. Oklahoma reached 100 degrees today as well. The arctic hasn’t been free of ice since human kind started civilization 40,000 years ago.

I bring this up for several reasons. Our current administration denies that climate change exist. A witch hunt is underway for scientist and government employees who study the weather and its effects. As if silencing the scientific consensus will somehow change the fact that the human race as a whole is under the threat of extinction. The rate at which our climate is changing is happening faster than anybody anticipated. The release of methane from the arctic is expected to speed things up even faster. Methane is a more toxic greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and there are large amounts of it trapped under the frozen surface of the Siberian tundra and the waters of the arctic. When that methane is released temperatures will rise regardless of the carbon dioxide levels measured by our governments.

The earth is changing, and if mankind is going to survive he has to adapt to it or risk going extinct like so many species that came before. So, what do we do?

As I write this my girlfriend is 9 weeks along with our first child. If things go as planned it will be our only child. At 37 years of age there isn’t much room for anymore and I don’t want to run the risk of being mistaken as grandpa when they are in their 20s. Boy or girl there is a long list of things I will be teaching them along the way. Much of it should come as a normal part of life. A healthy curiosity for learning is key. Self confidence in themselves will hopefully be instilled. But beyond that there are simple skills that most people don’t have anymore. Fishing, hunting, gardening, respect for the earth and everything it provides. Enjoying your life. The part of the collapse I look forward to is the disappearance of the banks and the 40 hour a week bullshit of a thing called a job. Seriously, homesteading would be a permanent vacation for me. There are more skills that will be taught and with the way things are nose diving into the ocean I don’t know if there is enough time to get everything in. The reality of being a parent is knowing you won’t be around forever to take care of them. The natural way of things is that eventually the child replaces the parent.

It’s no secret I don’t like how things are going right now. Between climate change, the banks, a fascist president, internet surveillance, and war on the horizon how is one supposed to have confidence in anything other than their own ability? When the people you are supposed to trust let you down repeatedly at what point do you walk away from the mess and go about it on your own?

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The Times They Are A Changin’

For the second day in a row I was outside cleaning my yard. Racking leaves, cleaning out the garden, this was February 14 and it was almost 50 degrees in Michigan. This kind of thing has been a re-occurring trend in my state. Granted, the state is known for having all four seasons in a week, or sometimes a single day depending on its mood. For most of my adult life I cannot recall the last time we had a real winter, the type of season where kids could build snow forts and have snow ball fights while hiding behind snowmen. The last time we had an accumulation of snow and it stuck around all winter was 1999/ 2000. That was 17 years ago, in the early 2000s we had a snowless Christmas with 70-degree weather and I was outside wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

Again this year, the weather bureau stated this was the hottest summer on record and the warmest winter ever recorded. Last week the arctic was 50 degrees warmer than normal and was the highest temperature ever while humans have been on the planet. The arctic, for another year, never froze over.

I know that things change, the childhood that I had was not the world my parents had, and the world I grew up in was my version of normal. Every generation goes through that transition. When I was growing up war was a televised spectator sport, celebrities had live trials, and the president’s sex life was broadcast on television. That wasn’t my parent’s world. The one that we are moving into isn’t the world I grew up in either. Normal for my kid could look like snowless winters in Michigan. Animals I saw alive at zoos will no longer exist. If some people have their way, the National Parks might not be around either for them to enjoy. A think called privacy will become an odd habit for prudes. The world I grew up in, the one that currently exist will be gone and what comes next will be the new normal, the only one my child will ever know. The fast-changing world is a challenge for parents, seeing their kids with things they themselves do not understand and are too busy working several jobs to have the time to keep up with the times. It’s no wonder there is a disconnect between the generations.

The times they are a changin, and what the world will look like I can only guess. Winter has become a short one month event with bits of fall and spring dotting the calendar here and there. The bits of warm weather at the beginning of the year has caused havoc with the fruit trees, causing blooms too early for bees to pollinate and catching the flowers in early season frost to dry off, killing the chances of growing fruit. Hunting season has been thrown off as well with the rut taking place earlier in the fall so that it is done before gun season opens. The earth is changing and the rest of the planet is trying to catch up in its own way, but nobody knows how to do that. In a world that we depend on to remain normal I find myself questioning what exactly is normal?

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