2017 - Time for a "Resilience Plan"?

David Trammel's picture

As 2016 closes and 2017 gets started, I have been reviewing what I did the past year to get ready for what seems to be coming. In some ways good, in others bad. If I had to sum it up, I would unfortunately have to rate it, "One step forward, two steps back."

The next two decades are going to be "interesting", as in the proverbial Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times", but in all honesty as much as we, and that means the entire population focuses on the macro aka big picture things, its the micro, aka personal that most effects us in our day to day lives.

You can see this in the most recent ADR comments, where the number of celebraty deaths this past year came up. Some said it was more, some said that it wasn't. Truthfully, who the frak cares? That some pop icon of my twenties, overdosed on pain pills and was found dead in a studio elevator is a sad thing but for the most part a meaningless thing too.

What does have meaning is me working too many hours and not checking up on my plants, leading to under watering and serious stress to plants that I will someday expect to feed me. While I wasn't watching, my lettuce plants grew flower stalks and have bolted.

I think its time to consider how I can be better prepared for the future shocks and disruptions that we all expect to happen over the next two decades.

I think its time to come up with a "Resilience Plan".

I haven't logged on in a bit, we've been dealing with construction, including nine months of delays by stupid county and state septic inspectors. What happened was the conversion of my parents' old detached garage into handicap accessible living quarters for them. (No stairs, no halls, roll in shower, etc.)

I didn't get a lot of what I wanted. There will be a need to convert both the Main House and the Cottage (as the county is pleased to dub the conversion a 'cottage accessory structure') to off-grid heat and cooking at some point in the future. However, we did get a propane generator added (all heat is propane, we have 1500 galleons in two tanks when all is full). All in all, the addition of the Cottage is a step towards greater resiliancy, as it pushes off the need to outsource elders for care.

Our weather has been whacky: most fruit trees and shrubs are not bearing this year. Cherries, apples, pear, sand cherries, plums, apricots, all got frosted mid-bloom. The currants, gooseberries, and chokecherries are loaded with fruit, and the elderberry bloom looks good, but they aren't the nice-tasting kind of elderberries. (Probably very medicinal, but make a bitter jelly.) Rosehips also look abundent, and the rhubarb is very happy and productive as a foundation planting, and looks pretty, too!

One hen hatched four chicks, two survived the first 48 hours. Another is setting. A third decided the newly hatched chicks were her chicks and abandoned her clutch, so our two chicks have two mamas. Fortunately, both mamas get along and don't fight over the chicks. (The main problem is that the non-setting hens keep adding to the clutches being set, and the youthful chicken caretakers just don't quite get that more eggs does not mean more hatchlings. I feel like we can afford for them to learn these lessons the 'hard way' at this time.)

David Trammel's picture

If you need any help please let me know.

Well, I'm five years older than Carrie Fisher. I'll be 66 in two months, and I was already in the process of reordering my priorities. I didn't get much of anything edible out of my patio garden last year. I'm going make a pollinator garden this year. I intend to lean on the landlord to make this barn of an apartment building more energy efficient. I'll be working with local environmental groups and government reformers to make my hometown more sustainable. But mostly I intend to read and write and maybe blog again. I forage effectively at the supermarket

ClareBroommaker's picture

A resilience plan sounds big! I guess I'm kind of hit and miss. There are big projects that I do keep procrastinating on. But now I feel like I am aging prematurely and I am very glad for the things we have done for our family household even decades ago. A lot of things would be so hard for me to start fresh on now. But I also have a life time of understanding that you've got to make hay while the sun shines.

The things I most want to focus on now are:

1) getting better at drying foods and keeping foods in the natural chill of the ground,

2) being able to offer something for my mate's asthma, being able to offer something for flu, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pain. I mean being able to grow those things and preserve them in amounts good enough for my family and then some.

3) getting some insulation in the house

4) growing tea camellias

5) installing a woodstove in the house

6) getting a huge fig harvest

7) making friends and solid acquaintances

8.) giving away fruit trees to neighbors.

9) pressing my mate into keeping chickens (I don't want to do it myself: I want him to do it heh, heh.)

10) getting a few more good shovels and hoes

11) setting aside some roof patching material

12) oiling the damn sewing machine!

David Trammel's picture

Groups of Focus...

Ok that sound sufficiently vague to cover anything lol.

Resilience to me speaks of being able to handle disruption.

IF you woke up tomorrow and on the News, the local government told you the Water Department, those who supplied you with fresh water, had a crisis and you wouldn't have water for a week, Could you cope?

Lets ignore drinking water for a moment.

What about the simple toilet?

Consider how many times you flush it in a day. You can easily forgo a drink of water, as long as you ate, but a toilet full of feces is going to be a problem.

Do you have a back up?

My work, we have a wood saw. The saw dustvents into a bag beneath the vacuum. It wouldn't take me any effort to fill a few 5 gallon container with saw dust, put them on a shelf and have them ready, with a few additional items, for a similar situation.

I guess the things I listed do seem like back-ups and alternatives that I could switch over to entirely. Maybe you can give some more examples of resilience plans that you are thinking of.

The water and toilet questions--

I find the toilet easier to take care of than drinking water. In place of the saw dust you would use, I would use dry leaves or straw, which ever I had around at the time. Right now it could be either as I have a few bales and many bags of leaves out in the garden. I also know how to use those [back-up] shovels to dig a good sized sanitary disposal pit. I have actually dug pits as deep as three feet in the yard, so I know what kind of effort such digging requires in my soil. There is even a bag of lime in the garage should I need that.

I have a bit of drinking water put aside, but unless I fill a large cistern, we'd be in trouble pretty soon. I haven't calculated how long we could go without city water. (More than a week, I'm sure.) It surely does concern me. See my new photo icon? It is a brass cover on a water well I noticed in a parking lot! It says on the brass "monitoring well". It's a source. Also, I'm intrigued to have learned that a very deep well was dug two blocks from me before the American Civil War. That well had a public building's kitchen built over it. The kitchen doesn't operate any more, but one way or another the well is still there and it pierces more than one aquifer, some of them salty, some fresh.

Another block west of there is an Olympic swimming pool. If things were desperate waterwise, you can bet people will get water from that pool. I would both boil and bleach treat that water. And if the public water were still not restored, I would spread the word about the old well in the old public building to see if it could be located.

Oh yeah, my trusty little red wagon could help me haul water. I can come up with jugs and buckets to haul in.

So, yes I do try to imagine a number of problems and how we could make do.

I wish more people would jump into this resiliency conversation.

David Trammel's picture

I expect that people will be adding their "two cents" soon.

By the way, I took out the last sentence in my previous comment. It looked a little too much like I was personally challenging you Clare. That wasn't my intent. I'm trying to get back into blogging this year. Like Greer I often use these forum posts, as a preliminary step to my writing, as a way to air my thoughts and see what others have to say about the subject.

Take my recent flurry of posts.

Its becoming clearer to many of my more main stream friends that there is someting seriously wrong with our society. We who read Greer on a regular basis, know what is up. My friends though, as well as many others who are out there, don't yet understand we are on the cusp of a major change.

The problem is that preparing for something like that, has gotten a very bad rep.

I had this happen a few months back. A group of friends and I were at dinner. When one asked me what I was doing, I started talking about Green Wizardry and issues with resource depletion.  I guess I got a bit passionate about it. One friend, sort of to the side asked another what I meant. His replie was,

"Its the Zombie Apocolypse without the Zombies"

Now that got a couple of laughs, but think about it. That's the perfect dismisal of everything we do here.

That has me thinking about our preception problem, how to best spread the word on the difficulties we as a whole face.


Back to this thread in particular.

By a "Resilience Plan", I think I was thinking more along broad brush strokes and long term objectives. In something similar to the Circles we have here on the forum.

So, for me one of my steps in my resilience plan for 2017 is for "Food".


Food and Garden: Learn how to cook and store more foods I prepare myself from more wholesome and fresh ingredients.

Recently I've begun cooking on Sunday morning, usually enough for 3-4 meals. This I put up in the freezer so I can take it to work. Soaps, pastas, even some ethnic meals like tacos and beans. I like being able to just open the freezer and grab a few containers and go.

Now last month, a local grocery store had a special on those Campbell soups, the chunky variety that I like. In a bit of "stock up the pantry cause its low" I ended up buying 40 of the things. The thing is, like most food in cans, they aren't the best for long term storage. If I remember correctly, manufacturers use a chemical (PM something of the sort) to coat the walls of the cnas to prevent sticking and spoilage. That chemical leeches into the food and over time, gets deposited into your fatty tissues.

So for my Food and Garden Step in my future Resilience Plan, I resolve that those 40 cans will be the last cans I buy of soup. That over the next year I will strive to learn how to make more of my own food.

The second part of this Circle, is to learn how to start from seeds.

That will be something I do next month, with the indoor garden project I started a few months back.


Home and Shelter: Look at a city based alternative to my plan for rural retirement.

I've mentioned here that I would like to retire at around 65-68, which for me is 5-8 years, on a few rural acres and have a small home and extensive garden.

I give that option probably a 50/50 chance of being successful. The co-worker of mine who is going to buy the initial property, and who will then sell me a few acres, is in poor health. He recently fought cancer and while it is in remission, he has taken over as our supervisor and is dealing with a tremendous load of stress as a result. To say he might fall over dead one night is a real possibility.

Now I like country living. I'm a back woods kind of guy. And as much as I like the thought of my own little "Green Acres", honestly I think that urban living is what the primary focus of this first generation of Green Wizards will be all about.

While we speak alot about the possibilty of a civil war and the break up of the United States in the next decade, anything like this is going to be visible for months if not years in the making. I have to beleive that for most of us, living in the city and doing this "modern life stuff" is going to be our lot until we die. Though I accept that living in the city is going to get harder and harder, as collapse slowly creeps up on us all.

So for my Home and Shelter Step in my Resilience Plan, I resolve to start looking at a way to pick up some sort of urban property. perhaps a fixer-upper in a depressed area, that I can buy within my budget and begin collapsing in.


These are what I was thinking of when I initially posted this thread. I'll try and post more of my 2017 plan soon.