Thank you all so much for being so supportive about my Nat Geo piece. As much as most of you know I was sorry I ever got involved there was a huge upside. Watching the show gave me a lot of ideas as I work on my upcoming novel. I deeply believe that you must be able to imagine something before you can create it. The novel is my attempt to imagine a world in the future that is not worse but different. I’m doing a rewrite of the first few chapters so I can add a few elements that I neglected the first time around.

Here are the things that struck me while watching the show. Most everyone is bought into the consumptive, single use dream. I’m not opposed to buying things but I am opposed to buying things for “preparedness” that are single use and non-renewable without the back-up plan for when the thing runs out. If you go over to the preseervingabundance.com site and read the post that will be up later you will read in the final paragraph what I have to say about lighting. I think it’s fine to store hurricane lamps; I have several and lot of lamp oil too, but I am aware that in years gone by, people just went to bed earlier and got up later in the winter. They managed. Candles were a luxury and not used to light up the house like 5th Avenue. Now that I see the work involved in getting a candle in winter from a bee in the summer, I respect that luxury idea much more.

I don’t believe that any of the families presented were depicted as they actually are. This is entertainment and should be regarded as such. That said, the guns stuff bothered me as did the reliance on freeze-dried food. I have freeze-dried food. Not much, but it’s there to get me over a hump should I need to fill a gap before harvest or in a bad weather year. What I wish they had shown more of (I know these guys are out there) was people saving seed and organizing community support groups. If you really expect society to collapse (I don’t) then you know that someday, the cans will run out. Someday, you will have to grow food. Someday, you will have to venture out into the landscape. The fortress and the moat are midevil dreams.

What I see in my day-to-day life is that people are getting poorer. It’s harder to get a job and the benefits are not what they were. It’s harder for a young couple to buy a house. The notion that college is a ticket to the good life is over. I see people concerned about how they will heat their homes. I see people doing a cost-benefit analysis on driving 50 miles to see a show. I hear from people contemplating food stamps and fuel assistance during retirement when they used to think about cruises and moving to Florida. You can’t move to Florida when you can’t sell your house. Not all of these changes are bad things. It might be healthier for families to stay geographically closer. Is is wise to contemplate the wisdom of so much time behind the wheel of a car, even if they are giving gas away. College probably isn’t for everyone and the money saved cold get a kid set up in a small business or in a cheap starter home. Our expectations do need to be lowered for the good of the planet and the good of our families.

So here is my good news of the day. My daughter’s school is hatching chicks this spring and they need a home for them. They asked us and, of course, we’ll take them. They will either replace our current flock or, more likely, provide a flock of meat birds (we get to choose the breed) that we will raise here and put in the freezer before needing to feed them this winter. With the turkeys and the local beef along with our pig, we’ll be set for meat. None of the meat will be in a can until I put it in a can.

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