On the descent to sustainable living. The return of the family farm. again.

I’ve come to a realization about blogging. Don’t start with the title. Write first, then add a title that has some connection to what ended up in the body of the blog. So here goes.

Some of you are probably scratching your heads, thinking what is this descent. Where is it going, where is it descending from. And why.  The simple answer is its all about resources, particularly the non renewable resources.  We are using them up at an ever increasing rate, and the inevitable result is that the barrel is near empty. We have successfully used up a million years or so of solar production of petroleum in less than 200 years. Big Oil is spending a lot of advertising dollars to convince us that they have the next big find “real soon” or that fracking shale fields gives us unlimited oil. There probably are no more big fields, and fracking, as well as being destructive to our environment, has only limited short term yields. So the descent is from a culture of cheap abundant oil fueling our affluent live style.

As I was using my diesel powered tractor to dig our remaining big round bales out of the snow drifts ( Winter of 13/14, remember ) , I began thinking about how I would be doing this without diesel. Then I thought, without diesel the bales would not have been lined up neatly in the yard, they’d still be in the field. But without diesel, there would be no big round bales. No oil changes every thing!

Then I thought of home made Biodiesel. On the Internet, there are pages of how to.

Start with a 20 litre pail of vegetable oil . Full stop. Where the heck am I going to get bulk veggie oil, cash crop production of oil crops stopped when petroleum oil ran out. And I need 500 liters of Biodiesel, each year, even on our small family farm.

Then it said buy a 55 gallon drum of Methanol ! What! Highly Flammible, No sparks, static electricity, open flame, special anti static barrel pump.  And then some sodium hydroxide (Lye), highly corrosive! And an accurate scale. and follow these directions exactly! If you don’t get the proportions just right, then no Biodiesel from this batch!

So whats left. Manpower? Horsepower?

The track for handling loose hay is still in our barn, and i think there’s a fork around somewhere. Hope it didn’t get sold as scrap. And being of a certain vintage I know how that system works.  Wouldn’t need to dig bales out of the snow.

And how do we get our finished steers to the Beefway for processing?. Will there even be a Beefway? Will the power grid survive? Even nuclear stations need a constant supply of uranium fuel, mined in Saskatchewan, processed in Port Hope and transported in diesel powered trucks or rail cars. Better be trucks for delivery to the Bruce ( tracks torn up ).

No oil changes Everything! Solar powered freezers. Ice houses. Meat only in the winter.

And now the United Nations released, on March 31s, the 5th Report of the UN body called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, which, although a huge document in two volumes, (around 800 pages) uses a more vigilant analysis and directive tone to policy makers in all governments, which recognizes the inevitability of Climate Change. The pending climate change will affect agriculture and food production enormously.

Our  NFU National Convention passed a resolution requiring us to learn more about the issue and start getting the message out to all, of the necessary and unpreventable transition to come, and how farming must migrate to a sustainable, permaculture, agro-ecological, no oil powered, model. Many of us are already trying to do just that!

I have several resources which i follow regularly, and from which I gain much insight, tips and techniques, Eureka Moments, and other such things which can be gained from such followings

the Druids Garden, a blog by a Druid in Southeast Michigan being one.  http://druidgarden.wordpress.com/

The second , which tends to be a higher level, world view approach is the Archdruids report, by John Micheal Greer, at:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/

Third is our local Irv Mills, A Facebook friend, business contact (C and I Graphics), and personal friend, and sustainability blogger

http://theeasiestpersontofool.blogspot.ca/

As I was thinking about the future of an oil free agriculture, It hit me- The Amish, our neighbors-they are already doing it. They are the model. And there are already some none Amish farmers using horses. It won’t be easy. There will be more manual labour. There will be many more small farms. Family farms. This might be good ,after all.

I think I’m done for now. I have to get our exhibit ready for the Kincardine Health and Wellness Fair,, this Saturday, at the Legion, might see you there.

Till next time , when it might be spring,                                                                                        In peace, Doug

 

 

 

 

 

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On the descent to sustainable living. The return of the family farm.

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