In the next few days, we take the final step to owning our new home. Money is in escrow, seller has signed, inspections done, etc. etc. All that’s left is our signing and then the wait for escrow to shuffle all the bits about.
We’re getting a nice big home with plenty of space, in a place that has had little to no hurricane issues over the years. I have 1/3 acre of dirt to work with for gardening, and I’m presently working up the Landscaping Plan.
There’s a fully enclosed “Florida room” that is not counted in the square footage as it has no A/C in it (but has sliding glass doors and 2 windows to the home interior so can be fully cooled just by opening them). This is big enough to put the “roll in” BBQ indoors when weather is bad, and still have a Picknic Table set up and STILL have room for about 16 foot x 2 foot x 7 foot of “Hydroponic Grow Racks”.
We have a septic system, so no worries about failure of the sewer system. I’m likely going to put a small above ground “pool” in place mostly as a couple of thousand gallons of stored water “for that day”. There’s enough regular rain here that I can, if needed, collect all we would need – but would need some place to put it for the dry days.
It has 2 BIG Oak trees already in place. I have no intention of cutting them at all, but, should a SHTF moment come, we have a fire place and they are about 4 years (or more!) heating IFF necessary (so a big saw will be put into storage).
That leaves electricity. I figure I’ll just get whatever the BIGGEST allowed propane tank might be, and a propane Standby Generator, and put them by the side of the house. (Did I mention NO HOA?…) Propane in a big iron tank is a forever fuel. Fill once and wait. As I ran our prior “emergency use” electricity on about 1 quart / 8 hours, I’m figuring about 1/2 gallon for 4 hours, worst case. Call it 3 Gallons / day. So a 500 gallon tank ought to be good for most of a year ( likely a couple of years with judicious cutting back After The Fall…) I figure by then most of the AwShit will have come and gone. Even using the AC.
Until that is done, I’ve got my trusty 1 kW Honda generator and about 40 gallons of gas in car gas tanks. Call it “emergency light and fridge” (no a/c…) for about 1.5 months.
I also need to lay in a few sections of LARGE PVC Pipe, on the off chance I need to dig and line a well. Yes, at present water rights are signed over to the water company, but, should they fail, I have dug wells by hand before and know what to have in stock. This location gets about 60 inches of rain / year and the driest month still gets 2 inches average, so I’m not too worried ;-) Not like California at all ;-)
Is 1/3 acre (more like 1/4 usable what with house and all) enough to feed 2 people? If done right, and intensively, barely. But there are lots of lakes nearby with oodles of fish. I also figure on buying 5 acres or so “a tank of gas away”, for “bug out from hurricane” use, and for added “production land” if it came to that. (So going for both Castle Defense in the house and “Bug Out Plot” with an RV if needed.)
Oh, and Florida has a Homestead Law. You file Homestead and nobody can take your land for non-payment. Not mortgage (of which we will have none anyway) nor taxes. So there’s that.
I’m fairly sure that this is a defensible place, with good neighbors, and that with a lot of effort, I can have it work for at least 1 year, and probably 2, even if all the world around me goes to shit and “services” end. Hoping that doesn’t happen at all… “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith” so I have a strategic plan.
Over the next 6 months, I’ll be planting a load of Native & Perennial plants around the perimeter. I’m going for “Edible Landscaping”. So things that are quite edible, but most folks will not have a clue about it. One plant that looks like Elephant Ear but has edible roots. Another that looks like flowers on the fence but has edible greens and roots. The Oak Trees make acorns and I’ve known how to leach out the tannins since about 4th grade. Etc. etc. Essentially, every part of the place will eventually have SOME edible but unfamiliar plant on it.
Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy (one of my favorite books, BTW).
Of course the Fru Fru left can accept “old” terms and things that are clear like “Edible Landscaping” so they have redefined or renamed it. Oh, and of course, try to make their capricious change sound reasonable by calling it “modern”:
Foodscaping is a modern term for the practice of integrating edible plants into ornamental landscapes. It is also referred to as edible landscaping and has been described as a crossbreed between landscaping and farming. As an ideology, foodscaping aims to show that edible plants are not only consumable but can also be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities. Foodscaping spaces are seen as multi-functional landscapes which are visually attractive and also provide edible returns.
Differing from conventional vegetable gardening, where fruits and vegetables are typically grown in separate, enclosed areas, foodscaping incorporates edible plants as a major element of a pre-existing landscaping space. This may involve adding edible plantations to an existing ornamental garden or entirely replacing the traditional, non-edible plants with food-yielding species. The designs can incorporate various kinds of vegetables, fruit trees, berry bushes, edible flowers, and herbs, along with purely ornamental species. The design strategy of foodscaping has many benefits, including increasing food security, improving the growth of nutritious food and promoting sustainable living. Edible landscaping practices may be implemented on both public and private premises. Foodscaping can be practiced by individuals, community groups, businesses, or educational institutions.
The practice of foodscaping is believed to have gained popularity in the 21st century for several reasons. Some accounts claim that the rise of foodscaping is due to the volatility of global food prices and the financial crisis of 2007–2008. However, other accounts suggest that the spike in foodscaping popularity is linked to urbanization and increasing concerns for environmental sustainability.
Or, just maybe:
1) I’m paying for the damn water and fertilizer anyway might as well get something other than lawn clippings out of it. And…
2) It would be really really nice to have a large part of my standing Food Supply be functionally invisible in an EOTWAWKI event since most folks have no clue what plants (or plant parts…) are edible and which are poison. And yes, some of the Front Yard plantings will have a mix of edible parts and poisonous parts – just to discourage a certain type of poacher who sees me harvest something… (Rhubarb, for example, and roots that require oxalate removal and have toxic levels of oxalate in the leaves…)
Basically, a standing row of Sweet Corn is hanging out a “Steal Me” sign when ripe, but how many folks know how to process cassava? Or can spot it in the yard?
So yeah, I’ll have a plot of “regular garden” in the back, but all around the rest of the area will be “landscaping” that visually looks like “No Food Here!”… but isn’t.
If “the regular garden” gets hit, then I’ll just replant it with more stealthy and or more difficult to harvest (roots…) items.
And then I’m pretty much set to just finish “Going Galt”. I’m going to be a net drain on the system (SS payments and all) and a minimal contributor (property tax but can even halt that if it is EOTWAWKI). Plan to have about 1200 miles of “cars and fuel in tanks” while driving maybe 20 miles / week normally, so “set” with longer term transportation available if it all goes sideways. (basically 1000 miles in just the 2 Diesels)
Yes, I’m “excited” about finally reaching that state. We’ve been in a “worst possible” prep situation for about 1/3 year now. Rental “cottage” (small RV in RV park), all my “stuff” in storage in California and not here. Zero dirt / water / etc. that’s “mine”. But in just a few days all that changes.
We move in next week. Then comes The Big Schlep getting all our “stuff” here. We’re buying a fair amount of stuff new. Didn’t bring any beds, sofas, most desks, etc. So some of the bigger furniture will be delivered and set up new. One of my first tasks after escrow close it to hit Costco & Walmart and load up on about a 6 months Food Supply For 2. (Not that hard or that much really, as 2 old folks don’t really eat all that much. Really it’s about 1/2 Dry Pound / person-day for us; the 1 Lb/person-day metric is for folks physically working hard in a survival shelter build context. So figure 1 dry pound / day for the both of us. Or about 180 pounds for 6 months.
That’s basically about 4 “packing boxes” as several I packed up were about 50 pounds each… but still in California. But think of it as one stack about 1 x 2 x 4 feet. That’s way more than enough to keep folks going until the “garden” is carrying the load and the “stuff” is moved even if EOTWAWKI happens end of the month.
This is such a huge upgrade from “before” that it’s hard to grasp. THE big issue in California was just that if “municipal water” failed, I had zero garden and zero food beyond what was in storage and the only drinking water was about 100 gallons in plastic barrels. To last ALL of our 6 to 7 months zero rain period. I figured about 1 month, IF I was lucky, 2 months. Now? I’ve got a shot at years… in comfort even.
And I get to “Go Galt” and not contribute anything to the Oppressor GEBs “economy” while leaching off of it (via my paid in “contributions”… now retirement payments).
Yes, I’m “chomping at the bit” for Escrow to Close and let me get the last bits done before the USA becomes Sri Lanka or The Netherlands. I need about 2 or 3 more months of “almost normal” to complete. I could likely do it in 1 if it looked like SHTF was “ripe” and dumping Crazy Money at things like haul trucks was warranted. We’ll see.
And yes, I’ll be watching the s”News” closely for the next couple of months…