[Homestead] The Piggy Bank is empty, Wall Street reacts

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sun Sep 26 19:38:03 EDT 2004

Gene GeRue wrote:

>> tvoivozhd---you don't come to eminent domain, it comes to you---in 
>> rural as well as city areas---clearly visible in property-taking 
>> electrical power lines walking across my neighbors' property, and in 
>> the current fight against gas transmission pipes intended to benefit 
>> Atlantic coastal areas, not Appalachian residents.
> This is akin to stating the obvious: there are no certainties except 
> death and taxes. Wise people weigh risks, make informed choices, move 
> ahead. Fear steals movement.
>>> Let me explain the change (the rapidly-accellerating change) from 
>>> the African Veldt to today.  In small-tribe societies, "investment" 
>>> in land was more time-stable.  Each tribe of about twenty 
>>> individuals had to defend territory borders against land-hungry 
>>> invaders or die.  A simple task without complications'.
> Whew! I will take today's conditions, thank you.

tvoivozhd---think the recent Bosnia, Somalia and Sudan events---same as 
African Veldt but on a larger scale (we now have Supertribes with 
numbers vastly beyond twenty members competing for land)

>> Investments, including land-investment are no longer time-stable.
>> Hidden undercurrents of risk lurk under the surface in an 
>> overpopulated world.  You do the best you can to improve the odds and 
>> that's all you can do---plus maintain no illusions---hope your losses 
>> occur while you are young and mentally resilient enough to regain 
>> your footing.
> So from your 83-year-old perspective, what would you do if you were 
> starting over?

tvoivozhd---in the present state of my "wisdom", based both on triumphs 
and defeats, I would do exactly as I am advising my children (excluding 
owning a 56-foot twin-keel junk-rigged, twin-diesel , 
corrosion-resistant steel sailboat, and having dual real-estate bases in 
Belize and the U.S.---Belize is inherently safer than the U.S, with 
fewer of the amenities---with the second-longest reef in the world not 
far offshoreit has unsurpassable fishing with few of the nasties 
infesting the Australian reef.), my children are looking at  land where 
climate-change is less long-term threatening, looking at essential water 
resources (big springs, creeks and pond-sites).  Nice if that included 
substantial hydropower, but that may restrict land-selection too much, 
though hydropower is most convenient to use, if enough head and  volume 
is available.  You've GOT to have a lot of easily-provided, sustainable 
homesite energy in some medium available. Lacking hydropower I think 
that means a good-sized woodlot.  No one should have a problem growing 
trees as a set-and-forget solar collector.  Wood-gas is low-tech easy to 
generate and use, easier than biodiesel in U.S. locales.  The most 
prolific of all biodiesel raw materials is oil-palm seeds which would 
grow prolifically in Belize. You could grow Jatropha in Corpus Christie 
latitude and climate, but their damned oil seeds do not mature 
simultaneously,making  their collection and pressing slow and 
labor-intensive---so back to the ubiquitous woodlot, millions of 
junkyard engines and vehicles running on woodgas---some of the engines 
generating large amounts of electricity per the Clarence Goosen articles 
in the 1980's apex of Mother Earth News.   It is a poor idea to rely 
exclusively on musclepower in your declining years, or in any other 
years, for that matter. Use windpower where appropriate and economical.  
I like the revised and cheaply, easily erected and easily taken down 
Robert Green parachute-wing designs and kits for usable power starting 
at 3 mph. ---stack parachute wing-elements for more torque.

You have to think out a good compromise between  safety and risk in home 
real-estate location.  I refer to mob-scene here if an abrupt energy 
collapse takes place.  In a slower energy collapse characterized by 
soaring oil prices, mass-invasion by city-dwellers is less likely, and 
the chief physical and theft risk would come from small groups allied in 
armed robbery,  Best defense against that is long. narrow, steep roads 
and organized, well-armed and murderous neighbors who hate uninvited 
intruders.  Add to that some electronic surveillance equipment, 
nasty-tempered dogs and the risk is manageable.  Distance from cities is 
important---thirty to fifty miles should be good insulation from 
city-risk and the farther out you go, land becomes cheaper.  Use 
electronic commuting to work while you can where face-to-face-work is 
not essential. For me it would be a rural manufacturing 
enterprise---hard goods that do not require care and feeding of course.

I am also inclined to ride the Technical Horse as long as possible---get 
off when it isn't..  Primarily because the well-educated have a huge 
income and purchasing advantage in this uncertain, unpredictable 
economy---enabling those so-advantaged to  do whar they want to do in a 
much shorter time-frame (fiat currency permitting)

Structures in a wooded surrounding, perhaps some pastures and hayfields 
will be designed and built to meet obvious hazards---fireproof materials 
inside and out being of first importance, plus a firelane barrier which 
is routinely maintained.  Forget any firefighting ability but your own, 
and forget building insurance and fighting insurance companies to honor 
their contracts too.  Bank the insurance premiums as a rebuilding 
reserve if fiat money retains any purchasing value.. Shouldn't have to 
mention the necessity of solar heat and naturasummertime cooling, 
incorporating deciduous tree-shading and three  or four-foot 
well-anchored roof-overhangs, plus good insect, rodent-proof 
insulation..  Also pick a geologically-stable building site. If you're 
going active solar as Gene likes, use floor-radiant heating in a floor 
where the (liquid) tubes are easily repaired or replaced without a 
And certainly maximize the esthetics by incorporating Chrstopher 
Alexander "A Pattern For Living" principles---doesn't add cost, buts 
adds to liveability, reduces divorces.  Under no circumstances build a 
house higher than one story and make it wheelchair-accessible---you may 
need that capability tomorrow, and certainly will need it in advanced 
age unless you are so lucky as to end it all with a quick heart failure 
at age 100 before you lose personal mobility.. 

I know my family's genetic history, its genetic advantages and its 
genetic disadvantages that bounces back and forth between male and 
female genders as far back as I care to go.  The bad genetic factors 
need to be carefully watched and so far as is now possible,, guarded 
against.  Down the road a few years, I expect bad genetic factors will 
be hereditarily designed out of individual human genomes---we are not 
there yet.  Minimize known environmental toxicities.  Difficult, most of 
them you cannot see, feel or taste.  Dietary factors should be primarily 
garden-based and ---there are others, but a Greek diet is good, olive 
oil, olives, Feta cheese green salad, nuts, fruit, some pasta and 
unconcontaminated  fish,  octopus and the like.  Quite a bit of red winel

If you fall victim to unseen environmental threats as I have done with 
bone-marrow cancer you cope as best you can with treading-water 
medications, bail out if treading water becomes too onerous. So far I am 
too interested in seeing how my kids are doing, particularly my 
daughters, now the youngest has departed Virginia Beach, and the oldest 
mulling over the next step in her career path.  Without the help of the 
oldest I would already have pulled the get-off-the-world switch.  She 
pushes me around the VA rabbit-warren I can no longer navigate, and is a 
master of the VA paperwork blizzard I can no longer comprehend or create 
anew every couple weeks. C'est la vie.

Barring the brain-robber Alzheimers that affects everyone to some degree 
as they age, KNOWLEDGE is the ONLY permanent asset you retain.  It is a 
good idea to supplement your knowledge with a large library, books are 
more permanent and easier to read than computer files. Computers are 
currently a fine means of accessing the knowledge of the world---print 
it out for the same reason you have books in your library---clearly 
visible, permanent, easiest of all to read.  I have always been a 
toolaholic  but tools have a tendency to walk away from time to time.  
Nevertheless, if someone is around to guard them at all times, learn how 
to use tools and acquire the most useful of them.  A farm workshop is 
the heart of any farm---making it it possible to repair and if necessary 
make farm equipment as well as repairing and making workshop tools 
themselves. Computers are currently a fine means of accessing the 
knowledge of the world---print it out for the same reason you have books 
in your library---clearly visible, permanent, easiest of all to read

Tools themselves are a variable---I would hate to see the demise of 
chainsaws and factories manufacturing them. but if I were younger and a 
lot healthier I could get along with a double-bitted axe and two-man 
crosscut saw---fabricate a circular firewood cut-off saw powered by any 
small junkyard four-banger engine fueled by woodgas.  Similarly in a BIG 
CRUNCH it would be difficult to impossible to to make in the home 
workshop a lot of things like wire-feed welders, plasma metal cutters, 
solid-state CNC machining-center controls.  Back to the future of 
simpler, yet still effective workshop tools of three generations earlier.

My kids are pretty busy---it would be desirable that they take 
vocational classes, the  same classes I took in my German-School days.  
Not likely to happen, so the next best thing is that they have 
tool-using books in their library and self-educate (careful---all tools 
have as much capacity to hurt you as to help you)  Lots of workshop book 
sources---one of my long-time favorites is Lindsay Publications with 
lots of Golden Oldies useful to past generations and Golden Newbies from 
the more recent Gingery Series, which a few years back, were exclusively 
sold by Lindsay Publications---now Gingery has his own website.

And now down to fail-safe, cheap, compact communications.  My kids have 
Ham Radio licenses and equipment.  If all else fails a tiny low-wattage 
Ham radio will reach out and touch  someone, starting with your family 
which may be scattered around the globe'


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