Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

November 21, 2011

I Earn an “F” in “Surviving Armageddon”

Filed under: gardening — Tags: , — paragardener @ 5:07 pm

I had big plans this summer for vegetable gardening. Besides the need to make one’s own food following the end of the world, the vegetables at Kroger are pretty much crap that rabbits couldn’t live on, so veggie gardening is of immediate practical importance.

Over the spring, I was paying bills down, so I put off starting the (vegetable) garden until I could afford the lumber, screws and little bit of outside soil I needed to build raised beds, plus some nice transplants to pop in the dirt. Then, my Iron Triangle collapsed, sending me reeling into the wasteland of the economically marginalized.

The Iron Triangle is: home, automobile, and job. Having no home or no auto makes it hard to have a job. Having no job makes it hard to keep your home and keep your auto running. Lose one piece of the Triangle, and it collapses: you are flatlined. In my case, it was the car that died. In fact, I put hundreds of dollars into fixing it, before scrapping it and shelling money out to get the back-up car running… (there went my last chance for tomatoes…) but the back-up car died after a mere $1,500 in various repairs.

I even made my dad stop by my house on his way home from work to drop off my old bicycle, which is truly a more practical form of transport than the energy-sucking, road-rage-inducing car. The bike had a tire about to pop, so it needed repairs before it was really safe to ride. Did the tire get changed out? No, instead money went into buying our friends gasoline and oil changes, so that we could borrow their cars all the time. Cars were still needed, for hauling 50-pound sacks of dog food, and going the miles to get out of Detroit to shop at the Kroger of Habit to buy sacks of barely-edible pale-assed Kroger vegetables. By the time my finances were recovered enough to buy the tire without wincing, I was thinking “hmm, snow coming down soon.”

The short-term, hand-to-mouth thinking extended to my drinking life. “Getting ingredients together for a 5-gallon batch of wine looks like a lot of money: I’d better just get one more twelve-pack o’ beer!”

Eventually, the cable bill lapsed, the blog could not be written, and entertainment consisted of DVDs and books Tam & I already owned. Working from home, I did not lose my job with my transportation, and money eventually got better. I hope to soon have a car again, so that life can go on in its usual suburban consumerist death spiral.

If we have a sudden, drastic economic collapse (hyperinflation, or California sliding into the ocean…), people won’t be ready in time. Before you see people’s lawns turned into gardens, you’ll see someone get knifed in the street for a gas can.

I had lots of time this Fall for cleaning and organizing. I uncovered: a big cube of peat moss, a rubber band of old seed packets, and plastic planters of every size and description. “Why, Dorothy,” said the good witch, “you could have had a vegetable garden any time you wanted it!” Hopefully, the next time collapse visits me, I won’t just stand there flat-footed and let it bowl me over.



  1. Wow, man, I was wondering what happened to your blog. I’ve been following it since around the time you wrote about “illegal gardening” because I like your stuff on gardening and anarchic sense of humor; I dig the musical taste expressed in your blues postings too. Your guitar skills seem pretty good from the Youtube thing I saw. I’ve been playing for years now and just started with three other folks in a band, though we don’t play nearly as much blues style stuff as I’d like. I’d describe most of our tunes as blues infused folk. I’m supposed to put up a Facebook page for us and if you’re interested, I’ll let you know when it’s up.

    Sorry to hear about your monetary troubles, but this is NOT a good economy. Thus, I don’t see how you could properly be graded as an “F”. If you are an “F” and the grading is per a curve, imagine how poorly the economic geniuses running our national monetary policy would rate?:) I just got a new job with good salary, company car and solid bennies but it seems I’m barely squeaking by. If I didn’t have a car from my job, I wouldn’t be above water, I don’t think. My bills get paid, but there’s hardly anything left over, so would I earn a “C” or “D’ on your incredibly difficult curve? Also, if your triangle theory has any merit, wouldn’t an “F” be someone who manages to actually lose all three points of the triangle and not just one as it seems you did (as I assume your housing and job remained intact)?

    Anyway, keep the faith and it’s a pleasure to be able to read your blog again.

    Comment by julian — November 25, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    • Well, the reason for the harsh “F” is that I didn’t even have to fight off hoards of zombies. The hard thing about squeaking by is that with all money going into bills and the car, how do you invest in things like the garden and fermentation vessels and a flock of chickens and better insulation, all of which would help you with surviving “off-the-grid” or during times of grid failure? The concern is to pull out of the global economy a bit, to have some independence so that I’m not stranded, waiting around for someone to feed me, like the poor cosmonaut who was left on the space station for months while the USSR fell apart. In a general collapse (not a merely household one), the money people earn at their jobs becomes worthless, moving around by car becomes an adventure, and those who keep their homes may find them impossible to heat, cool and maintain. I was merely being tested on the no-car front.
      Glad to hear from you again, please send me the Facebook link when you get it going.

      Comment by paragardener — November 26, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

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