Category Archives: secure retreat

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everything we can pack is packed.  We’re keeping both cars in the garage until after midnight (zero-dark early hours Clark calls it – must be a military thing).

We’re signing off here.  This going to be the last post here for a long time, probably ever.  I don’t see us getting a landline phone to the cabin anytime soon, let alone a cable-modem.  I’m not sure that many folks will miss us.  There are bigger things to worry about than just another refugee family.

Refugee — there’s a word that just has a dark hole at it’s center.  We’re leaving home, leaving a place we’ve come to love, a house that we worked hard to buy and where our daughter took her first steps.  And we’re not handing it over to some other family to build their dreams in.  We’re locking it up, leaving most of our stuff, and running.  

The locks won’t last long.  Somebody will break in and clean out anything they think is valuable.  Our furniture, our library, hell the flooring, will probably get turned into kindling this winter.  God I wish we could bring more books…books are civilization (along with hot water).

Nope, eventually the skeleton of this place will become a home for someone new…someone more desperate than us.  I still have the paperwork to claim this place, but it won’t be ours anymore.

And for all that, I sill feel guilty for all we do have.  When I was out haggling for gas this afternoon I saw one of the other Davis-area Dads.  I can’t remember his name, I suck at names, but he’s Connor’s Dad.  Beats me what he was looking for or buying or scrounging.  I was tempted for a second to invite him and his boy along with us to the woods.  April could have a playmate that way.

But we already have five people going to a cabin built for maybe three.  We don’t know if we have enough food for ourselves for winter.  We can’t play at charity.  You don’t reach out for a drowning man unless you are damn sure of your footing on solid ground.  Otherwise you both drown.

I tried getting touch with the rest of my family down in CT.  ‘All lines are currently busy.’  A medic-type down at the Convention Center said she’s with the Red Cross and will get word about Gil down to Liz.  I can’t imagine her going far from her little beach-community, her people, and her grandchildren.  They’ll find her, and she’ll get by.

The saying is that there is a Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”  I don’t want interesting anymore.  Let me just look out for my own.  Chop wood, carry water.  Let my fences make good neighbors and may my fences be far off.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Only a man would describe our past weekend in the blase terms that Paul used.

There’s some quote of Orson Scott Card’s that I can’t recall right now about how women make civilization that I would love to insert right here but I can’t find it.

The North Country House is, in the roughest possible terms, done. Rain and wind only comes in if we let it, there’s running water all the time, hot water if the sun’s been out. There’s some small amount of electricity — the turbine is up and running and we can keep lights on OR a refrigerator running. Not both at the same time. But that’s it.

We slept on sleeping bags on the floor. I have plans drawn up for a bed with heavy wool curtains to pull around it to help keep it warm int the winter, but we ran out of money before the cabinetmaker got any work done. We cooked on an open fire pit in front of the cabin with the cast iron skillet I brought up. (We brought up a small camp stove but there’s no propane to be had in the North Country. A couple of folks have cornered the market and aren’t selling.) We peed and pooped in the composting outhouse we installed back when we were still living out of the Vardo.

All of that is fine and even fun in July. But winter is coming.

April and I spent most of our time setting up house — or rather, I did. April ran around and laughed at all the space. I swept out all the debris left over from the workmen, cobbled together a couple of basic shelves from the leftover wood, set up the root cellar, made lists of things we need and will never be able to get our hands on.

Paul split wood. Pretty much that’s all he did the whole time we were there. We’ve got the start of a nice woodpile, but even with the second-hand log splitter we borrowed off one of the workmen for the summer, it’s not nearly enough.

“Enough for what?” Paul kept asking me. “We don’t do a lot of winter camping. Shouldn’t that be enough?”

I don’t know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We just got back from an extended weekend up in the mountains. It wasn’t that much of a planned affair; we just decided to go when we got our gas ration card for our portion of the Venezuelan bounty sitting in Boston Harbor.

I had forgotten how nice it can be to just get away from people. Up in the far north there isn’t any of the politics that weigh down every conversation and even the air here in the city. That’s not to say that the people up there don’t care, it’s just that it doesn’t really affect them as much. It doesn’t matter what flag is flying on the flagpole…the cows still need to be milked. People in Boston just seem all the more manic after the slower pace in the country.

Anyway, we hauled bunch of our camping stuff up to the cabin along with some preserves, dry goods, and a chunk of Neve’s seed collection. We figure the root cellar up there is a safer and steadier-climate storage space than the chickenwire storage cage in the garage here. Hopefully we’ll be able to make visits up there more often, and not need to draw down on our food stocks here when we do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I know my blogroll isn’t very long. I guess it’s just not something that I think to maintain or add to much. However, one of my entries over there on the sidebar has come up with dead air. Shotguns and Sweetpotatoes is no longer available. Yes, some pages you can grab from the Google cache, but Mr. SnS is off the air.

I wonder why. Did he decide that it was too much work? Did he decide that the time was ripe to bug-out for his little slice of security in the Michigan UP? I hope the shutdown was his decision.

I’m also a little annoyed. I’d been thinking about what to pack in our place up in the Great North Woods when I found the SnS blog. Immediately it was a load off my shoulders. I didn’t need to compile so much information because this guy was doing it for me. I could just hop over there whenever I needed to to pick out books on wilderness survival or building defensible homes or sustainable agriculture in the north country of the US. While my liberal soul felt uncomfortable with his emphasis on firearms, at least I knew where to get information on what guns to put in a home defense battery when I chose to build one.

Now all that information and compilation is gone…up in a puff of digital smoke. Well, I’ve got to start compiling this stuff for myself now. Instead of building a new page here on NIJOT, I’m going to use Goodreads, a tool built to share booklists.

If you want to see my budding library for our cabin in the woods, go to my Goodreads profile. I’ll try and keep it up-to-date and get it better organized. If you’re already in Goodreads, you can add me as a ‘friend’ and get updates whenever the list changes. Let me know if this is useful for any of you all.

The cure for bad information is more information.