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Monday, January 5, 2015

suburban wheat


SUBURBAN WHEAT

My Amazon book wish list is always over a hundred titles.  In times of budgetary constraints, self-imposed or due to outside draconian evil forces, the list might go over 150 and start flirting with 200.  No book ever goes on there without being vetted, so I don’t have to second guess myself when it comes time to purchase.  Then, I wait.  And I wait.  And whilst waiting some more most of the time the used prices start inching down.  At first the original owners are too proud parents and think their children only deserve to be placed with a foster parent residing in Beverly Hills, but after a year or three they become irritated at their house guest and are willing to take a pay cut to a more reasonable redneck trailer level.  And then I underpay them happily.  I got all the time in the world.  Yes, sometimes I get too happy to see a book and pay first timers price.  But I try to discipline myself.  So, when a book comes along I hate, I’m out the minimum ( I try to max out at about $8 after shipping, but of course it is a sliding scale ) and sometimes I’m just pleasantly surprised I got a good read at a decent price. 

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The latter was such the case with “Surviving The Apocalypse In The Suburbs” by Wendy Brown.  Being a Beginner Prepper book, in a way ( but also better than most of those ), if I had paid $15 for it I would have been disappointed.  But since I only spent $6 I could read and enjoy it and not feel disappointed when I got about 25% usefulness out of it ( about 25% was obviously filler to get the page count to conventional publisher marketing standards, the rest was beginner stuff ).  Which isn’t damning it with praise.  It takes a lot to impress me in prepper books anymore, so a book being a quarter useful at a good price puts it at the top tier of non-fiction books ( not “all time favorites“, but “useful to most of you” ).  Of course, full disclosure, she mentions an idea of mine by name so I’m probably really prejudice ).  In the book, she mentions more than once her distain towards the wheat hoarding crowd.  She lives on a quarter acre in suburbia and grows local foods.  Her idea of a prepper pantry is storing local foods she grows, and wheat doesn’t grow in Maine ( nor will it grow in most suburbs because you need a lot more land for it-her calorie crop is potatoes and she grows those in towers ).  If she can, I assume ‘mostly‘, feed her family in cold climes with rocky soil, she has little patience for foreign foods cluttering up the pantries of other survivalists.  With almost any other survival writer, I would scoff and sputter and make excuses.  But with her, because she is so logical and well presented and has done as she talks, I had to sit back and take a hard look at her arguments.  Thank you, Wendy.  I’m not forced to do that often enough. 

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Most other folks, I’d write off as soon to be dead peasants, but here you get the satisfying answer that ever aware of the dangers, her plans choose self-sufficiency at the cost of some security.  Most of us have the ideal of total security ( as in, against the armed savages of everywhere surrounding us ) at the expense of some renewables.  Her point about wheat storage in a land wheat doesn’t grow, plus all those tanks of gasoline for gennies and other silliness.  Not to mention pallets of semi-auto ammunition ( or any other kind, ultimately ).  Now, only time will tell which one of us is correct.  It all depends on the levels of violence and anarchy.  She buys into a low level, and preps as such.  She sides with the Arch Druids of the movement, but she goes a commendable step further and does it at a level the rest of us are already at.  Suburbia.  It isn’t fantasy country homesteading, nor fantasy wilderness retreat, but village farmer which is where many of us reside now already even if all we grow right now is lawn.  Of course, my advice is still golden for the dirt poor rednecks out there who can’t afford suburbia, just an apartment in a small city or a patch of desert.  But if you are in suburbia, and you know deep down the wife will never authorize movement to a Unibomber Shack, I would recommend this book.

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10 comments:

  1. The one big fail here is banking on riding out hard times with relative societal stability?

    If she's wrong, she best be writing under a pseudonym.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Potatoes are great as a survival food- except for the long term storage issue. Personally I plan to grow potatoes on my land too, but since wheat is a local product in the PODA I will be growing heirloom wheat and other grains. In the mean time Wheat is cheap and easy to store for DECADES with little to no degradation, so having a couple years worth on hand just makes sense.
    Sure you wont have enough of it, or coffee, or spices, etc., for the rest of your children's life in a PODA situation, but it can get you past the initial crash; and time to perfect longer term alternatives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, her philosophy is farm now rather than store now. Not perfect, but then neither is storage only.

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    2. Consider turnips Grey. They are also easy to grow, and store even better than turnips. Cooked turnips taste very much like potatoes. The turnip greens are also quite nutritional; an added benefit. Time was when farmers grew large crops of turnips to feed their livestock through the winter. I believe that it is also a crop that winters over well? That is, it can be left in the ground and covered with an insulating layer of straw until ready for use.

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    3. Meant to say, store even better than potatoes; sorry.

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  3. I normally love most of your recommendations vis-a-vis books, but I must take exception with this one. Just because 'Wendy" is unable to grow wheat in Maine does not mean it is not a cold climate crop. She just does not know what the fuck she is doing (and should refrain from printing a book based on her naive conclusions).

    Wanna talk wheat?? North Dakota leads the entire world in Durum wheat production (yields per acre/ total harvest). Go to Google (this instant!) and look-up the current weather forecast for North Dakota. That's right, Johnny. Twenty below zero. The worst weather on earth, including Siberia and Antarctica. Speaking of Siberia, Russia is a world leader in wheat production.

    The conclusion: Don't write a book for the larger public based on your local micro-climate, failed personal efforts, and naive assumptions. And just as an aside, Sweetie-Pie, the successful cultivation of potatoes has everything to do with soil density/nutrients and almost nothing to do with climate. Just ask anybody from Wisconsin (eighteen below zero is the forecast for tonight). And if you didn't know that Wisconsin grows more potatoes than Idaho, then you should educate yourself before you 'publish' your 'findings', and please shut-the-fuck-up in the mean time.

    Glad to get this off my chest. Please carry on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, I get what you are saying, yet it could be my review at fault rather than her book, yes? If I didn't convey all the info correctly. Perhaps she mentioned another reason on the wheat growing I failed to remember. Humidity? Next to coast? She mentions another grain similar to wheat that grows there, but again is the space issue. Also, on potatoes, isn't elevation a consideration for long term viability ( ie, disease resistance )? Not possitive, just seems a factor I ran across.

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    2. "She mentions another grain similar to wheat that grows there, but again is the space issue."

      Might it be Spelt James?

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    3. That might be it, but I'd have to check.

      Delete

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