Monday, August 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Gulch: Progress and Ideas

Alright, so I'll grant you an update on my Galt's Gulch Project. Rather than consuming my time fruitlessly with the writing, it might be a benefit in that could spur some people to provide their own suggestions or maybe even get involved, so I'll talk in hopes of reaching the right people.

To date it's been so far so good, but I'm still making only intellectual advancements rather than material progress. My reading, research, and interviewing has considerably molded my plans and have let me figure out what the next steps I need to take are. I've just recently finished a spree of snooping around my local farmers markets to network and get contact information, and while I consider the snooping officially finished I'll still make visits as I judge beneficial. Ongoing throughout all of this is my reading, and I've just recently finished browsing The Backyard Homestead, a probable purchase, and intend to move next to Mini-farming and Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game, and The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals whenever I can get it.

(Go ahead and keep track of my Amazon Wish Lists if you want to see what areas I'm checking out for my project. Truthfully, virtually every single thing is relevant to my project, whether it be making jerky or learning knife skills. Even the entertainment/fulfillment section is concerned with maintaining spiritual satisfaction during economic crisis. I haven't read all these books and do not necessarily plan on purchasing them; I'm just using Amazon to help me keep track of them.)

Right now I'm not really hunkering down to do any serious study, but I do have a research and career next-action:

On the former, I need to sort out my produce wish list more rationally and intelligibly. Since I don't know where I'm ultimately settling, though I know not a tropical place, I'm simply documenting every single thing I'd like to cultivate, from passion fruit to spinach, with really no sensible organization. On top of documenting everything I like, I need to conduct research and reorganize my lists so I can make sense of what conditions a crop needs, note the season to plant it and when to harvest, and so on. That way once I do start putting things to practice I'll know how to time and prepare things, and whether I can cultivate something in a particular zone.

On the latter, I'm going to begin striving a job in slaughtering and butchering. Out of all the plans I have, I think butchery and carpentry may be the most complex and in dire need of experience before I jump into a farm. I might get by alright starting my first garden with nothing but book learning, but I figure that's a big no-no when it comes time to kill the cow. I've networked and got some contact information, and now's the time to inquire and submit applications. I want to get into a place that does the widest range of animals possible -- from rabbits to pigs to cows, and maybe horses! -- and has as much hands-on involvement as possible, though I know I'll have to compromise somewhere. Likely what I could do is concentrate on size in slaughtery and seek diverse butchery experience elsewhere. As for carpentry, right now I intend to skim some books and maybe even take a class, though I hope I'll be able to bring a carpenter aboard to take care of those matters.

As things go on I'll of course find new actions and research to take to, but this for now seems to be the most important.

In other considerations I've also been getting some really good ideas which I think would enhance my project significantly.

For one, I've decided to pursue bringing other people into my farm. Originally I thought about doing it alone -- and it is possible to do it alone -- but I've concluded that's simply too strenuous given my ambitious plans. I could scale things down significantly to my barest survival needs, but this project is about protecting my happiness in economic crisis, not maintaining mere survival, so I'd like to bring in other people to make my ambitions more practical. It'd help immensely with things like large animal slaughter, livestock husbandry, dairy maintenance, and so on. I'd like to do a separate article on what people I'd like to recruit, how I'll approach them beforehand, how I'll keep them satisfied, and so on, but for now I'll say I want to seek out people in love with their trade and present my farm as a means for them to practice their skills and continue chasing their dreams when the economy otherwise won't allow them. A good example would be a hairstylist, a client dependent person. In a hyperinflation scenario their chairs will be empty and their scissors idle, but on my farm they'd have my hair and others to employ their vision on, for which in return I would feed and shelter them. Another example could be a seamstress. At a time when fabric stores have nothing on their shelves they could cultivate fiber animals and cotton on my farm and create clothes out of them, a benefit to my staff and a good barter item.

The other idea I had is that once I actually establish a physical farm and begin the processes I could reach out to other farmers and form a barter network to secure goods my farm doesn't produce. In good times we'll merely maintain regular communication, but once things go under we'll have each other contact information and agreement, and can begin trading good for good. For example, I don't have any sort of fish in my plans, so if it ends up that I don't incorporate fish at all I could seek out a fish rancher, connect with him, and establish it so that I could trade some of my goods for his fish. Five pounds of salmon for my bacon, eggs, and lavender? Deal. Aside from it's survivalistic practicality, this would go even further in protecting my and my staff's happiness in collapse because this means we'd wouldn't have to give up as many values as the economy would otherwise force us to.

Of these two ideas I think I can at least start employing partway the first one, though my project being in the research phase means I'll just be collecting names in a hat for now.

All in all, things are going good. Seeds of thought are always being planted, and hopefully I'll be harvesting a farm at the end of it all. 

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