Published on The Doomstead Diner February 16, 2017
Discuss this article at the Collapse Naratives Table inside the Diner
Karl woke up early, and set about his usual routine of collecting chicken eggs, milking the goats and watering his raised beds, then headed inside for a shower and to brew the morning coffee. The sound of the water running in the bathroom and the jostling around in the kitchen awakened Karen, and she followed Karl after he finished the morning cleanup, and took his humanure out to the compost pile, covering it with wood chips, straw and leaves to let it ferment. Although he had a flush toilet and a septic system installed, he hardly ever used it, not wanting to waste the precious nutrients and fertilizer contained in his own excrement. He had installed the septic and toilet early on in building the earthship, before he had learned all the techniques of Permaculture and how to compost your own waste to recycle it, but had hardly used it over the last decade.
Karen observed Karl taking out his morning poop and emulated him, shitting into the clean bucket that Karl had left next to the flush toilet after taking his own waste to the compost pile. The bucket had a nice Camping Toilet seat on it and was quite as comfortable to poop in as a normal toilet. Actually even more comfortable since the squatting position was closer to the normal position Homo Saps who do not use toilets take in defecating. Kenny heard Karl and Karen trudging over to the composting area, and took his own bucket of shit from the van, and then walked down to the stream to give the bucket a rinse out before putting it back in the van, in it's storage compartment beneath the bed with his 1 gallon piss jug. Rather than taking a shower as Karl and Karen had, Kenny took a Sponge Bath utilizing water from one of the two 5 gallon water containers he always kept topped off in the van. One container held non-potable "grey water" which he usually got from the streams in the area and was used for washing purposes, and the other contained his drinking water, which he generally got from the Missoula City water system, filling Up a gallon jug every so often when using a public bathroom in a convenience store, of at the Fitness Center where he worked out in the mornings. He also had a water filtration and purifying system, including a small distiller he could use to distill otherwise impotable water if he had to. That generally had not been necessary so far for him though, through the last winter he simply melted snow for drinking water. The streams in the area also were generally quite clean and free of pollutants or bacteria, and just boiling some water from them was good enough to make it potable.
Kenny wandered up the hill to the house after getting dressed, and found Karl and Karen busy getting breakfast ready in the Kitchen. He poured himself a cup of black coffee, nicely brewed from the fresh coffee beans he had brought with him from the gourmet roaster in Missoula. It was WAY better than Maxwell House! Kenny was not looking forward to the day when good coffee was no longer available! How would he manage to get going in the morning? This aspect of the future was not something he liked to contemplate, it might be better just to be BBQed up by Zombies!
"I've got to head back to my place after breakfast, I have the Sunday afternoon shift at Quinn's." Karen said.
"Why don't you cut back on your hours at Quinn's and spend more time out here? Karl asked. He was really enjoying having Karen's company. "Huckleberry really seems to like the place and all the extra space to roam around, plus she seems to have made friends with Mr. Ed and Quick Draw." he added as an enticement.
Karen frowned, thinking. "I don't know dad. I'm not sure I am ready to be a full time doomer yet. Plus, most of my friends are at Quinn's, and if we are going to get a community together I need to spend time with them."
Karl nodded his head, slightly disappointed. "Yea, that's true. Having the condo in Lolo is also good to maintain so probably just a couple of visits a week on days off is the best plan until we have a SHTF scenario."
"I'll make sure to get days off on the weekends so I can be here when Kenny comes." Karen said, smiling at Kenny.
Kenny smiled back, looking forward to getting to know Karen better and working with her. Her engineering knowledge would come in very handy with many of the projects he was hoping to build. The only problem was Kirsten, he couldn't stop thinking about her either! The female companionship thing was getting complicated, and Kenny could almost see why Karl had chosen the life of a Solitary Man. Almost. His close companion behind the zipper of his Levi Strauss jeans argued otherwise.
After doing the dishes and getting her bag packed, Karen got Huckleberry into the back seat of the Ford Escort and headed back out to Civilzation in Lolo. Not that Lolo was much of a town of course, but it still ran on grid electricity and had a local grocery store, and the drive on State Highway 93 wasn't far to the Walmart Supercenter either. She was still adjusting to the idea that all the conveniences she had taken for granted growing up were going to disappear, although neither Kenny nor Karl could put a precise finger on the date, nor even could RE on the Diner. The more she read though, the more convinced she became that these folks were right, and things would probably start to deteriorate faster with the election of The Donald as POTUS. She had been a strong Bernie Sanders supporter during the primaries, and was devastated when the nomination was stolen from him by the criminal Clinton Gang. Besides all the economic and climate problems she was becoming aware of, Global Thermonuclear War seemed a strong possibility also with a clown like Trump in the White House.
Once the goodbyes were said, Kenny and Karl waved to Karen as she headed out the private road and back to civilization and they walked back toward the Earthship to get ready for a day of prepping.
"So, what kind of plans have you got for today Kenny? We can't really do much more work on getting the Cable System and Funicular Railroad set up until you pick up more hardware next week at Home Depot in Missoula."
"I have a couple of projects to do over on my property I brought some supplies for starting. I want to put together a picnic table that is more permanent for outdoor eating than the folding table we had breakfast on last week, for one thing."
"That shouldn't take long between the two of us if you have all the materials, maybe a couple of hours." Karl replied.
"Probably not." Kenny agreed. "Although staining it and coating it with linseed oil and polyurethane will need to be done over the next couple of weekends. I also have a bigger project to start on, I want to excavate and build a Walipini Greenhouse on the property as well."
"How big a Walipini were you planning on excavating?" Karl inquired.
"I was thinking about 20' by 60' " Kenny replied.
"That is a fucking BIG hole to dig Kenny!" Karl laughed.
"Yea, I figured to dig it out would take me most of the summer, doing a little each weekend."
"Fuck that idea." Karl replied. "I'll rent a Daiwoo Back Hoe and Front End Loader and we'll get the excavation done in a weekend, no problem.", Karl proposed.
Kenny laughed. "Yea that certainly would speed things up! I didn't really consider doing that because first off I didn't want to spend the money on the rental, and second I've never used one of those monster machines."
Karl waved his hand in the air. "The money is nothing. A weekend rental for a Back Hoe costs maybe $1000 the most, and I think I can get one maybe for free from a contractor in Lolo who built a lot of the cabins up here. I own several of them and had them built as rentals and for sale over the years. He'll probably let me use one for a Moose Roast or some Venison."
"Well as long as you drive it Karl, I'm certainly good with that!", Kenny laughed.
Karl threw a few of his own tools into Kenny's trailer, and they made the drive over to Kenny's property via the logging roads.
"It sure would be nice if we could take a more direct route from your property over to mine." Kenny observed. "We gotta drive over 20 miles here, but your place is really less than 5 miles away as the crow flies."
"Yea, it would be nice to have such a road, but tough in practice to do. There are 3 other privately owned properties between here and your place, and we would need permission from all of them to build a road, or even just cut a decent trail. I know the people who own these properties, at least I have talked with them a few times. They are well to do Dentists and Doctors mostly who would not be amenable to a road being build on "their property". Isolationists mostly who just like to have their own hunting land and a nice summer cabin to vacation with the family."
Kevin sighed and nodded in acceptance. "Yes, most of the people who actually still have enough money to make preps and buy land still buy into the old memes, and wish to 'go it alone', not working together with others to 'Build a Better Tomorrow', as RE often says in his Tag Lines. You and me are rare breeds I think, unfortunately, thinking about the fate of others as we plan for ourselves. Most people brought up in the acquisition culture of the Industrial Civilization cannot grasp this, and desperately hold onto their meme of Private Ownership of property."
"A direct road isn't really necessary right now though, the surrounding roads are not too bad, although the road up to your property is not being maintained these days. In the future, after TSHTF, we can maybe build a more direct route. It would be a big project in any event to even make it passable for my Polaris Ranger EV. We would need to build a couple of bridges and do quite a bit of earth moving too." Karl concluded.
Construction of the Picnic Table went pretty quickly, just a matter of bolting together the 2X4s for the most part for the table top and benches, just using the stock 8' length for both. About the only thing the least bit tricky was cutting the 45 degree angles for the X-pattern legs, which just took a quick line from a protractor to do.
After finishing the table, Karl and Kenny took a walk around the property looking for the best spot to excavate the Walipini. Kenny used the opportunity of the exploration to bring up Kirsten.
"Karl, I have a little problem. On Friday before I drove up this weekend I met someone who I know from High School. We are supposed to go camping next weekend together and I am not sure if I should bring her to my property or not. Karen is also supposed to be coming up next weekend and I want to see her too."
Karl let out a belly laugh. "Did you ever have to make up your mind?", he said, quoting the title of an old song from the Lovin' Spoonful written by John Sebastian Kenny had never heard. "Man am I glad I left that shit behind, it can drive you insane."
Keny nodded. "No shit. First in High School I couldn't get a date to save my life, now there seem to be females everywhere. It's driving me nuts."
"No worries Kenny, you only have about another 40 years or so of being driven crazy by this problem." Karl said with a grin. "Once you hit your 60s it calms down some, although some guys never escape it."
"Only 40 more years to go? Shit, we'll probably be extinct by then! I'll never get any peace!" Kenny said semi-sarcastically.
"Life sucks, and then you die.", Karl remarked philosophically. "Far as it goes, I'd love to see you hook up with Karen, but far be it from me to get in the middle of anyone else's love life, that's even worse than managing your own. You'll have to figure that one out for yourself."
"Gee, thanks Karl, you're a fountain of wisdom." Kenny remarked sarcastically. "What about the other problem though, should I bring her up here, or maybe just go over to Lolo National Forest and do some camping there without telling her about the property?"
Karl gave this some thought for a bit as they reached a nice portion of the property that had a slope facing to the south for excavating the Walipini.
"Probably not a good idea yet to bring her over here, until you are more sure of where you are going with it. You could bring her to the Lean-To though, and Karen and I can meet you there. Then you can really experience torture trying to make up your mind." Karl remarked.
"Great! Another fucking pearl of wisdom from the wise Guru! Kenny remarked with an eye roll.
Karl pursed his lips. "Personally, I think it would be rather humorous."
"For YOU maybe!" Kenny replied.
Karl shrugged. "It's your problem, not my problem. Now, what do you think of this spot for the Walipini? Good southern exposure, nice slope to cut into."
Kenny let go of the discussion about the females. Karl was obvious not going to be of any help, and actually seemed to enjoy his suffering. He vowed to himself to get revenge on Karl for this someday. He'd find a female to sic on Karl to invite to the community! He couldn't be as immune to the attraction as he made himself out to be! That would serve him right! Kenny satisfied himself with this nefarious plan and got back to discussing the Walipini.
"Yea, this looks pretty good, although it's a lot of trees to cut down.", Kenny remarked with sadness.
Karl shrugged. "The trees are no more permanent than you or me, and someday after we're gone new ones will grow in their place, or maybe they won't if the climate change gets bad enough. Meanwhile, if we're going to grow enough food beyond what we can hunt and gather out of Lolo for a full community of people, we're going to need more than just my raised beds and greenhouse garden."
Kenny nodded in understanding. "Yea, that's true. Sure will be plenty of wood for the next couple of years for cooking and heating and campfires. Lotta wood splitting to do."
"No worries on the splitting Kenny, I have a Champion Hydraulic Wood Splitter for this. I quit on splitting with an axe and wedges when I hit 60."
Kenny still had trouble believing Karl was 66. Other than his complaints about arthritis in his knees, he was even bigger and more robust than his daughter, maybe 6'3" and 220 lbs. He looked to Kenny to be in his mid 50s.
"A hydraulic splitter will certainly make that job easier.", Kenny remarked. "We'll need to get it over here though to get the job done."
"No problem there, I can drag it over with the pickup, it's on wheels. Once we cut the trees into sections, Mr Ed and Quick Draw can pull them over to the splitter back in your campsite area."
"That works.", Kenny replied. It was getting late in the day and the sun was beginning to set, so the two friends walked back to the campsite to get in Kenny's van and head back over to Karl's place for dinner of some Smoked Trout from Karl's freezer, honey glazed peas and carrots from his garden and from his bee hives and butter from the goat's milk. They spent a couple of hours surfing the internet for Doom Newz, beginining with the Doomstead Diner, where the regulars were all napalming each other as usual. They spent time together composing up a PM to to send to RE once Kenny got back to Missoula and could use an anonyomous connection to the internet.
I have been a lurker on the Diner almost since you began it in 2012. I am a regular reader, and get many of my ideas from your website.
Currently, together with a friend we have a large property in the lower 48 we would like to get a SUN☼ Community going on when TSHTF. However, we are highly concerned about security and about simply inviting people to the place now, which would make it too widely known. We estimate our possible carrying capacity for our land to be about 200 people, although it could be substantially more since the properties are adjacent to a large National Forest.
Do you have any suggestions on how we might find some people, but not necessarily give them the location of the Doomstead at this time?