Most of next year's seeds are on their way! I dithered over whether to buy seeds early, because it seemed sort of...alarmist, but then I realized that there was no reason on earth not to, and it made a lot of sense. First off, it's the same dang seed whether I order it now or in the spring; it's not like I'll get fresher seed in the spring. And second, well, next year's garden seeds are a critical part of my food storage plan, so why on earth would I leave them to chance? As an added bonus, I'll know exactly what I have to work with all winter, which, one would like to think, should assist in the planning process. One would think. Besides, it's absolutely true that a lot of seed companies saw hugely increased demand last year, and I'd expect this year to see even more, so even if things proceed more or less as normal, it's entirely feasible that the slowpokes won't get everything they want next spring.
On a similar note, my delightfully cracked neighbor went on an heirloom bean kick and just bought multiple packs of maybe 20 varieties of heirloom beans. She wants to grow them to use in dry soup mixes to sell at the farmer's market, which is a fine idea, but she bought enough seed to go into business as an heirloom bean farmer, and we're reasonably sure that she has basically no idea what she's getting into. Where we're going to plant them all is a great mystery, but once those beans mature, boy, we'll be safe from starvation, anyhow. I love love love beans, and really can't justify the expense of heirloom beans at anything more than the rare treat level, so I'm as happy as a clam...which is good, because I'll have to be pretty involved to make sure this whole process actually happens in an effective manner. The world is full of wonderfully unique and special people, my neighbor not least among them.
I can hear Jacob out back shredding our brush pile and the (other) neighbors', which we'll use as mulch. I feel rather badly about destroying these brush-pile habitats right at the beginning of cold weather, but our yards just aren't so big that we can afford to leave parts of them wild. Meanwhile, we can certainly use the mulch. When Evelyn's done napping, I'll go out to join him, and we'll work on planting garlic and finishing the kill-mulching of the garden expansion. Jacob could, of course, be working on those things now, but through a logic all his own, he is usually able to look at my to-do list, agree that it's an excellent list, and then spend the entire weekend working on other things. Worthy things, no doubt, but I guess we're prioritizing somewhat differently. It's like my mother-in-law, who once complained that if she asked my father-in-law to help clean the house in preparation for company, he was liable to decide that the most important thing he could do would be to clean the light switches. But if I go out, then we (or at least whichever one of us isn't chasing the baby) will reliably work on the garlic and garden beds...which, apparently, are "my" projects now or something. Which is unkind and discouraging, because we both know perfectly well that "my" projects never get done, if they even get started, largely due to things like naptime and teething.
We're also in discussions over whether to get a solar oven, or, really, which one to get. Of course, November is kinda a stupid time to be buying a solar oven, since in order to cook dinner in one, I'd have to start at noon and eat before Jacob got home for the night (well after dark). On the other hand, of course, a solar oven is a nigh-miraculous device which might be a great boon in the future, and the fear, as always, is that come spring we won't be able to buy one. Besides, one could always pre-cook and bake bread. You know, if one did bake bread, theoretically. The two major choices seem to be the Tulsi sun oven (advantages--power backup and a broad enough chamber to make pizza) and the Global sun oven (advantages--seems to be the better actual solar oven, easier to get hot, slightly deeper chamber for pots).
Progress is being made, however, on the health front. Because, having grown up below the poverty line, let me tell you: Being poor and healthy really isn't that bad. Being poor and unhealthy is misery. With that in mind, I've prioritized getting our health needs taken care of. Jacob and I have both had dentist's appointments, and he has another to get some work done (I, in defiance of all standards of dental hygiene, needed no work, just to stop clenching my jaw all the time). I have an optometrist's appointment later this month to get new glasses for the first time since middle school. And, most excitingly, next Tuesday I have an appointment with the naturopath who has worked such wonders on my mother. Damn, I want the vitality she has these days. I would like to be actually healthy for the first time in my life. I'm hoping that next Tuesday will be the beginning of my journey to health, and I am REALLLLLY excited. I consider taking care of all outstanding health problems to be a really critical part of disaster/poverty preparedness. Being unhealthy in any way reduces your ability to cope with circumstances and poisons everything you have to do.
I just hope that we can get Mamma's cancer cleared completely before TSHTF, if it does. She continues to progress incredibly, and my happiness over that is rendered very bittersweet by thinking of all the suffering of people who could have benefitted from these same therapies if only our medical system weren't so fucking in love with itself. She's got a rare form of cancer, considered highly intractable and untreatable via chemotherapy--surgery and radiation were the only route offered by the conventional doctors. And here it's in full retreat, shrunk to less than a third of its initial size, using only lifestyle changes, homeopathics, herbs, and a couple high-quality supplements. And not only is the cancer going away, but Mamma is radiantly healthy, more so than I ever remember her. How many cancer patients can say that? If she'd listened to the allopathic doctors, she'd be very ill now, permanently so, and her chances of beating the cancer would still be very slim statistically. If she hadn't been willing to try an alternative, I might be losing my mother right now. Please, if anyone you know has cancer, encourage them to look up a naturopathic oncologist. I'm not saying they're all as amazing as the one we got, but it could only be to the good.
Anyway...so, yeah. The pantry made progress today, and I should actually be able to put things away in my new cabinets now, which is SUPER exciting. We ordered a LOT of buckets and gamma seals for food storage purposes, and I mean a lot--24 buckets and 32 seals (we ordered bulk for the best prices). We'll keep about a dozen for ourselves and sell the rest at cost to whoever wants them. I have a lead on getting bulk wheat, finally. The kill-mulching of the garden expansion is maybe half done all told, but about 1/2 of what's left can be done over time. Progress.
On the other hand, I stuck my neck out and tried to tell my mother-in-law about Peak Oil to get her to prepare a little, and she smiled amusedly the whole time and told me that I didn't need to worry, she didn't think Mad Max or Waterworld or whatever was going to happen too soon. Gag, gag, gag... Oh well. I expressed myself cogently and calmly. I don't feel that I failed in my duty in any way. I sent her a link to Chris Martenson's Crash Course, and hopefully she'll watch it, if just to be polite. And if she chooses to ignore my warning, then hopefully we'll be able to help them later on. I am running out of patience with people who can actually hear a warning and ignore it at this point, though, since we're no longer warning about future events so much as trying to point out just how bad current events could get. Its happening NOW, people, and the evidence is thick on the ground.
Okay, enough babble for now. I have work to do.