Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Think Spring

Winter is wearing on us... so here are a few farm photos from Spring and Summers past...  Springtime in Tennessee is just heaven...




This is my year to take my homestead where I want it to be. See the chicken yard in the middle photo? That's where the raised bed garden is going. The chickens will go into a half acre run and the hogs will have the old garden area. The Hog yard will be cut off with the hogs going in the back 25% during the growing season so that I can grow corn, beans, and pumpkins in their area and then let them out to harvest the produce themselves before going to market.  I am going to put the bee hives about 30 feet to the left of the horse in the bottom picture which will be immediately adjacent to the garden.

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A hat tip to an anonymous doomer reading here who emailed me some NASA publications on a potential Solar Storm in 2013... Peak Oil has been absorbed reasonably well so far... as I have said before its all about the rate of change, and there would have to be another big event to cause serious trouble... any of you folks following this "Carrington Event" or Solar Storm for 2013?  Also this Fox News Video.  Something like this could be a real bummer if it occurred contemporaneously with an Oil import shortage...

I am going to email Stu Staniford at Earlywarn.blogspot.com and see if he has anything to add... he's a physicist and I am a retired Wall Street hack turned organic farmer... so I haven't got a lot say about it, but if any of you folks have a contact with training in the area, by all means, I'd love to hear what he/she has to say.

20 comments:

bureaucrat said...

Hey WesternTexas ...

A paragraph from a Bill Bonner (Agora group) blog entry today ..

"But some of the world’s most important commodities – including oil and food – are priced in real terms. Oil has soared in terms of dollars. But in terms of gold it has barely moved. Food prices go up and down. People may pay a lot more for their wheat and corn in dollars. But if you have gold, almost nothing is more expensive."

In other words, using a neutral value of money (gold), the price of oil hasn't really changed all this time, which further means any increasing pricing history for oil that you've mentioned in countless entries here means very little. :) There's lots of oil available .. so far. The consistent oil prices (via gold) reflect that.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Bur:

Please don't taunt people that actually ding useful using silly quotes.

Dan said...

No ideal about the astrophysics but the earthly effects are simple enough. The magnetic lines of flux cut through metal wire and generate a current frying everything connected. If the magnetism is strong enough the problems don’t even need to be part of an energized system. This was caused by lightning but a strong magnetic storm or EMP could produce a similar effect. The longer the wire the more flux that cuts through it and the stronger the current; some current would be lost due to resistance in the wire but not as much as is gained by the additional area being hit by the magnetism, so unlike lightning it would grow in intensity instead of dissipating with distance . It would prudent not work on fences, metal railing, etc during a solar storm, or nuclear war for that matter.

danielphillips said...
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danielphillips said...
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bureaucrat said...

Jeffers, as you know, cause we both read Texas's stuff, he makes it very clear in almost every post that the price of crude has gone from some trivial amount in 2001 to $62ish a barrel in 2005. Just pointing out that he needs to mention loudly that he's talking about inflated dollars, not actual "cost," which is essentially flat. Perhaps he can explain this.

Anonymous said...

Oil is settled in dollars- not gold. If someone wanted to pay for oil in gold, they would need to pay 50% above what they paid in 2009 to buy the gold which in turn would be used to make payment for crude oil. To project the price of oil in terms of gold is a useful exercise in perspective but not a definitive measure of value of oil or other commodities.

And international trade, tax bills, coal & natgas supplies, wages of gub employees, social security payments, intnatl payments, etc etc are all paid in the prevailing fiat currency- not in Krugerrands.

If we want to get REAL, we would need to acknowledge that the actual contribution of oil to our economic system is MUCH MUCH greater than the present dollar value/bbl of crude.

Greg- Dmitry Orlov recently published an article entitled "Peak Oil is History" in which he addressed the concept that the downside of Hubberts Curve will likely be a rough and dangerous tumble as opposed to a long smooth slide. A good read.

Dmitry Orlov- Peak Oil is History

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/11/peak-oil-is-history.html

BEST,
Marshall

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Marshall:

I read that and I think it makes sense... I am not rejecting the idea that things are tough because of Oil, only that I am continually amazed by how much worse I thought they would be...

If the rate of change continues at 5% per year or less, I think we can adjust fairly well; if the rate were say 8 to 12% I think it would be a political and economic disaster.

There is no question that there is a significant risk that the rate of change could be in the higher range... but if you think things are bad now, imagine how kerbolexed things would be if we have steeply declining oil availability while at the same time having our grid and communications systems grievously damaged... that would make me a complete doomer...

Bill said...

On the doomer side there is a great book out there called "One Second After" which is about an EMP attack on the US. If you are a doomer or not it's a very well written book.

Bill said...

Greg,

In your raised beds do you do square foot gardening?

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Bill:

This will be my first year doing the official square foot gardening thing.

Still going to grow corn, potatoes and beans in rows... but I am gonna experiment a bit.

oOOo said...

I read a really good book not so long ago about the Carrington event and the birth of modern astronomy called the sun kings. Highly recommended: http://www.stuartclark.com/publications/2-publications/4-the-sun-kings

Greg T. Jeffers said...

oOOo!

Good to hear from you, young man! I shall see if our library has these recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I've seen you and PP discuss extra insulation on your freezer in case of electrical disruption. Have you considered a gas freezer? 100gal of propane will keep your T-bones rock hard for a long time. They have electric options so that the gas only needs to be used in emergency or if it is cheaper than electricity.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Bill said...

I'm experimenting with SF gardening this year too. Really interested in vertical tomatoes and the work and resource savings. Applying compost to limited areas instead of a whole garden has already saved a lot of compost.

Anonymous said...

I've been using square foot gardening techniques from that old book for three years now to good success. I still row plant Amaranth and Butternut Squash, growing them together similar to the 3 sisters idea.

I found that most of the change was one of perception on my part--getting used to "less organized" looking growth patterns. I cluster grow many foods now to good effect, those that can handle such a thing.

The long cold winter has gotten me planning the garden earlier this year as well--mostly just escapism, since gardens help me visualize warmth and growth and renewal.

Best of luck with the raised beds, just make sure to add micro-organisms and worms your first year, don't rely purely on typical nitrogen/fertilizer/animal waste amendments.
-Meiyo

Anonymous said...

Greg-
Do you remember Dr. Bhaktiari (unforunately now deceased) and his peak oil stages- T1, T2, T3 ?

Dr. Bhaktiari projected that the T1 stage would go fairly smoothly as industrial societies would be able to preserve BAU by a series of cuts to the most wasteful energy excesses. The T2, T3 etc would cut deeper to the essential core as peak oil shortages intensified. I would guess that, being on the peak oil plateau, we are in the initial T1 phase.

Dr. Bhaktiari also noted that a BIG event would be the universal recognition that declining oil production would result in the end of growth for industrial civilization. Of course, the end of industrial growth does not necessarily mean that human existence cannot find progress and enrichment in other ways.

Best,
Marshall

bureaucrat said...

Just a mention that the price of oil is essentially unchanged over 10 years (measured in gold), the EIA oil in storage has not fallen under the 5-year average, and every gas station in Chicago remains open.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Marshall:

Yes, I remember the late, great Dr. B... I believe that he will likely prove correct.... I thought T1 would have been shorter and tougher... and i have been wrong.

That doesn't change my long term views or how I am going to order my affairs... I am "Going Galt" and I am going to have fun and enjoy my life while doing so!

Dextred1 said...

Your little farm is beautiful. Enjoy your life and family there.