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All Aboard the Collapse Train

"All aboard," cries the conductor! For those not on the train, it’s time to buy a ticket and join the rest of us! The train is about to leave soon. Once the collapse train leaves, it will never return to this station again. It’s now or never y'all. To those hesitant, your choice to join us will be the difference between thriving or suffering. At the most extreme, it will be the difference between life and death. For those on the train already, you made the right decision. I can see the fear on your faces. I get it, these are scary times, but as the train rolls down the track more and more, you will be thankful you got on. Okay, well, they are shutting the doors now; best of luck to y’all standing on the platform. You will need all the help you can get and then some. So long!

Those of us heeding John Michael Greer’s advice to “collapse now and avoid the rush” are thankful we did as we watch in horror gas, food, building materials, and other necessities skyrocket. Empty shelves at Walmart are becoming an everyday sight. Gone is the abundance we grew up knowing. Below are some of this week's shelves at two different Walmarts within an hour's drive of each other.

For those who chose not to research what was causing the rattling sound under the hood, life will get a whole lot worse. They purposefully ignored the shaking, thuds, and sputtering’s, indicating something was wrong. When Einstein said that human stupidity was infinite, he was absolutely correct. Now, for those who blissfully ignored reality, their forced collapse will be thorough and impoverishing. The people who bought houses they could not afford, took out multiple loans for vehicles, vacations, renovations, and so on will be forced to face the consequences of their actions. That euphoric party is now over, and it’s time to settle the tab.

The Road Ahead

We are waking up from a 300-year fossil fuel bender. Today's actions have lifelong consequences for those intelligent and dialed in enough to realize this. Who we take advice from will determine the fate of our lives. If we ignore the warning signs of danger, we may just end up destroyed. The once abundant fossil fuels enabled an exceedingly opulent life. So much so, reality and its consequences were just a can to kick down the road for another day. This is no longer the case—the hallucinations are vanishing, and the hangover is kicking in.

Now I know the world is mind-blowingly complex, so to keep this conversation simplified, I will say that there are two ways to collapse. The first and best way to collapse, is on your own terms in a manner and speed that you are comfortable with. The second way is to be forced to collapse, which is not an enjoyable situation and could very well be life-threatening. My partner and I chose to collapse in spring of 2020 when our apartment lease ended, COVID broke out on the scene, and our tiny house was halfway complete. Although we chose to move/collapse to a lower standard of living, we still had a rough first few months as we learned how to take care of our needs—bathing, washing dishes, cleaning clothes, growing vegetables, building a house, hand digging a well, solar power installations and so on. On a relationship level, we had a stressful start too, but what set us straight was talking about our thoughts, feelings, and concerns with each other. That was crucial. Check out the gallery below to see what we have been doing to make the most of collapse.

Despite the various challenges to work through, we were ahead of the curve and actively learning valuable methods and skills to live more simply. Of course, it was great to have a property to move to but keep in mind we did not wait till the last minute to “buy our ticket” to hop on the Collapse train. We put in countless months of work, saving money, researching, and postponing frivolous things to make our goals come true. We had a mission, and we stuck to the plan. The short-term pain produced long-term benefits we are still building upon today.

We Are in The Long Emergency

A season of change is unfolding

Having the intelligence and foresight to understand what is going on and which way to hedge your bets puts you way ahead of the crowd. We do not have all the information to know precisely how governments will respond or what evils they have planned, but we know that peak oil has come, and all problems lead back to this predicament. Realizing this, we are much more prepared than the average brain-dead American.

The Truth About Collapsing

By living with less, we do not mean we live in a tree trunk with a family of raccoons. We have a 300 square foot tiny house that is well insulated with a wood stove, kitchen, living room, bedroom with a small dresser, and storage closet in the back. The closet houses our battery bank, solar power equipment, and multiple food storage shelves. We have a large glass drink dispenser in the kitchen that holds our water for washing dishes that empties into a 5-gallon bucket under the sink. This could be piped outside if we wanted it to, but we pump our own well water, so being able to reuse this water for more than one purpose produces multiple yields. I am not sure where the idea that you have to wash dishes with hot water came from, but what a massive energy waste if you do that off-grid.

Howdy neighbor!

For almost three years now, we have never once washed our dishes with hot water, and they still get just as clean.

Our 2,400-watt solar system provides the energy needed for our three lamps, ceiling light fixture, charges our laptops, phones, Ipad, and porter cable batteries (plus additional small appliances). We can even run a vacuum when we have sufficient sunlight as well. Despite using considerably less electricity than the average couple in a home or apartment, we are not left destitute living in a pit. Instead, we have a wonderful life that is intentional. We are responsible for ourselves and each other, which connects us more profoundly than anything we experienced living on the grid.

We use a portable propane cooker used by hundreds of millions of Asian families around the planet to cook. We can get away with using only two small cans per week by prioritizing our mealtimes. As a backup, we have a cooktop rocket stove by EcoZoom that will be used in the future along with a solar oven that makes marvelous meals. We decided upon a $150 bi-weekly food budget. To make this work, we focus on ramen noodles, apples, potatoes, oatmeal, eggs, pasta, rice, vegetables, soups, and other in-season fruits and vegetables. Stir fry, especially in warmer months, helps to diversify our dinners.

We especially love yard long beans, a.k.a noodle beans, for these stir-fries. We will be adding more greens to the mix this spring as we build our culinary skills and recipes. The more food we can grow on the land, the more we can divert our funds to other needs. Especially in winter, our diet is not the best with this grocery list, so we take multivitamins daily to ensure we get the proper nutrition our low-budget diet may not always provide.

Our Managers Keep Failing

Our managers are obsessed with making the wrong decisions. It’s almost like they are competing on who can make the most idiotic policy choices next. The temper tantrum “sanctions” our “president” and his handlers are throwing out are great examples of repeatedly shooting yourself in the face. As if the limits of peak oil were not enough, these morons, in their total ineptitude, have made food production in the states much more difficult for farmers by eliminating diesel and fertilizer imports. Then factor in the mega-drought occurring out west, and you have one hell of a cluster fuck food crisis.

Not looking good

Grow Your Own Food: Time is Running Out

To save money in order to increase our health and personal resilience, we have expanded our garden over the past two years. We have built up the soils by adding appropriate compost, compost tea, carbon mulches, and old chicken bedding. This will be our third growing season here, so we are pretty excited about growing even more of our dietary needs within feet of our kitchen. Just this past weekend, I made three new food forest rows in our yard that will have chickens free-ranging between these plantings. I really harp in my posts about the crazy cheap prices (still) of non-gmo vegetable seed packets. People need to be yanking out their lawns (if they have them) and converting them using an intelligent designed, energy efficient system such as permaculture to create abundance.

I will go so far as to say that if you do not make your own food production a top priority this summer, you will be royally screwed. There are only so many times one can ignore the opportunities until shortages cause serious problems. Time is ticking, so please grow some of your own food. I highly recommend buying your seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have a massive seed bank of non-gmo seeds, and shipping is free to U.S. customers. They even offer live plants in season to increase your food diversity.

Regardless of your personal financial situation, there are many ways to collect as many edible plants around you as possible to extend your food resilience. Those with legally permitted access, look around forest edges, neighbor’s properties, right of ways, alleys, abandoned plots, sides of paths, and other overlooked places for wild berry plants, edible herbs, and nut trees. With proper identification, many invasive plants are edible. Edible invasive plants are invasive for a reason. Work with them to your advantage instead of being held back by preconceived prejudices against these plants. Oftentimes, invasive plants provide berries, roots, or nuts that are pest-free, nutritious, and super hardy. I am not in a privileged position to snub my nose at free food like this. Your mileage may vary, but keep this in mind as food shortages develop.

Japanese wineberry fruit

In fact, after I write this post, I am walking down to my fence line and digging up a non-native invasive Japanese plant called wineberry and adding it into my food forest orchard. I couldn’t care less about it being native or not. This berry is native to our planet, and I want to harness its low-maintenance characteristics for my benefit.

On the fringes of society, wildcrafting has become quite popular. As the long emergency unfolds, I can see this turning into a mainstream cultural pastime. You also improve your health, well-being, and resilience as you increase your food diversity. So many plants that are considered “weeds” are actually jam-packed with nutrition not found in grocery store produce. All you have to do is expand your plant ID skills, let go of any preexisting prejudices, and enjoy the rich bounty around you. Perhaps striving for two meals a week of wild-harvested foods will lead to unexpected surprises on your journey to resilience. If it interests you, check out Sam Thayer's books for great plant ID guides with accompanying detailed information on how to prepare your wild collected foods.

Sam's excellent plant ID guides

This is Deadly Serious

There is a huge issue I want to mention. For those serious about their liberties and autonomy, it’s time to remove as much dependence on the system as possible. We have some recent examples that should concern you—Trudeau's illegal confiscation of Canadian bank accounts as well as the blatant xenophobic confiscation of Russian financial and personal property across the world. We are guaranteed to experience the same tyrannical oppression here in the states for anyone not putting up with the ridiculous narratives from Washington. There is considerable talk coming from “libertarians” on what they would do if the government did that to them, but they still have a massive mortgage, do not grow their own food, or provide their own energy.

Get your house in order first folks

To walk away and shield yourself as much as possible from the coming hardships, you must build resilience. A person or family that provides most of their own food, has potable water, builds soil health, their emotional health, has a means to cook, heat, defend, and charge necessary electronics will be much more prepared to resist tyrannical control than one who talks a big talk with their guns but has nothing else to show for it.

Once you implement these alternative systems, working on finding others with similar values is crucial to expanding your networks of resilience. You are not an island; we all need to surround ourselves with like-minded people to walk away from the current dissolving system. Keep in mind you do not need to be best friends with everyone that values resilience, nor do you have to agree with everything they say. We are all individuals with our own thoughts, expectations, and behaviors. We should accept this and appreciate what each of us brings to the community and not strive for perfection.

Building Our Community on the Farm

We have 11 acres of open field on our farm that we would love to have others live on it with us. We have the land and are looking to find some folks with the willpower to live a simpler yet more enriching lifestyle. Community is essential in any age, not just in a crisis. It is but another lie our culture tries to deceive us with that you are your own fortress untouchable by life’s challenges. As the mass psychosis crowd clearly shows- having a sense of belonging is very important. I will be writing another article on parallel structures on what we envision could be a possible alternative living situation for people here. I will also go into structures that people could use to have a roof over their heads and meet their needs without breaking the bank. I do not want to go into it for legal reasons but read between the lines…in a quickly changing society, it is vital to play the game, be adaptable, and go under the radar in how you live your life. It’s time to expand your mind on what it takes to make a fulfilling life possible when so much is going wrong. Perhaps it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission to make that happen.

Downsizing the Downsize Even Further

Chris and I went over the cost of owning two vehicles and found that just for my car to sit in the driveway, we spent $1,500 per year due to mandated insurance, taxes, tags, title, registration, and annual state inspection. Then factor in gas for when we used it, oil, replaced tires, and all the other fluids needed to make the car operable, and we are easily over $2,000 per year. So, in early December of 2021, after going over these figures and seeing how inflation was ramping up, I decided it would be the best move to sell the car. This was still not an easy move as there is a sense of vulnerability in only having one vehicle in case it breaks down, but sometimes you have to make the best decision at the moment, even if it doesn’t feel like the perfect plan. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy depriving the state and local government of revenue by not owning my car anymore. This means we use a minor fraction of the money spent on my car to have roadside assistance in case of an emergency.

Not everyone owns their vehicle outright and can sell it, but this is what I did to help reduce our expenses even further. I have been using the money I received for my car to finance our third shipping container build that will be for storage, a bathroom, and a small kitchen.

Foaming our new container

If we need it or decide to move, this will also be a fully functional tiny house. I am so happy I started the work on the container when I did, as the prices for building supplies have absolutely skyrocketed at Lowes and Home Depot. Last month (February 2022), 2x4 studs were $3.98 each. Now, these studs are $7.98 at the time of this post. This is a 50% increase in one month y’all! This is just for 2x4’s and for a 20-foot container framing at 16 inches OC (on center), you would need 68. This winter, as usual, closed-cell foam kits were unavailable to buy almost anywhere, and if you could find them, they were so overpriced they would wreck our budget. I instead used the GREAT STUFF foam cans to insulate the entire inside of the 20-foot container. Of course, this was a lot of work, but folks should realize that you need to adapt to accomplish your goals in a shortage society. The cost came out a little under the $900+ spray foam kit anyway. I have no idea how someone can afford a newly constructed stick frame 2000+ house at these prices. Add in the subfloor, external ZIP panels, plus everything else, and you have an astronomical debt hole new homeowners will never rise from. Don’t worry; our clueless psychopathic politicians just passed another 1.5 trillion dollar bill of bullshit, so expect construction prices to hit Pluto. This pricing out of most working and middle-class people is yet another reason to dive in on simplifying your life. Just as building supplies are skyrocketing so too are necessities such as Berkey water filters and their charcoal filters. These filters used to be $100 per pair, now they are $170! At these prices most will be priced out of obtaining vital resources such as water purification. Hence the importance of collapsing now.

Inability to Adapt Leads to Extinction

I believe there is massive hesitancy for Americans to willingly be “poor.” Our lifestyle is simply beneath them. This is such a taboo subject to discuss for many, making them super uncomfortable. This apprehension is to their detriment, however. Greer and I are not talking about selling everything you own and moving into a cardboard box under a bridge. Instead, we simply state that America has consistently made horrible decisions since the Regan administration. Those choices are finally manifesting themselves in unsettling ways. Once again, though, in my personal opinion, the people who are worth their salt will understand what is going on and look for constructive ways to adapt to our changing world. Stupid people will continue being stupid. Why? Because they are stupid. They will live for the moment, continue to be over-indebted and likewise starve and freeze come winter all because they refuse (or are incapable of) deeper thinking past the surface of their shallow existence. Oh well. One does not need Netflix, Disney Plus, or even a TV to maintain happiness in life. Neither do people need a $250,000 kitchen remodel, piano lessons, vacations, McMansions, fishing boats, zero turn lawn mowers (or lawns for that matter), cleaning ladies, carry out dinner multiple times a week, RV’s, tractors, big trucks, SUV’s, and on and on. These people are not entitled to have these things simply because they believe they deserve it. If they think they deserve them, let them deal with the consequences. You have more important things to get done. I wanted to highlight some Twitter posts showing the level of idiocy/entitlement some fellow Americans possess. Reality will not be kind to these folks!

A local example comes to mind where we live. I have a neighbor who works for a factory that will inevitably go belly up shortly due to diesel prices soaring and chemical shortages. This does not stop them from owning a $40,000 RV, two ATVs, an $80,000 tricked out truck, a $35,000 SUV, a $40,000 “play” JEEP Wrangler, $4,000 zero turn mower, $45,000 farm tractor (why?), purchased neighboring land for $50,000, and then you have the $200,000 house mortgage. It’s surprising how much expensive “stuff” people think they need to be happy. To overextend yourself in this way while only taking in around $50-$80 thousand per year is quite stunning. How many other Americans are hemorrhaging money like this? Millions probably. Keep in mind that those living like this appear wealthy to those not having to pay for these luxuries. In reality, my neighbor is a feeble person living in a fantasy world. When that fantasy bubble pops, all that is left is a broken family with nothing to show. Terribly sad, isn’t it? That is the world we live in now.

Once again, our choices do not just float away; they are tethered to consequences. Make sure you make the right decisions. In the example above, every person overextending themselves erodes stability, honesty, and ethics in their communities—all adding up to one giant rotten cluster bomb when the debt bubble bursts. Dr. Martenson instructs listeners to make sure they listen to the right story; I will add to this advice by saying that people need to make sure they put their money into owning the right stuff. My neighbor could have just as easily used their brain to not buy these ridiculous luxuries, purchased second-hand tools to take care of the basic needs around the house, and invested their money into rain barrels, solar, soils, and food production. Instead, they invested their income into debt slavery and thought making bankers richer would somehow improve their lives. This is a terrible game to play and will end in their ruin.

Neverland in Debtland

If you are in debt, I highly recommend doing whatever it takes to reduce your indebtedness. According to your resources and abilities, sell your house and downsize, and pay off as many college loans as possible. This is also an excellent opportunity to cut luxuries, including vacations, Netflix, pricey phone plans, expensive vehicles, clothes, food, etc. Believe it or not, we are not asking for people to give up their worlds, but we are asking for people to live below their means to redirect their time and money towards a better life built on less stuff.

Owning the Right Stuff

IBC rain barrel

We recently bought an IBC rain barrel to collect rainwater off the new chicken coop roof. Water purification, medicines, emergency food, insulation, small wood stove, vegetable seeds, fruit trees, berry plants, perennial vegetables, fencing, utility buildings, and anything else you could think of to help you live a simpler life is the correct stuff to prioritize. I will also preface by saying that panic buying and getting into debt to have these things is just as foolhardy as wasting your money on expensive indulgences. Facebook marketplace, friends, neighbors, family, and thrift stores offer essential items at a reduced cost when on a tight budget. Plain and simple, if you want to make this change, you will find a way.

There will be a lot of whaling, kicking, and screaming emanating from this privileged crowd in the coming years. Ignore them. They made their bed, and now they must lay in it. Your job is to work on building as much personal resilience as you can with the physical and financial resources at hand. What Kunstler calls the Long Emergency and Greer calls the Long Decent have the word "long" for a reason. Living within your means or below them will give you a massive advantage over those who want to live for the moment. There is an air of dishonesty in this group who borrows money they do not have for a lifestyle they cannot afford and then assume consequences will never catch up to them. However, you are smart and can see the writing on the wall. By collapsing now, you not only reduce your overhead expenses, downsize to appropriate levels, and live more sustainably, but you also deprive the state of revenue. The state would love nothing more than a physical rebellion as the state’s sole purpose is to use force.

If you peacefully walk away (a.k.a. drop out of the system) and reduce your income (i.e., tax base), the state cannot do anything about it. Continuing in the rigged system where the state makes up the rules to your detriment is foolish. By simply not playing their game, you take away their power and have the advantage. Being in debt for things previously mentioned, exponentially creates more currency in the system, thereby adding to the prosperity of bankers and governments. Stop trying to play their game. You will never win. Instead, transform your life’s narratives into new paradigms where you are in control.

The Future

Thinking about this post, I want to move away from convincing people to build a resilient life and shift towards talking to those actively doing so. Every day since January of 2020, reports coming in from alternative and mainstream media sources have clearly indicated we have entered the Long Emergency/Long Decent. To put it bluntly, if someone has not woken up to this reality, no one else will jolt them into serious action. So that is why I will be focusing my work on those who are decisive, intelligent, and have the willpower to get shit done. I genuinely believe in what I am saying, and I am backing it all up by actively living a life of resilience. This life takes time to grow and is not something you can switch on, and everything is taken care of. Even if someone has millions of dollars, they have to start from the bottom in learning how to build life skills. That’s one of the reasons why I love gardening- everyone starts at the bottom, no matter how wealthy they are. No amount of money will germinate a tomato seed or nurture it to maturity. That is a skill you and nature have to work out together. Gates can buy as much farmland as he jolly well pleases, but who will farm it or provide the fossil fuels to run the machines to cultivate it? Does that pedophile know how to grow anything other than his ego? Of course not. Collapse now while you are still in charge of your life and start a new journey towards greater abundance. The train is rolling away from the station. It is now or never to make a choice. You will not have much time to decide. Make sure to join us, and we can do this together.