Winds of Change

"Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces." – Sigmund Freud

How do you feel about the winds of change and how do you manage your feelings?

I was going to call this post “Juniper Berries and Orange Pecan Pie” because I’m trying to focus on "good things" and those words just conjure up a feeling of delight to me... a kind of illusion that things are 'peachy'! 
I seek truth and reality, but I also seek out the pretty pictures that life offers up! I wanted to hit a little of both in my title, but was afraid that title would’ve given the wrong idea.

Not just pointing to food or recipes, but that life is a bowl of cherries, as they say... and it's not.
You see, a part of me falls into despair or fear on a regular basis when I think about all the possible changes & challenges coming our way. I accept that those are simply feelings of a reasonable response- and that allows me to move away from the feelings part of it to eye the future, whatever may come, with better footing- my psyche and emotions on firmer ground for a reason.
And, I think there is a balance needed between too much information and not enough. There are just too many things to think about that without a break of beauty, illusion, whimsy, fantasy or relishing living in the moment...  would be overwhelming and lead to despair! (I made a resolution this year not to allow despair to overtake me).

But living for the moment (and restful escape from stark reality), carries the risk of being blindsided by the unexpected and that’s just stupid when knowledge is at our fingertips and we are being given the chance to prepare, (not just in practical ways, but to steel our minds on a mental/emotional/psychological level). To become ready for change and challenges. Sure don’t want to be left to stand like a deer in the headlights when we need our wits about us, right?

Get well-rounded information and store it away in the back of your mind so that nothing pulls the rug out from under you, nothing blindsides you, but doesn't lend a hand in covering what is good in life under a cloud of despair either. That’s kind of what this post is about.

I hate that things are changing. I hate that I just haaaad to realize all the possible implications. (Wouldn’t I breathe easier if I didn’t?) And, I didn’t mean to look at this info on the NOAA today, I was looking up something else entirely and then couldn’t stop myself from clicking the link to see the drought forecast.

I really, really, wish it meant we were going to turn into a Mediterranean climate~ I hear that you need to include a sea breeze for that.
Instead of snow we could be the newest wine country- a new Napa! What a dream. Well that’s more like a big fat fantasy. (I’ve been-there-done-that with the grape idea. There are really places in Colorado now that are successfully growing grapes and are true wineries. I got as far as having a southern slope to grow them on- but that’s in deer-trail country! Good luck with that, right?)

Last summer there were weeks where the sky was full of New Mexico’s dust. Yuck. Like living on a dirt road isn’t bad enough. It’s not news that dusting is my least favorite chore to do... I read in our local alternative paper to expect this to be our new normal. In fact they recommended putting up shutters on the windows.

I’m kicking myself for that peek at the growing drought map, but you know, I KNEW we were already in trouble when there were hardly any wildflowers last year. It’s why I didn’t get bees this spring. I want to be better set up for them and not have to rely on wildflowers and other peoples’ crops -hay fields mostly.

We hardly even had any Juniper berries last year either, and they were tiny. Something else I’m kicking myself for, is having assumed those would naturally just appear come what may. Now I know more about how everything is being affected. It truly puts me on edge.

Prolific and large berries in a normal “wet” year (um, 4years ago)!

The good that comes of this feeling of edginess is that I can’t sleep and I get a lot of writing done, lol.
It is escape into momentary illusion -  the best and cheapest ‘escape’ I can think of!
Ok, hot cocoa will do that too sometimes... but it puts the pounds on.
Plus writing feels like I’m being productive while life continues with all of its limbo in other areas due to winter and financial constraints.

I would like to be excited about any progress, but I have learned a certain cautiousness ....about everything; hopes, dreams, expectations and even desires. It's not such a bad thing, perhaps even a wise way to be, but the spontaneity and much of the passion has faded over this past year too. I’ve given in to a quiet acceptance of the changes coming down; perhaps gained from the memory of the twists and turns and tests and trials and tribulations I’ve lived long enough to see. So many to deal with over a lifetime, aren’t there?  And no one is immune.  We all have stories to share; and tears to wipe away in their telling.

It does seem so sad for all of us, this new way of living, the dreams and ideals we gave up (and continue to). Perhaps some little hopes remain- like hoping for prolific growth of the wildflowers this year. I refuse to hope for the bigger things anymore.

There are so many things possible to disrupt life as we know it, one can only handle those thoughts in short spurts unless you start taking steps to mediate the effects of such disruptions. I could never go back to living with a feeling of security again no matter what good happens with the economy.

Just this week the earth has been hit (will be hit) by TWO "CME's" - magnetic storms from the sun. Guess what- this sunspot maximum has only just started. Something to be aware of- ok?

However, in all of the losses and limbos and such that we're all suffering thru, there are still ways to move forward- different than we dreamed of, maybe even more work is involved in it, more pushing of self when motivation is all but wiped out, but as things change beneath our feet it makes sense to walk with a different step. We change throughout life anyway, this is just an unexpected cause of change -  different aspects of life requiring change to meet them head on or be run over.

I would prefer to walk this path with more tenaciousness than trepidation, and that's why I changed my focuses from art to reliable ways of self-sustaining - although I still do need art to sustain myself on a deep emotional level.

I find that life is more subdued- it’s not depression, it’s a measured response. I have little to complain about these days. I watched the eagle do a fly-by and a huge bull elk wander across the road, with a cup of hot coffee this afternoon, while doing my data backups for March (every quarter I save my stuff to disks).

We’ve had snow, then melt, snow, then melt, snow... sometimes coming down sideways, then melting into slushy icy stuff and then slimy mud.

It’s beautiful but has made all the hens quit laying (cold!) and they won’t come out of the coop until I clear the way and add straw so they can ‘see’ where they’re going –apparently. It’s actually funny.
And that dedicated broody hen finally gave it up... so no eggs and no chickies coming.
I’m not too discouraged yet, it’s really so cold I would hate to have to raise the chicks in the house anyway, and I’ve got another month (March) to check for fertilized eggs and save them up for the incubator!  

I’ve also been listening to music more lately, honing in on the things that comfort me. Ethereal songs set my imagination on fire, a true distraction. And who couldn’t sit and watch the clouds all day listening to Enya’s music?
One of Loreena McKennitt’s songs transports me to another place and time. If you have never been treated, here’s the most ethereal song ever made...There are no words, this song needs no words; she sings with her soul. 
NASA has sent out a notice that asked it's employees to get prepared for natural disasters and that applies to all of us. Why does this still count as paranoid or fear-mongering? Preparation doesn’t mean paranoid. 
Fear mongering is pervasive these days. I do not read content that mongers to my fears! LOL

Wyoming and Utah (and 4 other states) have begun the processes of prepping that go beyond the basic natural disasters. Many states have earthquake, tsunami, and tornado alerts, drills, education, and prep already being done. 
But it’s true we have things to be concerned enough about to consider their ramifications and what we can do to minimize our risks.

The sun is nearing it 24th cycle – a peak in solar activity. During solar peak which happens every 11 years,  a large enough ‘flare’ could disable electrical grids and there are a string of countless scientific theories about what could happen, none of which is pleasant, but it would not actually physically kill anyone on earth.

There are many scientists that believe 'superwave's from the center of the galaxy (the black hole) might at the very least wipe out all electronic communication.  There is a lot of evidence pointing towards this event, and there is a lot of hype, which gets people very scared. However, most of it can be explained, and most of it has been blown out of proportion.

There are some things we can do nothing about. (The supervolcano in Yellowstone is another one of those kinds of things!) In such a case, a great migration might be prudent but will still do little good.

If you don't really know anything about whatever topic of doom or gloom, then you have zero basis for either accepting or rejecting any bearing it may have on your life or future- and the best remedy is to study the subject so you can formulate your stance and take what actions you wish to.
There are still many who don’t wish to LOOK at the dangers we all face. It IS very hard to deal with the ideas, of the extent of dangers, of what it means to know. They cling as hard as they can to the way things were before ’08, when we lived oblivious lives based on growth forever...and we were #1. They don’t want to see the train coming down the tracks. And I don’t necessarily blame them!

But what is the excuse for those who are not taking ANY steps to protect and prepare? Wherever you go online you’re going to find  logic and reason for preparing- often implored with alerts and exclamation marks by our own Gov’t. agencies.

It’s recommended to prepare for:
Tornados, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, Solar Storms, WWlll, Earthquakes, Floods, Wildfires, Wide Spread Panic, Food Shortages, Global Warming (weather events), The Next Ice Age, Haboobs, Alien Invasions, EMP Attacks, Pandemics, Emerging drug-resistant Viruses, Economic Meltdown/Implosion, Bio-weapons ---and whatever else you can imagine. Even our scientists and generals say: “it’s not a matter of if, but when”

One could certainly read online of what has happened in the past financial crisis’ in the world:
Argentina, Bosnia, Serbia, Russia... the Great Depression (here) –then the lasting effects of devastating natural events: Japan, New Zealand, Haiti, Indonesia, Australia... the Midwest and Katrina, and that is presently happening in places now (Greece, and other UK countries, Iran and Syria...and the drought in Texas). There are many examples, take your pick!

The main point is how little help is coming, how people are expected to make it on their own- and how much they suffer longterm effect even with help (emergency tents, food and water drops, etc.) It almost mirrors the old adage: TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. 
And really, if the financial bottom drops out – where will the Gov’t get the money for the supplies? If we have only a 3 month reserve supply of oil, wouldn’t it be saved for military defense in such a case? (I don’t know, just postulating that a country’s people COULD be left to their own devices and no help coming!!)

When it comes to fixing economies it’s just as bad! John Mauldin says, “For every government law hurriedly passed in response to a current or recent crisis, there will be two or more unintended consequences, which will have equal or greater negative effects then the problem it was designed to fix.... unelected institutions are at least as bad and possibly worse than elected governments....further, laws passed to appease a particular group, whether voters or a particular industry, will have at least three unintended consequences, most of which will eventually have the opposite effect than the intended outcomes and transfer costs to innocent bystanders.”

With all the money given to failing banks we’ve seen how this occurs here... the same thing is currently happening in Europe (because they are following our fine example). What it truly means is simply kicking the can down the road for a future event even worse. What else can debt that is erased with MORE debt lead to?

I like to imagine I’m getting it together, formulating a system that relies less and less on consumerism (how much of that is unintentional dependency?!) but I’m fooling myself if I ever think it would be enough. We really NEED a surrounding community to be a part of, so that everyone has something to barter and a skill to contribute. In worst-case scenarios a village is what it will take for longterm survival. In the shorter term, it would also work out best. This again is something that we can’t be sure of without activism at that level- community meetings, city planning, organizers of the resources, and educational efforts, as well as TIME for gaps and kinks to be worked out. Who knows how much of that we need – for any scenario. What I do know is that we are better off complementing each other's strengths & weaknesses rather than us all trying to tough it alone incohesively.
Is that a word?

If you're still reading this, then here is a snow picture for relief. You deserve it!

Thank God, it's all melted now! LOL

Meantime, with all that –those possibilities- going on in the back of your mind, your life will go on. Knowing all that, can it ever go back to the same as before? My thoughts are full of questions.

If you decided to make preparations for as many of these events you feel are appropriate for your situation, what would your plan look like? Where would you start if you have little funds to purchase emergency supplies (like a full set up of camping gear)?

Suppose you have a small backyard flock of chickens- that’s nice to have eggs as a little security measure and as something to barter with- but do you rely on the feedstore to keep the flock going? Is that a safe bet for your longterm security? What are your alternatives? What if there were a pandemic of Avian Bird Flu and your flock was wiped out?

Suppose you rely on irrigation or just water from the tap to grow a crop or your kitchen garden- suppose the electricity went out for an extended period. Then what?

Aside from growing inflation or deflation from financial meltdowns or sudden economic implosions, we personally face the risk of wildfire from the growing drought situation. Bark beetles could decimate our trees, and grasshoppers are already prolific in summer and the mosquitoes have made it through winter here this year. What if the water well begins to dry up?

What are my evacuation plans and what is most important and how will I remember when flames and smoke are encroaching -when the fire marshal says “you have 15 minutes to evacuate”?

If I spent thousands of hours of labor harvesting and canning produce, and a couple thousand more in basic survival supplies- how would I save that investment? How COULD I, on top of saving the animals and collecting photos and such? What would my priorities be? What SHOULD they be?  What about you? Have you thoroughly gone thru your plan, have you tested it? What would you do differently to prepare against local and national emergencies? What if not everyone in the household is home at the time – it’s just you?

Doing nothing towards mediating the known and stated threats is tantamount to putting your head in the sand and hoping none of it ever comes to pass.
I wish us all well, and a good night’s sleep.

Here, rest your soul a moment.........


Something that will give you a less disturbing perception of the future in that it opens the door to the power of self-sufficiency... where to start, how to get going. If you’re feeling  overwhelmed (like me), or starting from scratch with the idea- it’s great to someone else taking on the challenge in a measured and effective way.

Heidi is another one of those fabulous ‘MaryJane’s Farmgirl’ sisters... her post is full of great information – what she’s doing to create a bit of resilience, and invites us to
join in the Preparedness Challenge hosted by Homestead Revival. This Preparedness Challenge takes place one day a month (the day varies).
There have been over 30 challenge days already (LOTS of others out there doing this!), and there is a “Prepping Basics Index”, so you don't have to scroll down through every post, but can jump to each one directly!  The three areas they are focusing on include:
• food storage
• emergency preparedness
• sustainable living.

Homestead Revival also generates the Barn Hop (general homesteading post sharing) on Mondays!

NEVER feel you’re facing uncertainty alone, or without a plan to mediate dire circumstances again!

One of the blogs I visited thru the Preparedness linkies wrote a post on food security, advocating not only gardening but food storage. Great article that got me thinking- it’s important  to get people thinking if they haven't considered the inherent danger of being a consumer without a backup or supplemental source!

Things are really quite scary in the amount of national food stores (I think the WTO said there is a 3 month supply of grains and such). It's like the reserve oil supplies a government holds back in case of emergency. I suppose it would be sufficient in case of WWlll or Armageddon- is this what the plan is for- really? Will all the nations drop these reserve supplies by helicopter everywhere in a timely manner? I don't know why - or how- they estimate such things, it seems ludicrous to me.

I also used to be a city dweller (urban sprawl type) in earthquake country where every year they said to always be aware that The Big One could hit us. They never suggested keeping a little extra food in the pantry or starting a survival garden in case the stores could be emptied in a day.

Shanon , who lives in Canada  has a good system down and lots of produce to put up! It was impressive. But I noticed a lot of her foods (roughly 1/3) were then frozen. I wanted to ask her about that, if it made her feel a bit leery to freeze her harvest foods – there are so many things that could interrupt electricity and ruin all that value! (Especially after Quebec experienced a major sun storm that knocked out the electricity in the past.)

It made me think about where I draw the line between convenience and temporary and what are secure and sustainable practices. I think it’s good to be diversified in as many areas, as many ways as possible. If I had a freezer of any size I think I would do the same as she was doing. But, I would feel leery.

I think it's key to DIVERSIFY all things you consider important.

This is the longest post – I hope you made it through. I’m barely hanging on myself!
I welcome your thoughts!

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