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Prepping for the worst....

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Previous Entry Prepping for the worst.... Jan. 22nd, 2010 @ 07:55 am Next Entry
or, random babblings 99% of the population would consider nutty. :shrug: This stems from a discussion in my comments yesterday - since I didn't really have any ideas for today's post, I'll just ramble about the comments, instead. Thanks! :grin:



Right. I'm going to assume that you clicked the cut because you feel like I do - SHTF is going to happen soon, rather than later. I want to state that I have been predicting the failure of Wall Street since...2006, or there-abouts. Now, it didn't happen the way I thought it would - I thought it'd be a huge, all at once crash. Instead, we're getting a slow slide to the bottom...which is actually *worse* than if it had happened all at once. But I digress....

The question was asked about fiber critters - IF you were just getting into goats, should you spring for a triple-purpose animal (milk/meat/fiber) or stick with a dual-purpose one (milk/meat)? My answer was yes AND no. Which sounds pretty strange, coming from me, the Ambassador of all things Fiber, but......

I had NO desire to get fiber-creatures. None. I know from talking to my fiber-critter raising friends that once you *get* the creature, the time to actually USE the fiber you are so carefully producing goes right out the window. You spend more time caring for the creature - because when you're raising *fiber*, you can't just dump-feed-and-leave, you have to make sure the fleece (I'm going to use that term, as it's easier on me then to remember to say the generic "fiber") stays in good shape, you want to keep hay/dirt/shavings out of it (to save time when you finally get around to prepping it for spinning), AND you still have the normal take-care-of-the-critter stuff, too. I was - and still am - perfectly happy to pay someone ELSE to do all that - I just want to play with the fiber!

So, when Sweet Geek finally came around and decided he wanted goats (I didn't push the issue. He's not on board completely with my SHTF attitude; his idea was that he could make the wonderful cheeses he loves but can't justify buying. *I* wanted goats strictly for milk....so I let him think it was all HIS idea (the best way to bring a man around, I swear!) and didn't quibble), he decided that, if we were going to get the critter, we might as well kill 2 birds with 1 stone: Cashmere. *I'd* get fiber (which, remember - I didn't really *want* to grow my own!) and he'd get his cheese. It didn't hurt that my goat-raising friend had both Nubians (wonderful Dairy goats) AND Cashmeres (along with a lovely flock of Border Leicester sheep....that's a whole 'nother game, and I ain't playing!) - AND, she was of the opinion that you should be able to get the maximum product out of each animal you raise. Her Cashmeres have been bred for fine fiber, maximum milk production (they won't match a true dairy breed, but they do well, according to her), AND maximum meat. (Within reason. You don't want to raise an obese goat just because you want meat.)(Also also.....I have not heard of anyone milking an Angora goat (LOVE Mohair!)...but I don't see why you *couldn't*. You probably wouldn't get 1 gallon a day.....but I bet you'd get at least 1/2 gallon a day. I mean, they make milk for their kids, too...so why NOT? And....thinking out loud here...you could breed your Angora to a Nubian, to add some dairy genes, and then breed THAT goat back to an Angora.....that SHOULD give you more milk production without affecting the fiber. I think, anyway. Worth a shot...if that's what you wanted to do. :wink:)

OK. Well...we made a deal. I'd go along with the Cashmeres, IF he did ALL the work associated with getting that fiber ready for me to spin. *I* wasn't going to do anything out of the dump-feed-and-leave routine. (I still have chickens and horses and dogs and kids to tend, plus the normal housework, PLUS the "I need some new socks/a sweater/hat/gloves" requests that are constantly coming in) He agreed - if I would help with the standard care, he'd do the rest. And he has. :grin:

But...it's a lot of work. And.......I don't *need* the fiber. I have been spinning since 2000....and amassing a pretty nice stash since then. I have.....:whimpers: over 100 pounds of ready to spin fiber in my garage (and I'm NOT counting the washed but not processed fleeces....OR the raw Suffolk fleeces I keep getting from the local breeder. I don't WANT to go there...I don't think I could handle the shock. Seriously....) (And before anyone says "WHAT? That's TOO MUCH!" Ummm...no. I have prepped food (need to do more, but it's a start), I've prepped supplies (ditto).....this? Falls under "Supplies". When SHTF, you won't be able to BUY yarn/fleece, because the dollar will be worthless. I'd rather spend my gold/silver/barter items on necessities. I have enough wool and cotton to spin for clothing - which I can trade OR use for our own use. THINK about it - when the temps drop, and there's no money, how will you provide warm blankets and clothing for yourself and your family? It's why I highly recommend learning to knit/crochet/sew. Spinning...is useful. *I* think it's a necessity, but other people don't. If you don't want to learn to spin....may I suggest you start frequenting Smileys yarns or Knitpicks and build up a nice stash? Seriously. Weaving....again, *I* think it's necessary...but looms take up a LOT of room. Even table looms. Knitting/crocheting will produce similar fabrics - weaving's just faster. Oh - and if you weave, you need to sew. I don't sew....it's something I am working on.)

Also, you can get fiber from a long-haired dog. Which is one of the reasons I have a Pyr. :lol: Or a cat. Pill bottle cotton is spinnable. So is dryer lint (but I don't recommend it!). You don't NEED a fancy spinning wheel - you can spin with a handspindle fashioned from a dowel rod and CD. You don't need "real" handcards to process your fiber - dog slicker brushes will work (not as well as the real thing, but they'll work). Have a fiber you want to comb, instead? (to make worsted yarn - a yarn that is denser and more tightly spun) - a quick way to make wool combs (that - again - aren't the best, but will work) is to take 4 metal-tined hair picks. Use 2 per comb; you need to attach them to opposite sides of a 1x1 stip of wood. (With the teeth pointing "up"). Attach a dowel rod to one side (so that the teeth are "T"'d off of the dowel), and you've got a set of 2-pitch "Viking" style combs.

I'm "lucky" in that I *have* all the "proper" equipment. When husband #1 was alive, I was able to buy what I wanted - he'd buy a gun, I'd get the same amount in cash to spend as I wanted. While it was nice, it wasn't what I had in mind when we made that deal....but the point is, I have the equipment I need to process any kind of fiber. I've used the "cheats", and they work...but I like having the "real" ones. (Plus, my 4-pitch English combs make handy self-defense weapons....I don't know of ANYONE that would want me to hit them with one. 4 rows of sharp, pointy, steel teeth......they hurt when you bump them. Don't ask. :lol:) If I had to choose, though....I'd go with the cotton hand cards. You can prep ANY type of fiber with them (they are better with the finer stuff, but you CAN card the coarser stuff, too - the same can't be said of wool cards), and they are pretty reasonable in price (compared to combs and drum carders) They're also larger than the dog brushes, so you can process more fiber at a time.

Which leads me to other preps......I have wanted to go solar or wind-power for a few years, but keep getting "blocked". I figured out why the other day: When SHTF, there will be little/no electricity produced (if there's no money to run the plant or pay for the products.....). IF I had solar/wind power...I'd be a big, fat target. You'd be surprised at how many people DON'T think that - the wife of the stove installer? I thought she was a like-minded person, as she was all gung-ho on me getting a stove that would heat the house AND let me cook on it. We talked about that for a bit...then she told me to get a Generator. Because "I am NOT going to give up my TV/Computer/Air Conditioner/etc!"....and I'm sitting here thinking "And you, m'dear, will be one of the first to get killed for your things, because you refuse to actually *consider* what's going to happen. If NOBODY else has electricity, but they think like *you*......." Seriously - put denial aside a minute and CONSIDER this. It's......frightening. And why I'm glad I *didn't* go solar/wind power.

The stove? Won't really be an issue - I checked last night. On our street, 6 houses have chimneys. So....a fireplace/wood stove isn't going to be the issue that electricity will be. (Most people don't even THINK about cooking over a fire - why should they? They got an oven, don't they?) I have oil lamps......and candles. Lights won't be a problem. I have a dual-fuel lantern, for when the battery stash runs out (again - plan for the worst, and be pleasantly surprised when/if the worst doesn't happen).

I need to get more seeds - the mice got into my stash of those. I need to figure out water - since we can't do a well here. I need to do something about critter feed.....I'm nowhere NEAR where I need to be, if I'm honest with myself. But....the scary thing? I'm more prepared than anyone else around here......most people here simply will NOT see what's going on. It's.....frightening.

Yes, my hobbies are quaint....they'll also keep me and my family warm and dry. What will keep yours?

Yes, I rambled. But....I feel better now. :lol: Bottom line - no, you don't need fiber critters. They'll be useful, but not - for the most part - a necessity. BUT. If you are just now starting to buy, and IF you are willing to learn to spin, then yes - get them.

ETA: Ure mentioned today that people should work on adding skillsets to their life...like sewing/cooking/etc. :snicker:
Current Location: office
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
spin a yarn
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
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I have a stash of yarn - but not 100 pound stash - sheesh.
Now we *do* have a wind generator. Since we installed it in October of '07 it has saved us over $4000 in electricity costs. Mostly because we built a steel building on our property so my dad has a place to live - so now we have two homes using one electric meter.
Looking back - we might have done things differently. Without the electric company the wind generator won't work. That is unless we want to invest a few thousand more dollars into the system for inverter, battery storage, etc. And hire someone to do it...ugh. The only thing we really NEED the electricity for is refridgeration/freezers. Planning how to store cold stuff in the desert is going to be an interesting problem to overcome.
Our other option was a well, but it would have to be over 600 feet deep with no promise of water being found, and if water was found - no promise it would be usuable.
~ali
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From:fiberaddict
Date:January 22nd, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
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Yeah...now, you've had your wind generator long enough that it might be "invisible" - people are so used to seeing it that it fades into the background. Like you said, though..without the electric co, it's kinda worthless. :thinks:

Water....we're in the same boat. IF we hit water, it'd be undrinkable. :sigh:

Cold storage - can you dig a root cellar? It won't be AS cold....but might make decent short-term storage. I'm worried about that as well...haven't hit upon a solution yet, though.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 22nd, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)

root celler...

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I thought about a root celler.
But we get flash floods and being born and bred in CA I am not sure how you keep a celler from flooding when the water pours down..build it into a hill? My neighbors (Well a few properties away) have three of those 20' steel storage containers - they put them in a U shape with the bottom of the U facing the road (and the prevailing winds) Thats a lot of storage...and a HUGE three sided shelter...I wonder if they would be mad if I asked what it was for?

~ali
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From:fiberaddict
Date:January 22nd, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)

Re: root celler...

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Depends on how friendly you are with 'em. I have heard of people burying them for root cellars....that might be an idea.
From:ext_219271
Date:January 22nd, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)

rabbits

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I got to thinking about it after you wrote to me with this information... my rabbits are SOFT, huge, and shed like monsters. I could always go that route, and they're cleaner than the dog and goats, too. ((Well, not the boy bunny - boys piss on themselves to attract females. Yuck!)) And I have a soft gray, black, and honey brown rabbit. ((They're New Zealands.))

But you're right - I'm not to that point, yet. Spinning would be for later. Right now I'm making slippers... and finishing a baby blanket I did up squares for THREE YEARS ago (and forgot I'd done - it was my way of learning stitches back then... which I promptly forgot!). But maybe someday...
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From:fiberaddict
Date:January 22nd, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)

Re: rabbits

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YES! I forgot about bunnies - Angora rabbits are, of course, bred for spinning, but NZs are used for it as well. You might have to clip them, but still - usable fiber on the paw, as it were. :grin: Wash 'em with baby shampoo (well.....wash is not the correct term. SOAK the fiber), spin, rinse (again - SOAK without soap), spin, spread to dry.

Bunny fur is VERY warm, so be prepared for that. :grin:
(spin a yarn)
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