Homesteading After a Collapse
Kevin Felts 08.14.17
As the new chicks were being moved to the main chicken house, I started thinking about what problems the farm would face in the event of a full collapse. So much of our daily lives are intertwined with modern technology. Everything from our food to transportation depends on some form of technology.
Take technology away, how would you perform tasks around a farm?
For a lot of answers I look to the past. How did our grand parents and great grandparents go about their daily lives without modern technology?
For example, to fill up the water barrel at the chicken house, a sump pump is used to pump water from a creek to the barrel. Without electricity, there would be an issue with getting water to the chicken house. Instead of pumping water from the creek to the barrel, maybe build a rain catch system?
Even with a rain catch system, here in southeast Texas it is not uncommon to go two months with little to no rain. July and August are usually dry, hot months. It would be difficult to store two months of water for chickens, much less larger livestock. My brother tells me, each of his cows can go through five gallons of water each day.
The simple fix is to move the livestock closer to the water source.
Then there is the issue with drinking water. A lot of farms depend on wells, wells that operate off electricity.
On a cool fall morning, roosters can be heard from half a mile. Any loud sounds livestock make could be like a dinner bell to hungry looters.
It does not have to be livestock, operating equipment such as a tractor makes plenty of noise. Maybe cutting some firewood with a chainsaw? Even a backyard garden tiller can be heard for a couple of hundred yards.
In the event of a collapse, people will be looking for food. Livestock and farm equipment would be like a dinner bell.
First thing someone is going to say is “compost. The honest truth is, we have grown dependent on commercial fertilizer. Even with composting, it would nearly impossible to grow enough food.
In the middle ages, farmers used a three field rotation system.
- One field would be used.
- Second field would have manure spread on it.
- Third field would not be used.
The following season, the crops would be moved to the second field, with the third field receiving manure and the first field sitting. When a field sits and nothing is planted, it is called fallow.
Rather than using a three field system, modern farmers plant every piece of land they can. Over the last few decades farmers have been mono-cropping. Which means, a single crop is grown on the land. This depletes the soil to where anything that grows can only be grown with commercial fertilizer.
After a collapse, millions of acres that have been mono-cropped for decades would be unusable. It could take years for soil fertility to return.
There are numerous other factors that could face farmers, such as fuel for the tractor. Depending on how the fuel is rationed, it may not be a problem for a couple of years.
Food for the livestock. Even animals that graze and forage could face problems.
A portion of the corn my grand father grew was for the cattle, pigs, and chickens.
So, what did we miss and what would you like to talk about? Post your comments below.