“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Home is where you can live. Clouds on the horizon?

It has always been a wonder to me that the Indians were able to live up in these mountains before the advent of white settlers. I can see how it was possible during most of the year, but winter is very bleak here.  I know they grew squash and beans, as well as corn. I wonder how they stored them for winter. In the summer, the heat and humidity are so intense that anything unprotected will rot or mildew in short order. They were stone age people prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Just can't figure it out. They did survive here, and in villages that in some cases had thousands of residents. I live near one of those sites,and DeSoto chronicled the fact in his journals. It's not a vague academic curiosity either. If I knew how they did it, I could do it myself if ever I had to.

This is an artist's rendition of the Indian village Desoto encountered at a site near us. Based on archeological excavations in the 1950's.  How did they feed all those people through the winter?

I've worked hard over the years to make this place viable. I can get through just about any weather or natural event.  Not much I can do about a forest fire, or an earthquake, or a tornado. All of those are potential threats here. But for the most part, everything up here is ship shape. If there's snow , or ice and below zero temps I can live quite pleasantly, even if I lose the grid. I'm comfortable up here. I'm at ease.  Just having a place to live doesn't make it home. It has to be somewhere you are safe in, content in. Someplace that suits you.  I've been thinking about that a lot lately, because I'm also aware that keeping the buildings , meadow, vehicles, and such "up" is getting harder. I had a hell of a time lifting a fifty pound sack of cracked corn today. Ever try to lift a bag of cement? You know how it shifts on you and it's hard to grip? Try corn sometimes. Cracked corn is the worst.

Well, I guess rather than worrying about tomorrow I'll just keep handling today.

Here's a good video in the "for what it's worth "category. It's about some of the people who went to Obama's "town hall" meeting about guns . He was not at all pleased with them. Barrack Hussein was expecting his worshipers on the show and these folks weren't in that category.

Growing Number of Sheriff's and Police Chiefs Joint Call to Arms

The link above goes to the story accompanying the video.  As violent crime spreads, more and more law enforcement officials are urging people to take care of themselves.

  I guess out here in the countryside, we've know that a long time.  Some years back I talked to our Sheriff about some extra patrols in our area. We were having some troubles with Hispanic's from Hall county coming out into our part of the national forest to "do business", and they were harassing some of the older folks down on the paved county road. Just for fun, because they could. The Sheriff had just reduced his force  of deputies significantly because of budget cuts associated with the 2007 debacle in Georgia.  He told me "you folks are on your own out there."

Other people are getting the message now I guess.

Cheap oil in and of itself is good. But it can be a harbinger of economic problems ahead.

Today was a hard one for people with money in the market. The Dow plummeted again, and oil is going down. I worked in that industry for 20 years, and I find it hard to believe that oil is as low as it is. A lot of contracts that were profitable at oil over a hundred a barrel are now going to destroy a great many people and businesses who are stuck with commitments that will ruin them at this price.  This after Barrack Hussein waxed eloquent about all he has done for the economy.  It will take awhile for the overall effects of these events to filter down to the man in the street, but they will. If the trend with the market and oil continues, those who are been preparing all these years for they knew not what will be glad of it. Those who took the cruises and bought the vacation homes may have cause to regret it.

 I learned my lesson the hard way in 2007.  I can be relatively sedate about the turmoil in the market now, as my money is primarily in tangibles, not the ephemeral data money on some broker's screen. But again, this kind of thing is an indicator that something bad may be coming.

It's a sign, rather than a calamity in it's own right as far as I'm concerned. I've heard all about the "just leave it in and it will come back" theory. I notice that the proponents of this philosophy seem to have an almost mystical ability to read the market. At least, when they tell the story to other people. My old boss was good at that. He was happy to relate his successes in second guessing events, but I noticed the times he guessed wrong and lost a pile were rarely mentioned.

All of these things, combined with the other events going on in our society today, makes me wonder.

The book of Revelation (see Kymber, no "s") seems to be relevant.

When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius…." [Rev. 6:5-6]

Well, all play and no fun makes Harry's a dull blog.

This clip is from a South Park episode about Imagination Land.  I called it "The President of Imagination Land welcomes the refugees."   Warning: Very Vulgar Language.


  1. Harry - I have a feeling that the Indians made use of underground root cellars to stop food freezing in winter. Pumpkin type vegetables we store out in the open here in winter - as long as air can move around it, the thick skin keeps it viable. Ditto they probably made a version of jerky for their protein requirements. Looking at the artists impression, I would hazard a guess that if they grew crops, dried beans / corn would be a good storage item in one of those structures - inside the collective "warehouse" buried in a clay pit, and covered with a dried animal skin. I guess what I'm saying is that where there's a will, there's a way :)

    1. Dani, here's the strange thing. In Southern Georgia, the Indians built big towns , with fields enclosed by walls. Down there, at Kolamoci, I saw excavated houses and they did have root celler type pits. But up here in the mountains, I can't find any indication that the archeologists found storage pits. I even went to a national forest "expert" on the Indian ruins preservation and she couldn't really pin it down. She felt like they probably stored the types of food you mentioned, especially squash type vegetables, beans and corn also, in communal storage but what it was they apparently don't have proof of. The Indians in both North and South Georgia did grow lots of corn, beans, pumpkins, squash. They also ate fish, turkey, venison and I guess small mammals. It's just perplexing to me. I mean, given their total lack of technology I can't see how they could have stored up enough food to feed hundreds, let alone thousands. This place is barren in winter. It's stone cold rocks and trees and that's about it.

      As you say, they did it somehow. I'm just not sure how and I have been trying to find out for a long time.

      Why would you cover up the food in a storage pit, Dani? If I build a root cellar, I was just going to put plastic storage bins in there with the food sitting on straw but I never thought of covering it up. Would it be better to put the plastic lids on the containers, do you think?

    2. Harry - we store our food like pumpkin/squash/potatoes in regular card-board boxes in our dirt-floor basement which is an excellent root cellar. when it comes to potatoes/carrots/beets/root veg....we pull them from the ground and leave the dirt on them until we are ready to use them. for root veg we pull them out of the ground as needed and then do the big harvest in mid december. this way we have root veg until late may and by that time we are eating salads.

      one last thing - we cover all of the cardboard boxes with old towels.

    3. Kymber, we don't really have dirt, we have red clay full of flint. If it rains heavily the clay gets soggy and water logged.Don't the bottom of your boxes get wet? Why do you cover them up with the towels?

    4. Harry - Covering them would block the light out, allow for some moisture and keep them fresh and crisp for longer - sorta like leaving them in the ground.

      Plastic lids no - wouldn't allow for air


    5. Harry - jam built a small shelf thingy that is deep but not tall and we keep the boxes there off of the ground. also he hung an old blue sheet in front of the shelf/boxes so they are always in the dark. we cover the boxes with towels just to keep additional dirt and debris (like insulation that the squirrels keep ripping to make nests out of) from getting on them. make sense? if not - just yell. sending love as always. your friend,

    6. Dani, I don't know how I missed this. But I found it when I went back checking for exactly that, comments I missed.

      Thanks for the link. I'd have to get a back hoe up here to do any serious digging, the red clay here is like cement.

    7. Kymber, I see what it is. I knew there was some reason you wanted to hang the towels on there but I thought it had something to do with water.

      I have to do something like that, just because if the power goes and I eventually run out of my stored diesel so the generator goes, I have to have some alternative way of storing food. Which I won't have to store if I don't give gardening a higher priority!

  2. I suppose they had a few thousand years to perfect their system. Still, every history of such civilizations that I've ever read involves some years of death by starvation.

    1. I'd think so. Too bad the Indians here didn't keep any written records and since they got small pox from DeSoto's men, they got wiped out before anybody recorded any of their oral traditions.

  3. Harry - we have a similar situation like you - last year we didn't leave the Manor for over a month and a half - not once. and we were fine with it. we actually like getting snowed in - gives us a great reason not to have to attend meetings and such. we're bad like that! and thanks for remembering about the "s" - bahahahahah!
    sending much love, as always! your friend,

    1. Sometimes I feel completely content up on the mountain. Then other days I feel badly because now is when we should be going places and doing things. Nobody can tell either of us to do this or do that now and we are free to do whatever we want. I watch the travel channel and see all these great places we haven't been. It's not like we have forever left. We make plans and then we just don't actually do them.

      I'm going to have a bible published just for you and then I will have every place it says"revelation" say "revelations". Then I will say " but look, Kymber this King Harry version of the bible says "revelations!"

    2. that would drive me absolutley crazy! as i told you before, it is a pet peeve of mine - bahahahahah! xoxo

    3. Hope it isn't as cold up there in Canada as it is here tonight. We had snow last night and today and now it's all frozen solid.

  4. harry,
    go to 'ask jackie' at backwoods home magazine and look in the archives for root cellaring and dehydration.
    james townsend [jas. townsend and son] site on internet has recipes for pemmican and other long keeping foods.

    in the southwest the storage pits were, i think, covered with a clay cover to keep out rodents.
    depending on your weather, humidity et cetera you use a bit different methods for storage.
    countryside magazine also has archives.
    'the deliberate agrarian' blog has articles on winter storage. he uses a clamps, which essentially is an outdoor pit lined with straw in which mostly root crops are buried.

    it crosses my mind you might contact the cherokee nation. i think their headquarters are in n. carolina. i'm sure they have relevant info. and the smithsonian institute museum of the american indian.
    just a few thoughts.

    1. I actually went to Chatsworth, where there was a Cherokee Nation tribal office. But everyone in there looked like a white person and they only knew about benefits if you were one sixteenth Cherokee, things like that. I went and talked to an anthropology professor at NGC and he told me all about crops and such but could only speculate on food storage. But you have some good ideas there.

      One problem is that there are so many people and information sources out there on the root cellar. I have several articles, some from Backwoods Home and they are not in complete agreement. I guess what I really need is someone here to mentor me because where you live seems to make a huge difference in exactly how you build and use a root cellar. I'm grateful for the suggestions, all of which are valid. I'll give it a shot.

    2. Harry,

      I believe Native Americans would use high altitude locations to help freeze and dry their meats for future uses. They would also use clay pots buried under the ground, or root cellars also known as cache pits.

      Using a dark cool place to store foods will allow them to last so much longer.

    3. Well, they were sure in the right spot here then. It's plenty cold here in winter. They'd be out of luck in summer but in winter if they had the food, they could certainly keep it cool.

  5. Well I think the Indians must have lost weight during the winters. But I know nuts store pretty well at the lower temps of winter if they aren't shelled yet so they probably did a lot of that. Plus hunting and a few plants and roots that are edible in the winter. I'm sure it wasn't easy.

    1. It must have been really tough. I hardly ever see deer, hogs or bear in winter. I don't know what nuts there are here, I don't know of any that you could eat, actually. But my knowledge of plant life here is very limited. I did invest a lot of money in a book on edible plants for this location, but I never read it!