Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stick a Fork in It Already ...

I'm done.


I guess I owe an apology ... or at least an explanation. The first I offer wholeheartedly. I certainly never meant to upset anyone. As for the second ... .

I've been blogging for over three years. I started out in December 2005 with the thought of using this as a business marketing tool, but if you know that my "job" is a virtual secretary and you've read my blog, you know that the two are as different from each other as ... well, as different as my having a B.A. in English and training as an electronics technician in the military.

But that's me - I'm all over the place.

Which is why I'm done.

My focus for the past couple of years has been TEOTWAWKI and ways to survive it, but I'm not a "build a bomb shelter stocked with MREs, bottled water and an arsenal" kind of person, and I'm not really that good at telling other people what they should be doing.

My blog has been my way of, kind of, talking out loud about what I thought would work for my particular situation - which is a suburban lot in a small resort community on the outskirts of the largest metropolitan area in my state.

Of course, as has been pointed out to me, largest metropolitan area in my State is pretty atypical of urban areas in general, and not necessarily like other places that might share my definition. Maine is, afterall, a "rural" state and even the urban areas aren't urban like Boston or New York City are urban.

Neither is "my" particular suburban area the kind of suburban area that Kunstler rails against. It's actually much closer to what he wants to see more of - a small, fairly walkable community.

Still, I thought, maybe, my experiences adapting in suburbia could provide a sort of mental springboard to help others start thinking out loud, outside of the (big) box (stores).

Because, even though my town is only two miles away, from October to April, it's, essentially, a boarded-up, ghost town. We still have a grocery store (which, I discovered, to my delight, carries many of the same "local" brands that our bigger "chain" grocery store carries - at a comparable price :), a hardware store, a "dollar" store, a few take-out food joints, and a really cool toy store. Most things, though, we have to travel to find - at least six miles or more.

So, in that respect, I do live in a "suburb", like the ones Kunstler hates.

Lately, though, I've found as events in the world have more closely mirrored those I was warning against, I have less to say. Once the building is on fire, it's too late to tell people if they don't stop swinging those torches they're going to cause a fire. The only thing left to do is to get out of the building and save as much as you can.

So, when I said "I'm done", that's what I was doing - getting out of the building. I'm done. I don't have any more to say about what we should do.

I've already said:

** Plan to stay in your house, because moving is probably not going to be an option, and you should start NOW putting your money into your house to make it livable with fewer external inputs - instead of into "investments" or savings.


** For heaven's sake, PAY THE MORTGAGE! In a survival situation, which the future may become, the order of necessity is: shelter, water, fire, food ... in that order! And anyone in a survival situation who has deviated from that order, has died. Shelter first.

I just don't know how many more ways I can make it clear that anyone who is in danger of losing his house and opts instead to buy food or clothing, pay the car payment, put gasoline in the car, buy a latte at Starbucks, purchase the latest CD, pay the electric bill/gas bill/cable bill, is swinging a torch. First the house payment, then, everything else, and if there's any money left over, make "improvements" on the house - add insulation or replace drafty windows or rip up carpeting and put down something that doesn't require electricity or large amounts of water to keep clean.

And don't feed me excuses like, but I have to have my car to get to my job so that I have money to pay the mortgage, because there are ways to get to work that don't involve YOUR car. They take more work and aren't as convenient, but they are there.

Or, keep the car, and live in it when you can't pay the mortgage.

I've already recommended:

** Set up an area for small livestock, like chickens and rabbits, and if they are prohibited in your area, work to change that ... or consider keeping them some place where they won't be seen, like in a basement or garage (whew! and boy did I get a lot of flack about that one!). I also suggested that, perhaps, we could redefine "livestock." Some animals we consider "pets", which aren't prohibited by any town or HOA ordinances, are considered food in other parts of the world, like guinea pigs ..., and pigeon or quail.

As I told a woman I was talking to the other day, the fact that we aren't all raising chickens in urban/suburban settings is a "recent" thing, only since the 40's or 50's, as most people until that time, had some animals in the backyard - yes, even in the suburbs ... especially in the suburbs.

I already admonished:

** Localize your diet, because if supply lines are interrupted or stopped, you'll want to know where you can find alternatives. It's tough to change food habits in an emergency, and better to know that you can live without diet soda than to try going through withdrawals when you're stressed out about other things.

I already warned:

** Utilities may not be available, but most of us are unlikely to be able to afford some elaborate solar power system. As such, the better idea is to power down, a la The Riot for Austerity (and I got a lot of flack about that one, too).

Recently, I read Dmitry Orlov's book Reinventing Collapse about Russia's collapse in the 1990s, and I read FerFal's account of his experiences surviving Argentina's economic and social collapse, and in both, they described lives that would have been made easier, if the people had been able to prepare by having a quarter acre suburban lot for a garden and a few chickens or rabbits, owning their homes, and being less dependent on the "grid."

Unlike Russia and Argentina, *we*, here in America, do have the opportunity to prepare ... at least, two years ago we had time to prepare, when I first started talking about it, and published my "Surviving the Apocalypse in Suburbia" series and last year when I joined Verde's "Twenty-one Days to Collapse" scenario.

*We* were forewarned.

And now, the building is on fire, and our government is serving as a great big Santa Ana wind, and rather than dousing the flames, they're breathing life into as it gets bigger and bigger, and more out of control.

I just don't have any more to say about it. Fact is, I can only talk about my clothesline (I just got a new one, by the way, as the retractable one broke one too many times ;) or my chickens so often before I start to sound like a broken record. Some of you may not remember trying to listen to LPs that were damaged. I do, and it was annoying.

Of course, I guess the real question is why I left without so much as a by your leave.

I needed to make a clean break from this blog, which is why I deleted all of the content, but at the same time, I didn't just want to disappear, which is why I brought it back with the fork. So that you would know it was a considered departure and not a blogger fluke.

If I'd left any content or just said, "be right back", there'd be too much of a temptation just to keep regurgitating the same message.

But I also didn't want to leave some long explanation about why I was leaving and where I was going, because, frankly, I don't know. I don't even know that I'm leaving.

I guess what I'm saying is that I need to leave Home Is ..., but I really enjoy writing. This blog has been a very important part of my life for a very long time, and I won't, likely, be going very far.

What I'm really thinking is that I'd like to dust off my old creative writing skills, and maybe do a series of life in the future posts, which was the subject of my NaNoWriMo novel.

So, that's where I am, and I'm very sorry to have caused a stir.

I owe a special comment to a couple of people:

Barefoot who said some really nice things about my blog on her blog. I appreciate it.

Bezzie , Rach and E4, who privately emailed me, concerned about my sudden departure.

Thanks, a lot, guys. It was nice to realize that someone actually noticed ... and cared enough to comment on it ;).

I'm still here, and I'll be back ... just, maybe, a little different. We'll see.


  1. Sorry I didn't notice. I get all my updates through blog reader so I wouldn't know if someone deleted a blog. I'm sorry you feel the need to leave, I'll miss you. We've had some good conversations and you've given me a lot to think about.

  2. Wendy, I completely appreciate the need to just "get out" and leave it all behind. And I DO appreciate the need to focus more on home than internet. However, do know that you'll be missed if you DO leave in a permanent way, and I hope you'll let me know if you decide to keep blogging on ANY subject in the future. Hell, it doesn't even have to be terribly interesting. Gods know MY blog isn't. *wry smile* I wonder why folks keep reading. I just love seeing what it's like in other parts of the country (and world) as I know my chances of visiting such places are pretty well nil now. Simple things, like sharing a new (and frugal?) recipe; showing off a completed project; blogging about gardening & homesteading adventures; schooling stuff..... It doesn't have to be fancy, and it doesn't have to be "preaching to the choir" stuff..... I just like having the chance to get to know other folks that have different experiences and live in different places than I do. Please consider that even without all your re-hashing of issues you feel you've rehashed to death, your day-to-day input and experienes will be missed.

    Ok. kiddo's grumbling for the computer and I need to get some pretzels made for a Farmgirl get-together tonight. THANK YOU for giving us a head's up as to what's going on with you and your blog!

  3. Hey, Wendy...Thanks for the explanation. I get why you have to move on...I have thought the same things (how silly it is to continue talking about collapse when it is HAPPENING). I have also been feeling a little like the computer is one of the Obstacles I recently posted about.

    Anyway...Thanks so much for letting us know that you are okay, and give us a heads up if you are going to start something new...Please keep in touch....

  4. Thank goodness! I know I don't comment much, but I do read as often as I can. I have enjoyed so many of your posts and have taken them to heart.

    So thrilled that something horrible has not happened to you that caused this forking!

  5. It was a shock to see just a picture of a fork and I really felt like I lost a friend. Strange, I know, but I do regard you as a friend, someone I can check in on and read about your day or your thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.

    Thanks for the explanation. Sometimes I feel like I spend more time on the computer than I should, but I also look at it this way-- It's MY time for ME... My kids have their play time, My husband has his music, what do I have? My blog! It has lead me to "meet" some wonderful people (like you) and I have gleaned so much information from different bloggers- strawberry wine (sorry yours flopped), chicken raising and care, garden ideas just to name a few.

    I'd certainly continue to read your stories if that is the route you go, and if you choose not to post again, please know, you'll be missed. xo

  6. Phew. I thought you were steak. LOL

    It is important to know when to take a break. I have enjoyed your blog. I think you have a refreshing perspective on everything that is going on. If you still want those artichokes could you send me you email again? I did not write yours down before you deleted the post.
    My email is MHCOFG@ I look forward to sharing my wealth in May.

  7. Wow, I think I've been doing the same thing without really intending to. I havn't been around, and don't know what has happened.

    I know that I too came to a point where I'd said what I'd said and it was time to focus on working and living and being and not quite so much blogging.

    But now, it seems like a time to take stock, review, reinvest and I was coming around to see what some of my favorite bloggers had been up to.

    I appreciate the taking time to get back to base. I wish you all good health, good tidings, and would be interested in reading your writing in the future.

  8. Wow. I hadn't been back and then today just felt like I should drop back by. Glad I did. I had posted at my place about the sense of loss when you disappeared.

    I really appreciate you stopping back long enough to say "hey, I'm fine". :)

    If you do something else, I would be honored if you would let me know at meadowlarkgurl that's a gmail address.

  9. I just checked back by chance today and found your addendum. Thank you for letting us know what was up. I tried to find an addy to email you but couldn't dig one out of my files.

    I think Kati said things pretty well so I won't repeat to much of it.

    It was disconcerting to find little more than an empty page where I had once found a voice from back home.

    Take whatever time you need to rest from this but remember that there are folks out her in the ether that care about you and thinking about you and you are always welcome to come back.

    I'll keep Home Is... on my following thing.

    Could you do us a little favor? If you start a new blog post a link to it here in a fresh post so Blogger will let us know?

  10. Glad to know you are ok. I haven't been able to get on lately. I have truly and thoroughly enjoyed your writings and insigts. It has quite effectively helped me and my husband as we go on about building our "city-farm". Best luck in your endeavours and i look forward to reading more from you.

  11. Hey. I Understand. Good Luck!! I Hope I get as prepared as you are!
    I wish I could have read over some more of your past blogs to gather more insperation and guidence...

  12. noooooooooooo people really do need to hear the same message in delightfully inspiring ways.

    i hope to remain friends. e-mail me if you care to. omelay (at) gmail

    your faithful servant,

  13. I agree with some of the comments here. I have been known to read some of your posts several times. Others I didn't read, but skimmed and planned to go back and read eventually.

    I say, publish it, and I'll be the first to buy one. Then I can put it in the outhouse along with Possum Living and read a few pages each day.

  14. Oh pretty please, could you put the archives back & just disable commenting? That way it would still be here, we could mull over what you've said, but you wouldn't be bugged about any commentary.... you could move on while we could still read and learn from your writings. Please?

  15. I'm just relieved it wasn't something someone said that made you want to take your toys and go home. Glad you're still commenting on mine :)

  16. OMG, I am behind on reading (mainly due to taking a blogging break myself). I hope you continue on when you feel refreshed! You are helpful and I love your posts!

    Take care and I hope you are able to blog regularly (I do read and love your blog-just constantly get behind!!!)