Closer to Goal


Been a few days, friends, but I could explain if I felt compelled too.  I don’t, but will anyway, because if you are here, we are probably to some degree simpatico.  You already understand.  Life, in the modern world, is busy, and we have things to do and people to meet and deadlines to appease.  I’m not claiming any additional hardship here, things just are what they are, and here on the Figure 8 we are working hard in the pursuit of  some goals that are finally yielding some results.

For example:  tonight’s meal will consist largely of food we have acquired for ourselves.  That’s elk meat, onions, spinach, and the bulk of ingredients Miss Wendy is presently putting together downstairs.  It smells so good I am drooling on the keyboard.

That is the result of hard work and vision and commitment.  And  it’s also a big deal, for us, given that we are trying to to divorce ourselves from the larger dependency situation, in whatever ways we can.

I  have no interest in some weird survivalist ideology.  Most of those people are nuts, brewing up weird scenarios without legitimate experience or a grounded philosophy to underwrite the nuttiness.   Who has time for that?

Still, I think there are portions of the larger discussion that are important.  None of which, importantly, is new.  This kind of thing has been happening for a thousand years.  The only thing new is that we can communicate it instantly—until Al Gore’s internet goes down.

Our grandparents, and certainly our great-grandparents, would think Wendy and I are bizarre, and maybe even “touched” for our choices and commitments, because what we are trying to do by choice barely reaches back to the every-day realities that informed their lives.

Which makes those choices all the more important.

We aren’t trying to prove anything to the larger world.  We have already accepted that the empire is in decline.  We are moving, in our small way, forward in the acceptance of that reality, and making the adjustments necessary to guarantee that we will have some means to combat what we see as an inevitable decline.  Read your history.  200-250 years, is about all that any empire can expect to enjoy.

Do the math yourself, I’m not making this up.   This American experiment is approaching the finish line.  Read your Facebook memes, and daily headlines in your news feeds, and tell me what the sum total of your understanding of them amounts too.

Also, we don’t believe in candidates.  If “your guy” gets elected, we don’t believe anything will ever get better.

History supports us.

What happens after that?  Not sure, but I know for certain the experiment is on its last lap.  What will define the experiment we are conducting, moving forward, is how small groups of people decide to send out the values that once made us great.

The America that your great-grandchildren are raised in will not resemble, to any degree, the America that you once enjoyed.

That’s a hard fact of history.  I don’t like it any more than  you do.

But tonight we have achieved our humble first goals.  We have started to assemble meals that we hunted, or raised, or worked for, outside of the grocery store.  That’s on goal, and it actually matters.  We know where it came from, how we fed it, how we acquired it, how we stored it, and how we cooked it.  Basic stuff, but entirely important in the larger context of an empire losing its mind.

It’s called responsibility, which the larger world is trying to divorce you from, each and every day.  Pay attention.  You might be surprised how they come at you.

That’s not a judgment.  I don’t have time for that, even if I wanted to indulge in the exercise.  But it is fact.  Undeniable fact, which any 30 minute television show will prove, given the artful pastiche of ads for the religion of prescription medications, the unrelenting attack on ambulatory white male adults, and any other upturning of established norms that have secured a healthy, peaceful, and largely prosperous, two centuries.

And so, what we are trying to pull off here in the woods, seems probably healthier, or at the very least, grounded in considered thinking about the modern world, and resembling a true resistance to the slowly crumbling reality of a dream.

So.  That’s my update.  I’ll be back soon, with a Spring Roundup report on the nature of our little empire in the woods, the Figure 8 Ranch, and some personal touches in-re moving the idea forward.



14 thoughts on “Closer to Goal

  1. And we are still trying to consume two shelves if frozen squash before this year’s garden starts to produce. Last year we gave away a thousand lbs. or close to it. That’s fun, too. Keep on harvesting!

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________


    • atta girl…wish I had room to raise that much…we would preserve all of it and do the same…I’m hoping to get just a fraction of that for us this year…no Golden Mantle invasions this year, for which I thank the barn cats. 🙂


  2. For years when production is low I suggest ding dongs, twinkles and pop tarts to add to the shelf. Don’t forget a bottle of vitamins especially vitamin C. Seriously, we have the vine borer beetle that tries to destroy my zucchinis- I hate that thing.


    • Is there some bug you can bring in that will eat that bug? We grow some dill, also, which attracts good bugs (I’d read that, turns out it is true) that kill just about everything trying to kill our garden. Lots and lots of dill around the edges. Just a thought.


    • It would be even more real if we were ENTIRELY dependent on it, because it would likely add an element of starvation, but each year we get a little better, a little smarter, and are figuring out what–and when–to grow stuff.


  3. Congratulations! That’s an accomplishment worthy of recognition. I’m hoping to approach that, but this year ain’t gonna be my year. Probably not next year, either, but I hope to make some movement in that direction.


    • Thanks, Keith. We’ve had several years of trouble…and this one is by no means over. The first year it was an old testament hailstorm in July. Second year was Golden Mantles and an horrific thing called an onion maggot. Its trench warfare, without a doubt, but we hope to win out, one trench line at a time.


  4. Remember the days when we milked the cow, butchered home grown meat, ate veggies from the garden? Our own butter…those were the days of hard work that paid off. We were young and not aware of any impending disaster. We just liked the lifestyle. Now we are trying to put away just to “have it on hand.” It is a good feeling to “be prepared” regardless of ones opinion of what may or may not happen.


    • Exactly. And of course I remember those days well. Probably ruined me for proper “mainstreaming” into larger society. Probably, in fact, caused a large-style f-you streak that I have carefully cultivated and nurtured over a lifetime. It’s one of my finer traits, actually. 🙂 We just think it’s just important to do all of this for the sake of learning how to live realistically on the planet–and we are just spoiled enough to be able to endure crop failures and bad hunting trips to Colorado–it’s humbling, for certain, but in our small opinions, enormously important.


  5. Don’t have much use for anybody who DOESN’T have a large-style F-you streak.
    The grand thing about this whole Crash & Reset ethos is that everything you do is worthwhile and satisfying for its own sake. Resilience is an important outcome, but the practice is the purpose.


    • 100 percent correct. Practice is purpose, and pain is discipline. I have suffered tremendous, real, heartache watching a producing garden be destroyed by a hailstorm. And I suffered no real consequences. Big lessons in that, because “the practice is the purpose.”


  6. There are a lot of great thoughts and words of wisdom flowing in thoughts above this one all of which make me proud to of had the childhood that I was raised with in Montana on our ranch with. I’m thankful that my dad taught and instilled in me the willingness to fight, think ahead and plan, be self reliant, and above all else love this great country and God. I can see he wasn’t alone in the way he thought, in some small way that brings me peace.


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