Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My "Can't Live Without" List

There are some things in life no one can live without...water, air, warmth and food.
But there are some things that you just don't want to live without. For some women, it might be shoes, for some guys it might be a shiny new car....Whatever, we all have those things in our lives that make it more enjoyable.
I was thinking about it today and wondering, if the SHTF, what items I currently have in my life that I would want to find a way to reproduce or somehow keep going.
My list and what I can do about it in a post-collapse world:
Ginger (the spice). I use ginger in a lot of cooking, in my spice tea, even put it in my bath in the winter to warm me up. Ginger grows in tropical areas, so my best bet is to get my hands on some ginger seed or fresh root stock and grow my own. Since we plan on moving to the North East US within a year, I guess I better plan on having a small hothouse for tropical type plants and such to feed my addiction to ginger!

I am going through all the spices I use and trying to figure out how I will grow them in the future. Cinnamon is a tough one, I don't think I could manage that. Pepper is another toughie, although I have heard of some folks in the US that have had limited success in hothouse growing small pepper trees/shrubs. Turmeric and other spices that go in curry is another area, also a tough endeavor.
I plan to keep investigating the ginger (and other spices) issue, there's gotta be a way!

Dr. Pepper. The only soda I haven't been able to banish from my life. The only soda I like. I don't suppose they'll give me the recipe, so I guess I will have to consider Dr Pepper as going the way of the dodo come the collapse! Now, I can make soda pop. Ginger beer, root beer, sarsaparilla, etc. have been home made for quite some time. I even have an old recipe for a lemon/barley beverage that bubbles like soda but is naturally fermented. It has a slight alcohol content (under 1%), but that won't be the main reason for making it. When chilled, it will be cold, tasty and refreshing.I suppose I will only make it for special occasions, though.

Citrus fruits...I guess we are back to the hothouse again. (That sucker is getting bigger all the time in my mind!) A couple of small lemon trees, a dwarf lime tree or three and definitely some dwarf orange and grapefruit trees.
I have been looking at charts to see what fruits and veggies will not grow outside in the shorter growing season in New England. Looks like we will need a hothouse AND a greenhouse!

I will miss computers and t.v. We plan to be off-grid and to generate our own electricity, but there won't be a lot to waste on entertainment! I mainly watch documentaries, I love them so! I watch a lot of History channel, to. Now, I can buy dvds of many of the programs I watch and then store them for later enjoyment.
I need to get instructional dvds in skills where we (as a family and as individuals) are lacking. I can go to youtube and find a lot of the instructional videos for free, too. I do have a program on my computer where I can download videos from youtube onto my computer and then burn them onto a dvd, so that's one way to get some instructional videos! (Well, if I can figure out that program!)

Most things that are on my *can't live without* list, I can make myself, I have found. I can sew and do leatherwork. I can bake and cook. I can do basket weaving and some woodwork.
I guess all that puts me ahead of the game in a post-collapse society, so that's a Good Thing!

Now...just gotta get my hands on the recipe for Dr Pepper.....


  1. Hmmmm... can't live without, huh? Well, I do tend to go into internet withdrawals... don't have to have TV or movies, but love my 'net! Also, books, but luckily I like to re-read, so I should be ok with my shelves of books. Food-wise, I can make my own pasta and grow my own spuds, tho it will be hard without cheese. After milking goats for a friend for a couple weeks this year, I know that's one animal project I don't want to take on, tho if the SHTF I'll have time, so maybe... Salt or pickled things. Guess I'd better stock up on salt and can lots of pickles, beets, dilly beans, etc, huh? Wow, you're making me think and that's a good thing!

  2. I'll second the spices. I live in zone 4 Iowa, so growing rosemary, cumin, pepper, ginger and turmeric is just probably not going to happen in the quantities I'd like. I'm hopeful that I can mitigate some of that and find hardy varieties of my absolute favorite, lavender, as well as hardy varieties of rosemary and cumin. Still working on it though.

    I'll miss the ridiculous amounts of cheese that are currently available so cheaply. I do like goat cheese and there are a couple of artisan cheese makers that have sprung up in Iowa lately, so I'm hopeful that I won't have to do entirely without.

    I'll miss Pandora. You know what I mean, the instant access to any type of music that fits my mood/chore/dance. I play piano, and sing, but really, if the internet ever dies, music is going to be a lot more localized, which will sadden me for a while. CD's and other stored music might help, for as long as there's enough power to run a stereo.

  3. Amarone, Brunello di Montalcino, Barbera, Syrah, Zin and porcino. Life is worth living.

  4. If you have the money and skills, what about a conservatory? It's a glass house attatched to the house, making use of the heat absorbtion in the walls. It's all about how much heat you can suck in and keep for your tropical plants. Think barrels of water in black tubs, black plastic or rocks on the ground and lots of bricks or stones here and there in your greenhouse. You can also do a double greenhouse, one inside another, for extra warmth. In summer it'll get too hot so have a way to cool it off - removable layer, opaque shading, open ends up. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while. I'm currently growing tumeric and ginger indoors but when I have the time (I have a 1yr old) and resources I'm going to try my hand at attatching a plastic greenhouse to the house.
    Good luck!

  5. Great idea, Amanda...I like the idea of a conservatory....
    When it gets too expensive to buy my favorite goodies, like ginger and other spices, I do want a way to grow my own!
    As for the amazing array of cheese I can currently get at the grocers...sigh...I guess I better start learning to make them!


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