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Living now like the past for the future.

Home Forums SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES Peak Oil – where are we headed? Living now like the past for the future.

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    harooney, Thats quite a lot of wheat you are going through making bread for the family. I have in the past alway got my wheat from a relative that grows it and it has been chemical free. I have usually got a ton at a time and store it in 44 gal drums. Most was for animals but I always kept two drums aside for us but we would hardly use half a drum for our use.

    I had thought about growing some myself but changed my mind when I realised it was easier to go and get it from family for the same price they got from the wheat board.

    I love the old slow combustion stove as it warms the whole house and supplies the hot water in winter. Use it for drying a lot of fruit leather and such as well and preserving with the FV stove top preservers. Also have a gas stove for summer and I am toying with the idea of making my own methane gas for it. Just to save a bit and not get caught out at some time in the future.

    We have some solar and wind power but am in the process of going 12 volt for most things and will use the inverter for the other needs. We are trying our best to grow as much as we can and that looks like we will be sharing or swaping with others.

    Coming back to the bread. Would you go through a few loves each day for that many in the family. You could try sourgam or what is called milo for making bread also but make sure the grain is fairly fresh as tha tast seems to change a bit. Its easy to grow around the garden or any spare spaces.



    I think that the secret of survival is community. No preindustrial civilization ever expected a family to be totally self sufficient and capable of all forms of work. There will be those who grow wheat well, those who are good at textile crafts, those who do pottery or metalwork or whatever. And each should trade and share their skills so that we have the benefits of experts in every field.


    Andre wrote:my (pessimistic) outlook is that when PO hits and things really start getting ugly, the banks/govt will hold money so they don’t go bankrupt.

    Spot on. This is one of the first things that happen. Ask anyone in Argentina or Greece and most of them will say they have money, they just can’t get to it.

    If you’re under 50 you can forget about your super too. That will be long gone by the time you get to “retire”.


    Im under 50, much of mine went down the GFC gurgler already.


    I have come to realise that my family will never be fully prepared, nor will we ever be fully self sufficient… we do not have the time, the money, and perhaps the determination/ motivation?, to get to those points, therefore, it is imperative that in amongst my time trying to be prepared, learning skills, gathering equipment, growing food, learning herbal medicine etc… that some of my energy should go into campaigning the government for solutions, and alot of it should go into getting my community in a better position too.

    I guess that means I am still relying on convenience items & appliances & oil sucking resources, in so many ways, because without them, I wouldn’t have time for any of it…


    harooney wrote:

    I joked with DH about putting it where my current gas/electric stove is now. I wondered if I would rue the idea or whether it was actually practical to do something like that. …

    My question, what routines are you getting into now, even if it is more effort, to prepare yourself and your family, and does anyone use alternatives to gas and electricity for cooking?

    Or, am I making work for myself now when I could keep with the easy lifestyle of mod cons and put energy in elsewhere?

    A woodstove is a good idea – if you can access the wood. It needs to be certain types, not just any old wood as some will clog up your system or burn too hot or too fast. Talk to suppliers in your area about costs and availability.

    We have several routines which add time to our week but are better for us in the long run – vege gardening, chook and duck raising, lactofermentation, making bread, yogurt, cheese, kefir, beer, and more. We re-use greywater and we limit electricity use (eg. one light at night, turn off standby power, etc).

    We have a solar oven which saves a lot on cooking energy but you do need to be there to tend it. It is great for a Sunday Roast, casseroles, curries and more. Mine will even bake a loaf of bread. Look around – I’ve seen a design that uses an old satelite dish which will can be used to fry things.

    By the way – we all seem to consider that wheat bread is an essential. Try going without it for a while or cutting down. There are many other starchy foods that are just as good for you, that can be grown at home or otherwise sustainably locally. For example we eat potato, sweet potato, rice (local biodynamic), corn (as in polenta or cornbread, requires no flour), cassava, taro. Also you can eat whole grain wheat, buckwheat, barley, oats, millet and more just like you might eat rice. you can also make sprouted breads that require no grain grinder. You can make potato starch, chick pea flour or arrowroot flour at home (or buy it) and use them to make many kinds of fritter type things that are delicious for brekky.

    Anyway – we do these things because making stuff from scratch and having a variety is healthier for us – and it might come in handy one day.


    to Estimate what you need for a family I found this really good web-site

    I did ours last year with 5 adults and 1 child and it said we will need 825lbs of wheat. They say you need around a 1 ton of wheat a year for an average family.

    it also says I need 137lbs of flour so you can add that to the wheat.

    137lbs of corn meal

    137 lbs of oats

    275lbs of rice

    137lbs of pasta. Which can be added to wheat to make your own

    total 1648 lbs of grains


    165 dried beans

    26 lima beans

    55 soya beans

    26lbs lentils

    26lbs of dry soup mix

    total 324 lbs legumes


    22lbs of shortening

    11 gallons of Vegetable oil

    11 quarts of Mayo

    6 quarts of salad Dressing

    22lbs of peanut paste

    Total 138lbs of fat anf oils


    330lbs of dry milk powder

    66 cans of evaporated milk

    71 lbs of other dairy

    TOtal 412 of milkand dairy


    16lbs honey

    220lbs sugar

    16 lbs brown sugar

    6 lbs molasses

    16lbs of corn syrup

    16lbs jams

    33lbs of powdered fruit juice

    6 lbs geltine

    Toatal 329 lbs sugars


    6lbs of baking powder

    6lbs of bicarb

    3 lbs of yeast

    28 lbs of salt

    3 gallons of Vinegar


    84 gallons water

    6 gallons bleach


    220 lbs of apples

    220 Lbs Applesauce

    165 Lbs Banana chips

    192 lbs fruit mixture

    220 lbs fruit juice

    Total 1017 lbs of fruit and juices mainly in tins or jars


    165 lbs corn

    165 lbs peas

    165 lbs green beans

    165 lbs carrots

    220 lbs potatoes

    28 lbs onions

    110 lbs tomatoes

    Total lbs 1017 of vegetables.

    This is just an estimate. You can add what you like and take away what you don’t.

    It seems a lot but I have been buying one or 2 more things every time they are on special. Like beans and like.


    This is just a small list of what you should be storing.

    don’t forget Babies and young children If they are on the bottle extra bottles won’t be lost and the teats. Nappies. Extra cloth will never be to waste. Their creams washes etc

    For dogs and cats their food. We have only one dog now so I have been getting extra tinned food for him. plus any thing he might need

    things like matches, bullets sewing needs


    A lot of talk of wheat here. Maybe if you can’t grow it or process it, then looking at a life without wheat is the way to go.

    Sweet potato and bread fruit grow like weeds here. Corn and maize grow pretty well too and would work as chook food as well. The chooks and turkeys breed well. The only thing we need now is cows and pigs which we are working towards. I have a concern that stock piles only last for so long and after that you still need to survive.

    We have the bricks to build an outdoor wood oven. It’s on the to do list. I would like to get solar power too. we have heaps of room onthe shed. We just don’t have the money right now. I guess some form of rebate will come back eventually.


    In Medieval times, peasant bread was made of just about any grass seed which came along, soft white wheat bread is a modern luxury.

    Good point Greth .. many other crops to grow for ‘bread’.. though I dare say what we regard as bread may not be the same as back then in Ye Olde Dayse :tongue: still, food is food.. :tup:

    but back to the original question:

    My question, what routines are you getting into now, even if it is more effort, to prepare yourself and your family, and does anyone use alternatives to gas and electricity for cooking?

    Or, am I making work for myself now when I could keep with the easy lifestyle of mod cons and put energy in elsewhere?

    Briefly – I turned vegetarian since I know I won’t kill my own; I’ve got 60 acres to play with – we’ll need to be conservative with water and electricity as we will be totally reliant on dam/tank and solar/wind power.

    I intend to be as self-sufficient as I can and will learn many new skills in the coming years – seed collection/storage, cooking, preserving, sewing, knitting, weaving/spinning/felting, animal husbandry (pigs, poultry,alpacas, horses, dairy cows, dairy goats), pottery, carpentry and gardening. (I’ve done a permaculture design course)

    I have a bit of knowledge in some of those areas, but still room for improvement.

    I’ll be an owner-builder, (the only assistance I’ll require is plumbing – and that is only because of council red-tape:@ ).

    People say it seems to be a lot of work. Yes it is (I have no allusions contrary) but I have two things going for me.. I WANT to do it, so I don’t see it as ‘work’, but a labour of love; and secondly, if I don’t do it, survival (in relative comfort) will not happen.

    Like the majority of the people I know – I could wait until the last minute, but then wtshtf.. I am sure they will regret it.

    rant over (until next time 🙂 )


    Andre, I can’t wait til you move down here for good. You are definately on the same track as us. I’m not sure how we will go killing an animal for food yet, We intend to get some meat chooks but I have a feeling that we won’t be able to do it when it comes to the crunch, so we will probably eat more veges and fruit. Not a big deal, it can be done.

    It most definately a lot of work doing it all yourself. We are lucky because Steve is a plumber and if we can find an electrician around here because we can do the rest.

    I reckon it is going to take us a couple of years to get to where I want to be, so I’m glad I’ve started on the journey. There just seems like sooooo much to do and then there is always the next project.

    I agree that we can do without so much wheat for bread there is a lot of other options that would be a lot easier and more sustainable in the long run. You just have to get your head around trying out new things.


    I think maybe the real crunch to our lifestyles is a lot closer than many realise. If you cant do everything make sure you have some supplies at hand in the very near future. Be prepared for the worst and if life is not so bad it wont matter quite as much.



    I am with Greth in that I believe that community is essential to survival. I dont think that we can do everything ourselves but we are very lucky in that we live in a fabulous rural community where we all know each other and look out for each other. We have chooks, ducks, damaras (sheep) and boer goats as well as alpacas which guard the sheep and provide fibre. I can spin but dont currently although I do weave, knit, crochet and sew. We also have fruit trees and a big vegie garden. We have friends (10kms away) who grow and grind wheat and also olive oil, another friend with a winery and another who has bee hives and does honey. I think we need to do a lot more in terms of power generation before I am happy with where we are at but we are getting there.

    I think that one of the top things on anyones preparation list should be to build your community links to ensure you have people who value you and care enough to look out for you trusting that you will do the same for them.

    jennifer g

    the melons the melons the melons…..:lol:


    Andre, we dont kill our own, but DH does repair work for a butcher, so we use skill exchange there!

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