As I do almost every fine summer/early fall evening, I was out herding the goats this evening, letting them browse on the grass, weeds and blackberries outside their pen. This is good for them, yes, but it also lessens the number of bales of hay I will have to buy over the winter. Every hour they browse saves me a few dollars.
And it was a beautiful evening. Really a picture perfect evening. The sky was (is) blue and pink; the mountain is putting on a show on the southeastern horizon; the grass is tall; the temperature is fine and pleasant; my house is secure and my children are healthy and all is seemingly right with the world.
So why am I consumed with anxiety?
The place I live in is practically Shangri-La, even accounting for the certain changes of the next few decades. Sure; there are probably a few examples of more secure, safer, more insulated and even more beautiful places (hard to imagine right now, with the sunset beaming its fiery broadcast through the northern and western windows). But this place (meaning my homestead) has nine out of ten advantages that spring instantly to mind: being situated in a country with 1) stable government, 2) high-level wealth (regionally speaking, even higher than the national average), 3) strong institutional utilities, 4) abundance of water (again, regionally speaking), 5) favorable historical climate, 6) good, fertile soil, 7) acreage (never enough, I know, but my five acres can theoretically support my family of five), 8) commanding view from the heights, 9) reasonable distance from large urban centers. I don't remember what the theoretical tenth advantage was.
And we, as a family, have rare advantages, not the least of which is a person with foresight, resources, and energy to prepare (that would be me, thank you, thank you). Also great (by global standards) personal wealth. Also an absence of the disadvantages of poor health or disability. Really, it's hard to imagine how we could be better situated for the upheavals of the proximal decades. Except perhaps to be located in Alaska.
So why am I consumed with anxiety?
Perhaps it's simply genetic. When I recently confided in my mother, she (after counseling me on the benefits of various pharmaceuticals) reciprocally confided in me that she, too, has been making preparations. I knew, of course, of the 140 remote and forested acres she had recently bought in Eastern Washington, but I did NOT know that she bought it for the same reasons that I have been fortifying my homestead. She's preparing too.
She has had a couple of three scattered wells installed. She has bought an adjacent property with a house and barn on it, and with it the essential equipment for running a farm, including a decent tractor. She is making an underground storage area for long term storage of food, water, hand tools, weapons and ammunition. She is paying for surveillance from the local constabulary (which of course may or may not survive a social breakdown). Her preparations are to mine as... well, as her resources are to mine. But she doesn't think I'm crazy.
It's only slightly discomfiting that I've always thought HER crazy.
Aside from the size, I think my place has certain advantages over hers, mostly having to do with water abundance and seasonal fire danger. But hers has the supreme advantage of remoteness and acreage. I've already told Homero that if anything were to happen here that necessitated our evacuation (attack on the refinery? Militia vying for control of the state highway? Hordes of zombies from Vancouver and Bellingham? Who the fuck knows) mom's place is where we would evacuate to.
That plan requires certain preparations of course. One I've already considered, but not yet put into motion: the evacuation kit. That would consist of a week's worth of food and water (and/or water purification supplies), warm and waterproof clothes, sleeping bags, fire making kit, propane canisters, propane cookstove and pans, the pressure canner, crank-radio and lanterns, batteries, rope, essential documents, essential toolkit, and food for the dogs. Probably three garbage cans full of stuff, plus water. It could all fit easily in the back of the pickup truck.
Okay, think about that. The pickup truck could also pull a trailer. On/in that trailer could be a cage full of chickens (including a rooster) and three or four goats (including a buck). Pickup can be kept full of fuel but we will need some extra fuel to get to mom's place, as it is about two hundred miles away by road.
Okay. It's late and I've far overspent my allotted worry time.