Cheeseburger Gothic

Calling all Texans...

Posted January 19, 2009 by John Birmingham
I have a quick After America related research question. What kind of farming would you do in east Texas, besides running Bedak Whitetail beef cattle (to replace all the longhorns that disappeared in the Wave.)

Specifically what kind crops are you looking at if you had say two hunnert acres somewhere around Limestone or Robertson counties.

Or perhaps I should ask, if you were a small homesteader with that many acres, and you'd been tasked to run a mixed cropping farm under President Kippers resettlement scheme, where would be the land for that in Texas?

And, as a bonus question for everyone else, if not Texas, and if not anywhere within say four or five hundred miles of eastern seaboard, where?

104 Responses to ‘Calling all Texans...’

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19, 2009
1st comment!. Sorry mate, that's all I've got.

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
Since you've depopulated Illinois rather nicely, if I had to grow a crop here, I'd probably stick with the same crops that do well here now-corn, wheat, or soybeans. Good staple crops, though the yields might not be what they were pre-Event. Mind, though, that the climate here will also support potatoes, melons, and most vegetables and tree crops-apples, pears, walnuts.

What would grow in that part of Texas, though-someone from there will have to chime in on that.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted January 19, 2009
http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/hcl9.html

Specifically per Limestone County.

The population dropped to 18,100 by 1970; the year before, farms had numbered 1,434 and cotton production had totaled 2,608 bales. The number of milk cows declined from 7,627 in 1930 to 549 in 1969, and the number of fowl dropped from 159,961 in 1930 to 6,942 in 1969. Businesses fluctuated, then rose during the same period. In 1947 there were twelve businesses, and in 1967 there were seventeen. By 1980 the decline had stopped. In 1970 most residents were employed in the retail trade, manufacturing, and services. By 1980 jobs had been added in construction, transportation, and public utilities. The retail trade was by far the largest employer in 1988, with more than 1,000 employees, as compared to 550 employed in professional or related services. By 1969 the number of cattle raised in the county had risen to more than 74,000, but the number of swine had dropped to 3,150. The main crops on the 1,434 farms were wheat, hay and forage, corn, cotton, and peaches.

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/RR/hcr9.html

In the early 1990s Robertson County's economy was still closely tied to agriculture, and ranching and farming were the leading industries. Beef and dairy cattle accounted for the largest source of income. Leading crops included cotton, sorghums, small grains, watermelons, and corn. Leading industries were agribusinesses, brick manufacturing, and a power generating plant. Other important sources of revenue included oil and natural gas and lignite mining. Local attractions include hunting, fishing, historic sites, the County Music Jamboree, and the county fair held in Hearne in March.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19, 2009
As for the Eastern Seaboard, frankly, I recommend Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Specific locations will take a bit more time to ID.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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BrianC has opinions thus...

Posted January 19, 2009
Depends on your goal...

If you want to feed people nothing beat rhye, wheet or corn.

If you want to make money... Tobbacco is still (i think) the best cash crop in the world. And with no cigarettes comming out of the south in quite a while american cigarettes will be a valuable commodity.

on another note. JB can you drop me an email. I just about have a miniburger mark 2 site ready for you if you want it.

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SpookCountry would have you know...

Posted January 19, 2009
I'd like to be helpful, but I cant.

And to be honest, first thought was, "What?!? You haven't written it yet? Do you know how impatient us untalented Gen X's are?"

But given your cast of usual suspects I'm sure the answer will appear............

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted January 19, 2009
Oil?

Yucca?

Dope? yeah Dope

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Abe has opinions thus...

Posted January 19, 2009
Soy is very versatile.

Canola (rape) might also work there.

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Abe puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
What about the bees? Did all the bees die? You'll need bees to pollinate whatever you're growing.

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aaron asserts...

Posted January 19, 2009
considering how much toxic crud would be left over from the mass fires, you would have to grow something robust i imagine. with that in mind, would it even be edible - maybe it would be better to grow something like tobacco to trade for cleaner food stuffs (but then again everyone has copped it)

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BrianC reckons...

Posted January 19, 2009
Abe... have you been watching "the happening" again we told you it would rot your brain.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted January 19, 2009
Hops and barley.

Rye, corn and wheat.

Sugar maple (to turn into charcoal for whisky filtering).

Grapes.

Oak trees.

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Timbook2 reckons...

Posted January 19, 2009
I agree witn Yankee, you can grow pretty much anything in Illinois with the exception of citrus.

My Grandmother had a garden for a couple decades where she grew everything from tomatoes, beets, onions, radishes, rubarb, carrots, green beans, herbs and more.

But, if this state's been turned into a nuclear wasteland or something, all that's down the crapper.

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simon bedak mutters...

Posted January 19, 2009
Wow, thanks Birmo for fixing the Aus/US FTA so my fkn Whitetail steers can finally compete with the local product, what's left of it.

Although I ain't Texan, I'd be surprised if beef growers, if re-establishing an american civilisation, didn't at the very least favour planting oats or triticale in the first instance. The beauty of these crops is, if there is a drought and the seed isn't properly developed to harvest the grain, you can graze the cattle directly onto the paddocks without any fuss whatsoever and the animals growth rate is remarkable, even without HGPs.If you do get a harvest, the oats may be stored as grain for either human or cattle consumption. You'd only need about 8" of rainfall to get the oats done, and perhaps 12"-16" for wheat.

Yet wheat on the other hand as a first up crop does have a couple of drawbacks if being done in tandem with beef production. It 'burns hotter' than oats in the bovine rumen and I have lost thousands of dollars by accidentlally killing cattle stone dead by feeding it out and bloat taking effect.

The funniest of these epsoide saw me accidentally kill two dozen of my best heifers and steers by running about 80kg of grain out in a paddock near one of our houses to mark out an "H" in a circle for a helicopter to land in. I thought from 3,000 feet, the sight of cattle in 'helipad formation' would have been the funniest things my arriving guests would have ever seen from the air. That gag cost me betw $15-17.5K and I still have never seen a fkn photo from it.

The other thing you might need to take on board is weed control. You can annihilate more weeds from wheat than you can from oats employing present day chemicals.

Ideally, on a fresh paddock, in the first year you'd smash the shit out of it with chemicals like Triflur, plant lucerne to fix nitrogen and leave it in there for a few years; second planting - sow wheat; te next year - sow oats undersown with a sub-clover, then, leave it alone for a couple of years. But it depends on your rainfall and what the pH in your soil is, but not much else.

I'd commend you on your choice of cattle in the Bedak Whitetail breed. They are a 'finched' strain of charolais x poll hereford cattle which have a remarkable growth rate. At present, they're only grown here on my farm as the breed is still under development, but on Thursday I had a brief chat with the Sydney Royal Easter show about how I go about registering the breed.

Sorry, I've got distracted. If these new settlers of yours are new to farming and have only 200ac to play with, may I suggest they block it into 4 x 50ac paddocks, sow 50ac oats (first late summer rain), 50ac wheat (early autumn sown dual purpose variety) and 50ac lucerne using a direct drill (early spring). I'd recommend a Duncan 734. The other 50ac they should leave alone, or, run 10 x 2nd calf heifers that are pregnant & set to calve in Winter. Cattle gestation is apprx 283d. Toodles Simon

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qwh puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
simon, that is some funny shit about the helicopter, expensive mistake but at least you got a good story out of it.

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simon bedak reckons...

Posted January 19, 2009
Abey baby - flies can also do the work of bees if the hives are rat-shit

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YB puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
Flies had to be useful for something other than surgery :)

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Tarl reckons...

Posted January 19, 2009
In northern New England (Maine), Potatoes.

In southern Massachusetts, cranberries.

In Boston, Cell-phone towers.

In New Hampshire, Apple and Maple trees.

I know you can grow a variety of grains during the fairly long growing season, as long as you can protect them from the birds and other winged predators.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 19, 2009
Holy shit !

Agrarian information overload.

Once again I tragic underestimate the complexity of another mans profession. I dip my akubra Simon.

Birmo I offer my 2nd born.

Please please please let there be some rastafari moonbeam biodynamic farmer who'll want to go all biodynamic - only to be smashed by a warparty from over the state line.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 19, 2009
Nbob, consider it done.

Simon, much appreciated.

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simon bedak is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
There's something bugging me though Birmo. When Aust was a pioneer society, the Charles Throsby discovered a lot of good grazing land by taking his cattle from Glenfield Farm on the outskirts of present Sydney (which I used to manage for a few years) and setting the buggers free into the bush. With a bunch of convict labour and black trackers, they simply followed the beasts to suitable farming land, along what today is still named Cowpasture Road in parts.

Anyway, if I was given the task of establishing a cattle herd in Texas, it'd be a better use of my labour to let the cattle do the work. I'd brand my herd, which'd probably be hereford cows with a different breed of bull for every 40 girls and set them free to run wild for a season of two, letting the dominant genetics sort themselves out for the local conditions. That way, with my 200ac, I could crop that extra 50ac I was holding onto for cattle.

You see, the beauty of cattle and livestock is they can run along areas you can't crop..

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted January 19, 2009
It isn't my area, Simon, but I think initially (I should look before I type) free ranging cattle was the way it was done in Texas. I do know (because I lecture on it) that in 1865 the vets of the late Civil War came home to find five million longhorns fat and ready for market.

I'd think, however, you'd have to watch your herd to a degree given all of the crumbling infrastructure in the area.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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savo puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
Geez I love learning things.

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
i still think people are missing out on the the big money that could be made out of using the area to grow narcotics. listen ,no DEA, no competion from pakistan and the 'Stan.

Just pack it up and sell it to the poms who'll need something to deal with their sad, grey lives.

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Lobes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19, 2009
Cant believe this hasnt been said already...

Only two things to farm in Texas son, Steers and Queers. So it looks like you could even reopen the Brokeback ranch JB.

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simon bedak ducks in to say...

Posted January 19, 2009
Superb point Murph. In Aust, those with cattle out-gunned the local population betw 1800-1810. Our Texan cousins appear to have had well established cattle trails where they could fatten stock en-route to their markets. Peppered every so often along these cheeseburger super-highways appear to be forts, which might even today serve to protect meat on the hoof heading outta Texas.

Ref: 1867 map of Texas frontier forts & cattle trails, http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/atlas_texas/texas_frontier_forts.jpg

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simon bedak puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
Actually, just looking at a very basic rainfall map.

Cattle could exist with in varying degrees of happiness east from a line passing north/south thru Amarillo & Lubbock, gaining in happiness the further east of that line they got.

In land under 8" rainfall, if you seriously had to crop it, I'd only try barley myself. But really, in rainfall 24" plus, you can achieve just about anything seriously bloody useful.

Bugger me, looking at these figures I could live in Texas very easily.

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simon bedak is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
Actually, just looking at a very basic rainfall map.

Cattle could exist with in varying degrees of happiness east from a line passing north/south thru Amarillo & Lubbock, gaining in happiness the further east of that line they got.

In land under 8" rainfall, if you seriously had to crop it, I'd only try barley myself. But really, in rainfall 24" plus, you can achieve just about anything seriously bloody useful.

Bugger me, looking at these figures I could live in Texas very easily. http://web2.airmail.net/danb1/annualrainfall.htm

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life-lived is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
Rape works just about anywhere however as an antipodean I will do my best Sargeant Schultz ands say "I know nussssink, nussink!!" Maggs

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savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 19, 2009
Where's the Senator, no input from him yet.

.

USAburgers - happy Martin Luther King Jr Day.

.

"life-lived: Rape works just about anywhere" ... Yes, yes it does.

.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted January 19, 2009
Are we recreating pioneer days, where each settlement has to be largely self sufficient.

Or are we restarting the economy, feeding for fun & profit a US millitary machine off doing good in the world?

If the former than (supply issues aside) I reckon I'd be going shotgun approach - a pinch of this & a dash of that to see what works.

If I'm raising crops and livestock for sale then I'd be going for a monoculture.

Savo, not for long.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
Nbob, the former.

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damian puts forth...

Posted January 19, 2009
Do we assume that a certain large US-based agrichemical company is out of business? They have (in the WW world, had) patents on a lot of stuff which would then be unavailable till someone could replicate the industrial processes and labwork. Not that I don't think the world would be better off without the company in question or its products, of course.

That pretty much rules out the use of rBGH for the first few years at any rate, on top of what Simon has pointed out above in terms of it not being needed. With the pollution form the event, in any case, looking after what's left of the farmland would sort of be a priority. Hormone use means antibiotics to deal with the negative effects, and the level of antibiotics in milk and beef we have right now is breeding antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Heard a great interview on the radio the other week of a guy raising organic beef in Brazil. Basically he does what Simon suggests above, just lets the cattle find the grazing land. Without spending anything at all on trying to increase yields per acre or breeding rates, he just lets them go out into this huge savanna land he has access to among the forests there, and rounds up enough each season to make plenty of money on it. Not to say it's totally unmanaged, just that he lets most of what happens, happen. Nbob: organic farmers mostly don't look any different to regular farmers - many are the more hard-worn types, who go that road because there can be more money in it. The higher sale price and the money saved on chemical inputs can offset lower yields.

What I suppose I'm getting at is that most agriculture in that world would of necessity be basically organic, simply because the upfront costs to high yield agriculture are so high. For more serious producers, we'd even be talking biodynamics, because that's a way to increase yields without spending money with companies that don't exist in their previous form.

With cropping, it isn't that hard to go back the the pre-60s practices, it's still in living memory after all.

If we're talking about cash-crops, there will be (as always) a huge demand for rice. If the post-event rainfall is up to it, I'd see someone with an eye for the main chance and some capital behind them turning big swathes of Texas into rice fields...

Of course I'm talking off the top of my head and I hope Mr Bedak will contradict anything that needs contradicting :)

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simon bedak reckons...

Posted January 19, 2009
No alarm bells went off for me in what you say Damian. At its most basic, if you have higher rainfall you get more lucisous plant growth. The mroe feed there is, the more cattle grow.

On bugs, the further east you go on the simple rainfall map of Texas, the higher the annual rainfall. Under tropical conditions, you can end up with ticks that can bugger up a european-british bovine herd. There is a natural resistance to the tick in bos indicus cattle (brahmany thingies) than in bos taurus (euro) types. Therefore, popping a couple of Brahman and Braford type bulls into the mix of free ranging herd sires could be a real goer. Plus, if there's 'good' feed, these blokes will outgrow anything - even the Bedak Witetail. There is however a trade-off in a lower eating quality in the meat as a lot of the tendons are doubled-up resulting in more grissle. However, if you're happy to have stews, breed away.

If there's a lack of drench, there might be one problem in having liver fluke fuck up your cattle too. This will occur if your herds are grazing along rivers in Aust and there are snails. Cattle liver fluke in their life-cycle exist in snails until the snails are accidentally consumed by cattle foraging grass. The eggs eventually escape back onto the ground after digestion occurs, however, they do bugger up the animal's liver on the way resulting in poor condition leading to death.

Anyway Damien, your Brazillian mate has the right idea. And cattlemen in NZ often send their animals up into the mountains and forget them for a few months and then bring them back down.

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted January 19, 2009
I'm liking it. cattle, guns, horses, images of John Wayne, no wummen to drive ya batty, actually I'm thinking of ZZ tops song and a big black guy on a motor bike.

HEY, what about a Brewery JB, whos gunna open that and we better have crops for it.

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lowandslow asserts...

Posted January 19, 2009
Actually, east Texas is not as heavily agricultural as you might think. Nacogdoches in east Texas ranks fourth in the state with crops such as vegetables and melons, but most of th rest is just hay (cattle feed). By contrast, the Rio Grande valley (south of San Antonio) is much more fertile, as is west Texas from Lubbock north into the panhandle. In the west look for corn, potatoes, and LOTS of cotton, and of course beef production. In the far south of Texas you'll find much citrus growing. Hope this Dallas boy has helped. :)

S

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mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted January 20, 2009
Limestone and Robertson Counties are not 'East Texas', although it may appear that way on a standard map. Texas has something on the order of 9-12 separate ecological zones. L and R Counties are in the Post Oak Timber region, I am fairly sure, in which oats, corn, sorghum (called 'milo' by most gringo farmers) and soybeans are grown. Rain is spotty in July and August, so corn is a non-starter without irrigation, which is a whole set of problems all by itself. Cattle are everywhere in Texas and those that haven't died of starvation or thirst due to being penned in and unable to get food, water or both consistently have already broken out of their pastures and gone semi-feral. Meat will not be an issue anywhere except far west Texas where the environment is just to hostile for any but the hardiest. I am not sure how successful a bunch of greenhorns are going to be saddle-breaking horses that haven't been ridden in a year and then galloping off to round up the right breeds of cattle, per Simon whose comments I agree with. Sadly, most of your registered herds will be the ones most carefully penned and thus most likely to have died off due to lack of humans around to keep them fed and watered.

Texas and the south generally are not wheat country. I don't know if that is because other, more profitable crops can be grown there or if there is something about the mid-West and Canada that make wheat easier to grow and get good yields.

Oats, soybeans and corn if you can grow it make for an unbalanced diet. Most garden type vegetables do well until high summer at which time it is just too damn hot to keep a tomato on the vine or for lettuce to 'head up'. Spring and Fall gardens do fairly well. Greenhouses are a good idea. Ditto broccoli, cauliflower and other 'flowering' type veggies. Green beans, peppers and egg plant do ok, if you have the water to keep everything growing. Peaches, pecans, plums all do well, but not apples or citrus. Some varieties of pears grow ok. Figs and pomegranates, oddly, do ok.

Now, moving out of Limestone and Freestone Counties, if I had to farm and didn't want to freeze my ass off in the winter, I would choose Austin, Washington, Brazos or Grimes Counties near either the Brazos or Navasota rivers--fertile soil, plenty of equipment to scavenge, adequate water except in drought years (but dig a deep enough well with the substantially reduced load on the water table, and you can irrigate without reference to rainfall, if you have the system to irrigate) and lots of pasture and improved pasture for ranching and cutting and baling hay for the winter.

Victoria, Matagorda, Jackson and Calhoun Counties on the coast south of Houston are much hotter in the summer, but have good rainfall and already prepared rice farms. Humidity is high and mosquitoes are a huge pain in the ass. Fishing, if the coastal refineries and petro-chemical plants haven't melted down and dumped a shitload of toxic waste in the water, is good. Hurricanes, however, are not so good.

As for the rest of the US, 400-500 miles west of the Eastern seaboard, I think that puts you in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas in the south and moving up into Ohio/Illinois farther north. I've worked on farms and ranches in Missouri and Texas, so I am making educated guesses here: corn, wheat, vegetables, apples, oats all should do well in Ohio/Illinois. Farther south, the same holds except for apples. Winter is a factor the farther you get from the gulf coast. We are talking, I suspect, about relatively inexperienced urbanites making a go of it with little or no experience. Bad water, insects, plant disease, rattlesnakes, fire ants, twisted ankles, broken bones, flat tires, heat prostration, hypothermia etc. are all part of getting food out of the ground in start-up, stand-alone conditions. I would settle people where the climate is most hospitable and let them raise up a generation that can move inland and north with a lifetime of farming and ranching experience behind them: coastal and slightly inland Texas, Louisiana, Mississpi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

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simon bedak puts forth...

Posted January 20, 2009
Must say McKinneyTexas and everyone,I've enjoyed your insightful comments.

I'm still finidng it difficult to comprehend that a lot of Texas appears to have better than 24" annual rainfall.

Is there a good private membership club somewhere where I can dress like an adult and have a glass of cognac after dinner in Texas?

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mckinneytexas swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 20, 2009
Yes, Che` McKinney offers private fine dining and only the finest spirits. Seriously, if you are contemplating a trip to the PRT, you can get my private email from Birmo.

And, yes, a lot of Texas gets a lot of rain, but it often comes in amounts that produce mostly run-off and widespread property damage.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 20, 2009
Thank you Senator. Guess I better go rewrite that chapter.

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Bedes mumbles...

Posted January 20, 2009
Just before this thread joins cyber-history I just came back from the paddocks to mention that as I made the transition from dazzling urbanite bumming around CBD law firms to humble cattle king, the most important info source to make up for lost time was the internet. I don't know what the position of the WWW is in AA, but without it I'd be 20 years behind where I am in terms of knowledge.

That said, the www doesn't cover everything there is to know about cattle. That's where my 78 year old father-in-law comes in handy with observations such as 'If you see a pregnant heifer or cow pacing the fence at sunset, she will have trouble calving.'

100% of the time this is true. And the reason I wear a water-proof watch, even in drought.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan reckons...

Posted January 20, 2009
That shows a significant and telling difference between us, Simon. I wear a waterproof watch because I think it is cool.

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted January 20, 2009
Birmo, de nada.

Bedes, I always took my watch off if we had to pull a calf.

Paul, it IS cool.

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robW puts forth...

Posted January 20, 2009
Okay, I'll bite and give some info. Assumption: going back to Pioneer days.

First, here is a bit of background. Any information I can give is mostly based on “family legacy” in that my family comes from this area, extending upward into Oklahoma and eastward into Alabama. What I remember of my great-grandparent's farm, which my great-grandfather bought from his father back in 1902, is that it was a difficult piece to work. First, an off-the-hand comment, then a preliminary comment, then the comment.

Off-the-hand. Look up in the library an essay written about 1828-1832 in a Scottish rag call “The Eclectic Journal” or something like that. I recall reading it years and years ago while doing research. A fellow takes a sailing ship to Texas, and gets lost on the wildflower fields leading his horse in a huge circle. It wouldn't take much for those gigantic wildflower fields to return. Yes, people would get lost on them and travel around in circles.

Preliminary comment: Choosing where to site the house was difficult, especially if no electricity and air conditioning is available. Building next to the trees provides shade in the heat of the summer, but ticks and bugs love the woods. The dogs and cats would be covered with those horrible things, all fat, grey, and ugly and hanging onto the spine where the cat or dog couldn't get to them to scratch them off. Chickens, guinea hens and peacocks would free-range in the wooded area for bugs like these and flourish. Guinea hens in particular would love to go for the ticks. Mosquitoes, too, would be thick in the woods.

My great- and great-great-grandparents gave up on the tree concept and next built in the clearings: away from the trees there wasn't “as much” of a problem with the mosquitoes, ticks, and snakes. The small garter snakes (the black ones with a red ring around the neck) would still wriggle up through the floorboards, though, and give a fright, and the scorpions were ever present. Also, being out in the open meant that the white owls and hawks would make short work of the cats and kittens and possibly the poultry. Animal control back in those days consisted of white owls taking the kittens at night. Those things are huge and swept down over the grassy areas where the cats are stalking the tarantulas that love to creep and crawl over the newly-mowed grass in early evening. The owls will (and I assume would) pluck the cats up like a small rabbit on the road. Even today one can sit out on the porch in summer and watch the owls collecting the excess cats and here or there a spare rabbit or small rodent, though keep in mind the bobcats generally keep the rabbits in check.

The farms of today bear no relation to the farms of yesteryear, which probably bear more relation to the setting of your book. The farms of yesteryear tended to be market farms, meaning most of their high-intensity working produce was for local consumption, while there was a cash crop for export. The favorite export crop was cotton, which fed the clothing mills on the east coast. While the east could supply its own corn crops—in this case, “corn” meaning wheat, oats, soybeans, winter wheat, maize—locally. What they could not supply was cotton, which required high heat and rich soil. Cotton will not grow in Massachusetts. Hence the southern cash crop, cotton. The cotton crop depended upon having a cotton mill and a railroad to transport the cotton to the mills in New England, where they had the “fall line” or rivers/streams/creeks that would support a mill system that could weave the cloth from the raw cotton. (The part of the country in question doesn't have that kind of water supply, but rather a sporadic one.)

These market farms always had the same sorts of fruit produce. In catholic areas they grew grapes for local wine production (there were catholic monasteries throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, but not so much in Alabama, Kansas, and Arkansas). They also maintained apple, pear, and apricot orchards, as well as cherries and other fruit, depending upon the microclimate of the particular farm. They also grew bamboo, believe it or not, and don't forget sugar cane. It wouldn't have been a staple, but a cultivated plant it was. Poultry was the main meat supply, not beef. Forget the cows.

You see, there is a problem with cows, they require water and forage. Even if one had 100 acres, that isn't enough to maintain cows, as they would also require hay. Hay, now, is of several types. Hay just isn't hay, and making hay is, contrary to the saying, not so easy. Clever farmers will plant all sorts of seed for hay, but include peanuts, which will enrich the hay and the value thereof. Ever since the depression, though, farmers are paid NOT to grow peanuts, so that is part of the problem, but not in your post-apocalyptic world. Anyway, harvesting hay is a backbreaking job. Maybe you should try it for a summer and see if the hay part of the equation is worth the steak part of the equation. For me: free-range, yes; on 40 acres or so, no way.

Anyway, suffice to say that cows in the part of the country you are talking about are high maintenance. They require hay and water that isn't always available. Also, the cows won't keep the fields clear (there are too many different types of tree seedings they won't eat) so the fields will quickly go to trees (such as cedar) and that's it for the cows. Cattle work better when there are thousands of acres at play, which is why west Texas over toward San Angelo, Stockton, Midland, Abeline and elsewhere are considered better cattle areas.

I haven't shed any light on what market farms in this neck of the woods produce when not producing cotton, fruits, and poultry. Answer: the basics: carrots in the winter or fall, potatoes, parsnips, turnip greens, squash, pumpkins, watermelons, okra (yes, okra does very well in this neighborhood), tomatoes in the spring and fall. As someone else here commented, it gets way too hot in July and August for tomatoes or other tender vegetables. I recommend you talk to the people on gardenweb.com and ask them what they are planting to get a better idea.

One final note: while this part of Texas may be considered a diverse area, it is not rich in the agricultural sense. It requires technology, including deep water well technology, to make it pay and prosper. In your post-apocalyptic world, the people here will have a very hard time of it. Personally I would give them maybe one year, possibly two, before they would have to move on to better, more promising areas.

Hope that helps.

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tygertim mutters...

Posted January 20, 2009
John, I'd love to know what the plot line is as I can only assume that you're contemplating repopulating Seppoland.... For this purpose, and quoting McKinney, TX "I would settle people where the climate is most hospitable and let them raise up a generation that can move inland and north with a lifetime of farming and ranching experience behind them: coastal and slightly inland Texas, Louisiana, Mississpi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida." California is far better placed for you (from Aus/NewZeland POV) as an entry. California has it ALL. The most temperate climate (We have all the varied climate zones in one state) you could ask for, California is mostly an Agricultural state, but we also have a LOT of industry, along with some quite nice Cities (too bad your upcoming visit is in February, not August or I'd take you to the State Fair in Sacramento (less than Twenty miles from my house...) ready for occupation... There's a reason most of the Pioneers traveled the Oregon Trail to California, Oregon, and Washington Territories. I.E. easy living, good farmland, and mild (for the most part)winters, not like, say Kansas City, MO... just ask Murph..... Murph, if the currant economic situation wasn't F.U. by the state's politicians here in the People's Republic of California I'd urge you to move here, but with the state's budget all screwed up the university system is goin' tit's up....

These rambling thoughts are brought to you by Tygertim8 or Tygertimate on either livejournal.com or at Blogger... please leave comments so I can track back and add you to my listings... John, I wanna sign up on Cheeseburger Gothic, so could you leave me a message as to HOW??? Thanks!

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tygertim reckons...

Posted January 20, 2009
Oh, and Californians grow EVERYTHING, and I MEAN everything... no problemo as they say hereabouts...

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mckinneytexas puts forth...

Posted January 20, 2009
TT8 has a point about the California weather, but my sense of it is that CA has a lot of drought. Weather extremes, for the most part, would not be an issue in CA. Logistically, California makes a lot of sense for people relocating from Washington, but I was assuming Birmo wants to get an American foothold on the east and gulf coasts as well as the west coast. Still, I'd want to know where in CA one would go for a mix of high yield grains, vegetables, cattle and poultry.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted January 20, 2009
Holy crap boss you opened up a live one here!

Damian, no offence intended.

I've just had my fill of smelly hippy alt.farmers getting in my face about being "the man" & how we are raping "The Mother Earth" when I chip them about their half arsed mariculture efforts requiring them putting fish like carp in carp free catchments.

I know twitch whenever I comeacross anyone who wants to ram "The Answer" down my neck.

I fully agree that many farmers - hard bitten National voting big hat types = are looking at more "sensitive farming methods." And more power to them.

It's jihadi nutbags of any bent that I have issue with.

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Bedes has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
RobW, nice read. I do think the solution with meat is to let the cattle wander in the first instance. Yet if stuck with only 100ac, I'd opt for perhaps a dairy herd of a handful of animals and eat the male offspring and trade milk/cheese. I'm thinking dual purpose breeds like a glocester or pinzgauer? Be a fkn awful life though.

But I think there's a basic problem in President Kipper's premise of leaving people stuck on only 200ac and wanting them to grow proper cheeseburger filler for him.

I've just had an idea. City folk in need of quick domestic protein could farm rabbits. Biggest rabbit farm in Aust a couple of years ago was only about 20ac in total. The csiro developed a breed using something they called 'the Crusader Rabbit' program.

Quick growing, quick breeding. Get past just sustaining their keepers in no time.

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tygertim has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
OH! and I'm just now on JournalSpace.com at tygertimsjournal... Comeon guys... no more silent treatment.... I'll take down the photoshopped pics with you all doing unspeakable, unmentionable, and disgusting things at those "Cheeseburger" get-togethers before your beloved spouses see them (yes, John even the one of you doing your impersonation of Larry the Lounge Singer Naked on the tabletop at that Curry place With Brigadier Barnes, Savo, and Lobes....) Honest...

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tygertim has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
McKinney, Northern California is far less prone to drought than Southern. The first three settlements in the Los Angeles area perished due to drought.... I live in the Sacramento region, and you're right! But We grow EVERTHING hereabouts.... even the demon weed:)

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tygertim mutters...

Posted January 20, 2009
SB, I saw a picture of the world's biggest rabbit a while back on the old JS..... the size of a small child.... no kidding! Good Idea!

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted January 20, 2009
Ok, funsters.

Caveat caveat - This is my understanding not hard fact.

One subtle difference between Texas & California is the water pattern.

In Texas (to a much higher extent) it rains, it runs off. In California the precipitation falls as snow, melts & runs off. It'd be worth sussing out how the pollution load is affected by the diferent pattern. I reckon the snow pack would trap more pollution & release it over a much longer timeframe.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted January 20, 2009
Per Missouri, wheat, corn, soy, milo, apples, hemp is possible though not currently grown, peaches, cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, eggplant, lettuce, raddishes, onions, carrots, peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts, pears, grapes, watermelons, cantelopes, tobacco near Weston (not as much as they used to).

Pecans, walnuts, gooseberries.

According to my green thumb parents, the only thing that will not grow here is tropical items.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Growing Seasons: April to November.

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Sweet Jane Says swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 20, 2009
Hogs. Don't ignore their importance in quick yield, quick cash livestock.

In my geographical area, anything less than 300 acres is nothing but a garden. Beef cattle, and the crops to sustain them, require at least 300 acres, and this is floating land located above natural springs and situated between constant creeks - anything without a constant supply of water needs more acres per head of beef.

Oh, a few in Texas still raise longhorns, but they eat black angus.

J.

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted January 20, 2009
Murph raises a good point: hemp is an amazingly useful agricultural crop that could quickly fill some of the huge hole left by the sudden demise of much of the plastics industry in the event. This would of course have many interesting literary possibilities in the hands of one like the esteemed Birmo...

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Chaz would have you know...

Posted January 20, 2009
Might I point out that I recomended growing dope..sorry hemp way back at the start of this thread?

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damian mumbles...

Posted January 20, 2009
Viscount Bedak: "100% of the time this is true. And the reason I wear a water-proof watch, even in drought."

EWWWW!

My grandfather was a dairyman with 100-200ac and about 50 head. He managed to crop on that land too and did a lot of contruction work in his "spare" time (when he was having his second knee replacement done in Ipswich, he could see from his hospital window a lift tower that he helped build). Some of my earliest memories are pulling a cow out of the mud in the creek with a tractor. Or of being woken early one morning to see the remarkable result of that night's calving: a completely pink and white albino calf.

What this is leading to is: Shirley you take your watch off?

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damian puts forth...

Posted January 20, 2009
Sorry Chaz, there seems to be something wrong with my short-term memory

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Bedes mumbles...

Posted January 20, 2009
Actually Damian, on the watchfront, I have no idea where it is at the moment. Maybe I've left it somewhere. I don't know about the titles I seem to pick up around here such as squire & viscount. Perhaps I'm happy with cattle baron, although we call eachother Cowpokes in our castle. Ooops, I mean chateaux..sorry, house...humpy..whatever..

SJS, the hogs idea is a sound one. On the subject of watering cattle, post-Birmo apocolypse pioneers might consider that (for want of a better expression) 'fresh clean bore water' often contains a superb array of minerals which adds lustre to your stock. It's difficult to put my finger on it, but on the whole, cattle drinking our groundwater from regularly cleaned troughs do much better and seem, well, happier. Dam and rain run off just doesn't have the same level of magnesium, and whilst the human palate may consider it brackish, cows dig it. I suspect there will be plenty of wells still dug along the 1867 trails in Texas. Indeed, there'd probably be a bloody good map of them tucked away in a library someplace.

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lostatlunch mumbles...

Posted January 20, 2009
might I say that this beyond my limited knowledge of farming and the territory, but it is sounding damned interesting and the book seems much too far away.

Kudo's to all you clever muchkins for giving the education to the Birmo.

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Brian mumbles...

Posted January 20, 2009
Simon's plan is the way to go.

FActoid. Argentina and Brazil.17thC Estimated free range herds of cattle, mule and horses in the near millions. Ahuh . . .millions. Just like Australia but better climate. And these were the unmanaged herds. Ferals. No surprise really when you look at the plains lands down there.

The point? If left unmanaged the herds will breed themselves up.

Err . . .Bernand Fraudels economics books IIRC.

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damian reckons...

Posted January 20, 2009
If you're a baron, then we should stick with a simple "Sir Simon" ;)

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savo ducks in to say...

Posted January 20, 2009
"water-proof watch" - gag - "Maybe I’ve left it somewhere" - shudder -

.

"it gets way too hot in July and August for tomatoes or other tender vegetables" - crap, I'll be there in August.

.

'mazing discussion.

.

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damian puts forth...

Posted January 20, 2009
My mistake, I was thinking of a baronet. As a baron it would be Lord Bedak.

Hope this clears things up once and for all ;)

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NBlob mutters...

Posted January 20, 2009
Good thing your a southerner Bedak.

Poking cattle is unlawful north of the Tweed River

Unless you marry them first.

Badoom tish.

Re missing watch; How suprised is that slaughterman going to be?

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
RobW, did the guy who got lost in the wildflower fields have a compass? That would help the going in circles IMHO.

Also, what is the state of the GPS network after the wave? A lot of the earthside maintenance for those satellites would be one from North America. But I assume there would be ways the Hawaiians could keep the system functional.

I think Russia recently has its own GPS network up, or maybe that was europes. Was it by 2003 I am not so sure

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savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 20, 2009
Lord Bedek of Wagga Wagga: For the story line, I just can't see some homesteader standing protectively in front of his family, Winchester in hand, nobly fending off desperados out to russel his rabbits.

Inda was doing something about their own GPS too.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted January 20, 2009
Savo, I think the Indians are helping Ivan restore the GLONASS constellation but it's not finished yet. Google Earth wasnt launched until 2004, so thats out for navigation. But maps and compass along with existing road networks should make it easy to get around.

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Bedes has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
Story line, Savo? I thought this was real life.

The main thing you'd need if you were droving pre-burger across post-US Texas would be some four-legged employees. Again, if I were doing the job, I'd favour three types of dog for this exercise.

The first employee it may surprise some would be a brown kelpie. Normally, they're sheep dogs however their tendency to skirt to the animal widest from the mob and return it to their master would be just the job to make my droving life easier. My second choice in dog would be the Blue Heeler, which is a more brutal animal which tends to drive the stock from behind (ie, running backs in NFL) rather than skirting like brown kelpies (like wingers in rugby union).

My third dog would perhaps be the most important. A small, vicious yappy mongrel bastard, female, something with a hatred of everything in the world bar me, no larger than a Jack Russell, who would ride on my lap and bark psycho at any one she didn't know. The sort of dog that would kill you as soon as look at you, but liked a scratch on the tummy.

...back in the real world, the drought contiues and i've just dragged a dead rotting cow out of a drying up dam in 39deg heat. I'm running out of tucker on the ground and have to work out how many more cows to cull before dancing on the knife-edge rips a hole in the bottom of my ballet shoes.

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damian reckons...

Posted January 20, 2009
GPS satellites are made to last ten years and are replaced continuously, so there ought to be enough still available for a fix 5 years after the event.

Nothing at all wrong with the traditional methods, of course. On land, even dead reckoning is pretty accurate if you do it right (ie, use a compass and measure your speed).

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Bangar swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 20, 2009
Damian makes a good point, tech fails (apologies for re opening the JS wound), always have fall back ways of doing something.

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DrYobbo has opinions thus...

Posted January 20, 2009
Fascinating stuff. Uneducated guesses: hilly stuff might do better with baa baas or venison as they do in the ugly stuff over here (NZ). And I keep coming back to the point that burning down most of the US is going to create so much toxic shite that large swathes of the joint ain't going to be particularly habitable for a very bloody long time (not sure of the prevailing winds but big eff-off mountain ranges to west surely won't help.)

I dare say Monsanto's US patents re canola aren't going to be much of an issue given neither Monsanto nor the US Patent Office are available for comment. Canola will grow on pretty much anything, GM or otherwise. Hey JB if you really want to piss off the lesbian dolphin empowerment types you could add a pro-GM agenda to your right-wing military-industrialist definitely-not-thinking-of-the-children war porn and really ensure busted arse book sales in Newtown and Fitzroy.

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted January 20, 2009
And the Dr. pipes in late with some quality thoughts.

The deer will be in plague proportions. Why raise beef when tasty sweeeet venison *drool* will be falling over themselves to get at your vege patch?

Thinking to myself some steam punk action going on. Vacola fruit bottling & jerked vennison with wifi web access.

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mckinneytexas puts forth...

Posted January 21, 2009
When birmo's greenhorn settlers arrive in Texas, they will find more semi-feral cattle and fully feral hogs than they can manage comfortably, but probably no dairy cattle, which like the closely penned registered stock, are so well penned that they likely died for lack of human intervention. Meat will not be an issue, at least on the initial procurement side of things. Preserving the meat is another issue altogether and part of a whole host of subsidiary skill, maintenance and labor issues involved in living off the land.

Dairy cattle are the highest maintenance, highest labor operation I know of. The cows have to be milked twice a day, everyday and the milk captured under sanitary conditions and then kept so that it doesn't spoil. Pasteurization and homogenization are also part of the process.

Hog farming is smelly, labor intensive work, but most importantly, the settlers cannot live on meat alone, at least not for long.

Murph is right, you can grow pretty much anything in Missouri. There are a lot of clear, year round creeks and rivers in southwest Missouri (I graduated high school there and farmed for my girlfriend's dad for 3 years, fortunately he'd gotten out of the dairy business the year before), but some have been pretty polluted--the Spring River comes to mind.

Pollution is another issue. Someone with the necessary skills needs to check the groundwater. also, someone with the necessary skills needs to have the equipment and power sources to get the water out of the ground. Lord Bedak is right, bore water is best for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is reliability.

A final note--JB is it realistic to limit people to 200 acres? there is more than enough land to go around and what is to prevent someone from moving inland and declaring himself owner of 12,000 acres (or pick your number)? And who is going to do the surveying, record land titles, etc.?

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted January 21, 2009
I should have remembered hogs. Missouri is a fairly substantial hog state and most of my family was involved with hog farms at one point. Sheep is also another though perhaps not to the same degree.

Hemp, for those wondering, was grown in Missouri during the Civil War era along the Missouri River Valley. It was also one of the industries which utilized African American slaves (cotton is a no go up here near as I can tell). I often wonder why they ban it (yes, the dope thing but from what I hear, hemp and ditch weed are very poor stand ins for Mary Jane).

mckinney makes a good point about water resources. My parents were talking this morning about the dangers of drinking the water from the Murphy Hometown of Maysville, Missouri. The reservoir has drums in it with dubious chemicals. The well water is probably safe but it tastes nasty in parts. Also many of the ponds will have decades of run off from various livestock lots (the lake near Grandpa Murphy's farm will turn your feet orange) as well as chemicals.

It should be noted, since we don't know (not even I know) what effect the Wave has on the environment. The standard, perhaps even cliched answer, is that it left a polluted wasteland.

Another entirely plausible (since we don't really know what the Wave is, how it works, what it kills and doesn't) is that the Wave has a cleansing effect on the environment. It would be up to Birmo to decide the parameters but in our earlier discussions, I pointed out that if you killed EVERYTHING in CONUS then you weren't dealing with a resettlement situation, you were dealing with a terraforming situation.

Which would also make for an interesting novel, terraforming, but also an incredibly difficult existence. I think that the US needs to have some value (territory wise) aside from minerals and salvage. Perhaps the Wave addresses issues such as water quality, soil fertility, and other problems.

One neat side effect is that if the Wave neutralizes, say, gasoline, then maybe all of the fuel in the US is useless.

Mckinney, I think the 200 acres limit is originally tied to the Homesteading Act of 1862 model I suggested (which was an initial start of 160 acres). I'd have to look but I believe they were eligible to acquire additional land up to 1000 acres. I'd need to check my notes and do some research.

Another place where cattle work might be viable is Montana. And I'm trying to remember where The Horse Whisperer was set but I think it was in the Dakotas. That might also be useful.

On the survey work issue, there will be a lot of out of work surveyors from the artillery branches of the Army and the Marines. Those skills are useful in the civilian world and perhaps they could do the work.

As for squatters, I don't think there is much to stop them aside for the ever so often patrols.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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tygertim ducks in to say...

Posted January 21, 2009
Do'ya know, I think we've forgotten the marginal species, such as the plains buffalo, and the original Grasses that grew on the Great Plains... Most of the Wheat seed is designer Wheat, and does not replicate well on its own, thanks to the Seed companies proprietary patents. With no one to plant it, the native grasses will stage the beginnings of a comeback. Here in California, the bobcat population will grow, along with just about all the other native fauna, due to lack of human pressure to keep them in check, and a large available food sources due to lack of same.... Birds will be problematical throughout the Continental U.S. especially around the cities because of the feral cat population explosion, and near cities, the dog packs will pretty much take care of the rest.... I once saw a quote from a Book entitled "Biological Imperialism" about the damage done to the east coast due to the introduction of the earthworm to the New England States, and I know that Australians have a personal experience with that kind of thing due to one man's desire to hunt cute bunny rabbits. (In the end, Australia's use of their biological warfare department was the only thing that kept them from drowning in Rabbits.) I'm sure that these oft over looked effects of something like the wave will be reflected dramatically in the next book.

These confused rambling of a dazed mind come to you from Tygertim whom can be found at Tygertim's Journal on the new journalspace, Tygertimate on blogspot, or tygertim8 at livejournal....

PS, do you suppose the elephants and rhino's will be able to smash their way out of the Zoo's???? That would make an interesting mix out on the land, wouldn't it?

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mckinneytexas is gonna tell you...

Posted January 21, 2009
Last post then back to work--i would rethink the land limit. Also, the practicalities: There are conflicting priorities. Initially, people will want to live close to one another for mutual support. In time, they will want a lot of acreage to expand and, ultimately, to pass down, which has them move apart. I see friction as to who moves and who stays.

The other issue, particularly when people are spread out, is health care delivery: medical, dental, optometry, etc.

Murph, Montana's winters are too cold and you'd have to spread people around too much to be able to provide medical, dental, mutual support, etc. Besides, having enough cows will not be a problem. Rather, there will be too damn many and reproducing all the time. Feral cattle will be a major nuisance in the out years unless the US imports 20 million or so new citizens.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 21, 2009
Good point, McKinney. Thanks.

Per population, I do think it is vital that the US replenish their citizenship ranks as rapidly as possible. I'd try to offer opportunities to folks with desireable skills, agricultural being one of them.

The US grew rapidly during pre Wave History and if managed correctly, with the right environmental conditions, I think it can grow rapidly again.

I have a teacher In Service to attend and an inaug speech to read (blah). Later.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Bedes is gonna tell you...

Posted January 21, 2009
On farming in Limestone County Texas, there's an excellent, if not a little long-winded yarn at

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/LL/hcl9.html

Regarding farms for sale at Limestine which one person could run pretty easily, there's 1000ac at Grosebeck which was overpriced before the Wave but might suit:

http://www.landsoftexas.com/texas/index.cfm?Detail=&INV_ID=218992

Although ideally, I find about 2500ac of mixed fair/good country is ideal for one family to run a cattle & cropping operation with appx 24" rainfall p.a.

This has been a most interesting discussion. Good to meet you again Murph, McKinney, Damian, Savo, TygyerT & all. Toodles

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Brian mumbles...

Posted January 21, 2009
Careful on the 200 acres thing. 200 acres of Texas plain doesn't equal 200 acres of prime watered bottom land in the East - in terms of fertility or animal carrying capacity.

For some reason the 200 acres has embedded itself in the conciousness without reference to the capability of the land to support a family. It also depends if its a monoculture or a truck farm AKA mixed farm operation.

I was suprised to learn that a so called self sufficient peasant operation in the Middle Ages varied from about 5 hectares for a family to about 300 for a village (50-100 people). Hmm . . . .please read 'Last Centurian' by Ringo for a rough idea on current ag realities.

brian

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savo reckons...

Posted January 21, 2009
"Another place where cattle work might be viable is Montana" but how are masses of people easily going to get there? The coastline and banks of the bigger rivers are easily accessible by large numbers through water transport. You may have been able to get to Montana once via the Missouri but there are too many dams now and the road from Seattle looks like a b'tard to walk.

TT8 thakyou for that word from our sponsor but Tygertim’s Journal on the new journalspace ain't there.

re the zoo business, there is going to be all sorts of imported carnivors wandering around looking for a tasty cheeseburger to munch down on. I'd imagine some high tech settler armed with the last of the first gen commercial GPS's getting lost coz the satellites are falling out of the sky and being rescued by the Lord Bedek type witha map and a compass. 3-4 years after the wave means there's two generations of lions tigers etc on the ground.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted January 21, 2009
The fauna may not be a problem

"besides running Bedak Whitetail beef cattle (to replace all the longhorns that disappeared in the Wave.)"

I read that to mean no mammals survived(plus possibly affecting other animal groups).

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dm60462 reckons...

Posted January 21, 2009
cotton

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dm60462 asserts...

Posted January 21, 2009
Agriculture in Limestone County

Average size of farms: 371 acres

Average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms: 22.13

Milk cows as a percentage of all cattle and calves: 0.20%

Corn for grain: 11786 harvested acres

All wheat for grain: 1037 harvested acres

Upland cotton: 1467 harvested acres

Vegetables: 286 harvested acres

Land in orchards: 736 acres

Agriculture in Freestone County

Average size of farms: 292 acres

Average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms: 23.48

Corn for grain: 3 harvested acres

Vegetables: 144 harvested acres

Land in orchards: 384 acres

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dm60462 reckons...

Posted January 21, 2009
Agriculture in Robertson County

Average size of farms: 331 acres

Irrigated harvested cropland as a percentage of land in farms: 25.98%

Average number of cattle and calves per 100 acres of all land in farms: 21.85

Milk cows as a percentage of all cattle and calves: 0.54%

Corn for grain: 7018 harvested acres

All wheat for grain: 166 harvested acres

Upland cotton: 14979 harvested acres

Vegetables: 48 harvested acres

Land in orchards: 716 acres

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DrYobbo ducks in to say...

Posted January 21, 2009
Just to follow up the thinking on the venison thing, my thinking was that like 'roo it's a very dense, high protein, low fat meat which might be better in a food-limiting environment than moo cows, and would tend to bash less hell out of the environment (ie might not need as intensive farming practices.) However I'm reminded that deer, particularly semi-feral ones, are thorough-going bastards to fence and herd. They hunt the wild ones with choppers in the more feral parts of the NZ South Island. Still, makes good eating.

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damian reckons...

Posted January 21, 2009
Doc, I thought more rather than less fat was better for meat in a subsistence level diet. Thinking energy density there. Leaving aside the Inuit of course, one of the few cultures whose life expectancy actually improved after adopting a European diet, no matter how much oily fish they could keep down. But their options were rather more limited than the scenario we're thinking about.

Of course we're not talking about subsistence, are we? Just a brainfart, then, esscuse me...

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Bedes puts forth...

Posted January 21, 2009
I've been admiring your thinking on this side of the ditch Prof Yob and you're right about the fencing costs. Even though I'm a beef-man, I adore rare venison provided a french-chef makes it for me. I know many farmers, better than me, who'd chuck their current sheep operations tomorrow if the govt kicked in with some fencing for 'roo. Beautiful meat, great conversion, adapted for the conditions.

Perhaps a compromise dear chap which ties in with where you're going would be goat. Admittedly, it can be a bit grissley, but it would work up in the mtns and on the proposed plains of Texas. Friends of mine with hundreds of thousand of more (shit) acres than us, use goat-traps around dams and water holes to draw the buggers in and they can't escape. Saves the herding prob.

Damian, nice beard. Dr Yob, nice hat. Fella with the stats, um...nice...

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Bedes has opinions thus...

Posted January 21, 2009
PS ...Bangar, there must've been a cargo vessel full of bedak Whitetails on route to the Port of Galveston when the disaster struck - http://www.portofgalveston.com/

Which is kinda cool cause they're the only breed of cattle that dig Jim Webb and Glen Campbell, although they prefer MacArthur Park.

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mckinneytexas puts forth...

Posted January 22, 2009
Bedes, Doc et al--the Texas plains are in the panhandle. The area Birmo is talking about is rolling oak country not dissimilar from large parts of Europe and Argentina. Texas' venison is whitetail deer. I've eaten a lot of whitetail, but mostly either as sausage mixed with pork and seasoned all to hell or the tenderloin. IMHO, venison is a pretty shitty meal. It is tough, dry and gamy. After a year of living off of grass, avoiding predators, doing a lot of running for various reasons, etc, your feral cattle herd will be running plenty lean.

But, gentlemen, meat will never be a problem for a very small but armed human population: the hard work will be getting seeds in the ground, harvesting and transporting the crop.

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tygertim is gonna tell you...

Posted January 22, 2009
My dear Savo, Try:

http://tygertimsjournal.journalspace.com/

or

http://journalspace.com/members/tygertim8/

Or

http://tygertimate.blogspot.com/

Or

http://tygertim8.livejournal.com

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tygertim asserts...

Posted January 22, 2009
I'm there, guys I'm there I tells ya!

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tygertim asserts...

Posted January 22, 2009
I oughta write a book How's Ghost in the Machine for a title?

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tygertim puts forth...

Posted January 22, 2009
and how does altPam have so many more people who believe in her??? She's even got a Pommy Aristo pouf Sir Reginald Boult, 7th Bart. on her friends list.... :(

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tygertim mutters...

Posted January 22, 2009
At Savo

Westy says in her blog JournalSpace(New)for Dummies:

"It says you haven’t published a “public” blog yet - it seems to consider it “not public,” but not quite private either. Readers can only access it by manually typing in balognabutt.journalspace.com (or whatever your address is), and a lot of people don’t know that they can do that! They just see that message and believe it, grumbling about how that lazy (insert cuss word here) hasn’t gotten off of their moldy butt and made a journal yet. I’ve started typing in people’s blog addresses manually (username.journalspace.com) if their profile says that they haven’t created a blog, just to see if they have made one or not. Only TWO of those times, the person actually hadn’t created a blog."

So there. I do too exist....

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Bedes ducks in to say...

Posted January 22, 2009
Thanks McKinney sir. I assumed we had some diesel after the wave. Life'll be a bit of a struggle without it.

In real life, I have some 1920s ploughs and cropping plant here which can be towed behind some horses, but even though I have 3 horses on the place, I wouldn't want to trust my livelihood to them, nor have to rely on my lack of equine skills.

My quickest solution for the cropping in the new PRT, off the top of my head is, and this is in a post-apocolyptic emergency mind you, to use sheep first up.

Yep, I'd need a huge mob of sheep in a fenced area. Their poo to act as fertiliser. Graze everything bare by way of soil preparation. Wait for rain.

Remove sheep and with dogs drive a herd of cattle around the bare wet ground to make muddy clomps.

Remove cattle, make a simple seed broadcaster, walk and distribute oats by hand at say 100kg per hectare or 100lbs per acre if you prefer. After seed is cast, hook up a bar with light harrow scarifiers behind a horse or two to cover the seed. Wait.

Shoot birds attracted to any uncovered oats and eat them.

Hope for rain.

Alternatively, millet might work although this year my crop of that failed so don't listen to me.

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savo swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 22, 2009
Lord Bedek, is this all off the top of your head or are you the agricultural equivalent of Brigadier Barnes?

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Bedes mutters...

Posted January 22, 2009
Savo, it's off the top of my head but I suspect it might work.

Plenty of farmers, good ones and shit ones, use sheep to clear paddocks of weeds before sowing so the above's an extreme example of that I s'pose.

I was just thinking that another way to cover the seed might be to employ a herd of cattle running over it all again to trample it in when it's wet.

"Ah, but they'd eat the oats!" I hear a sensible voice suggest.

Well, given that these are desperate times, and let's say my lack of equine skills has seen my horse and harrow set-up skip over the horizon, the solution to the problem is a simple one.

Get your herd in the yards.

Place an empty 20kg seed bag over the muzzle of each animal in the herd, secured with baling twine.

Run them around the paddocks till the seeds are covered.

Return herd to yards, remove bags, send back out to their paddocks.

BarnesM with a pitchfork? Dunno. But if the great man was here he'd probaby suggest it's almost time for a Zombie Burger

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DrYobbo mumbles...

Posted January 22, 2009
McKinney, if you ever get over to NZ, try some decent Bambi. Wild stuff is gamey as hell (some like it that way, usually hairy men who live in bracken huts on hillsides) but the farmed stuff is fairly spesh.

Or we could spot you some roo. I think we have a couple million spare out the back of Boggabri. Big advantage of roo is that it seems to take two fifths of arse all to look after them, they weather drought etc particularly well. Fencing situation would be even more ugly though, as Bedes wisely foreshadows. Would advise bolting very large roo bars to the Dodge Ram for after-dark sorties. Horse-drawn or otherwise.

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thelonesailor has opinions thus...

Posted January 22, 2009
I live in west texas, and it is really the only area that comes to my mind when texas farming is mentioned. actually, the panhandle. east texas is now very ...built up. The only real farming that I remember reading about in the area was during the early history of Stephen F. Austin's settlement, and then it was mostly subsistance. East Texas is has hills...which can be very annoying for farmers unless they have the super deluxe ATV tractor. In the panhandle no trees even grew naturally,they were imports. East Texas could spport most crops, but you would hsve to clear the land. west Texas is flat, and cotton, corn, and watermelons are grown a lot here. Since the 70's there have been winerys popping up due to some study that was done about the climate. The east is mostly cattle and large magical places called cities.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted January 22, 2009
Damian - it will be subsistance if the wheels fall off. Given low start up population, likelihood of long tern "high end culture" is grim. Right down to basic governance, I think land titles & surveying will be small beans priority wise in 1 or maybe 2 generations. Remember the title - After America.

Baling Twine Definition. Nylon string universaly in 1.6m length - primary use holding bales of hay / oats ect together. 2ndry use..... somewhat like duct / gaff tape - a million uses & counting.

Fuel resources have a fixed lifespan. After 12 months unleaded is unreliable at best due to evaporation / oxidation of key volatiles. I believe Diesel has a slightly longer shelf life. Either way unless oil to fuel infrastructure restarted, CONUS is dependent on import - for which you need real cash $.

On a slightly global perspective - could the oil trade survive the loss of the top 100 supplier companies? Right down to the component pumps valves & piping suppliers?

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damian mumbles...

Posted January 22, 2009
Supply of nylon string after stockpiles are used would be iffy. Likewise all plastics and agrichemicals, without oil and the associated industrial infrastructure.

Even a small hemp crop would answer the string issue though. Not to mention make for amusing plot developments in the hands of the author of Felafel.

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mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted January 23, 2009
Dr Y, i do plan to get to your neck of the woods. I am thinking Feb of '10 but more likely '11. I will definitely partake of the local cuisine. We have imported deer here, Axis mainly, that aren't so bad, but it's hardly a hunt--drive out, find the animal, kill it, clean it and have someone process it. I prefer bison for low fat meat. Or a filet.

Sailor--all of the farming i've seen in west texas is irrigation dependent, whether around Lubbock, Amarillo, Childress. I've seen no farming to speak of west of Del Rio on out to El Paso. East Texas, as in Piney Woods East Texas is almost uniformly red clay soil, not loamy stuff to produces good yields. Some cattle, horses, gardens, etc. Coastal and slightly inland is the best choice.

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