Sunday, October 7, 2007

Peak Oil

Sometimes I wonder whats gotten into me. An angel whispering in my ear, maybe. I've watched ¨The Day After Tomorrow" too many times.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the oilfield business. I remember being 16. I got a new car for my birthday, paid for in cash by my parents... from oil money. My parents owned an oilfield construction company. They were the ones that prepared the site for the rigs to drill oil. So we were lucky, we were almost always paid. The people drilling for oil had to pay us no matter if they found oil or not. Then in the late 80's early 90's my parents gave up, sold off everything and quit - at a huge loss I might add. They still had business coming in but because of the drop in oil prices and lack of drilling many people just quit paying for work done. They were old enough at the time that they just retired and they had half interest in an oil well that's kept them very comfortable ever since.

Anyway, the point is that I watched my family make a million dollars one year and five years later it was gone.

Recently I heard of the term "peak oil". I haven't done enough research on the subject yet to quote any specifics but my childhood taught me enough to know that this isn't a hoax. I believe it even without any hard core truth. And it scares me. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if it happened in the next ten years. I expect in my lifetime.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I live on 75 acres in rural Nebraska. If necessary I could live off this land. Not today, of course. But soon. Here are my plans:

a) Next few weeks-month - A solar pit greenhouse for two reasons. One, I'm a raw vegan and I can't get organic anything here in town. And two, preparation for the future. I'm aiming for the most self sustainable system I can build. I'll have electric for lights and I have an extra propane tank for heat if necessary.

b) In the next few weeks - 1. Insulated drapes for the house 2. Fix/caulk windows 3. Add more houseplants 4. Insulate ceiling/attic better 5. Storm windows for south living room 6. Figure out the best way to fix the propane fireplace, convert it to wood stove? 7. Caulk exterior bricks with that pliable 'cement' caulking. 8. New garage door 9. Replace door from house to garage with insulated door 10. Fix office window

c) Next Spring - 1. Plant berries; blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and especially chokecherry & gooseberry bushes 2. Plant apple, peach and cherry trees. Make sure everything is native to Nebraska/winter hardy.

d) Next Spring and Every Spring from now on - Plant 25+ native/winter hardy trees (each year) and start a wood lot.

e) Near Future (2-10 years) 1. Alfalfa field for horses 2. WIND GENERATOR! 3. SOLAR POWER/HEAT 4. Windmill at old well site for horses water. 5. Windmill for our well water (?) 6. Used tractor, one that we can convert to biofuel.