Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Collapse CII: Schedules And Time

19 May 20XX +1

My Dear Lucilius:

From what I can tell, I hear peeps in the back of the greenhouse so it appears that the quail may have hatched. I am still too concerned that I may somehow disturb something, so I am continuing to put out food and water and isolate them. I will check in perhaps a week. Our rain is on and off – which is precisely what the garden needs, and normal for this time of year.

Late Spring and Summer are lurching into being in a way that continues to surprise me, even thought I have lived here for some time.

The biggest difference is the amount of sunlight. We are approaching the Summer Solstice (not for another month yet of course), and our daylight is suddenly almost 14 hours. It sneaks up on one: only a few days ago (I know it was longer in fact) the sunrise was after 0700; now I find it getting light at 0430. Terribly disruptive for a sleep pattern, but terribly useful for the act of living.

In a way, I suppose (to be fair to myself) I had somewhat already adapted to such a schedule: in moving up here and being formally retired as well as having slowly curtailed my career in the last few years of our previous home, some of the constraints of the modern schedule had fallen away from me. Most of the “times” that I did keep were more for my own convenience and regularity: Waking at a certain time, eating at certain times, planning certain activities at certain times, going to bed a certain times. The days of the week became just days, punctuated by Divine Services on Sundays. Seasonality, as we have discussed before, became the norm instead of weeks or even months.

That was before, of course. Things are a bit different now.

Daylight is now a time to be up and about things, even more so than before. Part of that, of course, is tempered by the fact that things like biologic processes can only move at a certain pace: seeds only grow so quickly, fruits and vegetables only ripen so quickly, eggs only are produced so quickly, and so on. As the same time, what is driving at the back of my brain is the fact that this time will dwindle all too soon: by late September temperature and light will already start dwindling and by November, we will be in the cold and dark.

And so, it seems, one finds tasks to do.

Fortuitously, my actual property is small so it is easy enough to care for, although it is enough to keep me busy. General maintenance sweeps are even more a thing than ever, not only of the place I live but the outbuildings and my possessions. Care of garden (still early yet after planting) and greenhouse and quail and bees all takes at least some time. Regular house sweeping and dusting has also become a thing (it seems that I have visitors more often now than ever), as well as now assessing and re-assessing everything for need or trade. Ranging up and down the part of the road that is my responsibility. Fishing for meals, and making sure I vary my spots so that I do not denude the stream in front of my house.

I still make time to practice my martial arts (a sanity check as well as maintaining my skill level) and my reading, of course. And writing these missives.

Added to this – somewhat unexpectedly – is now I have a second my place where I am welcome.

I am not sure that I add anything to Pompeia Paulina and Statiera’s operation – they have lived here far longer and are much more organized in their routine. I amuse myself that I assist, mostly by moving heavy things and being an extra set of hands. If I am not as useful as I believe myself to be, they are kind enough to not say anything and redirect me.

It certainly acts to fill the day. Tempus Fugit, as they say.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca


  1. Nylon123:14 AM

    Seasonality jumps to the forefront with a Collapse, daylight becomes a controlling factor in so much.

    1. Nylon12, individuals much smarter than I have pointed out that without energy, our civilization collapses in so many ways. Lighting is probably one that many people take for granted.

  2. As a gardener two of the most important factors is knowing the calenderer date for expected last and first frosts and the weather channel for unexpected frosts.

    I can build fertility in my gardens; I can save water from my roof for extended lack of rainfall (at least for a bit). I save seeds from my heirlooms and always save far more than I need for failure to store like dampness-mold and gifts to fellow gardeners.

    But a serious frost without warning to protect the tender plants with thrift store old sheets and such is crippling to the year's garden production.

    An old paper calendar is useful but year by year without accounting for leap years and such will become less accurate.

    I'm mentioning this because last night we had a cold front move in quietly. It's 25 degrees outside and my thrift store sheets are deployed. I'll know around noon or so how successful I was protecting them.

    1. Michael - I have heard this several places. Best of luck!

  3. Anonymous4:48 AM

    If you are new to growing chicks from eggs, be sure to supply a water container the chick can use. Or else, they can fall in and drown trying to get some water. A shallow dish pan should work, given the pan is anchored to ground to prevent tipping over.

    1. Thank you! It has been so long since I have seen them raised I forget simple things like this.

    2. Anonymous3:34 AM

      We unfortunately learned this one the hard way.

      We used to have a backyard chicken tractor for fresh eggs and a few of them from time to time would find a way to escape. Some of them hung around anyway and this particular hen found the neighbor's rooster crowing impressive. A fertilized egg was the result and a chick was born. So cute !

      But we didn't take into account its small size and the pan of water left for the hen was too deep for the chick. It was found drowned. My wife and i were heartbroken - so stupid of us not to realize this earlier. Completely our fault.

    3. Thanks for sharing the background. I, too, have made the same sort of accidental decisions that had consequences.

  4. It is very depressing waking up early during winter and realizing that you have half of a work day or more before the sun rises. Now if I wake up early, it is already starting to get light out and that makes it much more tolerable.

    1. Ed, I have never lived in such conditions. I can imagine that would be nothing but depressing. That said, New Home is pretty consistent in its sunlight ratio - whereas the Ranch it makes a huge difference. I forget that it starts getting light here at 0430 and does not get truly dark until after 2100.

      Some of the most depressing days of my work life have been jobs where I got to work and left work in the dark.

    2. Nylon128:30 AM

      Come next Winter Solstice sunrise is 7:48AM and sunset is 4:34PM..........ugh.

    3. Oh goodness, Nylon12. I might be okay, but The Ravishing Mr.s TB surely would not. She thrives on sunlight.

  5. I really enjoyed this chapter. Most people live on some sort of a schedule that is fixed and determined by things such as job and school. Living as Seneca does means the routine is influenced more by the juxtaposition of the seasons and the sun. There's a rhythm to that. Not everybody likes those natural fluctuations, but they make me feel closer to the One who set them in motion.

    1. Leigh, you have often written on a seasonal years and (if I am honest) had those posts in mind when I was reviewing this (I hesitate to say "writing this"; Seneca writes and I merely record).

      It is interesting that with our youngest now graduating from high school, we are entering a different type of rhythm and schedule, which has even become more disoriented by the wind down of my current position and the uncertainty going forward. It is not quite the rhythm of the seasons, but it is getting a bit closer.


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