Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

The end of OUR oil

Posted by Nika On May - 6 - 2008

More garden & wood shed progress

So, as you likely know, we live in the North East USA (MA) where oil is usually used to heat in the winter. We have always heated with our wood stove but used the oil heat-on-demand heater to make hot water (showers, dishwasher, etc). Because we are careful with our oil use we go through a 250 gal oil tank in a year.

That oil ran out this morning.

Traditionally, oil companies deliver oil on a subscription service here. They automatically deliver oil and then bill you.

We called our oil guy today and learned the following:

  • He is about to declare bankruptcy
  • He owes over $600,000 USD due to inventory and customers bailing out on their back debt
  • Other oil companies in our area are in the same condition
  • They too are on the verge of bankruptcy
  • No company in our region will take any credit
  • All deliveries must be paid in full upfront before delivery or COD
  • Our tank will cost $1050 to fill

Yep, our tank will cost $1050 USD to fill.

Lets see.

Can we afford even this one tank of diesel?

  • I am driving our gas guzzling mini-van because my car is dead
  • my commute is over 400 miles a week
  • We do not have the money to buy even a cheap junker car
  • With the cost of gas and the cost of basic food stuffs we honestly do not make it from one paycheck to another
  • The garden can not feed us yet, we are not even out of frost season yet so its all potential and not even sprouting yet

To dig out of this hole will require money we do not have. We are not likely to be alone in this one.

News Flash – Oil is pegging over $122/barrel today.

Right now? I can’t see the end of this path.

I will be going home from work tonight to cobble together a solar shower – my hide can not take ice cold well water showers!

Is the price of oil still academic to you?

How are you feeling the pain these days?

4 Responses to “The end of OUR oil”

  1. Kelly says:

    Just last night on the news I heard it actually went to $200/barrel. It’s getting crazy out there. Have you tried using a biodegradable oil. a B5 blend we call it at NORA. You don’t need to make any changes to your oil burner. Just use the “new” oil. Here’s the site:

    Check it out, let me know what you think. It’s pretty cool. It costs about the same too. You should definitely consider making the switch.

  2. RunninL8 says:

    Hey there from Alaska! My husband is really regretting buying a truck. We live 7 miles up in the mountains with only one road heading into town. We have really needed one but with current upwards trend….He has to commute 25+ miles a day. We’re thinking of trading in my Subaru for a prius or something diesel that we can convert to biodiesel. Or getting a junker with great gas mileage. We will be fixing up our greenhouse to help offset Alaska’s soaring food prices. We’ll be counting on catching salmon and halibut this summer. The upside at least is that now we can also buy locally produced organic produce! Might as well! We’ve long lamented the fact that organic was just too expensive for our budget. Now non-organic costs the same if not more. *sigh*
    It really is scary. Surreal. Good luck to you with your dilemma.

  3. Nika says:

    Kelly: Yikes, I think they were saying we will go to 200 soon.. I love your idea to use the biofuel in our home heating .. will look into it!

  4. Nika says:

    RunningL8: I spent a summer (Fairbanks) back in 89 .. was thinking about going there for grad school .. food was just so expensive then (especially the milk!) I can not imagine what it is like now. You will definitely need to fire up that greenhouse! I took a quick peek at your blog .. sounds like you live in a very beautiful place!

    I wish we could do wild caught salmon and halibut .. we have river trout here .. am trying to scratch together a bit of money to get some aquaculture going on that but finances are not complying these days .. in the future!

    I can tell you, we ate a lot of salmon when I was pregnant a couple of years ago.. now we eat fish once every 5 months or so… too expensive.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    We have tried all the options we had open to us in terms of financial input and have come up with nothing. Being with no family for 1000s of miles and then family that are absorbed in their own un-sustainable and climate change denying activities .. we are at a place where its just a really good thing its not winter, yet.

    I do not know what the answer is yet :-/ Never felt so isolated before, guess I just didnt realize how isolated we have been, didnt sink in until this recent development.

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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