Solutions for Self-Reliance

What You Can do to Prepare for an Israeli Attack on Iran this Fall


Here’s a seemingly small event that may throw the entire global economy into a convulsion this fall.

Israel may, after years of speculation, attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Today’s New Yorker interview with Meir Dagan (the former head of Israel’s Mossad), adds some great insight into the Israeli decision-making on this issue.  It shows that there is currently a fight, tooth and nail, between a national leadership team that wants to attack Iran this fall and a smart bureaucracy that opposes it (e.g. Meir has become a vocal dissident due to his opposition to it).

If the attack does happen, the most obvious impact will be a spike in oil prices (with most other forms of energy spiking in sympathy).  There will be others, but for the purposes of today’s letter, let’s focus on finding ways to reduce our vulnerability to an oil price spike.

In fact, let’s even narrow it a bit more.  Let’s focus in on the one thing you can add to your home that will make it resilient to energy disruptions (from shortages to rationing to price spikes):  a pellet stove.

Here’s an example of a pellet stove in action (photo by designer Tal Goldstein).

This stove is called an insert.  It fits into an empty chimney frame.  It burns wood that has been shaped into small, dry pellets.

Pellet stoves are an investment in a home’s adaptability (remember that word, it’s important).

How so?  They burn renewable and energy sources.  They are easy to maintain and use.  They are safe.  They are extremely cost competitive (my pellet stove is much more cost-effective than my natural gas heating system).  They offer a high degree of fuel flexibility.  They are available everywhere and competitively priced.  The list goes on and on.

In short, a pellet stove and the purchase of a pallet or two of pellets will radically reduce your vulnerability to any disruption in the Persian Gulf this year and for years to come.

By the way, if you live in an apartment or small home that doesn’t have a fireplace, here’s a pellet stove from US Stove that fits into a window frame (like an air conditioner insert).  It’s a little pricey at $1,400 or so, but the payback period is likely quick.  Unfortunately, early reviews of this model indicate that it has problems with the auger jamming, but once that gets fixed…


Final note.   Contrary to uninformed opinion, pellet stoves allow you to become MUCH more adaptable to future energy disruptions/opportunities (even the dystopian, and very unlikely, TEOWAWKI zombie apocalypse)  than standard wood burning stoves.  My upcoming energy report will explain why.


Gutter Gardens

Here’s an interesting idea from reader Lee:

The attached pictures are of my “gutter garden” consisting of 4′ sections of vinyl gutter attached to 1×4 boards attached to the south window frames.

The large chard plants were planted last December and I’ve been cutting outer leaves every so often. I’m told chard is a biennial plant so they should be good for another year!

Since they are inside, they stay very tender and mild flavored unlike the tough rubbery plants in my outside garden. Because I live alone my greens consumption is just enough to prevent scurvy, buying greens especially during winter, means most of them end up as chicken food before I get around to eating them. Having an ongoing supply of greens during the winter lets me eat all I want with no waste.

The gutters make watering very easy and I use a flood and drain system with vinyl tubes connecting the levels then back into a jug for reuse. I fill the upper gutter with nutrient solution (llama manure tea), let it soak awhile then drain into the lower gutter for a soak then drain, abour 30 minutes total. I have chard, bok choi, arugula, chives and parsley planted. The planting containers are 4x4x6 plastic pots, by using flood and drain irrigation the roots are supplied with oxygen as well as nutrients.

I enjoy your blog, we need all the help we can share.

Thanks much Lee!


Stay warm this winter,

John Robb






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