Oil and Gas Limits Underlie Syria’s Conflict

In my view, oil and gas resource limits are major contributors to the conflict in Syria. This is happening in several ways:

1. Syria is an oil exporter that is in increasingly perilous financial condition because of depleting oil resources.  When oil production is increasing, it can help an oil exporter in two ways:  (a) part of the of the oil supply can be used internally, to grow more food and to support increased industry, and (b) exports of oil can be used to provide revenue for governmental programs such as food subsidies, education, and building highways.  Syria’s population grew from 8.8 million in 1980 to 22.8 million in 2012, at least in part because of the wealth available from oil extraction.

Figure 1. Syria's oil production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Figure 1. Syria’s oil production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Now Syria’s oil production is dropping. The drop between 1996 and 2010 reflects primarily the effect of depletion. The especially steep drop in the last two years reflects the disruption of civil war and international sanctions, in addition to the effect of depletion.

When oil exports drop, the government finds itself suddenly less able to pay for programs that people have been expecting, such as food subsidies and new irrigation programs to support agriculture. If revenue from oil exports is sufficient, desalination of sea water is even a possibility. In Syria, wheat prices doubled between 2010 and 2011, for a combination of reasons, including drought and a cutback in subsidies. When basic commodities become too high priced, citizens tend to become very unhappy with the status quo. Civil war is not unlikely. Thus, oil depletion is likely a significant contributor to the current unrest.

Egypt has many Similarities to Syria

Egypt is another example of an oil exporter whose oil production has dropped because of geological decline. Its chart of oil production and consumption (Figure 2) looks very much like Syria’s (Figure 1).

Figure 2. Egypt's oil production and consumption, based on BP's 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy data.

Figure 2. Egypt’s oil production and consumption, based on BP’s 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy data.

Egypt is actually doing a little better than Syria. One of the things that has helped Egypt is its natural gas production, because it has been another source of export revenue. Unfortunately, Egypt’s natural gas production suddenly flattened starting in 2009, again because of depletion (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Egypt natural gas production and consumption based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 3. Egypt natural gas production and consumption based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

As Egypt started losing oil supplies, it was able to keep its own energy consumption growing (to keep up with growing population) by rapidly cutting back on exported natural gas (even though it had contracts in place to sell some of the this natural gas). Part of  this cutback was to its pipeline customers, namely Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Of course, this left Egypt with less foreign revenue to fund subsidies, education, and many other programs, but Egypt’s own energy consumption (Figure 4) was able to keep growing, helping agriculture and industry to function as normal.

Figure 4. Egypt's energy consumption by source, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 4. Egypt’s energy consumption by source, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Syria, on the other hand, was consuming all of the natural gas it produced. In fact, is was importing a little gas from Egypt, so it had no exports it could cut back on. In fact, Egypt’s cutback worked the wrong way from Syria’s perspective–it lost a small amount of natural gas imports from Egypt.

Figure 5. Syria Natural Gas production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Figure 5. Syria Natural Gas production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

As a result, Syria found its energy consumption decreasing (Figure 6), even as population continued to rise.

Figure 6. Syria Energy Consumption by Source, based on EIA data.

Figure 6. Syria Energy Consumption by Source, based on EIA data.

At least part of the decline in Syria’s energy consumption occurred because of damage to oil and gas pipelines and to electrical transmission equipment. According to the CIA Fact Book, Syria’s industrial production shrank by 36% in 2012. Thus, geological depletion and the civil war that grew out of inadequate resources both contributed to the drop in energy consumption.

Going forward, this tendency toward civil disorder is likely to get worse, whether or not the US decides to attack. The underlying issue in Figure 1 is depletion. Population remains high. Even if damage to pipelines and transmission lines get fixed, the depletion issue will continue, and the population will need to be fed.

2. Economic sanctions, to the extent they have an affect, can be expected to act similarly to resource depletion and increase the tendency toward civil disorder.

Syria has been operating under economic sanctions from the US since 2004. To the extent that these had an effect, one would expect that they would reduce economic activity, and thus energy consumption. It is hard to see a significant change in energy use patterns in the years immediately after 2004, from the charts provided.

Many other countries have added sanctions since hostilities broke out in 2011. It is difficult to tell how much effect the 2011 sanctions have actually had. It is possible that they contributed to Syria’s drop in energy consumption. It is also possible the civil disorder together with depletion explain the recent drop in oil production and consumption.

Even with sanctions, Syria continues to participate in international trade.  According to the EIA, Syria continues to trade with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, and Venezuela. Other sources mention China (here and here) as a trading partner with Syria. North Korea is also mentioned as being a trading partner, especially in the area of chemical weapons.

3. Oil pipelines from Iraq through Syria would be helpful if Iraq is to greatly ramp up its oil output in the next few years.

The United States has an interest in getting oil production from Iraq ramped up, in the hope that world oil production can continue to rise. World oil production has been increasingly flat, even taking into account liquid substitutes and new sources, such as biofuel and new US tight oil production.

7. Growth in world oil supply, with fitted trend lines, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

7. Growth in world oil supply, with fitted trend lines, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

One of the limits in ramping up Iraqi oil extraction is the limited amount of infrastructure available for exporting oil from Iraq. If pipelines through Syria could be added, this might alleviate part of the problem in getting oil to international markets. According to the EIA,

 One particular project proposes to build two oil pipelines (and one for natural gas) that would send Iraqi crude to the Mediterranean coast in Syria, and from there to international markets. The first of the proposed pipelines would send heavier crudes from northern Iraq and have a capacity of 1.5 million bbl/d. The second pipeline would send lighter grades from southern Iraqi fields, and would follow the same route as the former Haditha-Banias pipeline; the second section is scheduled to have a 1.25 million bbl/d capacity.

4. The possibility of natural gas pipelines through Syria to alleviate potential shortages in Europe and elsewhere is contentious.

Russia currently is a major exporter of natural gas to Europe. It would like to keep natural gas prices as high as possible because of the high cost of its natural gas extraction, and because of the high cost of building new pipelines. Russia does not necessarily welcome new natural gas production from, for example, Qatar or Israel, carried by pipeline through Syria. Such new supply might reduce natural gas prices in Europe, either because of oversupply or because the other natural gas sources have a lower cost of extraction and transport.

If new pipelines are built through Syria, there are several countries that might theoretically ship natural gas through such pipelines, and there is considerable rivalry among these countries. For example, Israel and Iran are rivals as to which country might export natural gas to Europe. Also, as noted above, there is a possibility that natural gas from Iraq could be exported through Syria to the international market, if suitable pipelines were built. There is even theoretically a possibility that natural gas from Turkmenistan could be exported by pipeline through Iran, Iraq and Syria, cutting out Russia (and the profits it receives in buying, transporting and selling this gas).

It should be noted that even though many countries have their sights set on exporting natural gas to Europe and other parts of the world that need natural gas, it is not at all clear that this additional transport of natural gas will work out as planned. We have known for a long time about a large amount of “stranded” natural gas–gas that is theoretically available, but it simply too expensive to extract and ship to locations where it might be purchased. The limits on how much natural gas will be consumed are financial–how much can consumers really afford.

The affordability issue is clear if we think about a family in India, living on $2 a day, deciding whether to burn animal dung or compressed natural gas for cooking. If the price of natural gas is high, the family in India will choose to burn dung. A similar issue arises for a pensioner in the UK, deciding to what temperature to heat his home. It also arises for an electric power plant in Germany, deciding whether to burn natural gas or coal. If the cost of natural gas is too high, demand is likely to shift to cheaper fuels, or to disappear through alternative behavior–for example, wearing long underwear to keep warm in winter, instead of heating homes as warmly as today.

5. Need for America to prove its might, to maintain the US dollar’s reserve currency status.

Without the reserve currency status of the US dollar, America cannot continue to run a big balance of payment deficit importing large quantities of oil. This is important, because the world’s total oil supply is not growing much (Figure 7), regardless of price. If America is forced to consume less, more oil will be available for the rest of the world.


Because of its oil depletion, Syria will remain a problem country, regardless of whether the US decides to intervene militarily. Removing Assad as leader of Syria cannot be expected to solve Syria’s problems. Even if oil deletion were not the major issue, US’s recent experience in Libya suggests that removing a leader does not guarantee future stability. Associated Press reports this week, Libya’s oil exports plunge as problems escalate.

Some may argue that Syria has other gas and oil that it can exploit, and because of this, its depletion problems are only temporary. In particular, the EIA report on Syria notes that there are both shale oil resources in Syria and natural gas resources offshore that Syria might develop. In my view, there are several reasons that this optimism is unwarranted. As a practical matter, even if there were peace and plenty of investment capital, developing these resources would take several years. During this period, other countries would need to donate enough resources to keep the population pacified. Can this really be done, especially if other countries are reaching limits themselves?

Furthermore, it is not at all clear that extraction of oil from shale can really be  developed profitably. No one outside North America has yet figured out how to do so.  The US has laws and pipeline infrastructure that are different from elsewhere that help make shale development possible at reasonable cost. Available credit and low interest rates are also helpful.  The US also has abundant water resources, and population that is not too dense, so that fracking is less of an issue than it would be elsewhere. A recent Wall Street Journal article talks about the difficulty China is having trying to extract hydrocarbons from shale.

There is also the question I mentioned above with respect to the economic feasibility of new natural gas resources. If the cost is too high, the cost may simply be too high for buyers. Furthermore, if buyers find a need to cut back on other expenditures to purchase gas products (or for that matter, high-priced oil products), they are likely to cut back in the purchase of other discretionary items. Layoffs are likely to occur in discretionary sectors, leading to recession and reduced demand through fewer jobs. Thus, one way or another, a reduction in demand is likely to occur.

Egypt and Syria are not the only countries in the area with oil depletion problems. Yemen’s oil chart of oil production and exports (Figure 8) looks very much like that of Syria and Egypt.

Figure 8. Yemen oil production and consumption, based on US Energy Information Administration data.

Figure 8. Yemen oil production and consumption, based on US Energy Information Administration data.

Saudi Arabia may even be reaching limits on its extraction capability. It recently is reporting refocusing on unconventional resources, something it would not do if conventional oil were performing well. Saudi Arabia is also using a greater number of drilling rigs, reported to be necessary because of the increasing difficulty of extracting oil from mature fields.

If oil depletion is becoming an increasing problem, I am afraid we can expect increasing conflict in the Middle East, regardless of whether the US chooses to intervene in Syria because of increased oil depletion.  A shortfall in one country can ripple to the next country, and on to the next country, as exports are reduced, and as civil unrest spreads.

It is easy to blame bad leaders for the problem, or a bad form of government. Much of the problem, however, is simply not having enough oil resources to go around for the size of population the world has today. We can kid ourselves about additional oil and natural gas resources being available, but these very much depend on the ability of buyers to pay higher prices, without excessive recessionary impacts.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to inadequate supply.
This entry was posted in Energy policy, Financial Implications and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

236 Responses to Oil and Gas Limits Underlie Syria’s Conflict

  1. Phil says:

    Economic and population growth fuelled by the drawdown of nonrenewable natural resources inevitably leads to crisis.

    Catton had this one nailed back in 1980.

  2. timl2k11 says:

    Hank Paulson on Bloomberg today calling the Financial crisis a “100 year storm”. What a joke. Seems like a smart, well intentioned guy somehow completely divorced from reality. He is in his own little “reality bubble”.

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  4. Ravinathan says:

    Another nail in industrial civilization’s coffin as described by namesake Gail of the blog Wit’s End who has been documenting and describing the death of trees worldwide from ground level ozone pollution, a phenomenon that hasn’t even been mentioned by permaculturists which only goes to show how out of touch with reality they are. This blogger has a unique and wonderful writing style as she methodically describes yet another limit; the inability of plant life to cope with pollution resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. Well worth following.

  5. Edwin Pell says:

    It is not that everyone in China and India will buy a car. First they will buy a motor scooter (gas or electric).

    Ed Pell

    • Even that is enough to add a lot to world oil demand.

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Right, Gail. Also, China and India account for about 40% of total population. There is another 20-30% of the populations of ’emerging economies’ to add to that. If we then have 85% of humanity on wheels, is there enough oil to supply that demand? I kinda think the only one potential solution is electric vehicles. But as we noted previously, EVs are still in their extended development stage and will not account for 1% of total vehicles sold in a given year for at least another 4 – 5 years. So until then, we gotta drill a bit.

        • Trains, planes, automobiles—they cloud the issue
          what humanity is in fact doing is using fossil fuels to deny that gravity has any relevance to human society

          • Chris Johnson says:

            You would agree, I believe, that mankind has extensive training and practice such self-delusion. As one trained via the taxpayer’s dollar to manipulate heavier than air vehicles through the air, I have a great deal of respect for gravity. The aviator’s penultimate fears occur when he/she runs out of altitude, airspeed and ideas, with the runway behind and nothing good in front. But is humanity even aware? And if aware, willing to do anything but pour another drink?

        • Scott says:

          Hello Chris, here is something I found about poverty in the USA.



          • Chris Johnson says:

            Thank you, Scott. That’s a very informative article and chart. Many questions emerge, including whether or not those stats are trustworthy. Goodness knows the government bureaucrats lie about everything else, from the price of milk to the number of telephone intercepts NSA got last week. And of course among the other aspects of the ‘War on Poverty’ is that anything that USG declares war on (drugs, terrorism, etc.) often ends up winning because government bureaucrats really are not that interested in fixing something well enought that they could be out of a job…
            Again, thanks amigo.

            • Scott says:

              Hello, Yes Chris I a agree the poverty numbers in the US are likely worse than the article portrayed, perhaps they did not count those that have given up looking for work. It is hard to trust any government numbers these days and I am sure that is a challenge for Gail too, that is to know which reports are trustworthy. Interesting topic and pertinent.

              Kind Regards,

  6. timl2k11 says:

    Gail, I just had a thought gail while reading through some comments on another blog. If you can afford a solar array, wouldn’t it be wise to install one now to protect yourself from future reliability and price disruptions of the electrical grid in the future? And if you can afford an electric car and enough solar arrays to power it, isn’t that even more protection (in this case from petrol disruptions and price spikes)?

    • I am not very interested in buying electric panels to connect to the grid. Electric companies do not save nearly as much in their costs (maybe 4 cents kWh), as they give you in credit for electricity you produce (often 12 cents kWh or more). So if you put electric panels on the grid, you are weakening the finances of the electric grid, putting it at risk of failing sooner. Thus, if I am choosing my actions to benefit society, and helping the grid last longer, I would not buy electric panels to put on the grid. The one exception might be is if there is a good sized “capacity charge” so that electric companies are not harmed by having them in their grid. There might also be some special situations, as in Hawaii, where the cost of generation is terribly high because it is mostly oil, or where the grid is short of summer daytime capacity (California ?), where there would be greater justification for adding solar panels.

      If I bought a solar panel or two, it would be one or two panels that are not grid tied. Such panels might, for example, be used to pumping water. But since this is not a solution for the long term (at some point the pump will fail, if nothing else), it raises the question of whether I would take the necessary steps soon enough to work around this problem. Having the solar panel might lead to bad long-term decision making. Thus, even when used to power an electric pump, I am not convinced that everyone will necessarily want them.

      • Scott says:

        Hello I agree Gail, A few PV Panels and some a few batteries hooked up in series, you can buy as many as you can afford, but then a power inverter, perhaps strong enough to run a small fridge, but you know this is going to be tough if we have to depend on these camping like units,

        Just a what if Rant about the fridge… We store our food there and they are great. But… in emergency –
        May I instead suggest getting some salt to dry your meat? As this will become the way again just like it was hundreds of years ago. If the power is out, to hell with the Fridge! Dry and smoke your foods again just like the old days.

        I value my fridge as long as it is running and I know how much power they take to keep them going. The Fridge is something we take for granted – which is something our forefathers did not have and we may not soon have if we have power shortages. Your PV power and batteries will be completely taxed to run your fridge if even possible, you may find a better use for your daily battery charge from your PV system like pumping some water.


      • timl2k11 says:

        I didn’t mean you specifically, although you do bring up some interesting points from a personal perspective. I should have phrased it “If one can afford solar arrays”. I was thinking more along the lines of “insurance”. Grid goes down or becomes unreliable, or prices shoot up, you go off-grid and rely on solar. I would probably behoove me to do a little more research on PV and see how much power can be feasibly generated from a practically sized solar array and what things would be feasible to run off of that power.
        Definitely a good point about PV users weakening the position of the electric company and the grid. I don’t know where you get your numbers on what it costs electric companies, but if correct not only are people using arrays being subsidized by the government, but by power companies as well! I find that unconscionable.

        • ravinathan says:

          I am one of the ‘unconscionable’ ones. As an early retiree with a small nest egg, I realized that government has created severe incentives and disincentives for retirees. ‘Safe’ assets such as treasury bonds and insured cd’s are severely dis incentivized while stock speculation is strongly supported by money printing and cheap margin credit. Solar pv on the other hand is eligible for both federal and state credits here in PA. Even after including a battery backup to power the well pump, fridge etc., the IRR is easily in the double digits. So what’s a retiree to do relative to other dis incentivized.safe assets? These are the hard choices that the government provides. An excellent choice if one is against pv’s on principle is the ground source heat pump (geothermal) systems that have an even on better financial return in addition to providing ‘free’ hot water in summer. If you need to replace your current HVAV system in the near future, this is a no brainer.

          • ravinathan,
            We have installed both solar pv and ground source heat pump (geothermal). We love our system. Cooling with GSHP is a dream. Heating is less comfortable, but a wood stove supplements this and gives us the extra warmth that is comfortable. Our utility bills are $10 a month, which we pay to the power company even if we don’t use any electricity. I figure this about covers our share of maintenance on the lines. Low utility bills will make retirement much easier. No worries about the cost of propane in a cold winter. The choice of investing in our home or investing in the stock market was a no-brainer. We’ve continued to put some money in 401K, but I am doubtful it will be there when we need it.

  7. Chris Johnson says:

    Exxon-Mobil Touting Nuclear Power

    Yep. A senior ‘strategic planning executive’ of that august corporation warned the world that it would need to double nuclear power output by the year 2040.

  8. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Gail and Others
    Here is an analogy that occurred to me today as I read Albert Bates blog on Post Peak Oil Reflections


    ‘We really should be learning to grow food and do all the things we spoke of in that 2006 book, but we are not being compelled by either the current economy or our mainstream cultural narrative to do that…. We observe the prices paid by courageous self-sacrificers — the pioneers who go off grid and focus on sustainable homesteading — you know, isolation, giving up creature comforts, having to struggle to learn and adapt to the change. Spending more to put up homegrown preserves than to buy cheap canned goods. The transition cost is daunting, and not entirely in economic terms. Pioneers need to give up a lot of comforts before the rest of us have to, and that is a real deterrent for others contemplating taking the leap. Denial and procrastination is so much easier.’

    I think our situation is somewhat like that of the three gold miners in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, John Huston’s film from 1948. The miners find gold, but none of them get back to civilization to enjoy spending it. In fact, nobody gets it…except the desert.

    Most of us are up in the champagne glass part of the distribution with incomes many, many multiples of the sixty percent of humanity down in the stem of the glass. Our problem is to somehow get through what we can perceive is coming, to a safe haven on the other side, so we can enjoy what we think we have (which is mostly promises to pay). We don’t want to just go back to the farm in Ohio (like one of the Sierra Madre characters) and we don’t want to keep wandering around looking for gold and, perhaps, happiness, and we certainly don’t want to live like Mexican peasants. But dangers beset us on all sides: fights among ourselves; struggles with the desert; fights with bandits; and insanity induced by the dread of loss.

    Will any of us make it back to Tampico?

    Don Stewart
    PS I have chosen a ‘sensible middle path’ or ‘a spineless, gutless strategy’ or ‘an exercise in self-deception’ or….(fill in the blank). I don’t homestead, but I do grow quite a bit of food. I haven’t moved out of my unsuitable neighborhood. I haven’t cashed in all my promises-to-pay and invested them in real assets such as solar panels or farmland. I am not off-grid, but I don’t use electric clothes dryers, either. I increasingly use fermentation as a food preservation technique. I get older every day, so I am approaching a certain intersection on the graph which will make my worries disappear.

    • Hello Don and all,

      I’m not a homesteader, more of an urban farmer who lives in the country. My grandparents were “real” farmers and I would not be so arrogant as to use that tittle; as if I even compare. But looking at what I’ve accomplished this summer, I would have to say I’m fairly pleased. The Indiana spring and early summer brought glorious weather, so much nicer than what we’ve had for several years. My garden has been bountiful this summer, even though we have had a mini drought since the end of June. My tomato plants could have produced until the frost in October but I’ve canned all we need so I stopped watering the vines and am letting the rest go to the pigs and chickens.

      My tally for canned goods this summer is:
      52 pints of jam
      20 quarts peach butter
      12 quarts apple/pear butter
      90 quarts tomatoes (plain sauce, whole tomatoes, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, sauce w/ peppers).
      12 quarts of pickles (I still had a lot left from last year).

      I’ve harvested and dried lots of herbs, filled the freezer with duck meat, frozen pesto, sweet peppers, apples, and pears. Soon it is time to plant lettuce and spinach in the greenhouse for the winter. Each month has its own food, its own set of chores. Once the rhythm is established it all seems to just flow.

      I’ve refilled my shelves with dried beans, peas, lentils, rice, and flour we need for another year. Knowing how to cook with these simple, whole foods is not only healthier and more economical it is enormously satisfying to me. This week I started baking bread again, as I do every year once we get past summer and canning season. My boys came home from school and whooped out loud when the smell hit them. I always enjoy that sound and the look on their faces. My mother was a very good baker and I seem to have inherited her knack. There is nothing so tasty as homemade bread and homemade jam.

      I suppose some people procrastinate in making this transition, believing that they need to but not finding the energy to do it, or knowing where to start. For me the transition has been easy. Chores like hanging clothes out on the line on a sunny day is just a good excuse to be outside and enjoying the pleasant weather. And taking them off the line and folding them allows me to smell the ‘sunshine’. Nothing smells better than line dried clothes! Washing dishes by hand, cooking, just time I enjoy being in the kitchen, when nothing else demands my time, just time to think.

      Maybe somewhere deep in our genetic coding we still feel relief when the harvest is good, when the hard work is over and soon we can rest in winter. We feel secure knowing we have food ‘put up’ for the winter. We don’t have to be a doomer or a preper to enjoy that feeling.

      I suppose when I started doing this more seriously I was motivated by fear of peak oil and economic collapse. But I can honestly say that I enjoy my lifestyle now and wouldn’t change back. I’m so fortunate that I have learned to live this way while we still have a functioning economy, that my husband has a good job, that my business has been successful enough to allow me to stay at home. I can still go to the grocery store if I don’t have enough of something. The roads are still good and we can afford to drive 20 miles to visit friends. But at the end of the day, I’m not doing this because I’m afraid of what might come tomorrow, I’m living exactly as I want to live. I suppose that makes me even more fortunate. Not many people can say they are living just as they want to live. But I suspect that if more people made this transition to simple, slow food, low-stress living they might feel the way I do.

      As I sit out on the deck at night, watching the big orange harvest moon rise, smelling the smoke from the fire, listening to the crackle of logs burning, I think about my ancestors and how they celebrated the harvest at the end of the season. They knew that a bad year could mean starvation and so they were very grateful when they were blessed with good crops. We modern humans have made living so complicated, sometime we forget to be thankful for simply living.

      I appreciate when the heat of July and August finally breaks in September and the evenings get cool. A loud thunderstorm bringing fall rain not a tornado. Sleeping with the windows open and listening to the hoot owl in the woods near our home. Nights getting cold enough that an extra quilt feels good and soon the warmth of that first fire in the wood stove.

      I look forward to the changing of the seasons; the things that define them as they come and go. Life passes yet life remains. Sometimes moments are filled with joy, sometimes sadness. Living full, just accepting what comes and being thankful to wake up to another day. This is what I find gives meaning to my days.

      best regards,

      • Scott says:

        Hello Jody, Well I cannot think of a better way to handle things right now as you are doing. It sounds like you had a productive summer and are looking forward to a quiet winter by the fire.
        What more can one do given our circumstances?

        The winter here gives us time to reflect, read and research and cook if you are lucky enough to be at home retired instead of being out there fighting the elements.

        Here in Oregon we got several cords of wood pulled in and more outside under tarps, getting ready for winter and hoping all will be well for yet another season. We dried some corn and veggies that will boil in the soup pot this winter on the wood stove too. The nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter and fall is in the air.

        Have a nice fall.


        • Hi Scott,
          We have about 2 cords of wood ready to move onto racks in the garage. Another two cords waiting to be split, next years wood. Yes, I am tired from my summer’s work. It’s funny how energetic we feel in the spring, and how tired we feel in the fall. Maybe we are not that different from plants! Sunshine makes us happy, cloudy days makes us depressed. High energy in the spring, low energy in the fall.
          take care,

      • Chris Johnson says:

        Well Jody, if your bakings and jams are as scrumptuous as your writings, then mankind doesn’t know what it’s missing.
        Cheers, Chris

    • xabier says:


      There are pioneers, and then there is the Forlorn Hope, that brave band of condemned soldiers in the old wars, who went ahead and took the bullets and thrusts for the glory of it ………..
      The middle way looks to be the best option for most of us.

      May I take the liberty of wishing many more healthy years to you yet, Sir!

  9. ravinathan says:

    Here is an ecologist who sees no limits to the size of human populations! Technology and appropriate societal structures are all that is needed according to him. No mention of oil limits and pollution is only a result of poor societal choices. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/14/opinion/overpopulation-is-not-the-problem.html

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