Monday, May 9, 2011

Plagues

There are many things that plague humanity. Mentally, you can be plagued by depression, hate, doubts or anger. Physically, an entire host of ailments. Socially you can suffer from any number of unlucky recurring situations. More obvious and pertinent to the world today is the zombie plague itself, and the zombies are a plague on us. 

It's an interesting concept, really. The idea of a plague can be anything from an abstract concept to, well, an actual plague. Part of the mental stress we're put under as survivors is the necessity of dealing with a hundred tiny ones every day. 

Now, we've got one more. In a word: potatoes. 

I'm of Irish descent (at least partly), so I've done a little research on Ireland. I've read books about the great famine (usually called the potato famine outside of Ireland itself) and have a decent working knowledge of the blight that caused it. It's an interesting bit of history that has a lot of lessons to teach. One of which is just how awesome potatoes are as a food source that they could basically feed four million Irish. Another being that too much reliance on one staple food is dangerous as hell when things go badly. 

The blight itself isn't as much a worry for us as you might think. Though the disease itself is incredibly difficult to control through chemical and pharmaceutical means, most potatoes for a long time have been bred with a gene that is highly resistant. By using the tubers of a previous crop, you can pretty much propagate them forever safely and without fear of losing most of a crop. 

Very luckily for us, my wife is a stickler for making sure her foodstuffs are strong. Add to that the fair number of farmers that have been growing them for years, and we have a great pool of people who know what to look for in seed potatoes. If I seem to be beating this drum a little hard, then keep this in mind: if not for the fact that Jess bought bag upon bag of seed potatoes when the zombie outbreak happened, it's likely that we would have starved by now. 

So you'll understand that while I'm just as fearful and wary of the walking dead outside our walls as you are, I worry equally about the damn potato bugs that have settled in like uninvited guests to dinner. 

At first there weren't that many. Few enough last year that we could (and had to) kill them one by one. We had people whose whole job was to walk the compound's gardens, squishing them when found. At the farms it wasn't as big an issue, because that was mostly corn and wheat that had already been planted. We just took the food and the land. 

Now that the farms are also growing potatoes, the bugs have started to show up in numbers. Large ones. Enough of them that we're already having problems. There's only so much pesticide, and not enough bodies to police every plant. This is a critical time for the plants we've grown indoors and gotten large enough to sprout foliage. They're small and weak. All that careful time and effort spent growing them in late winter could be lost. More important, the potential food in them could be lost. 

We have many things to fear, and no shortage of lesser concerns. Before The Fall and encountering the reality that the dead walk and consider me a tasty snack, I'd have called you crazy if you said that I would worry about beetles just as much as a hungry corpse. 

Strange days, I know. 

1 comment:

  1. Devon SteinkoenigMay 10, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    The others finally relented, and I got the OK from Deron. He even gave us one of the scout vehicles, says he understands. We'll probably stop in Toronto for a day or two and grab some guns. John, Mary, Ty, and I are leaving now. With any luck, we'll see you soon!

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