We're due for our first frost here in a couple of days, which as always means it's the most productive time of the year! The front-yard garden continues to produce tomatoes and the first tomatillos have started breaking through their casings.
Last weekend I had some friends up at the ranch, and I convinced them to harvest elderberries for with me. I ended up with a paper bag completely filled with berries at the end of it. Once they were picked, it was a little over a gallon and a half of berries.
My primary reason was to make elderberry syrup! I love semi-sweet syrups like this with a bit of butter on english muffins in the morning.
With the rest of the berries I'm attempting to make wine! Elderberries grow very well at the ranch if you can protect them from the cows. I hope to get better at making wine in the future, but for now this is a very rough recipe. I used to help my dad making beer eons ago, but since then I really haven't done anything fermented. I'm excited to see how it turns out — worst case, I'll have a bunch of vinegar to make in about a year.
As winter approaches, I've been trying to get better at indoor gardening. This batch of radish microgreens got a little leggy while we were away at the ranch, but I'm finally starting to get the hang of it. Radish, avocado, and seed salads (in this case, some old sliced almonds) are also some of my favorite snacks.
I know that there are two kinds of timber harvests: ugly and really ugly.
The first action I would suggest is to break out of this mindset. Trees are plants, just like our blackberry bushes and rhubarbs. We harvest all kinds of plants for our usage, and timber shouldn't be seen to be any different. There are lots of good reasons to harvest timber — clearing out diseased trees, trees highly susceptible to coming diseases/pests, reducing a monoculture, thinning to encourage healthy growth, etc.
I would ask questions about a few different angles:
1. Water flow & erosion control. Are there streams on the property? What will be the protections to these streams during harvest? Will they be building new roads/skid paths? What kind of protections will be made to these when they're done? (ex: water bars)
2. Impact to land. What kind of equipment are they planning on using? Larger equipment usually results in a much lighter impact on the land (bigger tires/tracks spread out weight more evenly and large equipment like CTL loggers can take a tree down without it ever hitting the ground). How will they be moving the logs to the landing? Vehicles are generally less impactful than pulleys here.
3. How will they be selecting the timber? High-grading is the worst possible option. Ideally you want your forest to be mostly widely spaced trees interspersed with open areas and dense areas. The goal is to give existing trees maximum sunlight, new nursery areas full sunlight, and dense thickets for wildlife to dash between. Clear cutting entire properties is obviously extremely damaging, but in small sections can often result in a much healthier ecosystem than even selective thinning.
4. What will they do with the slash? This is really up to you — you can leave some brush piles for wildlife habit if they don't pose a fire threat, burning slash often kickstarts the natural succession process by sweetening the soil and stratifying tree seeds. Or you could have them chip it.
5. Will they be planting new seedlings? Doing a controlled burn? Both of these options are great for replenishing the forest in the harvested areas.
All in all, I'd just recommend trying to talk to the forester more. Explain your goals to them and see what they think. If you don't like how they think, look for another forester to get a second opinion. Once you have someone on your same wavelength, they can help with the technical details of the harvest to better your goals.
I'd think that roots wouldn't have a problem turning 180˚and cruising up and through the pipes from the bottom. Or just constricting around them. Or pressing them sideways and breaking the pipe through shear. But then again, I usually make it a personal rule not to tempt fate when the consequences end up with me knee deep in shit.
I think what you'll find is that "it depends" in a big way. But a better way to phrase it is that you'll need to do some engineering to figure that out. You'll need to find the saturated weight of your particular soil, calculate how deep you plan on burying the woofati, and then add the design ground snow load to that. The latter should be available from your county's building department, but the first part may require having some tests done to your soil. Different soils weigh different amounts, have different saturation characteristics, and everyone puts a different amount of soil on top of their buried structure. Snow load can end up being quite significant too. My ground snow load is 316psf, while my parent's ground snow load an hour and a half away is 0psf.
- I feel like the video on your video's patreon is the wrong selection. It gives the impression that videos will be super serious things like presentations at conferences. It's also super long! I think you should think like a Kickstarter video here. Something short and sweet that's closer to the hugel videos you put out recently. Heck, even that one would be a better choice from my perspective. The best would be something like a trailer of your recent videos with a description of what you're doing… but that's a lot of work.
I share Joseph's experiences. Right now I'm growing two varieties of tomato, and one of them has fruits tightly spaced about 4" apart mostly close to the ground. The other is twice as high with fruits spaced about a foot apart. I'd say both have a similar amount of fruits. In my experience tomato plants are some of the most resilient in terms of starting. If the seedlings end up too leggy, I plant them deeper in the ground and they bounce right back. It doesn't seem to matter how badly the seedlings are abused, once they're in the ground and treated properly, they seem to find their own way.
The M44 cyanide device (also called a 'cyanide gun' or a 'cyanide trap') is used for the elimination of coyotes, feral dogs, and foxes. It is made from four parts: a capsule holder wrapped with cloth or other soft material, a small plastic capsule containing 0.88 grams of sodium cyanide, a spring-powered ejector, and a 5-7 inch stake. To install the trap, the stake is first driven down into the ground, and then the capsule is put in the holder, screwed onto the cocked ejector, and secured to the stake. The wrapped capsule holder is smeared with scented bait to attract coyotes and make them bite and pull on it. (The use of a bite-and-pull action makes the trap less likely to be set off by non-canine wildlife.) When the trap is triggered, the spring propels a dose of sodium cyanide into the animals's mouth, and the sodium cyanide combines with water in the mouth to produce poisonous cyanide gas. In addition to the cyanide, the capsule contains Day-Glo fluorescent particle marker (orange in capsules used by the Wildlife Services, and yellow in capsules prepared for other users) .
The M44 is in frequent use by the USDA Wildlife Services in their programs to eliminate coyotes. For example, in 2016, out of the 76,963 coyotes that Wildlife Services killed, the M44 was used to kill 12,511 of them (16%).
I know that if I didn't live in California, I wouldn't have the slightest idea about how large these fires are. It's not really a thing you can "escape" from in large part because the distance it travels spans most of the continent. A lot of people look at images of wildfire smoke across California and don't realize that California is as long as about 17,482 states in the east coast, midwest, or several europes… I kid, I kid — but seriously, California is large. And these wildifres span from California all the way up North through Oregon, Washington, and BC — multiples of length of California. This smoke travels across a great portion of the northern hemisphere.
This is also super complicated by the fact that when the wind changes, so does the smoke. We haven't had wildfires this season close to us, but smoke from the Ferguson (Yosemite) and Carr (Redding) fires affects us almost daily. Every day it oscillates which one is sending us smoke. Some days it's clear. Some days it's thick. These fires are about 250 miles apart as the crow flies.
Similar to Dale and Joseph, the only way I deal with PM 2.5 pollution is through filtration. If working outside, wear a mask. If inside, close windows and doors when possible and if you have a central A/C system, set the fan to recirculate and change your filters more often. Also don't add to the problem — broiling meat, open flames, vacuuming, etc.
The easiest path is to just do it. You as an owner can easily describe a profit sharing scheme in words and act it out in actions. There is no legal anything to do. You just give people the money as bonuses.
Another strategy is to split controlling stock from equity stock. Most public companies do this now. So for example, you can define that Class B shares get 10 votes per share while Class A shares get 1 vote per share. That way you can maintain a small ownership in the company but still have a controlling interest. Currently people do this for nefarious reasons, but you could just as easily use this structure to distribute dividends. There are tax complications this route (when gifting shares or offering an options incentive package) — but at the same time, dividends are taxed far below anything else in America.
Honestly, I'd just go with route number one. Just do it. Nothing complicated.
I'd check in with your local wildland fire department (around here it's CALFIRE, I'm not sure what WA's branch is) and the forest service. Around here (high fire risk) we have all kinds of free workshops to learn about fire resistant landscaping. The USFS has a decent starter with some ideas for firesafe landscaping. If you want plants, keeping them irrigated is a good way to have a fire safe landscape. Moisture rich plants are significantly less likely to catch on fire than 2ft high dry grasses.
The key to all fire resistant landscapes is to create fire breaks and destroy fire ladders. It's a bit more of an art than a strict rule book, which is why when asked for strict rules, fire departments tell people to use gravel/hardscape. Which isn't always a bad thing!
Sonja: Thanks for the sympathy vote. To be honest, I was mostly disappointed I didn't get my green bean dinner! I had a good twenty or so plants that had just set fruit last time I left. But all this is kind of expected right now — this whole garden was planted with a ton of old seeds I had lying around. I figured it'd take me five years to build up enough infrastructure to have a productive garden out at the ranch, and next year will be my fourth year owning this place. If I manage to build a snow/mobile proof fence this fall, I'll have conquered the biggest barriers (water + cow/deer pressure). And hey, they may have smashed my apple tree fences, but they didn't get to the trees!
Well, thus concludes this year's garden at the ranch…
As they saying goes, you can garden 'till the cows come home, but then if you didn't build a fence the cows will eat literally every single thing including your irrigation, solar lights, and mulch.
The surrounding National Forest here is leased out to ranches who send their herds up to high country in the summer to graze. It's still a little crazy to me — suddenly there's a herd of cowbells ringing and out pops a cowboy riding his horse with a couple cattle dogs in tow. Feels like something out of the 1800s, but I guess it's still a profitable way to get grass fed cattle. Unfortunately, that also means they invade my land, eat everything in sight, and leave a metric ton of shit. So I did what any reasonable person would do: picked up two wheel-barrels full of cow shit around the cabin and started compost pile.
I really need to get building a fence. But hey! They did leave two plants: a watermelon and a squash.
It really was quite defeating to drive up to a garden that was a lush forest a week and a half ago and see bare dirt. I can't believe they ate my mulch! But such is life. I really need to build a fence for next year if I want to keep any of my produce.
So we think that half of personal and half of commercial transportation is directly or indirectly related to food. What follows then is that half of all transportation is related to food.
I think your numbers here could use some work. The most important is that official EPA carbon emissions from transportation explicitly do not include agriculture operations (tractor-trailers moving goods from farm to distribution centers qualify here). From the EPA:
Note: Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding. Transportation emissions do not include emissions from non-transportation mobile sources such as agriculture and construction equipment. “Other” sources include buses, motorcycles, pipelines and lubricants.
The other problem is that the emissions don't correlate to tonnage of goods moved. Ships and boats represents a small portion of total emissions, but represent a huge percentage of food moved, especially since many population centers in the US are on ocean ports. I think more research needs to be done here before it's fair to say half of all transportation emissions go toward food.
I think a better way to approach this problem is to segment out the carbon footprint of the agriculture industry (incl. transportation, emissions, etc) and divide by the average American's footprint. It doesn't include stuff like refrigerator use, but I'm willing to bet all of those things add up to a lot less than 10% of a person's footprint.
If the average American's footprint is 20T, and a meat eater's food footprint is 3.3T, the number is a lot closer to 17%.
More importantly, I think the real lesson is this is a place that averages tell less information than individual data points. I don't drive to the grocery store, so… and if you don't eat factory farmed meat then… etc etc. The variance in each footprint is so high that an average only hides the true distribution.
Question: What's the difference between an irrigated garden and a non-irrigated garden?
This garden patch's irrigation failed while I was away and didn't get water for a week and a half.
This garden's irrigation did not fail.
Without a doubt, this was the year I fully leaned into the idea that water is my limiting nutrient. I still have the hugel at the ranch and will continue to experiment with water-saving techniques, but irrigation is absolutely vital in this low-humidity drought summer climate.
In any case, my tomatoes and tomatillos are jammin' — I'm stoked. We don't grow tomatoes here. And these have been out since the beginning of May! I'm pretty happy with this little greenhouse setup though — this garden is actually in my front "yard" (you're looking at the whole of it). What it lacks in soil, it makes up for in having a south-facing concrete wall that insulates the plants. It does mean I have to grow in pots (below the greenhouse is mostly concrete footer), but that is actually pretty good for frost-sensitive plants here. I usually start about 3-4 of these pots worth of tomatoes and leave the most vigorous in here. This year I've got a Cherokee Purple, a Glacier, and a Tomatillo — my first time growing them. And of course some basil, cillantro, mint, snapdragons, thyme, rosemary and all kinds of other stuff nearby tucked in the bits of soil surrounding.
Peter: I've actually been playing a lot with ESP8266 and various ESP8266-based devices for this stuff. Figured raspberry pi's were a bit more known to most folks :) In particular I have a bunch of ESP8266-based 'smart switches' (both plug models and raw wire models) that also monitor energy usage. This stuff is getting close to really accessible, but it sure does feel like you still need to be an expert in soldering and electronics to get anywhere right now.
I'm not sure this would be a good strategy in terms of different battery banks. You don't ever want to empty a battery bank, and you want to get it back to fully charged as soon as possible to maintain battery health. If you accidentally leave an appliance on and empty your bank you are much better off in terms of money and fossil fuel use (batteries pollute too!) to fire up a generator and charge the bank back up. Much of solar/wind design revolves around the charge time for the battery bank. Keep your bank properly charged and it will last for a long time. Lax on that end and it's easy to ruin batteries forever.
However I think you can accomplish your goals in other ways. You can monitor your single battery bank and automatically switch off appliances once you hit a certain threshold. In fact that would be super clever! You could even tie it into your charge controller and turn on extra appliances when you've filled your bank and are in surplus. I know a few people who have similar setups to various degrees (usually turning on extra pond pumps or ice makers) — but theirs are all manual. I'm hoping myself to do all kinds of clever stuff with rpi's once I get my setup solid. But I also know I have a tendency to dream a more time-filled life than I live.
Do you have a setup you can experiment with? I'd love to follow along with experiments along these lines.
I rarely listen to them, but what I have heard makes me think that the quality is good when i use the zoom mic in my office. Not so?
I wouldn't say it's bad, it's just that most podcasts I listen to now-a-days have "radio-quality" recording. Yours sound like "everyone in a big room". I'm not proficient enough to tell you if it's the mic, the mixing, or what have you. But I do listen to quite a few amateur podcasts that end up with really great sound quality.
My favorite patreons are a flat monthly fee to separate people into bonus levels, while giving away the primary artifacts for free. For example, one patreon I support is a podcast where the bonus level gets you a special poster. From my perspective right now, your patreon is way too complicated. I get the rationality of the libertarian inspired "pay per artifact" model, but I think it ends up being in pretty direct contrast with how people like to spend money (most people prefer to know how much a thing will cost than to get the absolute best value). Plus, it's pretty confusing. Heck, your first sentence is a defense of this complexity.
I think your initial structure was good to see what people are most interested in, and now to upgrade it I'd double down on the most popular form and make it a monthly fee to support you. You can keep posting articles, videos, or podcasts — whatever you wish, but maybe just focus the patreon on one of those. Support paul at $5/10/20 per month to create regular podcasts about permaculture.
From a view of upgrading the artifacts, the thing I'd most like to see is better audio equipment for podcasts. Some better mics, and maybe someone to help edit and master them to sound a bit better.
I've never seen making resources more available to wildlife ever reduce their numbers. I hear this a lot from others, but in my experience it only increases the number of wildlife (hey guys — free water, plus extra in the tubes!). Critters often get into my irrigation pipes, mostly during the spring when there is plenty of water flowing down the mountain. I've heard it's because they can hear the vibrations and think there are insects in the pipes to eat. 1/2" poly gets eaten in an instant, while 3/4" poly gets eaten… slower.
Your irrigation situation sounds interesting. Usually I'd advise that you bury the pipe, but it doesn't sound like that's the problem area for you. PVC would definitely work well. I wonder if a PVC riser with a high powered mister would add moisture in a similar manner. Or if you'd be able to deter them temporarily with some kind of odor or spice. Cayenne pepper often repels smaller animals (I'd assume it's the squirrels).
Today was firewood day! I've always heard a saying that firewood warms you three times — once when you cut it, once when you split it, and once when you burn it. That seems like a saying from someone who's only imagined processing firewood. In my experience, it usually warms you up when you don't need to be warm (like now) and it warms you up about nine times. Once when you fell the tree, once when you limb it, once when you buck it, once when you move the rounds to the splitting station, once when you split it, once when you stack it to dry, once when you re-stack it for storage, once when you bring it in to burn, and again when you burn it. Alas…
The real reason today was firewood day was we had a friend coming up who wanted to swing an axe something desperate. Whenever we've got free labor, we like to take advantage of it. We ended up taking down three trees — all dead or imminently dead from bark beetle. If you have ever seen what appeared to be a totally healthy evergreen suddenly turn orange, it's most likely bark beetle. This first tree we felled was actually later than we should have noticed. Ideally, you take them down when top-death is visible (second picture) as that indicates the tree will be dead next year. This constitutes the majority of forestry work for us as of current. There are a lot of bark-beetle infested trees throughout the property as a result of the 2005-2010 drought. Bark beetles cannot live in dead trees on the ground, but they do live in dead standing trees. The good news is this produces a good amount of trees suitable for lumber and firewood along the way.
Another thing I like to do every time I fell a tree is take some time to examine the stump and improve our felling technique. The third picture shows what you want — about 4" of hingewood (the uncut splintered portion) in an even band across the tree, starting about 1/3 the diameter. This one was pretty good, although one of the ends was a little shallower than ideal. I'm hoping to rent a chipper here soon to turn the branches into woodchips for the garden, and a stretch goal would be to rent a lumber mill before the end of the year to turn some of the better wood into lumber for a new deck. But for now, we've got another cord of firewood stacked and drying for next winter.
I'm nearing the end of my month long break from computer work to work out here at the ranch. Overall it's been an extremely fulfilling break from the real world, and I seem to have gotten both more done and less done than I anticipated. The weather has been incredible up here, with highs in the mid 80's and lows in the mid 50's at night, spectacular thunderheads over the mountains, and smoke from the Ferguson fire in Yosemite floating in and out as the winds change.
The garden area is really coming along. My UTV and me have been busy collecting rocks from the road to line the pond and I'm pleased to finally have that project done. The plants are doing great — strawberries, rhubarb, green beans, cucumbers, and squash all seem to be very happy as well as a mix of cilantro, daikon, comfrey, and various cover crops. I've been cutting back the vetch every week or so and it seems to grow about 2ft during that time. The surface is now completely covered in 3-4" of chopped plant material. I've also installed an old fire pit (like the kind from campsites with the fold-over grill attached) at the edge. It looks out to the meadow, which is a great place to start or end the day watching the hummingbirds enjoy the rose thistle in the adjacent meadow.
I've been spending most of my time building a skiddable solar shed to house our solar setup. I've got it all put together and water-tight. Now I just need to become an electrician and figure out how all the bits and bobs come together. It will be incredibly nice to get rid of the hum of the generator. I've been working up here with a little GoalZero Yeti 150 (150ah) and a generator for a few years now. With the addition of a bunch of Dewalt FlexVolt tools (including a battery-powered 12" miter saw!) it has been doable, but usually means at least 2hrs of generator time a day.
In the meantime, it's been nice to spend time on creature comforts, like my little cooking station I built to fit in the cabin's porch. It really does feel like things are accelerating faster and faster as I spend more time building up infrastructure. Which I guess is the point, but after 3 years out here, I guess it's just nice to feel progress.
If you have several good sized hanging trees and things are getting caught in the canopy, I would not consider doing any of this work by hand. One big forest machine can do 100 hours of dangerous hand work in 10 minutes, 100 times safer. It will cost more, but I'm betting it'll be a lot cheaper than a hospital bill.
From what you've described, I would absolutely hire out a professional crew to cut down the trees. Once they are down, where to go from there is really up to you, your finances, and your plans for the land. With the trees downed, you could safely install a perimeter fence and start bringing in goats/pigs or similar to eat up any suckers as you slowly do… something with those logs. You could choose to just let the logs rot in place. That won't end up in a beautiful pasture, but after a few years of heavy browsing you should be able to get more desirable trees planted. You could pile them up at one end of the property and let them rot in a pile. You could make your way through and make burn piles yourself, or hire that out. You could go all out, have the stumps removed, and plant a new pasture too. It's really all down to money and time at that point. How much money are you willing to spend to save your time? I don't think any of these are bad decisions, they're all just different routes.
Have you thought about any way to figure out how much money you're willing to put into this project? Looking at raw costs is always terrifying, but it can be a lot easier to make these decisions if you look at it in terms of investment. How much money could you make off this piece of property? How many years would it take you doing hand work to start making that money? Stuff like that often helps me make decisions.
I went to a "four year" (5 years) school and did not regret it one bit. I haven't used my degree (Civil Engineering) at all since graduating. But I also graduated without debt, despite that nearly crushing me. The thing I loved most about school was its ability to change how my mind solve problems and learned new things. That experience cannot be substituted. That being said, I have no idea how to give advice to people about this kind of decision.
You are only young once, and there is something about being forced to be in school for 12 years prior that allows your mind to somehow think it's okay to be in school even more. It is not easy to go back to school when you are older, family members will need help, chickens will need to be fed, all kinds of things conflict with a school schedule.
I think my advice would come down to two things:
1. Don't get into a serious amount of debt. It will force many important life decisions, decisions you will at the time not even consider a decision. It will just be a way of life for you, possibly for the rest of your life.
2. Don't bank on working in X career or making $Y salary dependent on your degree. The world is different now. You may increase your odds of working in X career or making $Y salary by getting a particular degree, but I see an equal chance of that happening if enough determination is focused in that direction, regardless of education.
I might also think less about "saving for enough to start homesteading" and more about making enough money to live and start homesteading on the side. Work towards homesteading more and working less over time. Even successful plans can be decimated by a drought, pest infestation, hail storm or livestock disease.
Very cool! I read this article from the BBC about this same thing about a week ago. One of the things they mentioned was that foundations for structures were dug down into the clay, resulting in a deeper section of topsoil (that traps more water) where the foundation once stood. They've even got some cool images to illustrate it.
If you don't care too much about the color, you might ask some local paint stores if they have miscolored batches. Or collect a bunch of leftover paint from friends/craigslist/etc. Mix it all together once you have enough and you'll probably end up with some kind of brown.
Or maybe just tell them you're going for the "shabby chic" look, and that you've spent a long time working on those paint peels ;)
My first thought whenever people have this trouble with tomatoes is a temperature problem. Sustained high temperatures during the day or sustained low temperatures at night can cause tomato blossom drop. I know many places it has been hot this summer — has the weather been much different than two years ago? There are other factors that can cause this too (nitrogen, humidity, etc), but temperature is the most likely culprit in my experience. Opening up the greenhouse ends should be more than enough for pollination requirements. The most I've ever done to spur pollination indoors (with no wind at all) is shake the plant a bit once a day and put a small fan on.
Love this! It looks like you're doing a good bit of work yourself, did you hire out an engineer to draw up plans for you? Or is your day job something related to construction? I grew up helping my dad with construction, but mostly decks / repairs / internal wall type stuff, so I've always been intimidated by pouring footers and other big work like that. Ironically, I went to college to civil engineering, and while I can describe in great detail how a complex concrete beam will fail, it doesn't help me much with keeping up to codes & current construction practices.
The other night I was out in the meadow taking some sunset pictures — a beautifully serene setting. A light breeze, songbirds in the distance, no sign of humans other than myself, and swallows floating around above. As I squatted down to get a good angle, what sounded like some kind of fluttering pterodactyl scream came zooming down at me and scared me half to death. Turns out they weren't swallows, but nighthawks:
A lot of great replies in here. One thing I would definitely underscore is something Mike Jay first brought up — water usage. Out here with our sandy soils and dry summers, weeds can quickly decimate other crops around them. They will germinate in a thick mat in the spring, go to seed in a few weeks as the rains stop, suck up all the water in the area, and die off — months before your veggies will have had a chance to mature. If I forget to irrigate for a week, weedy places will be completely dead, while weeded places will be doing just fine.
If you rob the bank and the getaway car stops at the compost pile, and the finished compost goes back on the garden, is that good, better or worse than dropping it?
I think this is one of those places where you'd have to really work on defining what you mean by good. I make compost to breed beneficial organisms, and a compost pile will do that orders of magnitude better than mulch will. At the same time, my compost pile is burning up the fuel that these beneficial organisms need to survive — the same organisms that live in your garden soil that might be able to use that fuel if it were chopped and dropped. At another look, a compost pile can heat up enough to kill unwanted seeds, while chopping and dropping will just leave the seeds in place… I guess I look at it all as a complex equation without an easy answer.
We've been getting the tail end of monsoon moisture blowing through the past couple of days, and it's been producing some incredible sunsets. Maybe we'll even get a thunderstorm or two! So far it's just been a couple thousands of an inch of precipitation. But those sunsets…
I have this little dongle that reports actual mpg used for each of my trips. I find that watching the data is the best way to figure out how to increase the efficiency of your vehicle. Each one is going to be different. For my truck, it's all about how much it's loaded down. For my R32, it's all about staying between 65-70mph. I have not found tire pressure, windows, or any of the popular "hacks" to make any material difference whatsoever.
Although, to be honest, my biggest piece of advice for people wishing to reduce their petroleum footprint with relation to cars is to buy an old car. The car that doesn't need to be manufactured is going to use several lifetimes less petroleum that the new one (electric or not) that needs to be manufactured (from resources mined elsewhere and shipped), shipped, built, shipped, shipped, shipped, shipped, and shipped some more. Or just reduce the amount you need to drive.