Timed quests are always optional. They do not affect the main storyline. They tend to be more difficult for lower level players because they are geared toward the high level players that may have completed all of the quests and cleared all of the other lands.
There are a few quests that come up before players may be ready to go to that location. Just because you have them doesn't mean you have to do them. They are permanent and will sit there waiting until you are ready time-wise and resource-wise. If you work your way through the locations in the recommended order shown on the map found on the Expeditions page.
The Oil Fields get people pretty regularly. I went too early just because I could and ended up losing out on some resources. When I realized that it was a timed land, I quit working on everything else and got as much oil out of it as I could at my level. If it is any consolation, there are oil derricks at Southern Reach. That is a permanent land, so you will be able to take your time getting all of the oil. Just don't be foolish and turn it into a settlement before you have emptied the derricks.
Nothing is permanent in this world, including in-game friends. People play for a while and maybe get bored or just have real life things that make them have to quit. Weed them out and get some new active friends. And paying to play is never required. We choose to do it depending on what we are trying to get out of the game. The rewards for completing the temporary and timed events are never as good as what we get for doing the permanent lands and quests, so if you can't or won't pay money for a game, then just concentrate on the permanent stuff. The thing is, the company has bills to pay. Programming and server maintenance isn't free or cheap. They have to have income coming from some where or there won't be a game to play at all.
The "programming dimwits" have done a pretty good job of creating a game that balances free-to-play with the necessity of paying the light bill. A large part of the game can be played completely free. You just have to be willing to put in the time and not be in a rush. The timed events and temporary lands are not only geared toward higher level players, but players that are willing to pay real money. If not for them, you wouldn't have a game to complain about at all.
Forgive the rant, but my favorite game ever is shutting down for this very reason. There was never a huge amount of interest and too many of the ones that did play fell into the "I'll never pay to play" category. Now everyone is crying because it's shutting down.
Problem with where all my porridge got off to. Zero in stock. One dog could not possibly had consumned 200 porridge for 6 trips to WS? Really, I cannot play anymore, not rich to spend time feeding 1 dog with a small sled.
Remember that you can only feed your dogs at home station when first starting out. While you are at Wind's Song, if you didn't bring porridge with you then it's still at home, so your dog can't eat it. Once you've completed the Windmill building at Wind's Song, you can carry porridge there and place it in the building and feed the dogs from there. Otherwise you'd need to keep porridge on the sled if you are doing a lot of traveling.