Earth Abides

This is a title of a book by George Steward published in 1949.  I read it about 1963 at around 14 years of age.  It is the book that made me aware of how tenuous our civilization is.  How fragile our existence. It is the book that made me a prepper.

It was such a profound experience that I spent years looking for a copy for myself.  And I do mean YEARS!  Now, its probably on its fifth printing!  and my copy is on my Kindle Fire!

This is one of the first EOTWAWKI books written around real events, in real time.   And by 1963, there hadn’t been much change in technology or society, which increased the realism and my awareness.

Re-reading it now, we can see the technological strides we have made (good and bad), and the advantages modern preppers have.  At the same time, some of the challenges these folks faced were not as grave as what we would face now as they were dealing with more mechanically driven forces – like gravity fed water from the reservoirs instead of electronically monitored discharge and release.  some of the philosophical challenges have changed, others have not.

The hero is an academic, the survivors really know nothing about survival, yet they manage to start a new civilization.

It seems “quaint”, but it is still a powerful message, and highly recommended.

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good idea

While I’m a big diy’er, was just starting such a product myself.  and how much easier is it if someone has done it for you?!  Yes, it might seem like a lot of money for a pdf download, but have no problem with paying someone for their time and effort if its good time and effort.  This woman seems to have thought of pretty much everything we would want to know and keep track of, plus some.

and yes, I’ve ordered her gun planner also, as that is another thing I was getting ready to sit down and do

http://selfreliantschool.com/introducing-the-preparedness-planner/

a couple of thoughts

Am I the only one to notice that it is getting hard to find good canned goods WITHOUT pull tab tops?  If you didn’t know, the are not recommended for long term storage because the cut that makes them pull tab tops effectively goes right through the lid.

LDS preparedness manual.  The Church of Latter Day Saints has a strong suggestion (just this side of being a commandment), that its members have at least one years worth of ‘stuff’ on hand at all times.  As a modern religion, they have faced a lot of hardship, although they do prosper in modern times, so they must be doing something right!

Anyway, if you are looking for a good guideline of what to store, they offer this manual as a free download at http://www.ldsavow.com/prepmanualgeneral.html

You can also buy it, and I do have a copy.  Yes, there is a lot of Mormon stuff in there, which you can cope with; and it is good background as to WHY this book exists!  There was an interesting quote in one of the opening stories, when asked about when the world would end, the answer was  ‘ I know it will end, but am planting Cherry Trees anyway.  In other words, prepare, but meanwhile, live your life.

With what we’re hearing on the news, am working on the first, while doing the second!

prepping and $$$$

Guess you’ve all noticed that prepping has become BIG business!  and SOO many of those raking in the cash don’t believe a word of what they say!  Its just all about the $$$!

Oh, it does make some information that was harder to find before a little easier now.  and the number of tools, gadgets, gizmos, and garbage are astounding.

Lets be honest, how many rocket stoves were available on the market 10 years ago? even 5?  Now you can buy a rocket stove that will let you charge your phone or laptop while cooking dinner!  And you can even find what is basically a bomb shelter, complete, just dig a big hole under your house and drop it in!  There is even “prep of the month” clubs, where every month they will send you a box of assorted prep items – what and how much depends on how much $$$$ you want to spend.

More freeze dried foods are available though; whether for camping, or an emergency pack for your car, or SHTF.  Even Organic, Vegan and Gluten Free choices coming up.

TV shows. Magazines. Books. Expos.  Liberal Prepper groups!  Yes, liberal preppers.  Saw one on Waters World the other night, being interviewed while he showed off his  preps, including his “for defense only” guns.  No hunting for liberals, defense only!  Don’t think he would have known the term Bug Out, besides which he was a bit tooo soft for doing so even if he was prepared.  and Waters left him speechless when he suggested that SHTF, Jesse Waters would be allowed in to stay . . . yup, hadn’t occurred to liberal prepper than you DO NOT announce your preps to the world as you WILL HAVE TO SHARE!  And suddenly, Mr. Liberal Prepper came to the realization that you do not talk about your preps because while its fine to talk about income redistribution, when it came down to SHTF, you don’t want to go there!

So what brought on todays rant?  A prepper magazine.  There are a couple of mags that have been out for more than a year now.  One is very High End with fancy paper, large format, big price tag, and lots and lots of VERY HIGH END merchandise:  The $100k bug out vehicle. $5k infrared night vision goggles, etc.  Several issues ago, they were reviewing “generators” including the Goal Zero – have a small one, find them handy, but expensive – so was hoping that there were some other similar tools to be reviewed here.  Nope.  It was the 400W goal zero against gasoline powered generators.

Which is when I realized that while they believe in SHTF – they don’t believe in EOTWAWKI, despite their talk about nuclear annialation, pandemics, EMP events.  Because if you are  considering SHTF, or worse, EOTWAWKI, you do not want anyone hearing or smelling your gasoline powered generator.  You might love your neighbors, but if the power and heat are out for a week (or longer) because of an ice storm, do you want those unprepared neighbors descending on your home, with their kids, because you can keep the lights on, keep the kids entertained with the DVR, and probably have food in the fridge?  and you know, EOTWAWKI, that there is no way – despite a Charlton Heston movie – that years later you will have good quality diesel, much less gasoline, to power the thing!  and if you have to bug out, how the hell do you move that generator much less the gasoline storage tank you buried in your back yard?!  And I told them so.

So Sunday I picked up a magazine called Prepper or Prepping, or something like that.  Articles that are overviews on things like water; its importance, how to find it in different conditions, larger and smaller purification devices.  Similar articles on food, weapons, and then came to home protection.  Okay, whether SHTF or a larger scale EOTWAWKI event, every one has to seek shelter somewhere.  And in this day and age of drones, you have to be a LOOONNNNGGG way from anywhere to not have someone find you!  and even before we get there, as noted before, you don’t want to advertise your preps, especially any weapons.

How to protect your place of shelter.  Agreed, you don’t want the house protected by S&W sign.  a sure advertisement that you have guns which will make you a mark even in good times.  and the dog.  Always a good early warning system.  Then there was the ADT home protection sign as the #1 home protection.  Well, in good times, sure, but SHTF, that is going to do you absolutely NO good at all, except to maybe declare you as a target who is counting on someone else to protect you!  The articles went on through personal protection and communications – focusing on high tech devices, all requiring electricity.  Again, the remotely attended security system.  Can you see someone calling the cops for your emergency during Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?  Will they be there after the tornado ravishes your town?  The security cameras.  Yes, they have battery back ups, but who you gonna call?  So maybe you’ll have pictures of the people who have ransacked and looted your safe space.

Walkie talkies and short wave.  Also great ideas, but be sure of your power supplies yet again.

Oh, will totally admit I love my gadgets and am delighted in some of the products that this wave of commercialism is making available.  Have augmented my food stash with some commercial freeze dried products.  am making use of some of the stackable water “bricks” that let me stash water where I have space, rather than having to make space for a 55 gallon drum somewhere.  Just bought a “little green wagon”, which is a collapsible garden wagon with BIG wheels that lets my rapidly aging (you can’t stop the passage of time!) body get a rest from moving soil and heavy items around the yard. Got a device that helps shred my kitchen waste for quicker composting, and because of my environment, use compost tumblers which didn’t exist a couple of decades ago.  have gotten an assortment of “pop up” garden protectors and season extenders rather than having to manhandle sheets of material over hoops and pin and clip into place every evening and fold up and store every morning.

Yes, have water storage containers for collecting rain water – and pretty much every one in my neighborhood knows I do cause they are BIG and attracted attention when they were delivered.  and my goal zero unit powers the pump that moves the water from those tanks around the property.  And pretty much all my neighbors know I garden as they have all had fresh produce from my space.  Then again, my neighborhood is small and SHTF, might be induced to share.

So the commercialization of Prepping has brought both good and bad with it.  and with it being “popular” maybe more people will get into it . . at least for the short term.  But it also means cheap goods, and the enticement to spend money on things you may not need or want . . as an example, have a grain mill.  Do I need a grain mill?  probably not.  Of course, EOTWAWKI, it will probably be more of a barter item.  But it is a good quality one and the sale price made in something I could purchase for that purpose.  Also have a mangle – that is a wringer unit for hand wash.  That was a thrift shop purchase at $12.  If I never need it, great. If I do, it will be worth having and ‘renting’ out to other people struggling with their wash.   Have two rocket stoves – one a larger unit for the house, and a smaller one to stash in the vehicle.  Have two solar ovens, same deal. Paid full price for the first, they offered the second purchase at 50% off.

So I have succumbed to the temptations of the slick glossy magazines.

Sadly, see Backwoods Home is closing down this year, just because Dave Duffy and his wife and crew have reached the age of stepping aside and letting their daughter take over with a new magazine called Self-Reliance.  They chose NOT to sell out to big business.  The popular members of their crew – including Dave himself – will do articles for Self-Reliance which is going to be a quarterly magazine instead of a monthly.

But they will never have the circulation of some of the slicker new publications that are turning up at the media racks in the local market (which is all we have in our town for magazines).  Nor are you likely to see them advertised in those slick magazines.

So as you seek information on prepping and survival, watch who is using flash instead of substance to grab your $$$,

 

 

wonder why

Discovered this became a ramble, but there is a point at the end 🙂

Back before PREPPER was a common term, guess I was one.  Not a survivalist, which is what some think became preppers, but aware that there could be an EOTWAWKI.  Guess anyone who was born in the nuclear age had to have that somewhere in their consciousness, after all we grew up with the early Sci Fi movies of beings from out of space (my two favorites – Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds), nuclear annihilation (Dr. Strangelove), duck and cover drills in grade school (actually all the way through at least 8th grade), Strontium 90 tainted milk and cookies, Cuban Missile Crisis, the cold war and bomb shelters.

But do remember always keeping plenty of food on hand along with extra water from my first apartment on.  Back in the 70’s, living in NYC, learning to can, dehydrate, baking, and other skills.  Unusual behavior at the time.  Oh, we could get stuck in a black out for a few days (lived through the first two NYC black outs without difficulty), blizzard making it difficult to get to the store, or at least for the store to get deliveries (even in NYC).  Will never forget one Sunday heading out on cross Country skies in manhattan and being upset because the Times wasn’t available!

Later that day, my boyfriend and I went downtown intending to see Ghandi, which had just opened, presuming we’d miss the crowds, NOT! Not much keeps New Yorkers down!

So what brought this all on? today as I was reading something came across a reference to On The Beach.  My mom was a Neville Shute fan and had most of his books and so read them early on.  Mom was from England and was amazed at how accurate his descriptions of war torn Britain were in books written before the war had really begun.  Of course, now I understand that he was intelligent, and engineer, and had lived through WWI, so it was probably relatively easy to understand and imagine what the destruction would and could be, as well as be aware of where technology stood at the time and what that meant to war fare.

On the Beach affected me deeply, as it probably did everyone who either read the book or saw the movie.

Was only about 16 when I read Earth Abides.  Another post Apocalyptic novel, that I see mentioned more and more often.  Written in 1949, it saw the end of the world through pandemic and at that place in my life, that triggered something in me.  An awareness of how fragile our entire planet is, not just from war, but from many other things.

From that point on, despite my circumstances, was always conscious of Something Could Happen any time.

It was only moving out here to AZ from the Metropolitan area that I was able to expand my ideas of preparing.  Of course, there is more information readily available, more ideas, more technology making things happen – both for the prepper and to push us closer to the brink!

Guess, getting older has made a difference too.  Do not see either my sweetie or I just sitting back in a chair and waiting to die no matter how old we are or what happens.  At the same time we have to consider what we can do at 70, at 80, to keep going!

and speaking of partners, He has not always understood what I’ve been about with this.  Fortunately, my shopping habit has extended to the matter of supplies and tools rather than clothing and shoes and handbags.  Not that I’m not woman enough to want those things, but have become quite adept at thrifting and making, keeping my $$ available for my prepping.

But this election cycle has him suddenly aware.  Its like he’s been hit in the head with a cosmic 2 x 4. Suddenly he’s conscious of how easily our electric and water and food supplies could be disrupted.  How quickly things could go wrong.  Of course, watching the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the floods in Louisiana, the forest fires in California  – forget the fires, we’ve been out there a couple of times on business the past year and have been awed at the effects of the drought!  Add to that terrorists attacks, living in the southwest and the awareness of how vulnerable we are on our border (watching the original Red Dawn today, early infiltration coming in over the Mexican border).  Its all adding up.

Then you go to the grocery store and find California fruits and veggies being discounted, plenty of meat and poultry on the shelves, Nestle still selling bottled water from CA (arrowhead if you don’t know), and its hard to keep on high alert. Its hard to bend your brain around the idea that all this could come to a screeching halt instantly.

Because there isn’t anything in the back of the grocery store, its all on the shelves.  When its gone, its gone.  The same for the hardware stores, the clothing stores, the drug store. So even in a small city like here, it wouldn’t take long for the shelves to empty and people to panic.

To be honest, expect that a lot of people would immediately leave town and head for the cities.  Either to reach family or because they think government help will come to cities first.  We were deserted in the days immediately following 9/11/01.  It was very eerie.

So all this brings me back to the question of why? Why did it trigger ideas and thoughts and awareness in me and not in other people?  Why didn’t everyone who saw those sci fi movies, read those books, start advocating change?  Why did I learn skills that others thought were outdated and old fashioned? Why did it take so long for my sweetie to wake up?

More and more people are waking up to the fact that we are really close to that edge, but so many more or still asleep when we need to be developing community and plans and skills.

And no, I’m not meant to be a leader. Teacher maybe, but even that will be hard as I can’t stand people and if the SHTF, I’m going to be more of a hunker down and keep a low profile kind of person.

Still, wonder why?

 

Money!!

While many of my posts are on prepping without spending a lot, spending some has to be done.

Some things I’ve purchased, like my Goal Zero Yeti 400, could have been done cheaper – or even not at all!  But it is something I use regularly and can continue to do so if SHTF for a few days or a few years. ($500!).  Thought I did okay with the 100W solar panel and seeing the current prices, wish I’d bought a couple ($125)

Have just invested in some Tattler lids for canning.  Recycling is always great instead of throwing away AND there might be a time down the line where there will be no way of running out and buying new canning lids.  So its time to learn how to use them. ($20)

Also just purchased a Kelly Kettle – full camping kit.  Figure this will go into the bus (if it ever gets back on the road) for regular camping.  It will be an emergency back up if we get stuck away from home, or if push comes to shove and we do have to bug out for some reason.   ($150)  And if the bus never gets put back together, we’ll tow it with the 4×4 and have a camper!

Bug out is not in our long range plans, but fires happen and we do live in that kind of area. (put together a bug out bag, $$$$ )

There is also a box out in the courtyard right now with 8 x 5 gallon water storage containers.  Drinking water is something I’ve been a bit lax on and wanted to address that. ($190)

Strangely, my darling partner in life has not seen the importance of preparing for a long time and has just humored me with my gardens (although he does like the fresh food!), canning, and stashing.

Suddenly, this election cycle has him paying a bit more attention and he’s become a more active supporter.  He was particularly pleased to find out that water filters have been high on my priority list.

He’s even getting into my desire to have an electric tricycle ($2000 – $3500) for being able to get around and move things quietly, although he can’t really get his head around the idea that there might be a time when the car isn’t an option!

And then there’s the food!!  How much have I spent on canned goods, dried goods, and even meat and chicken that’s been canned?  yes, it will get recycled into our daily eating pattern, but there’s always that “bank”.

Will we need it in our life time?  sure hope not, but our kids can inherit it all if necessary because the likelihood is, they will need it in theirs!

PLUS

The things you don’t always think about, like sewing supplies, leather, fabric, yarn, books (how to and entertainment).  Sure, we might never need it, but that’s why its called preparedness.  We might never be without our services for more than a few hours, a day or two at most.  Then again, depending on who is our next president, we might find ourselves hunkering down for the duration our lives in another decade!

Just never thought I’d still be thinking about all this at this age. Thought we would have come to our senses 40 years ago.

 

 

reading

What do you read?  I’m sure you have reference BOOKS for when the SHTF. Books that will help you with skills you might need.  Books you have gone through, if not read, to be sure that you have appropriate tools on hand.

But what else do you read? fiction? history? biography? What magazines? Guns and Ammo? Backwoods Home? Mother Earth News? Recoil? Organic Gardening? Home and Garden? Vogue?

Have recently discovered American Survival Guide.  Understand there was, once upon a time, another magazine of the same title.  This is not the same magazine.  Have seen this magazine slammed by critics, and have seen others rave about it.  I’m somewhere in between.

I like that it reviews what’s new on the market in technological tools.  Thinking of Night Vision of some sort? do you want IR? or do you want just low light?  Prices are coming down, and these people will keep reviewing so you can eventually make an informed decision.  Found some recipes for trail mix and a quick and easy jerky. How to make Candle Wicks.  Info on communications, as well as the usual on armament, lighting, etc.

But how it is most useful to me is it helps keep my awareness up.  Its so easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle, that my home preps sometimes get forgotten.  Each time I read a (decent) apocalyptic novel or read a magazine like this, I remember my preps.  Maybe I’ll can some more Chicken.  Or make up a crock pot full of some meal and dry it into portions. I may just add some extra TP or canned goods onto the shopping list. Or start researching walkie talkies.

and that enthusiasm may wane in a week as the demands of the shop or something else takes my attention. But at least I’ve done one more thing.  and three weeks later another issue will come in and I’ll do a little bit more.

Will never get it all done, but always a little bit more and a little bit more.