merry and happy y’all!!

having been caught up in the end of the year push, haven’t been doing much posting at all.  So while I’m wishing you all a joyous holiday season, am using this opportunity to get something off my chest.

Had  joined a Prepping group on FB to try and pick up some ideas and tips on stuff.  After a few weeks, have realized I’m better off sort of talking to myself here.

It was a nice mix of folks, from all over the world, who had in common prepping. They purported to be strictly about SHTF scenerios, not disaster, EOTWAWKI scenerios.   Unfortunately, there was too much about BOBs, Get home bags (yes, important if you have to commute to work) and Inch (I’m never coming home) bags.  Lots of discussion about what makes up a good first aid bag – read full trauma set up.

Now, from my personal POV, a bug out bag is for leaving your house in an emergency, like fire, or to move from place to place.  Most of us do not have a remote, fully set up, bug out location, right?  So unless you are just going for short term or have a place to go, that BOB is setting you up for 3 days until you suffer badly.  Of course, in a SHTF scenario, the worst of the emergency should be over in 3 days and the authorities have either moved in or you are back at home.

Most of the contents of those BOB’s also had nothing to do with things like clothing and toiletries, it was things like fire starters, water purifiers, axes and knives, paracord, tents, etc.

Yes, I have a BOB set up because we live in an area that could see disasterous fire!  So have enough packed up to gives us clothing and such for three days, including some food for the dog.  Yes, there is a small camp stove, propane bottle, water filter and dehydrated food in there in case we have to camp because hotels are full or it will take awhile to get to one.  But its about temporary needs.  If we have to leave our house, we lose our preps, so then what?

When women began talking about stuff like birth control the guys got rude and crude.  In other words, not their problem and they didn’t like the alternatives that the women were coming up with.  Sorry dudes, but do you really think the condom makers will be in business if it gets that bad?

and we weren’t really allowed to talk about self-defense or guns.

and they really put down people who bought things like solar powered battery “generators” rather than build their own.

Now while I get that a lot of people (me included) like their gizmos and gadgets, this is not a case of who has the most toys wins, right?!  Its about making personal decisions and hoping you have all the right preps to support that life style.  If you are preparing for a major EOTWAWKI event, you will be fine through a temporary SHTF scenario.  and if the worst happens, you will hopefully be adequately prepared to make the transition from comfortable lifestyle to self-sufficient living.

But what really pushed me out was when the guy who ran the forum said that there hadn’t been a SHTF situation yet and it was unlikely to happen.  WHAT!!!  I’m sure that for the people who suffered from the record forest fires in the North West and CA this year would disagree with that. As would the hurricane survivors in Texas, LA, FL and Puerto Rico!  If the thinks the only SHTF situation that counts is one that is nation wide, then we quickly move from SHTF to EOTWAWKI.  Just a little breakdown in food delivery to the cities will see those cities burn to the ground!

All in all, it HAS made me aware that as I’ve gotten older, my choices and preps have to change.  We continue, as a race of people, to dance to the edge of the abyss and, fortunately have so far, then danced back.  Sadly, see we are now dancing at the edge with some madmen who really don’t see a danger of falling off that edge.  Or maybe they think that edge is stronger than it looks.   What ever, it makes me hope that we can hold off the events for a few decades longer, cause I’m not looking forward to having to spend my senior years living like a pioneer in the western wilderness!

 

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thoughts

trikeHave had a busy month or so.

Had also joined a Facebook prepper forum to get more information and learn more about all the things we want to learn about.

and, as is to be expected I guess, despite the rhetoric of inclusiveness, they are pretty demeaning of those who are newbies.  People scared because of all the recent hurricane damage and want to get prepared.    Scared of the North Korea posturing, and what can they do to protect their families.   Scared of raging wildfires putting homes and families in harms way.  So they come asking those real newbie questions and get shot down.

Even those of us who have some knowledge, when sharing our experiences, can get ridiculed because they, in their experience and knowledge, disagree with what we are doing.  That is without knowledge on their part of what our economic, health, and needs and limitations might be.  Disappointing to say the least.

Meanwhile, am working on things like a bug out bag for us that will include some just in cases, but is mostly with the idea that if we have to bug out it is likely to be to a hotel / motel because where we are is subject to things like wildfires, or damage to the house because of falling tree limbs.  We are not in an area of blizzards, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even Haboobs.  Power outages are rare.  BUT, if we are experiencing a need to get out, so likely will others, and with the dog, we might find ourselves camping for a few days and am planning accordingly with freeze dried meals, cook stove, water filter, etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile, because there is always the possibility that the S will HTF, have finally gotten my electric Trike from Pedego.  Was not expecting to like their trike because it is underpowered and small for someone of my size and weight.  But since having it, have learned a lot about WHY that’s better.  since I do want to use it for running errands in town, over 2 miles away and all uphill, am also learning that it will require a lot more pedaling on my part than I originally intended, so have been working the neighborhood streets with as little power assist as I can.   added a rear view mirror for before hitting the busy main street, and am just about ready to venture beyond the immediate streets for more mileage.

recharged it today using my Yeti 1000 to get a feel for what kind of drain that will be, which is not much.

and if the battery goes dead dead, there are always legs to make it go.

 

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.

lifestyle insurance

This also came up when reading the LDS manual.

For those who have a problem with the idea of PREPPER, Lifestyle insurance.

Storm, illness, failure of the retirement fund, old age, job loss for any reason.  Lifestyle Insurance is the food, water, clothing, and hopefully fuel, stored for a rainy day.

And if you can’t get your brain around the fact that any of it could happen to you, think how you will feel when you can help someone else who has had it happen to them . . . because we all know it happens only to other people!

for the women

Saturday will once again be joining the Ladies that Shoot.

If you want to learn how to shoot, what to get to get together with women who like to shoot, check out The Well Armed Woman web page and look to see if they have a chapter near you.   Have been shopping with TWAW for several years, and a couple of years ago, Carrie set up this chapter arrangement and it has become HUGE!  Live in a small city myself so have to travel about an hour either north or south to get to a chapter (and the chapter north meets on weekday evenings – way past my bedtime!).

Meetings are usually held at a shooting range, with reasonable priced range time afterwards.  Chapter leaders are NRA instructors, all women.  Depending on the chapter they have “roadtrips”, contests, etc.

A great opportunity to learn about guns, and how to use them properly.

cash will remain king

Not long ago, saw someone on one of the prepper forums praising BitCoins as being the payment of the future.  Personally, don’t even know what a bitcoin is, but in the SHTF world, don’t think we’re going to be using it much.  Still, this person was going on about how much they had increased in value and were worth the investment.  Not long after that, saw bitcoin had been “devalued” by several billion dollars and that person did not post any comments

Once upon a time, before there was currency, there was barter.  and in our SHTF preps, we are encouraged to put away barter items like booze and ammo and . .

But back when there was barter, there were times when person A needed something and person B, who had that something, didn’t want anything that person A could offer.  Now what?  And so money was born.  Not as value of its own, but as a neutral item of barter.

A couple of years ago, saw we had a local barter group spring up (think I posted about this then, and wonder what happened to those folks?) who created their own script for that same purpose.  If you did this – like yard work for an elder – then you got so much in script.  and when you needed help painting your bedroom, you traded in that script for some one’s labor.  The idea being this was sort of “undeclared income”.  Unfortunately, the IRS does not accept that idea and you have to prove you gave equally for what you received.  Same for businesses.  Anyway . . .

It still ends up being money.  And cash money is something we already understand.

So when the SHTF, you will still be using money once the dust settles and people get back into the idea that you cannot be all things unto yourself and not everyone wants what you have to offer in trade.   And the guy who has decided he controls the lumber yard isn’t going to let you in to take some wood based on handing him a dozen eggs.

AND, if it is just a SHTF event, like a hurricane or tornado, you will need that cash when you no longer have a job, the bank is finding reasons to hold on to your money because they know you don’t have a job and there are mortgage payments due, and you need to buy food, etc.  And with interest rates so low, “saving” money in the bank isn’t really doing you anything but letting “them” know how much you have!

So as you go back to the idea of burying your money in sealed mason jars in the back yard, or stuffing your mattress, make sure you have plenty of small bills and change.  When you have to barter for that dozen eggs with cash, they aren’t going to have change of a $100!

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 $$$,