Listen, I’m not some kind of quack that believes the world’s going to end as we know it. I don’t envision a zombie attack, an EMP from China or a crazy government conspiracy coming to get me. I do however see the writing on the wall. We have become lazy and useless as a society and honestly, it can only go on for so long.
So I’m starting my prepping journey in earnest. I’m an old fashioned guy and I like pen and paper with a cup of coffee and a cigarette on the front porch…. it’s where I do my best thinking. So, I start with trying to plan it all out on paper and what I have come up with is this:
I want to be able to thrive and not just survive. “Survive” implies that I will sustain myself until someone comes to save me…. “Thrive” however means that I have the means to not only take care of myself but I am growing and getting better and I have the capacity to care for others. This is what I want…. this is my goal.
In order to meet that goal I know that I need to start with the basics… I have to be able “survive” first and then I can “thrive.” My pen whips over the page and I come up with 5 basics that I need to master in order to survive in any situation:
If I can master these 5 then I am all set…. easier said then done… I know.
I keep thinking….
- I’ve got 8 kids… I can’t go anywhere… I need to make this happen here.
- I do not have unlimited money… I need to make this happen with a budget.
- I do not have unlimited time… I need to keep this simple.
OK, so here goes…
I live in the city. I’m kind of on the edge, but still within city limits and I’m on city water. If we just have an economic collapse I’m ok on water. If however the grid goes down I’m pretty much screwed and since water is the most important need, I’m going to need to make certain that I have got this covered.
The normal person needs 1 gallon of water per day and this includes cooking, drinking and cleaning. This means my family needs 10 gallons per day and over the course of 6 months we need 1800 gallons… phew! That’s a lot! Ok, so I’m going to need to have some on hand and make certain that I have an easy way to refill it. I’m setting a goal of having a months supply (300 gallons) and have an immediate way to refill. My plan is to purchase some 55 gallon barrels and collect rainwater from my roof so that these are always filled. With my roof space these will fill in no time and stay fresh and filled. I’ll keep you posted how it goes….
This is a tough one. The initial impulse is run out and stock up on canned goods. But seriously…. for 10 people? I would need thousands of cans of food….. where would I put it? How would I organize it? Ho long will it last? Biggest of all… what would I do when it ran out?
My plan… I need to have not only canned food but also bulk food stored in long term buckets, have a hunting and fishing plan for fresh meat and also have a growing plan for fresh fruit and vegetables.
- I’m figuring on a half a can of food per day per person which comes out to needing roughly 1,000 cans for 6 months.
- I have tons of squirrels on my property and I can hunt them very easily.
- We already have chickens for fresh eggs, but I need to redouble this effort.
- I need to investigate a meat animal that I can raise on my small plot of land. Rabbits maybe?
- I need to look at some unique ways to grow a substantial amount of fruit and vegetables on my limited amount of land.
This is a basic survival need and I included it here because I think that as Americans we take it for granted. In traditional survival circles this might included shelter from the elements such as constructing a hut to keep you out of the rain. Since we’re not “buggin out” this doesn’t really concern us. However, even though I may have my house, I might not have the things in it that I’m used to:
- Hot water heater
- Washing machine and dryer
- Heating and Air conditioning
- Fridge and Freezer
These are all things I have become come to rely on and frankly can’t imagine trying to live without. One of the things that I see as extremely likely is that the electric grid goes down at least temporarily. In that case none of these things are available. A couple hours might be tolerable, but after that I’m in trouble. All of the food in my fridge and freezer has spoiled, everyone is dirty and crabby from no showers, no clean clothes, etc. Not to mention in the TX summer it’s hotter than heck and frankly in the winter it can get very cold (it’ll be down to 27 tonight.)
So, by “shelter” I guess what I really need to make a plan for is “alternative energy” so that we can still function like reasonable city slickers…..
Fire and Fuel
I cook my food on a stove. Jamie for the most part uses the microwave. Now, every now and then I venture outside to my grill and throw some meat or vegetables on it. It gives me that “I’m a rough, tough man of the outdoors” feeling as I hit the auto ignite button on my stainless steel outdoor stove. But really…. if it comes to the point where my electricity doesn’t work, I am screwed. I’ll run out of propane pretty quickly and although I like fires, the thought of making a fire to brew a cup of coffee in the morning is a nightmare. Heck, I can barely push the “brew” button on the Mr. Coffee machine in the morning. So, as much as I like the romantic thought of rubbing two sticks together and roasting my kill over it, I’m going to need a simpler plan…..
Fuel is another concern. By fuel, I don’t mean “gas” for my car. I mean firewood. We’re going to have to cook outside at some point, be able to sit around a fire at night and be social and most of all, be able to heat our home in the cold winter nights with a fireplace or wood stove. I realize that this takes an awful lot of wood and I can’t just start chopping my trees down or run down to the supermarket for a bundle. I’m going to need to think on this.
Let’s face it. If I have the four things above and my neighbor doesn’t then at some point he’s going to want to come and take it from me. This uncomfortable to think about but true none the less. The further the economy crumbles, the more crime we will see. It will reach a point where it turns into full scale looting and rioting.
I would love to just bug out and go to a place in the country but that isn’t feasible so my plan is simple. Stay off the radar, shelter in place and protect what I have. Near as I can tell at this point this will encompass three things:
- I need a way to make my property look like I don’t have anything worth value. In an all out breakdown, this will entail a privacy fence that is simple in scope, a way for us to live without making a lot of noise (no large caliber gun discharges for hunting for example), a way for us to cook and stay warm without lots of smoke (and yummy smelling food over the grill) and a way to make sure that light is blocked out at night.
- I need non lethal some security measures so I know when someone tries to enter my property by coming over the fence.
- I need some lethal security measures (guns) and have the family trained to defend our home.
Honestly, this is the one that I am most comfortable with and best prepared for already. We’re active shooters and hunters and have plenty of guns and ammo already. But, the part I need to focus on is mitigating the chances that we will have to use those and end up taking a life.
I’ll be tackling each of these 5 individually and trying to work through them. Ideas are appreciated!