Two Letters Re: Considerations for Longer Term Survival

Thursday, Dec 22, 2005

Jim:
Norman has it right-on in his Wednesday’s post about taking things further out than one or two years past TEOTWAWKI. How about plans for the rest of your kid’s lives? Not stockpiles, mind you, but plans. That means forethought, how-to manuals in the old ways for people to read when they have run out of modern technology (and options), or when they need to use unfamiliar technology-free appliances, and so on. For instance, I have just ordered a spinning wheel made in Holland, foot powered, that will be possible to repair with even hand carved wooden parts and simple metal pieces made from scrap. Even the whole spinning wheel could be replicated by using simple hand tools if you have enough time and a decent hardwood tree to cut.
Most of us have the year’s supply of things. What happens after that?, because TEOTWAWKI may not just be an acronym, it may be our life soon, i.e. an unknown world.
Take a look at this table of contents from a manual I am finishing up for my farm visitors to read at TEOTWAWKI plus one year. It’s for people who show up at my farm who have survived for a year or so after the disaster (everyone else who was unprepared will have died), and these people are just looking for work or a safe place to pitch a tent, park a camper or RV, though many may have arrived much earlier than one year. It’s a manual for people to read to help them decide whether they want to stay with us at the farm and attempt to make a go of a new settlement, all working together for a while with new ideas using old-fashioned methods. It discusses many of the potential problems we’ll be facing, and posits solutions to those same problems in a way not many people have thought about yet. But they now are just being forced to think about these issues because they are coming up against the brick wall of survival stocks dwindling, people really running out of patience and time for the ‘modern’ ways to return to them and save the day, and they are coming to the realization they are really on their own now, not waiting any longer for government to regroup and continue the welfare checks. TEOTWAWKI plus one year (in my opinion) will force hardened survivors into groups as the technological age will finally be dead. People will need guidance to work together in the old ways because no one can do it all. You can if you’re stockpiled, but when the stocks are gone, old-fashioned work must take the place of freeze-dried rations, and there’s still only 24 hours in a very long day.
This manual is my way doing what Norman so eloquently said about long range planning. It gives us a way to think clearly at the end of an unfamiliar road. Even though I can not now foresee every need and problem that may arise one year plus, it gives a planning base to start from, gives someone who may be in panic stage and ready to give up the ship (and who is also now ready to listen to a good argument) a reason for hope by showing a possible solution to a totally unfamiliar and deadly situation. Planning long term has really given me an opportunity to dig deep into anticipated future events and try to solve many problems that even I couldn’t prepare for, short of actually being there first hand myself. I needed a way to help others plan long term past the disaster, since most people failed to plan long term (or even short term) before it. When they read the manual they can see in writing how their lives might be improved for the better, and have a chance to join a long range plan in action to benefit them. Certainly it may fail, but foresight and forethought should help to some extent. That’s planning, and survivors must be good at that or they won’t make it past one year. Keep up the great work. - Mr. Whiskey

 

Mr. Rawles:
I have just read Norman’s message on SurvivalBlog about Longer Term Survival and, while I think that it would be great that everyone who wants to survive a future calamity be trained to be a do-it-all McGyver Mountainman Special Ops superninja, it just isn’t possible or attainable for most of us. Yes, I’m exaggerating some, but I want to be clear on something: most people (99%) don’t even have a clue that there is a great chance that in their lifetime there will be a life-changing event what we commonly term “TEOTWAWKI”.
But I think we need to give ourselves a bit of credit here. Sure, you can’t expect to buy a couple guns and MREs and think things are going to go your way. And maybe these are the guys that Norman is railing against. Those of us that are concerned about this risk and are willing to do something about it, to put away a little “disaster insurance”, are so far and away ahead of everyone else it’s not funny. People reading this blog are way ahead of most, if they act on some of the valuable suggestions here. People who have put away some supplies and educated themselves are buying time to make more than a few mistakes along the way while they learn how to live like their ancestors. However, let me tell you, my Mormon pioneer ancestors (who, by and large, were townfolk, not farmers), driven out of town by the mobs and the Federal government extermination order, were just as ill-prepared (or more) as I would be trekking across the mountains to Utah in a handcart, and I would have modern weapons, modern medical supplies, modern fabrics, inexpensive modern hand tools, and modern food storage technology to help me get by. Yes, I wouldn’t be able to make any more, but I will have a leg up until I can spend the downtime to learn to make lower tech equivalents. Since the majority of folks are unprepared and will probably perish in a world-changing event, I and many others will be able to live off of the detritus of society for a long, long, long time.
But we still need to weigh the risks with our ability to support our families with a sufficient income. Not everyone can immediately move out into the woods tomorrow and build a homestead. It takes means to do this. There is no free land anymore. You can’t just go out and find some land and tame it (with no tools or equipment or training or means of support), and then use it to support your wife and children. Even if you could, do you want to be a dirt poor chicken farmer? Do you want your children to be robbed of an education to support their families or healthcare to take care of medical emergencies on the possibility of disaster? Don’t you owe it to your family to prepare to find a means to make an income outside of the megaplexes?
So, we need to earn a proper income to pay for the means to get supplies, books, training, land, equipment, shelter, and systems. Some lucky ones are able to do this already in what they think would be an “ideal” location. Not all of us are so lucky. The rest of us must set goals to do what we can to get out of the multimegaplex deathtraps (reducing debt, using home equity to buy a retreat in the boonies, training or changing careers to be able to produce income in the boonies) and educate ourselves by taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge available in books and on the internet and practice on a smaller scale at home what they will need to do if things go haywire.
So, let us review:
  1. Set goals to get out of the big cities and be more self-reliant, while making an income to support your family
  2. Get out of debt
  3. Educate yourself and your family
  4. Get healthy
  5. Act on your dream
This is the best most of us can do. I am doing it today.
Just to make it personal, let me describe my own “eject button” plan:
Six years ago I realized that I must take steps to protect my family in the event of a catastrophe. Over this time, I have slowly educated myself and accumulated supplies to be able to temporarily sustain us during an “event”. The plan at that time was to escape with our supplies to my mom’s rural retreat if things got bad, or, barring that, lean on the fellowship and organization of the church (which is considerable- "strength in numbers") that we belong to bring us through.
Four years ago we moved out of California to be closer to my mom’s place and make a few bucks on selling our home. I used some of that money to put a down payment on our existing house, purchase firearms, some selected survival and camping gear, a good 6 months of food supplies, a trailer, and set aside the rest. Just this summer, we found an ideal retreat location in the mountains on 20 acres in a subdivision of 300 units of 20 acres, with a membership in an association that owns in common the 6,000 acres surrounding the units (to pay for road maintenance, taxes, caretakers, etc), with several amenities, like a 2 week time-share in one of 10 cabins, trout ponds, horses, and, as a side benefit, the place functions as a working cattle ranch for extra income. There are some folks living there full time, but most are out of state. I used the money I set aside to buy in. I don’t have enough money to build on it yet, but will eventually.
Now, this ranch is over six hours away and in a bordering state. It’s a bit too far for effective retreat status. This triggered a search for job opportunities nearby. Consulting with my employer, I recently determined that I could keep my existing job working as an on-call consultant at a slightly diminished wage (really only on the basis that I have significant value to the company due to my expertise and experience, and the fact that due to the recent growth of VPN and VOIP technology, much of my work can be done over the internet now) as long as I have access to low-delay high speed internet and a phone line, as well as proximity to a reasonable sized town. The 20 acre ranch is just too far away, has no power, no internet or phone lines, much less cell coverage. So, we put some money down on 2 1⁄2 acres in a rural area just outside of a small town 45 miles away from a much larger growing larger town, only 2 1⁄2 hours away from the 20 acre ranch retreat. I plan on selling my
home next month and using the equity to pay off debts, balances on our 20 acre retreat and our 2 1⁄2 acre “town” place (which actually cost a little more than our 20 acres) , and more than half the cost of our new home, which I will build myself . My new job situation will allow me the time to build, rather than commuting every day and hoping to squeeze enough time in on the weekend and in the early morning. This will also pay for survivability features which I couldn’t have in town, like a solar power backup, septic system, a solar-pumped well and water catchment/storage system, root cellar and other underground storage, workshop and others.
This will also bring me to having no debt whatsoever in 7-to-10 years as long as I exercise discipline.
This will be my “primary” setup, and “plan B” will be using the experience (and equity) I will gain from building my house to build a cabin on the 20 acre ranch. In the mean time, it will be a nice vacation spot. Before then, should I have to G.O.O.D. to the ranch we can survive on our hauled short-term gear and pre-positioned items until we build a good enough shelter there. I plan on using The $50 and Up Underground Housing Book as my guide (http://www.undergroundhousing.com/) for that scenario. Nice thing is, the ranch owns a backhoe that I can use for a discounted price.
I have been preparing to do this for a long time, and have been slowly gathering a rather large library of tools and resources for me to use in this endeavor. Now it’s time for me apply what I’ve read about. Wish me luck. - D.


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