I've noticed that you haven't mentioned many details about where you live, or much about your daily life, like most other blogs do. Just curious. - R.K. in Alabama
JWR Replies: I try not to clutter my blog with daily minutiae. Since SurvivalBlog is intended to be educational, I try to stick to the preparedness issues at hand, as much as possible. That means downplaying politics and minimizing posts with detailed descriptions of what I'm eating, the eccentricities of our pets, my favorite music, and so forth. There are plenty of other blogs out there in the blogosphere for that.
To maintain our family's privacy, we are forced to be very circumspect. For OPSEC reasons, I never post pictures of my family members, our vehicles, our house, our livestock, or our ranch. In past years, we had some undesirable contacts with stalkers, so we were forced to go "down periscope." Given the nature of my blog, this heightened privacy posture is a must, for our personal safety. But here is what I can tell you about our lives, in a nutshell:
We live year-round at a ranch west of the Rockies, inside the American Redoubt.
The ranch is less than 100 acres, but it is surrounded by public land. This provides the ultimate "big backyard" for hunting and cutting firewood. To heat our home, we burn mainly Red Fir and Western Larch. (The latter is commonly called Tamarack, although technically it isn't.) On the ranch and within just a couple of miles of it, there is truly a lifetime supply of both varieties--either dead-fallen or dead-standing.
The ranch is fully fenced and cross-fenced. About half of it is sub-irrigated and provides excellent pasture. We raise dairy cattle and small livestock, we keep poultry, we have dozens of fruit and nut trees, and we have a very large fenced garden with extra-tall posts for our deer fence. The majority of my time is spent writing, editing and ranch chores, but I assist my wife with her dairying, cheese, butter and yogurt making, as well as dehydrating, freezing, and canning the bounty from our land. The majority of my wife's time is spent homeschooling our kids. We homeschool using the classical model.
Our ranch is nearly 30 miles from the nearest town. That can be inconvenient, at times. The area is quite scenic, but we live at fairly low elevation so we enjoy a reasonably-long growing season. A river passes through the back end of the property.
We have a three year stored food supply that could easily be extended to serve us for much longer when supplemented with butchered livestock, wild game, wild huckleberries, and our garden produce.
We don't live in a bunker or in any sort of multi-family compound. Nor do we live at the idealized level of self-sufficiency and preparedness that is portrayed in my novels.
We faithfully attend a local Christian church that maintains Reformed distinctives. Our church supports a large number of missionaries. We also independently help support a Christian mission school in rural Zambia.
Two years ago, just a year after the untimely passing of my wife Linda ("The Memsahib"), I married a lovely young outdoorsy widow, who in the blog is called "Avalanche Lily." She had been widowed for several years, and already had children of her own. Our family is now quite large with children ranging from grade school age to college age. All of our children have been and will continue to be exclusively home schooled through the 12th grade.
We don't own a television, nor do we want one. We enjoy an eclectic mix of music, primarily via iTunes. We have a nearly a dozen shortwave radios, many of which are transformerless AC-DC All-American Five designs. (International shortwave listening has been one of my passions since I was in junior high school.) One nice thing about our locale is that we are in an electromagnetic quiet zone. This makes for outstanding shortwave and AM DXing.
At the ranch we primarily use MURS band radios for intrusion detection (with a Dakota Alert), our everyday chores, hiking, horseback riding, and hunting. We also have 2 meter, 6 meter, and HF rigs. Several family members are licensed ham radio operators, but you won't find us in any of the ham callsign databases like QRZ.com.
For our privacy, I selected a Vonage telephone number with a 510 prefix. That is a prefix normally associated with Northern California. That phone prefix often confuses mass media reporters and my consulting clients. (We don't live in California.)
Also for our privacy, we have our mail forwarded from a post office box in Moyie Springs, Idaho. We don't live anywhere near there. This address is often a source of confusion. I regularly get e-mails from readers, mentioning that they will be "passing through" Moyie Springs, and saying that they'd like to meet me for lunch or dinner. That would be a very long drive for me!
We do our best to lead a quiet, humble, Christ-centered life. Living in the hinterboonies has its drawbacks, but we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. We are never moving back to the suburbs!