A few nights ago I had a dream that has had me thinking ever since. The dream was about the US going through a nuclear war. The infrastructure had been devastated, no news was coming out of cities like LA or New York. It was as if life had been turned 180 degrees in the blink of an eye. We had limited internet, and we had electricity, but there was no news getting out about how bad the devastation was.
Part of the electricity in southeast Texas is provided by a series of 3 hydroelectric dams – Dam B, Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo bend. In my dream, the electricity in my area was being kept on by those 3 dams.
When the food shipments had stopped, the local grocery stores were cleaned out in a matter of hours. What led to the shipments stopping, was the main computer systems that tell the trucks when to roll and where to go had stopped working. Since the trucking companies did not know when and where to deliver the products, the workers stopped loading the trucks.
Our society has grown so dependent on computer systems, we do not know how to do anything without them. The local Sonic can not even fix an iced tea without their computers being up. A lot of radio stations broadcast syndicated content, that content travels over the internet. Without the internet, a lot of radio stations would not even have a morning show. Inventory control for massive retailers are controlled by remote offices, and you guessed it, over the internet.
What makes our daily lives possible:
- Computer systems
- Centralized information hubs / centralized databases
If either parts of the system goes down our daily lives are disrupted. Companies can not process credit cards, companies can not make orders, ATMs will not work, airports shutdown, banks shutdown,,, life as we know it grinds to a halt.
In my dream, nuclear devices had targeted key infrastructure to destroy the very backbone that allows computer systems to work together.
The first thing people are going to say is, “the internet has redundancy systems”. Yes and no. “Certain” parts of the internet has redundant backups, but not “all” of the internet. Lets take the town where I have as an example – Jasper Texas. From what I have been told we have 1 main fiber-optic cable going from Beaumont Texas to Jasper. We have no redundant systems. The same goes for our electricity. If the main power feed goes down, power has to be diverted from other grinds, which can take hours to setup.
In my dream, the main computer systems of the stock exchange had been destroyed. The main infrastructure lines had been taken out so that the backups could not come online.
The goal of the strikes was to destroy the main computer systems that make life possible, then disrupt the backups so they would not / could not work.
After the trucks stopped rolling
A couple of weeks after the trucks stopped rolling, my family and I decided to head to to camp. At the camp we can hunt, plant a garden and hopefully live in peace away from the urban areas.
Water – The first first thing that my family was confronted with was the need for fresh drinking water. There is a saying I like to use from time to time, “without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.” Even though we have a creek bordering the property, I feel that its important to filter the water. There are a couple of families living up stream, and some livestock upstream, so you never know what pathogens are in the creek water.
Several months ago a buddy of mine and I were having a conversation about water purification. During that conversation I came to the conclusion that chemical treatment is too complicated to be a practical long term solution.
Chemical treatment is a double edged sword. One on side the chemicals kill pathogens, on the other hand the chemicals have to be within a safety range for human consumption. To make sure the chemicals are within a safety range, you have to have testing equipment. so not only do you have to stockpile the chemicals, you really need to stockpile the testing equipment to make sure the treated water is safe to drink. Without the testing equipment you are shooting in the dark with your chemical treatment.
Because of the need for testing devices for chemically treated water, I decided to go with a 2 prone water treatment that does not require chemicals, and that is filtration and UV light.
Setting up a Berkey water filter only takes a few minutes. After the unit is setup, then it can be filled with creek water to start the filtration process.
Once the water has been filtered, it can be run through the Steripen sidewinder to kill anything that made it through the filter.
While my family is using the Berkey and Steripen we can be working on a slow sand filter, or work on driving a water well. Having a well dug has been in the “to do” list for several years, its just one of those things that gets put off. We have an old hand dug well, but it needs to be cleaned out. Over the years a lot of leaves and other things have fallen into the well.
Food – The second part of my dream dealt with food, or rather food production. The problem my family ran into was getting the food plots worked, the seed planted, fertilizer, and then the waiting for the crops to grow.
Stockpiling food provides a finite solution to a never ending problem. Sooner or later food stocks will run out.
The majority of people underestimate what its takes to break the soil, work the ground, pull out the roots, spread the fertilizer, plant the seeds, keep the weeds out, harvest the crops, preserve the harvest, save the seeds, dry the seeds, store the seeds for the next year,,,, and “hope” everything goes ok.
To prepare the Bug Out Location for growing a garden, we have simple hand tools, a tractor, fertilizer and seeds. The majority of my seed stockpile is kept at my home, with only a few seeds kept at the camp. One way to improve my long term SHTF survival plans is to increase the seed stockpile at the camp. This way in a worse case situation my family has “some” kind of seed stockpile at the camp.
From the time the crops are planted to the time the first harvest takes place, can be anywhere from 30 days – 120 days. Radishes are usually ready to harvest within 30 – 45 days. After about 2 weeks of planting, radish sprouts can be pulled up and added to main meals as a side dish. Other crops like squash and zucchini can take a couple of months before they start to produce food.
In my dream, my family had a difficult time getting the garden up an running. I was concerned about the food food preps lasting long enough until the crops started coming in.
The longer you put off starting a garden, the more depleted your food stocks will be. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration – season, rainfall, types of seeds you have stockpiled, weather,, only to name a few.
Lets say you have 6 months of food stockpiled. So you have a couple of months to play with. If you have only 1 – 2 months of food stockpiled, this leaves you a very narrow window to get your crops planted.
When my wife and I started our chicken project, one thing that I had in mind was to make the coop portable. I wanted to coop wide enough to load on a trailer and take the coop to the camp with us. This way we bring our food production with us. When we arrive at the bug Out Location we will have a source of fresh food already producing. this gives us a couple of months head start on our food production.
*Disclaimer – I received the royal berkey and steripen sidewinder at no cost to myself.