The concept of the gray man is to blend in. This person can disappear into the crowd and never be noticed.
For all points and purposes, shouldn’t preppers / survivalist be practicing gray man on an everyday basis? As stated in another post, tacticool has no place in prepping. At all times we should blend in. Sometimes we need to be reminded on some of the simple things.
Some of the ways I practice “gray man”.
Pants. In rural areas such as where I live pants are levis, wranglers or some kind of blue jean. Cities and suburbs maybe khakis or slacks.
I stay away from “tactical” looking cargo pants. Keep it simple and basic. I do not own a pair of slacks. Rarely, and I mean “rarely” will I wear khakis.
Easter is next weekend, April 31, 2013. If you live in the burbs or in a rural area you may see people selling rabbits and chicks on the side of the road. Or you may be seeing ads in the local paper for chicks and Easter bunnies for sale.
Public Service Reminder, please think before you buy live animals for Easter.
Those bunnies and colored chicks are cute, but they will soon grow up.
The majority of live animals bought for Easter will either be abandoned, or will die before they turn a year old.
I have bought my kids bunnies for Easter before. But we also built the rabbit hutch and took care of the rabbits. It was a fun project for the whole family.
But then again, not everyone wants to invest the time, effort or money into building a rabbit hutch. Keep in mind some cities prohibit keeping rabbits and chickens. It would be a shame to buy a couple of chicks, then find out your family will not be able to keep them.
Why should you consider the Australorp for your backyard chicken flock?
Tolerate heat well – they were developed in Australia in the late 1800s.
High egg production – in 1922-23 a team of six Australorp hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial (from wikipedia). Australorps also hold the world record for egg production. In trapnest testing, a Australorp hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.
A trapnest is a nesting box that closes after a hen has entered the laying box. This traps the hen and allows inspection and marking of the egg to a specific hen. If a hen is eating eggs, a trapnest allows the farmer to know which hen is eating the egg, as the hen will be trapped in the laying box with the egg.
Heritage Chicken – This is something that we need to pay attention to, or at least take into consideration.
APA Standard Breed – Breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century.
Naturally mating – let nature takes it course.
Long, productive outdoor lifespan
Slow growth rate – You may be asking “why do you want your chickens to grow slow?” Chickens that are bred for meat production put on weight faster then their legs can keep up. As a result, certain breeds of meat chickens may become lame and not able to walk. Certain breeds of meat chickens do not tolerate heat well. The chicks have to be bought in early spring and butchered before the summer heat kicks in.
The slow growth rate is for the chickens growth to match the rate the legs, bones and muscles to develop.
When I first started watching this video, I thought it was just another “here is my chicken coop” video. Then she walked around and showed what the coop is made out of. Its a metal desk that can be found just about anywhere.
Not only is she wearing that cute beany hat, not only does he have a nice figure and long hair, she has a pretty awesome chicken coop.
This is a good example of how someone in an urban setting could improvise a chicken coop post-collapse.
Some of the issues facing urban survivalist are food and water. A few good laying hens such as the Australorp will provide a small family with a good source of protein and fats.
What would we need for this project? Metal desk, wire, hinges, pop-rivets, tin and a couple of rocks (for sloped roof), angle iron or wood to build back door out of, legs to get desk off ground, some kind of bow for hens to lay eggs in, something for a roost.
The SHTF, 3 days later people are angry, hungry and tired. What would be considered normal behavior in that kind of situation? Would it be ok to steal? Would it be ok to loot? Would it be ok to fight? How about pulling a gun on someone that objected to your behavior, would that be ok?
There is a quote in that article that got me to thinking,
“In a disaster situation, people aren’t sure what the norms are.”
– Jason Nier, a professor of social psychology at Connecticut College
What is normal?
Normal today is waking up, getting a shower, eating breakfast, then going to work.
What would be normal after a SHTF situation like what happened with Hurricane Sandy?
Would it be socially acceptable to steal because your family needs something? Your kids are hungry, so would it be ok to break into a store to get food?
After Hurricane Katrina the world was witness to deplorable behavior. Behavior that we only thought existed in horror stories and the movies. If there was one thing Hurricane Katrina taught us, humanity still has a savage underbelly.
Then along comes Hurricane Sandy. Three days later we see looting, people digging through trash dumpsters for food, electrical crews pelted with eggs, elected officials complaining how long its taking to get the power restored, fights at gas lines,,,, just a breakdown of civilized behavior.
Would we consider digging through a trash dumpster normal behavior?
Would we consider throwing eggs at emergency responders normal behavior?
Would we consider standing for hours in line to get gasoline normal behavior?
If a type of behavior is not accepted before SHTF, why should it be accepted after SHTF? Where does society draw a line on what is “normal”?
Examples from the past
If we want an example of how far people can develop a new “normal”, just take a look at Nazi Germany.
Is it normal certain groups to be rounded up and put to death?
Then there was slavery in the Americas. How can people justify keeping others as slaves? But it was “normal” to have black slaves in the 1700s and 1800s.
Disasters leave the doors open to a new normal
With a breakdown of government, this leaves the door open for people to accept new normal behavior.
When there are little to no consequences for your actions, what is there to restrain people? If a dozen or two dozen people are looting a store, why not join in? Is there a social obligation to follow the law if nobody else does?
After SHTF, at what point do laws no longer mean anything?
If laws are no longer valid, then what is acceptable behavior?
The storm caused by Hurricane Sandy has downed trees, flooded homes and damaged streets in the New York City borough of Staten Island. On the island’s south shore, trapped residents, some of whom ignored evacuation orders, pleaded with local officials on Facebook to send help to their flooded homes.
This might sound cold-hearted, if you were warned to leave, and you ignored those warnings, too bad.
People that ignore calls to evacuate put a drain emergency services that are better served elsewhere. There is a difference in someone that can not evacuate because they do have the means to, and someone that ignores the situation.
Nobody has the right to willfully be a burden upon others. That is called willful negligence, and it puts others at risk.
Why should a fireman or police officer risk their lives to rescue someone, when that person ignored orders to evacuate?
House gets flooded in a hurricane, you were warned to leave and now you need rescue, too bad. Deal with it.
There is an interesting thread in the forum that got me to thinking; that thread is what are you truly prepping for? What kind of disaster are you preparing for? Are you prepping for an outbreak of a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war,,, or something else?
My personal opinion, as long as you and your family are prepping, at least you are going in the right direction. The difference is the degree of readiness.
I can not tell you what to prep for. All I can do is tell you how my family and I are prepping.
My long term survival plans include food production, safe drinking water and property protection.
During the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 starvation probably killed as many people as the bubonic plague. Modern society is based on farms and modern transportation. Where would our grocery stores be without trucks, fuel and highways?
Just like the city dwellers of the middle ages, city dwellers of today depend on farmers, roads, transportation and merchants to maintain a steady supply of food to the cities. If just one or two items in the supply line break down, people will go hungry. When people get hungry, society breaks down.
Lets say you went to the grocery store tomorrow and the shelves were empty, what would you do? What is your long term food solution?
A lot of survivalist plan on bugging out to the wilderness. I do not subscribe to that long term survival theory.
If you want to bug out somewhere, why not bug out to a rural location where you can plant crops and raise livestock? Would you rather be scavenging acorns to make acorn flour, or picking peaches and plums off fruit trees? Would you rather be scavenging for berries, or picking peas and snap beans? Would you rather be digging roots, or digging potatoes?
Out of all of the problems facing urban survivalist, fresh food and fresh water are probably at the top of the list. Sure there are lots of other problems, such as looters and other pest. But without fresh food and safe drinking water, life is going to go downhill pretty quick.
Why would chickens be a good choice for urban survival? They are easy to raise, they lay eggs just about all year long, the eggs are a good source of fats and protein, and if you need to, you can eat the chicken. The protein and the fats address at least two nutritional requirements of your long term survival plans.
Here is an interesting youtube video that talks about some of the aspects in raising backyard chickens.
Chickens are flock animals. Meaning they will not do well by themselves. If you are planning on getting some backyard chickens, plan on getting at least 3 or 4 of them. If you get 2 chickens, and 1 dies, then that puts stress on the lone chicken.
Just before Hurricane Rita made landfall I observed something that I probably will never forget, and that was a guy with a lowboy trailer loaded with 55 gallon drums. He was at the gas station filling up the drums – and we wonder why gas stations run out of fuel so fast during a disaster?
I am as guilty as the next person about panic buying. When the word comes that a hurricane is heading our way, my wife and I will take a trip to the local china-mart to pick up a few last minute items.
There is a difference in picking up a “few” items, and trying to stockpile several weeks worth of food in one trip.
Every time a hurricane comes around, people will kick into high gear panic buying mode. They run down to the store and start buying everything in sight.
As hurricane Ike was approaching a few years ago, I heard people at china-mart talking about how the store was out of this or that. The people that were talking agreed to buy “something”. That “something” was whatever was left on the shelves.
Its that “we have nothing, so we have to buy anything” desperation that makes the whole situation worse. People walk around china-mart, their eyes have a semi-blank stare, and their mouths slightly open, kinda like a deer in the headlights.
When my wife and I go to china-mart before the landfall of a hurricane, its to pick up some bread, maybe a gallon of milk, maybe some more bottled water,,,. Its not that we are out, or need the items, we just want a couple of extra.
Stress levels go up as the hurricane approaches landfall. The unprepared sheeple make the situation worse because they are in panic buying mode.
Some of the things to disappear during panic buying (from my observations anyway)
As Hank Williams Jr. said in the song “A Country Boy Can Survive”, I have a shotgun, a rifle, a 4 wheel drive and country boy can survive. I can plow a field, I can catch catfish from dusk to dawn, aint too many things these boys cant do, a country boy can survive.
To some people the lyrics of “A Country Boy Can Survive” are just that, lyrics. To others, its a way of life.
Awhile back I read a survey that said the average U.S. citizen is at least 2 – 3 generations removed from farm life. Some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKIsurvival situation sets in, people are forced to return to rural life, 2 – 3 generations is a lot of relearning.
How many urban dwellers have ran a trotline?
How many urban dwellers have skinned a deer?
How many urban dwellers hunt and fish from dawn to dusk?
How many urban dwellers have access to rural land where they can setup a Bug Out Location?
People that currently raise at least part of their food supply will have a unique advantage over those that are unfamiliar with raising and gathering their on food.
Hunting – Even a blind hog finds an acorn from time to time. One of the things about hunting is being at the right place and at the right time. With those things in mind, an urban dweller could very possibly make a trip to the woods, kill a deer, bring it back home, and then what? Will there be a way to cook or smoke the meat? What happens when the family eats the deer? Where is their next meal coming from? Sooner or later the fuel is going to run out from driving out of the city and back.
When heading to the woods to look for a place to hunt, chances are you are going to run into other people doing the exact same thing.
One of the big questions, where would you hunt? Are you on a hunting lease, do you own land, do you have a friend that owns land? Do you have a safe place to hunt where you are not going to be running into other people?
Then there are the safety issues. There is a reason why you are supposed to wear blaze orange on public hunting lands. Desperate and hungry people will shoot at anything that moves.
The way people live in cities, all bunched up together like chickens in a coop is not the natural state of mankind.
For tens of thousands of years mankind lived in small nomadic groups. They had land to farm, land to roam, river and streams to fish from, land to hunt on and land to migrate on. Groups traded between each other, and were pretty much self sufficient.
Today, we live in cities that group people together like livestock.
What happens when you put too many chickens in a coop? They start pecking at each other. Let the chickens out in the yard, or free range, and they are fine.
Humans are natural born predators; we fish, we hunt and we eat. Living in cities with our artificial grocery stores suppresses those natural predator feelings.
Like chickens going to a feeder, or hogs going to a feed trough, so people go to the local grocery store or fast food place and get their food.
Easily obtained food breeds laziness and obesity. Why do so many health problems go hand-in-hand with obesity, because being a fatty is not mans natural state. Our bodies are built to be in constant motion, not to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day. Our bodies are designed to cover long distances in the pursuit of food. Our modern culture ensures that food is at the nearest corner store, fast food place or grocery store.
Over population breeds all kinds of social and health problems. Without modern transportation HIV would have died off in Africa, Swine Flu may have stayed in Mexico, SARS would not have caused global panic.
This might sound cruel, maybe childhood diseases exist for a reason. Maybe its natures way of weeding out the weak and preventing overpopulation.
Example of a raised bed garden with cucumbers, squash, lettuce, squash and zucchini. I would like to thank Awakeaware1016 over at the forum for post posting this video and thread.
The green onions, lettuce and cucumbers are ok to plant together – all of them have a high nitrogen requirement.
Looks like you will run out of room with the squash. Allow at least 2 – 3 feet on each side of the squash plants for growth. With the right soil and fertilizer, those squash plants are going to get pretty big.
Squash needs a well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13.
The raised bed is nice. What I suggest, next year build a raised bed based on fertilizer requirements.
Lettuce, onions and cucumbers go in one bed – all of them can use high nitrogen fertilizer, such as 21-0-0 or something like 16-6-12.
Tomatoes, squash and zucchini would go in the second bed – all of them use a balanced fertilizer, such as a slow release mature and something like 13-13-13.
Just about anything with large leafs is going to need more nitrogen then say tomatoes.
Keep this in mind when you plant your garden, lets take 13-13-13 as an example.
first 13 – nitrogen, promotes stalk and leaf production, such as corn, greens and spinach
second 13 – phosphate, promotes root production, such as potatoes
third 13 – potash, promotes pod production, such as peas, beans, squash.
Cucumbers require nitrogen to prevent them from getting a pointy end.
Looks like your project is off to a good start and keep up the good work.
Its simple amazing how much time has passed under the bridge in the last 3 years. On September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike made landfall, and changed the lives of tens of thousands of people forever.
Mom and Dads house was totaled, sold to the insurance company and demolished.
One of my best friends has rebuilt and now has a nice place.
My brother has rebuilt and seems to be no worse for the wear.
It was somewhere around 10:00pm or 10:30 that I lost phone contact with my kids who were riding out Hurricane Ike in Houston. I figured they were ok, but I worried about them until I knew for sure they were safe.
The winds with Ike were not near as bad as Rita, but the storm surge with Ike was probably 10X worse the Rita. With Rita southeast Texas got a little storm surge, but nothing like what came in with Ike.
The next morning after Ike passed through, my family and I left the shelter we were staying at and went home. I hooked to pit up to my truck and pulled the pit around to the front of my house. I wanted to pit fired up and cooking something, so that the people driving down the street would be assured that life would return to normal.
Something I learned from Hurricane Ike, never underestimate a hurricane. My mom and dad were planning on staying at home during the storm. If they had, they would have been in the attic to get above the flood waters.
A buddy of mine evacuated thinking things would return to normal in a matter of days. Little did he know his house would get 2 feet of flood water.
People in Houston had to sit in the food and ice lines for hours at a time.
When the government says there is a disaster on the way, take the warning seriously.
Keep flashlights and batteries in stock, have a way to cook without electricity, have an extra air mattress, pillows and blankets for guest, fill up the gas tanks of your vehicles.
After hurricane Rita passed through, there were people calling the local radio station complaining that they did not have fuel to drive to the food lines. But the people had several days warning before landfall. The thing is, they were not expecting the damage to be as bad as it was. The majority of the people expected life to return to normal within a few days, but it was over 2 weeks before things started to get back to normal.
Never underestimate the destructive force that nature has.
I think that most of the people that were affected by Hurricane Ike are wiser today – I know I am.
One of the saddest scenes I saw after Ike passed through, was a family looking at what was left of their house. The house was close to the marsh, the storm surge busted through the walls and washed everything inside the house out into the street. A girl who looked like she was around 8 or 10 years old walked over to a man who looked like her dad, and the girl broke down. The man wrapped his arms around the girl, as if he was trying to keep her safe.
I am going to guess that the man and daughter were looking at what was left of their house. The emotional toll was probably more then a lot of people could take. I went through a depression phase after seeing my home town almost destroyed.
Regardless of how bad the damage was, the people recovered and rebuilt. Some of the people of Bridge City sold their homes and left, one flood was enough for them and they did not want to risk going through another one.
Not everyone sold their home and moved out of Bridge City, a lot of people stayed and rebuilt.
Something happened to the main power feed for my town, and then the backup power feed failed. Someone said it was related to the wildfire about 15 miles north of here, but I do not have any proof of that.
First thing I realized was that we do not have a radio here at work that works off batteries. Once outside power is cut, we lose all communications with the outside world. My boss pulled out a hand crank radio, but the hand crank was locked up to the point where the handle could not be turned.
I thought about getting a $10 am/fm radio with some lithium batteries to keep at my desk. The power does not go off very often, but when it does it would be nice to get some news from the local radio station.
Second thing was that I needed a flashlight. I have a small AAA light on my key ring, but something a little larger would have been nice. My little AAA light does good for close in work, like plugging computer wires into the back of a computer, or lighting up a small room. To make sure the battery has plenty of life, I used an energizer lithium battery.
A hand crank flashlight would probably do good, but when you want to light up a road or a field, nothing beats a good 200 lumen light.
Third, I need a water bottle to carry water in case I had to walk home. Its only a few miles from where I work to my home, so it would have been an easy walk. The only real issue would be the 100 degree heat and water. There is a puny little 16.9 ounce / .5 liter bottle of water on my desk, but I would like to have something like a 32 ounce bottle of water for the walk home.
Fourth, the phone lines where overwhelmed. When I tried to call my wifes cell phone I got the classic “all circuits are busy” message.
Fifth, even though the power came on about 30 minutes before lunch, jack-in-the-box, mcdonalds and sonic were either closed of their computers had not come back on yet. Sonic could not even serve a couple of teas because their computers were down, same with jack-in-the-box, and mcdonalds was closed.
It was amazing to me how a small little power outage could disrupt peoples lives so much. A lot of places that pay their employees by the hour closed and sent their people home.
I do not have what some people call a “get home bag”. I work about 4 miles from my house, so walking would not be a big deal.
My wife and I carpool to work. She drops me off in the morning, then picks me up on the way home. If we met anywhere, she would probably drive by here to pick me up.
Get Home Bag Ideas
If I had to walk home, here are some items that I would like to have in my get home bag.
32 ounce water bottle
Rain poncho – even if its a light duty one
LED light, something like a Surefire G2X Pro
Phone number / contact list
Rope – 550 cord
Small first aid kit
Paper, pen and sharpie / felt tip magic marker
Money – at least $20
Last night around midnight we had some pretty bad thunderstorms roll through the area. These were the types of storms that when the rolling thunder hits, your house shakes. Just as luck would have it, when the internet went off, I was 11 minutes from being finished uploading a youtube video. But oh well, I will upload the video again tonight.
Around midnight my step-daughter calls my wife worried about the weather. I don’t know which one kept me up more, the thunder and lightening, or my wife and step-daughter talking on the phone. At least the cell phone towers were working during the bad weather.
The power never went off at my house, but power went off down town. As my wife and I were driving to work, a red light on HWY 190 that runs through Jasper was flashing red. When I got to work this morning 1 of the servers did not start back up when the power came back on. There was some standing rain on the streets, but no flooding. The rain gauge said we got 2 inches of rain last night.
Hopefully the 2 inches of rain helped the garden.
After the storms rolled through the Beaumont, Port Arthur and Houston areas, reports started coming in of chemical refineries losing power. Emergency calls started being made to people who live close by telling them to stay in their homes. Maybe a dozen or more people showed up at the local emergency rooms with breathing problems.
The problems with the refineries makes me wonder if the units can be shutdown quickly in an emergency. Take a look at what happened with the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Could the same thing happen here in the USA, and not just with a nuclear power plant? With all of the chemical and oil refineries along the gulf coast, are they a disaster waiting to happen?
How about a random video just for the fun of it. This video is about a personal survival kit. I had an empty fist aid kit, so why not make a PSK (personal survival kit) out of it. A few months after the video was made, the box was returned to a first aid kit for my backpack.