If you have ever wondered what life in a medieval castle was like, this is the book for you. Joseph and Frances Gies describes in great detail everything from how, why and when castles were first built, their evolution and finally their decline.
While reading life in a medieval castle I sometimes forgot this was a book about castles. The authors offer such a wide spectrum of history that surrounds castles that it is easy to lose oneself in the book.
The castle comes to england
The castle as a house
A day in the castle – which I found very interesting
Hunting as a way of life
The making of a knight
The castle at war – another chapter I found interesting
The castle year
The decline of the castle
Awhile back someone posted a comment on one my youtube videos saying the hoe will be your best friend after SHTF. This got me to thinking about how important certain types of survival gear were over other types.
Can you use an AR-15 or AK-47 to till a garden? Plow a field? Bushhog? Operate an auger to set fence post? Clear brush? Weed a garden? Pick the crops? Can the harvest?
Who is your very best friend?
The hoe and the rake.
They have proven then test of time. Our ancestors used garden tools thousands of years before firearms were ever thought of.
Garden tools have no moving parts – no locking lugs, no bolt carrier, no firing pin, no ammunition, nothing to run out of except your physical strength.
When I made the youtube video I thought it was a good topic. Maybe something for members of the community and forum to talk about their over reliance on firearms to survive a post-SHTF world. I was rather set back by the comments and negative ratings on the youtube video.
Let’s be honest, garden tools are not cool. They do not have the “that is so awesome” like an AR-15, AK-47, AK-74, PTR-91 and FN/FAL do. there are no rails on a hoe to mount the “best tactical light money can buy”, or a suppressor, or eotech or aimpoint. There is no tacticool with hoes and rakes. Yes there are cheap garden tools and there are more expensive ones.
Who honestly pays attention to the brandname and quality of a garden tool? Do you take your hoe and rake out and show it to your friends like you would with some of your tactical gear? Do you shop online and read the reviews of your garden tools? Or do you buy whatever the local chinamart and farm supply store has in stock?
Someone on youtube even sent me a message saying they almost unsubscribed because of the video.
In the overall scheme of things which is more important in the long run, being able to feed your family, or having thousands of rounds of ammunition you can not eat.
Hunting after SHF
The typical survivalist response to questions about stockpiling ammunition, they will go hunting during a long term SHTF situation.
Let’s be honest, do you really think you will be the only person hunting post-collapse?
What do you think caused the wild turkey and whitetail deer to become extinct in east Texas during the early 1900s? Habitat destruction played a big role, but over hunting during the great depression contributed greatly to wildlife depletion. When the food dries up in the cities, where do you think those people are going? Out to the country to find food.
Do you honestly think you will be the “only” person who will be able to hunt when all the wildlife has been depleted? Chances are good number of people are on hunting leases, which is where a lot of people will go. When they reach their hunting lease they will hunt. When all the wildlife around the lease is depleted they will travel further and further to find food.
People who live in rural areas will deplete the wildlife around them. Then they will venture further and further away from home to find food.
It will be just a matter of time before all the deer, rabbit, squirrels, wild hogs,,,, everything is hunted out. Then what?
Do you plan on raiding your neighbors garden and chicken house for food? Only the animals that are protected by their owners will be the only fresh meat available in a long term post-collapse world.
Family pets will be a source of food, and then what? During the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 dogs and cats became extinct in some parts of Europe.
History has proven this time and time again. The people with a renewable and reliable food source are the ones who will survive. This means a garden, chickens, goats, fruit trees, stockpiling seeds,,, a variety of food sources.
Simply put, hunting is unreliable and unsustainable in a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation.
Practical approach to prepping
Preppers / Survivalist may wish to consider a practical approach to prepping. Which means less focus on stockpiling beans, bullets and band-aids, and more of a back to basics approach.
Let’s take $25 and spend it on prepping gear.
Would you rather have:
1 brown turkey fig tree at $22.98.
Taken care of could provide your family with decades of figs. Figs are rated as maybe the worlds healthiest food with it being a source of fiber, vitamin A, manganese and potassium.
1 Celeste fig tree at $22.98.
10 chicks, at $2.50 each.
10 laying hens with a reliable food source should be enough to produce a dozen eggs every 2 – 3 days. Breed, time of year and quality of feed all play a role in egg production.
2 Pmags at $11.95 each.
9 pounds Roma II snap bean seed at $2.75 a pound.
Plant 3 pounds of this seed and you should have enough for 3 years after SHTF. Pick before the beans for, snap the ends off, boil and eat husk and all. Or, lot beans mature, dry and save for next year. High producing plant, should be picked every few days.
9.43 pounds Contender snap bean seed at $2.65 a pound.
Same family as the Roma II snap bean. Pick before bean inside of husk matures, boil and serve. Beans are a good source of potassium, iron, protein, and fiber.
Plant one pound per year and you should have enough for three years.
10.20 pounds purple hull BVR pea seed at $2.45 a pound.
Plant one pound per year and you will have enough seed for 3 years. Peas are a source of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin B-6.
9.43 pounds yellow dent field corn at $2.65 a pound.
Yellow dent field corn is open pollinated / heirloom so the seeds can be saved.
60 rounds American eagle 223 Remington for $6.49 a box.
Good source of copper and lead.
Renewable or consumable
From the above list it boils down to renewable and consumable items. Should you base your and your families future on renewable or consumable items?
Transporting goods and services during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation has been on my mind for awhile.
In big cities people use large SUVs and trucks as a status symbol. 300+ horsepower, 4 wheel drive, gas guzzler, but has never pulled a trailer or been off the pavement.
In urban areas nearby rural areas, and in rural areas people “use” their SUVs and trucks. Yesterday evening (February 25, 2016) Jasper Texas was packed with trucks and bass boats. The weather this weekend is going to be nice so people are going to the lake.
There are thousands of people all across the nation who live just a couple of hours from rural locations. Those people venture out of the city to go hunting, fishing and enjoy nature. While doing those activities they pull a boat, or maybe a trailer with an ATV on it.
In rural areas just about everyone knows someone who owns a truck and trailer. I drive a Toyota truck and have a Tacoma I am rebuilding. My dad and brother both have 3/4 ton dodge trucks. Walmart looks like a used truck dealership just about everyday.
A few days ago I started reading a new book, it’s called “War on the eastern front by James Lucas.” War on the eastern front is a collection of personal experiences based on diaries from German soldiers.
The majority of books I read are non-fiction. This is because I like to know what real-life experiences people faced during times of hardship. For example what were some of the issues that were faced during the Black Death?
Why did I pick a book on the eastern front? We know the German army failed to defeat the Russian army due to two things – the harsh Russian winter, and resupply issues. Those are the two main issues taught in just about every world history class.
On page 4 of “War on the eastern front”, it is noted that author A.J.P Taylor said “while his opponents were rearming for a great war in depth, Hitler rearmed Germany in breath. Everything for the front lines, but nothing for a second campaign.”
Hitler was so sure the German army could defeat Russia in a single season, there were no plans for a long drawn out battle during the Russian winter. Nor were plans made for the following year, much less a war that lasted another 4 years.
A few months ago I was over at my aunts house. As we were talking, she told me how my grandfather would take her on these camping / hunting trips on some property my grandfather owned on the Trinity River here in Texas.
The land was a couple of acres, right on the river that bordered national forest. They would camp on the property, then hunt in the national forest. It was a remote area that was only accessible by boat. So it was doubtful that they would run into strangers.
While my aunt was telling about their various hunting trips, and how cold and miserable she would be, I was thinking about how a piece of land like that could be used as a last resort Bug Out Location. Instead of bugging out to wilderness that will probably be on public land, having private property would be ideal.
On my dads side of the family there is some land that has been passed through three generations, its where my wife and I hope to build our homestead at in 2013. Knowing that you have land that you can go to at anytime provides a sense of comfort, a sense of security and a sense of stability.
SHTF / TEOTWAWKI has happened, whether it was a financial collapse, nuclear war, widespread civil unrest,,,, something has happened to has disrupted society as we know it.
If you live on a homestead in a rural location, what might be some of the supplies you would need, and what would be some of the hardships you would face?
As I write this article I am just thinking out load. Lets brainstorm and get some ideas for discussion.
We all know the typical topics such as safe drinking water and food. In this article lets move past those topics that should be a given. What are the things that would make everyday life possible? What do we use in our everyday lives today that we would need after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?
Lets wake up, do our morning routine then eat breakfast. What are going to be eating for breakfast? Chances are its going to be oats we have stored in mylar bags and eggs.
To have eggs we have to make sure our chickens are safe from predators and the elements. Given the chance predators such as foxs, opossums, coyotes and even other people will steal your livestock.
Exposed to wind, rain, ice and snow your chickens will die.
What do we need to keep our chickens safe and comfortable? We need a chicken coop and a way to repair the coop. This means we need hand tools, staples, hardware cloth, hammers, a good saw, wire cutters, tar to fix holes in the roof of the coop,,, and so on.
For the sake of discussion lets say that some kind of long term SHTF situation has happened. Whether it was civil unrest, meteor strike, financial collapse, nuclear war, outbreak of new disease,,, lets talk about what you and your family are going to need to survive.
Just about everyone knows about the food, water and shelter of survival. But how many people put a lot of thought into the details? In reality, how your food, water and shelter preps look for a long term SHTF survival situation?
If you want to see society break down, disrupt the supply of water, electricity and food.
Without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist. Contaminated drinking water is one of the fastest way to spread disease. Once dysentery sets in, without modern day antibiotics, its just a matter of time.
To ensure my family has a source of safe drinking water, my wife and I are investing into family sized water filters. Just a few days ago I received a couple of Berkey replacement filters from Safecastle. Each filter provides an estimated 3,000 gallons of safe drinking water. Four filters should provide an estimated 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water. The plans are to buy a couple of ceramic filters to go with the black filters. I would like to have enough filters to be able to filter an estimated 20,000 gallons of water.
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?
There is an old saying “every tool kit needs a Hammer.” A “hammer” is a tool that helps break something loose that is stuck. Rusted bolt, put a wrench on it, then hit the wrench with a hammer.
How can we take that saying and apply it to survivalism?
What would be an item in our survival tool kit that can help get things unstuck?
Stuck in a food production groove, what would help you increase production?
Need to clear a tree after a hurricane? Break out the chain saw.
Need to make sure looters steer clear? Break out the AK-47.
The three key issues after SHTF will be water, food and personal hygiene. There are other things such as security, cooking, livestock, bartering, hunting, fishing, foraging,,, and other odds and ends.
What items can we add to our survival tool kit to make sure our water production, food and personal hygiene keeps going?
Safe drinking water
My hammer for water production is my Royal Berkey water filter. In a worse case situation I can get water from a creek, run the water through my Royal Berkey, then my family and I have safe drinking water.
My hammer for food production is either my seed stockpile or my chickens.
For the past few years I have been stockpiling all kinds of heirloom / open pollinated seeds. Some of my seed stockpile includes corn, squash, spinach, peas, beans, onions, zucchini,,, just all kinds of stuff.
Chickens have a production lifespan. After a few years hen slow down on their egg production and roosters have a prime of their life for breeding. My hammer would be a rooster that would produce chicks. The problem is, I do not have a rooster.
After my wife and I get moved to the homestead we will get at least one rooster. This would help provide a couple of generations of chickens.
I have a cousin that lives a few hundred yards from where my wife and I want to move to. Maybe my cousin and I can exchange roosters and hens? Exchanging roosters would help keep fresh DNA in the gene pool.
Personal hygiene after SHTF
One of the big issues after SHTF will be disease prevention and personal hygiene. How do you build a tool kit for disease prevention during a long term SHTF survival situation?
We can stockpile hand sanitizer and hand soap for the short term, but what about the long term?
The key to personal hygiene after SHTF is having access to safe drinking water.
Some kind of new disease has broke out, society has collapsed and no more trucks are rolling. Over the following weeks the power goes out, the water stops running, people stop driving their cars and trucks, friends, neighbors and strangers come around begging for food.
The food preps are slowly being eaten. But the food is not an issue, because you still have your backup food preps at your Bug Out Location. If your family can reach the remote location safely, you will have food, water, seeds to plant a garden, and getting a rabbit out of the field next to the creek should not be an issue. The problem is getting there.
Its been at least a month since your car or truck has had gas in it. So now you and your family has to walk to the Bug Out Location. Your family has to go through the middle of town, hit a set of railroad tracks, go about 30 miles following the tracks, hit a pipeline, go another few miles following the pipeline, then its just a short trip through the woods. Your family should be able to make the trip in about 3 days.
You grab your Bug Out Bag, go to the gun safe, open it up, and you can only take one firearm, what would it be?
Ruger 10/22: Lightweight semi-automatic rifle, magazine fed, fires 22 long rifle, ammo is light, easy to carry and is effective on small game. The problem is, the 22 long rifle is not effective on deer and hog size game – well, unless the hog is in a cage and you can get a headshot on the animal. Over the years the Ruger 10/22 has proven its reliability over and over again.
Lets say SHTF tomorrow, you break out your seed stockpile, till up some soil, and then what? You plant your seeds and hopefully grow something.
The first year everything goes ok because you have some commercial fertilizer and get plenty of rainfall. The second year does not go so well because you have depleted your fertilizer stockpile and there is a drought.
At this point yall are probably saying, “I will just do some composting and everything will be fine.”
This is the difference in survivalism as a theory and survivalism as an experience.
Where is that compost going to come from? Do you have livestock so you have access to manure? What kind of livestock do you have? Do you have rabbits, chickens, goats, cow, horse,,, something else? Or were you planning on obtaining livestock after SHTF? Do you have a garden plot planned out, or were you going to bug out to the wilderness and plant your garden there?
Lets say the public was given a 1 week notice before the start of a major global conflict. Rarely does that kind of advance knowledge leak out to the public. For the sake of discussion lets say for once the public knows what is going to happen a week ahead of time.
One of the incidents I am referring to is the leak that Israel may attack Iran during Yum Kippor.
I have been hearing various rumors for over 2 decades, so I take them with a grain of salt and keep living life.
The word has leaked out, you do a review of your survival gear stockpile, now what?
If you do not have your firearm and ammunition stockpile ready before SHTF, do not count on accumulating supplies after SHTF.
Lets say you had a 1 week notice, what would you buy? Would you buy ammunition, and sacrifice resources to buy food, water, livestock feed, fuel,,,?
Even if you have money to buy ammunition, what makes you think there is going to be anything on the shelves?
Would you rather buy ammunition, food, water, food for the livestock?
My 13 chickens (hens, no roosters) go through a 50 pound bag of laying mash every two weeks. For the price of 200 pounds of laying mash (4 – 50 pound bags), which would last around 2 months, I could buy 100 rounds of Federal 223 Remington.
Would you rather have 2 months of eggs, or would you rather have 100 rounds of 223 Remington?
Then there is the waiting period and permits that some sates have setup. Even if you wanted to buy a firearm, would you have enough time to go through the waiting period, background check, and permit application period?
The time has come to move to a rural area, get the farm setup with a garden and livestock. My wife I currently live about 4 miles outside Jasper Texas. Its time to move ever further away from town.
With the way this nation is heading, families need to be looking at how they are going to afford to buy food and provide basic essentials for their families. One example, my wife and I buy canned refried beans to make homemade burritos with. In the past 2 years the price of the canned beans has gone up almost 20%. I bet your wages have not gone up 20% in that same amount of time. The price of ground meat has gotten terrible. Pork chops used to be cheap, and now they cost a pretty penny.
At 44 years old I am getting too old to go back to school to retrain for a new career. Instead of waiting until the last minute to make my retirement plans, I want to start 20 – 25 years ahead of time.
This morning my wife and I made a trip to the farm, took some measurements and talked about what we wanted to do. The main things we wanted to focus on were shelter, food, water and sewage. These are the basic essentials that anyone would need during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation.
Click the image to enlarge
On the left side of the property is a wilderness area owned by a local timber company. Due to the way the terrain is laid out, nobody will ever be able to build there.
Description of the above image
A – Fence line is not the actual property line; I wanted enough room to drive a truck or bushhog between the house and garden and the fence line. A basic my wife and I started with was 10 feet. This should give us enough room to drive all the way around the garden and house.
What are your plans for a sustainable food source after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI? In other words, what are your food sources going to be during a long term disaster? Lets define long term as a disaster lasting at least 6 months. This could be a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war, financial collapse,,, something that disrupts modern society.
This article will attempt to divide gathering food during a long term disaster into 3 categories: foraging, growing or raising food, and a combination of the two.
For this article, foraging is defined as hunting, fishing, trapping, picking berries, digging roots,,,. Anything having to do with the collection of wild growing plants and animals.
Every year a buddy of mine and I spend three days camping on the Angelina River close to Jasper Texas. During those three days we go fishing, look for food, scout for wildlife,,, just try to put our Bug Out to the Wilderness skills to the test.
In a real life, most people that bug out to the wilderness will probably end up starving to death. Or, will be driven back to society in the search for food. That is if the person does not contract some kind of waterborne disease and die of dysentery.
When the SHTF do you have a sustainable food source already setup? Or do you plan on bugging out to the wilderness with your family and foraging for food? Given the options, I would rather stay at home and have fresh eggs and oatmeal – eggs from my chickens and oatmeal from my food stockpile.
In mid-late 2011 my wife and I talked about getting chickens. I started looking at coop design, types and breeds, drawing designs for my own coop, working up a bill of material, cost,,, just general plans.