Entries Tagged ‘life after shtf’

Prepping In Breadth But Not Depth

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?Kevin Felts, blogger and survivalist

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.

How does this relate to survivalism

If you have adopted survivalism as a way of life, a lot of what you see, read, hear and do is somehow related to survivalism.

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Bug Out Location For Future Generations

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.

Related Links:

Moving to the homestead part 1

Moving to the homestead part 2

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Rural Homestead after TEOTWAWKI

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?

Breakfast

Bowl of fresh eggsLets 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.

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Surviving SHTF

Chickens in the chicken coopFor 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.

Water

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.

In addition to a Berkey water filter, I also have a SteriPEN Sidewinder.

The Sidewinder uses UV light to kill any pathogens that may slip through the water filter.

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What is normal behavior after a disaster

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?

Fox News has an interesting article – Superstorm Sandy brings out the worst in some

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?

Hammer for your survival tool kit

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.

Food production

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.

Pick one rifle or shotgun for survival

.30 caliber survival rifleSome 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.

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Designing a long term survival garden

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?

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If you had seven days notice before SHTF

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?

What does your water stockpile look like?
What does your ammunition stockpile look like?
What does your fuel stockpile look like?
What about seeds for your long term survival garden, communications, livestock, livestock feed, firearms, propane,,, and other preps.

Firearms

Ruger 10/22 and Marlin model 60 side by side

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?

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Moving To The Homestead Part 1

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.

Farm diagram for Bug Out Location

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.

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Sustainable food sources after TEOTWAWKI

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.

Foraging

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.

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Chicken project 6 month update

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.

February 25 2012, our first chicks.

August 23 2012, got 10 eggs.

First 5 chicks were 3 Black Jersey Giants and 2 brown Speckled Sussex. 1 black Jersey giant and 1 Speckled Sussex died.

Next set of chicks were 2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth rock), 2 silver laced wyandottes and 2 australorps.

Next set were 4 Rhode Island Reds.

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New Survivalist Acronym World Without Machines

Saturday afternoon my dad and I made a trip to the camp to work on the tractor. As luck would have it, we needed a small hammer that was in a shed on the other side of the property. Dad gets in his truck to drive over and get the hammer. while dad was getting the hammer, I looked at the tractor and did some deep thinking about how dependent humans are on machines. Between the truck and the tractor, we have the foundations of modern society.

Without machines, we would not be able to plant tens of thousands of acres of land, would not be able to harvest corn or wheat, would not be able to transport livestock, would not be able to transport fertilizer to the farms, would not be able to transport crops to market, nor would we be able to drive to the market to buy the food.

Every part of our modern lifestyle is affected by machinery in one way or another.

Because machines are so vital to our modern lifestyle, I think we need to use the acronym World Without Machines (WWM) as often as we use SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, WROL (without rule or law),,, and so on.

Lets two examples and talk about them – tractors and trucks.

Working field with tractor and tiller

Working field with tractor and tiller

Tractors – While the plow may have fed Rome, the tractor feeds our modern society.  Without the modern tractor (and fertilizer), it would be impossible to plant and grow enough crops to feed everyone.

Backyard gardeners use tillers to work small garden plots.  Without fuel ,tillers are of little use.

In a World Without Machines people would either have to work the fields themselves, or harness a beast of burden, such as horse. But ether way, either by hand or with a plow horse, there is no way either can touch a tractor.

For maybe around the past 35 years my dad had kept some kind of tractor at the camp.

Let me explain, “the camp” is actually a small farm that my dad was raised on. After my grandfather and grandmother passed away, my dad inherited the land. To find work, mom and dad moved away from rural southeast Texas in the late 1970s.

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6 Month Window Post TEOTWAWKI

Some kind SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation has happened, how long will take you to get your food production up and running? How long do you think it will take you to plant your garden, get some livestock, build a pen to keep your livestock secure from predators,,,?

I learned something today, or rather something happened today that helped me set a 6 month timeline as the post SHTF window – my wife and I got our first egg.

We got your first chicks on February 25, 2012. the first batch was 3 Black Jersey Giants, and 2 Speckled Sussex. Within a couple of days of obtaining the chicks, 1 of the Jersey Giants died, and 1 of the Speckled Sussexs died. This left 2 Black Giants and 1 Speckled Sussex.

1 week later (March 3) my wife and I obtained 6 more chicks – 2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth Rocks), 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte and 2 Australorps.

Around March 7 my wife and I obtained 4 Rhode Island Reds.

All 13 of the chicks were around 2 days old when they were bought.

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How ready is the U.S. for a complete collapse

How prepared is the U.S. for a total collapse?

Our lives are like a pattern – we go to work, get a pay check, pay our bills, buy food, repeat.

People have become so domesticated, we are like a family dog. The dog goes to the food bowl and waits to be fed. People go to the grocery store, or fast food places to buy food.

How would people react if the grocery stores were empty? Would people know how to grow their own food? Would people even have the resources to grow their own food?

Learning from experience

My chicken project has taught me a lot. The coop cost around $700. My 13 chickens at at 4 1/2 months old are eating almost 50 pounds of feed every 2 weeks. A buddy of mine asked what I would do for chicken feed during a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. My reply was the chickens would have to forage. Chickens come from a wild jungle fowl. Even though chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years, they still retain their instincts.

[Related Article - Survivalism as an experience]

Here we are at 4 1/2 months and no eggs. During a long term survival situation anyone that wanted to raise chickens would have to go through all kinds of stuff – safe enclosure, feed, protecting the chicks,,,. And people think getting livestock during a survival situation is going to be easy?

Planting a garden, how many people have the tools, knowledge and access to land to grow their own food?

If you want to prepare for a real disaster, get outside and do something.  Plant a garden, go fishing, go hunting, plant a fruit tree, plant some grapes, get some backyard chickens,,, do something.

Its one thing to read an article, its another thing to test the theory of that article.  We need to have survival plans base don real experience, and not untested theories.

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