Here on the farm, every year there are a couple of months that are more difficult than others. The good thing, those difficult months are a learning experience. Part of those experiences are observations on how things change with the seasons. Then, how do would someone take that knowledge and apply it to prepping?
Let’s cut to the chase, January and February will be the worst months after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI.
For the sake of discussion let’s say some type of event happened. This could be a new viral plague, nuclear war, meteor strike… etc. Something happened to strip society as we know it to its very core.
At first people were somewhat ok. Rural farmers should have enough diesel in their trucks and tractors to work up garden plots. Things will be rough, the cities will be starved out, but people will make it. However, things will change when winter arrives.
The second winter after a collapse will probably be the worst.
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.
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?
To me, 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.
There is enough fear mongering these days without my help. With that in mind, please remember that this article is just my personal opinion and it not meant to interpreted as fact.
I feel that we are in a calm before the storm. Not necessarily a SHTF storm, but a panic buying storm.
From August until the first part of 2012:
August and September: Kids are starting back to school in the next few days, parents are having to buy back to school supplies, clothes, meet the teachers and get their kids shots caught up. Right “now” parents have a lot to think about and worry about besides prepping.
People have stuff to keep their minds occupied until the first part of 2012. After the turn of the year, I look for people attention to turn towards world events and the direction this nation is going.
After new years I think is when the panic buying mode is going to kick in – and especially after people start getting their income taxes back.
This evening I was cleaning my FN/FAL, at which time I realized my gun cleaning supplies at the bug out location were going through a can opener syndrome. The “can opener syndrome” is when someone overlooks the small items. That you might be so focused on buying #10 cans, that you forget to stockpile can openers.
With gun cleaning supplies, people are probably more focused on stockpiling ammo, and shooting their firearms, that the forget about buying cleaning supplies.
Lets list some simple gun cleaning items:
Storage Box – something to store the items in. In my case, I am using a large tackle box
Copper bore brushes – for scrubbing the inside of the barrel
Gun oil – I like the pump spray bottles
Hoppes #9 powder solvent
Bore light – I use an led light with a flex neck
Cleaning rods – for pushing the bore brush through the barrel
Lets talk about stockpiling food, ammo and fishing supplies for SHTF. These are the supplies that will be used to feed and protect your family if, or when, the SHTF. There is no perfect survival plan, and only the fool says otherwise. Its because of this admission that my plans have changed over the years.
My food stockpile has gone from simple stockpiling beans and rice plans, to something a little more complex.
In the ammunition category, my plans have gone from having various rounds stockpiled, to taking inventory, and trying to standardize my SHTF ammo stockpile.
The fishing category is where I am currently having the most fun. I have gone from just stockpiling fishing supplies to running trotlines and testing my fishing plans.
10 – 15 years ago I was stockpiling beans, rice, MREs, canned goods and some garden seed. My plans were to head to the bug out location, plant a garden, and hunt for fresh meat. It was a simple plan that had a lot of holes.
About 6 or 7 years ago I decided to focus more on gardening, and less on hunting. My family and I started planting fruit trees (peach, pear, apple, plum,,,) and I started stockpiling more garden seed. Then came along the drought of 2010 and 2011. In the past 2 years this part of Texas is at least 3 feet low on rainfall. Lake Sam Rayburn is about 9 feet low as of when this article was written. The long solution to a long term survival plan is having a self-sustaining farm and garden. In the face of global climate change getting a farm and garden up and running from scratch is going to be a little difficult.
About a year ago I decided to change my plans again and add mylar bags, and some homemade superpails to my SHTF food stockpile. So now we have mylar bags, MREs, canned goods, fruit trees and garden seeds. In the mylar bags I stored beans, rice, oats, pancake mix, pasta,,,, and a few other things.
In the face of climate change, my plans have changed yet again.
Instead of relying entirely on hunting for meat, and beans for protein, I decided its time to bite the bullet and start stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit and certain vegetables.
Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF happens, like what happened in 1348 with the Black Death. Large areas are depopulated, nobody is around to maintain roads, nobody is around to keep the trees cut back, or do maintenance on buildings. What can we expect? In an effort to what what will happen to our infrastructure, my wife went driving around to look at abandoned sawmills and abandoned sawmill towns.
A local sawmill burned down in 1925, was not rebuilt and the land was abandoned in the 1930s or 1940s. All that remains is a couple of walls, the foundations, and some motor mounts where the saw motors were bolted down. If it was not made of cement or steel, its long gone. But even then, the steel is starting to rust away. Nothing of wood is visible above the layers of leaves and pine straw.
List of survival gear that I think would be useful in a post apocalyptic world.
1. Knowledge – This starts with having an understanding of how the human species acts during a long term survival situation. Find some history books on amazon about the black death of 1348 – 1350. Read those books and get a grasp on how people acted and what they resorted to. Some of the stories look like they came straight out of a Hollywood movie – like starving people digging up dead bodies to cannibalize the remains.
Part of your survival library should include resource material on gardening, raising livestock and farming.
First aid manuals with information on diseases and wound treatment.
2. Water filter – Without safe drinking water, society and life as we know it can not exist. Diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, E. Coli, Cryptosporidiosis, Giardiasis, Shigella and Salmonella can wipe out entire communities in a matter of days.
How much ammo should I stockpile for SHTF? If teotwawki happened tomorrow, how much ammo should I have? What types of ammo should I have for SHTF? How much ammo should I have for teotwawki?
Those are all questions that I see repeated on the forum over and over, time and time again. So lets talk about them just for a minute.
Lets break down ammo into 2 groups – personal defense and hunting.
Pistol ammo: How much pistol ammo do you “really” need? What will your pistol be used for? Will it be for personal defense or hunting? Are we talking 22 long rifle, 9mm, 45acp, 40S&W, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,, or something else?
From the price stand point, its going to be a lot cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 22 long rifle, then it is to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 357 magnum. Its going to be cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of round nose, then 5,000 rounds of hollow points. Do you “really” need to stock up on hollow points, or is it something that you just want to have?
Pistol ammo used for hunting: Except for 22 long rifle, this is going to be your magnum calibers – 357 magnum, 41 magnum and 44 magnum. In this group I would put a number of at least 500 rounds. That 500 could be divided in half – 1/2 stored at your home, and 1/2 stored at your bug out location / remote camp. If you have to leave your home, and only have time to grab your pistol – this leaves you with 250 rounds once you reach your bug out location. Keep that 250 rounds in mind for later.
Pistol ammo for personal defense: This can be just about anything, (except the 22 long rifle, and 25acp) – 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, 357sig, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,,,,,. For this group, I put a number closer to 1,000 rounds per caliber.
There was a line in 28 Days Later that got me to thinking. Its after the group leaves the city and finds their way to the house controlled by the soldiers. The commanding officer takes Jim (played by Cillian Murphy) into a courtyard where an infected soldier is chained up.
The commanding officer tells the Jim that the infected soldier provides a lot of information. Jim says something along the lines of “what does he tell you?” The commanding officer explains that the infected solider will never raise crops, he will never raise livestock, he will never bake bread, he has no future. And eventually, he will tell me how long the infected take to starve to death.”
This brings up the question, post SHTF, how many people will “have no future”?
Some type of disaster has rolled through – lets say there has been a hurricane, the power has been knocked out and its going to be off for a week or so. How are you going to cook your food? You have some ribs, chicken or steaks in the freezer, but no way to cook it.
You walk out your front door and see your neighbor with his pull behind bar-b-q pit cooking some food. Smoke is coming out of the stack, and he looks like his is turning over some ribs, is that sausage you see and some pork chops? Then the thought runs through your head, “will my neighbor let me cook on his pit?”
The above description happened after Hurricane Rita and Ike passed through southeast Texas.
On Thursday, October 14, 2010 my wife and I made a trip to Houston to take care of some business. While we were in Houston, my wife and I went to a book store where I bought a book about life in a medieval village. One of the chapters of the book talks about how villages are laid out, and how 1 certain village had 2 communal ovens for baking bread. Instead of each villagers house having its own bread oven, the community had communal ovens setup.
One of those “life after mankind” shows talked about dogs, and the role that rabies will play. They said that rabies was going to run rampant if some kind of SHTF situation happened. They were saying that rabies was going to take its toll on domesticated dogs shortly after the event. But I think its going to take a few years for rabies to make a rebound. The reason being, rabies is not near as widespread as it used to be. But that does not mean it can not make a comeback.
Lets take Texas as an example:
DSHS does rabies vaccine air drops in parts of Texas where rabies has been reported. A rabies vaccine pill is wrapped in meat, and then dropped across a given area. Source – Texas DSHS rabies air drop
Most responsible pet owners have their dogs vaccinated against rabies.
On July 30th, 2010 my family and I headed to the camp for 3 days for a little get away. One of the things that I like to do on these little “get aways” is to take notes, and figure out ways to improve – what went right, what went wrong, and what can we do differently.
One thing that I wanted to test on this trip was the Royal Berkey water filter from Directive21.com – this will be covered in another article, its just too much to go into right now.
One thing that happened, was while the guys were washing off the 4-wheelers, the water hose was left on and the well was drained. So we were without water for about 12 hours – 8pm, until a little after 8 am. By turning off the water pump, the well had time to fill back up.
If SHTF tomorrow, 12 months later, what items would you have that you could use for barter? Is bartering even in your plans, have you even thought about it? The other day I was walking through wal-mart and was thinking about low cost, good quality trade items. There is a difference in good quality, medium quality and poor quality barter items.
Here are some examples of barter/trade items:
Gold and silver only have value when someone values money. Once society has broken down to where its a dog eat dog world, I’am willing to bet that food will have more value then gold and silver.
Solar panels, seeds, first aid supplies are a good quality trade items.
Clothing might have an “ok” trade value.
Hand tools might be a medium quality trade item. If your cars and trucks are not running, what value are hand tools.
Lets discuss food sources in a post apocalyptic world after SHTF. Survivalist have a wide range of ideas on how to get food in a post apocalyptic world. Some of these ideas cover everything from living a hunter-gather lifestyle, to living off of food stocks until society recovers, to farming and gardening. Lets take a look at some of these ideas and make some comparisons.
The plans that each Survivalist has will vary widely depending on actual experience and training. The plans range from the very well thought out and tested plans, to spur of the moment ideas.
Lets set the tone for this article – a new virus has developed that has a 90% fatality rate. This is like what the Black Death was in 1348 – 1350, where 1/3 of Europe died. Society has broken down to the point where no food or fuel supplies are being shipped. People will not leave their homes except to find food – which gets more difficult to find. Finally, people have to do “something” so they do not starve to death.
One survivalist approach is to Bug Out to the wilderness and live off the land – this is also called the “Bug Out Bag” theory. In the event of a world wide disaster, the survivalist is going to grab their Bug Out Bag, then take their family out to the wilderness to live off the land.
This is reminiscent of prehistoric man living a hunter-gather subsistence lifestyle.