For those of you who keep up with my youtube channel may have realized that I have not posted a video in several months.
The main reason for my lapse is I have been taking care of mundane task.
Should I make a video about working on a perch in the chicken house? What about working on a wire box for hens sitting on eggs? What about hanging a feeder in the chicken house?
In the next month or so I am going to wire the chicken house for 12 volt lights, build a lean-to, and install solar panels. I can see doing a video about that kind of important stuff, but who wants to see moving the ladder on the chicken perch?
What are some of the mundane task you work on? This is boring stuff that usually does not get mentioned or talked about.
Sooner or later everyone in the prepping/survivalist community deals with prepping fatigue. Whether you have been prepping for a year, two years, ten years or twenty plus years, sooner or later you are going to get fatigued.
Due to the way I was raised by my parents, the way my grandparents lived on a small farm, and the atmosphere of the cold war in the 1970s, I would say my parents and grandparents conditioned me to be a prepper.
Some people get into prepping like they do a lot of other things. Whether its getting in shape, going back to school, jogging, working out, stop smoking, stop drinking,,, most people are sincere in their actions.
Then they realize how much time and effort prepping can take. For some people its a matter of buying some canned goods and bottled water. Then there are the people who allow their lives to be consumed.
Like everything else in life, balance comes with moderation.
Over the past year or so I have noticed a troubling trend with various based survival websites.
Those trends are sites that offer little unique content, no unique pictures, no unique videos,,, nothing but a site that tries to sell you something.
There are two types of bloggers out there
1 – someone who has first hand information on a given topic. These are the people who enjoy what they are doing, know something about the topic and can offer advice based on their first hand experience.
2 – someone who knows almost nothing on a topic, but hopes to open a website to make money.
What I am going to do is offer some tips on how you can tell a real SHTF survival site from a spam / junk site.
Are the topics diversified
Is the site focused on a couple of narrow topics? These are called niche sites.
SurvivalBoards and SurvivalistBoards are niche sites, but we discuss various topics, such as political opinions, hunting, camping, firearms, gardening,,, and so on.
When you look at a survival website, how diversified are the articles? Does the author harp on the same topics over and over, or is there a mixture of topics?
Earlier today (August 7, 2012) someone started posting rude comments on the Survivalist Boards facebook page. The comments were along the lines if someone lives off the grid, or eats processed food,,,, general stuff like that. I removed the comments and blocked the person. Keep in mind, I rarely, and I mean rarely ever remove comments, much less block anyone.
There seems to be a mindset that survivalist should live in a bunker, or off in a remote mountain range somewhere.
Lets say someone lives in a bunker with complete solar power, grows all of their food, or lives in a cave off in the mountains somewhere, how is that person supposed to function in modern society?
I can not imagine having a birthday party in a bomb shelter. All of the parents having to climb into the shelter, all the kids singing happy birthday,,, much less the OPSEC of inviting a group of people into the shelter.
Sure there was once a time when people lived on small farms. But even on small family farms, people still had to buy or trade for resources. How are people supposed to find salt, flour, sugar, leather, raw metal, plows, anvils, hammers, nails,,, on a family farm?
Barred Rock on perch inside chicken coop
What is it like to be a survivalist? I can not speak for everyone; all I can do is offer my opinion.
I consider myself a survivalist. I do not live in a bunker, I do not live off the grid, I do not live in a cave in the woods or mountains. What I try to accomplish is to live a normal life and prepare for a short term and long term disasters.
When I was in high school, a buddy of mine had a dad like that I considered to be a radical survivalist.
Stockpiling survival gear, stockpiling food, stockpiling ammunition,,, are we prepping for something that will never happen? Has our time been squandered? Has everything we have done, been done in vain?
I consider myself to be active in the survivalist / prepping community for close to 20 years. In the late 1980s I became aware that I needed to be able to protect my family during times of civil unrest, so I started reloading and stockpiling ammunition.
In the 1990s I started stockpiling basic food groups, forming bug out plans, and started buying more firearms.
From the early 1990s – 2012, what has happened in the world to warrant living a survivalist lifestyle? Have we had an outbreak of a new plague, we had the swine flu but it fizzled out, no nuclear war,,,. Overall, besides the twin towers being brought down, and the conflict in the middle east, the world has been a pretty peaceful place.
The first part of the 21st century has been a lot more peaceful then the first part of the 20th century.
100 years ago tensions where rising in Europe. Unknown at the time there was a World War just around the corner.
One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that governments will never live in peace with each other. The people may live in peace, but the governments never will.
I feel the U.S. government is trying to pick a fight with Russia or China. But only time will tell if anything ever happens.
Is prepping worth the hundreds of hours invested? If either my wife or I lose our job, we have plenty of food stockpiled.
Besides the occasional hurricane, I rarely get to use my preps. My Berkey water filter sits at the Bug Out Location, unused for around 3 years. The last time I shot my rifle I had to wipe dust off the scope lens – that is a fact I am not very proud of.
Where do we draw the line? Survivalist spend so much time, effort and money building their stockpiles, and for what? For the fishing gear to go unused, or the rifles and shotguns to collect dust, for the ammunition to stay stored in the ammo cans,,,.
One of the questions that gets thrown around the forums quit a bit is “when is S going to HTF?”. I have been waiting for over 20 years. The only things that have happened are a few hurricanes have made landfall.
How many times can the fear mongers cry wolf before people start to lose interest?
Back in the early 1990s there were stories going around about the U.N. was getting ready to invade the U.S. 20 years later its the same story over and over and over and over. Holy crap, how many times are we going to hear the same fear mongering before we start to get bored?
I have tried to live a survivalist lifestyle that is sustainable – meaning that I am doing my best not to get burnt out. After 20+ years of the same thing, it starts to get old after awhile.
Maybe I need to go fishing? Maybe I need to do something to get away from the computer? Maybe I need to take a break for a little while, not from blogging, but from survivalism. Yea, I think my wife and I need to go fishing, maybe go to the camp, maybe go to the movies.
If there is one thing that keeps me going, it has to be my children. What kind of world are we leaving to our kids? A nation riddled with debt, a shrinking middle class, a government that spends more then it takes in, nuclear tensions rising between nations.
I worry about that the world will be like in 20 years. I am 44 years old. What are things going to be like in 20 or 30 more years? What kind of world can me children and my grandchildren look forward to?
I did a google search for “prepping is a never ending process”, no exact results came back, so I thought I would write an article on the topic.
My entry into the survivalist / prepping communities is in part to how I was raised. My grandparents owned a small farm where they had livestock – horse, cow, chickens, turkeys, well that we got water from,,,. When I started school, I remember my 1st and 2nd grade teachers telling the class what a nuclear detonation looked like. If we saw a mushroom cloud outside, look away, cover our head with our hands and duck under our desk. During the cold war we lived in a constant state of readiness for nuclear war.
In the 1980s the USSR collapsed, and the cold war ended. For a short period of time we seemed to be at peace with the world. The new found peace did not last very long. In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then we had the Waco, L.A. riots and Ruby ridge incident.
In 2001 the twin towers were attacked, which thrust us into a war on terror.
As the primary threats change, so do our prepping plans.
Our prepping strategy changed from a threat of nuclear war, to the U.S. being torn apart.
Regardless of the threat, basic human needs will stay the same – food, water, shelter, security, ability to cook, need to form social groups,,,, and so on.
Unless you are off the power grid, on a totally self-sufficient farm, you are not 100% prepared for a total collapse. People that lived 4,000 years ago traded with those around them. As our lives grow more complicated, the more dependent we are on other people. We went from trading raw materials such as tin, copper, wheat,,,, to trading computer parts and smart phones.
Where does this take us? Maybe we need to simplify our prepping plans?
In the 1990s my prepping plans included stockpiling rice, beans, ammunition and plans to bug out to the camp (my grandparents farm). From there my family and I were going to live off the land.
Times change, plans change.
My plans went from stockpiling mostly rice and beans, to stockpiling canned foods, #10 cans of freeze dried foods, planting fruit trees, food stored in mylar bags, stockpiling seeds, and having a chicken coop that can be loaded on a trailer and brought to the bug out location.
Without safe drinking water life as we know it can not exist. Because of that fact my family and I plan on driving a new water well.
Plans changed from cooking over an open fire, to building a bar-b-q pit large enough to cook a whole hog on. Hopefully the pit can act as a smoker, as well as a cooker.
Plans changed from using the old well and water from a nearby creek, to driving a new well for safe drinking water.
Plans changed from hunting as our primary source of protein, to having chickens in a portable chicken coop.
Plans changed from stockpiling bulk 22 long rifle, to stockpiling subsonic and high quality hypersonic ammunition.
In the 1990s my plans covered my wife, and my 4 children. Today, my plans have to cover my wife, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. As my family grows, my plans have to adapt to the changes.
Just as life is a never ending process, so prepping is a never ending process. As life changes, so should your prepping plans change and adapt.
Have you ever met someone that is obsessed with prepping or survivalism? They keep their Get Home Bag ready to go, their Bug Out Bag is prepped and ready to go, keep a firearm in every room of the house,,, to the point where survivalism has consumed their lives. Would that be survivalism, an obsession or paranoia?
There is a fine line between a hobby and an obsession. If that is true, is there a line between a lifestyle and an obsession? What about a hobby and a lifestyle?
If we do the same thing everyday for 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years, would that be considered an obsession? If so, is work an obsession? Sometimes yea, work can be an obsession. Other times work is something we do to live.
If someone practices survivalism for 10, 20, 30,,, years, would that be a lifestyle or an obsession?
Maybe the deciding factor is how much survivalism affects our everyday life. Are we able to have normal relationships, are we able to live our lives as normal as possible while maintaining a dedicated survivalist lifestyle?
There needs to be a balance between prepping and living life as normal as possible.
I think it boils down to “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.
The question that begs to be answered is “what is the the worst?”. What is the worst case situation that we should prepare for?
For some people “the worst” might be losing their job. For others it might be a wildfire, for others it might be a hurricane or flood. Then there are the people that plan for a complete collapse of society.
Does being a survivalist mean you have to prep for a complete collapse? No, it does not.
To understand survivalism, we need to understand what drives a survivalist. One of the highest levels of human thought is to think about what we think about. Why do we do the things we do, why do we think about what we do, why do we act a certain way, why do we make certain decisions.
Nobody is born a survivalist. Joining the survival community is a conscious decision we make. As with everything else in life, our decisions are influenced by the way we were raised, culture, society, events in our life,,,.
Why do people get into coin collecting? Why do people get into stamp collecting? Why do people get into the hobbies they do? Do they find the hobbies challenging, maybe a way to occupy their free time?
Survivalism is a practical hobby. Grow your own food, preserve and store your own food, just like people used to do decades ago. Maybe survivalism should be considered as a return to basics?
There was once a time when people grew their food during the spring and summer. Then preserved the food to last the family through the winter.
Today, families keep just a few days of food on hand.
While reading “The Civilization Of The Middle Ages” by Norman Cantor (which I do not recommend the book by the way), on pages 150, 151, 152, 153, 154,,, the author discusses how monasteries became a source of education in the middle ages. Monasteries were not well rounded education establishments, as they were only interested in teaching Latin and scripture. Creating literature outside of the Holy scripture was suppressed.
One thing that monasteries did do, they preserved scripture. One of the reasons why we have certain books in our modern Holy Bible, is because some scribe copied the books during the the middle ages.
Monasteries preserved scripture. The monks in the monasteries taught people how to read Latin, and thus how to read scripture.
How does this monk, monastery and scripture stuff tie in with survivalism?
As monks taught holy scripture, so should survivalist teach self-reliance.
As a survivalist, it is your duty to go forth and spread the knowledge of self-reliance.
When people hear the word “monk”, thoughts of living in silence, or roaming the country side preaching the gospel to peasants comes to mind. That is not how things were like. Monks lived in the monastery, some tried to isolate themselves from the outside world, they were educated, copied holy text (scribes), and tried to live a life separated from the outside world.
How is the life of a monk, and the life of a survivalist that much different?
Maybe this should be called “The Survivalist Monk Theory”?
For the sake of discussion, lets focus on the effect we have on those around us, and not what fills our head.
Where a monk may have spent a great deal of time in prayer, he also had a profound effect on society. As survivalist, what effect do we have on those around us? Opsec says we have to always consider security when dealing with others. Let us apply the idea of a monastery to our group.
Everyone inside the walls of the monastery are the people inside our group. These are the people that we can talk to, communicate with and share our plans with.
Everyone outside the walls of our monastery are the strangers. Those are the people we do not know, or fully trust.
While a monastery had walls of brick and mortar, survivalist have walls of trust and relationships.
Just as monks educated the people inside the monastery, so should survivalist train and educate the people inside their group.
Unlike monks that tried to isolate themselves from the outside world, survivalist stay knowledgeable on current events.
The monastery is part of society, but also separate. We live on the fringe of society, on the outskirts, ever visible, but in the distance, just a blink from sight.
After talking to a buddy of mine, we came to the realization that most preppers stockpile in the wrong order.
When people get into prepping, what is the first things they start stockpiling? Most people lean towards stockpiling firearms and ammunition first.
Why do most people place buying a firearm at the top of their list? Maybe its the sense of security that owning a firearm provides? Maybe its the idea of the family being able to protect themselves? Maybe its a primal feeling where we feel safe and secure with a spear in our hands?
Ok, lets get back to prepping.
This is the way most people prep
2. Short term food preps
3. Sustainable food preps
This is the way people should prep
1. Sustainable food preps
2. Short term food preps
Sustainable Food Preps
Most preppers / survivalist put sustainable foods at the end of the list, so lets talk about this topic first.
Question, why do preppers focus on sustainable foods “after” they focus on a lot of other stuff?
Answer, in my opinion, its because planting a garden and having livestock takes a lot of time and effort. Its easier to buy a bunch of canned foods then it is to build a chicken coop.
My wife and I spent 3 weekends building our chicken coop, which also includes an enclosed run on the coop.
Yep, you read that right, zombies are real. Not real as in wanting to eat your brains, but real as in mindless people with no sense of reason and incapable of higher thought.
To live a survivalist lifestyle, one should be open minded, open to new ideas, flexible, open to suggestions and open to change. To be closed minded, to be inflexible and not open to change sets a limit on how well we can adjust to change.
What caused the Neanderthal to go extinct?
What caused Cro-Magnon Man to go extinct?
What caused Homo-Erectus to go extinct?
Was it their inability to adjust to climate change? Was it their inability to adjust to changing food sources? Were they open to new ideas?
Sheeple are the people that say “we have done it this way 100 years, there is no reason to change now”. These are the people who resist any kind of change. When sheeple are forced to change, they get angry and develop feels of resentment. These are the people that are on a dead end road of life.
I wonder if some Neanderthal refused to change his hunting patterns with the changes in herd migration?
Did Crug the Neanderthal say to Doug the Neanderthal:
Crug: The herds have moved over there, lets move with them and get something to eat.
Doug: Why should we move? The herds have always been here, they will come back.
Crug: Doug, we are going to starve.
Doug: Na, the herds will come back.
The herds did not come back. Crug, Doug and their entire species are now part of the fossil record.
Do not be like Crug and Doug. Be open to new ideas, be open to suggestions and be open to change.
What do preppers do with their spare time? Unless you are some kind of radical survivalist, we do not live in bunkers, nor do we hide in our homes in fear of a zombie invasion. For the most part, preppers (aka survivalist) are just like everyone else. Survivalism / Prepping is a way of life. While some people collect stamps, we check our food stocks. While some people collect coins for fun and profit, we collect silver and gold as a hedge against inflation.
Friday, May 18 was a day to relax after the work week. Friday evening is when my wife and I talk about what we need to do over the weekend.
Saturday, May 19 my wife and I like to get up early and get our shopping done. Breakfast is either a fried egg sandwich with bacon or sausage on the side, or something quick in the microwave. Regardless of what is fixed for breakfast, I like to have either strawberries or a banana on the side. I feel that its important to start the day off with something like yogurt, or some kind of fruit along with my main breakfast.
To wash breakfast down, I usually have a low carb energy drink, such as a rock star or monster.
After breakfast, my wife and I head to town to take care of the shopping. We like to get to get an early start before the stores get too crowded, and before the heat of the day sets in.
Part of the shopping list was put together a week beforehand. Over the past week I took inventory. What did I need to buy, what did I not need to buy? For Saturday I decided to pick up a box of Remington Core-Lokt in 308 Winchester 150 grain. My 30-30 stocks are just about where I want them to be. As usual the local Wal-mart was sold out of American Eagle in 223. the closer we get to hunting season, the more difficult it is to find ammunition. I like to buy my hunting ammo during the summer so when hunting season arrives I am ready to go.
On the morning of Saturday, February 18, 2012, while eating breakfast I checked my facebook feed. On my feed was a youtube video a subscribed friend posted on his profile. The video in question was from Foxnews and was about the US Senate working to approve military action against Iran.
The youtube video had been posted by a person and not a news source. To backup the video from the authority site I did a couple of google searches for the title of the video. The only thing I found was from 2007.
The first thing that came to mind was that someone took a video from 2007 and reposted it to youtube as if it were a new video.
I went back to the Survivalist Boards Facebook page, deleted the post with the video with the intentions of reposting it when more information was available from an authority news service. One of the people taht comments often made a post that after the video of cooking squash, and then removing the youtube video, he was going to bow out.
I was setback that someone would make a comment that my video about cooking squash was not related to survival. During the video I talked about why squash and zucchini should be part of your long term survival garden.
With organizations like FEMA, and the preparedness divisions of the separate states telling people to stay prepared for a disaster, there is no reason not to listen. All families should have at least 7 days worth of food in their house, and a small stockpile of bottled water. Some people stockpile MREs, while others may stockpile canned goods, beans and rice, or even freeze dried foods.
By previous examples, the government is either inept, unable, or unwilling to protect its citizens during a disaster.
Lets take the outbreak of the swine flu for example. When the swine flu was first reported in mexico, President obama refused to close to borders with mexico, citing companies would lose too much money of the borders were closed. By that example, when it comes down to profit or protecting the citizens, the government will protect the profits of big business over the safety and welfare of the citizens.
With the government willing to sacrifice safety in the name of profits for big business, is their 3 – 5 days worth of food and water sound advice? I do not think so.
In some kind of disaster, the less prepared people are, the more dependent they will be on the government. This is where the concept of stockpiling survival gear comes from. Lets say that some kind of long lasting disaster happens – civil unrest (LA riots for example), hurricane, natural disasters, another world war,,,, I do not want my family standing in a food line to get something to eat. I would rather have a garden, and stockpiled food to help us get through what ever happens.
In my opinion, there are about 4 levels of prepping:
Short term preppers – these are the people that buy enough food for a couple of weeks. they may keep a months worth of canned goods, rice and beans on hand. These are the people that go into panic buying mode when there is news of a disaster. When the news says there is a hurricane on the way, these are the people that run down to the store and buy as many supplies as they can afford. I do not consider people who keep only about 1 – 2 weeks worth of food stockpiled “true” survivalist.
Medium term preppers / survivalist – these are the people that might keep 4 – 6 months of food stockpiled. They may be stockpiling mountain house foods, storing rice, beans and oatmeal in mylar bags.
Long term survivalist – these are the people that store food in every closet, basement, closet and corner of their house. Long term survivalist try to keep around 1 year of food and water stockpiled.
Top tier survivalist – these are the ones that have planned food production past one year, have access to a farm, have prepared a secure Bug Out Location, have land to garden and places to hunt and fish. A top tier survivalist would rely on stockpiled food in the short term, or until they can get their livestock and garden production up to sustainable levels.
The name “top tier survivalist” may not be correct, but its the only name I could really thing of at the time.
Besides dividing survivalist into groups defined by how much they stockpile, there are another series of groups – the hobby prepper/survivalist, your lifestyle survivalist and the radical survivalist.
Hobby survivalist: Are the ones that jump on and off the prepping bandwagon, depending on current events or who they are influenced by. The hobby survivalist probably does not keep a good inventory of their survival stocks, probably does not keep more then a few weeks of supplies on hand.
Lifestyle survivalist: These are the people that make survivalism part of their lifestyle. Everything they do in some way revolves around prepping. Whether its fishing, hiking, hunting,,,, lifestyle survivalist associate the activity to survivalism.
The radical survivalist: These are the people that stockpile weapons and ammo in the fear that the US government is going to enforce marshal law, round up everyone that opposes the government and send those people to FEMA death camps. Radical survivalist are nothing more then fear mongers.
When I was in high school, the father of one of my buddies was what I consider a radical survivalist. He had a firearm hidden in every room of the house, to the point of knocking holes in the walls, hiding a firearm inside the wall, and then putting a pictures over the wall. His reasons for having firearms in every room was so that when the FBI or BATF raided his house, he would have a firearm within reach.
Fast forward 25 years, and the guys house was never raided. I never understood “why” the FBI or BATF would want to raid the guys house anyway. He was a law-abiding citizen, so I did not understand where the paranoia came from.