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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shangri-la or La-La Land?

To many preppers the retreat is almost the same as Shangri-La. They view their cabin in the woods, lake side cottage, mountain top retreat or desert hideout as the safe place they can go to and live in peace. I do it myself sometimes. We think of all the great reason we can live there and never truly look at the problems we will have to overcome as well. Game will always be plentiful, gardens produce bumper crops, the water will flow and be pure, and only trusted, invited, guests will show up. Paradise to be sure.

An acquaintance of mine dropped by the house a while back. He had come by to discuss deer hunting on my property and see how I did last year. During our conversation he mentioned how bad the economy was and how he had a fall back plan. I didn’t tell him I was a prepper but I did probe him on his plans.

He had just returned from a week or so stay up north at his in-law’s cabin. He told me how great it was up there, good fishing, great weather and he saw a lot of game there too. He told me his plan was to head up there if things went to hell in a hand basket.

That scenario is common. His is not the first time I heard that plan and I actually heard a guy a work tell a similar idea to that last week. Looks like the woods will be crawling with survival minded folks once the balloon goes up. Anybody see a problem with that?

During the Depression game was hunted hard and heavy for a meal on the table. My mother used to tell me about how she would come home from school, pick up her .410/.22 over under Savage and walk the railroad tracks behind her home looking for anything they could make a meal out of. She would kick up a rabbit once in a great while, but the wild asparagus and the fruits she found were mostly what they had. She told me that she would sometimes see others walking the track hunting too. Most days she just enjoyed a long walk. My father also told me stories of the Depression that were very similar. He would walk to school carrying a 12 gauge double barreled shotgun and walk the fence rows to and from school hunting and trapping. It was not unusual to see several boys skinning game under the willow tree behind the school. Can you imagine seeing half a dozen boys walking up to school with a shotgun today?

I have written several times about my grandfather and his brother going to a cabin in the Huron National Forest back in the late 50s or early 60s and planning to live off the fat of the land for a while like they did as kids. He always ended that story with, “The fat of the land is pretty damn lean!” They found very little game, the fishing was poor and they ended up going to town to dinner more than once.

If your plans include heading for the hills you might want to have a serious think session with your plans and make sure that you have everything in place. My cabin is ok for three seasons but without the generator and propane we would freeze to death in there. If I had to bug out to there in late fall we would be in a world of hurt. Because of crime and break-ins we have not pre-positioned a lot of supplies there either. Tonto is always giving me crap about that too. He even put a cache up there as an experiment a few years back to see if it would survive a couple years in the ground.

Take off the rose colored glasses and give your woods retreat a long hard look. It could be pure folly to have that as your primary prep plan and find it was all a nice fantasy.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thoughts on a Problem?

I received an e-mail a while back from a Michigan Preppers reader asking for my thoughts and advice on a problem he faced. The guy, I will call him Vince, lives in the suburb of a large city. Picture a nice home in Wyoming and working in downtown Grand Rapids. Vince is concerned on how he will be able to get out of town and to a safe location.

My suggestion was buy a good county map and/or city map that you can plan escapes route with. I had five different routes out of the city to the farm. I also practiced driving them from time to time to make sure they were still open, nothing had changed, and I knew about how much time I could make them in under ideal conditions. Mark the routes with different colored highlighters and make sure everyone knows each route. I always assumed my wife and both boys would have to find their way to the farm by themselves. Also, there is a lot of good information out there on having a meeting location and a common contact in the event of some need.

Maybe some silver rounds will buy your way through a road block or two, but I wouldn’t count on it. If they think you have more they might ambush you for any food, gas, women, or valuables you have. A ironic drawback to bugging out is that it is most likely you will load up with as much of your supplies as you can. The more you carry the more attractive you are as a target. That is why so many recommend pre-positioning your supplies at a retreat.

My plans used to revolve around my sons being at school, my wife and I each at our places of employment and all of us meeting at the house to leave for the farm. Not always practical like the time the factory down the street from the house had a “hazardous spill” and it was between school and home. The boys were trapped at school and we could not get to them. In case you didn’t know it Murphy is a prepper too.

Vince didn’t include a lot of details in his question, but with just the bare bones info of needing to bug out of a city to your retreat posses a lot of possible answers. How many of you face the same challenge? I often wondered if I might have to force my way out of the city maybe having to threaten or shoot at the boys Scout leader or soccer coach in order to get out of town. We never know how others will react or in all honesty, how we will react. For those of you that live in the city and plan to bug out, how do you have it planned?


Thursday, September 8, 2011

How will it turn out?

Ok, let me get this straight. The State of Michigan is asking one body of state government if it is ok for another body of state government to tax the people getting a pension. Gee, I wonder how that will turn out.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visiting Bill

Stopped in and visited with my Brother-in-law this weekend. I write his name as Bill because spell check drives me nuts when I write Bil. Besides, it is a good Opsec name for him. He has become more and more preparedness minded over the years and now figures his sister’s husband is less nuts than he first thought.

When I stopped by he was just getting ready to burn up a bunch of downed limbs from last weeks hail storm. He also burns all of his mail that has any personal or account numbers on it. He feels no one else needs to know any of his account numbers. We talked about the different ways we keep our numbers private and how we sort to burn. He has one waste basket all his stuff goes in and he burns it in an outdoor fire ring. I put all my “to be destroyed” envelopes and documents in an empty dog food bag. When it gets full I take it out and burn it in the burning barrel. That way I can not make the mistake of tossing it out as garbage. I know a couple of guys that run everything through a shredder before it leaves the house. Regardless of the method used, make sure you keep your account numbers and SSN to yourself. Always think Opsec.

Bill asked me to take his propane tank to be filled. He lives in a bigger town and it cost nearly $20 to fill a twenty pound tank. My rural company fills mine for just over $12. That is a big savings. He also told me he was on the lookout for one more tank. He has two now but felt he should have a third in case he needs one for cooking during a power outage or some other reason. I told him I had just acquired an empty one that he was welcome to if he wanted it filled. Made him happy and I was glad I could help him out.

Bill also told me that he found some larger cans of chicken on sale for a dollar a can. He put ten cans back in his food storage so he had some protein put away. We talked about several ways to prepare it so it didn’t get boring eating it as a survival food. Bill is a great cook and has good ideas on survival cooking.

We had a nice visit around the fire with an absolutely clear blue sky overhead. It was a beautiful morning for us and pleasant to exchange some ideas and information. He has always said that he plans on coming to the farm when TSHTF. Knowing he has a solid plan of action, knows what to bring, and that he will be an asset makes him more than welcome.

On that same line of thought, I emailed my cousin that lives in Roanoke, Virginia today and asked what preps she had taken for the visit of hurricane Irene. My cousin is not prep minded and I figured her answer would be a good counter point to my consent prepping thoughts.

Part of her reply was this: I have had my basement waterproofed since water leaked in 5 to 10 yrs ago with another hurricane. As far as provisions, I keep a couple gallons of water and otherwise plan to hunker down with one of a few friends who are "prepared." Oh, yes, and I have also had all my trees trimmed so that hopefully, unless blown really far, no limbs will fall on the house.

I suspect that her couple of gallons of water is just that, two gallons. She did not mention food storage at all. No back up lighting, no way to heat if needed, toward the end of her e-mail came the conformation I expected: In case of long term power outages, my prepared friends have generators.

It gets mentioned on preparedness blogs a lot; open up a dialog with your friends and family about prepping. Her preps are to go live with someone else that she knows does prep. How many of your friends and family have that exact prep in mind? Your thirty day food supply could fall to a week in a hurry if several people come to your retreat. I feel very fortunate that my friends and family are at least somewhat prepped. I know that my wife’s brother is not only prepped but has a plan to show up with food, arms, and prepared to help defend the farm. I learned all that because I opened up dialog with and spent time visiting Bill.

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