A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. -Mark Twain



Just a start, but here is the official govt preparation guidelines…I will be adding more soon, as these do not go far enough, in my opinion.

2011/02/06 Entry:

The recent record winter storms and the on the ground reports from various blogs I read (pssst, over here, to the right —–>) and my FB friends, mostly from Minnesota where I grew up, have motivated me to start working on the “Prepping” page here. This will be the first entry, and I will append future entries and other readers’ tips and thoughts (so sent them in).

So why prepare for unforeseen future events?

I have the Boy Scout motto ingrained in my head, “Be Prepared”.

I grew up in Minnesota with the “Car Survival Kit” for winter driving (not sure if this is encouraged anymore, with the new AWD technologies and ads that show a compact car passing a snowplow in between 15 foot snow banks, though you are not supposed to notice the small print disclaimer that its a professional driver on a closed road, but who needs preparedness when the marketers tell you your car can kick a snowplows ass?…). I went to school in Montana, and my first wife’s parents lived in Wyoming, so I made many a trip across the vast, dangerous, “fly-over country” in winter between the Rockies and Minnesota. Blizzards and black ice are common, so the likelihood of having to sit in a ditch in the weeds and wait for someone to notice you is substantially higher.

I lived in SoCal, popular earthquake central, where an earthquake can rupture power, water, sewer, roads, bridges, and NatGas lines…no heat, cooking, toilet, bathing, internet, lights, escape, food. Plus you have zillions of people there packed in close together who are not used to inconvenience….

9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Andrew, the Blizzard of 2011, crop failures in Russia, crop failures in Canada and the Red River Valley, “the times they are a’changing” Bob Dylan sang.

Oh, and the government recommends it as well (despite the “see/say” Walmart campaign, and various publications to the “Fusion Centers” by DHS). Here are their recommendations: FEMA PLAN AND PREPARE. So even the government would like us to be prepared. I personally think prepping for a 72 hour emergency falls way short, but it’s better than nothing.

Many people think of prepping as a throwback to the Y2K survivalists…I was there on Jan 1st, 2000, on call as a computer geek should be, and nothing, nada, zilch. Are/were the survivalists wrong? Not necessarily. I have put a lot of thought into this difference between full-on off the grid “survivalists”, hunkered down alone out somewhere, and common “prepping”.

As much as the “go it alone” mindset can appeal to me (especially on my more misanthropic days), I have concluded that “community” is more realistic…no one has the “all and everything” to go it alone anymore, imho. Though many can actually do it, wouldn’t responsibility distribution be more efficient? Whoever is more skilled in something takes that role on (hope to have some farmers and ranchers in the bunch, they have practiced doing everything since forever…). And we humans tend to be social animals and like to help/interact with others.

So, where to begin? Start at the FEMA site. Then prioritize based on your needs and location. If you are in hurricane zones, getting away may be your best, first consideration…earthquake zone, maybe in situ will be most realistic. Urban vs. rural vs. sub(ex)urbia.

Also keep in mind the needs hierarchy: Water, Shelter, Food, Energy (heat, cooking), Communications, Tribes (your hierarchy may vary, this is mine).

For example, food storage, many online sources of info, such as: LDS Food Calculator (they have persecution and hardship in living memory). I am not LDS, but I won’t quibble with a good ideas’ source.

One way to efficiently and cost-effectively reach self-sufficiency is to align your “hobbies” with “prepping”…George Ure had a nice piece on this in his subscribers area this weekend HERE (urbansurvival.com).

I am blessed in this area.
Hobbies, in no particular order:

computers (including long gone old-school communications tech)
former chef/perpetual “foodie”
troubleshooter/mechanic generalist
CBT counselor (cognitive behavioral therapy)
non-pro massage/shiatzu therapist
martial artist
…(things I haven’t thought of…)

The point of that list is to demonstrate that ANY activity, knowledge, expenditure, learning, experience in those areas enhances, by default, my prep needs hierarchy goals, and I get to practice them in real-time. And I get to enjoy it right here, right now. There are lots of “things” to get into…for example, Tommy over at Freedom Guerrilla is into metalworking, photography, videography, etc., among other things…the possibilities are vast, direct yourself thoughtfully and get two or more birds with one “stone”.

So, what’s in YOUR non-job hobby list? What did you used to do for fun and enjoyment before your “career” and bills took over your(our) life? Can you, would you, will you?

As people have been finding out everywhere lately it seems, things may NOT be as they always have been, whether in the Southwest, Northeast, Midwest, China, Egypt, Ireland, Iceland, England, etc…maybe it’s time to spend some mental effort “out there”. Our parents, grandparents, great grandparents lived prepping for things unknown, and known, as we humans have done for thousands of years, by default and as normally as getting a triple latte at Starbucks is for us today. Can’t hurt, can it?

To be continued…by me and hopefully others will crowd-source this… :)

2011/02/08 Entry:

From Tommy over at Freedom Guerrilla, some comments related to prepping, most important, the “spouse” question… :)

The funny thing about NYC is that everybody really should be doing more prepper activity yet it’s the people who live in less vulnerable places that tend to be more active in this area. Go figure.

But Rawles’ newest book is a comprehensive source. I recently put up a good bit of food stores which has proven tremendously handy in years/months past. Since we eat food, this is equivalent to a savings account for us.

My wife is straight up paranoid, which is great fun. I know some couples/families struggle when there is one “believer” and one crazy person (you decide which is which).

Yes, the relationship dynamics must be considered, some do not WANT to see, and thus WILL NOT…the grocery store has always been there, and will always be there…with food on the shelves even…

  8 Responses to “Prepping”

  1. Okay, I think I just got the answer to my latest dumbass question. It has it’s own page….

  2. heh, I will only maintain ONE website anymore, been a webmaster for others, done that…I’d rather just be mad at myself for mission-creep, than others who don’t know any better.

  3. avatar

    Hi Tom. Just wanted to drop in and poke around a bit.
    Nice work.
    I noticed a link to the Atlas Shrugged website. Have you ever heard the cassette version audiobook narrated by Edward Hermann ?
    Awesome voice talent, and I don’t see how any movie could hold a candle to that.
    Best of luck through the Hole…

    Hobbies aligned with prepping…hmmm. Hard to go there for me. Life is a hobby. I guess what I do is “fix shit”. I’m a terrible farmer.

  4. I haven’t ever gotten into audio books…guess I’m too old school there. I just prefer the textile sensation of a physical book…for a computer nerd its funny, because I don’t like Kindle’s and electronic docs are an evil necessity.

    So tell me more about this “Hole”, I saw your comment on FG, but I know there is more to your theory…

    I am an okay gardener, I grow more than we can eat (must get better at canning), so I am thinking of trying selling some this year. Would love to try a real farm…its in the genes (grandparents grew up farmers, goes back generations to the Revolution).

  5. avatar

    The Hole came from a collision of all of the other metaphors about humanity being on a bus, or a train, and “Charlie stole the handle”, heading down the road/track to a collision with destiny. I was thinking that when you put everything of modern humans on the train, and it crashes, then what? We are often told about “sustainability”, but what does that mean? Usually, it’s in a short term context (10, 20, 100 years), but not actually “sustainable”, because for a species to be sustainable, they have to contribute to their future, rather than take from it. What do humans have to contribute to the future? Themselves, the mind, and the tools we make from simple resources which are replenished. In other words, things that would fit through a tunnel the size of a person. Attempts to make the hole bigger (hoarding metals, forcing people to conform to a certain size/genetics, trying to dictate what a ‘person’ would be, trying to ‘borrow’ resources from the future to build sea walls, etc) simply cuts into the stability of the hole (our opportunity to make it through coming climate changes, food wars, etc). The faster we use resources to try and ‘solve’ this restriction on our future, the worse our situation will be. Think of some new free-energy technology, and the government mandating that all cars have to be replaced with new ones running that technology. What does that do to the planet? We just increase the demand for roads and encourage more population growth, while reducing the land available to feed that population…so we make the hole smaller.
    I know, it’s more of a mind exercise, and you’re much more practical. That’s why I visited FG: to get these ideas out of my head so I can get back to work on stuff that I need to do around the farm… ;-)
    Hey, as for canning, I recommend two things: The Ball Blue Book and Backwoods Home Magazine (Jackie Clay’s tips and books). My wife has gotten very good at the canning thing. I just have to get better at the growing thing, but get too tied up fixing and making things for other growers. I hate to specialize, but I may end up that way yet: as a small-ag-high-tech source.

  6. Ok, that gives me more metaphor/visualization to work with, I am going to have to chew on that a while. But you do that…:)

  7. and you know, there is much to being that small-ag-high-tech source…in the tech world I am the master of nothing, but can troubleshoot and fix most anything…there is a value in that.

    Yup, Ball Canning books, and have always wanted to pull the trigger on Backwoods Home and Joel Salatin..but I am “stuff” shy these days…already have too much.

  8. this paradigm came in handy during the recent Hurricane/earthquake biz here in the mid-Atlantic. I felt much better off than in NYC, but it also exposed gaping holes that are easily fixed — in advance.

    I love prepping. It’s great fun.