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Self-sufficient in a Zombie Apocalypse  RSS feed

 
Posts: 36
Location: Central Texas
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No, I'm serious!

How do you prepare your property to be totally self-sufficient in dire times? Of course a zombie apocalypse is just hypothetical, but natural disasters happen all the time. People run out of food and water in the stores and no help is on the horizon. Besides that, you get various thugs who want to take stuff from you.

So, my question is, what are the things you need to obtain for your property, say, one acre of undeveloped land with a house, in order to be off the grid, entirely off the grid, and live a comfortable life in days when the rest of the world loses its mind? How do you protect what you have from those that wish to take it? There might be monster earthquakes, flooding, a pandemic that wipes out most of the population, an asteroid hit, volcanic eruptions suddenly increase blocking the sun, or global warming with unpredictable weather patterns. We've seen what a single hurricane could do to Puerto Rico and to Houston. Let's assume that in all of these scenarios your specific piece of land is intact.

And what if the scenario is a nuclear war in your backyard? Tensions are growing nowadays between North Korea and the US and between India and Pakistan. Even if the war isn't in your country, any kind of significant nuclear exchange elsewhere in the world will affect the entire globe. You never know what might happen. Of course, you hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. So, how do you prepare for the worst?

Things you'll need:

Water. In case of aquifers running hundreds of feet below surface, how to get it without electricity
Grow food. There's only so much canned food you can store
Cooking. I really like rocket oven. But anything else?
Maybe electricity? In case of a nuclear war/asteroid strike/volcanic eruptions it will most likely result in a long nuclear/impact/volcanic winter in which case solar panels will be useless. But do you even need electricity?
Air conditioning in high humidity and temps over 100 during the day and around 80 during the night.
Heating in the winter. I like that rocket heater doesn't produce smoke and so it doesn't attract attention from miles away.
Hygiene
Entertainment
Animals? How many chickens can you raise with paddock shift design? In case of nuclear/impact/volcanic winter?
Root cellar that doubles as shelter in case of war/natural disaster?
Rain water collection
Radioactivity testing? Heavy metal testing? When you're on your own, you don't have access to these things probably unless you prepare beforehand.
Lamps for growing food in case of impact/nuclear/volcanic winter? Then you'll need electricity. LOTS of electricity. I'm guessing building a sizeable green house.
How to harvest wind power?
Alternative fuel for your car? Diesel? You can make a fortune selling it to others I presume.
They say it takes a football field worth of garden to feed one person for a year. Can you squeeze that into a much smaller space? A food forest where food grows vertically?
How to obtain salt?
Anything else I didn't mention?
Eat bugs? Which bugs? How to grow them? How to cook them? I mean if you're hungry I guess you lower your "ew" threshold.
In case of a nuclear war, can you keep bees underground?

And if you had the possibility to buy a new piece of land and build everything on it from scratch, how would you design it?
I realize this is a lot of info in one post/thread, but if you can point in the right direction of where to obtain some of this info, that would be great, too!
 
pollinator
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The only possible way to be totally self-sufficient, in my opinion, is to go full caveman, including a band (tribe) social group on a piece of land large enough to live by hunting and gathering.

I used to be a doomer and worry about these things, and it ruined my life.  So I stopped being interested in prepping and survivalism.  My life is much more rewarding now just being interested in permaculture.

 
gardener
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I stopped being interested in prepping and survivalism.  My life is much more rewarding now just being interested in permaculture.



Interestingly, the step from survivalism to permaculture is not a huge leap, but it is a significantly different emotional situation/investment.  What I mean is that Permaculture has as it's goal the development of a permanent culture, but it is doing this to build a better world by design for the long term.  We do this, in my view, because it's high time we took into account our ecological footprint and our inherent ability to live on this planet without harming it.  This is an intellectual and perhaps for some a spiritual decision, but it is not based on fear.  Fear is grasping.  Permaculture is about giving back.  Therein lies the dichotomy, the split, in my thinking on it.

Survivalism might have much the same basic designs, but the reason for doing so is, in my opinion, basically selfish, but it might not feel that way to the person doing it.  I say that it is selfish, not as a bad thing, but because it is based on personal self preservation, and that is based on a emotional response to the fear of theft, destruction, loss, violence et cetera, rather than on the larger needs of caring for the Earth or the greater long term humanitarian needs to build a better world.  The survivalism mentality is never ending, and as such there is no relaxation, it is like a rat on a wheel in a cage, spinning away, and never getting anywhere really productive for even the person doing it.  That's just how I see it, from my own experience.  When we make decisions out of fear we are not making our best decisions.  That is flight or fight.  It is high stress, and shock, and lashing out sort of response to the situation.  In contrast, we need that relaxed feeling to make better decisions, and figure out why it is that we really want what we are thinking we want, and coming up with a plan to make it happen that makes better sense for our emotional self. 

Permaculture might still be selfish in a way; since a person is often doing this so that they can have their needs met, primarily.  The difference, I think, for Tyler, but certainly for myself, is that with this slight change in emotional investment, there are rewards that are present that are less tangible than this tenacious but inexhaustible chasing down of every last bit of fear with bits of preparedness in myriad directions.

Survivalism seems to have the idea that it can alleviate the presence of risk to these numerous threats.  But that, in my view, is a myth.  These problems are not surmountable on the personal level by each person having everything.  It's a nice goal, in a way, to be completely self sufficient, but it is not likely or easy to accomplish.  Not that permaculture is easy, per se, but it is not fraught with the pressing down demand that all of these things be done NOW in order to push the fear of these unknown and myriad potential problems away.  Life is not without risk, and never can be.  We can chose to make our lifeways flow in conjunction with natural laws, and help and hope others catch on to the positive changes, and that's it. 

My advice:  Do what you do not out of fear but out of an expanding view of giving.  Do what you can to build resilient systems, in all aspects of your life, including building community so that you are networking and have more collective resources and the ability to meet your and communal needs. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Beautifully said, Roberto.
 
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Personally, I think you are asking the wrong question because it drives you to a set of solutions that are all inherently flawed in that under a ZA scenario might is right.

Maybe a better question would be "In the event of a zombie apocalypse, what can I do to make me and my family indispensable?"

History shows that in times of feudal social structures (a warlord controls a territory) the general population form a mutually beneficial relationship with the "strong man". The mad max scenario even conforms to this although it's not highlighted in the movies so much.

The warlord and their enforcers need supplies, shelter, essential services, and a certain amount of luxury to maintain control over a territory. They get these things from the citizenry who live within the territory they control. In return, the citizenry gets protection, peace, and insurance against disaster (for example the warlord will often provide storehouses for excess non-perishable food and materials).

The warlord makes sure they take care of their people, because if they don't, the people will leave and seek refuge under the protection of a competitor or they will not support the warlord when a competitor attacks as they are seen as a liberating force. Sure a warlord can bully the citizenry like in the movies but in reality this tactic doesn't scale.

So in a ZA scenario you will be a warlord (unlikely), a soldier, or a "surf". Since you're in this forum, the chances are you would rather be a surf. So the trick to being a successful surf is to provide / produce things that the warlord values highly. In this way you will place yourself in a position to receive special care and attention since you will be considered a valuable asset within the territory, and these warlords control territory because of the assets that reside in them.

 
pioneer
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I have been doing food storage for more than 20 years so I have it down to a science.

We have a propane tank for cooking and heating.  We also have lots of wood for when we run out of propane and a wood stove for heating and cooking.

We have a 750 gallon water storage tank, currently full, for rainwater catchment.

We have solar panels and all the equipment to set it up.

Various candles, lanterns and other miscellaneous.

Canning equipment.



 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Tatiana

And if you had the possibility to buy a new piece of land and build everything on it from scratch, how would you design it?
I realize this is a lot of info in one post/thread, but if you can point in the right direction of where to obtain some of this info, that would be great, too!

  pretty much all (or the vast majority) of the information that you are seeking can be searched and found on Permies.  The goal of this site, the way I see it, is to disseminate this information over the largest % of the population, in the shortest time period.  This will result in a much more resilient global society in general, which is what is needed in order to survive natural or political disasters.  

As far as designing and developing a piece of land that can feed and house you indefinitely, I would recommend looking at This webpage, and consider ordering their first book, Miraculous Abundance.  This is not a 'how to' book, but more of a memoir of how they came across their various ideas, but the inspiration towards very efficient permacultural food production is without parallel, and they give a list of the resources that connected them to this path of sustainability.  It is a good start to read such a book, not only because it is full of great ideas-but because it is super positive-and then follow up researching the things that they are referring to.  Their next book, due out in French later in 2018 with an English translation to follow, is going to be all about detailing the specific techniques and tools that they use.  I will order the English version as soon as it is available.   In the meantime, Elliot Coleman's 4 season Harvest (available through inter-library loan) is a good place to start on figuring out how to grow in this direction.  Elliot bought land from Helen and Scott Nearing, whose own book Living The Good Life is also available through the library, and is well worth the read to figure out what you really should be focusing on.  

Another thing that I would suggest is to take baby steps.  There is a mind frame that comes with being truly prepared to deal with anything, and that has to be developed like a muscle that is weak.  Our society is full of weaklings in this regard, myself still included.  But I am developing that sort of mind, and as I do I notice just how far I need to go.  One thing that helps to begin to develop this mentality is not to consider so much of what we need, but what we can do without.  We are incredibly spoiled in our culture, and have many 'needs' that are not needs at all.  Most of the global population does not need the majority of the stuff we have, and in fact our lifestyle and abundant consumption was foreign to our own quite recent ancestors.

As an example, I met my own needs in a small cabin without a vehicle, propane, electrictiy, running water, et cetera, for a couple years on what was considerably below the poverty line as far as income went.  I lived like a king, since I had a roots and greens low maintence garden, a seafood harvesting permit, and the skills to get wood and fix a bicycle.  I also was developing skills that would allow me to camp permanently as a nomad in the forest, if it came down to having to leave my cabin for some unknown political or natural reason.

By lowering our expectations of what we need, we gain massively in the time that we have to consider everything else.  I sat a lot in my hammock reading, and did a lot of walking on the beach and in the forest.  My life improved considerably by 'doing without' much of the things that people in our culture tend to think they need.  My job, as a small project carpenter and landscaper could be done with a bike and trailer, and was going to be needed even if the unstable thing known as 'the economy' collapsed.              
 
Roberto pokachinni
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If the Shit Hits the Fan, I suspect that a lot of people that survive the initial chaotic bullshit will end up living a lot simpler.  Perhaps people will live in a relatively simple Indigenous pit house scroll down to the Pit House in  The Plateau section of the page.
 
pollinator
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I agree with Nick in that I believe the better question isn’t about making one’s property self-sufficient. The better question is about making the people of a homestead self-sufficient. If we’re talking about surviving independently and not being assimilated into some type of collective, which I believe is more aligned with the independent mentality, then I offer an alternative approach to the survivalist scenario.

This alternative is needed when either a civilian force or a government force is, at some point, going to come for your land and operation. The timing of this depends on the duration of the SHtF scenario and your proximity to population centers. No, contrary to what tens of thousands of survivalists believe, you will not be able to out gun or defend your property should a motivated force leadership decides they want your operation. Even if several well-armed families band together and train properly, regional authorities or even a civilian force will only attempt to take your property with superior firepower. Yes, you may encounter a scouting group, but once the larger force or authority learns of your resources, they will come with force enough to take what they want. Dying does not constitute successful defense of your property.

You could possibly make yourself and your family indispensable in some way. But, growing food and managing animals is not an indispensable set of skills. I know that may bristle some feathers here at Permies. But, those skills will already be in the attacking force or within the collective supporting them. Yes, these are good skillsets to have, but you are not indispensable as one farmer. You need to find something else. Even then, however, you are at the mercy of the warlord or local government leader. That seems to me to be contrary to the independent objective we’re discussing.

My thinking is that to truly survive and not be subject to some power or force is to be mobile. One writer refers to it as going gypsy. I’m not referring to bugging out. Bugging out is usually to get you to a planned destination, which then you are again subject to the external force, no matter how well trained your family is. Your food supply has to be mobile. Since you can only carry very little food and water, your ability to forage is key. These are some of the best skills you can acquire on your homestead now, more important than than say, auto mechanic. You don’t have the ability to preserve food on the go, so you need skills at foraging and scrounging. In addition to foraging, in my opinion, goats are one of the best mobile options for fresh food supply (dairy, meat). I think goats are better choices than small cattle or sheep, which are both more difficult to move clandestinely and more picky about their feed. Goats are good foragers and can be better managed in a mobile situation as you have to move from place to place to avoid external forces. Goats eating leaves from trees are theoretically going to provide more mineral nutrients than purely grass-fed grazers – arguably.

Once the external force has either exhausted the resources of your property or lost interest they may leave it. You may have an opportunity to return. However, your risk of discovery is pretty high once you plant yourself back there. Going gypsy means that your value system is not based in your land but in the people of your family or mobile group. Where you are on any given day serves as either a resource or as cover; it is not your home. Your home is defined by the people you’re with, not a physical location. Choosing when to move is based on external threats and resource availability and your family or group’s ambulatory nature. Going gypsy is on foot. Vehicles are loud, require fuel and maintenance, and most require some kind of roadway and are easily spotted. Your homestead is whatever you can carry or lead.

Not everyone will be cut out for gypsy survival. Some will submit themselves to some authority or new collective. Some will resist an external force and may or may not survive. Some will be in a remote enough area where they may not ever encounter an external force. For the rest of us, I believe only by evasion will independent individualists survive. In my opinion, mobility is the way to survive a widespread SHtF scenario.

 
pollinator
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Guns and Ammo, because there is no such thing as a "friendly" apocalypse.

If you have guns and ammo, you can take whatever you want from someone that doesn't have G&A, and if you don't have G&A I guarantee that someone else that does have them will take everything you have.

There is no sense in planning to be civilized when civilization goes out the window.
 
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If what you have is a house and an acre of land, and you wish to be comfortable during a zombie apocalypse,  then I strongly suggest that you invest in some long underwear and some buckets of grain. Because an acre of land is not usually enough land to provide you with both enough calories to eat and wood to burn to cook those calories.

Walmart sells buckets of rice that are packaged for long term storage, and camping supply houses do sell long underwear. Some clothing stores do as well.

As it so happens I do have some rice that  is packaged for long term, as well as a vegetable garden, and a pantry full of canned goods. Water could be collected from my roof  by putting a child's swimming pool under the downspouts. That would not be enough, but it would help me through some types of SHTF.
 
pollinator
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I agree with Tyler and Roberto. 

I enjoy reading memoirs and I have read several about people (fundamentalist Mormons in this case - although the specific religion matters less than the "apocalypse" mentality) who spent their entire lives focused 100% on preparing for the end times.  Having more children than they could support.  Living in fear and poverty.  Stockpiling at the expense of pleasure / joy.  Alienating friends and family.  I would rather be somewhat unprepared IF it happens than look back on my life seeing a wasteland of joy.  (Or having someone hundreds of years from now reading my journals and shaking their head because of the waste I had made of my life - and the end times STILL hadn't come.)
 
Tyler Ludens
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Terri Matthews wrote:some buckets of grain.



I bought a bunch of dry beans and rice that we never ate.  The beans got so old they wouldn't even sprout when I finally threw them into the garden.  So my suggestion is to store food you actually eat and eat it regularly, rotating it to keep the supply as fresh as possible.  Otherwise you might just waste a bunch of money like I did.

We never did like to eat dry beans.

 
Terri Matthews
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Terri Matthews wrote:some buckets of grain.



I bought a bunch of dry beans and rice that we never ate.  The beans got so old they wouldn't even sprout when I finally threw them into the garden.  So my suggestion is to store food you actually eat and eat it regularly, rotating it to keep the supply as fresh as possible.  Otherwise you might just waste a bunch of money like I did.

We never did like to eat dry beans.

Yeah......

I know that beans and rice make a complete protein, but we do not really eat dry beans so I never stored any. I HAVE stored rice, as I cook a man Chinese dish.
 
Sonja Draven
pollinator
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The concept of incomplete proteins has been disproved:

http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/3/28_The_Myth_Of_Complimenting_Proteins.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_combining

So you can stop stressing about it.  :)
 
Tyler Ludens
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I bought such big bags of rice that it got all nasty and stale before we ate it.  So, rather than buying "bulk" sizes of food for cheap, I recommend buying the sizes you actually consume.
 
pollinator
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One solution would be to repack the rice into single serve mason jars and vac seal them.

I'm more a homesteader than a prepper, but in either realm there is no such thing as too many Mason jars. As you eat the rice, the jars go back into rotation.
 
pioneer
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Surviving an "apocalypse" is something I've mused about since I was probably 10. I read a lot of fantasy, and it was kind of fun/thrilling to envision how I'd survive.

And then I started homesteading. And had two kids. And my husband had horrible, debilitating Crohn's flare-up, and my daughter was hospitalized, and there were tons of medical bills, and a constantly tantruming son. And, well, it sure felt like the end of the world. It was crazy difficult. I have 5 acres. I have ducks and a garden. But, the thing is, when disasters happen, they're disasters. You don't have money or time to do things like figure out how to grow food. You might not even have your heath, or will be tending to someone else because they lost their health.

These aren't the things we like to think about when we think about zombie apocalypses. But, well, it seems to me that an apocolpse looks a lot like poverty and no good, horrible, very bad days.

(I wrote about my experiences a few months back The reality of homesteading has dissolved my "prepper"/homesteading fantasies )

In that thread, someone had some really good suggestions. I'll quote them here:

Things I've done that have been invaluable;
- hunting large and small game alike - you learn so many skills and become aware of so much you never thought of before
- joining a random animal tracking group on facebook - i didn't even know I had a passion for it, but I can't turn off "tracker vision" anymore.  I've become so aware of environments!
- plant some plants - food or flower, doesn't matter.  Make a garden or just stick seeds in a pot.  The result can be addicting!  Don't try to plan the perfect garden or devise what you need to grow to feed the whole family.  Grow what you ENJOY growing and nourish a love for it.
- make some crafts - engage the kids in picking pinecones and sticks and tree moss, make some fun projects, get hands-on with nature, get out on a scavenge hunt, put your hands on the environment you desire to thrive in and feel it!
- fishing - I don't know what to say about fishing, it's a passionate love of mine
- raise some small, simple livestock - rabbits are easy, chickens are great starter critters...  pigeons, quail, turkeys, guinea, peafowl, goats, whatever you want!  But start small.  don't overwhelm yourself, and don't go into it trying to be self sufficient from the start.  You need to build experience with the animals, memorize their needs, and start devising ways of providing those things efficiently.
- experiment.  Do some crazy stuff.  Some dumb stuff.  Some fun stuff.  camp under the stars, hike to nowhere without a trail, dig a hole, swim across the river, skip some rocks.  have fun!
- get online and research random permie stuff.  It's amazing what you pick up in passing that you remember later when applicable!



With one acre, I would start now with growing food and caring for livestock. Plant perennial fruit and nut trees and learn to care for them now, so they'll hopefully be producing. Build garden beds and try to grow things in them. Try to make everything as low maintenance as possible, because when bad times comes, you'll probably have a lot of other things to do than gardening inefficiently. Learn as many skills now as you can, because, once again, during a disaster, you probably won't have time to stumble through those things. Learn to mend clothes and maintain tools. Learn basic building and plumbing and electrical if you can--so you can fix what you have without spending money that will likely be scarce.


Let me see if I can answer your questions one by one:

Water. In case of aquifers running hundreds of feet below surface, how to get it without electricity If you have a well, I would get this: FloJack's Earth Staw It's flexible, relatively affordable and will bring up that water without electricity.
Grow food. There's only so much canned food you can store Focus on fruit and nut trees that grow well and easily in your area. This will save you time, labor and resources: you won't have to do more than harvest and prune, so you'll have time to do all the other things. PLant edibles under the trees, like strawberries and chives and garlic--this will provide you food and help keep the grass away, making the trees healthier. Grow potatoes or sweet potatoes--they're pretty easy to grow and give you the most calories and nutrition for the energy you invest in them. If rasberries/blackberries grow in your area and you like them, grow them! Berries are full of antioxidents and tasty to eat, and grow well in many areas. If corn & squash & beans grow well where you are, you can rotate your potato beds with your squash/corn/bean beds for even more nutrition and calories.
Cooking. I really like rocket oven. But anything else? I love my wood stove: it heats the house in the winter and I cook on it while it's going. I'd love a rocket oven for summer use!
Maybe electricity? In case of a nuclear war/asteroid strike/volcanic eruptions it will most likely result in a long nuclear/impact/volcanic winter in which case solar panels will be useless. But do you even need electricity? Light is nice. I would get some hand-crank radios and flashlights, if nothing else. Electrify is also great for freezers. If you have a generator or solar panels and can run one thing, run the freezer.
Air conditioning in high humidity and temps over 100 during the day and around 80 during the night. Plant decidious trees/vines if you can around your house to shade it. The shade will help cool without using the money and electricity that might be hard to find much of.
Heating in the winter. I like that rocket heater doesn't produce smoke and so it doesn't attract attention from miles away. Efficient wood stoves also make little smoke if you burn dry wood and do it right. You might not be able to install a rocket heater depending on regulations in your area. If you can't, get a woodstove and learn how to cook on it and start fires with little smoke.
Hygiene Clotheslines are good (I use one now!), dishes can be washed like they do on sea vessels with three tubs: first tub is for scrubbing off the food debris from dishes, second tub for rinsing off the gunk from the first tub, third tub has the cleanest water and is for the final rinse. You can also try to learn how to make soap from wood ash.
Entertainment Ha! Who has time for this in a disaster. I guess it depends on the type of disaster, though. I'd go for whatever your family likes best, be it reading stories outload, making up storties, playing music, playing cards, playing board games, carving things, knitting things, etc.
Animals? How many chickens can you raise with paddock shift design? In case of nuclear/impact/volcanic winter? Remember, whatever livestock you have, you'll have to feed. They eat a lot. My ducks eat a cup of feed per day per duck, and they have 3 acres they range over. If they get less feed than that, they don't make eggs. On one acre, you might be able to grow enough feed for 3 chickens or 3 ducks. Rabbits might be a better choice for protein (I've not raised rabbits), especially if you're trying to raise protein inside.
Root cellar that doubles as shelter in case of war/natural disaster? A good idea! I would love one!
Rain water collection Metal roofs are good for that, and the metal is longer-lasting and more fire-resistant than many other roof types. And requires less maintenance! Once agian, in a disaster, you probably will have enough other things to worry about than a leaking roof!
Radioactivity testing? Heavy metal testing? When you're on your own, you don't have access to these things probably unless you prepare beforehand. A good idea.
Lamps for growing food in case of impact/nuclear/volcanic winter? Then you'll need electricity. LOTS of electricity. I'm guessing building a sizeable green house. A green house is a good idea, and a good way to buffer against climate change. Just make sure to build it right so as to prevent mold issues! (I've not built one...)
How to harvest wind power? Do you have wind where you are? I don't at my place, and there's a neat thread here about how small wind turbines aren't worthwhile, especially if you don't have strong winds.
Alternative fuel for your car? Diesel? You can make a fortune selling it to others I presume. Some diesel engines run on cooking oil...but depending on the distaster, that might be hard to find, and might be better put to use in oil lamps or for cooking food...
They say it takes a football field worth of garden to feed one person for a year. Can you squeeze that into a much smaller space? A food forest where food grows vertically?
How to obtain salt? You could always just buy a two 55 pound bags of sea salt and be good to go for yeaaaaaars. It doesn't go bad, so it's not like you're wasting it by getting it. Get kosher size so you can easily use it in pickling recipes and other food preservation recipes that call for kosher salt. I like to buy my salt from Saltworks--they have reasonable bulk prices. Here's their most affordable sea salt. They also have Himalayan salt, and lots of other yummy and unique salts.
Anything else I didn't mention? Practice skills and get good at fixing things so you have time to do all the other things. Plastic sheeting and tape for windows to seal them off in case of a "Shelter in Place" event. Figure out where in your house has the most layers of shielding, and figure out how you can pile up furniture to get even more protection from nuclear fallout. Here's some great links: https://lifehacker.com/how-to-survive-nuclear-fallout-1797685187 and https://tinyhousedesign.com/how-to-design-a-nuclear-fallout-shelter/
Eat bugs? Which bugs? How to grow them? How to cook them? I mean if you're hungry I guess you lower your "ew" threshold. Supposedly pill bugs (also known as wood lice and potato bugs) are crustacians like shrimp. Grasshoppers are also edible. I like my ducks to eat my bugs & slugs and woodlice and then I eat their eggs!
In case of a nuclear war, can you keep bees underground? No idea!
 
Anne Miller
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A few things that I have done that I have not seen mentioned:

Learn to identify all the edible plants that are growing on your property.  You might not want to eat them now but in a disaster they might look more appetizing.

Learn how to can and to preserve meat.  There are several way to preserve meat other than canning; learn to  make jerkey, corned beef, ham and other preserving techniques.

Learn about medicinal herbs and how to use them.  Learn first aid.  Learn how to stop bleeding, sew up deep cuts, take care of burns, set broken bones, etc. Learn how to take care of dental issues for when there is no dentist.

Get or better make a good first aid and dental kit. 

Invest in some "how to " books for when the internet is not available. Or get some ebooks and print them out now.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:The only possible way to be totally self-sufficient, in my opinion, is to go full caveman, including a band (tribe) social group on a piece of land large enough to live by hunting and gathering.

I used to be a doomer and worry about these things, and it ruined my life.  So I stopped being interested in prepping and survivalism.  My life is much more rewarding now just being interested in permaculture.




I completely agree!


I have guns and can defend myself, but when I read of survivalists and some of their ideas I just shake my head. I know what would happen in reality, neighbors being hungry would just go to a preppers house, wait for them to be hoeing the garden, and unable to reach for a gun, take them out and steal all their food anyway!

When a person gets into "what if" situations it spirals so far out of control that all it does is start anxiety.

To prepare for a natural disaster or two is one thing, but to somehow think plans will work out in utter society chaos probably won't.

It is always better to live with hope then to live in fear...because...well you are not living anyway!
 
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I totally get Roberto's point on needs vs wants. It reminds me of a book by Marshall Sahlins, Stone age economics.
 
pollinator
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Prepper culture is fear-based, and it spreads by compounding people's fears. If you feed it, it will surely grow.

So if people enter into preparations for a survival scenario intent on the absolute certainty that everyone will be out to get them for their food, and they then spread that fear, they are actively encouraging a culture wherein this is acceptable behaviour; it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For those completely sold on that as an eventuality, it makes more sense to train with and stockpile guns and ammo, map out the homes and bug-out locations of as many preppers as one can fool into divulging such sensitive information, and raid them all, eliminating the competition.

Now don't get me wrong. I am going to need firearms for protection, but probably for my livestock and crops, and from wildlife more often than ravening hordes.

I don't understand the fear porn some people disguise as prepping. It makes more sense to homestead, in my opinion. It involves much of the same preparation, but if you leave out the emotional baggage of fear and hostility to those with whom you could form community, you have more room to store food.

-CK
 
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Every time this scenario is run (just about every psychology department at every university has run the doomsday scenario at least twice) it turns out that the further you live from the city, the less likely you would be to ever see any "roving hordes" or even "marauding bands" of city dwellers.
The reasons for this happening in the computer models are; gasoline shortages force city people to hoof it, city people tend to stick to their city and so localize their destruction.

I live far enough out, in a fairly inaccessible area (off the beaten path) and even the delivery people tell me they had trouble finding us the first time.
The few people that do live "near by" have the same mind set (who are you looking for? why are you here?) and we all tend to have side arms and concealed carry permits.
So we all really don't worry about such a thing happening. We live in an area with a known tornado track, the last one to hit our area was in 2014 and killed seven of our community.
Since that time, over 500 families have left the area, so our population is falling below or near 2000.

Just about everyone has a well, even if they are hooked up to "city water".
I think it is a lot like the Hank Williams Jr. song "A country boy can survive", we have the skill sets already, we don't depend completely on grocery store for our food, and we tend to be survivors, willing to do what is necessary, when necessary.
This is not fear it is simply practicality, fear is for those city folks who think they can "go country" to survive. If that should happen they will be more likely to do themselves in because they are the types who succumb to panic.
 
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You have identified two possible scenarios: 1. The world around you (with the exception of the pirates, marauders, highwaymen, and other Mad-Max types) is not hostile or uninhabitable. and 2. "The ground won't turn, and the rain it burns..."

In the #1 case, the only real addition to a standard homestead would be a somewhat feudalist mind-set. All the stuff that a permie normally would do (growing stuff, making stuff, etc...) plus things like booby-traps and weapons caches, and ideally some kind of castle wall.

     Don't laugh! It's kinda like you're Venezuelan...

In that case, have your buddies, make close friends with your neighbors, and hope that an overwhelming horde doesn't show up. The idea that you can be prepared to repel-boarders on your little earth-ship is not very realistic, but putting into practice the principles of permaculture, with an overlay from Machiavelli and Sun Tzu would be your best preparations. Food? GREENHOUSE ON CRACK!! Aquaponics and lots of racks. I guess crickets and mealworms are good, and easy to grow... if you're into that sort of thing.

2. This is the bad one. Geiger counters, CBN filters, and Iodine are nice psychological woobies - but if they are actually necessary, you may not want to survive - and you probably won't for very long - your kiddos will probably develop either super aggressive lymphoma, or super-powers. If you're concerned about green clouds of doom coming over the horizon, and the earth's crust dancing around in preparation for Nibiru's arrival... the best preparation is, well other than desperate prayer, probably a cyanide pill. If you're talking about a nuclear holocaust, worst-case, black-sky kinda thing, it's better to die. That's not a joke.

BUT!

If you're hell bent on living through it to become the new Adam (you had better have an Eve, or it's all moot anyways...) you're going to need electricity. LOTS and LOTS of electricity.

Dig a REALLY REALLY deep and BIG hole. Basically, you've gotta build your own little NORAD. All your llamas and cilantro needs a place in the hole. Your soap-making, fuel-making, and leather-work will have to take place underground in a sealed chamber. The insane amount of electricity is for three things:

1. Lighting (Carbon Arc or Gas Plasma lighting - HPS or LED are fine for short term, but won't get you through) for the plants and animals - and you!
2. Water. You've got to either make it, or clean it. Probably both. If Tzar Bomba hits your neighborhood, it's going to be a while before the water stops making limbs fall off, so it'll be a thing. And the water-table will probably be poisoned either with mutated amoebas, or percolated hydrocarbons.
3. Air. You got no air! Big-ass filters require suction, and if you're going to be there to re-spawn mankind, you'll need too many filters so you're going to have to MAKE your air.

Air and water can be liberated from many different types of rocks - but if you don't have the tech, the rocks, and the energy, it's all academic.

In essence, you're going to have to build a subterranean Nuclear Submarine with a MONSTER aquaponics system.

Thorium + Nuclear Boy Scout + LOTS of Clever-Good-Old-Fashioned-Know-How = a mini nuclear reactor. Think I'm kidding? It's either that or a BUTTLOAD of Geo-thermal energy (which means, you're basically living on a volcano like a Bond Villain). Wind turbines might be an option, but they were probably ripped to smithereens by the shockwave from "DPRK's little prank".  


The whole of the matter is that if you aren't able and willing to build a Nuclear Submarine buried in a hole, then the #2 scenario is unsurvivable so just don't bother. Get right with your Maker (do that in any case) and love the time you have.

The #1 scenario is not really different from what Permies are trying to do in any case. You're right about the greenhouse - use aquaponic systems, and go vertical. Build your little castle, and try like hell to be close friends with whatever neighbors you have.

That's pretty much it!
 
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For me, prepping is a method to displace fear.  I combine physical preps with mental preps.  You need both, but in the long run, the mental preps are more important.  I watched an episode of Doomsday Preppers a while back that had a Cambodian (I think) woman that was the wife of a prepper.  After the husband went into this elaborate presentation of all his preps, she gave her opinion.  She basically scoffed at it all and said something to the effect of "you don't need all of this, you just need to know how to adapt".  She had lived through all that he was prepping for.  

Some quotes:
"Knowledge dispels fear"
"It's better to be prepared and not need it than need it and not be prepared"
"if something can't go on forever, it won't"

One rule I have for now is: I don't allow my prepping to drastically change my lifestyle.  I don't know when things will happen.  I'm just pretty sure something bad will happen.

There are so many things in this world that cannot continue on their current path.  World debt, Demographics, Energy, Widespread Intolerance/Hatred.  This list is very long and crosses every political divide.

Now, back to my thoughts from above, Mental preps include printed articles, books, videos etc.   I've collected a small library of prepping and homesteading information. 

I'm trying to keep this short so here's an outline of things to consider:
- Shelter
    - Heat: RMH, DSR, J-Tube
    - Electricity
- Water
    - Availability
    - Filtration
    - Treatment
- Food
    - Rabbits - a few can feed many
    - Chickens
    - Greenhouse: Hydroponics, Aquaponics, etc
    - Garden
    - Forage
    - Hunting (not a long term solution)
    - Fishing (not a long term solution)
    - Fertilizer: Compost
    - Black Soldier Fly Larvae (BSFL)
    - Duck Weed
- Medical
    - first aid kits
    - books
- Self Defense
    - Anarchy is a "might means right" world
- Mobility
    - Get home bags in every vehicle
    - Bug Out Bag
- Energy
    - Fuel - diesel, gas, biodiesel
    - Heating: wood
    - Cooking: Biodigester
    - Vegetable Oil Press
    - Solar
    - Wind
    - Ethanol Still
- Barter: all of the above provide you the ability to obtain almost anything else you don't already have.

With a permaculture style of thought, you can see that many of those items produce inputs for other items.   One example: Vegetable oil press produces oil for Biodiesel production.  There are many. 

Many of the above list are built or are being built now.  Also, many will only be pursued if and when SHTF.   Some I've learned how to do, tested the process, and "put on the shelf" for future use if needed. 

Another quote: "the longest journey begins with a single step".  The first step is to get organized and make a plan. 

 
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If zombie == SHTF hordes then on a single acre the answer is no.Your limiting factor is calories produced per sq ft of land. For example most people who garden grow what? Leaf crops, tomatoes, squashes. Every one of them are poor calorie producers. One needs to think yams, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, pumpkins, peanuts, etc. The second limiting factor is where is one going to acquire a source of fats or oils? Peanuts or sunflower is one possibility but they both take space to make any quantity of oil and you have to have the press to get the oil out.

A critical consideration is can you hide your food store in plain sight? A marauder will gladly steal canned potatoes, they see them in the stores. But what about in the ground? Probably not. Its unfamiliar, requires effort, in essence disguised in plain sight. Second don't place all your stores on property. I personally have a 55gal drum filled with supplies in a storage locker 10mi away.

But permaculture is an excellent means of SHTF prep. Worked right you can have some crop coming in all but the harshest part of winter.
 
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Well slap me sideways and call me Edmund, if that wasn't one of the best threads I've read in a long while. Anywhere. I'm a newbie here though and already think you're all awesome.
I've nothing concrete, nor useful, to add to the above discussion, except to say that, after a life full of fear and anxiety I'm learning to embrace the 'What will be, will be' philosophy.  To be honest, if there were nuclear bombs being dropped on England I would want to go out without a whimper. It's different for young people of course, but even my grown up kids say they would rather choose instant vaporisation, than the constant struggle to stay alive with its attendant fear. Not just the struggle for yourself, but the absolute dread of what will happen to the people you love.
I'm a wimp though. And we aren't allowed guns. X
 
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In my latest article/interview, we cover the myth of Self Sufficiency...

...And Solutions!

https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/c5-gets-messy-with-doc-michael-from-apocadocs/

Serious practitioners of preparedness will appreciate the hard to find links I have added at the bottom.
 
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Thanks, Ross! As always, an excellent, irreverent article.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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plowing into that read, over breakfast right now Ross.  I was hoping you were going to show up and share your views on all this. I was going to PM you, but I know that your project (s) are many and time consuming.  Thanks.  Much appreciated. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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A few quotes from the first half or so of Ross Raven's interview/ survival bro-mance  with Doc Michael that is linked above (underlining and bolding is mine): 

my wife and I did all we could to become successfully self-sustaining. That’s worth part of the conversation (as it did last night, as we discussed and confronted the near-impossibilty of “self-sustainability” outside of a community

  

The single greatest survival skill set is… envelope please… The Dinner Party.

Creating community is the The Holy Grail, The Philosophers Stone, The  Alchemists Gold. Easy to identify as the problem. Nearly impossible to produce. I’ve know survivalists that gave up on prepping because they understood the only way for people to survive the catastrophic changes about to happen was to be part of a rather large and complex group of diverse skills.



...to actively participate in Seedy Sat-Sundays is to share out working seed you have, to keep seed diversity happening in your region. If you completely lose a crop, hopefully someone in your region kept it alive. If some new disease comes in to kill off one species, hopefully some other variety can take up the slack. Actively giving is in your best interest.

 
Spencer Miles
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I feel compelled to remark upon the direction that the discussion has taken, as well as to point out a humorous, macabre irony.

Zombies - I prefer "zommies" 'cause it's more fun to say.

What irony - in other areas of my life I am examining a pretty alarming SCOTUS thingy (not the political stuff of late, and 'alarming' is insufficient to describe what I am examining....) But, the reality of the "prepper" reality (and it is something that requires measurement - even to the decision to deny or claim impotence) is an allegorical Zombie Horde.

Briefly, the manner by which EVERY civilization eventually decays, explodes, or collapses, is the zombification of the majority - the degradation and dereliction of the vital ethos/cognition necessary to pass a torch from father to son, mother to daughter. A failure of fraternal loyalty - for whatever reason - is the essence of decline. I'm talking about that bumper sticker - that "Friends help friends move; real friends help friends move bodies" - it's a laugh, but it's kinda true.

Without regard to where someone falls on the current political spectrum - or who they consider to be admirable or contemptible - without that sovereign loyalty (Dr. King, John Adams, Malcolm X, Gandhi... whoever-you-find-admirable) nothing of substance is ever done.

It's also the two-edged sword that allows for super-evil to take place (Lynchings, child-soldiers, kangaroo courts, old-boys-club, etc...) But that's too philosophical.

The "prepper" (assume the moderate, simply rational boy-scout type, rather than the weirdos of the Branch Davidians..." realizes the "zombification" of the majority, and sees food insecurity, inflation, foreign policy, inane legislation, etc... and "prepares" to flee, or fight, or hide from the coming zombie horde.

Irony.

But here it is - the "self" sufficiency. It is a contradiction or a paradox, or maybe a conundrum. Isolation breeds insanity - clinically, figuratively, literally, empirically, historically.... Isolation creates an inescapable, incorrigible descent into madness. Also, a critical mass of group-population creates a de-facto isolation (alone in a crowded room so-to-speak - or everyone's face in a smart-phone at the dinner table...)

Balance in all things.

I do not claim membership to any "group" - especially the "prepper" forums - I find no group moniker is sufficient for me. In any case, I find that my attempts at balance give me a conflict. I crave, need, desire, want to be an integral member of a community. A close knit group of men and women of PRINCIPLE - who love and respect one-another, and are intimately part of one-another's lives.

That's called being a human... and without it, nothing is possible.

But here is my issue. The majority of "preppers" have got some pretty weird ideas that lead them down pretty weird paths - but arise from very solid axioms (does anyone REALLY believe that western civilization is immune? Really?)

Then there are others who have some pretty good ideas, and pretty solid reasoning, compassion, etc... who flatly deny the coming "storm" (5 year or 500 years - it IS coming).

I find BOTH to be disturbing, and therefore I cannot genuinely connect with either. So, I feel isolated. I need a community, I need to be genuine.

You see my dilemma.

And worse? There are many who feel the same - probably most of you! But, I am in my area, and you in yours, and so our ability to uphold one-another is severely stunted by simple geography.

Community. Community, Community, COMMUNITY!!!

Small, genuine, close, intimate, inextricable groups of human beings who know, love, and are LOYAL to one another and their principles - beyond the pressures of media, politics, or even law. (Think there are no bad laws?)

From a logistic perspective, no man is an island. From a psychological health, spiritual well-being, emotional stability perspective, every man requires two things: his woman, and his brother. He would live, die, kill, and save for both at the drop of a hat.

Seems extreme doesn't it? It isn't. If that "triumvirate" of "holistic human health" is solid, and based on uncompromised principles, unapproachable, inalienable, immutable stones; well then, the zombies aren't really a threat, and fresh eggs are yummy.

(Disclaimer: I am not a woman, I know what I like in women for a lover, sister, or mother-figure, but I haven't a clue what that species needs for their "maximum actualization" - so, please don't get bent at me on those grounds.)

SO! I have two thoughts:

1. It seems there ought to be a major section of Permies that is dedicated to addressing the realities of connecting deeply with other human beings (more so than there is now, and not merely for trading canned-goods)

2. This is shameless, but it is a machiavellian reality. There is a book on Amazon called "The Shibboleth Method" and it discusses these things - among others - and constitutes "The Genuine Philosophy". It is unauthored (not anonymous - but unauthored) and is owned by my ridiculous little company Tributary House Ltd. So if you will forgive the pragmatism, and if you find my arguments to be indicative of something important, go spend the $8.95 paperback/ $1.99 E-dition, and check it out.

Thanks for reading my attempt around "applied philosophy"

:)
 
Roberto pokachinni
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I'll check out your post later, Spencer.  From your last two comments, I'd say it's worth the read. 

Just wanted to comment on something that is written early on in Ross Raven's interview that I quoted from before, as it is something that I don't actually agree with.  Quoted in full, without emphasis. 

My wife and I were trying initially for “self-sustainability.” We also were trying to use hand tools as much as possible, since gas or diesel might become very hard to come by, right? And, being cityfolk, we had this crazy idea that if you planted a seed in soil, it’d grow, and then you’d eat it, like a big garden: how hard could that be?

Well, actually, it’s really fucking hard. The spring day a neighbor (the same Ben who cleared the snow) came by with his tractor and discs, and in an hour, turned more than a team of ten men using hand tools could do in a week, I realized that, well, hand tools are great, but machines are indispensable (if you want to grow more than a wee garden).

  While using a machine might be very handy at breaking the land in the first place, and getting right at the soil in the spring because all of that work is done can be handy, the use of hand tools solely is very doable. It all depends on method.  Tilling is a method, and in my opinion, it is not necessary.  The majority of farmers on the planet use hand tools, and generations over millennia of subsistence farmers have does so with no tractor, or rototiller, or any other engine driven gas guzzler.  It's a matter of gaining the skills, techniques, methods, and specific tools, and what have you, and diligently observing what works and what doesn't.  This is the way that the folks at Le ferme du Bec Hellouin manage to create a permaculture market garden.  See the reference in my second post in this thread.  Other references in that post, also prove that all of this can be done by hand.  Other great reference books are "Crusoe of Lonesome Lake", and  "Walden".  It's not that it's going to be easy.  It will be hard, but it can be done, and it will get easier and easier as time goes on, as your soil community (hey there's that word again), grows, and you get your above ground ecosystems rocking in synergistic systems of symbiosis.  It's all about community, and it's all about skills, and it's about having a tenacious determination to ensure that food is on the table.
 
Spencer Miles
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I would add that, while tractors are super cool (need one to make a road on my square)

Oxen are cute, friendly, and adorable - not to mention dauntlessly loyal.

Would that I had an ox - if for nothing other than to have such a loyal and gentle friend (even if they are 132561 lbs of pure power!)

I have affection for my machines, but my machines can't really return it. My animals do - better than I!!
 
Roberto pokachinni
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It seems there ought to be a major section of Permies that is dedicated to addressing the realities of connecting deeply with other human beings (more so than there is now, and not merely for trading canned-goods)

  I started a thread about this in our Tinkering with this Site forum.  It can be viewed:  HERE. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Oxen are cute, friendly, and adorable - not to mention dauntlessly loyal.

Would that I had an ox - if for nothing other than to have such a loyal and gentle friend (even if they are 132561 lbs of pure power!)

  I should have mentioned that where tractors are not available or common, or used, there is often critter power of this sort to till the land.  Even at Le Ferme du Bec Hellouin they use a horse at present for some tasks, but are increasingly wanting to do everything by hand.
 
Spencer Miles
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Ferme Du Bec Hellouin?

Does that mean "Closed of the Hellen's beak?"

My French is quite old - and nearly all academic

:)

I adore the burden-beasts. Few things tug at my heart more than the image of the gentle giant doing his work.

I also really like llamas because their ornery. A man who gets a llama to like him has beauty deep in his heart - hell, I get a little choked up when earthworms have their difficulties.

It seems to me, though this is off topic, that a man working with animals to provide for and to protect what lives... THAT is what it means to "have dominion" and I see no higher calling for man than that of Divinely Appointed Garden-Keeper.

I have a map that doesn't sell (etsy or otherwise) that I've entitled "Home" and on it I wrote this verse (forgive the schmaltz - I mean it genuinely, even if it might make you hork):

     For the men I cried,
Who prosperous in cities hide;
     Had no taste for field or wood,
So lost all sight of what is good.


It really does break my heart when I think of all those "natural" lands that have no man to care for them - that they are "protected" by forbidding us to be there... And the people? In their cities, convinced of all sorts of things, angry about, well, everything... I wish, I truly wish I had it in me to show what happens to the heart when it thinks of a centipede or spider with affection - the psychological power of knowing the name of the "weed" and how it makes one love - in beautiful irrationality.

I like this forum because of that motto about not being mad at bad guys - but rather just making good stuff.

It is so much more than "connection with nature" (have you seen that there are actually Public Service Announcements that advertise for the forest? How far have we fallen that such a thing is necessary!!)

I even love the centipedes... not that I want to snuggle with them or anything... but to labor for an animal, with an animal...

Is there really anything more innocent than an animal? Anything more fulfilling than cutting soil with a gigantic steer, or a Percheron?

One thing only: Teaching your son to do the same.

Sorry I got so ... philosophical...
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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The ferme or Farm in question is on the Bec, which is the name of the small river that was made into a small canal to serve the monastery that was founded by a Norman (Viking descent I think) knight who's Frenchified name is now spelled Hellouin.  Now were both off topic.  I highly recommend searching it out and checking out their English website, if not ordering their book, Miraculous Abundance.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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Chris Kott wrote:Prepper culture is fear-based, and it spreads by compounding people's fears. If you feed it, it will surely grow.


I disagree.

I am 63 years old and life has kicked me in the teeth - hard - every few years. My preps are my insurance, and we do use them. Heck, just today I told my family to feed themselves as I am not very well, and that is fine because food is something that we do have! I consider days like today to be a good way to rotate the stock, and it is better for them than delivery pizza.

As far as  mapping out the homes of preppers and raiding them, well, preppers have guns too. Raiding sounds like a good way to get killed.
 
pollinator
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Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Great subject. Too tired to read & absorb it all right now. Have time for just a few short observations & comments.

I lived in Centex for 50+ years & the OP's original post has the #1 priority for that area right on the mark.

Best way to minimize the eek reaction to eating bugs & other such things is this ... don't think about it, don't look at it, don't smell it, don't chew it, just swallow it whole & be done with it.

dontmesswithmybees3.JPG
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He loves you so much! And I'm baking the cake! I'm going to put this tiny ad in the cake:
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
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