Modifying Your Retreat House: The Basics

Before I go into detail on how to make you retreat/home nor defendable (as I will in subsequent posts), here are a few basics:

Buy a house with at least one more bedroom than you currently need, preferably with a full basement. (Proviso: A basement only if the local water table level will allow this without aid of an electric sump pump. It must have a “dry and tight” basement!) Stock up on extra tools, sturdy clothes, food, guns, web gear, and necessities for family and friends that will surely show up on you doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1. Don’t do anything externally visible that might tip looters that they can “get your supplies here.” Put in an oversize vegetable garden, preferably out of line of sight from the street. Ring the garden with flowerbeds and some tall flowering shrubs to make the garden look more decorative than practical to the casual observer. Get a big, quiet, mean-looking (but obedient) guard dog. I tend toward Airedales (the largest of the Terriers) and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Both are fairly large breeds with loyal, and highly territorial temperaments. Note , however, that selecting a dog breed is a very personal choice. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). BTW, I’d love to get a “review” letter from anyone who has owned either breed for an extended period of time. (I’m the first to admit that I’m too biased to write anything about dog breeds dispassionately.)

Plant several rose bushes or thorny Bougainvillea vines beneath each window. (“Don’t those look lovely!“) Bush roses and climbing varieties can be used in various ways to defend your home. Use your imagination. If you buy defensive wire (military surplus concertina wire or civilian razor wire), keep it stored discreetly in your garage out of sight and put it up only in the event of a true “worst case” situation where the town must be barricaded. When you donate that wire to the local security committee you will be looked at as a forward thinking life saver, not a whacko!

Replace all of your exterior doors with sturdy steel ones in steel frames. If your house has a connecting garage, pay particular attention to beefing up the door that connects it to the house. Turn your garage into a mini-warehouse, with lots of heavy duty shelving. And then avoid opening your main garage door unless absolutely necessary. Train all of your family members to never let visitors see the interior of your garage. Pick up your mail in town, and don’t subscribe to controversial publications in your own name.