The Self-Suffcient Retreat, and “Working the Kinks Out”

I’m often asked about the ideal location for a retreat. Every locale has its pros and cons. But in general any area that is well removed from major population centers and that has fertile soil, a long growing season, and plentiful water should give you far better chances of pulling through that the average urbanite or suburbanite. A more overriding concern is what you do with your retreat, and how soon you get it truly “squared away.” Having one or two years of food storage is commendable, but in the event of a full scale TEOTWAWKI, what will you do once you’ve consumed your larder? Similarly, merely owning survival gear and knowing how to use it are two different things. (This encapsulates my oft-quoted “Gadgets Versus Skills” argument.)

You’ve heard me preach on the importance of pre-positioning the vast majority of your logistics and living at your retreat full time. The latter is crucial not just for security of your stored logistics, but also so that you can make your retreat truly self-suffcient. By being there year-round, you will have the opportunity to plant perennial crops (such as berry bushes), to tend fruit and nut trees, to learn the habits of the local wild game, and to build up your flocks of small livestock. Building your practical skills inventory is just as important–if not more important–than building your larder. You can only do that if you are there to do it. If circumstances dictate that you can’t live at your retreat year-round, then hopefully there is some other member of your retreat group that can–perhaps someone that is retired or self-employed. There is also nothing quite like living at a retreat year round to insure that you “work the kinks out” of everything from your water system and wood stove to your photovoltaic power system. Any such difficulties would be mere inconveniences if encountered today, but could be positively tragic if you wait and discover them after TSHTF, when luxuries like “mail order” and “the hardware store” are just memories. You will only know for certain if you live the life.