I started my preparedness journey a few years before Y2K. A friend of mine opened my eyes and both of our families have been adding to our preparations ever since. Unfortunately, looking back over the last 10 year, I have not been able to convince one more person to become better prepared. I am obviously not happy with the results so I have decided this year I will try something different.
I think where I went wrong is being too open about my preparedness journey. I would become very excited about some new aspect of preparedness that I had discovered and would immediately share it with my family and friends. They would respond with polite smiles and pretend to be interested. They would love to talk about the unique books I bought or all the guns I have. But it would always be a big joke. I will never live down all the jokes that started when they found out I bought The Humanure Handbook. The jokes start up every spring when I start my garden. And no, I don’t recycle my own waste. I just wanted the book.
I have learned that some people will never be open to the survivalist mindset. And I have made the mistake too many times in giving the whole load to people who are not ready. Emotionally many people can not handle it. Many times I can see the fear that begins to rise up in them. But instead of moving to the logical next step of “what do I need to do to solve this problem”, they choose to avoid this stressful train of thought because it is easier to believe I’m just crazy. I now realize that my method of trying to convince others to prepare has inadvertently opened my family to danger. Guess who’s house they joke about going to if TSHTF! What was I thinking?
This year I have a new plan. I am now going to downplay the survivalist stigma and promote what I do as a wise financial investment instead. I work in the banking industry and with it comes relationships with many business professionals. They understand money. I am building a new house and it is drawing some attention mainly because the same family and friends that loved to tell everyone about my unique books love to tell others about my unique house that is being built. I am investing quite a bit of money in solar air and water heaters and [photovoltaic] solar panels. But instead of promoting it as a good way to prepare, I have a break down on how renewable energy will save me money. The solar installers have a computer program that breaks down all the monetary figures and it’s great for showing to others that are interested. My line now is that I just want to diversify my long term investments. My friends understand numbers and spread sheets so this makes sense to them. I don’t rave about Peak Oil anymore I just explain that I believe oil prices are going to increase substantially and the more they increase the better the return on my renewable energy investment.
I am building a homestead on 40 acres of mixed pastures and woods. Next year I am hoping to move beyond just owning horses and add cattle, goats and chickens. I don’t have much experience with livestock except what I have read in books. So I am planning to take a couple of classes this fall at the Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute. It’s amazing all the great classes they offer. The reason I give people for my desire for owning livestock–I am a city banker after all– is all the organic food my family currently buys. It is really expensive. Goat milk is almost $4 per quart here! So growing my own food is a great way to save money. It’s also a fun hobby and good exercise. Along with canning or freezing the produce from our large organic garden, we can save a lot. I don’t banter any more on the need to stock up. I would rather them see the joy of having a full pantry of healthy foods and how I save money doing it.
Now that I am finally going to live in the country and not just visit my land on weekends I am going to get two 550 gallon fuel tanks; one diesel and one gasoline. Since I’m not a real farmer like others in the area this could look weird, but again this can make financial sense if explained correctly. With the high fluctuation of gas prices I fill up the storage tanks when the price is low and use it up when the price at the pump is high. I’ll throw out how many hundreds of dollars I save by doing this.
The older I get the more I realize I need to package things a little different. The old saying comes to mind that “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. Maybe the honey will work better than the vinegar I have used over the years and I can finally take a few interested friends to the next level. If nothing else when TSHTF I think it would be better to be known as a penny pincher than that crazy survivalist. – Adam in Ohio
JWR Adds: To both prevent thievery in hard times and to decrease fire danger, I recommend that SurvivalBlog readers opt for underground fuel storage tanks. You might consider hiring contractors from 50+ miles away, rather than locals. Ditto for when you have the tanks filled the first time, especially if the tanks are unusually large. If you are clever, it isn’t very difficult to conceal the tank filler and pump handle “heads”. I have one friend that concealed his by torching out the back of an old upright chest freezer. The freezer laying on its back next to his barn (along with some other scrap metal items) just looks like “junk.” Since the freezer door’s key lock mechanism still works, it prevents curious kids from looking inside. (And it also eliminates the risk of an “attractive nuisance” lawsuit.) Another friend bought some wooden wine barrels that had been cut in half for use as decorative planters. An inverted half-barrel covers the tank’s pump handle and hose. Another half barrel sits on top of the “base” barrel. This upper barrel has had a false bottom partition built into it, making it look like it is full of soil, when the soil is actually only 6″ deep. This barrel is planted with wildflowers each summer. To access the pump handle and hose, it takes just a few moments to set aside the 30 pound top barrel and flip over the base.