Present Home: 63 year old brick veneer over weather board farmhouse (1,300 square feet) built by my father. 25 acres, consisting of 3.5 acres of pine, 9 acres of old growth hardwoods, 1.5 acres of apple, pear, pecan, grape, muscudine, and scuppernong orchard/grove/vineyard. Additional 900 square foot house, 100 year barn (30’x30′ with loft and sheds), outdoor privy, detached 24’x24′ garage building, 140 square foot storage building, dog house/lot, hog house lot (not used at present). Approximately three acres in farmstead buildings, drives, and gardens. Balance of land in open arable land presently used by neighbor as native grass hay field. All but the very front of house is inside a fence. Yard and road frontage is behind a five foot chain link or five foot wood picket fence. Remainder of property line is behind an old five-strand barbed wire fence (needs upgrading). Property is in northwest portion of South Carolina. Family has lived in area for over 500 years (Cherokee portion), most of the remainder for more than 200 years. Family on two sides and long term (over 80 years) family friends on two sides. House fronts on a small farm to market road but backs to a heavily traveled Interstate. Attend a small Baptist Church that ancestors helped to found 204 years ago (veterans of Revolutionary War). Property has two hand dug wells near headwaters of creek. Presently use public water, but both wells are usable by hand drawing with a windless. Water is free of contaminants per test. Presently plant garden from heirloom seeds and co-operate with neighbors and family in trade.
Ages: Mr Uniform: 47 His widowed mother: 82
Annual Income: Gross $86,000, Net $43,000
Occupations: Government employee. Mother is a retired widowed homemaker and cancer survivor.
Hobbies/Avocation: Hunt, Fish, Camp, volunteer fireman (Board Member and Arson Investigator), Volunteer Advanced State Constable (Police Officer), trained medical First Responder.
Investments: Gold and silver coin including ‘junk’ silver, copper coin, Thrift Board (similar to 401k). Some open note debt due to family sicknesses and deaths.
Vehicles: 1968 Chevy pickup, two Cadillacs (one built in 1980s, the other in the late1990s), 1998 Ford F150 4WD Pickup, 1957 Ford Tractor (34 h.p. gas) with crop implements and some mule implements. Keep all vehicles fueled and serviced.
Fuel Storage: 500 gallons propane for cooking and furnace. 15 gallons of K-1 kerosene for lamps, lanterns, and back-up heat. 25 gallons of 4 cycle gas. 2.5 gallons of 2 cycle gas. Two wood heaters in storage in barn. Plan: to cut and rack wood in a shed to be built. Plan on buying wood cook stove in future and put in storage. All wood heat was removed from house in 1985 due to Father’s health. Also to put in at least 1000 gallon gas tank and fuel oil tank. Also, a kerosene tank in 500 to 1000 gallon range. Probably in a ventilated shed instead of underground due to water table in the defensible zone.
Livestock: One collie at moment, used for guard/watch dog. Hope to add small livestock within a year (one species at a time). Beef cattle on one neighbor’s place. Dairy within 3 miles (high school class mate). Hogs on two neighbors farms within two miles and chickens close.
Communications: Land line with DSL hook up. Cell phones. Two privately owned walkie-talkies programmed for direct communication with local law enforcement, fire, and EMS. One pair of FRS radios. One small programmable scanner, one CB transceiver, one shortwave receiver. Want to add field phone capability.
Food and supply storage: 9 months to a year on most everything from food to toothpaste. We employ the method of :”use one and buy three.”
Mail service: Rural route delivery for some things, P.O. Box in neighboring village for others, while package delivery generally goes to one of the offices that I work out of.
Shortcomings: Too close to interstate highway though county is almost an island with lakes, control points could be manned at all of the bridges entering county and control much of the flow of traffic. Patrol the Interstate Highway corridor to keep unauthorized exit from the Interstate. Also, patrol the lake shore for unwanted landings. 100 miles from Atlanta, 50 miles from Greenville, 150 miles from Charlotte. All too close. Not enough food and supplies, I think 3 years should be on hand and rotated. Not enough ammo. Inadequate fuel supply, and no alternative source of electricity yet. Nuclear plant nearby.
Taxes: Moderate and rising due to refugees from northeast moving into lake developments and demanding more county services. Many of these will be first to go down in a long term grid down situation
Armory: Fire rated safe with S&G. Adequate with a mixture of heavy battle and hunting rifles, medium battle and hunting rifles, and light battle and hunting rifles, and .22 rimfire. Same with shotguns, and pistols. Somewhat of the Mel Tappan philosophy. Good supply of spare magazines. Have had very good tactical and firearms training from law enforcement, SAR, IDPA, and SASS. Two ballistic vests and several non ballistic tactical vests. Next door neighbor similarly armed and prepared. Sister (40+ acres) and cousins (1 to 10 acres each) (within 3 miles) are more armed for personal protection and hunting than tactical. I go armed from rising to bed. Also carry a minimum kit in vehicle: one .40 cal with rig, one carbine, ammo, water, clothes, meds, MREs. I travel an average of 800 miles per week on job. I average 13 hour days, 5 days per week, plus 12 hours per week law enforcement volunteer, three hours per week average for VFD. This is to help me get home. Need some NVGs. Have motion sensors. Placing more. Have more fencing in storage.
Other People Joining Us: Cousins from metro Atlanta area, former naval IT electronics person and shipboard security team leader. Maybe one cousin from Hart County, Georgia who lives alone and in late 60s. He grows the grain and has a saw mill. He is former army signal corps telephone. I have married sister, married niece, and several married cousins within area. If ones property becomes compromised, we will double up.
Affiliations: Active in Church (Bible Study Teacher, Church Clerk, and Deacon). Past Master in local [Masonic] Lodge.
Education: BS in Ag Ed, Masters in Agricultural Education, many semester hours over Masters in Administration and Supervision, 50 quarter hours in Criminal Justice. Former high school ag teacher and animal science professor in a Jr. College.
Area: Local fire district (all volunteer) is 25 square miles with a permanent population of about 2,500. Two private church schools, five churches, one truck stop, four country stores and locally owned building supply store, Medical Clinic with two Doctors, Pharmacist, and Nurses. Local fire department forms the basis of local Civil Defense. 24 out of 26 members are armed. Two Unarmed: One is a local Doctor and Army veteran (Bosnian Call-Up) and the other is a CPA. Adjoining fire districts are similar. I am covered under Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).
Safety Act for firearms carrying. Most of the fire department have South Carolina and New Hampshire carry permits with [reciprocity] coverage in several states. Civil Defense plans are in place to secure the interstate in an emergency. Overall, community, including elderly widows, is well armed, just not tactical. Has at least 14 present and former LEOs within five miles, one is the County Sheriff who belongs to same Lodge and is active in an adjoining Baptist Church. Both local sheriffs’ offices are upgrading their tactical capabilities with a full auto .223 in each patrol car. I am working with the new chief at the largest town in my county trying to convince him to upgrade to individually assigned patrol cars, preferable take home, and patrol rifles.
JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Given your proximity to the interstate freeway, you should definitely plan on having at least three families to man your retreat. With any less than that, you won’t have the manpower to maintain 24/7 security for an extended period of time. Stock up on plenty of ammo, defensive (concertina) wire, and night vision gear, for a “worst case” situation.
In a follow-up e-mail, Mr. Uniform added this commentary:
I would like to comment on preparedness as a mindset and as a way of life instead of just acquisition of things. I pondered this over the weekend as I ate various meals. At breakfast, I ate grits and eggs and sausage. The grits were from corn I grew and ground on a cousin’s mill. He received a toll for the grinding. I traded extra grits and cornmeal (which he also ground) for the eggs and sausage. At noon, we sat down to dinner and enjoyed fresh ham and several vegetables. All the vegetables were grown either in my garden or my sister’s garden. The ham came from a feral shoat that became a nuisance in the garden. Supper was similar. For dessert, we had fresh fig preserves. The figs came from a fig bush/tree that my grandfather had planted. He died in 1946 at age 83. We grow a lot of what we eat and eat what we grow. It is not just about saving money, it is more about living healthy and being self sufficient. Being able to open the store room or pantry and see a year’s worth of provisions is comforting during troubling times. As well, it is nice to know that one has the means and capability to protect and defend ones family, friends, and home. But simply a year’s capability is not enough for severe times.
In the past, my family went through roughly ten years of what is now called the French and Indian War, about seven years of the Revolutionary War, four years of the War of Northern Aggression then accompanied by 12 years of armed occupation by Union troops. It took another 100 years to somewhat recover economically. I believe that we need to prepare for a long term situation such as that. Also, plan on having property tax money saved back for multiple years in as many different currencies (paper, gold, silver) as possible. The Depression lasted for about 13 years. Now to address how do individuals practice living the lifestyle when not at a retreat. If you can grow flowers, you can grow vegetables. This will give [you] practice. In some cases, you can rent small tracts of garden space from landowners near the city’s edge. I know of one case where a city family made a trade with an elderly widow lady in my community. They work a three acre garden and three acre mixed orchard/vineyard. For rent, they share the produce with the lady and keep her yard cut. A good symbiotic relationship.
Take classes in Emergency Medicine, Fire Suppression, and the Martial Arms (Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun in target and tactical). Maybe even volunteer as a fireman, EMT, or [Sheriff’s] deputy. Learn to do many things: weld, wire, carpentry, masonry, etc. Learn to be the needed member of the community. Live in the community as much as possible, create a sense of belonging. Create a healthy lifestyle. Get rid of addictions, get health problems under control, build a network of friends and acquiesces. Most importantly, get right Spiritually. In troubling times, there is an inexhaustible supply of help from the Heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Become part of a local church congregation. Be the one to be ready to help the elderly, widows, and orphans in your church. Just some thoughts, – Mr. Uniform