Letter Re: Rolled-Up Sleeves Work

Do you think the subject of work gets underplayed in the survivalist movement? It seems that most of survivalist conversation is about firearms, bug-out tanks, and quasi-military offensive and defensive [tactics and] strategies. What about work, hard manual labor? Yes, work is a ugly four letter word. It is a “hard” word that implies sore muscles, sweating, fatigue, things that it is “hard” (pun intended) to put a happy face on.

Firearms are fun, fun to talk about, shop for, practice with, and debate my choice is better than the other guy’s choice. If the SHTF there may be many firefights, or there maybe very few firefights. What is for certain is there will be a lot of hard manual labor that someone is going to have to perform.

Here is an example of the point I am trying to make: If one has a private 300-yard firearms shooting range, and a 10′ x 12′ enclosed heated building at one end, built for the sole purpose of shooting in any weather. Perhaps another person might say, “wow, if I had my own shooting range like that, I would be shooting all the time”.

However the guy with the private range spends most of his time working, laying in 8 to 10 cords of split firewood, fixing chainsaws, repairing and painting buildings, building new buildings, fixing machinery, fixing roads and driveways, caring for animals, tending and harvesting the garden. Running a small home business. Planting cash crops to pay for the paint, lumber, and yes, the firearms.
It seems there is this unspoken idea or subconscious feeling that if you have enough firepower and are among the chosen few to escape the urban institutions for the insane; that one will arrive at the place of “bliss”. That the hard part is over, that one has escaped, one has achieved a sizeable victory, and now things will be easy or easier.
Yes, I know that survivalists don’t really think that is true, they know at some level that it will never again be easy.
And yet over and over people write to you (Jim) listing their firearms inventory. Some other survival blogs, books and magazines devote the preponderance of space about the perfect firearms, as if the single most important factor in survival is: “have the right firearm”. Please keep up the good work, – DAV

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning the sweat factor. When talking in abstract terms about preparedness in a blog, it is easy to lose sight of the numbers of hours and gallons of sweat required to make some of these preparations come to fruition. I can assure you that we expend plenty of sweat here at the Rawles Ranch. In the past year, most of this effort has been on fencing work. Since the price of hay shot up last year in the western US, there has been a lot of livestock available at either greatly reduced prices, or even free for the taking. The Memsahib took this opportunity to increase our livestock headcount. Consequently, it also meant that we had to greatly expand and improve our perimeter fencing, cross fencing, gates, corrals, and chutes.

Meanwhile, we have also expanded our garden plot, and that took laboriously digging umpteen post holes in rocky ground for the fence posts. The posts, BTW, were all from cedars that I felled here on the ranch, cut to 12 foot lengths (to provide a 9 foot high fence). This of course also necessitated dragging the posts, peeling them, and painting the bottom three feet of each with a bug-resistant copper-based solution. Read: work, work, and more work. The “bliss” factor only comes at the end of a hard day when I can enjoy a glass of iced tea and switch to my light work–blogging.