Preparing To Be Prepared, by Patricia K.

Preparation, by definition, is this:

“1. the act of getting something ready. 2. a state of getting ready.”

So what is it you are getting ready for? Are you taking action and making a plan? Are you stocking-up?
“Sure!” you say with enthusiasm “I am a prepper!”  You boast, as you align yourself with the great people of the past that were also prepared for catastrophes and unseen calamities of their day.

Today is my opportunity to give you some insight on a topic that might easily be overlooked. I want to touch on the subject of “preparedness”, specifically a mental preparedness. Maybe you’re thinking “Who cares about that?”
Just tell me the steps to making a wickiup (lodge) in my back yard!
 Hold on!  Let me give you another definition. Change: to cause to have a completely different form…to put another in place of.
Think on that for a moment. Your life will have a complete new form; your life style will have another style ‘put in its place’. Are you prepared for that? Is your family prepared for that?

If you are single and going it alone this wake –up call may still be for you but it is most definitely for the man that is family minded and wants to prepare for the survival of his kin.

Let me introduce myself, I am the wife of a survivalist-prepper.
I do not have any statistics to go off of, but I feel strongly that it is the man that has his families’ best interest at heart who takes on the task of getting ready for the end. Wives, please give me a moment of your time.
I’m thinking as I sit here by my woodstove, bundled in a blanket wearing my jacket (hat and all!)
Lately I can’t seem to get more than a few feet from this behemoth of heat before I feel the chill of winter begin to creep into my bones.
I am thinking about the wives of these pioneering men that we love. Those men, the fierce hunters, the brave and the strong, the man you married and trust to take care of you when the world collapses.
Wives, I ask are you preparing as well?

Are you just stocking up for a food shortage or are you planning on “going off the grid”?
Some of the greatest wisdom is to take the gift of learning from others mistakes. Though my words may seem ominous at times, I assure you I have only your success in mind. The mental attitude you take into your new life will factor into what you purpose to do.
If you’re a mother you will affect your children as well. Know it or not you are the hub of the home.
Never in my life was I one to sit around and wait till things got so far out of hand before I made a move. We have been told on many occasions that we are extreme people. Maybe that is because instead of talking about a thing, we will just go and do that thing. It has taken us everywhere in the U.S. and made us the hearty people we are today. Though we are very independent in our ways, it is by the grace and mercy of the Lord that we abide.

We chose to go all the way in our preparations for TEOTWAWKI, and we moved to an off-grid location. Years prior to the move, we bought acreage and paid the loan off early. I did not want any land payments to contend with during the building process.
Yet, before this enormous leap of faith many things came up. We even moved to Alaska and derailed our plans for off grid life by a couple of years, always keeping the notion tucked away in our mind.

As tough as Alaska was, moving to the foothills of the Adirondacks was even more brutal. We have had many mishaps and made tons of mistakes along the way. I glory in telling you that we have great successes and unmatched accomplishments from our endeavor as well.
Can you learn from a wife and mother that is currently living out the “worst case scenario”?

My first mistake was letting my husband do everything.
Though I was there when the land was purchased, all I cared about was the quaint little town and how cute it looked. He was looking at hunting opportunities and the distance from town. I was still thinking about Wal-Mart, which by the way is nearly an hour from our location. He was already planning on gardens and feeding ourselves. I was not. Wasn’t the food in the sealed buckets enough of a plan?

I thought that I knew enough.  I really believed that all the years of reading and research would prepare me for what we were going to do. Studying about photo voltaic systems and learning about which batteries held the best charge. I studied what others did and drew plans for my own. I have to laugh because it doesn’t matter what system you buy, if the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing you simply have no power. Oh sure you can get a generator for all your needs. But wait, what if that breaks? And your back up breaks as well? If your husband is handy enough he will try making several other forms of power, as mine did. All systems challenged by nature and all failed at one point or another. The answer is this, learn to live without power. Set yourself up to live with none, and then add a little bit back into it. I had to come to the realization that I was not out here to sustain a life I already had, but to venture into a new way of life. I was having trouble making the adjustments.

When you are forced to boil water for bathing and are out in the cold September nights heating over a campfire to wash your children you will then be faced with the harsh reality that you live off-grid and life doesn’t get any tougher than this.

Don’t lie to yourself. If you tell yourself that you like camping, and this is just like a camping trip you are lying to yourself and you will be miserable. Consider this, what if your temporary situation becomes permanent? By that I specifically mean the bathroom. Yes, you better believe it, the toilet is a number one priority!  We have three children, one is a teenage girl. When the camper van toilet was no longer an option we had to go to a type of can privy thing. As if that wasn’t bad enough the area flooded and we had to wade through and jump on rocks to use the potty in the rain. Of course a new facility was built up on a deck and we felt spoiled for a while. Then the cold weather came. Can you mentally prepare yourself for no flushing toilet? Consider your alternatives now before you get into the situation.

Without water you will die. Mistakes were made here too. I brought two-liter bottles, lots of them. I would refill them at the laundry mat. All summer while we built our home with our own hands, I washed dishes in an outdoor kitchen. This took a toll on me. I always felt like everything was dirty. Then one day our super fantastic filters broke. I could no longer filter the water we drank. Think about the amount you have to boil for five people and animals too. We bought large holding tanks, but the rain was delayed. A four-wheeler and 35 gallon trash can were used to get water from the creek two miles away.

I will never forget the pastor’s face when he came out to our cabin and saw the water collection system that was in place. It seemed that we never had enough time to get all the things done that needed doing. Our gutters were not up on the porch that was not built, so we had tarps that came down off the cabin to collect rain water into the tanks. Our tank was nearly empty. During his visit, it started to pour! He helped us push and pull the tarps to guide the water into the tank. We collected nearly 150 gallons every 20 minutes. It counted as our shower that day too!

Can you imagine our desperation of not having running water? I was not prepared for that mental challenge. In our community we are known as the modern day Ingalls. Today we have thousands of gallons of water on hand. Filtered and running freely. We know exactly how much we use each day.
Weather conditions; because we moved to a new area we were not completely knowledgeable about the summer or the winter weather.  Living in Alaska had prepared us for harsh below freezing temperatures if we drove in it or went outside, that is to say we knew about getting studs on our tires and dressing for -27? on a daily basis, and plugging in our vehicles so they would start in the morning, those types of things.

Where I made the mistake was that I did not take into consideration how I would actually heat the inside of the home. I took for granted that my warmth would be a readily available and come from a reliable source.

Our untested woodstove which was acquired in summer became a terrible distress in the winter. I never knew that a stove could be equivalent to a newborn baby.  It has needed feeding every two – three hours for months now. That adds up to a lot of sleepless nights.
Also, the insulation in our home never was completed. That is another thing I was not prepared for. I am not a carpenter. I am a stay at home mom that home schools the children. I can’t really build anything, well not something you can live in!  I was not prepared for the months of care my husband would need if or when he got hurt.

Another Mistake: normalcy bias. This is the mindset of “It can’t happen to me.”
This goes back to the first thing I mentioned about letting our husbands do everything. What will you do when the unthinkable happens?  If you are a team, then you need to do all the preparations as a team. Continue to be team minded. I did not know enough about what to do if my team member was out of commission. In my defense I would like to say that I am not a wimp either, we have had to super glue cut legs, from knife injuries and pull porcupine quills out of dogs, put animals down and more.
 You learn to do what is necessary, or worse things happen. However I did not even know where the hospital was located or which way to go when my husband had an accident with the circular saw. On a nice sunny day in November and he was outside working on the bathroom floor. Next thing I know he calmly says “I have to go to the hospital now.” I am thinking “What?”
 “I am hurt real bad” he tells me. “I cut off my fingers” YIKES!
 “Do you have all the pieces?”

Now I am the prime care giver in every situation. He is gone for days. Who will turn on the solar? How will we actually get the things done that need doing? There are no light switches or plug receptacles. If you want power you need to know how to turn on the solar controller and the inverters, switch batteries over or start the generator etc.
You adapt and you learn.  I found out just what kind of metal I am made of.
 All was not lost; I didn’t quit and move into town. I snapped out of my comfort zone and I stepped up to the plate. Use whatever cliché you want, but my time came to step into my new identity forever and completely.
I can say that I am a prepper, and I can mean it. I have taken the steps of pulling the plug on a lifestyle that I was very comfortable in. My mental attitude now is that I can do this.

The greatest adversity you will ever overcome comes from what lies within you.
Yes, I can haul rocks and stack or chop the wood. I can gather water and have found new ways to get everyone and everything clean. I can cook with propane, campfires or on top of the wood stove.
I have made the best out of some of the worst things. I know that every time I climb my stairs I have victory over the trees that nearly crushed our cabin. We turned them into steps and wood flooring!

We live free of debt, because we paid cash for everything, we live free of the weight of society to have it all, because we know that we have what is really of value. We have each other and our time is our own.
We have become self- sufficient.  It came at a price, but it was worth the investment.

My simple steps to being mentally prepared:

  1. Detox yourself from the Wal-Mart Super Center. It will close. You will not be able to go there WTSHTF. Can you accept that mental challenge? We started out waiting two weeks to shop, and then we worked our way up to six weeks. Can you stay away from the Super Center for six weeks?
  2. Learn to do without. No one is coming to help you. If you do not take it with you, then you will need to know how to make it yourself or live without it.
  3. Take the steps now to get your water harvesting system in place before you spend one night in your new off grid home. If you’re digging a well, have the proper documents taken care of and the well drilling done before you bring your family on site.
  4. Learn to cook with little or no food. Seriously, try making some new dishes that are prepared from whatever you have before you go shopping. Try cooking on an open fire. That is a tough thing to learn but one of the joys I now have is making something delicious right outside on an open fire. Even in the rain. My family really appreciates my efforts all the more.
  5. Have a back-up plan for the back-up plan. Trust your instincts because you cannot prepare for everything, no matter how much you prepare.
  6.  Unplug now, why wait? When you could still step back into things if you wanted. Knowing that you’re doing this because it is your best decision for your family, that you took matters into your own hands is very empowering. Do you wait till you are forced to make the choice? Then it is no longer a choice and it becomes mandatory.
  7. Let experience be your teacher. Get involved and learn some new trades. My little 6 year old can make fires using things like steel wool and parabolic lenses (supervised of course) My 8 year old can shoot a frog with his long bow, even in muddy water, and he can set snares too!
     My teenager is amazing, we especially like it that she makes fresh bread in the Dutch oven (and she taught herself through trial and error)
  8. Do the “drastic” thing. We sold all of our real estate and most of our “stuff” (couches, furniture, appliances and extra baggage) we pooled our resources and made a budget to live off of and accomplish our goals. Do not expect your family or neighbors to understand; after all they are still addicted to the power grid.
  9. This isn’t last by any means. We put God first in all that we do and know fully that He is the One that has given us strength and joy and peace in all our trials and our successes.

 My last question to you before I close is this, how will you even know you were prepared for TEOTWAWKI until it happens and you are in the midst of your new way of life? That day is the day you discover if you stocked enough food and ammo, should you have gotten a cow instead of the goat, bought gold instead of silver…etc. What I am saying is that you can never know if you built your house up high enough to avoid a flood, unless there is a flood. The difficulty then is that it is too late to do anything different.
I have the same mindset in my “prepping” tactics. Do what I can, and let the Lord do what I can’t.
 May I present this train of thought; the end is already here.
 Has there not been enough evidence that the world around us is different? What else needs to happen for us to wake up and take action?
Life around us is changing, a little each day.

If your being stirred to preparedness, then set your mind to that, go about it wholeheartedly without second guessing.  Everyone thought Noah was crazy too, but the rains came and they’re coming again. May The Lord Be With You.