Countering The Retreat Freeloader Meme, by Caroline B.

When discussing prepping preparedness and emergency supplies with family and friends, many of you have probably heard the flippant remark: “”I’ll just go to your house.”

I have been somewhat taken aback at this statement. I initially didn’t know how to respond.

I knew it was a flippant response from some, made out of mockery and intended to elicit laughter.  Their mindset is that they don’t want to prepare, and don’t see the point.  Most off them think that our concerns for the future are humorous and unlikely to ever come to fruition. And I knew a few who felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to start to prepare for themselves.  They were frightened by what they saw coming, but unable to make that practical step, to prepare for themselves while there is time and information aplenty.

I know that many other like-minded people have been faced with the same situation.  Perhaps my pondering on it and laying it out when you face the same statement, or rashly consider making the statement yourself.

After much consideration I have realized there can be only one response:

You cannot come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). I don’t say this because I don’t care.  I do.  I wouldn’t have entered the conversation with you in the first place otherwise.  I say this because of two very real and serious reasons.

1.  In the event of a real emergency, you will most likely never reach my home.

Consider it.  If you have been to my house, you most likely had to drive to get there.  And some of you have had to drive a long way.  And some of you have had to drive through many cities and other populated areas.  Many emergency situations could lead to roads and bridges that are damaged or closed.  Many unprepared fellow citizens could become lawless, falling into a dangerous mob mentality.  The further you have to drive, simply increases the number of obstacles you could face.  Traveling immediately after an emergency can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable.

2.  I do not have the resources, energy or ability to prepare for you and your family’s unique needs.

Many people have very differing dietary needs.  Within just my close circle of friends and family, I have loved ones who need very low sodium foods, gluten free foods, vegetarian foods, low glycemic or low carbohydrate foods.  Some also have food allergies, drug allergies, environmental allergies, and chronic conditions that require medications or frequent monitoring and specialized treatment.

Slowly, one by one, I research these needs to find foods, herbs, home remedies and treatments to aid in a long, healthy, drug free life, using materials that I can grow, glean, or make in my own home.  But this research takes time and practice.  And sometimes I am happy with the results, and sometimes I have to start over in my search for a self sufficient answer to these troubles.

I also try to find alternatives to everyday items and duties.  Baby diapers, Toilet Paper, Washing clothes without electricity, Cooking.  This has taken a lot of time to research (still underway) and purchase needed supplies that will last:  Cloth diapers, family cloth, a bucket and plunger, clothes drying rack, propane camp stove as well as an outdoor fire pit.

We are also a one income family with 3.5 children, 100+ chickens, 9 ducks and 4 goats.  It could take years for me to provide beds, bedding, clothing, medicine and food for 20+ additional people.

Let us consider just one aspect.  My family of 5.5 people live in a two bedroom home.  If you and your family were to come to my house, where would you sleep?  Perhaps for one or two nights you would feel grateful to have space on my floor.  But after a while you would desire better sleeping arrangements, beds or at least pads, blankets or sleeping bags.  You would also eventually need to change your clothing.  Would you be able to bring all the extra clothing you would need in your hurried race from your home?  Sturdy practical shoes? Your favored hygiene products?  Your hair brush and tooth brush?  How long will you be satisfied at my home carting water daily and defecating in an outdoor privy?  With no electricity my home does not have water OR septic.  Even with electricity, my septic is rated for 6 people and could quickly be overworked and create a health nightmare for everyone involved.

These are things that you may not have considered.  But they are things that I must consider.  Prepping literally means, Preparing for what could happen.

I hope you can see that this is not because I do not care for you.  It is because I do care for you.  I urge you all to prepare for your own.  Not only is it truly your responsibility, but it is truly something that only YOU are capable of doing.

By relying on someone else, you will end up with impersonal, inadequate and sometimes completely unsatisfactory results.

And for those who think this is all unnecessary and a waste of time…. I wish it was.

As an English Proverb says so eloquently…

“Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

If all my preparations are never put to THE test…. at least my family has learned how to grow delicious, healthy and non modified vegetables, raise and butcher hormone and chemical free meat, and treat many common ailments without resorting to immune system destroying antibiotics or becoming addicted to pharmaceutical potions.

Even if TEOTWAWKI never comes, I will consider it all worth it and sleep soundly at night with my family close beside me.

Can you say the same if it does come?

Ways That I Can Help

Now I have laid out some basic thoughts on why you can’t come to my house in TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It). But I don’t want to end this conversation there, because I want to help!

My family has been moving in this direction for several years.  We have read and read and read books and internet articles, blogs and e-books.  We have watched documentaries and reality television shows.  We have even gleaned information from entertainment television shows and movies.  We try to find anything on livestock keeping, gardening, homebuilding, homesteading and herbal medicines.

As most of you already know my family tries to provide for our needs ourselves.  We do not go the the doctor unless we need a doctor.  We monitor our own health requirements and treat many of them using diet, exercise and herbal and homemade medicines when we can.  We home birth our children, just me and my husband.  We are moving towards providing for all of our food needs and this may just be the year that we accomplish it.  We homeschool our children, utilizing our own enormous library of textbooks, encyclopedias, documentaries, and educational programming, and good old paper and pencil.  We also involve our children in every step of our homesteading.  Starting seeds, transferring seedlings, transplanting outdoors, building fences, hatching chickens and ducks, building housing, feeding and watering them daily, nature walks where we discover the wild plants that grow around us and the animals that share our land with us…. This is all part of our education.

It is an adventure.

I love my life.  I delight in watching little green seedlings poke their heads through moist soil.  I smile at hearing chirp, chirp, chirping from my incubator.  I laugh as I watch the ducks swimming and playing in the pond.  I enjoy scratching my goats’ bellies and having them eat from my hand.

And I adore the little kicks of a growing babe in the womb.  I am in awe when I get to hold them in my arms for the first time.  I am challenged and thrilled while watching them grow and learn.  I am completely in love with each of their little faces.

Of course, I want to keep them safe for as long as possible.  I feel it is my duty to the Lord to be a good steward over the all of blessings that He has placed in my hands.

And so… I prep. I “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” And I invite you to do the same.

Here is where I can start helping you:

1.  Find like-minded people.  If you are in my area, are already my friend or family member, or even if you live an Internet based life, feel free to contact me, befriend me, and share your thoughts, concerns and questions with me.  Having like-minded people surrounding you can be encouraging, uplifting, and provide excellent resources in your efforts to meet the challenges ahead.

2.  Make a list of what you have, and what you know.  You may already possess materials and skills that will be useful for your family’s safety, or provide a valuable service in the event of an emergency.  Do you have plumbing skills?  Construction skills?  Electrical?  Mechanical?

3.  Make a list of what you do not have, and what you do not know.  This may take some research.  Begin finding these resources and information.  If you don’t know how to garden you can consider, books, magazines, online articles, a neighbor that gardens, or taking classes from your local extension office.  If you don’t have medical knowledge you can consider taking local CPR courses, EMT basic courses, or researching individual medical conditions with books or online for knowledge and treatment.

4.  Band together.  Meet with other like-minded people to share responsibilities and resources.  This is most especially important in close neighborhoods.  If you can find others that are close to you, emotionally, spiritually and physically that share your goals and ideas, count it as a blessing.  Work together.  Perhaps they have medical skills, while you have construction skills.  Perhaps they love gardening, and you love canning food.  Without moving out onto the commune, you can start a community and build a foundation of strength for when the world is shaking.

5.  If you cannot find others nearby, do not fret.  Information is widely available.  I have even included many valuable links below.  And never underestimate your ability to learn new skills and rise to the challenge.  It does take work.  But it is worth it.

Links to start building your needed skills and resources…..

Bible Verses Regarding Preparing for the Future

Complete “How To” guides to begin storing food, tracking what you use and need, and a list of tests you can run through when you are ready – Food Storage Made Easy

How to Save Seeds – After you have grown your garden and are harvesting, prepare for next years planting.

Great online store with a multitude of tools, kits, and foods.  I peruse this frequently to see where my supplies might have holes – Emergency Essentials

Your local Agricultural Extension office usually provides low cost and free classes on canning, gardening, and beginning livestock care.  This is also a great place to meet other like-minded people.

Even the government has some starting points to preparing for an emergency, at Can you last for at least three days without any water or electricity or additional supplies in your home? Remember that it took 3 days for the National Guard to even be sent to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Another site stressing that you must be prepared for at least three days:

Numerous Articles about Prepping 101,
While there are differing opinions you will find these to be great jumping off points:

National Geographic Prepping 101: The 10 Principles of Preparedness
Homestead Revival Prepping 101
Doomsday Prepping 101
Modern Survivalists Prepping 101
Miles Franklin – Prepping 101
Fast, Cheap, and Good – Prepping 101

And a few blogs that I read regularly that are full of great how to advice –
Paratus Familia
Rural Revolution
The Deliberate Agrarian

And here are a few really valuable books that I think are nearly essential to being prepared
The Encyclopedia of Country Living (Tenth Edition) by Carla Emery
Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance by John & Martha Storey

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook by David Werner

Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles


These are What I Consider The Basics of Preparing for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It):

Spiritual –
The most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time…. is the preparation of the soul. There can be no hope or lasting future for people who have not made peace with the Almighty.  I understand that not all believe in a ‘Christian’ God.  While I cannot speak directly to the many religious beliefs in the world, I can speak readily to my own.
My belief in Christ as a source of hope in any situation.  When the days are bright and beautiful and filled with numerous blessings, I can rejoice in them with my Lord.  But when the days are dark, and dangerous and filled with loss and fear….. what can I cling to then?
My Lord is still a light in these times.  In fact, He is the only light in these times.  His presence is strong and powerful, and His words promise that there is an end to all evil in the world.  And for those who cling to Him, He promises that He will never forsake us, and will make all things right.
So find your peace with the Almighty Creator and look forward to having hope, even in the midst of TEOTWAWKI.

Mental –
The second most important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time…. is the preparation of the mind.  Without knowledge and discipline how would one go about building a shelter, growing a garden, finding food in the wilderness, or protect themselves from an enemy that has entered your gates?  You must study.  You must practice.  Books, Videos, Classes are essential to being as prepared as possible in any situation, including TEOTWAWKI.  This process is never ending, since there is always something new to learn.  You can never sit back and say, “I know everything now.”  You and your family need to continually glean new skills and knowledge to face a time when there is no one else to provide for our needs.  Whether you are on your own for five days or five minutes, you could have a need that only you can meet.
This also includes, overlapping the physical portion of preparedness, the preparation of your body.  You must work toward making and maintaining your body in a strong and healthy condition as much as possible. If you are sickly, weak, and dependent on many medications, this will weaken your overall preparedness for hard times.

Physical –
The last, but still very important preparation one can make for troubled times, or any time… is the gathering of supplies.  This can seem daunting, monetarily and practically.  Where does one start?  Some of this knowledge will come as you prepare yourself mentally.  But to start we can consider what are your most urgent needs?

1.  Security is essential.  You must be prepared to protect yourself, your family, and your supplies.  If you do not protect them, you are basically giving up your life and the lives of those in your care.  In a matter of seconds, your life and your children’s lives can be irrevocably lost.  You can purchase guns and ammo from most sporting good stores, and take gun safety courses from most police stations, gun ranges, and the National Rifle Association.  You can also sometimes find private courses available in your community.  You can also learn several styles of self defense fighting through video courses and in local schools if they are available in your community.

2.  A good quality first aid kit is essential.  You must be prepared to quickly clean a wound, stop bleeding, and have knowledge and ability to assist someone who is injured or very sick.  In a matter of minutes, a person can bleed to death.  You can purchase ready made kits in numerous sizes, or purchase individual pieces to build your own.
Shelter is essential.  This can include blankets, tents, and the ability to make a shelter in the wilderness if necessary.  In a matter of hours, a person can freeze to death.  It is also equally necessary to shelter oneself in excessive heat situations.  You can count blankets and tents you already own, purchase ’emergency’ ones at many stores, and learn how to build lean to’s, and other emergency shelters.

3.  Water is essential.  Staying hydrated is necessary at all times.  When you are under stress, and may not have access to clean water, stored water will mean the difference between life and death, literally.  In a matter of days, a person can die of dehydration.  You can purchase many sizes of pre-bottled water, as well as purchase water purification filters, tablets and systems.

4.  Food is essential.  Maintaining a steady, not excessive caloric intake will ensure that you have the strength and mental acuity to deal with what is happening around you.  In a matter of weeks, a person can die of starvation.  You can purchase many canned, dried, or ’emergency ration’ foods.  You can also learn to make many of your own long term storage foods.  With a good quantity of a few ingredients in your home, you can assure that your family will not starve, and will have a balanced diet.  With some forethought and planning, you can make this diet interesting and much more endurable for yourself and your family.

The best way to begin is to prepare for a few days to start with.  You can use backpacks, buckets, totes, or boxes to pack away the items you may need initially.
You then expand and prepare for a longer time period.  Find a stretch of time to use as your goal and start gathering.

What will you need for 3 days?
3 months?
1 year?
7 years?

As you begin preparing for longer term, you will find yourself moving away from purchased/packaged emergency supplies, and move more into learning skills and gathering tools, seeds, and finding a homestead to build up around you.  You will begin to be more independent, and leave mainstream society.  You will realize that the ‘old ways’ that our ancestors lived, were far more sustainable and therefore a much firmer foundation for hard times.
It is a thrilling adventure to relearn the ‘old ways’ and to capture that independence back.  As you realize the numerous ways you have been enslaved and compromised security and freedom, you will be encouraged and strengthened to continue this path.

Some Prepping Advice from others point of view –
Five Simple Steps to Prepare For TETOTWAWKI Today (SurvivalBlog)
Practical Steps to Preparing (SurvivalBlog)
Preparing For TEOTWAWKI – Where To Begin (TEOTWAWKI Blog)
Prepare Now For Survival (The Mother Earth News)

The End Of The World As We Know It.  Let us assume that it has finally happened.

It could be the earthquake that our region is supposedly so overdue for.  It could be dust bowl conditions in the south that create near famine conditions in the US like occurred in the 1930s.  It could be war that actually occurs on our side of the pond, just like happens in most nations around the world.

It hurts my heart to think that these things may happen during the lives of my children.  But I must be brave and honest.  I must admit that they do occur.  And I must plan ahead and prepare myself and my family so that if/when it occurs we will be, at least somewhat, in a better position spiritually, mentally and physically to handle it.

So in the event of such situations, or a myriad of others, let us consider that you have decided that your home is not the safest location for yourself and your family.  Let us consider that you are unable to provide the security you may need, or that you do not have a renewable source of water in the event of a grid outage. or that you do not have the land needed to grow enough food for your needs in the event of a prolonged systemic shutdown.

Here, my dear friends and family, I say, that you may consider coming to my house.

And for those whom I do not know, or live far away, you can begin to start the conversation with others who are your friends and family who may have a retreat, a place to gather and survive after TEOTWAWKI.

Before you all jump in the car and crash my party (or anyone else’s)…. there is a lot that you must consider first.

Having been forced by conditions, and blessed by love, my family has lived with another family in the past.  This family is so very close and dear and beloved by us.  We have children that are around the same ages.  We see the same in most political and religious arenas and our differences were small and barely noticeable really.

But living together is difficult.

Consider your own spouse, whom you love and adore.  I’ll bet that you argue sometimes!  I’ll bet you have even at times been tempted to raise your voice, throw a dish, stomp furiously from a room.

It was a very heavy strain on my own family and on theirs to live together.  Who was in charge?  Who was supposed to do the dishes?  Why did that person get up so early or stay up so late?  Who used all the toilet paper!?!?

Even in TEOTWAWKI, these human tendencies and emotional issues will occur.

So there has to be ground rules.  And these are the rules of my home.

1.  This is not a democracy.  My husband is in charge.
This is not about some addiction to power, and megalomania.  Initially, for our own family, we made this decision based on scripture.  Ephesians 5:22-33 tells us that the man is the head of the household, as Christ is head of the church.  There is one captain on this ship.  I get to say my piece most of the time, and my opinion is respected and considered.  But he and he alone decides the direction our family will take.  Your opinion also will be listened to and given consideration.  If possible he will explain the reasons for any decision made.
You may not like it.  But if you come to our house, that is the number one rule.  Before you balk too much about it, remember that this house and this land belongs to him.  We would certainly respect you in your home.  We will force no one to come to our home.  We will force to stay at our home. If necessary we will ask you to leave.

2.  You don’t work, you don’t eat.
This is also a decision based on scripture.  2 Thessalonians 3:10 Paul stated quite clearly, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  Except for delicate little babes, everyone is capable of doing ‘work’ for their daily bread.
Elders may not be able to swing a shovel with much force.  But they may be able tell a young man how to build a truss, fix a leaking pipe, teach and read to the children.
The children may not be able to wrestle a goat back in it’s pen.  But they should be able to do simple chores around the house, and as they get older, tend to their learning and help out around in the gardens and with the animals.
no freeloaders allowed.

3.  If you cause harm to others in the group, you may be asked to leave.
Depending on the severity of your actions, and the likelihood of you continuing in harmful actions, we will defend those who seek safety and security from us.  Just as any danger from the outside, a danger from the inside will not be ignored.

Now if you have considered these rules, and still think that coming to my house is for you?  We better start making plans and discussing details, now.  This applies for those considering joining with others, family and friends in their own area.  Their rules may be different.  Discuss it and consider it carefully.

What supplies will you be bringing and storing at the retreat?  It is no longer a matter of “Will you bring supplies?” as you are planning on bringing your entire family there for shelter.
What will these supplies include? Food, Medical supplies, Tools, Seeds?
What kind of labor are you providing for the upkeep and fortitude of the retreat?  Are you able to assist in strengthening fences, building long term food supplies such as fruit trees or a fish pond, building outbuildings and additional housing, and run practice scenarios to ready yourself and your family and others who may be involved?
Will you come as soon as possible in the event of an emergency, or hunker down in your own home for a time to assess the situation before coming?

Because those who are our friends and family have such differing religious, political and lifestyle beliefs, there will be specific topics that will need to be discussed.  While it may seem common sense to some, it will seem complete nonsense, unnecessary, and even horribly dangerous by others.  These issues must be discussed before we are living under the same roof and trying to make a cohesive community.  Life will already be difficult and strained in TEOTWAWKI, and we must be able to rely on the safety of our group and our retreat.

For our retreat we would have to add some additional ‘rules’.
4.  Parents are responsible for teaching and disciplining their child.  They may choose others in the group to share that responsibility with them if they wish.  Ultimately it is the parents’ responsibility.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9
5.  Any threat to the group from man or animal, inside or out (as partially discussed in rule 3) will be dealt with.  Those who have pacifist beliefs may struggle with this when it is discussed and when the time comes.  However, we believe that it is our duty to the Lord, to protect what He has given us.  This does not mean we would attack or kill indiscriminately. That would be “murder” which would be a sin against God whom we seek to serve.  Discernment is necessary.  Exodus 22:2
6.  You will worship and thank God.  You will do your best to keep His commandments and to keep the sanctity of our home or you will be asked to leave.   Joshua 24:15, 1 Corinthians 5:13

Without an ongoing conversation, preparing and planning together, you will not know what to expect.  At our home, or at your other chosen retreats, the rules, goals, and methods may be different.  By opening the discussion and entering it you will be able to gain understanding of one another, and find ways to work together.

Of course there will still be issues that come up and stressful relations could still occur.  It would be wonderful if we all saw eye to eye on all subjects.  But most of the time in life we will be clumped together with people who agree on some things and disagree on many things.  You weigh and balance and hope to find those who agree more, disagree less.  A lot of this can be smoothed over by entering into it with understanding, tact and grace.

We would never want to close the door to any in need, especially those whom we know and love.  If we can make this work, it could be a wonderful thing to look forward to in the dawn after TEOTWAWKI.  When all is lost, we would have friends and family around us, in a community that worked together.  All we have to do is look at our children’s bright eyes to know why we can’t give up and must keep trying.

So if and when TEOTWAWKI comes upon us…. Yes, you can come to my house.

Welcome, welcome in – Caroline B.