I am the invisible prepper. I am, on the surface, a caricature of everything that most SurvivalBlog readers seem to deplore. On the surface, I am a caricature of what the non-prepper community expects me to be– completely average in every way.
Who I Am
I am a twice divorced middle-aged woman, a committed democrat, a sincere atheist, a successful product of public schools, and what you would likely call a coastal liberal elite. If you met me, you would probably ignore me, scoff under your breath, and label me as sheeple or a snowflake.
What You Would Not Know
That’s perfect! What you would not know is what follows.
Moving my home to the “country” was less about lower property taxes, empty nest syndrome, and proximity to wineries than about avoiding more populated areas and enabling greater security in the event of a major event. Adding a fence and planting lots of blackberry, raspberry, and rose bushes around the perimeter of my property was less about “curb appeal” than about slowing down potential intruders.
The home renovations I have done have been less about spiffing up an older home or safety measures suitable for a middle-aged woman living alone. They have been more about added layers of physical barrier security that have turned an adorable cottage into something significantly more secure (but still an adorable cottage).
Starting a home-based consulting company was less about “corporate burn-out” than about minimizing business travel and avoiding a potentially deadly 60-mile trip home from work on foot.
Proficient at Self-Sufficient
Being proficient at sewing, cooking from scratch, making my own soap, bread et cetera is less about being “so crafty and creative – very cute!”. Rather, it has been about being as self-sufficient as possible.
Those two big goofy looking rescue mutts rolling around in the leaves will eat your face if they think you are a threat to me. (Aren’t I a good person for adopting homeless animals!?!)
What You Would Not See
There are things you would see and not recognize. Yet, what you would not see follows.
Concealed Vegetable Gardens and Chicken Coop
Behind the subtle landscaping and perennial flower gardens on the grounds of my adorably well-kept cottage are concealed extensive vegetable gardens. There is also a large productive chicken coop.
Wood For Heat
That picturesque smoke coming out of the chimney is actually how I heat my home. Though splitting and stacking wood is an activity no one would suspect me of, it’s my sweaty little secret.
Four-Season Stream as Secondary Water Source
The four-season stream across the street, which provides a musical counterpart to my days, is also a four-season water source if my well pump fails. Picking this house was not an accident.
That cute vintage car safely stored in my garage as a fun summer weekend driver is also completely stock so as to be impervious to EMP. It’s also easy to repair, even for me. And, yes, I can!
Basement and Bins
You would never notice that the visible footprint of my basement does not completely match the footprint of the house. These older homes are so quirky. Pay no attention to that bookshelf full of clearly labeled winter clothes bins. I am so organized!
Of course, you would never see that it conceals a homemade (by me with my own power tools) safe room that holds the results of all of my canning, dehydrating, bargain buying et cetera, which are regularly rotated into my small decoy kitchen pantry and cataloged in that binder, which you will also never see. You will never know that I can feed and supply myself and those select few for whom I privately prepare for at least two years.
Contents of Locked Cabinet
I hope you never have to know what is in the locked cabinet in the corner of the invisible basement. You won’t know where I go to practice or what skills that I have developed. Hint: One does not need to visibly worship the second amendment to achieve deadly hand/eye coordination.
The Value and Cost in Being the Grey Woman
There is value in being the grey woman. But there is also a cost.
The Non-Prepper World
The non-prepper world does not see me for what I am, because they are conditioned to rely on what they expect and what they see on the surface, handcuffed by their normalcy bias. They will not come knocking on my door for handouts in the event of societal breakdown. What could I possibly have to offer?
The Prepper Community
The irony is that the prepper community has the same blind spot for different reasons. Even if you did see hints of my preparedness, you would not recognize them for what they are.
Because I do not share your religious fervor, political affiliation, or social agenda, you would never suspect that I am a dedicated, if invisible, member of the prepping community. You might not believe that values and integrity are a function of character, not church membership, and that differing views on social issues do not necessarily preclude cooperation and mutual support among those of us who have invested our time, money, and energy in preparedness.
You would not realize just how much we do share that would be infinitely valuable to both of us in the face of a major event. Perhaps you may never need my help, but isn’t it a shame that, because you don’t see me, you wouldn’t even think to ask?
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.