‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 1, by H.C.

Twas a night after SHTF, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except for the louse;
The rifle was hung over the chimney with care,
In hopes not to use it, but to know it was there;


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of normalcy, danced in their heads;
And mamma still canning, and I getting undressed,
Had just been discussing how we felt so blessed;


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang with my rifle to see what was the matter;
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Peeked through the shutters and quietly open the sash;


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre to people I knew down below;


When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a desperate group in old ragged gear;
With guns and pipes in shadows I saw,
I remembered that moment, there was no more law;


More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And they shot, and they shouted, and called us by name:
“Now Barbara! Now John! You know we can’t make it!”
Give us your stuff, or we’re coming to take it!
“Look under the porch! tear open the walls!
Now take away, take away, take away all!”


As leaves that before the wild hurricane flies,
That I realized they knew I was stocking supplies;


So down toward the cellar with my family I flew
With an armful of food, and my rifle too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard down below
The entry of neighbors, not friendly, now foe;


As I drew up my rifle, and was turning around,
Down from the basement they came up with a bound;
They were dressed all in rags from their head to their feet,
And their faces were tarnished with hunger and deceit;


A bundle of sacks they had flung on their backs,
And here all my preps were just laid out in stacks;


Their eyes—how they twinkled! How simple to raid it!
Not a cache I had buried, not one ever made it;


Their droll little mouth were drawn up like a bow,
’cause they knew I couldn’t shoot, with my babies in tow;
It was then that I realized I had not thought this through,
I wouldn’t sacrifice my children for guns and some food;


My broad face and my little round gut,
I was so not prepared to defend my little hut;
I was chubby and plump, a right jolly old dork,
They’ll take all I have, every spoon, every fork.


A wink of their eye and a twist of their head,
Soon gave me to know, I had a future of dread;
They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And filled all their sacks; then turned with a jerk;


And laying his finger in front of my nose,
One proceeded to tell me an armload of woes;
“The banks are shut down, we can’t get any cash,
and the stores are all empty, nothing left but your stash;


They ran to their trucks, to the team gave a whistle,
and away they all flew like the speed of a missile;
But I heard one exclaim, as they drove out of sight—


“There’s a FEMA camp in town that’s open all night!”

A Rendition To ‘Twas the Night Before…” To Remind You To Hide Your Stuff

I am amazed at how many families plan to go at it alone if SHTF. If you are one of these nuclear families, and you have no group or stronghold to live with during a lengthy disaster scenario, the only way you will probably survive is if you hide your stuff! And since we are just about two months away from the holiday season and already seeing advertising about holiday purchases, I wrote this rendition to ‘Twas the Night…” to try to get my vivid point across.

The majority of people who prep have a house and garage full of food, supplies, and guns. Maybe they have some vague future plans to secure it. If you wait until the last minute, as this poem suggests, then it could very well be too late. I can’t stress enough the need to hide your preps. It’s like leaving your truck keys in the visor. Someone will find it and take it.

I don’t want to address the actual how-to’s involved in actually building a cache container for your valuables, as there have been many articles written about how to do such a thing on SurvivalBlog. You can find it all over the Internet, too, if you wish to learn more about how to build a water-sealed chamber for your preps. Search “Cache Tubes” and “Cache Boxes” to find many legitimate containers for safely burying things.

Reluctance Issues That Keep Us From Securing Our Stuff

The intent of my article is to first, bring to view the reluctance issues we have that keep us from securing our stuff, and also to think ahead when actually doing it. The only thing worse than not hiding your preps, is hiding them poorly!

Common Arguments About Caching

Let’s address common arguments about caching first.

Fear of Burying the Goods Because They “Feel” Safer Next To You

Having goods safer because they are next to you is really a psychological myth. As you can see in the poem, it really was not safer with him, was it? The guy in the poem was standing right next to it. And what did the guy have left when it was all said and done? And how safe is it when you are gone anyway? Do you have alarms on the stuff you do have? For most people, the answer is probably “no”. If you take precautions, as I will outline below, you’re stuff will be so safe you will find you feel so much safer at home. There is a lot of anxiety with all that stuff you are guarding, and once you safeguard them you will feel it.

Desire to Look at, Hold, and Play With the Stuff that has Cost a Lot of Money

Admit it. When it comes to equipment, you just want to hold and also play and practice with your stuff! Burying your stuff in the woods is like buying a new jet ski, covering it in plastic, and burying it deep in the ground. It’s such a waste! What if it rusts? What if I want to go jet skiing this summer? I can’t show my friends my awesome jet ski, if it is buried! Maybe I just want to go in my garage and pet it. Coveting is one of humanity’s worst weaknesses! You work hard and sacrifice for this stuff.

Decisions About Duplicates Can Be Hard

If you have the money, it is easy to buy a duplicate of your best knife for instance. However, most of us can’t afford to do that. Instead, it will be tempting to cache your dirty “seconds” that you replaced long ago but still own. But chances are, if you hate it now, you will still hate it later!

But you will have to make that decision for yourself. Decide whether you want enjoy your favorite items now and possibly lose it later, or whether this is an item you have to have in order to survive if you lost everything else. Prioritize your duplicates and decide which ones get buried. It might be easier to lose a good sturdy ugly knife to your cache and keep your favorite one in your go-bag.

You obviously wouldn’t want to cache your hunting rifle, if you hunt every year and you have only one rifle. Weapons in caches are the hardest decisions to make, even worse than any jet ski. On one hand, you don’t want to carry around “seconds” and bury the good ones. One the other hand, someone can come in and take your good ones. Then, you are left with the crappy seconds in the ground.

The Question To Ask Yourself

The question you have to ask yourself is, “Will what I cache be adequate to survive with, and what will I need it for?” If it is for hunting food, you might instead bury a good pellet gun and snares for small game, for instance (or at least until you can afford a backup rifle). If it is for protection, a simple but durable over/under shotgun might be adequate.

Long-term food is probably one of the easiest to cache. These items like to be four feet in the ground under the frost level. Most people don’t dip into their rice and beans much anyway. Caching food that lasts 20 plus years might be a great way to start securing some of your things.

Tomorrow, I will address some other obstacles to caching. I will also make some suggestions that might help you get started.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. 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.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. 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,
  4. 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),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. 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,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  5. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  6. 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).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. 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,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 79 ends on November 30th, 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.


  1. Great creativity – and a very relevant subject. Some back up locations of required supplies would be peace of mind.

    My caches contain very little food (afraid any odor that escapes may attract animals). Two of them have simple building materials for a shelter, tools for cutting wood – cooking outdoor meals. One cache does contain $$$, small bills in denominations no greater than 20’s for easy purchasing. Enough for my family of four to get out of the immediate area – all I have to remember to bring is our passports (we live near a national border in case things get THAT bad).

    But what to eat – well, I study natural foods grown in our area. How to prepare and when to harvest – that sort of thing.

  2. Yep, you are right on the mark. My wake up was yesterday when I read that Promise Keepers is seeking ham operators able to be self sufficient for 7 days to go deploy around Panama City. Compassion leads me to consider going. I have the radio (in the box), I have a 12 ft trailer, solar, a mountain of Mountain House. Lots of parts and skills but nothing cohesive. I conclude that by the time I can rally the need will be over. What does that portend for SHTF when time is of the essence. Time to get my fanny in gear.

    1. I’m from Panama City. We couldn’t speak to any of my or my wife’s parents for 3 days after the storm because there was no communications infrastructure left operational. It’s been a wakeup call for me too to pursue my ham license that I’ve been planning on obtaining for years, but never seem to get around to getting.

      1. My buddy from our first job out of college has been bugging me to do it for 35 years. I am currently reading for my General. Reading for and taking Technician made me sorely regret mumbling my way through log and scientific notation in high school.

    2. RV, one of the best actions we have taken (here in the very rural Redoubt) was forming a local AmRRON ham radio net. All of us (about 15 families) check in once a week. Communications are low-power low-tech direct person-to-person bypassing potential single point of failure repeaters. We rotate net control amongst 3-4 individuals.

      Our ham radio is on 24/7 to our AmRRON channel. Knowing that there is a local problem/threat is great. Knowing that these trusted folks are nearby and ready, willing and able to help is priceless.

      This net is our ‘tribe’ plus emergency communications. AmRRON is nationwide now. https://amrron.com/

    1. JWR recommended a book on caching written by a Marine that was good. Unfortunately, I cached it and I cannot give you ISBN. The topic ranged from the practical to the ethical issues. I though perhaps it would be hidden among the books on gardening but alas, I failed to follow a piece of advice from the book about making sure you can find the thing again. If it ended up at the office I’ll post tomorrow. Perhaps JWR or HJL recall the title and author.


    1. A friend from the southwest desert with a similar problem with rock hard hard pan told me how they plant trees in his town.

      With dynamite.

      They drill down, set off the dynamite, and now there is plenty of broken up hardpan so the tree can get established. Something of the sort might break up your hardpan.

  4. The ham license can be obtained by checking with your local ham radio club. They usually have classes and testing — which will be about $20 for supplies. If you go to qrz.com you can find practice tests.
    Equipment is only limited by your budget and creativity. If you check with qth.com you can usually find decent used gear for between $400 and $600. You can get a new Icom 718 for around $500 to $700. Perfect for the new ham.
    And take the time to learn how to do morse code and make an antenna. Not required but will greatly help you. In low power poor band conditions CW is your friend.
    -40 year ham

  5. Dangit….I just sit down with my coffee to do my daily morning read, and my self-delusional security bubble gets popped again.

    I must be neighbors with Jett Sledder. The neighbor’s backhoe couldn’t dig much through the clay underneath us yesterday.

  6. Awesome.

    However, depending on the situation, I think that families CAN go it alone, WITH the use of a lot of force multipliers: Early Warning Systems (Some, if not most of them lethal) such as Dakota Alerts, tripwired devices, etc. Night vision devices, ballistic fortification, good, deep infantry fighting positions (depending on the size of your land), defensive wire to block, delay and cannalize, etc

  7. Pretty picture of the retreat cabin lit up like the Fourth of July? No watch posted?

    Three days no communication after Hurricane Michael? Not bad. Almost immediate response by Fed. I remember Hurricane Andrew. Governor Chiles took THREE days to call up the National Guard. Over the years since Andrew No electricity for at LEAST one to two weeks. and NO cell service at all after most hurricanes. South Florida has two distinct groups of people. One is prepared and able to help their neighbor. The other is cluleless, unprepared, whining about “Where is my ice? Where is my water?”, less than 24 hrs after hurricane landfall. Trump certainly wasted no time getting engaged.

  8. Location, location, location. Now that might sound silly from someone who was right in the path of a Cat4 hurricane but what our location does provide is a small community that had all met up at our church 6 hours after the storm passed. We had cut ourselves out, took care of our immediate needs then got together to check on every single home in the area (about 35) the following morning when “first” responders finally rolled through we were making sure they had food and water. Our Church had MREs stored from the last event that we were passing out and were filling water containers from our well running off of one of our members “spare” generators. When the NG came by yesterday (storm +5 days) to finally drop off emergency supplies we just used the MREs they dropped off to replenish our Churches supply.

    We haven’t had any looting, if strangers do happen to make it this far out usually a few “Who are ya what do ya need” questions from obviously armed residents is enough to send the curious on their way.

    Having neighbors you know and trust is one of the biggest blessings you can have in a location.

    1. Sounds like you are truly fortunate to have located a community where your neighbors watch each others backs. We are still looking for such a place. There are a few of us, but most are Lone Rangers. No true group identity. Just a group of individuals each with their own agendas. Like herding cats.

      1. Like I said we’re blessed here. I would say that we are not a “group ” per se other than we all attended the same Church. We have my different opinions and personalities but thankfully everyone has been able to set those aside to take care of what needs done.

  9. In a real life bad guys attack your cabin, and they get the jump on you or one of your people, they will kill you. They don’t leave witnesses. If it is a few months into it, they might eat you. Don’t fool yourself bad guys kill.

  10. Let’s be crystal clear. People stealing your preps is the same as shooting you. It is a life or death situation. You can’t go down to the store and get more. Starvation is all but certain.

    If you can’t know for certain you can do what it takes, probably better not to bother prepping anyway.

    I know that if I have to choose between neighbors or family the choice will be easy.

    Also, while I do support having supplies in multiple locations (just in case). Do you think your neighbors won’t notice you digging them back up?

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