Consider Horde Mentality in Your Planning – Part 2, by Ani

(Contined from Part 1. This concludes the article.)

If it were spring or summer, I would also expect many refugees to head to what they perceive of as a good place to pitch a tent and set up “camp” such as farm fields, your “back forty”, the woods behind your house, any stretch of land that appears “unoccupied” etc. I know for sure that many urban/suburban people don’t view rural land as being “owned” in the same way they do their apartments or front lawn/back yard. They also see this as being way more than anyone needs. So why not help themselves to it? They will also figure that you’ve got plenty of apples, pears, berries or whatever it is growing on your land (way more than you could possibly need) an  that they therefore can take some. After all, it’s greedy not to share!

Similarly, if you’ve got livestock of any kind that are visible from the road, I wouldn’t put it past people to decide that you’ve got plenty and they need some of what you’ve got. Lots of city people have access to guns and some might not be those who you’d want to have them.

There’s an expression that describes many city/suburban types as those who “would starve to death with a field full of wheat and a fresh cow in the barn”. I recall saying that to someone I knew and he responded by stating that he’d just kill the cow and eat it so he wouldn’t starve! So don’t count on everyone realizing that slaughtering your milk cow is a bad idea!

So other than rural locales close to a city or those located in areas with lots of vacation homes or campgrounds, which other areas might be at risk to the hordes descending on it? As has been written here and elsewhere, many people will just use their apps(if still functional) or maps that will give them directions to where they are heading. Mostly, I’d suspect these will prioritize the main roads, especially the interstate. With this in mind, anyplace that’s on a main road, visible from the interstate or easily reached by an interstate exit would be more at risk. The notion that one wants to be at least 3 turns off of a main road makes sense. If you’re easily visible you’re probably at a higher risk.

I also think that mostly, at least at first, people will try to access places that are easier for them. If gas is in short supply or hard to get, then that’s less than one tank of gas from their home. If they’re on foot or bike, most aren’t in any shape to walk or bike hundreds of miles. If it’s winter, they’re limited by road conditions as well. I don’t want to even think of city people trying to drive with “all season” tires on the back roads or mountains of rural New England! Ditto for mud season! If you’re up on a mountain, you’re not likely to get the foot or bike traffic and maybe not cars either in the winter. If your house isn’t visible from the public oad, then it’s less likely to be noticed. If you’ve got gates which can be secured to prevent access, then many will head to easier pickings.

If a home screams “preparedness” with an easily-visible wind generator, PV panels etc., I do think you will get more people assuming that you’ve got other good stuff, as well. And I wouldn’t want to have my firewood stacked too easily viewed from the road.

Other places that I’d suspect would get an influx of city/suburban refugees would be areas that are well known tourist spots such as ski resort towns, coastal/beach towns, outlet store towns, state park areas, any place on a recreational pond or lake, locales with quaint well photographed picturesque town greens and downtowns and the like; basically, places that city people read about, view pics of on Instagram accounts and travel to on vacation.

Viral Vacationers

Currently we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Vermont we are already seeing people fleeing New York City and Westchester County for their second-homes in Vermont. One such person has already been confirmed positive with the virus so we can surely expect that those fleeing New York and other large cities for the perceived safety of Vermont will be bringing the virus here with them.

So what’s left? In truth, that really does account for much of rural New England. I don’t think that if the  Schumer Hit The Fan, we are going to be able to avoid at least some of the hordes descending on us at some point in the event. What we can do is consider where we are weakest in terms of vulnerability. If we’re looking for another place to live, we can certainly try as best as possible to take these factors into account. When we work on setting up livestock fields, alt energy, firewood storage, etc. we can likewise look at what we are doing and consider it from the standpoint of some city person coming upon your place and trying to decide if it presents easy pickings or good stuff.

Take Down The Signs

If you normally display a sign by your home that advertises that you sell honey, eggs, veggies, firewood, and so forth, then I think that if a situation arose where we might expect city people to start fleeing for the perceived safety of rural area. So you might want to remove any such signs ASAP. Your friends and neighbors know what you sell. Don’t advertise that to the random hordes.

As for me, while I knew all this and considered it as I house hunted, I still had to factor in other major considerations such as what I could afford which really limited me. Assessing my new place with vulnerability to the hordes in mind, it’s got pluses and minuses. It’s in northern Vermont so that’s a plus as it’s not too close to any large cities and it gets really really cold and snowy! The closest big city is Montreal, Canada which of course is in another country which might well provide some protection. The next closest city less than 300 miles away is Boston. And New York City is more than 300 miles which is a considerable distance (more than a tank of gas!)

My property is on a rural side road although only one turn off of a “main road”, however that “main road” is only a two-lane road so it’s not a major highway. It’s not all that far from the interstate but not terribly close.

It has the negative of being in an area with seasonal vacation homes and a large well loved pond/lake. For the reasons I described above this has the potential to be a problem. Although this means that many homes in the area are vacant maybe half the year, it also means that whomever shows up to occupy them might well not be the owners and not someone with any community ties. As well, many people who don’t live there might show up in hope of finding refuge as previously described. Or, those showing up may bring germs with them from where they fled. Having a large body of water is beneficial(water supply, fishing etc) but also an attractant for those who might decide to hunker down there. As well, it wouldn’t take long for the hordes to “fish out” the lake.

My home is visible from the road but not very close to it. The road is dirt but pretty flat so that won’t keep out people on foot or bikes. Due to the terrain and the woods I will have to build my gardens out front where they will be visible; not a great thing but unavoidable.

So I guess that while we may have an ideal of a home in mind which is best able to withstand the hordes, remote enough to not be found by most of them and thus best suited for a preparedness aware household, reality intrudes and we have to make compromises. I figure that there are pluses and minuses associated with the place I chose and given what I can afford, I did the best I could. Now I need to make this work for me for normal times and also to prepare for whatever may happen down the road.

I suggest that you think about how your home is vulnerable, and what steps can you take to reduce it’s chances of being overrun by the hordes fleeing urban/suburban areas.


  1. Yes, it does seem like we are living in a survivalist’s fiction novel come to life. If you are feeling like you need to block roads, but can’t just yet, and the road in to your place is long, before your locked gate, put up a bunch of signs that indicated that visitors are not welcome. I am very fortunate to have a remote location that is exceptionally well hidden, and well beyond 6 miles from the Hwy, and far off the county road, and on several spurs, yet some how, they will wander that far out. Eventually USFS will kick campers out, and they have to find another camp site every 14 days. Or perhaps USFS will not enforce. As springs arrives, we’ll probably see more campers. And as the country devolves into a Venezuela style collapse, it will get worse and some may attempt to stay though the winter in their camp sites. Once they get hungry, they might be knocking on doors. This is good time to be talking to the neighbors who might now be ready to talk about it.

    1. A few big cardboard signs with the words: CORONA VIRUS–STAY OUT–DANGER may scare away all but the most desperate visitors.

      I am looking around for some suitably large slabs of cardboard. Maybe plywood.

      The sign serves as your first line of deterrence. Followed by the old string at ankle height attached to tin cans containing loose stones. It makes enough noise to alert you and let the intruder know he has been heard.

      Simplicity rules for first few layers. The nest layers. Well, you make your choices. Just remember what one contributor wrote about a year ago. If you end up shooting someone, you have lost. I can tell my opinion of why that is, and I prefer you to figure it out.

      Carry on in grace

  2. Although I have not yet been able to purchase my ideal home site, I have mentally prepared the property line facing the road. The plan is to plant a succession of thorny plants along the fence line, starting with blackberries, and graduating to denser foliage that would block the view of what’s behind the fence. The blackberries are my contribution to the hordes food supply. They can eat, but they can’t penetrate. A winding driveway prevents a straight on view of the property as well.

    1. And the blackberry roots, according to herbalist Stephen Buhner, will supply you with an herb to treat viral gastroenteritis diseases. The high tannin content will bind the virus and firm up the stool too.

  3. The only thing in your article I would reconsider is distance from city’s and gas mileage.
    My 8 year old vehicle holds 17 gallons and easily get’s 24 mpg with a 300 horsepower v6.
    So 17 x 24 = 408 miles , I have driven this car from Ohio to Texas and Arizona and mileage increases on the open road and starting with a full tank in southern Ohio my first fuel stop was just outside Memphis. Second fuel stop was in Ark. with a 3rd in Shamrock Texas to top it off arriving in Dallas with well over a half of a tank.
    Just some food for thought when calculating what visitor’s might arrive.

    1. B Rhoads, good food for thought. I’ve got an 01 Ford with power stroke. With a full tank, I get right around 600 miles. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, but if I need to, I can look at places and not worry too much about fuel.

  4. I live in a “dead zone” that is not reported on via neither local ID news nor local OR news, and when I tell folks where I live they don’t even know that’s a city in OR. The main highway is less than 2 miles from me but because you can’t see anything from the highway but desert you would never know which exit turnoff to take to get to the neighbor that has beef cattle, the other neighbor that has a small dairy, the lady across the road that sells eggs and honey, and the corn and potato onion and sugar beet fields not visible unless you know the neighborhood, or are willing to trudge down miles of unnamed back roads on the off chance it will lead to shelter and food. I worry more about the trains coming thru either bringing in scum or taking out “prisoners”. ALL the neighbors have, and regularly use weapons whether for killing that coyote making a raid on your lambing pen or killing one of the wild turkeys for dinner, it’s not at all unusual to hear early morning gunshots and actually it makes me feel safer knowing my neighbors are well armed, and ammo is freely displayed on the store shelves for sale. Every trucker that hauls ag product through here has a hidden handgun and would not tolerate attempts to “bandido” them. Downside is NO available properties for sale, NO available apartments for rent, very little shopping amenities or entertainment, but plenty of peace and quiet. We want to keep it that way.

    1. There is allot of areas like that in Eastern Oregon. All along Highway 26 as well as Enterprise, Sweet and Juntura. Good places off the beaten track.

  5. Hey Ani, excellent article, a very enjoyable, thought-provoking read with many great ideas.

    I also like Tunnel Rabbit’s idea from a few months back to get a steel plate and place it near your front gate or other outpost near your keep out sign. When intruders show up you ping the steel plate with a bullet to let them know you mean business and that your aim is accurate.

    Your mention of moving livestock out of plain sight made me think of all my non-prepper neighbors who would have no idea what to do if the SHTF tomorrow. How much service could we be to them if we think of some of their issues as well (such as livestock) and have a plan thought out ahead of time while we are making our own plans? It we can step up to the plate as a voice of calm when everyone else is running around with their hair on fire, it should help pull our small groups together much more quickly. Many of us don’t live in towns, we’re just a collection of scattered neighbors. I doubt many of mine are preppers so if the SHTF, I have plans I can quickly share with anyone who is interested. And I don’t have livestock but using satellite photos, I have a suggestion for my neighbor who does.

    Here’s a radical thought. My biggest concern in a TEOTWAWKI situation, and I’m talking about the armed-roving-hordes-I’m-fearing-for-my-life kind, would be in blockading the roads as much as possible to direct traffic in certain compass directions away from my corner of the county. Topography is working for me in that my place is only approachable from two directions anyway. Blocking roads with vehicles and trees won’t last too long since they are easy enough to move. But next time you pass a cellphone tower, stop and take a close look at what holds one up. In my neck of the woods, they are held up by five, inch-long cotter pins. There are three other quick ways to drop one besides that. And you have your choice of three directions to drop it in. With a tree or wrecked vehicle blocking the road, people are going to drive around or move it out of the way. Not a mangled cell tower. Prepping isn’t just about bullets, beans, and bandaids! I’d share some other ideas but the black helicopters scare my chickens. 🙂

    People are not going to want to get far from their vehicles so even blockading where my dirt road takes off from the pavement will deter most people and keep them on the main highway. For roving hordes (as opposed to someone with a fixed destination) phony “Bridge Out Ahead” signs at a key road junction will get a large percentage of the population to move in the direction you want and away from your retreat.

    The bottom line is, for many of us in certain locations, there are ways to minimize the numbers of the roving hordes who are able to show up in the first place.

    1. Hi St Funogas,

      A few trees or any barricaded can be hauled out of the way if not defended, but what the military call an abatis, properly done, even tanks can’t get through. Even if one can not properly be done well enough to deter tanks, it will stop vehicle and all other modes of transport. Without drawings, a written description would be lengthy. Find a choke point, and put enough trees down at an angle toward the direction of approaching threat with as much depth of up two hundred yards, and not even infantry will want to go through that. Lay it down with whatever trees are available, and if there are not many trees, tie a few choice trees together with chains, so that it is too heavy for a vehicle to haul off. If the tree can be left partly attached to it’s truck and interlocked with other trees also attached to their trunks it is impossible to move. Chain saw will take too long to cut it up.

      Living in logging country, I’ve had the opportunity to try it. It works good. If the barricaded can not be that extensive, then find a one eyed fat man with a good rifle who can keep a barricaded from being dismantled. It is better to set up cross fire with two rifle men, but one eye fat men are hard to find.

      1. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, I found a good article on how to construct an abatis. It sounds like a lot of work but at least there’ll be firewood after the roving hordes have died out. It’ll still be fun to drop a few cell towers though. Timber-r-r-r! The view will be improved as well.

        1. Hi St. Funogas,

          Glad you found a better description. Having a few old tricks of the trade, namely, time tested infantry tactics, can make a big difference. One of the rules though, is that the harder it is to get in, the harder it is for the defender to escape or maneuver. Have a designated route out in case of fire, or because one is over whelmed. The bigger the bags of tricks, the more adaptable we can be, and the more layers of defense can be applied. The further out we can put the first layer of defense the better so there can be more opportunities to set up a harder and second layer, and then a third, if possible.

          In the last layer of defense, we want to let them in and want to funnel them up into a treacherous maze, that controls, or channelizes, and denies their movement. We cannot defend the perimeter without plenty of help, so leave some of the fence down that is the entrance to your funnel. Old age and treachery can be a match for youth and brawn. West Point includes engineering in their curriculum, because that way of thinking can help dominate in a battlefield. Know that most of your attackers will have not gone to West Point, or Advance Infantry School, and could not engineer a mouse trap, or know what a classic ambush even looks like. So design your own battle field that compensates your particular set of limitations. Know thy self, and study Sun Tzu. A battle is won or lost before the first shot is fired. Set the stage for victory and continually improve it.

          And get some NODS, especially PVS-14. You’ll be glad you did. Talk to Bob Griswald about this, or see his videos. That would be a better investment than even gold.

  6. Such a helpful article! I had thought long and hard about many of the issues you have mentioned during the years I was getting to retire to the Redoubt. When I first moved “way up north” three years ago, I bought a beautiful log house on a five acre parcel three miles off the highway, on hard-pan road that was county maintained and plowed because a school bus went by twice a day. It had evergreen trees, fenced garden, large wood stove heated shop, large built in propane generator, rural water and a well, outbuildings, chicken coop, an elk herd that hung out across the street, and apple trees. Perfect ingredients, I loved the property, and my plan was to stay there forever.

    I quickly discovered that it’s a LOT of labor to just maintain much less improve a country property. I also realized that living alone at my retired age could be dangerous if I fell and injured myself in snowy conditions, as my neighbors were too far away to hear cries for help.

    After a year and a half of struggling with the work load, I made the decision to move into the small town nearby, and discovered the benefits of living within a community. I still have a garden on my 1/3 acre lot, a beautiful view of the valley, and like minded neighbors who are good Christians and avid hunters and fishers. I’m at the end of a road with great sight lines. Also, my church and the grocery store are less than two minutes drive instead of seventeen minutes.

    There are always pros and cons, there is no perfect place, it’s always a compromise. It’s just great to be up here and I thank God every day that I moved out of the city!

    1. Smart!! You are so correct. Maintaining property requires physical strength and know how unless you’ve established great relationships, have the means to reimburse others for their work, etc., but you have to rely on others, and that’s tough. I thought I was going to die last spring trying to upkeep my property. A neighbor suggested to me that there were a couple of teenage boys whose parents were wanting them to work all summer. What a blessing they’ve become. But, you’re right. Personal circumstances make all the difference. It’s still better to be in a small town than a metropolitan area.

  7. Didi beat me to it.
    “there is no perfect place, it’s always a compromise”

    Ani, I really appreciated your well written and thought provoking article.
    Your place sounds a lot like ours. We probably have a little more privacy but we do have several hundred acres of state land within a mile.
    Our community is made up of retired sheriffs and retired military so OPSEC is in the DNA.

    We all have our chainsaws ready to go in case we need to “close” a road. We will all need firewood soon anyway. If anyone chooses this course of action KNOW where the power lines are.

    I expect that you have your copy of JWR’s book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” on your coffee table. I have had it out several times this week.
    I am re-reading his book Patriots for light reading.

    Most important though is my Daily Bread 😉

    Thank you for your input. Together we learn and improve.

    1. @ Lee

      “I expect that you have your copy of JWR’s book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” on your coffee table. I have had it out several times this week.”

      I actually have 2 copies of that one! One for me and one to lend or give as needed. Along with 2 copies of Carla Emery’s “”Country Living” and 2 of “Putting Food By”.

      1. Ani,
        I got out my copy of Patriots too! I was missing Dan Fong, the Layton’s, Todd & Mary & everyone else!

        The first time I read it, I almost fell off my chair, the mention of Glen Ellen, Illinois & Wheaton, Illinois are where I grew up & Lived for most of my life!!

        Now , without giving away too much, I live in the general vicinity of the town of Mendota, Illinois where Ken & Terry ended up walking along the railroad tracks.
        I pretend like it was written just for me!!!

        Rock on!!

      1. Yup. I’ve thought of making an “official looking” sign about the house being quarantined due to the resident testing positive for covid. Put one at the driveway and one on the front door.
        Sounded funny at first, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

    1. Oh that made me crack up!!

      I actually have a couple dozen rolls of biohazard tape and a huge roll of the biohazard bags , stuff we had for our annual Halloween display that we didn’t use due to a surprise blizzard on Halloween.
      I think they will be very useful now .

      Maybe I should get out all our zombies we have and place them around our place to keep the REAL zombies away!

      Have a Rockin great day!

  8. Ani, your comment about ‘starving to death in a field of wheat, with a fresh cow in the barn’ is a statement in reality. (How many city folks today know what is meant by a ‘fresh cow’).

    In my younger days I was a Gemologist and had the opportunity of meeting the lady (can’t remember her name now) that wrote the book ‘Black Bread and Caviar’…she was a member of the Czar’s family at the time of the Russian Revolution. She was to far removed from the immediate family to be a political threat so she survived the purge. She was however an aristocrat and totally isolated from the REAL world. She explained to me of a personal event in which she had gone for days without anything to eat… desperation she reached out to a ‘peasant’ to ask about obtaining some food. The ‘peasant’ told her to just pick some of the turnips that were at her feet. She told me, ” I had problems eating the raw turnips, even after having to be shown how to get them out of the ground, because they were not prepared.”

    A second side point to this is…she survived not by having any real knowledge but because she had a quantity of jewelry she was able to trade off for her needs. It was a very interesting encounter for me. In a somewhat selfish vein, I wish I could have seen some of the really fine jewelry she had disposed of. I can imagine how much she was ‘ripped off’.

    1. Wow… not knowing how to boil a turnip!… but, there are people today that actually only eat prepared food, dine out, take out, etc. I’m always shocked when I hear that. Like, did your mother teach you nothing???? There’s a gal on youtube and she focuses on canning food. But, her story made me cry. There was a time when they were very poor and she didn’t know anything about cooking from scratch. She said they had gotten to the point of eating boxed Hamburger Helper without the hamburger. I thought, MY WORD, that stuff is expensive compared to “real food”. I was very fortunate in that my mother, her mother, her grandmother were good cooks and always cooked from scratch. I did too and there were times we were so poor, but my children always were fed because of those skills I was taught. My children are good cooks too now. Thankful for that. This is an area we can certainly teach others during this time.

      1. When I did Farmers Markets I had to explain to people how to cook broccoli etc. Many people have zero idea how to cook from scratch let alone grow the stuff in the first place.

        1. Ani,
          I had a fantastic day today!! All I did all day long was cook food for my family (Us, mom and dad and my brother).

          Made 3 Lasagnas, a whole bunch of meatballs, a huge dish of honey BBQ chicken and a giant dish of bowtie pasta with Alfredo sauce ,diced chicken & spinach.

          I love to cook and I have to say this was the best day I have had in a while.

          Rock on!

          1. Sounds like you got to spend some time in your “happy place”. That’s always good but especially right now. Was hoping to get out and snowshoe but stayed in and did my taxes instead. Hopefully tomorrow!

  9. A very timely article with lots of things to think about. Our farm/ranch community is totally unknown except to the CO-OP, USPS, FEDEX and UPS delivery people. Our worry is that most of this community has grown children which may come home to roost and some of them are undesirable. We do have some younger families which commute an hour to work which could bring illness. But, we have a sheriff in the next property over, a nurse down the road, and everyone owns a bunch of guns. We have talked about felling some huge trees about 5 miles down the road to block non-residents and the other way out is so well hidden even a GPS doesn’t show directions for it.

    For us, the house, barn and gardens are completely fenced and extra hot wires added with no trespassing signs. We have six outdoor 100+ pound dogs which would sound the alarm, three of which scare the heck out off the delivery folks. Plus there are other options to discourage unwanted visitors.

  10. “We all have our chainsaws ready to go in case we need to ‘close’ a road”….and. ..Just ordered a set of bio-hazard signs”….are great ideas! Funny to read and contemplate……Now’s the time to dig a hand-jack well, if possible. Think on placement of gardens/away from eyesight… ready to share the bounty and the faith, with those who need……Brushing up on how-to medical and preventatives. We pray for revival, repentance, and turning to the Savior, Jesus Christ.

  11. I work in underground construction, living and traveling in a 5th wheel all over FL. About 8 months from finishing a five year goal to pay off our house in north AL.
    So there’s no real stocking up or building defenses for us. More tools and weapons type planning.
    Since this work is considered essential, I’m still at the job. If that stops, or my Army Reserve unit calls us up (got the “stand by to stand by” messages this week – 72 hour alert) then we’ll store the camper and go home, where we’re about 10 miles from the midway point on I-65 between Normingham and Nashville.
    It’s a pretty heads-up area though, and a lot of family.
    Sometimes you have to assume a certain amount of risk to accomplish a mission. In this case, working out of state to make it across the retirement finish line.

    1. Line Doggie,
      I wish you well on making it across the retirement finish line in good shape and as planned. I am interested to know your feelings about following any “unconstitutional ” orders as an Army reserve soldier. Do you have a pulse for what others in your unit may think along these lines ?
      Stay safe on your journey.

      1. I’d say it depends on the unit. I’ve been enlisted active, enlisted reserve, then commissioned guard, active and reserve. 8 months to mandatory removal date.
        Currently a staff officer in a field hospital, not medical myself. I’ve been in a wide variety of units-generally the more high-speed the unit, the more conservative its soldiers are. People will generally follow orders, I imagine.
        The phrase that pays is DSCA – Defense Support to Civil Authorities. Here in the US military authority falls under NORTHCOM, which is everything north of Guatamala and Belize, excepting the Caribbean.
        Units can be tasked with helping restore or maintain civil order, it happened sometimes in the 60s and again after Katrina.
        Determination of legality would fall to legal officers, the Judge Advocate General Corps.
        Constitutionality? Who knows. It apparently means whatever courts claim it means. The 4th Amendment means unlimited abortion when there’s no connection to it and simultaneously allows nearly unlimited surveillance – which it explicitly forbids.

  12. A great article and some insightful comments. Living on a 2 lane state road off the main horde route. A process that has been set up is one team would go each direction and take down any signs that show highway numbers, cities in that direction, etc. Take them off at ground level so the majority won’t know what, if anything, was ever there. The less diversion of thought, the more the horde stays on the main route. Love the BIO signs.

    1. Your Humble Editor chiming in: Vermont has always had permitless concealed carry. (Hence the “Vermont Carry” term.) But sadly, the state recently banned private party sales of modern guns. (Pre-1899 guns and some in-family transfers are exempt.)

  13. I live in a small town in rural area near a larger more expensive town. what that means is the town where I live is where the less wealthy people choose to live. A mixed blessing, mostly good people but a lot of beat up old RVs parked on forest roads with trash around them. These are the people we sometimes see with a sign panhandling at an intersection. I doubt these people have any food put away to last out the restrictions and panhandling has dried up. These are the people I worry about not some possible escape from Portland or Seattle. They are already here and they know where stuff is and where vulnerabilities are.

  14. JWR,

    I’ve been reading your blog pretty much daily since 2008. I read through all your initial posts where you offered stories of sample couples and their preps and how you might advise them to bolster a weak area. I read well into the night for weeks like a good book I couldn’t put down. Systems and trends. The theme was “Survival is optional” Nobody owes you anything. 2008 came and went, 2011 ‘unemployed’ for 18 months, 2016 and here we are in 2020. If I have learned anything: Calm down. keep a level head. Resolve not to lie cheat or steal from anyone ever, give generously & wisely, plant a garden, I raised meat rabbits for 3 years, pray often. Be frugal, skills are way more desirable than stuff, and there are good reasons to fight for. So thank you for using your platform for good and not evil.

  15. Living in a rural area 75 minutes from a large city, I can attest that there was about a 48 hour lag before the “horde” mentality set around here, and/or the city folk discovered Rural King and Lowes sells toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Once it hit though, it hit hard.

    As far as not knowing how to “boil a turnip”, that is common place judging from what people were choosing to buy. The flour was wiped out, yet the yeast, baking soda, and baking powder were untouched. Milk and rice were decimated, yet there was plenty of cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, and farina still available.

    The most interesting observation was that the Amish store about an hour away did not experience panic buys or supply shortages. There use local Amish or Mennonite suppliers when able to, and don’t advertise. Their business is strictly word of mouth, and there usual customer base always buys baking supplies, meat, and deli cheese in large quantities.

    I still do not understand the toilet paper craze. Yes, it’s nice to have, but somewhere around here I have a bags of old t shirts and several yards of flannel cloth that will do is we’re ever that desperate.

  16. Garden visible to neighbors?

    Hedge of protection suggestions:

    Aronia, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, tall blueberries, a Belgian fence of pears or apples, elderberry, juneberry, buffaloberry, willow, Indian plum, plum thicket, pawpaw, forsythia, currant, gooseberry, throw in some tame and wild roses and goji or woodberry to add some thorn protection in addition to the seaberry thorns. I mixed a dozen varieties for a road screen. Pick the varieties that work for your location.

    1. Exactly what I’m planning on doing when I plant this year; raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, apple, plum and hazelburt have been ordered and hopefully arrive.

      1. In my experience, if you are starting from bare root stock (which is what I did because of the huge cost savings) the chokecherries will grow faster and fill in thicker than raspberries, wild plum, aronia, or currants.

        1. Just as an aside, my former father in law in Winnipeg Canada, a real one of a kind guy, used to make chokecherry wine. It wasn’t just good, it was fantastic! Very dry, like chianti, and well worth the effort!

  17. This is a great article Ani. You brought up many things to consider about one’s home and how to protect it and the folks within from intruders. Thinking outside the normal box with common sense will pay dividends.
    As was mentioned , there is no perfect place, we must make do with what we have whether it’s an apartment or a 50 acre spread. Thanks again.

  18. Thank you all for the kind words and great comments. I hope this has been useful. It arose out of my considerations for what I was looking for in a home, what I could actually afford and then how to assess and consider both the positives and negatives of the location I decided upon. As some have also noted, most of us will never find the “perfect” location. We just need to go into it with our eyes as wide open as possible and understand the weaknesses inherent in the chosen locale and what we can do to strengthen it as best as we can.

  19. Backhoe, bulldozer to move into place large boulders, look up military checkpoints.
    Advance to be recognized.
    Serpentine pattern boulders….
    These things may possibly be needed in neighborhoods / communities.
    Only locals in – show drivers license with local address.
    Read Jim’s books again – he details some of this.
    Problem is knowing when to pull the trigger on these measures.
    Closing a road is frankly illegal. Either seek authority to do so from local civil servants – or if they are incompetent like some are, perhaps turn to your sheriff.
    Probably to get support for something like this, raiders would need to be known to be operating in your area.
    Recon is important once these stations are set up. Manpower will be hard.
    You will need sentries hidden before the checkpoint to radio in – and you will need hidden gun positions providing cover for those manning the checkpoints. Watch for crossfire. Remember when there is someone at the checkpoint – you need to have someone who is not watching the checkpoint, but instead checking the surroundings.
    Watch for liberal socialists trying to take power in a neighborhood…. that might be the single most dangerous thing.
    Lets all pray to God we don’t need anything close to this.

  20. I just finished replying to the census on-line. So a little warning is due. They have my and my wife’s full name, address, telephone number AND if they choose to they would have Id information on the computer I used. You all do know that your IP address is available every time you send something over the internet. So the census has now created a better connection between you, your address, your telephone number and everything you have ever done on the internet. Just saying…

    1. My advice SurvivalBlog readers as a non-attorney: When you get the “online filing” announcement (on paper) in the snail mail, just call the phone number on that page an insist that they mail you a hard copy form. BTW, I’ve never heard of anyone getting charged or fined for a making a partial response to a U.S. census. Per the U.S. Constitution, you only need to respond with the number of people residing on your property. Period. If they ask for more, just respond with “I’m exercising my Fifth Amendment right”, until they relent.

      1. According to One Nation Under Surveillance (Boston T. Party) the last time anyone was charged with not answering the census was 1960. The fine for violating the unconstitutional law requiring you to answer the whole census form is also apparently only 50.00 anyway. I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know Boston T. Party’s sources so take this with a dose of salt.

        1. Please excuse me as I recalled this incorrectly. The fine is actually up to 100.00 dollars. I was confused because two people were fined in 1960 and it was 100.00 dollars total. I had divided and figured that they were each fined 50.00 dollars. I reread this section this morning and found out that my assumption was incorrect. Sorry!

      2. @JWR

        Yup. I only just answer the number of people question as that’s what’s legally required. Had a census worker show up once to try to get more info but I held firm and she left. Gonna do it again this time.

      3. JWR,
        Got ours (myself & husband) last week & mom and dads this week. On the notification it says if you haven’t filled it out online with the stupid tracking number they give you, in a few weeks they will send you the paper questionnaire.
        I will wait for the paper one & then just state how many people & nothing else.

        BTW , I heard yesterday that Illinois is extending the deadline another year to get your “real ID”. I won’t get one at all.

        STILL waiting to receive my renewed FOID card. Wonder if that will ever happen

      4. Regarding the census, last time they went out, we just responded with the number of people living at our home. They sent out a representative to do an in-person interview, but they could not get past our gate and large dogs, and we did not respond to their calls. A few days later, they tried again. We were in the midst of a large family party when they showed up. We met them at the gate and refused all questions except the number of people. They asked if it was ok for them to assume that the kids they saw were ours (there were at least 15 kids running around). We told them they could assume all they wanted, but that they would most likely be incorrect. They then asked us to sign the form, and tried to hand it through the gate. We didn’t take it, but we did see that they had written across the top “Could not access property due to barbed wire enclosure”. We don’t have barbed wire (just a plain chicken wire fence), but it would be a nice improvement, Thanks for the idea!

  21. So, as I sit here and read through the comments, I am thinking of the word “hordes”. This was mentioned several times. What comes to my mind is a very large group (maybe 100+) of individuals. So when was the last time you heard of a very large group of individuals all working together for the common goal of taking your stuff? In today’s world, I can’t imagine that three strangers could even work together – let alone a whole horde.

    No ill will or criticism intended here to anyone. It just made me laugh picturing this large group of people all peacefully and diligently working together to do bad things to others – while they all whistle a happy little tune!

    1. Think back to Hurricane Katrina. There were literally hordes of people committing crimes. They weren’t necessarily working together. So what I think “hordes” means in the context we use it is large groups of people roaming around in search of food and anything else they can get. There will be one or two together or three or four and more depending on their symbiotic value to each other. But as a whole to the community under siege it will simply be hordes.

    2. Organized of not, they are coming. A trickle now, but a torrent after the hospitals are FULL.


      “A group in Maine is tracking who is traveling up Interstate 95 into the northern part of the state in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

      Members of Down East Emergency Medicine Institute are counting the license plates of folks driving north on I-95 past the Kelly Road every day at around 4:45 p.m.

      “We’re seeing large increases in the populations of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and one particular day before New York was locked down, we saw a large surge of people who came out of New York,” DEEMI Executive Director Richard Bowie said Wednesday. “This is concerning to us because of the infected folk that are coming from New York City that have been infected that are then traveling up here to find someplace of respite up in the woods.”

      He added, “We’re seeing, you know, RVs, and campers and people’s cars loaded with camping gear. It’s very early in the year for that to be happening.”

      1. JWR Thanks for the link. Most of those flatlanders think “northern Maine” is Augusta, the more venturous think Bangor. Made it a point to go roughly an hour beyond that,in a small town thet may or may not show on many maps.

        Suggestions for those thinking of moving here (or anywhere rural for that matter) get involved with the community, keep your mouth shut about how you did things where you came from( if it was so great move back there). I learned more in my first year here than I ever thought about, and I’ve been prepping for 20 years. Town gov’t, volunteer fire dept, help out your neighbors and ASK for advice. I escaped from MA 20 yrs ago, happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Surrounded by like minded people,already planning for invasion. Only thing missing is our kids/grandkids and they’ve been given passes to get them to us,once they get close. Anyway thanks for the advice, good atricle and comments. DTTNWO

    3. In Downtown Chicago (and if I remember correctly) and other larger cities in recent months/years there is a problem of so called “flash mobs “ of teenagers/young adults swarming into businesses and overwhelming the employees on staff to steal items. They have also “Flash mobbed “ people to grab their cell phones, purses, bags , Ect.

      I myself would categorize these despicable acts as “hordes”

      Have a Rockin great day!

  22. We already have hordes. Unorganized, big mobs, but all after the store stuff. So far.

    Give the released criminals a few weeks to get a loose organization operating together. I just did a ride along with a city LEO yesterday in a town 10 miles from us and got freshly updated.

  23. Thank you, Burt. Toppling cell towers, blowing bridges, heard all of this before. Really? People fleeing disease are not Chinese shock troops. They’re Americans. Sure, if you must defend yourself from an immediate threat, do so. But frightened people are mostly going to stay where they are familiar. Home.
    People found sabotaging infrastructure should be shot on sight. We’ll need these things later.
    BTW, a pickup truck can carry a LOT of fuel. My Ford can make 600 miles on a tank, and a lot more with a drum of fuel in the bed. 4,000 miles with a trailer full of supplies.
    We’re a long way yet from emptying cities and besieging ranches.
    Besides, how dangerous can people who can’t boil a turnip be?

    1. @ Paul

      “Besides, how dangerous can people who can’t boil a turnip be?”

      Not exactly sure of the culinary skills of the residents of Chicago, Baltimore and other lovely places such as those but they do seem to be capable of being quite dangerous to each other. Sadly, it will more than likely be people who lack basic skills and knowledge who will turn to looting and stealing from others through force when they can’t just pick up a burger at McDonald’s.

  24. Also – on all of this – it just occurred to me when reading all of this… it’s not much a Christian welcome.

    Not every citydweller will be steeped in sin and evil. Some will be good Christians.
    Some will be agnostic and have a vague sense of wrong and right. With the right Christian welcome and shown the right way to help in your communities, they may make good pandemic neighbors.
    Remember, Jesus ate with the tax collectors
    Mark 2:13-17

    Godbless and pray fervently for guidance in your preparations.

    1. @ Tom

      With all due respect, I think many people who read and comment on this site are happy to try to help others, teach others skills and be good neighbors. Many if not most of us donate to charity. I don’t think “every citydweller will be steeped in sin and evil”. But it would be hopelessly naive of me not to recognize the risk that a panicked population fleeing what they perceive to be a dangerous place be it a pandemic as now, civil unrest, a depleted food supply or whatever could present to those of us who by choice, live elsewhere. Many of us don’t live in the city where we would have better paying jobs, access to never-ending entertainment and a staggering array of shopping opportunities. By choice we live in a more rural locale, piece a living together and are generally content to utilize what we can for shopping and entertainment. So if panicked people start showing up in droves at this point, they can not only bring the virus with them to our small communities with our tiny hospitals but many also, as already evidenced, commence to do major shopping hauls. Many of our grocery stores are already severely depleted. We can’t manage to feed the population of NYC or wherever that may decide to flee to their idea of safety. And maybe you have enough stored up to feed endless numbers showing up at your door and needing food and supplies but I suspect many of us just don’t. I keep some extra food around so I can help out a few extra people. I purchase and donate food to the food pantry. I have some extra copies of useful books that can be loaned or given to people trying to figure out how to garden, can or live through a situation like this. I’m always willing to teach gardening, canning or other necessary skills. I can’t personally help or feed millions of people. And where on earth will these people all live? I have a small 2 bedroom house and both rooms are spoken for.

      Truly what is needed is to get our government to act responsibly, tell the truth, keep the peace, help the medical system with needed supplies and ensure people don’t lose their homes right now. And gong on from here we need to encourage preparedness in the general population. Being a “prepper” needs to stop being a joke. Preppers need to advocate so that we are not perceived as paranoid fruitcakes hoarding our ammo and beans. We desperately need to reposition what we do and why we do it as prudent and necessary. And that will also mean trying to stop the TV shows and articles that always focus on the extreme fringe survivalist sort that makes people shy away from preparedness.

      1. I agree with you Ani. I’m in much the same situation – by choice living in a more rural location, donating to charity until it hurts, and willing to teach and help those who have woken up at the 11th hour.
        My wife and I are part of a large hospital system – so the virus may be knocking hard for us.
        I also agree with the concern about either the golden hoard, and especially gangs of raiders or looters – I wrote a post about that above.
        Your article was a great read for me – and for the comments it seems like many others enjoyed it too – thank you and Godbless.

  25. SaraSue, “Like did your mother teach you nothing?” That is a very good point….yes, her mother did teach her something, what her customs and society had taught her!! “We don’t do things that the PEASANTS do, we are better than that.” Well we see it in our society, what are you wearing, what do you drive, what do you mean you aren’t on social media? It’s only a matter of degree and perspective and what is REALLY important.

  26. I have already removed and concealed the well box, bucket and rope from my hand-dug , spring-fed well which is visible from the county road to keep some idiot from contaminating it. I have chased away people who were just “looking around” including a pair of middle-aged women who were trying to force their way into a log cabin which I own. They had seen the cabin on the previous weekend but couldn’t get in. So they returned with a crow-bar! City people have this strange idea that anything in the countryside is theirs for the taking and have no respect for other’s property.

  27. Ani, I am new around here and would be interested in reading more about your search for a new home. As you had mentioned in part 1, that this has been written up elsewhere on the site, I would be grateful if you can share a link as to where I can read more.

    Thank you for the thought provoking and educational article as well as for stimulating the wonderful comments that followed.

    Best Regards!

  28. Great article Ani – thanks! I saved it to my collection of good Survival Blog articles. It sounds like we have somewhat similar situations. We’re in a rural farm area that is two turns off a main road which is a two-lane state highway, and we are visible from the road. We also have PV panels which are visible as well, so that puts us more at risk. We are seven miles from a town of about 7,000 and 30 miles from a metropolitan area of about 200,000. One take away from your article is to hide my firewood, which I have some sitting out and drying outside currently. Ideally, I would like to move to some nearby rural areas that are 4-5 turns off the main road and also on dead end roads. My wife will not be happy about that idea, but I will be watching for real estate signs in some of those primer areas. Best to you!

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