Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Is the American tradition of self-reliance disappearing? That’s a painful question for conservatives to ponder. After all, we’re dedicated to reducing the role of government and promoting individual freedom and opportunity. But the facts, while sad, are clear: More Americans today depend more heavily on government than ever before.” –Edwin Feulner

Note from Jim:

I just added a seventh Retreat Owner Profile. (For “Mr. and Mrs. Yankee.”) I’d appreciate getting some more profiles to show greater diversity of geography, finances, and retreating approaches. How about someone from the South? Or someone from overseas? Send ’em in! (I’ll handle the editing and fictionalizing/de-attribution.)

In Town Versus Isolated Retreats

There are two distinct modes of fixed location survival retreats: ”In Town” and “Isolated.” The former depends on some local infrastructure while the latter is designed to be almost entirely self-sufficient and self-contained. Isolated retreats are also often termed “remote” retreats. Not everyone is suited to tackling the tasks required for self-sufficiency. Advanced age, physical handicaps, lack of trustworthy family or friends, or chronic health conditions could rule that out. If that is your situation, then you will probably want to establish an inconspicuous “in town” retreat rather than an isolated “stronghold” retreat. If opting for “in town,” buy a masonry house with a fireproof roof on an oversize lot. (Make that wood frame construction if you live in earthquake country.) Carefully select a town with a small population—somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 if it has a true “end to end” gravity fed water supply, or from 200 to 1,000 if the water system is in any way dependent on the power grid. (The 1,000 upper limit is for fear of sanitation problems.) IMO, towns and larger than 3,000 lack a cohesive sense of “our community”, and any town with a population smaller than 200 would lack a sufficient mix … Continue reading

In Town Versus Isolated Retreats

The late Mel Tappan wisely opined that if your house is at the end of dead end of a road at the edge of town with no close by neighbors, then it might just as well be five or ten miles out of town–since it will be psychologically outside of the invisible ring of protection that will constitute “in town.” Post-TEOTWAWKI, the “we/they” paradigm will be forcefully if not painfully obvious. If you are “in town” you will benefit from a de facto Neighborhood Watch on Steroids. Make sure that your retreat is either clearly “in town”, or not. A property that is halfway in between will have none of the advantages and all of the disadvantages. Tappan championed the concept of “small town” retreating: owning a mini-farm that is physically and psychologically inside of an existing small community. This approach has several advantages. Before making your decision, consider the following pro and con lists: Advantages of “In Town” Retreats: Better for a slow slide scenario or a “grid up” depression wherein the local agricultural and industrial payrolls may still be viable. You will be a member of the community. You will benefit from local security arrangements. Ready access to … Continue reading

Count the Access Roads

A town situated in a hilly or mountainous region is preferable to one on open plains in the event of a worst case. Why? If and when roadblocks are needed to turn back the tide of refugees and looters, then towns on plains simply have too many vehicular ingress routes. By comparison, hill or canyon towns are typically limited by terrain to having just a few ingress routes. If the situation dictates that each ingress road must have defensible roadblocks, each manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week by three to 10 armed men, then the manpower requirements will jump considerably in towns with level terrain. Count the access roads and do the math!

Practical and Tactical Vehicles

Buy vehicles that will blend in day-to-day, but that will be eminently practical WTSHTF. Say, for example, a crew cab 4WD pickup with range tanks, towing package, and a camper shell. Select one with both the body and camper shell in flat earth tone colors–like a forest green body with a tan shell. Do not get a vehicle in a camouflage paint scheme. That will instantly brand you as the local whacko. Stock up on some cans of flat brown, green, and black paint to use to paint over the chrome trim, but only do so after the balloon goes up. Buy a military surplus camouflage net and support system for each vehicle. Why? Read my novel Patriots and it will be abundantly clear.

Modifying Your Retreat House: The Basics

Before I go into detail on how to make you retreat/home nor defendable (as I will in subsequent posts), here are a few basics: Buy a house with at least one more bedroom than you currently need, preferably with a full basement. (Proviso: A basement only if the local water table level will allow this without aid of an electric sump pump. It must have a “dry and tight” basement!) Stock up on extra tools, sturdy clothes, food, guns, web gear, and necessities for family and friends that will surely show up on you doorstep on TEOTWAWKI+1. Don’t do anything externally visible that might tip looters that they can “get your supplies here.” Put in an oversize vegetable garden, preferably out of line of sight from the street. Ring the garden with flowerbeds and some tall flowering shrubs to make the garden look more decorative than practical to the casual observer. Get a big, quiet, mean-looking (but obedient) guard dog. I tend toward Airedales (the largest of the Terriers) and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Both are fairly large breeds with loyal, and highly territorial temperaments. Note , however, that selecting a dog breed is a very personal choice. Your Mileage May Vary … Continue reading

The “No Paperwork” AR-15

A tip of the hat to The Rascal for pointing me to this URL for 80% complete AR-15 receiver kits and completion tools/jigs/instructions. This could prove useful if you live in a State that has registration requirements for “private party” gun purchases, but not for home built guns. Consult your State and local laws before ordering! You should also order through a drop box to avoid a paper trail. To U.S. readers: Resist the urge to drill an extra hole above the selector switch hole. With practice, you can squeeze your trigger finger very rapidly with just semi-auto. There is NO REASON to risk a five year stay at the Gray Bar Hotel and the permanent loss of your gun ownership and voting rights! I’m dead serious about this. OBTW, I’m not a great fan of Mouse Guns. However, they do have their purposes, most notably for use by children, the elderly, and anyone confined to a wheelchair. Also keep in mind that AR-15 receivers can be used for more than just building a .223 AR-15. For example, the Ferret .50 kit (.50 BMG single shot) requires NO FFL. Nor does the BRP Guns MG-42 (semi-auto belt fed) kit. Both … Continue reading

Letter: A Book Recommendation

Dear Mr. Rawles; Nice to see your Blog. As a recommendation, try an older book, titled “Five Acres and Independence ” by M.G. Kains, B.S., M.S. It was first published in 1935, updated in 1940 and 1948, But still very relevant! You can find it on Advanced Book Exchange for very low prices. It outlines exactly what your wife has advised for breeding livestock, as well as similar programs, even for corn and vegetables, as well as fruit trees. Well worth the low cost as a second hand book. – P.W.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." – Robert Heinlein

Note from Jim:

I have considerably expanded the SurvivalBlog Glossary. You may find a few of the entries entertaining as well as informative. Batman Fantasy Land (SA: Retreating Options) You should discard any fantasies that you might have had about strapping on a backpack and disappearing into nearby National Forest to “live off the land.” IMHO, that is an invitation to disaster. Too many things can go wrong: You will lack sufficient shelter. You will not be able to carry enough food reserves. Your one rifle and your one pistol, and your one axe, once lost or broken will leave you vulnerable and unable to provide for your sustenance or self defense. Any illness or injury could be life threatening. Even just a dunking in a stream in mid-winter could cost your life. Also, consider how many thousands of urbanites will probably try to do the same thing. Even if you manage to avoid encounters with them, those legions of people foraging at once will quickly deplete the available wild game in many regions. Furthermore, on your own you won’t be able to maintain sufficient security. (You must sleep, after all!) For countless reasons, playing “Batman in the Boondocks” just won’t work. So … Continue reading

Vehicular Retreating

“Land mobile” retreating in a recreational vehicle (RV) is another invitation to disaster. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, a fixed location retreat is vastly superior to going mobile. IMO, the myth of ”Road Warrior” mobility and firepower is in actuality just an expanded opportunity to wander into ambush after ambush. No vehicle short of a $70,000+ Cadillac Gage V100 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC) would have both the cargo capacity and the ballistic protection required. (A little Ferret scout car just doesn’t have the capacity. I speak from personal experience on that!) Also, consider that you would need a pair of APCs to provide mutually supporting defensive fire. And then of course you will probably want a belt-fed for each. With spares and accessories that is an additional $3,000 per vehicle. If by chance you already have a fully stocked retreat established and have $150,000 in cash laying around for a couple of ultimate G.O.O.D. vehicles, see: Dave Uhrig’s website and then click on “Armor”. (I should mention that I have done business with Dave Uhrig on two occasions. He is quite reputable.) Note: I will discuss survival vehicles in greater detail in blog posts later this year. Here is a … Continue reading