Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim, Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two. Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes. Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the …




Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim, Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two. Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes. Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the …




(Josephine and JacksonRecommended Region: The Rogue River Valley Counties, Southwest Oregon)

Concentrate on small towns that are off of Interstate 5, such as Gold Hill and Jacksonville. Josephine County crops: Hay, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, berries, garlic, and herbs. Statistics (for Central Point): Average high temperature in August: 90. Average low temperature in January: 30.8. Growing season: 165 days (1st of May to mid-October). Average snowfall in January: 3.2”. Median residential home price: (Rogue River): $145,000. Median residential home price: (Gold Hill): $135,000. Advantages: Mild climate with a long growing season. Upwind from all potential nuclear targets in CONUS. Disadvantages: Proximity to California’ s Golden Horde. All …




Letter from Bob in England Re: England’s Lack of Retreat Potential

Dear Mr Rawles: Greetings from the UK. Thanks for the very interesting website. I have your book which I’ve read a few times now. I must admit to a certain envy with the potential you have over there to prepare for the possible difficult times ahead. Just as an exercise and to make some of the people living in even the most restrictive states feel not quite so bad I thought I’d do a run down in your style for England the ‘state’ in which I live. As you will know the United Kingdom is made of (leaving aside the …




Letter Re: Google’s Aerial Topographic Map Site and Idaho

Jim, Another very neat -very free resource that is out there is the Google Earth program. It is available through www.downloads.com. Many of the aerial photos that are used are substandard or old. However much of Eastern Washington and a lot of Northern Idaho contain the most up to date and detailed color aerial photos. This program also allows you to drop down to above the Earth’s surface and move around like you are flying. It also uses some topo functions to view the surface in relief. This tool may be very handy and useful for many scouting out the …




Letter Re: Rural New York

Hi, As you say, the northeast is not so good for a variety of reasons. However, if one has to stay in that area for family, work or any number of other reasons there are areas where one can be more secure than you might expect. For example, I live in Central New York State. Our place is more then 40 miles in any direction to an interstate highway. The entire county has a population of just over 51k and a population density of about 57 per square mile. Most of this is concentrated in a few larger towns at …




Letter from Bob in England Re: England’s Lack of Retreat Potential

Dear Mr Rawles: Greetings from the UK. Thanks for the very interesting website. I have your book which I’ve read a few times now. I must admit to a certain envy with the potential you have over there to prepare for the possible difficult times ahead. Just as an exercise and to make some of the people living in even the most restrictive states feel not quite so bad I thought I’d do a run down in your style for England the ‘state’ in which I live. As you will know the United Kingdom is made of (leaving aside the …




From The Memsahib–Moving Back to the Land, “Successfully”

In the 1970s there was a well-publicized “Back to the Land” movement. Hundreds of thousands of America’s young generation wanted the freedom of self-sufficiency. But most of them eventually returned to urban life. We can analyze their failures to avoid making the same mistakes. Happily, someone else has already done this for us! Eleanor Agnew’s book Back From the Land is a fairly detailed analysis of why the “Back to the Landers” went back to the big cities. Here is a summary of some of the conditions that led to their failures: 1. The realities of rural life were much …







Letter Re: AA and AAA Batteries by the “500 Pack”

I should point out that the battery offer by Botach is a high risk issue. Botach is a scum sucking bottom feeding scammer! Check the comments at subguns.com and Sturmgewher.com – They have a horrible reputation. I can also attest personally that they and have ripped me off (on an expensive rifle scope deal) as well as two of my associates (various rifle parts). I strongly encourage folks to slit their wrists before buying from Botach! – A.M. JWR Replies: Don’t hold back, A.M., tell us how you really feel! (Seriously, I appreciate your advice. I’ve removed that post.)




Stocking Your Retreat

Stocking a retreat is a complex series of tasks that should be done dispassionately. It will be expensive and may take several years, so make your purchases systematically and in strict order of priority. At present, the only items that I would recommend bumping up in priority would be the private acquisition of your core firearms battery. (One rifle, pistol, and shotgun for each adult family member, and a .22 rimfire rifle for each child.) With talk these days about “closing the gun show loophole” (requiring a paper trail on all gun purchases), this should be one of your top …




Start With a “List of Lists”

Start your retreat stocking effort by first composing a List of Lists, then draft prioritized lists for each subject, on separate sheets of paper. (Or in a spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me. Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography, climate, and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different list than someone living in the Rockies. As …




Family Ties as a Factor in Retreat Selection

Consider giving priority to a rural region where you have deep family roots. Even if you have just a few scattered relations in the area, if your surname is familiar then you will have the instant cachet of an “old timer“ in the eyes of most locals. So if you have relatives living in a rural area in any of my “Top 19” western states (you can refer to my posts about these states next week), then you might start your search there. That is something that would otherwise take a decade or more. To enhance these familial ties, get …




Zoning Laws, HOAs, and CC&Rs as Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale

“Homeowners Associations [HOAs] are the classic definition of a tyranny. HOAs are a level of government, with the power to tax, legislate, judge, and punish its citizens.” – Michael Reardon, as quoted at: http://www.ahrc.com To continue my train of thought on Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale… You will gain several advantages if you live outside of city limits. You will avoid city taxes. You will most likely be on well or spring water instead of city water. In many cities because of zoning laws it is illegal to drill your own water well–since the utility companies want to maintain …




Letter from “Doug Carlton” Re: The Trouble With Caretakers

Jim: One thing that I wanted to mention about your caretaker/renter post: In many states, if you charge any form of rent, then that person is a renter and has all the legal rights of such under the law. For any of your readers that are considering such an arrangement, I’d recommend they check with a lawyer that knows the rental law of their retreat’s area before going such a route. Laws differ greatly from state to state. One possible route is to provide a separate residence for the caretaker (like a small cabin, whatever) with defined boundaries, then an …