The Invisible Prepper, by Grey Woman

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.

Home

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).

Home-Based Work

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.

Vintage Car

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:

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. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. 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 transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

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, 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).

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.




110 Comments

  1. Good for you that you hae taken steps to provide for yourself. However, you are mistaken that other people of different beliefs than yours would classify you as a “deplorable”. That term was used by an atheist, democrat, liberal who railed against anyone not echoing her line of division, racism and soicialistic big government ruling every detail of a person’s life and property.

    Being prepared to take care of oneself without sitting around demanding government provide cradle to grave support is being a responsible, mature adult. It has nothing to do with religion or poltical party identity affiliation.

    You mistakenly assume people with different religious beliefs and political philosophy automatically label you as “deplorable”. Most people you group together as having different views from your own couldn’t care less about your personal views as long as those views don’t infringe on the natural boundaries of other’s rights to live as they want, just as you have choseen to live your life. So, congratulations of your fore sight to take care of yourself, just leave your labeling of others out of your sharing of information, please

    1. Registered Democrat: That reminded me of something. I am and always have been since 1964 a registered Democrat. I vote in every election and have in fact voted for a couple of Democrats. But I am a right wing (not far right wing, whatever that is) conservative. My father was married during the depression and tried to get one of the jobs the federal government created for men out of work. But the program was managed by state politicians and all of them were Democrats. If you weren’t a registered Democrat you sat on the waiting list for ever. I learned then that there was one party that was discriminatory and one party that was weak and ineffective. Without ever having heard the term I became a grey man.

    2. I apologize for any misunderstanding caused by my choice of words.

      I was not saying that anyone would call me a “deplorable”, nor was I using that label for anyone else. Frankly the reference didn’t occur to me. I was using the word in its original meaning i.e./ feel or express strong disapproval of (something) and I see that I was actually, in trying to make a point about generalizations and assumptions, making my very own ignorant generalization and assumptions about how others might feel about my beliefs and political philosophy.

      Thank you for pointing that out. I stand corrected.

  2. But if and when the balloon drops and marauders come searching they will find you and if you don’t have at least a half dozen people behind you with rifles you will succumb to them.

    1. That might be true and it might not. More depends on where you are not who you are (or how many) The simple fact is that they will come looking for YOU too and the half a dozen people in your group as well. Don’t be naive. Everyone thinks they are tough, everyone can talk a great talk, but after a ‘real’ SHTF everyone is a potential target and more will die than will live and it is just as possible that one person will be less of a target than six. Every person in your group is a opsec liability not to mention a potential threat themselves. It is human nature.

  3. Thank you for your article. You have achieved what many falsely profess, the ultimate gray man/woman. I agree that the prepper community can look through jaded eyes as much as the sheeple. Your lifestyle also seems to include friends and loved ones, but not going out will also keep others from recognizing your “hidden talents.” If you wanted to meet other like minded preppers, are you willing to go outside your sphere of influence, thereby possibly exposing your gray persona? I would wish you the best, but you seem to have things well covered.

  4. Great job with the prepping, but your attitude sucks. Very presumptuous, confrontational, and ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Good luck with the lone wolf scenario.

  5. Kinda funny how you point a finger at preppers for having preconceived notions about you, while spouting a bunch of preconceived notions about them. What a shock…a Californian who thinks she is smarter and better than the rest!

    1. Gosh, I went back and re-read it three times. I didn’t see the part about being from California. Was that a preconceived notion or just an example of stereotyping?

      P.S. You’d be surprised about how many preppers are in California.

  6. Congrats! You have established yourself as “grey” as grey can be. You would be overlooked even by us “preppers” running around in 511 Tactlite pants thinking we are under the radar.

  7. Congrats! You have established yourself as “grey” as grey can be. You would be overlooked even by us “preppers” running around in 511 Tactlite pants thinking we are under the radar.

  8. I commend you for your move to the County. But you are a bit naive to think you are fooling folks in your area. You might be surprised that your neighbors are old hands at making soap, growing food, and using dogs to ‘ mind the store’ while we go to town, for generations.. With all due respect, hiding your vegetable garden made me literally laugh out loud. We who grow gardens know the real enemies, furry critters that walk on all fours, Hiding your chicken coop?..A sure sign that you come from somewhere else other than the Country. Another hint, You are advertising your inexperience by burning fires that smoke, a proper fire doesnt smoke. A little friendly advice from a fellow pepper, tone down the paranoia, introduce yourself to your neighbors when the opportunity presents it’s self. Prepping means you also have good neighbors who have your back.

    1. Lo, Thank you for the constructive criticism. I appreciate it and take it to heart. I am certainly not as experienced as many of you here and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. Just so you don’t think I am total moron, I did not mean that I have “hidden” anything, just that some creative landscaping and the natural layout of my property have enabled me to position my (fenced) gardens and chicken coop in such a way that they are not too far from the house and also not visible as a drive / walk by buffet or on view for casual visitors to my home. I have no doubt that if someone got that far onto my land, they would find them, that is unavoidable and would indeed be a bit silly to try to prevent it. My intention was to keep from presenting an obviously attractive target in the event that things go bad. I am working on the fire/smoke thing…

      1. Also should mention that “country” is a relative term, thus the quotation marks in the essay. Certainly far from the 1/4 acre in a subdivision arena but not quite amber waves of grain country…seems mostly transplanted suburbanites longing for the “country life” but without my secret squirrel skill set ;-).

  9. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    There is none that understandeth, there is none that
    seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way,
    they are together become unprofitable; there is none
    that doeth good, no, not one. For all have sinned, and
    come short of the glory of God;…For the wages of sin is
    death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
    Jesus Christ our Lord. And death and hell were cast into
    the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while
    we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That if thou shalt
    confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
    in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
    thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth
    unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is
    made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the
    name of the Lord shall be saved.

  10. I would start prepping for another event, eternity. Quite frankly and respectfully, you sound like you are completely lost. From personal relationships, to your outlook, to what you say your political beliefs are; you are lost. What you say does not match up with what you do. You have far bigger concerns and worries that what you are concerned and worried about. I pray you find the truth and grace of Jesus Christ and ever lasting life first and foremost. And then come to grips that you aren’t who you say you are or you’d be living completely different, at this point you are just shaking your fist but nothing lines up. You are broken. I hope you find the Healer. God bless

  11. There are actually a good number of accomplished/ successful individuals with a similar -“plan B”- prepraring for the what if’s. All your other political and ideological bags aside, being a woman alone does make for a deserved applause.
    Being alone on the other hand… is not an ideal destination. Like-minded family and friends make a community secure and comfortable. You are obviously in possession of needed skill sets, aside from the prep-skills, such as those you mentioned – planning and organization.
    My hope is that community is already part of your prep plans. Developing TRUST in others with skills you will never process is easier when things are good. Speaking of my own experience – I never realized what I didn’t have, until I needed it – be it a tool, a relationship or a God. LuvYerBro

  12. It is admittedly hypocritical as a professed, committed democrat to imply you’re protecting your goods with the very tools your party is committed to remove from your hands.

  13. Wow, reading all of these comments are quite disturbing. I was under the impression that this blog was frequented by live and let live Libertarian Conservatives. But apparently many are just the 2nd side of the same coin (i.e. I tolerate and accept all beliefs, so long as they mirror my own Conservative Christian outlooks, otherwise, I attack them). Of note, I am a conservative Christian who has no problem with anything this woman has said. I disagree with her political and religious points-of-view, but guess what….I assume she disagrees with mine. That’s ok! It’s still America…right? Why all the hostility?

    1. “Wow, reading all of these comments are quite disturbing. I was under the impression that this blog was frequented by live and let live Libertarian Conservatives. But apparently many are just the 2nd side of the same coin”

      + 100

      The Left doesn’t have a monopoly on intolerance, nasty authoritarianism, the stupid idea that virtue correlates with ideology, and — apparently — easily offended snowflakes.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-mju_gW3c8

  14. We’ve identified all the “democrat, atheist, liberal elite” people in our area, and if things go south, they’re all toast.
    Your smugness about what you’re doing makes me laugh. Good luck with that.

    1. Ned

      That sounds very Christian of you. Murdering your opponents and those of differing religious affiliation (and please don’t claim that’s not “what I meant”, we all know what you meant) is very Jihadist of you sir.

  15. Interesting. Notice how the vast majority of comments support you. It speaks volumes about the mindset of the lifestyle. We sometimes make the mistake of confusing “liberal” with “the left,” while sometimes true, not necessarily so. Many liberals I know are not left, just good hearted individuals whose values are to share their prosperity with those less fortunate, are fairly open minded and certainly not militant. I trust you fall into this category as those who are actively left and who live your lifestyle would be hypocrites… Nuff said.

  16. Congratulations on your preparedness. I think you were very brave in posting. Because from some of the comments you see the non-inclusionary nature of many in the prepper community. Deplorable? You never used the word. From California? No mention of it.
    Attitude sucks? Because you were honest about your beliefs and merely pointed out areas where there could be found common ground.

    To these people there is no common ground. Keep up what you are doing and don’t let the naysayers keep you from hanging around. I appreciate your posting.

    1. I agree. I am also an atheist, but I am neither 100% liberal nor 100% conservative, fiscally or socially.

      You are so correct that values and integrity are a function of character, not church membership. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who can’t seem to accept that people can be good, even if they don’t have a belief in a god. Even more unfortunate is the fact that some people’s characters lead them to do unchristian things, all the while professing to a Christian belief system.

      Since I believe this is the only life we get, and that there is no heaven or hell, I believe that it is my responsibility to treat everyone as I want to be treated.

      I have several friends who are Christian, but none of us tries to convert the other, or treats the other poorly for his or her beliefs or lack thereof. I don’t think poorly of my Christian friends for their beliefs, and although they have never said so, I can only think that if my Christian friends thought poorly of me for my lack of belief, we would not be friends. Unfortunately, not all Christians behave the same as my Christian friends. And while I don’t mean to single out Christians, I have friends and acquaintances of several different religious beliefs, and have met many more people of different religious beliefs, and I can honestly say that the only religious affiliation that has ever been a factor in someone’s bad behavior toward me has been Christian. No Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs or Pagans of my acquaintance has ever tried to convert me or has ever treated my lack of belief as something

      Can’t we all just get along? 🙂

      1. I think that in any group of people whether we define “group” by religion / lack of religion / political group / race / gender / nationality or really any criteria at all, there are a small segment that are so defined by their identity and beliefs as part of that group that they have difficulty imagining that those who don’t share the same identity and beliefs are not missing some vital component of what they view as acceptable.

        It is natural for all of us to have a harder time understanding that which is different from what we believe than that which is similar to what we believe and there are some for whom it is not possible.

        Hopefully open dialog, even when uncomfortable, can help us all to be more aware of our own inherent biases and assumptions and take action within ourselves to see beyond group identities and belief systems and find common ground where it exists.

        1. Wow, just re-read my response and realized how “on a self righteous soap box” I sounded. My point is that if the future gets as bad as we think it may, we are all going to need all of the help we can get and it might a good idea not to let ourselves be blinded by preconceptions (yes, myself very much included!).

          Someone told me that on this blog that there are no atheists in a fox hole. That may or may not be true. I would not presume to guess, but I am pretty sure that whoever is in that foxhole counts on each other regardless of religion, political party, race etc. to stay alive and get home safe.

          May we all get home safe.

  17. I am woman! Wow, the bitterness…..

    Good luck with ‘your world’, because as a ‘sincere atheist’ you acknowledge that this world is the best it’s going to get.

    ‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.’ Proverbs 16:18

  18. My only comment is I notice the lack of networking into your community. While no mention is made in the article, I suspect that in fact you do have some important ties to your neighbors and they would provide mutual support in the event of SHTF. Even grey man needs backup once in a while. For all your other considerations, if you didn’t make the outreach, that would be a fatal flaw in your design.

  19. Wineries, coastal liberal elite, 60 mile commute,wineries; to many this would indicate the Bay Area of CA, hence the references above.
    Good on you for your self-sufficiency! I applaud your move out of a city, your skills, your use of dogs for early warning, and your implied gray woman mentality.
    I take exception to your comment regarding “religious fervor”; just because I believe in a higher power and you don’t (which is ok for you), why is a modest belief a “fervor” in your mind?I would never condemn you for being a confirmed atheist …that is surely your business, but yet you use condemnation towards others…sounds like a CA atheist to me…
    (just kidding!)
    All in a all, an admirable article. I hope you join your community because you cannot remain awake 24hrs and if the worst comes, they will get you while you sleep. Don’t me an island alone.

    1. Thank you for your comment. After reviewing some of the more constructive comments, I reread my essay and realized that in trying to make a point about assumptions and generalizations, I was actually guilty of making my very own. I absolutely did not intend to condemn any ones religious belief or level of devotion and I regret my my poor choice of words and apologize that I gave that impression.
      I also appreciate the concern shown by you and others re/ the lack of mention in the essay of community and ties to others. I am, in fact, very fortunate in that regard and simply felt that theirs is not my story to share and not material to what I was trying, if poorly, to convey.

      And no, not California.

      1. Grey Woman,

        “realized that in trying to make a point about assumptions and generalizations, I was actually guilty of making my very own.”

        The fact that you are willing to accept constructive critique is notable.

        I am a follower of Jesus and hope that you would not instinctively shun me for that. I would be more than willing to make friends with you if I were your neighbor! I hope you are open to connecting and making friends with those whom you negatively label as “religious.” Not all of us are as annoying or ill-informed as you may think.

        Those whom you may consider as narrow-minded Christians have their own story to share. You will know them by how they love one another – that is a tell-tale sign! In fact, many have come to Christ after intensive, intellectual, and honest investigation. Many attempted to de-bunk the historicity of the bible or the resurrection. Grey Woman – there are good reasons to investigate a defeasible worldview. Claiming to be a good person, a righteous person, a gifted person without an objective foundation of truth is not a defensible position.

        1. It was never my aim to disparage anybodies religious affiliation or belief. I make no assumption good or bad about peoples character or level of education based on their religion or lack thereof. I was merely attempting (apparently not very well!) to demonstrate that while the majority of the prepper community seems to strongly identify as conservative christian, there are those of us out here that are dedicated to the ideals of preparedness, individual responsibility and self reliance that do not share that particular identity. My point was that although we may differ in religious or political affiliation, it is possible that we may share more common ground than is immediately apparent. I think it would benefit us all to be open to looking beyond the labels and into the individuals.

          1. Well said Grey Woman!

            “My point was that although we may differ in religious or political affiliation, it is possible that we may share more common ground than is immediately apparent” I concur. In fact, when we look deep inside, we see that there is something that binds us all together. Thus, we are called to love one another and that includes those who hate us.

            PEACE to you today!

      2. If you want to get rid of the smoke, try masonry heating wood stoves, preferably the kind that are solid soapstone. Soapstone outperforms all other materials in holding heat. Those silly little soapstone tiles on some woodstoves are not the same thing.

        They only need loading twice a day, are incredibly efficient, and meet emission standards.

        A masonry heating wood stove is NOT a standard wood stove. They are massive.

        Also, a concern for those who are getting older, if you trip and fall and land right on top of one that is burning at full blast, you will get bruises. Not burns. You can put your hand right on it while it is running (I have, not theoretical). It is uncomfortably warm, but that is all. You would not want to leave your hand there, but you could. Obviously, this makes them safe for small children too.

        There is a company in Glen Rock, New Jersey, that has a basic model that is good quality.

        1. Thank you so much. I will def. follow up on that tip. I currently have an old encore defiant the does the job heat wise but does require a bit more loading and seems to throw smoke no matter what I do!

  20. Wineries, coastal liberal elite, 60 mile commute,wineries; to many this would indicate the Bay Area of CA, hence the references above.
    Good on you for your self-sufficiency! I applaud your move out of a city, your skills, your use of dogs for early warning, and your implied gray woman mentality.
    I take exception to your comment regarding “religious fervor”; just because I believe in a higher power and you don’t (which is ok for you), why is a modest belief a “fervor” in your mind?I would never condemn you for being a confirmed atheist …that is surely your business, but yet you use condemnation towards others…sounds like a CA atheist to me…
    (just kidding!)
    All in a all, an admirable article. I hope you join your community because you cannot remain awake 24hrs and if the worst comes, they will get you while you sleep. Don’t be an island alone.

  21. You can keep your head down and still get to know your neahbors. If you’re polite to them then, in an emergency, they are more likely to cover your back.
    You can trade that soap you make for some beans and bulllets. Everybody beads somebody, sometimes.

  22. You are practicing self-reliance, a non-partisan virtue. So welcome, the more people who do this the better, each one of us makes for a stronger community and nation. But I am curious how you reconcile a lot of the liberal values with the choices you have made, especially in regard to your second amendment rights…necessary for self-defense and under virulent attack by your liberal compatriots..?

    1. I do no think that the Constitution is a partisan document nor that one has to be of any specific political party to respect it in it’s entirety. Unfortunately it seems like more centrist views, whether republican or democrat have largely disappeared from public discourse and we tend to make assumptions (myself included) about what view people may or may not have on a specific issue based on arbitrary labels. I do believe that we are all more complex and nuanced than that and that there is more common ground than most of us realize in today’s polarized political climate.

  23. Congrats on getting out of the city and moving to the country and for doing a great job getting yourself ready to survive. Also, kudos for hiding things in plain sight. I’m still working on that. I have not yet figured out how to keep the rooster from crowing and the hens from clucking when they lay their eggs. I’d love not to fence the garden but the critters would eat everything I plant if I let them. I would appreciate your sharing how you hide or disguise fire wood, because my 5 cords takes up a lot of space even though it is covered.

    I don’t care what political persuasion you are, what your gender is or your skin color, or whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim or anything else. I care about your character, honesty and integrity and whether you would be a good neighbor or if you would call the PC police on me if I put a nativity set in my front lawn or if I target shoot in my 50 acres.

  24. I too am the gray woman. It has nothing to do with politics or religion, even though on those points I’m your opposite. It has to do with survival, self-sufficiency and the feeling of security that such actions bring. My hubby is the “bring ’em on, I’ll stack them like cordwood” kind of guy, but in spite of what he says, he’s gray, too. Heck, we live in town, and people have trouble SEEING our house. Not because it’s hidden, but because it looks like every other house in the neighborhood. Nothing special. It blends, it’s boring, and they don’t see because they don’t look. I thought this was a good article. I especially liked the points that people can be allowed to believe what you’ve done is for more mundane reasons, and that appearances can be used to misdirect.

  25. Similar thoughts to many above: why such hostility toward Christians? My faith is fervent and I would welcome the opportunity to share it with you, but I follow Someone who said “love your neighbor as yourself”. I bear you no ill will and will assist you if I can despite our differences. I only hope you would treat me the same.

    1. Rick, thank you for your comment. It has been pointed out to me that my choice of words was quite poor and gave the impression that I am hostile or derisive towards those of faith. I apologize for inadvertently giving anyone that impression. While I do not share your faith, I respect it and never intended to cause insult or injury. Again, my apologies for any misunderstanding I may have caused.

  26. Your article was a fun read, and I thank you for sharing with us. But I hope you will reexamine the God thing missing from your narrative. A love relationship comes from a foundation based upon Gods love for us, which by free will he hopes we’ll reciprocate. I know you’re smart enough to examine empirical data and make a logical judgement. So carefully read the witness statements from first hand accounts in the Books of Matthew and John.

    Don’t get bogged down in debate how old the earth is. Read the witness statements for yourself. Jesus is real. He really is supernatural. And his love for us is supernatural and eternal.

    I prep for eventual death that comes to us all, and I have prepped for some earthly travails. God placed you here with a plan for you to be a companion to him. All else is vanity.

    I just prayed for your mind and heart to be opened, out of love for another earthly being. I further encourage you to get acquainted with any person who had that love for God at their center of life. It’s not about churches or religion so avoid arguing that rabbit trail. Its about your personal relationship with God.

    Another good place to gather wisdom is the book of Proverbs.

    I wish you eternal joy and happiness.

  27. Great article. I enjoyed reading this and am hopeful more similar articles can be submitted for reading. I would be classified as a redneck ,church going, bigot, however, I would be glad to pray for the author. And I would point out that most of my kind would be very glad to cut her wood, if her arm was in a sling, “tote” her water from the stream and fill her bucket, if her leg was in a cast and yes sit on her porch with my awful black rifle and run off the rif raft if they were trying to take her property if she ran out of ammo. You should get to know some of us and come over for beer.

    1. Thanks! You made me laugh in the midst of some of the unfortunate vitriol (and also a lot of wonderful words of encouragement and support) and I am sure it would be a pleasure to get to know you and yours and a beer certainly wouldn’t hurt right about now. Most of my kind would be happy to return the favor should there ever be a need.

      1. John Carter,
        I hope that I would be invited too. Grey Woman sounds like an interesting neighbor. Enough spunk to keep the conversation going and willing to step out of her comfort zone.

        Grey Woman — take the negative here with a grain of salt. It hurts but it won’t hurt you. Some of the critique is helpful and I can see that many are genuine words of care. I admire your grit! Thanks for posting.

        What about being alone in your venture? Personal question but do you ever have plans to share the work-load? I understand if you decline to answer.

        1. I have considered how to answer this. I intentionally left out any mention of ties or community one way or the other in my essay because the stories of others are not mine to tell and I did not feel that it was necessary to the point I was trying to make. That said, I do not consider myself to be a “lone wolf” or isolated. I do, however, feel that preparing a safe home, learning skills and stocking supplies for myself and those for whom I am personally and primarily responsible is my job and I work hard every day to make that happen to the best of my ability. Others have their own responsibilities and workloads and while we may have close ties and a foundation that will allow us to “have each others backs” as appropriate and necessary, I feel strongly that it is my duty to shoulder my own load and not depend on others or add to their burdens unless there is truly a need to do so.

          1. Grey Woman,

            It sounds like you are a woman with a strong constitution and many talents. I appreciate your willingness to respond very much!

            If no one will say it, I will be the first. I love you Grey Woman and will be praying for you. Nothing too specific….just for peace of mind and success in your endeavor. I do not want you to be alone (that is not a reference to marriage).

          2. You are so kind. Mostly I am just more than a little bit stubborn…I appreciate the wonderful sentiment and support. I wish all the same for you and yours. It is lovely to know that there are kind, supportive, encouraging and giving people here. Makes humanity not quite as bleak!

            Thanks again.

  28. I so appreciate each of you forthrightly expressing your opinion. As we have many things in common, so too, we have many disagreements. Makes for a flavorful dish.

    I would hope that the disagreements would stop at turning in our neighbor or directing thieves down the road to the “Grey lady’s house”.

    One of my favorite books remains Crunchy Cons. It’s been 10 years since the nationally syndicated columnist Rod Dreher penned, ‘Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)”. I was a fan of the book when it was published and am an even bigger proponent of the ideas Dreher is advocating today.

    Carry on.

  29. To the Gray Woman,

    I really do apprecciate you letting the readers know of your preps.

    I feel a SHTF scenario things would get quite rugged. This requires a family. That is why God made Men and Women. So everyone can be profficient in those universally valued roles. Hunter, Protecter, Cook, Etc, in no paticular order.

    A single person providing all roles will NOT suffice as well, as a traditional family working together. For Real.

    Personally, I don’t care for your Athesism. “There are NO athesists in foxholes”, is how the saying goes.

    If the SHTF, or I should say when, after all the heartache and sacrifice, I hope and pray my neighbor, is a God fearing , and loving Christian.

    I am also a current Military Member trained, ready; and experienced. As a Christian, Every day I pray to God to grant me the strength and wisdom to help as a Military Medic, whether it be taskings or a deployment.

    “NO Man (or Woman) is an island unto themselves. From potential initial confrontation, to firing rounds down range, to treating the injured once the fire fight is resolved. To getting the injured to an AeroVac team and then to the Trauma Surgeons, requires teamwork. This is a metaphor for healthy co-operation.

    One of the best ways to get a team on whatever level, is to go to Church.Ypu will find that those that attend are the most resilient in adverse times, myself included. For Real. God willing of course.

    Thanks again for your personal insight into prepardness in the event of the SHTF.

    I hope my words have helped. You need to find a personal connection to God, in my humble opinion. In many ways you are a tremendous person for what you have done so far. Keep on getting better.

    God Bless,

  30. Although I can appreciate the ‘gray man’ approach to your preparations, all that work means nothing. Unlike other comments commending your work I will not. You described yourself as an atheist and committed Democrat (would that include pro-abortion) and in same breath mentioned your values and character. The greatest prep one can make is accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. As a Christian, I would say it is because of my character that I need the Lord and Savior as my greatest prep. As a 30+ year military/police veteran with tours in Iraq/New Orleans before/during/after Hurricane Katrina (as the police), and deployments to various (usually nasty) place throughout the world, I opine the following; when the SHTF, you of no faith, and belief in your ‘character, values and preps’ will find things very difficult if not impossible. My faith and not my preps, not my rifle, not my platoon of Marines nor anybody, nor anything has equaled the comfort and the strength of the Lord to sustain me through some very difficult times. When the SHTF, you will be tested as I already have been on countless occasions. I will have the Lord to comfort me, to strengthen me. You will have two dogs and some thorny bushes. You will also have my prayers.

  31. To Scott,

    This is the same message I had wanted to convey in my personal comment, Perhaps your Marine style approach, will further connvince, Gray Woman, to a connection to God.

    God Bless,

  32. Thanks for your comment. You were gracious in that and I am glad to hear that you do have community involvement. With your skills and some neighborly backup, you should do fine. Your comment,”not CA”…Good!
    From your response, you would be welcome in my group and that is a fact because we are quite diverse in belief structure. It’s what you know and can do that interests my group and I.
    Regards.

  33. This is my first comment to this site. Ms. Grey woman, while I sense an accomplished and proud person wanted to share with other prepared individuals, I also very much felt the need you have to belong. We all do… need to belong. Tonight, you will feel included. You will want to know the source. The prayers of those believers you have “reached out” to have already sent God’s Holy Spirit to fill your heart and warm your soul. Tonight you do belong.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate the sentiment expressed and while I do not share your faith, I respect it and appreciate your desire to share, in kindness and compassion, what is clearly important to you.

  34. If things go south gray will help only so long ,, I believe you need to least know how to link up with like thinkers ,,, trust is earned with time ,,i’ve been at this for years ,,, I matter how gray you will become a victim if your alone ,, I was in the SEALs ,i need someone to cover my back !!!how do you expect to survive real trouble? You dream that your going to be lucky,,,you WILL freeze up ,,,
    Read ATLAS SHRUGGED ,,,,, become part of a gulch ,,,learn to see the sign of the dollar for what it is,,,,

    No man is a island

    Tea and chocolate

    1. Grey Woman

      a lot of people on here have you boxed huh ? , you would do well in many places in Australia, be fine with me if you were my neighbor, I believe in God, have strong views on morals and ethics, courtesy of the bible, but I am big enough to allow others their views while not ramming religion down their throat and waving my finger in their face. Good on you for being candid and honest. Too many Christians forget that Gods domain is judgement of inner thoughts and humans are to judge actions of each other, ie stealing, telling lies, thuggery, arson , murder, adultery , rape and also pretending to care for people when you wear the Christian badge and walk by something you know you should not, your not doing that are you ? so I can make room for you in my house.

      ex pat Aussie vet

      1. I assure you that I am not doing any of that. I must say though that “thuggery” sounds a bit fun but I am not sure I could pull it off convincingly. Note to self: must work on my menacing glare…
        All joking aside, I appreciate the supportive words and you sound like a wonderful neighbor.

    1. Grey woman

      Thanks, I do my best to practice what Jesus modelled, which was to help your neighbor no matter what stripe or colour they are, that is exactly what the story of the good samaratan Jesus told, the religious people walked by a badly beaten and robbed man left to die on a lonely dirt road, the story say’s nothing of his beliefs or morals, disapointing that many on here seem to forget that, I went through cancer and chemo, I have had many who are not Christians help me far more then those who were, sad to say that, so yes, keep going grey woman, people who have compassion,kindess, mercy and are willing to help mean much to me, what you believe and the type of person matters far more in my eye’s, I suspect that God also values character also, knowing when to stand your ground and not back down but not pick a fight is a learned skill. you either walk out what you do and believe or your full of S#@t is a common Aussie expression , look’s like you do also , don’t listen to those who put you down, your welcome at my camp fire, peace.

      PS might need to learn to cook a roo leg though ! : )

  35. GREY WOMAN,,,, your off to a good start,but no one is a island ,,you need to find who you can trust before trouble starts , have you read ATLAS SHRUGGED? Those that have gone GALT have ways to know others of like mind ,,there are groupes of folks that work together for the good of all and themselves

    Who is John galt? And why?

  36. I was fortunate to receive constructive criticism from many who are undoubtedly better prepared than I which I have taken to heart. I understand that through a few poorly chosen words I unintentionally created some misunderstandings for which I have apologized and provided clarity where possible. There have certainly been several responses which have been less constructive but are a representation of free speech which remains one of our most cherished rights. I respect the right of others to disagree with some or all of my thoughts and opinions and hope that those disagreements can facilitate constructive dialogue and enable a free exchange of ideas and beliefs. We are educated through exposure to beliefs that differ from our own and grow within ourselves by embracing the rights of others to so differ with respect and consideration for the humanity which we all share.

  37. Grey Woman

    Hey I applaud you. Some comments about the comments are in order.

    Democrat: Used to be the conservative party in America. Now, not happening.

    Liberal: Remember, Thomas Jefferson was what liberalism was all about.

    Atheist: So what, it’s the content of your character that counts. The character is there that is all that matters. My only suggestion is that you keep a bible as part of your preps. If nothing else, it’s a good read. Keep more than one version, Old English can be a B***h to interpret.

    Being a product of the public schools: Like most older people on this site, I too am a product of the public school system. However, I got a decent education. I went to schools in Missouri, Illinois, California, Texas, and Michigan. The worst schools of the bunch were in California, and that was in the early 60’s. It’s not like the schools of today, that propagandize the students instead of teaching.

    Being the Grey Woman: Part of being gray is keeping things to yourself. Good job, the totality of your preps and community is no one’s business but yours and theirs. Good OpSec on your part.

    To the folks that rather cruelly criticize this good women: Shame on you! Shame on you for also wishing her ill. Not very Christ-like. Getting all preachy and self righteous does not make you a good Christian. In fact it is that kind of attitude that pushes otherwise good people away from belief. You are not setting the good example that Christ and the new testament teach.

    To the folks who make assumptions based on being a Democrat, or and Atheist, or a liberal: I don’t think she used the word liberal in describing herself. I wouldn’t necessarily describe her as being liberal from reading her article. What you do is just as bad as the left describing conservatives and libertarians and Christians as racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobes.

    Otherwise, young lady, a well written and thought out article, worthy of being posted here. You would be welcome at my campfire any time.

  38. To all who have left a reply….As an awakened group of individuals that frequent and post articles on this blog, some should think of the comments they leave as though they were speaking to their mother. I understand that some people speak ill of their mother, however coming from an honest Christian conservative home, if my mouth uttered disrespect, it was met with an appropriate amount of force so as to shut it back up. Sometimes your mother is wrong, however she should never be disrespected. In fact you should learn speedily to be quick to listen and slow to speak. More often than not I would look back and realize that even if my mother was wrong, she still meant well in what she was trying to convey to me. And before you believe your justified in your “Christian words” my bible says “To whom much is given, of him much is required.” Luke 12:48….That’s why our “actions as a Christian” are to reflect What’s inside. Not one is worthy. I believe that’s why the cross stands for Grace. And yet Christians show none as if Ms Gray Women should already be condemned. I understood your intent Ms. Gray Women, I just simply had to read it and “listen” a few more times. And the God I serve will never force you to believe. He simply stands ready and full of grace when you are….. Tahts why he’s a God worth serving. Good day Ms. Gray

  39. Lots of preachers here tonight. Let me suggest that there is a day coming when you will be asked not about your words and preaching to others, but about how you loved them. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” The “Holier than Thou” attitude on display here is what turns many away. Get over yourself and love your neighbor. And stop your damn preaching, unless of course you are a preacher. Live your life, people are watching you, deeds are so much more than words.

    1. TWB, if someone publically describes their ‘survival plan’ and you believe it may well lead to their death, is it not ‘love’ to communicate such? Isn’t honesty more important than politically correct choices of words?

  40. Hey Grey Woman… you rock.

    To all those who would disparage your beliefs and tell you what to do, what to believe, how to act I can only offer this. You are hypocrites. Here’s the proof of your hypocrisy.

    All natural rights stem from the primordial right, the right to life. The right to life spawns the right to act in any manner to preserve that right to life as long as such acts do not infringe upon the same rights of others. The right to life thus is the right to self determination regardless of the beliefs of others. Rights are concerned only with the freedom to act without the browbeating, coercion, bullying or belittling you self righteous nay-sayers have foisted. Any attempt to sway a self determinant person (who is not infringing on anyone else’s rights) to a different viewpoint is an attempt to create a slave in your own image. Thou shalt not judge lest you be judged.

    If Grey Woman has determined that she will act as she has outlined and that her actions are of her own free will and best for her, all the while respecting the individual rights of others, who are you to say that she should change her ways? Who are you to insist that she “needs” to turn to God to be the best prepper or to be saved? Since when is a “proof of need” necessary to exercise a right? If a person leads a righteous life, does good for the sake of doing good and yet does not believe in God, will God condemn this person on their judgement day? If your answer to this last question is “yes”, I submit to you that your God is not righteous. If your answer is “no”, then cease with the pointed barbs and let God take care of it. Is the God you believe in compassionate or not? If the answer is “yes” and if you believe that we have been created in His image, should you not also be compassionate? If the answer is “no”, why believe in such a God in the first place? Let he is without sin cast the first stone.

    OK enough of the pontificating.

    Grey Woman, you rock. Your skills are highly valuable in any prepper community. Your choices will determine how big you allow that community to become for you. It may be as small as a few good dogs and strategic plants or reach into the dozens of rational beings. And as you probably know, there are both risks and rewards in having a “tribe” of like minded people. May I be so bold as to suggest that your “tribe” be filled with those who understand that the mind is like a parachute, obviously it only works when it is open? IMO dogs are the best start because they are completely non-judgmental, loyal and “love” unconditionally. One could do a lot worse.

    Best of the future to you and everyone else who realizes that that future is going to become “interesting” all too soon. We’re all in this life together; sometimes we just don’t realize it.

    1. Dear Thermal Pilot,

      I agree that love should lead these comments not hate. All are made Imago Dei and I think what Strategic Defense posted above was wise. You asked:

      “If a person leads a righteous life, does good for the sake of doing good and yet does not believe in God, will God condemn this person on their judgement day?”

      Yes!

      God is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindess (Psalm 103:8). His mercy covers all (James 3:17). But that is not the end of it. Additional character traits are just as important to consider and to be coherent one cannot ignore these. A presupposition about God that is not holistic about His character is missing the entire point.

      Please let me expand a bit further if your patience allows:

      Only a perfectly just and perfectly righteous God has the authority to judge on judgement day. Now, the question is — do you want a perfectly just judge or not.

      Ask the antithesis to your question and you will see the error in the logic of your question. Ultimately it comes down to a defense of the concept — perfect justice.

  41. Interesting article. No attack intended, but whether White, Grey or Black, in a Schumer Hits The Fan scenario, like it or not a lone woman would be the first target, and most likely a lone man would be the second. Trekker Out

  42. Great job getting prepared, Grey Woman! Very commendable…if I were your neighbor, I’d greatly appreciate you being nicely able to take care of yourself in any disaster. I know a great number of my rural neighbors who are not nearly as prepared as you are and I wonder about what will happen if they have no grocery store or electricity. Having neighbors who are self-sufficient and prepared is a blessing for us all. As a student (and teacher) of history, I suspect there will be a period of vetting before all goes south.

    As to being able to blend in where you are, kudos. My dear daughter’s college roommate of 4 years just discovered that my daughter is NOT a liberal, gun-loathing, Hillary supporter. Her faith does stand out, but she does attend a Christian University. Her roommate was stunned. Most of my work colleagues have no idea of my views either. There is value in keeping ones views to one’s self in public.

    I suggest joining the local garden club (or whatever public group is available) and listening closely to see who is like minded. I do not trust either for two reasons. First, I have been betrayed before, and, second, I am a student of history. Disasters and war bring out the best and the worst in people.

    Thanks for sharing what you have been doing. Some of us older women understand that, even if we are not alone now, we very likely may be alone in times of disaster. We need to be prepared…though I personally would not want to ever walk into the future of America without Jesus.

  43. Survive for what? Just to extend our life? Is there a purpose to all this? I would suggest that you (we) make decisions about reality based on evidence, not bias. See “Lord, Liar,Lunitic” by CS Lewis. Please… I intend to survive (Lord willing) for a purpose. Proverbs 11:30. Great ideas by the way!

  44. Grey Lady, I love your spunk and sass. You continue to do you! You need no one to approve or disapprove. I hear your voice in your article and admire what you have accomplished on your own greatly. Live, Learn, Love, Laugh…….

  45. I think this is one of the better articles on practical OPSEC that I’ve seen. You convey an attitude toward the elements of a prepared life that we and our families and prepping friends and their families can effectively practice. Thank you.

    p.s. I don’t hate Democrats, nor atheists either. We are all in this life together, and in ‘school’ together for the next one.

  46. When I was in Vietnam, I never knew what religion, political beliefs, color of skin and gender; my comrades were :I was infantry. We had a mission and it took all of us to accomplish it.

    Security is only one of the items discussed. Learning how to accomplish items like growing a garden, providing protein, preserving food, medical, heating, cooking and communication are a few more. The list is long and growing. You are a prepper, I thank you.

    Learning all these things and using them in your every day life is quite an accomplishment. you need to start a community of like minded people. Which brings me back to my military experience. You cannot stand guard 24 hrs per day. It took a minimum of 3 people to stand guard. You must sleep and take a break. You should to start prepping on the guard duty thing.

    I have to quit babbling. Your article was great. The only thing was a lot of I and not enough we.

  47. Dear Grey Woman,

    I am delighted to read of the smart choices and excellent progress you have made in being self-reliant! I prepared alone for many years before moving to Montana a few years ago, at which point I met my wonderful husband. Despite all those years of preparedness efforts, I never quite mastered the use of hand tools (I still can’t build a thing), and I am abysmal at starting a fire in a wood stove, so I am very impressed with all you have accomplished! On the other hand, prior to meeting my husband, I did somehow manage to become successful at raising both healthy beef cattle and productive chickens. It was a learning curve for me, for certain, and I was grateful for every positive gain, no matter how small it was.

    The way I see it, preparedness is a journey, replete with many lessons along the way. I’m not sure we ever quite “arrive at the destination”
    as there is always so much more to improve upon and learn. It isn’t an easy path and I commend you for all your hard work and success. You have clearly chosen to invest your time, energy, and other finite resources to create a homestead capable of providing a “shelter from the storm” for yourself and others. All this is demonstrative of a high level of sober thinking, personal accountability,
    and conscientiousness on your part. I will be praying that you receive abundance of every good kind, both material and spiritual, as you continue on your preparedness journey!

    For my fellow Christian brothers and sisters: While I share your staunch conservative values, I am dismayed by some of the responses written here. Our own Holy Bible has provided scriptural guidance regarding non-believers and preparedness. Let us not forget that God Almighty chose to give preparedness promptings to a NON-believer (Pharaoh) in the form of warning dreams, then used a Believer (Joseph) to interpret those dreams. Pharaoh (the non-believer) placed Joseph as Vizier of the Land of Egypt, and Joseph went on to develop a massive and highly successful food storage program, without which, both believers and non-believers would have surely perished. It is interesting that God chose to use a non-believer as a key component in implementing His mercifulness.
    This reminds us that we simply cannot know what plan Heavenly Father has in store for this woman’s life. She has clearly been prompted to prepare, something many of my fellow Christian brethren stubbornly refuse to do. In a time when most other middle-aged women busy themselves
    by verbally bashing men relentlessly, watching trashy TV, and obsessively attending botox parties with their gay hairdressers, Grey Woman has been doing the hard and humble work of preparing. We should be searching our own hearts to determine if there is any message He might have us share with her, just as Joseph was called to share a message with Pharaoh long ago.

    1. Thank you Southern Lady. Your kind words reminded me of my own Southern Lady. My grandmother who passed away more than 20 years ago was the loveliest lady I have ever know and will always hold a special place in my heart. She was gentle and kind and the strongest person I have even known. I see the same kind guidance and iron will in your words above.

      I applaud you proficiency with beef cattle! I cannot even imagine the challenge that must have been. I assure you, my adventures with tool related projects have not been without comedic value. I have created a fair amount of accidental firewood in my time and there is some chance I may have been tempted to use un-lady like language on occasion! I have also had to master the art of smiling pleasantly and keeping my mouth shut when I go to pick up building supplies and and am asked some variation of “Now now little lady, that’s a big load, what is your husband going to be doing with all of this?”.

      I wish you the very best in your continuing journey.

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