If you haven’t yet moved to a geographically isolated location, then you should do so now.
I abandoned my previous position in Northern California. I had originally chosen it because it wasn’t downwind of any military targets from the Cold War. I moved 2,400 miles to the southwest, to the Big Island of Hawaii.
The attractions were great. Incompetent state and local government, year round growing season, no dangerous predators, and plentiful fish and game. Top that off with no fishing licenses, no insulation or air conditioners needed. “Secondary waterfront” acreage parcels (that are across the street from the oceanfront parcels) are less expensive than acreage outside of Reno.
It’s not been totally without drawbacks. I found three acres at an altitude of 2,200 feet for less than $30,000. Once clearing started though, I found that I needed to bring in an excavator with a hammer to take out some basalt outcrops. Not having budgeted for that set us back more than I had expected.
However, the benefits have been incredible. We packed up our solar array from NorCal and now have it producing our off-grid power. The development we’re in has fiber-optic high speed Internet on every street, so we have Internet less expensively than we did for slower internet in California. We have free water that, to quote the Bard, “…falleth like a gentle rain from Heaven.”, because it’s rain. It’s a pristine environment just 25 miles from where NOAA samples the third cleanest air in the World. The two cleaner places are both in Antarctica.
Once you’re here though, you soon start to realize you’re in Paradise. We could get along with painted-on thermometers. One painted at 75° for days, and one at 65° for nights. We found a gentleman in Hawi selling white pineapple slips, the small growth off the bottom of a pineapple plant by which they reproduce. You can only get yellow pineapple on the mainland, as the whites don’t travel well. They’re delicious, with less acid and sweeter than yellow. He was selling them for $2 apiece, but if we bought more than 200, the price went to $1 and he’d deliver. We went in with a couple friends and neighbors and bought 300 of them. I have 70 in the ground, and gave several away as gifts. I also have 9 foot high tomato plants growing up the side of my container. I started those in November.
One of the best things was that we were able to convince my girlfriend’s Mom to move out here. She arrived in March of ’19 and has fallen in love with Hawaii. The greatest upside is that we’re able to help her keep to the straight and level with her diabetes, as she always had trouble keeping the sugar away back in Alabama. We’ve been able to get her blood sugar down to the low 100’s from highs that had been off the chart. I myself am a type 2 diabetic, and it’s so healthy here that I’ve been able to control it without the need for my prescriptions. Though I do have to watch out the day after “spaghetti night.”
Live Like a Local
One of the myths about living in Hawaii is that it’s so expensive. If you come here and try to live like a tourist, yeah, you’re going to go through a lot of cash. But humans have been living here since the 4th or 5th centuries and they didn’t even have cash back then. The secret is: don’t live like a tourist, but live like a local. Stock up on necessities when they’re on sale. Buy locally, at the Farmer’s Markets (they’re everywhere) instead of the supermarkets. Our favorite aisle at Safeway is the discount rack at the back of the store where everything is 50% off. Enroll in loyalty programs that give you points or discounts. The Safeway Rewards program had me paying less for diesel for the pickup than folks in California are paying (not like that’s hard these days). I get mail from Ace Hardware every couple of months with a $5 or $10 rewards card in it. It adds up.
I’m not saying that everything is a deal out here. You’re 2,400 miles from the US mainland. You learn that Amazon is your friend, even though the “2 day” delivery turns into 7 days here. We buy our tobacco from an Indian reservation in Pennsylvania for half the price a pound of tobacco goes for in the stores here. We get store packs of 50 Bic lighters from Amazon instead of getting them from Walmart. There’s ground beef from “mountain cattle” selling on Facebook Marketplace for $3/pound.
We were extremely blessed to make friends with someone that worked at a local truss manufacturer. He told us of the “Oops” trusses that were sitting at the company’s yard down in Hilo. They were just a bit off spec for the jobs they were commissioned for, and were just taking up space at the yard. We approached the company about buying them to take them off their hands and were able to negotiate a spectacular deal. Once they were delivered, the job of dismantling them began. We found that they were extremely well made though, and taking apart these trusses wound up to be a lot tougher than putting them together. Perseverance and experimentation soon led to a decent supply of treated lumber for construction of structures on our place. We managed to use parts of them to build a chicken coop. It is probably the only one in Hawaii built with engineered trusses…
For chickens, you’re going to have to prepare a bit more though. We picked up a half dozen Blue Sapphire chicks last spring from Del’s down in Hilo. We cared for them in a plastic tub, keeping them warm at night inside the container with a candle a foot or so under them. At a couple months old, we transferred them to a coop and began building a mongoose proof pen. On the day of the transfer, one escaped, while the other five made it into the pen. While despairing about the loose one that took refuge under our container, we went off to Hilo for some grocery shopping.
We were not prepared for what we found upon our return. The mongooses (mongeese?) had dug under the sides of the pen and had killed the five chicks that we had in there. The sole survivor, who came to be known as “Blue”, remained safe under the container. We rounded up Blue and got her back into the coop and set about using some of the truss plates along the edges of the pen to discourage digging. When we finished reinforcing the pen, we checked on Facebook Marketplace and found a neighbor with some more hens, as well as a rooster for their protection. A couple days later, Blue was joined by three Leghorns (collectively called “The Leghorns”, since we couldn’t tell them apart), and a Rhode Island Red rooster that became “Red”.
Since then the chickens have matured and are giving us 1-to-3 eggs per day, depending on the weather. I know that on the rainy days, I probably wouldn’t feel like dropping an egg, so we’re understanding. We’ve lost one more of the Leghorns due to a one time mongoose incursion (since remedied), and have even welcomed more birds into our family. A couple months ago, a hen was spotted with four chicks out in the street, and successfully lured into our place with chicken scratch. We lost one chick, probably to a cat, as they were getting big by then, but the remainder are hanging around. They’ve even been spotted in the chicken coop, trying out the bucket we have in there for laying, though the only eggs we’ve found so far have been two that were discovered on the bottom seat out of a pile of three tour bus seats we were making into a couch. The old Mother Hen has since taken to laying 100 yards down the road at our neighbor’s place, only showing up after a dash down the road to ours, furiously (that’s how it sounds anyway) pecking up all the food we scatter for her, and rushing back down to the neighbors where she chose to lay her eggs. Just last week though, a new beak to feed showed up, a young peacock. My girlfriend has given him the name “Kevin” after the bird in the movie “Up”), though I was okay with calling him “Blue” as well.
In essence, the location you pick for a SHTF survival situation makes all the difference. The need to provide for winter food storage and heating, along with cooling in the summers, can take a lot of effort that is offset in a semi-tropical clime. The fact that there are no military targets upwind of Eastern Hawaii for three thousand miles. That is also an advantage. There’s also a lot to be said for geographical isolation, something that can’t be found on most continents. If you want to have the safety that comes with year round growing seasons, geographical isolation, plentiful fish and game, not to mention living in a literal paradise, then you should consider checking out Hawaii. I made the decision to come out here (roundly seconded by my girlfriend ) and we’re never regretted it.
And, hey, it’s Hawaii…