A Prepping Reality Check – Part 2, by Mama Bear

(Continued from Part 1.)

Now that you have decided on a physical location that provides the best probability of survival for you and your family, let’s look at the next stage.

Food Production
  • Do you plant a garden each year? If not, why not?
  • When you plant your garden each year, where does your seed come from?
  • If you are ordering seed each year from a catalog or internet or purchasing seed at a local store, how are you going to plant your garden when that is not available?
  • If you are raising hybrid or GMO varieties, how will you save seed for the next season since these vegetable types will not breed true?
  • If you use a tractor or tiller, where will you obtain fuel to run the equipment?
  • How do you water/irrigate your garden?
  • Where does this water come from and will it still be available during TEOTWAWKI?
  • How will you fertilize and with what?
  • How will you preserve and store what you harvest?
  • What will you do if a third party comes to confiscate your harvest?

Personally, I purchase and grow only open pollinated varieties from which I can save seed. This also decreases the amount of money I need each year to plant the garden. And this past winter, I had fresh tomatoes for salads through December in my greenhouse. The savings I put into purchasing orchard and vineyard plants. I use raised beds and no till gardening with drip line for irrigation from the well run by solar. No fossil fuels needed and maximum water conservation.

Grains will be an issue for most after the first year. If you have a year’s supply of wheat then if society is not back together what will you do when that runs out. Having seed to grow wheat and other grains is a start. However, grains are extremely labor intensive without power equipment. Anthropologists estimate a stable community of approximately forty people in order to have enough labor to plant, grow and harvest the grain necessary to keep them fed.

Once you have planned to provide for vegetables and hopefully, fruit, then there must be provision for protein/meat.

  • Can you set a snare?
  • Can you trap?
  • Do you have supplies to set snares and traps?
  • If you do not have livestock, why not?
  • What are the rules/regulations/zoning regarding livestock at your location?
  • If you intend to hunt and live off wild meat, how long do you think that will last when everyone in the area is doing the same thing?
  • If you are sheltering in place and are prohibited from having livestock, consider having rabbits which can be easily kept in a garage, basement or spare room.
  • What about putting up shelters which can be used for shade until TEOTWAWKI and then converted to livestock shelters for the animals acquired through purchase or barter after the SHTF?
  • How will you feed the livestock?
  • How will you provide water?
  • If you are able to grow feed for livestock, how will you harvest or store the feed through the winter?
  • How will you protect the livestock from predators, both four legged and two legged?
  • Have you ever hunted?
  • Have you ever butchered an animal?
  • What will you do with the offal, hide, horns, etc.?
  • Do you have plenty of beans or other alternative protein sources?

Most areas will be hunted out within 3-4 months or less. If you do not have livestock, consider rabbits, chickens, and hogs as your first purchases. Rabbits, chickens and hogs can be fed with scraps from the garden and kitchen with some hand harvested grass for the rabbits and hogs. Remember that breeding pairs will be necessary in order to have a sustainable meat harvest over several years. When acquiring livestock, look at whether you will be able to breed them locally (within walking distance) if you do not acquire breeding pairs. Also plan for the ability to feed them with forage or grain. It also may be possible, if you do not want to have livestock, to arrange a barter agreement with a neighbor who does have livestock to provide garden stuffs, labor, or security in exchange for meat.

Power

Another critical area to assess is power. If you are connected to the grid, your power supply is toast. If you have a grid-tied solar system you will need to find out which type of grid-tie you have. In grid-tied systems, the power that is generated from your solar system flows out to the grid and then the grid supplies you with power. If you do not have a switch installed to disconnect from the grid and directly supply your home with the power from your solar system, then when the grid goes down, so do you. This is an extra expense for a grid-tied system but well worth it.

For anyone who doubts the inevitability of grid-down in this country, I recommend the book Lights Out by Ted Koppel. This is a well-researched book on the state of the power industry in North America and its vulnerability.

For an independent solar system, ask yourself:

  • When is the last time your batteries were replaced?
  • How often do you have to replace your batteries? If your batteries normally last five years and the SHTF when your batteries are 4 ½ years old, then what will you do when the batteries die in 6 months?
  • What will you do if after TEOTWAWKI the charge controller or inverter malfunctions?
  • What if the solar panels or wind turbine are damaged in a storm?

For any power system:

  • How much power do you actually NEED?
  • Can you pitch the microwave, the automatic coffeemaker, the television, the DVD player, the computer, the video games, the incandescent lights left on throughout the house and the many other superfluous gadgets through your home?
  • How much meat is in your freezer and how will you keep it when you no longer have power for the freezer?
  • How long will the fuel supply for your generator actually last?
  • What will you do when there is no more fuel for the generator?
  • What if the generator malfunctions?
  • Where will you obtain spare parts?
  • How many of the electronics in your home will survive a power surge from an EMP or the malfunctioning of the grid?
  • Can you live without your phone?

I know one family that has five (count ‘em – five) freezers of meat. They are preppers. I asked how they would maintain this without the grid. They responded that they have a generator and 500 gallons of fuel for the generator. This generator uses approximately 10 gallons of fuel per day. They can then run the freezers for at most two months. After that, the freezers are useless. I asked if they had jars for pressuring canning the meat and they do not. So after two months, any meat in the freezers that they have not eaten will be wasted without any way to preserve it.

In one instance, I went to a seminar on emergency preparedness put on by a gentleman who retired from a certain government agency in Washington, D.C. Some of the information he presented was quite good, however —- some was unrealistic in my humble opinion. He counseled that for communications we should purchase a software program that turns the computer into a ham radio receiver. Communication implies a two way process. Having only a ham radio receiver that relies on A/C power and very sensitive electronics is not communication, it is only eavesdropping. Additionally, this relies on the computer not being destroyed by an EMP and a reliable power supply to operate the computer.

I am looking at ham radio sets that run on DC power and both send and receive. In the meantime, I have acquired a set of Baofeng 5VR radios and am learning to use them and studying for my ham radio license.

He also recommended being sure to have a DVD player and various other electronic devices for entertainment. Truthfully, when the SHTF and survival is utmost, there will be little time for entertainment when the priority is producing, harvesting, and storing food, keeping watch for security purposes and defending the homestead, and taking care of those who are ill or injured. Nor will there be much interest in using VERY PRECIOUS POWER for entertainment. The gentleman doing this presentation also talked about having the physical ability to function while being at least 150 pounds overweight. (Hypocrite!)

He did inspire me in one aspect of my preparedness, however. At the time I saw his presentation, I was also overweight and not as physically fit as I should have been. So I began a program to lose weight and become more physically fit. I am now much more physically ready than I was then.

Personally, I live without electricity for now. I am installing a combination solar/wind system this summer for refrigeration and fans for my rabbits. The area where I live gets over 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the afternoons for 2-3 months and without cooling the rabbits do not breed successfully. But secondary purposes such as entertainment are not being considered as part of this system. Of course, since I grew up without television, I really do not see the necessity for this invasion into the peace of my home. If there is something that I really want to see I can usually watch it on Netflix or Youtube on my phone or tablet.

Transportation

Transportation is a very vulnerable area when TEOTWAWKI occurs. Over ninety percent of the vehicles on the road may be vulnerable to an EMP (whether as a result of a solar flare or an atmospheric burst or law enforcement/military EMP guns). Only those vehicles with no electronics or hardened against an EMP may still be functional. And they are dependent on fuel supplies that are dependent on the grid. In the event that there is no EMP, consider that the supply chain for most parts includes shipping from overseas. Even many tires are manufactured overseas. So, I have to ask:

  • When is the last time your vehicle had a complete overhaul?
  • Can you change the oil yourself?
  • Can you change a tire?
  • Can you do basic maintenance?
  • Do you have the parts and supplies to change the oil and do basic maintenance?
  • What condition are your brakes in?
  • Will your vehicle still operate if the computer malfunctions?
  • Do you have a plug kit for the tires and a small compressor?
  • Do you keep a basic tool kit in the vehicle?
  • Do you check the fluids regularly? Do you know how?
  • Do you have fuel stored?
  • Do you rotate the fuel to keep it fresh?
  • How long will the fuel that you have on hand last?
  • If you own or drive a hybrid, how long will the delicate electronics that keep it running last?
  • Do you have spare tires and the ability to replace a tire on the rim?
  • How old is your battery?

I have a truck that unfortunately has a great deal of electronics in it (a 2000). I am looking for a pre-1973 four wheel drive that I can rehabilitate and have on hand if my current truck becomes disabled. I also purchase spare parts from RockAuto to have on hand in case of necessary repairs. In part, because when you live an hour and a half from a parts store it is not just a quick run to town for a starter, windshield wiper, oil filter or whatever may be needed.

Remember, that people on this planet functioned for thousands of years without cars and trucks. Alternate forms of transportation to consider include bicycles, horses, mules, and your own two feet. These methods of transportation are slower but still effective.

  • Do you own a bicycle for each member of the family?
  • Do you have spare tires/tubes/repair kits?
  • Do the bicycles have cargo racks?
  • Do you have a tool kit for the bicycles?
  • Did you know that they can be ridden on just the rims (no rubber tires necessary)?
  • When is the last time you rode your bicycle?
  • Are you physically fit enough to ride your bicycle for six to eight hours a day?
  • Do you own riding stock (horses, mules, donkeys)?
  • Do you have saddles for each one?
  • Do you know how to ride?
  • Do you have saddle stock for each teenager and adult?
  • Can you rig a pack saddle?
  • Are any of the stock trained to harness?
  • Do you have a harness? A wagon or buggy?
  • Can you drive a horse in harness?
  • How far can you walk in a day? With an 80 pound pack?
  • Do you own comfortable, broken in walking shoes or boots?
  • How will you replace your shoes when they wear out?
  • How far can you walk in a day when it is raining/snowing/muddy/snowdrifts on the ground?
  • Do you have clothing suitable for long distance hiking in summer/winter?
  • Do you have a quality walking staff?

I have a mountain bike with a cargo rack and a horse and saddle. He is older but has a comfortable gait and is an easy keeper. I walk frequently to stay physically fit. I have walked with a small (20 pound) pack the six miles out to the county road so I know that I can do it if needed. I hope to acquire a small wagon or buggy this coming year with a harness and begin accustoming my horse to the harness. With a small wagon or buggy I will have an alternate way to carry cargo (e.g., take produce out to the main road to market).

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 3.)




40 Comments

  1. Enjoying your articles. Re: power issues, I lived with an off-grid(small PV/wind) system for 17 years. I started out with an old gas fridge and traded up to a 12v fridge and freezer when I added a few PV panels. The system worked great but as you note, it’s only going to work so long as the supply chain functions to provide batteries when it’s time to change them out plus any needed parts(2 lightning strikes necessitated replacing some components).

    It’s more important I think for people to consider and plan for how they’d live without any power at all if need be. I keep thinking I want to get a chest freezer but then, I’d be dependent on grid power to keep it going. And who knows…… Not sure of the answer to this yet.

    Re transportation, I’d say most of us are pretty vulnerable if car electronics get taken out. Finding an old enough vehicle here that hasn’t rusted out from road salt is pretty near impossible; would need to import one from the south. But I figure if it got that bad, I wouldn’t have enough fuel anyway plus would just be a target if i drove it so walking and bikes will be it for me. Would love a horse but lack enough land.

  2. Admire your will, commitment and heart to compete your plans. I, personally, know very few others with such determination. Those I do know are are always ready to help my family better harden our resources and abilities to weather the inevitable storm. That community you speak of for such things as wheat production are tantamount to survival. Thank you for a great post ~ look forward to more.
    LuvYerBro

  3. More great stuff Mama Bear!

    I’m putting in some wheat this year just to see exactly how hard it is to thresh by hand. Corn also makes a good grain with low labor input, high protein, but in my area impossible to grow on a small scale without a dog due to raccoons.

    Back before the Potato Famine one reason the Irish were so looked down upon by the Brits was that instead of growing grain, which was very labor intensive to get from sowing to finished bread, the Irish merely threw some potatoes on the ground, piled some dirt on top of them and came back in the fall and dug them up for dinner. With a glass of milk they got pretty much complete nutrition so potatoes are another good item for the TEOTWAWKI garden in those areas where potatoes do well and grains are difficult.

    It sounds like your well runs directly off solar panels? Any comments on your system, how long you’ve had it, pluses, negatives, etc? I’d like to get mine switched over soon.

  4. Mama Bear! Your article inspires us to the next levels of preparedness. We’ve been serious preppers for many years, but there is always something more we can do. Great 2nd installment. Looking forward to the 3rd!

  5. @ the hunting part of your story.

    “if you intend to hunt and live off wild meat, how long do you think that will last when everyone in the area is doing the same thing?”

    If you think wild animals will be gone in 3 to 4 months, why talk about snares or hunting?

    Do you really think people will be hunting, rather than targeting domesticated animals that are contained by fences? When I am in a cattle pasture, they come to me! I do not need to chase them. Think of this in opportunity costs.

    Another issue with survival stories are the projections that 90% of the human population will die within the first year without power. Should that be true, then a whole world of hunting, and domesticated animals (talking 9 billion cattle alone in the US), just became available for the 10% of people that remain.

    I admire many of your talking points in this article, but I do question certain aspects of survival stories that are reproduced so often, they seem true. If we apply just a bit of critical thinking, I am not sure many parts of those stories make sense.

    1. Unfortunately for many of the domesticated livestock they are being raised in circumstances that require human input to prevent starvation. As people are no longer available to care for livestock and the infrastructure to ship feed is no longer available many of those livestock will be dead and rotten rather than available as food.

        1. If they are sick or dead from various diseases that may run rampant they will not have a choice. Also, once the trucks stop running most will not have access to the necessary feed and hay to feed their livestock. Veterinary care and medicines and vaccines will not be available and this also will result in increased losses. I do not mean to imply that anyone would choose to just stop taking care of their livestock but the circumstances and logistics will be such that many livestock will die in situations that make them unavailable for consumption. Remember also that without truck and rail transportation much of the livestock production will be unavailable to large parts of the country.

          1. Great reply! So, the more we talk this topic through, the more complex it becomes. If we are talking cattle, we have a difference in feedlots (trucks, hauled in feed) or grazing grass fed cattle. Research has long showed that feedlots are not good for the cattle, and not really good for people who eat those cattle. Corn feed cattle are good for getting fat and higher prices, but over all, not healthy.

            What I am seeing is that you’re outlining a specific corporate system that most people rely on. If that corporate system has any issue with its logistics, the majority of people will become violent? This topic becomes even more complex once we go do that road of people being violent during resource shortages.

            Rather than going further down that road, could we say it would be wise to include in our location plans, smaller, rural communities that have a system already in place that is not connected to large scale corporate farming? Good stuff!

    2. “Another issue with survival stories are the projections that 90% of the human population will die within the first year without power. Should that be true, then a whole world of hunting, and domesticated animals (talking 9 billion cattle alone in the US), just became available for the 10% of people that remain”

      I was just thinking along those same lines. If SHTF and there is a large die off of humans, then I doubt areas will be hunted out within 3 – 4 months.

      Alternatively, even if there isn’t a large die off of humans, I doubt those who do survive, but never hunted a day in their life, will be effective enough to hunt out small, medium and large game species along with fish and fowl.

  6. Muddykid, if you’re doing agriculture, you need to keep down pests. Hence, hunting and trapping, even if you can’t subsist on it. Plus, rats and even mice. If you set your sights right, there’s always something to hunt. You just can’t be too picky.

    1. TJMO,

      I am aware of what agriculture is, how it is done, and the issues that arise. Those points do not really address by questions or comments above.

      People are not going to subsist off of gardens in the traditional sense. Gardens can help, but they are only part of a much larger equation. My comment was directed at misconceptions of that equation and I did it in a style that spurs discussion.

      1. Hey Muddy Kid, I’ll take a crack at it. 🙂 I agree with you on many aspects of survival stories not ringing true. On your hunting comments, by my estimates in most states 95% of big game will be gone in 30 days max. I just submitted an article on gardening that mentions this in more detail. I wish I could find my link with all 50 states’ big game stats but most states lose between 18-25% of their total deer population in a 10-day managed hunt so imagine what would transpire in the free-for-all after a TEOTWAWKI event. That leaves the small game, non-game, and the livestock you mentioned. Since the cattle are very unevenly distributed, most people won’t have access to them and yes, I agree with you, people will be hunting the cattle and other livestock so they won’t last long. Most of my free meat would be in the form of nocturnal critters like raccoons (I get 7 per night when I trap them in the garden) and possums, but I think in another two years I can have my gardening perfected enough to live off it completely if I had to (lots of dry beans, storables like root crops and winter squashes, and canning items like tomatoes, beans, and salsa), fresh greens 10 months of the year, supplemented by raccoons and fish. Hopefully I could barter for some beef from my neighbors who have cattle by trading goods (honey, eggs, and produce), off-grid knowledge, or services. For the 10% who make it to the end of year 1, I think most of the livestock in 90% of the country will only make it that long as well.

        1. St. Funogas,

          Enjoyed your reply, and I look forward to your article on gardening.

          For me, survival is partly about questioning things. Going beyond what is normal in order to find a particular niche. Because of this, when you say “by my estimates in most states 95% of big game will be gone in 30 days max,” the first question that comes to mind is, where are you getting those stats?

          I have participated in population accounting with a state agency. I have also spent time in library archives looking at population counts at the earlier parts of history. There are more inconsistencies in those numbers than facts. Yet, because more people read a news article which reports on certain population numbers, it leads to the same conclusion. which is….The state agency says their work is important, so we need to keep providing them with a budget. Without their effort, all wildlife will be gone.

          Because I have first hand experience with how that accounting was done, I don’t buy the story. I could go in to more detail, and I have written about this in the past on Sblog. I just don’t buy that story. This doesn’t mean population numbers wont be impacted, I just don’t think everyone is going to turn in a hunter overnight because it is easier to pick the low hanging fruit.

          I also like your mention of fishing. Such an overlooked topic in survival.

          1. Hey Muddy Kidd, I’m working on a major project outside right now so can’t hunt that link down and it’s not in my bookmarks. (I’ll find it tonight.) I just did a cursory search and can’t find the link on duckduck. I’ll check again tonight. It was a fantastic site, with links to each state’s DWR plus other state links and lots of stuff. I googled something like “deer stats state by state”. I checked about 7 states to get some averages. I also checked some things on Wikipedia. Most states were down below 7-10,000 deer by the ~1920’s as I recall since there were no state regulations and people would hunt for the market as well as personal use. I did all this research back in Dec/Jan when someone here posted a nice article on hunting post SHTF.

            My 95% estimate number was based on the thought that every hunter would go out and get his deer as soon as he saw the mushroom cloud go up or the grid go down, then not soon after would get more for the smokehouse. So even if no new hunters joined the fray, I think the big game would be gone in a hurry. But I’m sure many non-hunters like me would be picking off Bambi in a heartbeat once we realize they’re not going to be strolling across the north pasture for our enjoyment anymore, so they may as well be in my smoker as the neighbor’s. (And yes, Mama Bear, I can gut and skin one in a heartbeat, you’d be proud.) I use the 95% number due to the law of diminishing returns. And in western states where the terrain is rougher, and fewer people per square mile, it should also take longer for the big game to get hunted out.

            And I totally agree with you that survival is about questioning things, and especially, thinking out of the box.

            Anyway, I’d be interested in hearing what your numbers are on how long it would take to hunt out the big game post SHTF.

          2. Hey MuddyKid, here’s that link,finally found it again. I did have one other thought as I was out working. One thing that is possibly skewing my percentage upwards is the current area I live in. I am fully confident that here and all counties within a 100 mile radius the deer would be gone in a heartbeat. During deer season, the local paper publishes pictures of all the kids with their first deer and half of them are girls, so everybody hunts. You mentioned the low-hanging fruit. Here deer ARE the low hanging fruit. lol 🙂

            http://www.deerfriendly.com/home

        2. From your post: “On your hunting comments, by my estimates in most states 95% of big game will be gone in 30 days max.”

          We believe you are spot on. In our area, game was hunted so aggressively in the times of the Depression that it did not recover for many, many years.

          If or when we get to this place, game will be hunted out quickly.

          Recommendation: sustainable, reproducing resources. Think chickens (maybe turkeys or ducks depending on your situation) for eggs and meat, fish species appropriate for any access you might have to a pond, other animals as you can ranch these like cows or swine.

          1. Telesilla of Argos,

            You kind of support my reply right above yours. You said “In our area, game was hunted so aggressively in the times of the Depression that it did not recover for many, many years. ”

            I can not say all, but many wildlife agencies did not even become a thing until after the depression. What this means is that no one was taking population counts of wildlife before or during the depression. 2ndly, how were they gathering that data then, vs now?

            Had the depression depleted all wildlife, just like we hear in survival stories today, then there would be none left today. That clearly did not happen because hunting is a huge financial market.

            So, could we say that the larger problem is not so much people hunting wildlife, but people consuming “things” faster than a rate of replenish?

            Today is a slow day for me, hence all my replies. 🙂

      2. Hey muddy kid as to the traps…

        Hungry man will shoot a deer.
        A foolish man will shoot every deer.
        A smart man will attempt to trap deer.

        A couple trapped deer rabbits coons etc can be kept fed and butchered latter when bigger or possibly even bred together.

        That’s why learning traps is good. It’s also lower calorie investment since you need only set it and forget it.

        Learning that we could catch keep and multiply animals was the cornerstone of civilization.

        As far as the great dying of the wild game… From what I see (anecdotal) every one who has hinted plans to live via hunting. I’m not sure that we would go so far as to extinct animals but…. We would certainly reduce thier numbers and habitat to the point they might look extinct. And pretty quickly too.

        I’d wager though that we would cause a huge explosion of wild pigs since they are a species that would quickly take advantage of both our leavings and our removal of their competition and predation.

        1. Wild pigs…yes. You wiill have to protect your livestock and garden from feral hogs when they have eaten the deer guts and other leaving after the kill and field dressing. Feral dogs will also be eating deer remains and then looking for your domestic animals.

          BTW, others have noted this before, that if you go hunting you will be prey for those who are happy for you to kill and dress the deer. This is the time to plan for that and form a team.

          Carry on

  7. Ham radio transceivers run off DC power, in order for them to run off AC you have to purchase a power supply unit. And what depletes a battery that you are running a radio off of is when you transmit. The higher the transmit power, the quicker the battery runs down. So use the minimum amount of power to make your contact. Congratulations on studying for your license, it’s a fun hobby, but don’t just get your license and a radio and never use it, get on the air, make contacts and learn how to use your equipment.

    Excellent article.

  8. Mama bear ,,,,,good write up again ,,, we have been off grid 45 + years , some by necessary , some by choice ,when PUD came we said no thank you ,,batteries are not needed for a freezer with a solar system or much else that’s really needed to live well , but you must learn to balanced loads when solar is working , think small freezers 5 to 7 c.f. and 3 or 4 of them ,running one at a time ,
    As for generator fuel , you can make your own for a diesel ,we have run on veg oil for years , IF you set things up to do so, yes it’s some work ,i still run dino diesel when I’m lazy at times tho ,veg oil fuel sealed to keep air out will still run well after ten years. Same for dino ,how you store it matters

    There are some tricks of the trade to learn but we run our trucks and tractors on veg also

    Cows are calling

  9. An FYI, I would not build a retreat from the
    Mississippi river to the East Coast. If a grid down happens either by CME or by a foreign power the nuclear power plants and the cooling ponds will spew radioactive material for a long time and sadly over the most populated area of the US.

    1. Would they though?

      Muddykid has me wondering, even 3-mile island didn’t spew radiation like Chernobyl.
      I wonder how many would go Chernobyl, for lack of a better term.

      1. According to my nuclear engineer uncle. First thing that happens is reactors just shut down. For any that don’t or can shut down the containment is strong enough to hold the radiation inside almost indefinitely. But the first thing that happens would be that it would overheat and kinda burn it’s self out. But failing that it would get hot enough to burrow it’s self down into earth.

        The main gist of it is it is a small localized event. Even Fukushima was a mostly localized event.

        1. The big threat is not the reactors themselves, but rather the spent fuel ponds. If the pumps fail and the water stops circulating then those pools will reach a boil and soon all of the water will convert to steam, leaving un-cooled rods exposed to the air under just a tin roof–not a fancy reactor containment vessel.

  10. Muddykid! Your questions are good ones. Good statistical information is not always available — that’s true and fair. I am an evidence-based scientifically-oriented thinker myself. All that said… Conditions can and do exist (or in the case of historical references, existed in the past) even when statistical data isn’t (or wasn’t) available. I would agree that we should be cautious about our conclusions, but stand by my earlier statement about conditions associated with hunting and game populations in the area in which I live. It’s a valuable conversation to have — no question about it!

  11. Like to see a longer discussion on “third party comes to confiscate your harvest.” When I was living in NE Wa. on a couple of acres, I got a very disturbing survey in the mail from our friendly government. They wanted detailed information on everything I had: what was in production on the land and how much, what crops were stored, how many animals and what kind, what farm equipment, how many people lived there, and on and on. I believe a survey was sent to everyone with a bit of land. It was actually explained to me by a member of my church who worked for the govt. He said they need to know what we have in case they need it. It made lots of sense to him! What do we really own? Brings up visions about what has happened to farmers in communist countries.

    1. Janie,,,,,I have fought with the creeps from the USDA over the Ag census for a while, came down to a drone overflight, I never do the paperwork. I am told I have a bad attitude, a John Galt attitude, like let the leaches starve, I will only feed people that are worth there salt,
      Rant over ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  12. The reasons cooling ponds or nuclear accident sites have not been a total disaster,-(although bad enough), is billions and billions of dollars that were spent to contain the area.

    It’s highly probable that the Columbia River from the Tri-Cities in Washington State would be contaminated for a long time when the millions of gallons of high radioactive material leaks directly into the river with no one human intervention to stop it.

    1. Skip ,,,,,the Columbia has been contaminated since WW2 in the river mud ,sad thing is the river feeds the aquifer for city’s like Vancouver USA ,the contamination in the water has been covered up in the past ,the real test are not to be talked about ,or done any longer,,

  13. The Wuhan Flu/Coronavirus Covid-19 is upon the USA. … The indications so far seems to be the Flu virus will affect a lot of people. The experts predict, the Flu will be deadly to a small percentage of people. = Good News = Unless you and/or a family member is within that small percentage of people becoming sick and dying.

    Survivalblog has a good ‘Resource’ section worth rereading.
    *************
    In the news: “Ammo Sales Surge amid Fears of Pandemic-Induced Chaos” Breitbart 3/6/2020.

    “Ammunition sales are surging amid fears of pandemic-induced lawlessness and disorder as the coronavirus threatens the United States.

    PR Newswire reports online ammunition retailer Ammo.com has seen a 410 percent increased in .40 caliber handgun ammo sales since February 23, 2020. They have seen a 194 percent increase in .223 (AR-15 amm0) sales, 101 percent increase in 9mm ammo sales, and a 95 percent increase in the sale of 12 gauge shells.

    The sales of other calibers and types of ammunition have increased as well.

    On February 28, 2020, the Washington Examiner reported that “preppers” were buying up rifles and pistols and seeking safe havens where they could hide out should a pandemic strike.

    Hyatt Guns’ Justin Anderson spoke to the spike in ammunition and firearm sales, saying, “I’ve seen a notable spike in the purchase of bulk ammo, which is usually a barometer of people’s fear in these types of situations.” He added, “The person with the most ammo wins.”
    ************************************
    The last quote is from someone selling ammo! > Or, just maybe, he’s a seer that knows NOT all people are Godly.

  14. Great write up. Author asks many good questions of the reader.
    Decades ago, when buying for two families, we drove to a grain elevator in Idaho and asked about the price of wheat. At the time, it was 6 cents per pound. I thought about how much labor it would take for me to generate a pound of wheat and bought 18 tons of it. Stored it in steel 55 gallon drums. Lots of them. The wheat is still fine, and I might add, was harvested before the practice of spraying Roundup on it began. It would take two families a long time to munch through 18 tons.
    Batteries. Stop buying those little batteries for solar power applications. industrial forklift batteries last 20 to 35 years with reasonable care. Mama Bear asks a very important question….what if your batteries are 5 years old when the crunch hits? How are you going to replace your dead “solar batteries” when the supply chain is broken? With a forklift battery, you’re going to be just fine if all you have on them (or “it”) is five years.
    One source I have used for them is Giant Industrial Battery, out of Chicago. Nice company to work with.

    1. Paul

      Can you talk some more about industrial forklift batteries? I used to use the golf cart ones for my PV system but never heard of these. And yes, despite care they only last so many years which means unless the supply chain is up and running, even those with an off-grid system will be out of power at some point.

  15. Vehicle:
    see add link on this blog and check out the emp shield for your current modern vehicle
    you are still going to run electronics radios gps etc. possibly. your emp shield will protect your current vehicle

  16. I’ll expand more on the forklift batteries. For about 25 years, we’ve used gel cell batteries, marketed under names like Deka, MK Battery, and Penn Union, for shelter power supplies because they rarely off-gas, can be tipped over, and hold their charge far, far better than lead-acid golf cart batteries ever did. They also deliver about 6 times more discharge/charge cycles than lead/acid golf cart batteries. The bank of ten gels in my own NBC shelter are now 17 years old and still kicking hard. Mind you, I don’t have more than a few hundred discharge cycles on them, and I don’t take them down below 80% State-Of-Charge very often. I once left an inverter on for four months and had only a 30 watt solar panel as a maintainer charge…and I discharged the bank completely. But they bounced right back. Such abuse would have killed a golf cart or marine battery bank. Ask me, I know. I got serious about the solar array for my rural shelter and installed (with the help of my friends) a 900 watt array and now I can leave all sorts of things on and not worry. I cook in the shelter now, with an induction cook plate, microwave ovens, run the ventilator, watch movies, vacuum, etc without worry.
    When upgrading the energy system of my steel building, I approached a house that had a LOT of solar panels on a ground array…..this guy looked serious. I wanted to know what batteries he was using, knowing full-well that lead-acid “solar” batteries didn’t last well. His answer: Forklift batteries. Ten of them! Mind you, he lives in a 7,000 square foot house, with central air conditioning, dishwashers, laundry room, and for all i know, an electric range. He also runs a half dozen 5 horsepower irrigation pumps and a business off this battery bank.
    Thinking back at my career with Raytheon as a material handler/expeditor, I thought of the old electric forklift I used there. It had to be 20 years old before I arrived in 1980, and it had been badly neglected by coworkers who seldom took the time to put it on the charger at the end of a shift. It was an orphan. Many times, an employee would try to use the machine, find the battery was dead, and use a propane forklift instead. And, btw, forget to charge the poor electric model. Often, I’d find the cells were very low on water. Gross neglect! Yet, when I left the company 30 years later, the same battery was in service. It’s probably still in use, ten years hence.
    There are really only two types of batteries. Industrial, and all the rest! Forklift batteries have MUCH thicker lead plates inside than the silly little marine/golf cart models, and orders of magnitude heavier than automobile starter batteries.
    In service, often in food warehouses, an electric forklift will perform hard service for an 8 hour shift and become discharged 80%. Or, its “state-of-charge” would show only 20% capacity. These batteries are designed for this harsh work environment. They would be charged on the machine overnight and be ready for the next day’s labors. If the warehouse runs three shifts, the batteries are shuttled off with a small crane (they weigh anywhere from 750 lbs to 3,000 lbs) and charged as a fresh one is installed for the next shift. Under these grueling conditions, a forklift battery is expected to go about 7 years!
    For my purposes, a single forklift battery suffices for my building and workshop. It is a 24 volt model with 1500 amp/hours of capacity at the 20 hour discharge rate. Under the 6 hour rate, the amp/hour capacity is 1000 amps. It roughly equals about 32 gels in voltage and amp/hour capacity. At $300 for each gel battery, that’s about $10,000. My lone forklift battery cost $4,000.00, including shipping from Chicago to Utah. The industrial battery will last many years longer than any gel, AGM, or carbon AGM on the market, especially because my discharge cycles are never deeper than 11% of the battery’s capacity. Shallow cycles have little effect on battery aging.
    A client I have tried the Trojan L16 2 volt batteries (cells, actually) and they weighed about 150 lbs each. They lasted three years and gave up. He replaced the L16s with two, 12 volt forklift batteries wired in series to deliver 24 volt service, and they’ve lasted 18 years with a few more years left on the clock. His average depth of discharge nightly is about 20%.
    If you can, size your bank to keep the nightly discharges within the 10% range. You can dip much deeper than that on occasion, but in the interest of battery life, keep is shallow.
    I only run lights, entertainment, kitchen appliances such as microwave, toaster oven, and induction cook top, well pump and water sterilization system, ceiling fans. My needs are small. If I had two or more, I could get pretty crazy. I accomplish welding using an engine-drive Miller, so that’s another story. I have a military M002A 5kw diesel for backup if the sun hides for several days. My 3300 watt array can replace nightly use unless the cloud cover is extremely dark. I try to save the heavy hitting chores for day time, such as running the 1500 watt, 19 gallon water heater. The battery will run the heater just fine, but it yanks about 4% battery capacity off if used at night to heat a batch of 40 degree water up to 115 degrees. My battery was installed in 2014, so it’s six years old and shows no sign of aging. It weighs 1960 lbs.
    Forklift battery cells are nested inside a heavy duty steel casement, about 1/4″ thick. Mine are permanently slaved together, but they are available with removable cells so that the casement can be moved into place and the cells eased inside and connected one by one. Each cell weighs about 150 lbs on my model. YMMV.
    These must be checked regularly for electrolyte level maintenance. Winter temperature in my utility room (not heated directly) averages 52 degrees for battery temperature. It will require a couple a pint of distilled water every 6 weeks or so. In the summer, the batter temperature will average 77 to 84 degrees. It will demand a pint of water per cell about every three weeks, depending on usage. I can reduce this to nearly zero by not using it, but that defeats the purpose.
    Having alternative energy means being able to assure a reliable, safe water supply for my family and friends no matter what is going on with the national power grid. Hint: have spare panels, inverters, charge controllers. The battery will serve you for 20 to 30 years, long after the battery supply chain dies…if you do your part and maintain it.

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