Retreat Owner Profiles

The following profiles are of real life individuals that I’ve interviewed. I have known many of these folks for more than a decade. Although a couple of these profiles might sound like fantasies, they are all real people and I describe their actual retreat set-ups. I have slightly fictionalized some details, but merely to protect their anonymity. Note that some of these families currently live at their intended retreats, while others hope to Get out of Dodge at the 11th hour. (The latter approach is not recommended!)

You will likely find the following information useful for selecting your own levels/types of logistics, vehicles, firearms, and so forth. Please note that most of these survivalists have wisely standardized with a few commonly available calibers. Most have also made provision for defending their retreats at night, backup power, and long-term fuel storage. Read between the lines!

OBTW, if you truly “live the life” of survivalism with a presumably effective retreat location and wouldn’t mind seeing your profile up on this site, please e-mail me the details isame format as below, and I will add your profile to the list. Note: I’d particularly like to include profiles from survivalists in other countries. (See the second section.)

Continental United States Retreat Owner Profiles:

Profile 1: Mr. and Mrs. Bravo

Present home: Recently moved to new custom-built residence in luxury gated community an hour from a city of 500,000 in the Inter-Mountain West, with nearer smaller towns. Many acquisitions will occur within the next year.

Ages: 40 and 35
SOs: No children.
Annual income: $200,000+.
Profession: Technical consultant and accountant, both self-employed.
Investments: A mix of local real estate, conventional securities in retirement accounts, gold bullion coins, and junk silver.
Vehicles: Ford Expedition, BMW 528i (28 mpg fuel efficient commuter/runabout).
Firearms Battery: Two FN-FAL .308 battle rifles with over 100 magazines, two pre-ban AR-15s with 50 magazines, .50 BMG take-down target rifle, numerous current production high capacity pistols from a major European manufacturer, other pistols ranging from .22 LR to .44 magnum, several hunting rifles of various calibers. Four surplus bolt-action .30 cal. rifles carried in vehicles and other less-secure locations. Bedside Mossberg 500 shotgun with Surefire light forearm. Miscellaneous other firearms. Most firearms, especially semi-auto rifles, are purchased in private sales. A personal gunsmithing and reloading shop being established in their new home. Have military surplus flak jackets and U.S.G.I. Kevlar helmets, web gear, camouflage clothing. Soon to acquire night vision goggles, seismic sensors, and Level III vests. Biggest influences in selecting firearms battery were Boston’s Gun Bible and Patriots [by JWR]

Stored ammunition: Roughly 25,000 rounds, 10,000 of which are .308. This will significantly increase after completing their move.
Fuel Storage: Housing development is on full utilities (gas, electric, and water from nearby wells stored in uphill tank.) 1600 gallons of propane in underground tank. 5000 gallon underground water storage fed by recovered rainwater from metal roof. Electrical panels configured to allow essential circuits to be powered by propane/NG generator, or by future PV panels and battery system. Through-wall conduits in place to communicate with possible solar heat or PV panels on roof or in yard.
Improvements: 3,500 square foot conventional home on less than 1 acre, with 20 adjacent acres of green space shared with 5 neighboring homes. 2,000 square feet of basement and garage space, including 500 square foot sub-garage storage/shelter facility. Shelter includes 12-inch concrete lid for radiation protection, full bath, insulated wine/root cellar, ventilation conduits to provide filtered air, and second emergency exit invisible from exterior. 15 yard basement pistol range. No garden or greenhouse. House and shelter design/facilities influenced primarily by Joel Skousen’s The Secure Home.
Annual Property Tax: $5,400/yr. (Awful, but less expensive than for a house of 1/4 of the same value in the big city.)
Livestock: None. (Even an intruder-sensitive guard dog in a strict community is iffy, and extensive travel makes this impractical). Plentiful cattle ranching in immediate vicinity.

Communications Gear: C. Crane Radios (AM/FM), Off-brand AM/FM hand crank receiver, 3 FRS walkie-talkies.
Food storage: 1 year for 2 adults.
Hobbies: Shooting, knitting, gunsmithing, outdoor activities, entertaining, dining, travel, and surfing conservative Internet news discussion sites.
Background: Mr. and Mrs. B left a big city in another state to avoid high income taxes, excessive government regulation, and an undesirable political and weather climate. They are new to the preparedness mindset, and rather new to firearms, though quickly making up for lost time. They are delighted now to find themselves among kindred conservative souls, and have relaxed quite a bit since leaving the tense hostility of a leftist city.

One goal in a making the move was to preserve privacy to the maximum extent possible. They moved to the new state and rented a home while constructing their new home nearby. This gave them time to practice their privacy efforts, such as maintaining the discipline not to use the residence address for ANY purpose (it is quite a sacrifice for a home-office professional not to have things overnighted to the doorstep!) Both are required by their occupations to have a public presence and address, so office addresses and P.O. Boxes are used. Firearms are purchased through the classifieds or at gun shows, and large ammunition and gun parts orders are shipped to the shop of a nearby friend in the firearms industry, paying with a money order that appears to be written by the friend. (Their advice: either find such a friend who is already on the list to help you, or be such a friend to someone who is just beginning to acquire firearms, and who should keep a virgin profile.)

The Bravos biggest disappointment in their privacy efforts was that there is no way to finance home construction and keep their name off the title (practices in some states may differ). This undercut most of their privacy efforts, which they still continue. To provide asset protection against predatory lawsuits, their house will be transferred to an LLC with the help of a lawyer who specializes in this area. Vehicles are also owned by LLCs in another state selected for its privacy policies, which deters bogus lawsuits and unlawful government fishing investigations that are not supported by a court order. The vehicle LLC mailing address is at a friends house in a third state.

JWR: Why did you choose your location?

Mr. and Mrs. B: Low taxes for our situation, conservative/libertarian politics, friendly social climate, favorable business climate, nice climate, and plentiful outdoor recreation.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. and Mrs. B: Cost of real estate is expensive, especially as those fleeing West Coast cities increase demand. We were stunned at how much land costs in cowboy country if you want to be within an hour of an international airport. We have also learned that sometimes even Republicans can’t be trusted not to abuse our rights.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. and Mrs. B: We have no planned participants, but we have offered to a few out-of-state friends and family members that they would be welcome here if they could get here in a worst-case scenario. We genuinely hope that we can encourage some of our new neighbors to adopt responsible plans, and have been building close contacts in the larger community.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. and Mrs. B: Weeks, months, years? We hope for the best, and plan for the worst. We do not even bother to guess.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?

Mr. and Mrs. B: Being without utilities for more than one winter, and needing to defend our county from unprepared refugees in the nearest city, and worse from adjoining states.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. and Mrs. B: We are a team on this, and are each motivated to do it right. Neither one of us is dragging the other along. We both have learned while living in hostile territory that one can be targeted for ones political principles and for ones personal success by leftist government, by the partisan media, and by dishonest individuals who can leverage both. We are watching the increasing assaults on our civil liberties, property rights, gun rights, and national culture, and fear even worse. We assume that there will be a grave economic crisis as the Social Security system collapses, if not much sooner. We feel a kindred spirit to our late ancestors who survived the Great Depression, and feel blessed that we can enjoy present luxuries without sacrificing future preparedness.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. and Mrs. B: We are not heat-prepared in a climate that sees winter snow. Either we should provision uninstalled solar heating panels and all the supplies needed to install them in conjunction with our gas-fueled radiant floor heating system, or at least have on hand a wood stove and supplies that can be installed after the Crunch begins. The latter is probably more technically realistic. In any event, dry (or wet) installation tests should be conducted while the Home Depot is open, and consultants and mail order parts are available. We also should acquire inverters and batteries to make our propane generator usage efficient, and PV panels will be installed soon. We will also eventually investigate what kind of power backup our community well pump has, and propose robust upgrades to ensure extended water availability during power and fuel interruptions. Solar would be ideal.
JWR: What are your long term goals?
Mr. and Mrs. B: To insure our survival against the worst case scenario. If that never occurs (or until it does) to retire from our work at a young enough age to enjoy our favorite recreational activities. In the short term we are developing our preparedness skills, especially with firearms.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. and Mrs. Bravo should be sure to follow through on their logistics plans. They should acquire a suite of base and mobile radio gear (CB and HF) and appropriate low profile dipole and vertical HF and CB antennas that will blend in and conform with their neighborhoods CC&Rs. They should consider getting a propane conversion for one vehicle (preferably their 4WD), or perhaps buying a propane-powered municipal surplus vehicle. They should store construction materials for deer fencing, cold frames and/or greenhouse as well as photovoltaic panels, batteries, inverter, and ancillary equipment. They also need to make contingency plans for drawing, transporting, storing, and treating water from open sources.


Profile 2: Mr. and Mrs. Charlie

Present home: 100-year-old farmhouse, 3 story, 2,800 sq ft. Central WI
Ages: 37 and 35
SOs: 3 children, 6, 8 and 12.
Annual income: $120,000.
Profession: Marketing Web Designer and Homemaker

Investments: Various financial tools including stocks, CDs, savings and land. A small amount of gold coins, and a large amount of junk silver and new dollars.
Vehicles: Jeep Cherokee (2004), Wrangler (2003), F-150 pickup (1992). Ford 3000 tractor, a couple of ATVs
Firearms Battery: Battery includes (but is not limited to) Ithaca 20 ga., Mossberg 12 ga., Remington 12 ga., .300 Win Mag Rem 700, several AK variants, AR-10, scout rifle (M44), several German Mausers and Mosin Nagants, various Ruger 10/22s, Marlin 30-30, Glock 17s, Taurus, 24/7s (.45 ACP), several 1911s, S&W 686 in .357 mag., and several
Stored ammunition: Not including miscellaneous ammo for air rifles, slingshots, .22 rimfire, etc, around 45,000 rounds. Primary stock is 7.62 NATO and .45 ACP.

Fuel Storage: 1,000 gal Diesel and 25 gal of kerosene (for lamps).
Improvements: 40 acres of local land, 60 KW generator. 40′ ham antenna mast, 30×40 steel shop, 2 car garage, currently building a horse barn. Root cellar in fieldstone basement of home. . 300′ Rifle range (single station) and 25 yd. pistol range. 80′ x 300′ garden, 1.5 acres of corn and wheat. 25 beehives, 1/2 acre of raspberries. Planning a 50′ water
tower next year, along with windmill
Annual Property Tax: ~4,500 per year (new assessment and new buildings)
Livestock: Two dogs, ~25 chickens, 5 goats, no cattle (dairy and meat cattle are plentiful locally), 4 horses broken to saddle / trail, plus a few barn cats.
Communications Gear: various ham gear (2m 6m 10m), some high freq gear, 2 scanners, 1 Yaesu portable ham, several portable CBs, 1 Cobra 148, 8-10 Motorola type FRS/GMRS with throat mikes / booms and ear buds.

Food storage: 4 months for a family of 5
Hobbies: Shooting, canning, gardening, building metal-working, gunsmithing, reloading, reading, outdoor activities with the kids, hunting, astronomy.
Background: Both of us were born and raised in the northern reaches of the PRK. I even began and ran a small business there. We met in church and married 7 weeks later. Due to predatory laws against small business in Kalifornia (and very high taxes), we moved to Michigan (new job). Ten years of promotions, raises, and moves followed including New York, Milan, Frankfurt, Osaka, and Chicago. Once in Chicago (in 2002), we made a five-year plan to move back into a rural setting. That plan was hastened by a job elimination in Chicago which enabled us to realize our five-year plan in 10 months. Now we live in an area that has 2-3 families in any given square mile and we are 10 times happier! Our kids are happier and healthier and we feel like we’ve accomplished something every day. I highly recommend a “return to the land” not just for body and soul, but to prepare oneself for a coming time when the automata of society is gonna, and we truly must again be self-reliant.

JWR: Why did you choose your location?

Mr. Charlie:: Excellent positioning for low nuclear fallout, clean aquifer (edge of ice age glacier, a lot of sand without silt for filtering). Rural area with a social barter system already in place, with a local community (not “lone wolf”). We are well off the road and completely hidden in summer, partially in winter.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. Charlie: Tough to get into the heart of the community as we’ve not been here our entire natural lives.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Charlie: Provided the G.O.O.D. plans prevail, my wife’s brother, wife and children.

JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. Charlie: This completely depends on the disaster or situation at hand. Months to many years.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Charlie: Having to leave this retreat during a disaster because of poor OPSEC, being “sold out”, or otherwise compromised.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?

Mr. Charlie: We were raised in fundamental Christian households and thus the idea of TEOTWAWKI is pervasive. I am also an amateur Constitutional scholar and have a clear understanding of the forces and times that shaped our country. We’re a long way from that now. We both believe (after much world travel) that the social divide between the haves and have nots, and the current – and widening – divide between enforced law and morality will result in a social tear that will slowly and painfully mend. We watch our children grow and realize that in today’s world the skills and mindsets needed to survive in hostile surrounding are actually actively torn down. We must fight that and continue to allow our children to live free, think freely, and come to rational conclusions about right and wrong–rather than enabling the moral relativism that is so widespread in our country today.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. Charlie: Almost no solar currently. While I have MIL-SPEC hardened laptops with gigabytes of data (field manuals, FEMA brochures, magazine articles, how-to’s on every subject, etc), these laptops have only two batteries each with two solar panels for renewable power. Our vehicles are gas (Cherokee and Wrangler) while we store diesel. We should convert one regularly used vehicle to a diesel power plant. Our children can shoot (hunt) but have no tactical training. We have no SOPs currently for defense or patrol, should that become necessary.
JWR: What are your long term goals?

Mr. Charlie: Live a wholesome life that best prepares us to cope with any problem set and provides our children the same skills.


Profile 3: Mr. Delta

PRESENT HOME: 1,800 square foot ICF home on 30 acres – 90% wooded. Small suburb of a 1.5mm city in midwest.

AGES: Husband – 45, Wife – 46, no children


PROFESSION: Mrs. Delta is a phone technician. Mr. Delta is an officer in a company.

INVESTMENTS: her pension, her 401(k), my 401(k) – but lots of semi-precious metals and tangibles such as $1,500 [face value] of junk silver, 15 one ounce Gold Eagles. Land that is 90% wooded and butts up to a wildlife area, and a river.
VEHICLES: 1999 Toyota, 2000 Yukon


M1A set up for combat CQB (Surefire 6P light on forend, front sight blade filed down to zero at 100 yds with back aperture bottomed out, aperture drilled to ghost ring, handguard ventilated, skateboard tape on butt plate, Krylon paint job, M60 sling for around neck dangle, SA loaded package on rifle, 34 U.S.G.I. .mags with pull cables) Another M1A setup for surgical use (ARMS mount with Leupold M3 3x10x40, handmade cheekrest, unitized gas system, bedded, match trigger and barrel – spare parts for 1st level of maintenance)
G21 x3 with High Speed gear drop legs and 21 mags (some spring parts, not enough yet though)
G30 with 12 mags

Ruger MKII with 4 mags (field repair kit)
Ruger 10/22 x2 with 4 mags (no spares yet)
Springfield Armory M6 .22/.410
Mossberg 835
VZ24 rebuilt as a .308 Scout (Leupold Scout scope, XS ghost sights, sling)

Ruger P90 w/10 mags
M44 Mosin Nagant
Gibbs Jungle carbine in .308 with spare mag


CZ52 with 2 mags
M1 Garand from CMP (with 150 rds en blocs)FUN GUNS
P17 from CMP
#4 MKI
38 Turk Mauser rebuilt to .30-06
FN Mauser rebuilt to .35 WAI Leupold Scout scope, XS ghost sights, sling)

VZ24 in 8mm Mauser with aperture sight
Reload for 7.62×51 (NATO), .30-06, .45 ACP, 8mm Mauser, .35 WAI, and .40 S&W (for relative). Tools for gun work up mill/lathe work.
1,250 rounds for 7.62×51.
10,000 .22LR rounds
1,200 .45ACP rounds
500 12 GA rounds

2,860 5.56×45 rounds
2,200 7.62×39 rounds
350 8mm Mauser rounds
55 .303 Brit rounds
1,550 9mm rounds
5,000 primers

Gear: Both have 10 day BOBs (with vest for me) and masks, Level III body armor vests in rafting bags for loading in/on vehicles. Both vehicles have a 3 day BOB to get home. One extra BOB and vest is off-site at relative’s home. One extra set of U.S.G.I. web gear and BOB. Vest kept in company van (without firearm) due to their communist company policies prohibiting firearms. Spare clothes boxes in both vehicles.

FUEL STORAGE – 6 gal gas x2, 5 gal gas x8, 1 gal gas x2 in garage – leery of going farther for fire considerations – all are stabilized and rotated

ANNUAL PROPERTY TAX – won’t know until DEC due to just finishing house construction – expect $2,400 annual

LIVESTOCK – None now due to just getting house done. Will definitely do chickens, and am working on wife to go to goats.

COMMO GEAR – Two TA-312s with 2 rolls WD-1 commo wire, Two FRS radios, one crank AM/FM/SW

FOOD STORAGE – 2 years for 2 adults – 1/3 in cans, 2/3s of which is in 5 or 6 gallon buckets – needs to be rotated – have tried to do so by bringing items out of storage, but with both of us working there isn’t enough time to grind corn/flour and really cook food – stocking up on canned goods for 1st 6 months on roller racks being built

HOBBIES – Practical rifle applications, hunting, sidearm use for self-defense, running, weight lifting, mountain bikes, camping – self-reliance group folded

BACKGROUND – Practicing Christian – 10 years active duty in Army combat arms, wife is a farm girl – built an ICF “round” home on property with shelter and root cellar, stone veneer outside, and metal roof plus robust protective measures. Also have a 25’x40′ steel building. In-laws live within 10 minutes from home. Became aware with regard to self-reliance in ’98. Wife does not have a “warrior” mentality and has scoliosis, so her BOB is focused on light weight and self reliance only (no rifle, magazines, or vest, just a G21 and Camelback Commander ruck). She has attended Thunder Ranch for DHG 1 & Team Tactics, but her total lack of upbringing with firearms has made it a rough row to hoe in regard to getting her to take responsibility for herself when things Schumerize. I have been to GP Rifle, DHG 1, Team Tactics, UR1, PR1 @ TR, and taken a special symposium (pistol, rifle, carbine, shotgun) at Gunsite. EIC in bronze for pistol. Certified NRA Rifle, pistol & home defense/CCW instructor. I subscribe to the old colonial America belief that since God created us, it is our duty to defend ourselves/what God created. I am non-denominational (What does the Bible say? What denomination was Christ?) and try to focus on making God happy, being a Godly husband, rendering a day of work as if God was looking over my shoulder watching me (which He is) and then comes play (hunting, shooting, self-reliance). Was a Boy Scout, combat lifesaver trained in military, skilled with weapons, tactics trained in service, can make leather goods, serious weapons tinkerer (need more tooling to be a gunsmith – however, each birthday or Christmas sees some of the gift money invested in tooling – last Brownell’s order included scope alignment rings), always take a deer via still hunting. Have worked as electrician apprentice and basic carpenter. Dabble in nylon gear with 1960s Singer gear driven sewing machine. Wife is dyed in the wool mainline conservative denomination. I run 3-4 miles x3 each week and lift x2/week (when not building a house!), plus chainsawing, mowing, clearing, etc. at the property. Wife runs x1-2/week and lifts 2-3x/week. We recently started riding bikes together. (Most profiles ignored PT, so trying to call attention to this!) Wife is pretty dedicated to our healthy eating & herbs which is very tough with job schedules and the sugar-loaded refined foods American diet. She is learning food canning from her Mom and helps her tend the garden. Planted 200+ trees – oak, walnut, persimmon, cherry. Well has been punched and water at 32 feet to 65 feet. Have parts for well torpedo, but not assembled yet. This aquifer used to supply the local hamlet via 5,000 gallon tanker during droughts.

CHOSE LOCATION: Best I could do with a wife that has stated “she would rather just be dead” than face post-nuclear life. The home site is 12 miles from N/S interstate, 12 miles from N/S US Highway corridor, as far from major city as we can get and still have jobs with a daily commute of 40 minutes for me, hour for wife. As much elbow room as we can afford. Being in the county allows me to have a range and to hunt deer on property. 5 acres routinely floods (against the river) and the woods are good for privacy, but hold no loggable trees. They are old enough for plenty of firewood though. The 1,250 acre wildlife area means fewer neighbors and more land to hunt. It is 20 miles north of the airport/north side of the city.

DRAWBACKS: Too humid in summer, not firearms/freedom friendly enough, not cold enough in climate to keep the population thinned out. Plusses: Long growing season, and rural enough to have decent game populations

WHO WILL BE JOINING US AT RETREAT WHEN THINGS SCHUMERIZE? Sister-in-law lives 1 mile from site, in-laws 10 minutes/5 miles. Maybe my Mom and her husband, my Dad (if he gets out of the city in time). Wife’s brother, wife, and two princesses. Obviously we need more robust food reserves for this many people, but it has been an uphill battle to get to where I am at. I have had to console myself with an inch of progress is an inch of progress. For four years the only “money” I have had to buy food/gear/ammo, etc. has been credit card points for putting gas on the credit card, Christmas/birthday gifts, or selling off excess firearms.

HOW LONG BEFORE ORDER IS RESTORED/AND WORST CASE? I think we are heading from our current serious recession/depression into a massive depression at best, Mad Max at worst. I see three generations before the US re-emerges as a respectable nation state, if it ever does. More likely is a European collection of smaller nation-states. The play money FRN cannot continue to function indefinitely. When will China call all our loans? China is also supposed to be on parity with us militarily by 2008. China and North Korea have threatened to nuke us, and then there is the good old moslem thing going on. That’s if the fascist US government doesn’t push libertarians over the edge and start a civil war, or the Mexican political parties who have as their charter the re-colonization of the US southwest don’t start one. How about the NAFTA corridor that would allow uninspected trucks of Chinese troops to cruise right into the unloading “port” at Richards-Gebauer AFB in Kansas City? The Islamo-fascists could collapse our teetering economy by applying C-4 to a few select refineries or power plants. I think my generation will see the US knocked off our pedestal. Rome fell – why are we any different? THINKING we are special because this is the US is quite ostrich-like in my book.

WHAT PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES SHAPED YOUR PREPS? See above – I will give credit where due – the wife is making progress, but there is a lot of damage to undue from my Y2K burst of initial preparations. She sees all of that money spent as her down payment on her house/nest. She now will critique Hollyweird regarding their weapons handling when we do watch an occasional movie/show. She has accepted my CCW and the BOBs in the cars, or BOB when we go out of state. No family has awakened yet. Fortunately, a fairly recent friend got me to ditch the destructive business situation I was in so that we could resume our progress. He is prior service also with jobs that gave him unique insight into the workings of the government prep for Y2K. According to him, it was not going to be pretty. He is a very driven person in his reliance preps. I take that as a message!

RETREAT SHORTCOMINGS: We just moved in to new house and the shelter isn’t equipped yet, too darn close to too many people, local inbred neanderthals don’t respect property rights/think they can trespass, too close to the major nuke magnet/city, but survivable with the 1 foot of concrete over the shelter/basement that we put in.

LONG TERM GOALS – Toughen the house, get fruit trees and livestock, get medical stuff laid up, get 5 year self reliant in terms of stored food, get the garden cranked up, get self reliant on power via solar, stored propane & wood, etc.. It’s gonna take a lot of food to take care of the family and still be able to help in a Christian manner! Get EMT certified or more. Get my machine/gun shop equipped for 2nd income, raise/farm herbs. Need to get the weapons spares laid up, and get past boo-boo 1st aid supplies. Also need to get barter stocks put up – shoes wear out, clothes, Nyquil is quite nice to get you thru a cold, no pampers without petroleum refining, etc..

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Delta has a difficult situation with his company’s “no firearms” policy. He should at least carry a 6 or 7 C Cell MagLite flashlight, a half dozen road flares (think that through, folks–who wants to come face to face with a lit road flare!), and perhaps an HK Emergency Flare Launcher (EFL) close at hand (typically in a small plastic storage bin, just below the center console) for self defense while traveling in his company van. They should also stock up on heirloom (open pollinated) gardening seed–available through The Ark Institute. They also need much more fuel storage at their nascent retreat. Underground fuel storage is best for both safety and shelf life.

Profile 4: Mr. and Mrs. Echo

Present Home/Retreat: 3-bedroom/2 bath log home on an isolated acreage in rural northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. In a life of compromise, our location is an example and application of Rawles’ theory of Channelization and Lines of Drift. 20 acre parcel that adjoins National Forest land.
Ages: 37/37
SO: Strong local church family. While we are very close to our blood family – our ties and relationships with our Christian brothers and sisters in our church family is far stronger than that to our blood family outside our marriage. No children. Siblings and parents in Arizona and two eastern states.

Annual Income: $60,000
Investments: Second home/acreage in an eastern state, minimal savings, IRAs, junk silver.
Vehicles: 2003 Ford Expedition 4×4, 2004 Nissan Sentra
Firearms Battery: A compliment of appropriate long guns in .22, .223, 7.62×39, and .308 NATO. Compliment of 12 gauge shotguns. Compliment of appropriate pistols in 22. .38, .357, 9mm, and 45ACP. Multiple weapons in each caliber. “Reasonable stores” of ammunition for the firearms.

Fuel Storage: Minimal

Food Stores: 6+ months for 2 people, wildlife is more than abundant; not a day goes by when I don’t see many deer, yesterday I saw three beautiful bucks. Various traps for animal trapping if need be. If the balloon went up our diet would be immediately supplemented by birds, squirrels, deer and other wildlife. (Ideally we would try to make our food
stores supplemental to what we caught/shot.)

Annual Property Taxes: $1,200

Livestock: None

Communication: Pair of 5 Watt GMRS radios, Pair of FRS radios, several CBs, BayGen FreePlay (hand crank generator) Shortwave radio, several other standard shortwave radios. Solar chargers for rechargeable batteries for the other radios.

Other Preparedness: Multiple Class II, IIIA, and III vests. 400 Gallons water storage. Water filters capable of filtering thousands of gallons of water from our creek. Structure is currently heated with wood, and in addition to the wood stove for heat we have a wood cook stove.

Lifestyle: Galatians 2:20 is the standard we try to live: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” We are avid readers, much of our time is spent in the Word, or serving at our local church or fellowship with fellow believers. Preparedness, photography, backpacking, writing, reading, collecting antiques, collecting and watching old movies, and travel are some of our hobbies.

Future Plans: Build second home on our property; re-establish water system the structure had prior to the installation of the well in 1980. (Spring fed tank – gravity feed to the structure.) While our debt outside our mortgage is minimal our plans are to eliminate all debt outside our mortgage in the very near future and continue on the path to paying off our mortgage significantly early.

Mr. Echo adds:
“I ended up in a location, which is equidistant (as the crow flies) from two highways, and away from the other main thoroughfares through these “bypass” areas. Due to a number of factors, the likelihood of significant numbers of refugees if any making it as far as my place is doubtful IMO. In fact one of my concerns is the ability of my wife & I to make it home should the balloon go up while we are away from the home. During the summer, with no traffic it takes me (and my neighbors) about 30 minutes to get to the highway I use to then travel down from the Sierras to the valley, it takes “normal” drivers about 45 minutes or more. In the winter this drive takes much longer. My several hour-a-day commute can be difficult at times, but I thank our Lord every day that he allows me to live in such a beautiful place, and provides me with a means to get to and from my place of employment. We ended up with 20 acres, which touches a pretty much inaccessible corner of National Forest. We have a creek, and pond, a 3 bedroom/2 bath house that was built about 50 years before there was electricity or paved roads in this neck of the woods. Our home is not visible from the road, or from either the entrance to our driveway, or from our gate. (About 600 feet from the house to the county road). We have a partial basement, several outbuildings, a fenced garden area, horse corral & horse shelter, and about a dozen fruit trees.”

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. and Mrs. Echo should add a greenhouse as well as more hay and firewood storage. They also need to make contingency plans to coordinate security with their neighbors, post-TEOTWAWKI. Military surplus field telephones work well for this.


Profile 5: Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot

Present home: Recently moved to new residence in luxury community in South Texas because of a job loss in the Northwest. we sold our our 40 acre retreat because prices were top of the market and it could help in Texas to have no mortgage and to continue preparations. Many acquisitions will occur within the next year including another retreat property (prices are about same as when we bought our first retreat and inventory up in the Northwest.)

Ages: 46 and 51

SOs: One adult child that lives out of state

Annual income: $61,000+.

Profession: Technology (him) and Homemaker (her).

Investments: Law Enforcement Degree for child (once graduated soon and in a job should come in handy), A mix of local real estate, conventional securities in retirement accounts, stocks/options, valuable collections and junk silver including coins in 1000’s face value.(currently turning the collections into cash)

Vehicles: Honda CRV 4WD. (I just sold my gas powered full size pickup in preparation for a full size 4wd diesel and a smaller alternate fuel vehicle)

Firearms Battery: Smith and Wesson 586 .357,Winchester 30-30 nickel plated, Winchester Model 1300 – 12 gauge Parkerized 30 inch barrel and 21″ rifled slug barrel, Rem 11-87 -12ga 30″ and short also parkerized, Remington Model 870 20ga gauge, old smooth bore side by side scatter gun, pre war Winchester 62 22 and 22LR, Mossberg Bolt action 12 ga. adjustable choke,1896 .30-40 Krag (sporterized), various BB and Pellet Guns as well as hunting slingshots and worth noting for the small game and birds that can be actually hunted using cheap ammo also current plus is living in Texas and working with fervent gun owners so I am stocking up as I sell off of valuable collection turning it into cash. (I am thinking of trading some of the antiques in at a gun show for a real rifle with spare parts and some hand guns as most were inherited from father but keeping, the 357 because it was my wife’s gun and she shoots it, the .30-30 because it’s plated [for humid weather resistance] and ammo is cheap. I’m also familiar with it having shot it as a kid, maybe the 22 if I can’t get enough value because I have tons of ammo in both short and LR and all the Parkerized 12 gauges, the bolt action shotgun because of the adjustable choke and I’m having a larger magazine made by a gunsmith friend and the 20 gauge )

Stored ammunition: Roughly 15,000 rounds packaged with silica gel and about 10,000 in powder, bullets, shot and casings. Most in 12 Gauge, .22, .22 LR and 38 Special, and .357 Magnum . This will significantly increase after completing the move and the decision of caliber and reloading supplies. (I’ve got all the 12 and 20 gauge equipment.)

Fuel Storage: Regular utilities now but will be solar and underground storage tank with asphalt coating. (We had a 1,000 gallon diesel tank that we left for the new owners)

Improvements: TBD

Annual Property Tax: TBD but significantly more than in the northwest (definitely a con here)

Livestock: Will get back into raising rabbits, chickens and goat(s). (All our breeding stock and equip has been housed with friends in exchange for the contingency that if the SHTF and our retreat isn’t ready we can stay with them.)

Communications Gear: Off-brand AM/FM hand crank receiver SW, AM /FM and other public bands, six FRS walkie-talkies with solar re-chargers, CB and base station with modified ham frequencies. We have numerous old laptops, wireless routers and devices and web cams for private solar based network/perimeter security. I already have the skills to implement this.)

Food storage: 1-1/2 year for two adults and equipment supplies for putting up and charity for many more. More to come later when we have more cool dry space. (The humidity is too high here)

Hobbies: Shooting, re-loading (both), gunsmithing/re-loading (him), sewing, herbal and nutritional cooking (her), reading, learning canning and dehydration (both), solar and computer technology (him), Internet surfing and storing information (both).

Background: Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot originally lived in California, but moved to the northwest to avoid high income taxes, high property taxes, excessive property prices, excessive government regulation on gun ownership, and an undesirable political / moral climate. We are relatively new to the preparedness life. (For the last five years.)

JWR: Why did you choose your location?

Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: Conservative/Constitutionalist libertarian politics, Christian community, Lots of contacts, Great outdoors.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: A little close to the Golden Horde

JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: Two or possibly three adult family members maybe more depending on a neighboring state’s situation

JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: No idea but hopefully ready for the long term (we tried a little self test one winter)

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: Needing to defend the retreat from adjoining state (Golden Horde).

JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. Foxtrot: Seems like even though I grew up in the “Nanny state”, I’ve been preparing my whole life for this (my resume looks like five different people), and even though I was living in Tech City I always felt like I was destined to be a homesteader. My wife shared the same belief system when we met and we’ve been trying to establish our retreat ever since. It was so painful to leave our old retreat, but at the same time it showed us that we were willing to do whatever it takes to survive and once we get it back it will take an awful lot to give it up again, if at all.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: Not purchased yet hopefully done before TSHTF and Band-aids although we have a lot of kits we need to learn how to use them appropriately

JWR: What are your long term goals?
Mr. and Mrs. Foxtrot: Be prepared, be good and charitable Christians, accept that it is inevitable that we die and not up to us, but how we choose to live, is!


Profile 6: Mrs. Golf

PRESENT HOUSE: I just moved from the western U.S. to 20 acres in Arkansas, a half a mile off the nearest paved road, 14 miles from the nearest town of 1,500 with one neighbor somewhere along my road – I see a driveway! Mostly mixed hardwood forest, lots of wild berries and grapes, and brush for goats. One large pond with some kind of fish in it, tons of frogs, cattails, and water lilies and another smaller one for runoff. Backs up to some sort of state conservation area with deer, turkey, and dove spotted so far. I’ll tell you, it’s REALLY expensive for a “prepper” to move! LOL! I had moved 22,652 pounds of goods which included very little furniture but a lot of preps and tools and potentially necessary stuff.

ANNUAL PROPERTY TAX: $2.78 (Really).

AGE: 65 (Little ol’ grey-haired lady!).

No children at home but have 3 daughters, 1 son, 9 grandchildren.

AVERAGE INCOME: $15,000 per year including Social Security. I work at home part time as a legal transcriptionist online.

INVESTMENTS: None of the traditional, my investments are in my land, my preps, and my livestock. Small credit card debt and very small mortgage which will be paid in full, both, in a year or so.

VEHICLE: Ford Explorer 4×4 (20 MPG) and a 5 x 8 tilt trailer with removable side boards which hauls anything I need or can handle.

FIREARMS: 22 rimfire rifle, Ruger Mini-30, Mossberg 20 gauge, 22 pistol for snake shot. I know, I know. I’m going to the Central Arkansas Shooters Assn. Ladies Day in October to try some handguns out and find what suits me. I do not have much arm strength so need something fairly light weight.

AMMO: Pushing 10,000 hard divided between all calibers I have guns for.

FUEL: 500 gal propane tank for cooking and hot water (converting to an instant demand type in a month or so), 55 gal gas for the chainsaw and generator for the water pump and freezer, dozens of bottles of oil for lamps, 85 small bottles of propane for the lanterns.

IMPROVEMENTS: 30 x 50 steel floored, insulated workshop wood heated, 5 bay vehicle park to be used for hay storage, wood storage, machinery storage; 3 bay 16 x 30 building to be converted to the goat barn and milking shed; 10 x 20 steel storage building, floored; in-ground tornado shelter; 100 16 ft cattle panels + posts (not a drop of fencing on the entire place); 8 4×8 raised bed for veggies; a 6 vine vineyard (I make wine and vinegar); peach and pear trees; asparagus bed, strawberry bed. As soon as I get that fencing up and the 3-bay remodeled I will be back with goats – plan to have minimum 6 milk/meat does and 1 buck. When the chicken house gets redone I will have at least 2 dozen layers. I brought with me all the material necessary for a greenhouse (I had two 14 x 25 out west, for years). I may not need them here though. I brought my Berkey water filter with extra filters. I have collected enough hand tools to replace any power tool 3 times over, plus all the usual hand tools.

COMM GEAR: Just two SW radios with solar rechargeable batteries – I know, I know, but I just want incoming news not outgoing chatter.

LIVESTOCK: Right now none. Have 2 working dogs for big varmints and 3 working cats for small varmints. Planning on chickens and goats as soon as I get the fencing and housing situation under control. I also plan to train a couple of wethers to pull and pack – I already have the training harness, I need to get a cart and the packs shortly.

FOOD STORAGE/PREPARATION SUPPLIES: 468 nitro packed #10 cans of basics – wheat, sugar, salt, rice, beans, milk, etc.. 10 gallons of honey in qt. jars, a years supply of regular canned veggies and fruits plus (right now) 6 months of home canned meat/fish/fowl and a freezer full of venison and elk and salmon. 5 pressure canners with replacement parts for all, 2400 canning jars with lids for 2 years and 144 reusable lids; 2 food dryers; solar cooker, wood cooking stove, 4 wood heating stoves with pipe and connections for all and brushes; open pollinated (O/P) seeds for 2 years of planting plus they are renewable and I do that; at least 20 years experience canning, drying, cooking on a wood stove, hunting, gardening, wine making, herbal medicine, conventional medicine and surgery, vet skills and all the necessary equipment and supplies to do these things. I could probably feed and keep healthy 4-6 adults and 3-4 children indefinitely if it came down to that.

HOBBIES: In my spare time LOL!! My lifestyle is my hobby and I enjoy every minute of it. I try to learn something new every day and keep growing and adding to my skills. I do read lots. I have no TV and very bad radio reception. Usually in the evenings I spend a great deal of time on Internet Forums. I moderate “Complimentary Herbals” and “Homesteading/gardening” forums.

Profile 7: Mr. and Mrs. Hotel

Present home/retreat: 12 year-old log home on 10 acres in the Rocky Mountain West. 2 miles from nearest small town (170 souls), 150 miles from nearest “city” (it has

population of 90,000).

Ages: 55 & 50, no children at home.

Annual Income: $75,000

Profession: Retired

Investments: Silver bullion. Minimum kept in bank. They deal largely in cash.

Vehicles: Pre-electronic ignition 3/4-Ton 4WD diesel pickup with new engine and drive train. 4WD Suburban. Motorcycle.

Firearms: Six M1 Garand rifles with a substantial stock of spare parts including barrels and operating rods. Two M1A rifles–one a Springfield Armory, the other a Fulton Armory tack-driver. HK-91 with Hensoldt optics, Surefire laser, heavy bipod. Four 12 gauge shotguns (various makers). One Ruger PC9 carbine. One Winchester M1 carbine. One Ruger M77 in .270 with 3-9 scope. One Ruger M77-22, stainless, synthetic in .22 magnum. Two Ruger 10/22 carbines. Two Swedish M96 6.5×55 rifles. Two Springfield Model 1903 rifles. One SIG P220 .45ACP. One Ruger P85. One Ruger Mark I .22 LR . One Ruger 22/22WMR single six convertible.One SIG .380. One 45-70 single shot. One Winchester trapper in .45 Long Colt.

Ammunition stock: 50,000 rounds of various ammunition, including tracer and AP for Garands. Enough powder and primers on hand to reload another 50,000.
Reloading dies in all calibers to match my rifles and centerfire handguns.

Fuel and power: 140 gallons diesel storage. Two 175 watt solar panels with charge controller, battery bank and inverter. Solar setup is sufficient to keep
the two freezers running. Wood burning stove with 4 cords dry wood under roof. Cooking on wood stove-top possible with dutch ovens and stove-top


Food supply: Cooled and heated pantry with 3 year stock. Everything from #10 cans of fruits/vegetables to Spam, powdered milk, flour, salt, freeze-dry
entrees, dry beans, rice, grains. Supplemented with olive oil, jams/jellies, fruitcakes, pancake and bread mixes, 500 pounds of frozen meat (mostly
buffalo), 500 MRE main entree packets (frozen), 50 pounds of smoked salmon, et cetera. High quality grain mill with spare parts. Local wildlife is abundant and
our property hosts significant numbers of wild turkeys and cottontails.

Personal: He – Capable carpenter, highly qualified with firearms (former competitive high power rifle shooter), avid hunter and hiker, former
Republican, now Libertarian.
She – Avid gardener. Working to turn our alkaline soil into a Garden of Eden!

JWR: Why did you choose your location?
Mr. Hotel: My work brought me here 35 years ago. We liked it so much that we never left.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. Hotel: Short growing seasons and harsh climate.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Hotel: We have three sons and a daughter, all current or former active duty military. They all share our feeling that when events begin to unfold, the central
government will go totally out of control. They and their families will endeavor to join us.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. Hotel: We believe that America will be balkanized, fractured into several smaller, more manageable nation states. We expect disorder to last
5 to 10 years.

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Hotel: Martial Law. The government has been gathering so much new power in the post-September 11 hysteria and we all know, government never
gives up power willingly. The government no longer looks upon us as citizens, but instead as subjects. Sadly, the average American today is willing to give up their Freedom and Liberty in exchange for that empty government pledge to “keep you safe”.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations?
Mr. Hotel: Growing up in a large family on a small farm. We had some pretty hard times, but we all pulled together and saw it through. Years ago, we determined never, never to have to stand in line with our hand out, waiting on a box of government “provided” commodities.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. Hotel: We need more liquid fuel and potable water storage.
JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Mr. Hotel: To survive the coming storm.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Hotel should make preparation to collect, haul, and treat water from open sources. He has enough guns to arm half a platoon. However, for the sake of commonality and more effective ballistics, he should probably sell his Ruger P85 (9mm) pistol and replace it with another SIG P220 (.45 ACP). In fact, that wimpy 9mm caliber could be eliminated from his battery entirely by also replacing the Ruger PC9 carbine with a Marlin .45 ACP Camp Carbine. He should also add some communications gear and a general coverage shortwave receiver.


Profile 8: Mr. & Mrs. India

Ages: 34 & 33

SOs: Three children 6 and under

Profession: U.S. Military Serviceman


He: Grew up in Florida, raised in a self-reliant family, attend and commissioned from a military educational institution, married his sweetheart, completed pilot training, and is currently stationed at his sixth military installation.

She: Grew up in Idaho, raised by a self reliant and second amendment loving family, moved off to school, took work as a nanny, worked as an accountant, is currently a loving mother and supportive military spouse. For the most part she lives the self reliant lifestyle with things like grinding wheat and making bread while he spends money on the latest and greatest gadgets. Present Home: 4 bedroom/2 car garage, government house on a northern tier military installation. I would get paid a housing allowance if I lived off the installation and there could be lots of self reliant benefits to doing this, but at this station we choose to live on the installation. This is a choice we have to make during every move and consider many things such as housing availability, local market conditions, commuter costs, school zoning, and the areas grade based on the book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.

Income: $60,000 year not including benefits.
Additional Income: An occasional eBay sale, the Mrs. teaches piano, and extra cash from my frequent temporary duty (TDY) tours – I normally return from a TDY with more than half of the per diem by being frugal with food and not over indulging in entertainment. And when I say entertainment I mean not spending too much at the new-to-me gun stores, junk yards, used book stores, pawn shops, and Army/Navy stores.

Investments: We sold most of our IRAs early in 2008 to pay off debt. I now consider survival prep my top investment- food, ammo, extra magazines, extra receivers, books, and junk silver. We are currently saving to start a Swiss America gold account, and eventually purchase $1,000 face vale junk silver bags for each family member.

Vehicles: Primary – 80 series Toyota Land Cruiser. Grocery Getter – Honda minivan. We also have a Gen 1 Suzuki King Quad (slow but capable and carbureted), bicycles and bicycle trailer. Ideally I would own a complete spare primary vehicle but the frequent moves and lack of space make this difficult. For now I perform a lot of preventative maintenance to keep the vehicles in top condition and try to stock critical spares.

Firearms: Custom Remington 700 .308, four FALs with configuration ranging from Izzy HB to 18” carbine, M1A worked over by Smith Enterprises, S&W M4gery, DMPS M4gery, Mossberg 590, Winchester SX2 tactical, three Ruger 10/22s, Beeman HW77 .177 pellet rifle, Ruger SP101, Springfield Armory 1911, Glock 22, Browning Hi-Power, Ruger Mk 22/45, Scout rifle built on .308 Ishapore Enfield action, FR8, Savage 24C. The frequent moves are going to force me to shrink and further standardize my armory. I also made the mistake of buying a normal gun safe and moving it has been a huge and heavy pain. I plan on selling it and replacing it with one of the Zanotti Armor [6-piece modular] gun safes that you recommend. I would also like to add a crossbow to the collection for the silent gathering of meat if the Schumer hits the fan.

Ammo: Over 50,000 rounds with the bulk of that in .22 LR. One of my top priorities at this station is to finally unpack all my reloading supplies and purchase whatever is required to complete my setup so I can have an operational reloading bench. I am also on the lookout for a .177 pellet mold for my Beeman. I know accuracy would be way down but I think I could have an unlimited supply of pellets when old tire weights and discard car batteries are considered.

Fuel: 25 gallons in 5 gallon Scepter [current US mil-spec] gas cans, roughly 30 gallons of propane in various tank sizes. This is about as large of a supply as I can store, rotate, and do a permanent change of station (PCS) with. I have printed plans for a portable 12 volt DC fuel pump and will have parts when this year’s snow melts off the local junk yards.

Water: On the grid but we have a two week emergency supply (90 gallons stored in 15 gallon water barrels) and a Big Berkey water filter with buckets for carrying water from a local source to filter if needed.

Property tax: $0/year (one positive aspect of living in military housing)

Gardens: Allowed on military installations with restrictions. In the past I had been skeptical about planting a garden because the yard had to be returned to sod when changing stations. From a financial sense, rolling out sod when we leave would probably be more expensive than the money we would save in crop production. However, after considering several posts by fellow SurvivalBlog readers, I now think the expenditure will be a wise investment in learning the ends and outs of gardening. Keep in mind that on some military installations they have set aside large lots near housing that are opened for families to plant gardens – this would be the best of both worlds. We have a collection of hand tools to do the gardening but are limited on spares due to space and household good weight limitations.

Livestock: Not allowed on installation but I have seen people get away with having a hutch or two for the ‘pet’ rabbits.

Dogs: Allowed in military housing but I do not have one at this time. The spouse/kids/neighbors have to be supportive of a dog to make it work in the military. When the kids get older and can help out when I’m TDY, it will be an addition to our family.

Security: We live in the ultimate gated community provided by full time military police/security forces. When off the installation, personal security provided by sidearm and concealed carry permit. House has normal doors and locks but the family is usually in a low state of awareness due to the gated community feel. Five sets of various adult sized Kevlar vests and helmets. A 2nd gen night vision scope that is waiting for a rifle mount. My top priority in this area is to get the stars to align (namely: fly out grandma to watch the kids and find some reasonable transportation/lodging) so that I can use my long stored certificate and purchase an additional course so my wife and I can attend Front Sight together.

Food storage: Close to a year of staples (grains, beans, rice, powdered milk, honey, and salt), At least three month’s worth of canned/perishable goods that is constantly rotated, and 2+ weeks of MREs. I also have a collection of traps that Buckshot recommends and feel confident I could add meat to the table at any large military installation. When notified of a PCS, my wife starts using the canned and perishable goods almost exclusively so we can minimize our household goods weight. The household weight limit is something we always struggle with. We have averaged 1/3 more than the allowed weight on our last three moves but we have come up with a solution that has worked for us. We do a partial Do IT Yourself move (DITY move) where the military pays a contractor to move part of our goods and they pay us to move the rest of the goods (up to the maximum allowable weight based on rank and dependents). When the contract movers show up we have them load all the large and bulky items such as furniture, bicycle trailer, and empty water barrels. This usually amounts to about 2/3 of our belongings based on size but only 1/3 based on weight. We then pack the rest of the goods in a rented moving truck ourselves. The stuff like food storage, books, and the safe easily fit in the rental truck and adds up to about 2/3 of our total weight. Although we only get paid for about half of what we move we still make more than enough to cover all our expenses and avoid having to pay a carrier to move the excess weight.

Communication: HF base station is a Yaesu FT-840 with every factory option. I also have a Realistic Pro 2006 scanner, a Yaesu FT-8900 for the Land Cruiser, and a couple Yaesu handhelds. Exterior antennas are not allowed in military housing so I have to get by with low profile dipoles and a good antenna tuner. Right now I am encouraging my wife to get her Technician license. Besides wanting a VHF radio for the base station, I also need a battery backup system that can serve as our emergency electrical power supply. I want to be able to feed the battery bank with a small generator as well as a fairly large but portable solar panel(s).

Survival Library: Extensive with all the SurvivalBlog Bookshelf recommendations as well as most of the books recommended by readers.

Hobbies: Family adventures, church activities, vehicle maintenance/upgrades, Scouting, “$200 stamp collecting” (AWC and AAC firearms sound suppressors), increasing food storage.

Next project: At our current location I need to develop an emergency home heating plan. I wish we could add a wood stove but will probably have to settle with a kerosene space heater. I am also developing my exit strategy from the military – hopefully more to follow in the form of another writing contest submission.
I have deviated from the normal profile format and added a couple paragraphs to sum up the pros and cons of living the survival lifestyle while serving in the military.

Pros of active duty military: The opportunity to serve with many like minded selfless patriots, job security, benefits such as medical and commissary, requirement to stay physically fit, installation amenities such as gym and auto hobby shop, and a good retirement if I can make it to 20 years. I’ll be honest, the retirement plan will probably keep me in. I’ll be 44 when eligible to retire and I like the idea of being able to move to our desired retreat location, take a low paying job if nothing else is available and count on the immediate retirement income to make up the difference.

Cons: Not being able to live at and develop our desired retreat location, frequent/extended TDYs keeping me away from my immediate family, being stationed away from extended family, frequent moves, and the possibility of living in a state not up to the Constitutional standards of firearm and suppressor ownership.


Profile 9: Mr. and Mrs. Kilo

Present home/retreat: Near Heron, Montana (Northwest Montana, near the Idaho State line, below the Cabinet Mountains)
Age: 42 and 44

SOs: Two children, both under 15.
Annual income: Varies from $20,000 to $60,000 (Paid on commission.)
Profession: Insurance salesman. (Works from home via telephone.) Mrs. Kilo is a full time mom.
Investments: Bullion silver (1 ounce rounds), gold and silver mining stocks.
Vehicles: 1993 Ford 150 Diesel 4WD Pickup, 1992 Isuzu Trooper (fuel efficient 4WD), and a Caterpillar D4 tractor with a six-way blade (the ultimate status symbol in Northern Idaho and Western Montana–used mainly for snow plowing), Honda 300 cc ATV (for chores and to fetch the mail–Mr. and Mrs. Kilo have a 3/4 mile driveway through two adjoining parcels to get to the county road.)
Firearms Battery: Colt AR-15, customized Remington Model 700 .30-06 in a fiberglass stock with a Hart medium-heavy contour match barrel, threaded muzzle (for both a custom Vortex-type flash hider and a Hart muzzle brake) and Leupold 6.5-20X Vari-X III scope, Mossberg 500 12 gauge riotgun (with magazine extension, TacStar sidesaddle shell holder, TacStar tactical light, custom re-contoured (no snag) butt-stock, ghost ring sights, reshaped (tapered and extended) forcing cone for improved shot patterns, 2 Kimber Custom Gunsite Special M1911 .45 ACP clones with round-over reductions, Trijicon tritium sights, custom forward griping surface on slides. Also have numerous .22 rimfires, including a tiny Chipmunk .22 single shot training rifle, for his children.
Stored ammunition: Roughly 8,000 rounds, various calibers.
Fuel Storage: 10 cords of Tamarack and Red Fir firewood, underground 1200-gallon propane tank, 220 gallons of diesel (four 55 gallon drums, rotated frequently.)
Home/Retreat Property: 20 acres, mostly timbered with a small seasonal creek.

Well water, AC well pump. (Kawasaki 4 KW propane backup generator.) Most of the neighboring properties are 40 to 120 acre parcels.
Improvements: 1,800 square foot timber frame house. 2,400-square foot barn/shop. (Wanted extra firewood storage space, for charity.)
60 x 60 deer-fenced garden plot with eight 4 x 8 raised planter beds. Small poultry house.
Annual Property Tax: $1,200
Livestock: Leghorn chickens (for meat), Americauna cross chickens (for eggs), and a few Buff Orpington chickens (for brood hens). Summer flock: 100. Winter flock: 12 to 14.
Four Saanen dairy goats. (All does. A friend at church has a buck.)
Rex Rabbits for meat. The Kilo family keeps only 2 does plus one buck over winter.
Three to eight Belted Hampshire hogs raised each summer. (All are butchered every fall.)
400 square foot underground NBC shelter with pre-filters and Honeywell Z-membrane HEPA filters. (The best combination nuke/chemical filtration.)
Communications Gear: Has General class Amateur license. A variety of VHF, UHF, and HF transceivers. (All are either ICOM and Yaesu.) Several general coverage receivers, ICOM 2 meter handie-talkies and one Yaesu base station, marine band transceiver, and 4 Kenwood FRS handhelds. (Mr. Kilo likes the Kenwood privacy channel feature.)
Food storage: 6 months for 5 adults.
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, and boating and ham radio. His wife enjoys gardening and small livestock husbandry.
Background: Mr. Kilo has a BA in Marketing. He lived in Los Angeles, but moved to Salt Lake City in the mid-1990s, where he worked in high level inside sales for a manufacturing company. Then, in early 1999, fearing the worst for Y2K, he relocated to western Montana and switched to insurance sales. He has never considered moving back to what his kids call “The dirty big city.” Mr. Kilo recently built a large two-story barn/shop with a welding and metal working shop. (He is establishing a second income stream in case his insurance sales job ever disappears.) Meanwhile, Mrs. Kilo has begun breeding dairy goats, expanded their garden, and has started raising a wide variety of useful medicinal herbs such as Aloe Vera, Purple Cone Flower, Valerian, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, et cetera. She dries herbs and blends special teas for female conditions, headaches, backaches, and other ailments.

JWR: Why did you choose western Montana?
Mr. Kilo: It was bit of a compromise, partly because I really enjoy boating and fishing. Strategically, central Idaho might be better for [length of] growing season. But I like this area because it is conservative both politically and religiously.
JWR: Do you see the cold weather as an obstacle to looters?
Mr. Kilo: Certainly! You see far fewer bums in cold weather places versus warm ones. The same logic will apply to looters. Most of them will head to warmer climes–not toward the Canadian border!
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?

Mr. Kilo: A short growing season. I should also mention that there is an inverse relationship: The smaller, more remote, and strategic [a retreat locale], the more challenged it is economically.
JWR: Do you have a greenhouse?
Mr. Kilo: Not yet. We use cold frames. We also use Wall- o Water tepees to get an early start with some plantings.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Kilo: No specific plans. Perhaps a family from church that is not as well prepared. In a worst case I would definitely invite at least one family for extra security. We will be relying on our remote location and anonymity [more than armed security].
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order and commerce is restored?

Mr. Kilo: That depends on supply lines. It could be three weeks to three months.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Kilo: Global economic collapse or a U.S. economic collapse.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. Kilo: When we began [setting up our retreat], we were in large part interested in mitigating against dangers from without. As our walk with God has matured, we’ve come to understand that the greater dangers are from within. Obviously physical security is something that shouldn’t be ignored. I have a responsibility under God to protect my family, but ultimately our faith is in Christ.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?

Mr. Kilo: I would lay in 1000 gallons of unleaded gas, and get seismic sensors and video [intrusion detection]. Id also like to add a big greenhouse.
JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Mr. Kilo: To have a Godly walk regardless of circumstances and to be a witness unto Christ. Those are my short, medium, and long-term goals!

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: I admire Mr. and Mrs. Kilos determination. While many other survivalists gave up and move back to the land of high paying jobs after Y2K fizzled, they stuck with it. He has gradually improved his retreat ever since.
Mr. and Mrs. Kilo should also buy a pair of night vision goggles and at least one spare rifle chambered in .303 British (since they live near the Canadian border, and .303 is one of the most common rifle chamberings used north of the border.) An Enfield .303 Jungle Carbine with several spare magazines, a slip over recoil pad, and a scout type long eye relief scope would be ideal. Acquiring a .308 semi-auto battle rifle such as an L1A1 (a good choice anywhere and ideal for near the Canadian border) and perhaps a second AR-15 or a CAR-15 would be appropriate, especially as his children get older.

Profile 10: Mr. and Mrs. Lima

Present home/retreat: 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom cinder block home, off grid somewhere in the Southern half of the state of Georgia. More than 150 miles from major cities (Jacksonville, Atlanta) in a largely agricultural and timber growing area with some light industry.

Ages: 33 and 28, one child 7 years old.

Annual Income: Variable, generally $50,000 to $80,000.

Profession: Insurance Agent

Investments: Some stocks and mutual funds, silver, virtually no gold (don’t believe in it), cash, mainly have money “invested” in retreat- houses, alternate energy system and infrastructure, supplies. I’ve gotten better “returns” off my preps than the stocks!

Vehicles- SUV and pickup, both later models. Sold BOV last year when I needed cash. Majority lacking here, need a diesel CUCV or pickup. I try to justify not having a BOV because we live at our retreat.

Firearms: I’ve really pared down my collection the last few years to raise cash and to get rid of ANYTHING that has failed on me (can’t take that chance). Presently, 10 AK’s, mostly pre ban Chinese, M1A with PVS-4 weapons sight, Savage 110 Tacticals with II and III Gen SA scopes, common selection of shotguns and .22 LRs, Taurus PT 92’s and 99’s, Glock, couple of 1911 Colts. I’ve had major problems with the following weapons systems and have sold (most of) these off- AR15 (both Colt and variants), HK91 (original) and M1A. I realize that 7.62×39 is not always considered a “common” round so I’ve stockpiled a considerable amount of it. Average engagement range in this area is well under 200 yards, so range limitations of the AK is not a major factor. Complete spare parts for everything. Night vision, various security devices and instruments, lots of dogs, alligators in the moat (LOL).

Ammunition stock: Several hundred thousand rounds total. I do not reload. Don’t see much sense in stocking powder, primers and bullets when I could just buy more cartridges. I realize everyone doesn’t think this way.

Comm: Full HF setup (General class operator), can listen to virtually any freq. Duplicity in all types of comm. TA-1s and 312s

Fuel and power: Off grid since late 1999. 1,680 watt solar array with 12KW diesel genset backup. 20 Trojan L16’s for my battery bank, Trace 4024 Inverter. Elevated water tank for water pressure holds 4-6 days water before it must be re-filled. Well pump can be powered from battery bank or from genset. Passive solar does most of the heating needed during winter days. Waterford stove used for supplemental wood heating. 5 cords kept on hand at all times (takes less than 1 per year to heat down here). LP provides gas for oven and water heater. Over did it on fuel storage for genset. Some may spoil by the time it’s used (rarely have to run the genset). Need an older diesel vehicle.

Food supply: 11 people in “extended” family. We’ve stored adequate amounts for all. Principally whole grains, fruits and veggies dehydrated in #10 cans, MRE entrees and Tray packs for the meats, “snacks” provided by MRE cookies and brownies. Several grain mills of various kinds, we like the Country Living brand best. Approximately 150 fruit trees on property. Raise

chickens and rabbits, two fish ponds. Slowly developing approximately 20,000 square feet of gardening area. We do better with the trees and animals than vegetables though, but we are working on it. Wild game is fairly abundant in the area.

Personal: He- Survivalist of nearly 20 years, attends schools regularly–shooting, tracking, HTH, knife fighting, outdoor survival. Currently schooling for Carpentry. Christian currently trying to better my walk with Him. Believes that all preparations are for not without a relationship with the Savior.

She- Homeschool teacher and loving Mom. Fully supportive of preparations and lifestyle. Shoots well and has had formal training. Christian.

JWR: Why did you choose your location?

Mr. Lima: Family. Low population density, no nuclear targets very close by (lots of targets on the East coast), away from Interstates, no building permits or building codes, very long growing season, cheap labor.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?

A lot of other Floridians moving up here, LOL. I expect the population to grow considerably in the next 20 years. Many Floridians are moving to S. GA to escape the never ending BS with zoning laws, encroaching government, etc.that is happening in Florida. Housing is approximately 1/2 the price here versus North Florida. One major drawback to our plan has been rising gas prices. We have to drive 20 miles at least for everything, gas, to get mail, etc. I messed up and didn’t plan for this. It’s not affecting us drastically, but will at $5. per gallon.

JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?

Mr. Lima: Extended family, more than a few friends. Some family and one of the friends already live close by. They have all made adequate provisions necessary (food, fuel, housing, etc.). This has been/will be an ongoing concern. Definitely not a gaggle of people coming together at the last minute.

JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?

Mr. Lima: I’ve planned for it literally never to be restored but it would be nice for things to get “back to normal” within a year or so, provided that we have not lost any freedoms. I don’t understand survivalists that only plan for 2 or 3 month problems, it’s just not realistic in my book.

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?

Mr. Lima: Probably a widespread biological attack. Isolation will be one of the only remedies. Any Group needs to plan for this and have a Quarantine area outside of the main retreat that “late arriving” group members can sit it out for 2 weeks. 2 weeks is longer than most incubation periods for the more common bio agents. Hence, in 2 weeks they will
either be showing illness or past the point of contracting, more than likely. Then they are treated prophylactically with antibiotics, given a full decon and admitted into the general retreat area. Frankly, I think if it’s something like Smallpox you’ll have to just shoot anyone that attempts to cross your wire or barriers to your retreat. You can’t risk it with very

contagious agents.

JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations?

Mr. Lima: Glad you asked this. I lived in North Florida for 15 years before this. I had prepared my retreat but had not firmly decided to live there. I was renting a house in Florida. September of 1999 Hurricane Floyd came towards N. Florida and it was predicted to wipe out all of N. FL. We got stuck in a six hour traffic jam trying to escape Florida. I realized that “bugging out” at the last minute was a fool’s game and decided at that point to live at my retreat full time.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?

Mr. Lima: We hope to break ground on an addition in the next year or so. Our home will be too small for my “extended family” during an emergency and the other houses and structures will be occupied. Will eventually get a second well. Need to develop our garden soil more. Need more time to “keep up” with things (their is always something to do). Will have “friends” living on the property soon so this should work itself out soon.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Lima and his family truly “live the life.” They have a very well-balanced approach to retreating. I agree that they need at least one diesel vehicle, given their large diesel storage tanks. Diesel CUCV pickups can often be had for less than $8,000. There should be a lot of auctions up at Fort McPherson soon. (It is on the BRAC list.) Mr. Lima should buy a crossbow to be able to harvest game (post-TEOTWAWKI) without making a lot of noise.

Profile 11: Dr. & Mrs. Mike

Present home: Portland, Oregon. (Owns a retreat near La Grande, Oregon.)
Age: 49
SOs: Wife and two children, both under 16.
Annual income: $120,000+.
Profession: Podiatric Surgeon.
Investments: Three rental houses near Portland and Beaverton, company stock (incorporated medical group practice), slabbed numismatic coins, bullion silver, and currently some very speculative long options on a couple of silver mining stocks.

Vehicles: Toyota Tacoma 4WD Pickup, Toyota 2WD (fuel efficient runabout), Polaris 500cc ATV (mainly for wood hauling, ranch chores, hunting, and foul weather off road mobility.)
Firearms Battery: 2 Springfield Armory .308 M1As (1 Standard, 1 Scout), pre-ban Olympic Arms CAR-15 clone with Colt-made M4 16 barreled flat top upper and Elcan Gen. 3 Starlight scope, Remington Model 700 .308 in a HS-Precision aluminum bedding block Kevlar Graphite stock and Leupold 3-9X scope, Rem. 870 12 gauge birdgun, a pre-1899 Spanish Model 1895 Mauser .308 bolt action saddle ring carbine (.308 arsenal conversion), 2 Colt M1911 .45 ACPs, Colt Single Action .45 (Long) Colt, a German P.08 Luger 9mm, and two Ruger 10/22s. (Note: He considers the Luger strictly a target practice gun–it is a family heirloom.)
Stored ammunition: Roughly 10,000 rounds, various calibers.
Fuel Storage: 6 cords of red fir firewood, 1100 gallon underground diesel tank, 2200 gallon underground gasoline tank, 1600 gallons propane. Retreat Property: 160 acres, mostly timbered with a year-round creek and six ponds. Well water, gravity fed spring water, 5 KW backup Lister-Peter Hawkpower diesel generator, 16 PV panels, 32 deep cycle marine (series-parallel 24 VDC) bank, and a ganged pair of Trace 30 Amp inverters. (Which provide three two-phase power for day-to-day use and three phase power for short duration arc welding.)
Improvements: 3,600 square foot timber frame house. 2,200 square foot barn/shop. 1,450 square foot fenced garden plot. 200 square foot greenhouse.

Annual Property Tax: Under $1,600 per year. 180 acres are under a timberland exemption. (The taxes would be four times as much if the ranch were in western Oregon.)
Livestock: None. (The caretaker at his retreat has a dog and a cat, but has no livestock.)
Communications Gear: Sony 2010 general coverage receiver, Baygen AM/FM/SW (hand crank/AC/DC), 4 Motorola FRS walkie talkies.
Food storage: 5 years for 4 adults.
Hobbies: Boating, music, scuba diving, computer games, and target shooting.
Background: Dr. Mike is an MD with several specialized residencies. He currently specializes in foot surgery. He lives in the Portland metropolitan area, which worries him, but he is fairly confident that he can make it to his well-prepared retreat. In early 1998, fearing the worst for Y2K, Dr. Mike sold his stock portfolio, paid $1,000,000 cash for a custom 3,200 square foot ranch house on 160 acres. The land is blessed with a year-round stream, a nice clay bank (for pottery or making adobe bricks), a large rock pit with rock that is already suitable size for road building/maintenance without need of a rock crusher, a lifetime supply of firewood, lots of deer and elk, and several nice ponds which Dr. Mike has stocked with Bluegill. He moved his family to the La Grande retreat in the summer of 1999, and began scheduling his cases in cooperation with other doctors in his medical group so that he could alternate two weeks each month in Portland, and two weeks at the retreat. Then, when Y2K turned out to be a non-event, he moved his family back to Portland. The main reason for moving back was that the long travel back and forth to his medical practice was wearing him down, and the La Grande area lacked a top quality private school for his children. Since buying the ranch, Dr. Mike has added more than $225,000 worth of survival upgrades, including a sophisticated PV power system, a micro-hydro power system (which was more trouble than it was worth), fencing, four additional ponds (it had only two ponds when he bought it), roads, fruit and nut trees, fuel storage tanks, an oversize wood shed, food storage, tools, guns, et cetera.

JWR: Why did you choose the La Grande area?
Dr. Mike: It is a very low key, conservative area, and it is more than one tank of gas away from Portland.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Dr. Mike: The employment situation is weak, other than some government jobs. It is also on an interstate freeway, which could channel in more refugees and bad guys than wed like.
JWR: When do plan to move to your retreat permanently?
Dr. Mike: When my kids graduate. I hope to retire early–in about four years. From a financial standpoint, I could retire right now, but I have too many projects that are keeping me busy.

JWR: How do you manage your retreat in your absence?
Dr. Mike: I have a full time caretaker who lives there with his family.
JWR: How has that worked out for you?
Dr. Mike: Fairly well. We had some rocky times back when he was in a mixed renter/caretaker status. He is now strictly a labor for rent caretaker.
Clarifying that made a big difference.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?

Dr. Mike: I have no firm plans at this time. If its a sudden crash, I would be selecting from a small number of close friends. Ill be very selective.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Dr. Mike: I have had no set scenario since Y2K. Back then I was thinking: a years of total chaos, and then three years or longer for an economic recovery.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Dr. Mike: They nuke Portland, I’m toast, and I cant get there [to my retreat], and my caretaker enjoys the fruits of my labor. (Laughs.)
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?

Dr. Mike: I was able to throw money at the project and not worry about it. I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t have been able to afford to lose it. I basically kept half of my assets in conservative investments, and poured the other half into the ranch. Most of the upgrades were done in 1999 just before Y2K.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Dr. Mike: It is losing money. Id like to find a way to make the ranch pay for itself. If I could: sell trespass to parties of big game hunters that might cover some of my costs. I plan to add a second home for my caretaker soon. That way I can enjoy the use of the ranch more often, and on shorter notice.
JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Dr. Mike: After my kids finish school, I want to retire, enjoy the ranch, and enjoy traveling.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Dr. Mike has the most elaborate retreat that I’ve ever visited. There is not much more that he could do in terms of power self-sufficiency! With his ample budget, I’d recommend that he buy a pair of night vision goggles, add IR security lighting, and get more capable communications/monitoring gear for his retreat: police scanner, CBs, 2 meter handie-talkies, and an HF transceiver.) He should buy field telephones and commo wire to coordinate security with his contiguous neighbors and an LP/OP in the event of a situation requiring 24/7-security. He should also build a ballistically protected retreat within a retreat, construct and camouflage an LP/OP that overlooks his house and shop. He should buy a Level III Kevlar vest and a Kevlar helmet for each member of his family. If his caretaker is willing, he should also get a start with small livestock.


Profile 12: Dr. and Mrs. November

Present home/retreat: Central Arizona. Not on any major roads, or near any major towns. Hopefully far enough away and well hidden enough to avoid the hordes. Mild summers, not too much snow in the winter.
Age: 49
SOs: Wife, children are grown (Daughter at the West Point Academy, Son is flying A-10s after graduating from Stanford with a degree in biochemistry).
Annual income: $350,000
Profession: Emergency Physician, retired USAF/ANG pilot and Operations planner, wife is a histologist and retired from the AF

Reserve (Medical Corps, and later an Intelligence officer).
Investments: Gold (US, Canadian and Krugerrands) and silver (junk) coins, no-load mutual funds in the S&P 500 and total stock market,
investment property. Advice: Do without today so you can have tomorrow. No debt on anything.
Vehicles: 2004 Ford F350 Crew Cab long bed 4×4, 100 gallon tank in the bed (BOV), 97 Yukon 4×4 (daily driver), 82 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbo (wife’s daily driver, 26 mpg on the road with the AC on and simple to fix). I occasionally will fly to Los Angeles from the local airport in a small airplane if I need to work for just a day or two. It keeps me current. However, I have to be careful, I wouldn’t want to try and fly home after working 12 hours, until I get some rest. It cuts my commute time in half or less. I’m thinking of replacing my Yukon with another vehicle since the Yukon has over 200K miles on it. If I do it will probably be another diesel pickup with lots of fuel tankage. Most likely an F250 short bed 4×4 (the big truck rides like a …truck with no load). I’d get a diesel Excursion if I could get a bigger fuel tank in it. I commute to and from LA to work, I try and schedule my work so I get 5 days straight, a week or more off, and then another 5 days straight so I cut down on commuting. I’d like to be able to commute (about 500 miles each way) without refueling and would like more cargo room than the Mercedes has. Each vehicle has a customized BoB for the primary driver. Each also has a small cardboard box filled with ammo: We were at a public range in the LA area the day the Rodney King riots started. Of course, we shot up all our ammo. Going home was sporting, to say the least. So, we now keep a small quantity of common calibers stored, just in case. We have steel security boxes (slave boxes) in each vehicle, when we cross into the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia we have to unload our handguns and lock them in. When we ride together we grab our BoB. Trailers: I follow the military philosophy and use trailers for a lot of things – we’ve even gone to Costco with one hitched up (Hint: Get there early and get a parking space you’ll be able to drive out of).

36 ft 5th wheel trailer, toy-hauler trailer. Kubota diesel tractor with a bunch of attachments (from a farm sale). 2 Polaris ATVs with racks (one with a utility trailer), 1 snow machine (with a sled). Small flatbed (ATV) trailer. Large (car sized) flatbed trailer and horse/stock trailer. We use it to move our feeder cow. We bought the ATVs, and the flatbed and stock trailer from farm sales for far, far less than their cost new.

Firearms Battery: Lots and lots – I didn’t ‘do without today’ on weapons, and have traded in or sold very few over the years. Aside from the military training we have received, we both try to attend various professional defensive shooting schools every couple of years – Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, Yavapai, Front Site, whatever. We try and mix it up a bit to get ideas from different people. The training is essential for the mind set, if nothing else.

Defensive Battery:
4 M1As (mine): 2 SA, one with Trijicon ACOG TA55C, 1 LRB with Leupold tactical 3×10 variable, 1 Fulton NM with Leupold 4×14 tactical, 100+ magazines that actually work, another 25 or so that don’t (gun show specials). I was able to get most of my M1A magazines from the CMP when they were selling them.
4 FALs. They’re my wife’s, she was originally in the Canadian military and the C1A1 (Canadian inch pattern FAL) is what she learned on), 2 Imbel/STG metric, 2 inch pattern, one with ACOG TA11C, one with Leupold 3×10 tactical, one with SUIT sight. 100+ metric magazines total. 5 AR-15s (one pre-ban, the others post-ban, one a Bushmaster 16″, all have Trijicon night sites, 2 have ACOG TA11), a 6.8 PPC upper for an AR with a Leupold 3×9. I’m not sure why I bought that top half…

Daughter’s guns: FAL (Imbel/STG) and AR-15 (Bushmaster 16″ Dissipator). We keep them since she can’t at the Academy. Rem 700 varmint heavy barrel fluted stainless in .308 with a Leupold 3×9 scope. Kimber .45 ACP, Rem 870 12 gauge riot, Rem 870 12 Gauge with adjustable choke for hunting – she’s a pretty good wing shot, she
regularly goes 50 straight at skeet or trap.
Son’s guns: HK-91, 10 or so Magazines, AR-15 (Colt Sporter with ACOG on the handle), 30 or so magazines. Kimber .45 ACP (here), Rem 870 12 gauge, Sako .308 with synthetic stock, 3×9 scope.

We each have CCWs, we recently switched from 1911s to Glocks. 5 1911s include 3 Mk IV / Series 70s tuned by various people over the years and 2 Kimbers, about 50 after market (Brown, Mccormick) magazines. All with Trijicon night sites.We both have G21s and G30s, (.45ACP) 5 factory full capacity mags for each, a G22 (.40S&W) with 5 full cap magazines also. Beretta 92FS with tritium sights (M9 clone) to practice with our “issue” weapon when we were in the guard / reserve (neither of us like it). More factory mags for the Glocks on order. Mossberg 590 shotgun, 500 shotgun, Mossberg marine (stainless), Remington 870 20″ riot gun, Ithaca Deerslayer 18″ riot gun. Each has a side-saddle, a butt-cuff with storage, and a sling with more storage. 2 bandoleers that each hold 50 rounds of 12 gauge. The 590 and 500 have ghost-ring tritium sights. M1 Garand (CMP). A couple thousand rounds (Greek and Philippine) in en bloc clips, a few thousand more rounds loose, and about 100 clips, loose.

Precision Rifles: Rem 700 .300 Win Mag, Leupold 4×12 scope, Rem 700 .308, Leupold 3×9 scope, .338 Lapua Mag (Leupold 6.5×20 scope). Leitz Geovid laser range finder, drag bags, etc.

Long Range Precision Rifle: Barrett M82A1 with 10 magazines, 1000 rounds of mixed ammo, 1000 cases, reloading equipment on hand. BTW, I’m looking for that Raufoss ammo that SeeBS tells me I can buy on the Internet. The Barrett is incredible – all four of us (wife, kids and me) are shooting 1 inch groups at 300 meters (just one big ragged hole) with standard M33 ammo. I’ve got some Black Hills and IMI ‘match grade’ on order, but without a much longer range to shoot on we won’t be able to see any improvement. This is straight out of the box: The scope was already mounted and zeroed by the factory.

Combloc junk: 2 AK47s, 3 SKSes, a couple of Tokarevs. Maybe 10K rounds of 7.62×39 ammo in battle packs.

Thinking about: Class-III weapons. Spray and pray is actually fun, if not productive. Weapons mounted (or mounts for) NVD sights. A C&R license. Suppressors for a few of the weapons.

I have spare parts for most of the weapons in our battery, including spare magazine springs, etc. I hope I do, anyway.

Misc: Walther P38, S&W revolvers in various sizes and shapes (.44, .357, .38, .22LR), Ruger Mk I bull barrel, 2 Ruger 10/22s (all Rugers purchased before Ruger went over to the Dark Side, I’ve sold my other Rugers but kept these because I haven’t found anything good to replace them), Win 70 and Rem 700 hunting rifles in .270, .30-06,

.308, .300 WM, .375 H&H. P14 Enfield in .416 Rigby. Browning A5 12 gauge and 20 gauge, Marlin 336 .30-30, Savage 24C in .22/20gauge, 2 Keltec SU-16s (in our BoBs), FR-8 (308), Alaskan Co-pilot in .45-70 with 1.5 scope and ghost-ring backup sights, SA M6 survival rifle.

Not that we ever want to use them, but we have 6 tactical vests with level III armor (and level IV plates for 4 of them), and helmets. I also have two sets of NVD – an AN/PVS-7C with helmet attachment, and an ITT unit that is similar, designed for boaters.

Stored ammunition: Roughly 150,000 rounds, various calibers. All stored in ammo cans, labeled by caliber. Only about 25K in .22LR and another 10K in shotgun ammo. I have ‘minimum reorder points’ for the critical stuff – 7.62, .45, 7.62×39, .22LR, 12 gauge. We had about half of this before we bought the house, moving it was a chore. When I buy ammo I need, I usually buy more of what we may need if its on sale, from AIM or Ammoman or whomever. I have some of it in a concrete ammo magazine I bought surplus, some in the gun vault, and some stored around the place. For the US mil-surplus calibers, I only buy ammo from reliable countries – mostly US, Radway Green (British) and IMI (Israel). Its all reliably NATO spec. I also have reloading equipment for everything I own (and a few I don’t), including 200K primers (remember the primer shortage in 1994?), powder, and bullets. My wife and I shoot about 1000 rounds a year in our MBRs, about 500 in the AR15s, and 2000/year of .45 for currency. I have hunting ammo for the hunting rifles and occasionally hunt (deer or elk) in other areas. We have some salt licks we keep set out to get game used to being in our areas but don’t hunt nearby – occasionally others will. I’ve thought about tossing some seed corn out in a meadow nearby to make a lure for animals (if it grows) but haven’t done it yet. Our garden is fenced in, to keep the big critters out.

Fuel Storage: 6 cords of firewood (going for 8), mostly Ponderosa Pine and Gambel Oak. We also have Pinyon Pine in the area. It’s stored immediately adjacent to the house but not against it, in a lean-to shelter. We go through about 4 cords a year, using the fireplace or stove for heating (we need to use the furnace only occasionally in the winter, mainly to take the chill off if we’ve been gone for a couple of days.) 300 gal above ground gas tank (mixed with Pri-G), 300 gal above ground diesel tank (mixed with Pri-D), 250 gal above ground diesel for the generator (also mixed with Pri-D). 4 50-gallon drums of stabilized diesel, 2 drums of stabilized gas. Assorted 5 gallon fuel cans for gas and diesel. All of our fuels are stored at least 150′ from a building for fire safety, fortunately we have enough of a grade that we can feed the generator via gravity. 30 gallon diesel tank on the toy hauler for the generator, 20 gallon diesel tank on the 5th wheel for the generator. Both kept full with Pri-D treated fuel. I’d like to get bigger (or more) tanks for diesel.1000 gal Propane tank, bermed and with a chain link enclosure. Room, a pad and plumbing for another one inside the berm. A bunch of portable propane tanks from 20 to 100 lb, all kept filled. About 50 gallons of Kerosene (we have lamps and a stove for it), and about 25 gallons of Coleman fuel (ditto). I also have a diesel stove (from a boat), and fuel oil heater, both stored, and a couple of multi-fuel backpacking stoves (MSRs). I have some experience (now) cutting trees, and have both powered (chain saws, hydraulic log splitter) and manual (axes) equipment to

do it. Powered is a lot better. We have a wood stove in the house that with the fireplace does a pretty good job of keeping the house
habitable, and another in the Quonset hut mainly for heat.

Retreat Property: 80 Acres, almost all timbered, surrounded by National Forest. At high elevation (6000′) so short growing season.
Improvements: 2800 sq. ft. 2-story double-envelope house (5 bedroom) with solar on roof. 20×40 Quonset hut garage/storage. Trailer pad with water/propane/sewer hookups. Dog run, fenced in, with ‘dogloos’ for our dogs – a German Sheppard, a Great Pyrenees, and three Finnish Spitz. They all spend more time in our house than theirs. We have 2 wells, both with solar jack pumps, and a 14,000 gal cistern up on the hill so we have gravity fed water. We have a fire pump and hose in case we need to use the water for defending against a fire,
the house has a tin roof and sprinklers on the ridge line. Our septic system is 3x the size needed for the house + 5th wheel trailer).We have a solar electrical system with about 4KW worth of panels, 2K amps worth of phone batteries (30+ year life span?) and 4 2048 Trace inverters (up to 4 Kw on 220 AC). Passive solar hot water boost and propane water heater. Propane range and oven in the kitchen, propane furnace we hardly ever use. Wood burning hot tub :). 12 KW diesel generator in a separate room off of basement. I have my old 8 KW

China Diesel generator available for standby, in the Quonset – I start it up once or twice a year and we test it on the house. It’s
noisy but it works. I also have a small (2KW) gas engine generator.

The basement is equipped as a fallout shelter. It has 18″ of reinforced concrete plus 36″ of dirt overhead. We installed a LUWA HEPA-filtered ventilation system. I’m not too worried about blast protection in the area so I don’t have a blast valve, but the entrances are at least blast resistant by design. The basement also has bathroom with shower, and an electric flash water heater. There is also a motel-type kitchen unit with a small refrigerator and electric burners.We have NBC gear as well – MBU-2/P masks (the model we were trained on in the Air Force), MOPP suits, Tyvek jumpsuits with hoods and booties, and N95 masks and gloves. I have two calibrated CD V-777 kits, a CD-V717 remote, and we each have ‘nuke alerts’ on our keychains. The power room (batteries, inverter, etc) and generator room are opposite the entrance to the basement, underground, outside the footprint of the house with camouflaged air and exhaust pipes. With two heavy doors the generator isn’t so much heard when it runs, as sort of felt. Even though we have commercial power we’re out in the sticks (5 miles of county road to our property access road. Our property isn’t visible from the county road) we have power outages every winter. The power system is there to back us up. The generators are set to auto-run once a week for 30 minutes to exercise them, float the batteries, etc. We test the power system regularly (when the commercial power fails, and twice a year we go onto our own power for a week at a time). We don’t sell power back to the grid although we’re thinking of it. We’re also thinking of adding more panels – maybe a complete separate system for the Quonset. There is a root cellar bump-out on North side (dirt floor), and a gun vault/secure room bump-out on other side (all reinforced concrete, vault door, with “escape tunnel” to a hidden LP/OP).

The storage room in the basement has shelves with food (6 years x 3 people Walton Feed deluxe, 1+ year Freeze Dried Mountain House, 3 months worth or MREs (rotated, 3 years old max, kept cool), plus our own canned foods and regular foods. 3 powered grain mills, 2 hand grain mills. We rotate the cooking oil for the food, and keep the old oil for a potential bio-diesel project (maybe this winter, I have the equipment and other supplies already). We also have a couple of caches on our property “just in case” with food, supplies, and weapons.
We have a 300 meter shooting range with backstop. We use it at least every other week.
Annual Property Tax: $2,300 this year (it goes up every year)
Livestock: Mostly chickens (around 30?) for eggs and dinner. We keep a feeder cow and get it butchered ever fall (he’s got about another three weeks, we think), and are thinking of goats/sheep/dairy cows but don’t have a clue yet. We keep a lot of frozen meat (beef, lamb, chicken, pork) on hand, too. My wife is very organized, so she is great at managing the rotation of our food and other supplies.We also have a 2 acre (more or less) garden (but we spread things out so much we probably get 1 acre’s worth of food) and a green house

(PVC pipe bows and a Visqueen cover) to start plants in.We have a “canning kitchen” on one side of the house on the deck (outside the kitchen wall) with a large propane range, work tables, and water and sink so we can process and can a lot of our produce without a lot of effort or down-time. We also have three or four pressure canners (including two very large ones), we buy them at garage sales and then fix them up – $10 for a used canner and another $10 or $15 for a gasket and gauge (maybe) is a lot better than $400 for a new canner.

Communications Gear: We’re both hams (General license). Each vehicle has an Icom 8000 2 meter radio and 5/8 wave antenna. The Yukon and the pickup have Icom 706 Mk II (HF, 6, 10 Meter, 2 440, modified for out of band) with automatic tuners and antennas (both whip, and a self-tuning G5RV long-wire we can string up if needed).The house has an Icom M700 marine grade HF, an automatic antenna tuner, 1500 W linear amp, several different antennas including a log-periodic wide band (purchased surplus from the Air Force, it’s a huge antenna with a bigger rotator on a monster mast. $100K+ to replace, I got it for $1300 and it cost me another $4K to move and install it). The house also has 2 meter, 440, and commercial VHF-FM high and UHF-FM radios with programming software, and an aircraft radio. A variety of FRS/GMRS and ham/commercial handheld radios, some with earbuds or mic/earphone cords to connect to the four sets of Peltor amplified hearing protectors. I have a couple of military tactical radios – PRC-77 (FM) and PRC-90 and ARC-164 (UHF aircraft) that I occasionally monitor. The commercial radios have the local police department, sheriff and fire frequencies programmed, among others.An Icom (I like Icom Radios) IC 75 broadband receiver / scanner I just got. The “radio shack” is in the basement, all antenna leads are EMP protected via a mil-grade gas tube surge suppressors. (Polyphasers, and I have spares). We have both cable TV with Internet, and a satellite Internet system (designed for a boat, not direct-tv). We have both because we wanted the Internet access rather than the basic cable, we’re too far from everything for DSL. We can handle no TV more than we can handle no Internet – I also write for a medical journal and my wife does some health and safety work from home so we need reliable access. Like a friend told me once, “two is one, and one is none” for critical items. The house and area has a wireless network (with WAPs in the basement and in the house and the Quonset which covers most of the used part of the property) and Cat-5E cable to each

location or room. The house has it’s own telephone system switch (4×12 Nortel) with extensions in the garage, and a connection at the trailer pad in
addition to the regular locations. It includes some cordless 5 GHz phones (the 2.4 GHz interfere with the wireless network). We have two handheld satellite phones, one is active. These were left over from ferrying the boats. Once you have the phone, it’s not too expensive to get a plan with 30 minutes of world-wide coverage, I get 30 minutes a month for $30. And we both have regular cell phones, which just barely work at the house. We like to stay in touch.We have commercial phone wire buried in conduit to the Quonset, and 3 LP/OPs. I have TA-1 / TA312’s for each, and WD-1/TT commo wire if we want to put out any more.We also have Grundig wind-up radios in our BoB’s and shelters.

Hobbies: Flying, backpacking, sailing. My wife is into backpacking, sailing, growing food and flowers, and “textile arts” (sewing, knitting). She’s a great navigator but doesn’t want to learn to fly. We have done a few sailboat charters for vacations, and ferried two sailboats (one from Maine to Oregon, the other from Los Angeles to Hawaii) for friends – the experience we got doing that was great for when we bought our retreat, and it convinced us that a boat wasn’t going to work as a retreat.

Background: I’m an engineer by training, but mostly was in the Air Force and Air National Guard – I flew F4 fighters and C130 transports. My wife is a refugee from Kanukistan, she came to the US to get her histology training and stayed. She joined the Air Force to expedite her US Citizenship. Our children are both in the Air Force.

After I retired from the Air Guard, I decided to go to medical school (it’s never too late to do what you should have done in the first place). I was able to attend school in Los Angeles, while my wife worked and the kids finished high school. I was recalled to active duty (from retirement) after Sept 11, 2001 (we were in NY at the time, it was an anniversary trip – I guess I better not ever miss my anniversary, especially now). I called a friend who works at the Pentagon to check on him, and he had me recalled the next day. I spent 18 months on AD, got off and my wife got activated for a year. We’re both retired (again).

We used to live north of Los Angeles, and spent years looking for the ‘right’ property. We considered every state west of the Mississippi, and concentrated on the Rocky Mountain and West. California certainly wasn’t in the mix. It took awhile, but we finally found our property, got the house built, and moved two years ago. I still work about 10 12-hour shifts a month at a hospital near Los Angeles, my wife works at a hospital in Arizona. We try to stay within a fuel tank (of our vehicles) of home, without refueling. When we get to where we work, the first thing we do is refuel the tanks (just in case).When we lived full time in LA we both worked full time at different hospitals in Los Angeles. We had fallout shelters stocked in rental storage units near each hospital (within easy walking distance). We still keep the one for me, it’s equipped with an ad-hoc fallout shelter (8x5x5′ high, made of stacked bags of
concrete) in the storage unit (which I can always get into, even if I have to hop the fence). The shelter is equipped with a months worth of food and water, clothes, BoB, radiation detection equipment, porta-potty, wind up radio, suitcase generator, deep cycle battery, solar panel (small, roll up type), mountain bike, and even a Cali-legal weapon or two). If needed, I can shelter in it for 2-4 weeks (or more) and then make my way home. If my car/truck doesn’t work, I can walk to a small airport and find a suitable airplane (the
engine electrical system is dirt simple and most likely won’t be affected by EMP) – several friends have offered me the use of their planes in such a circumstance.

We got the 5th wheel to travel around (another hint: You can buy them a year or two old, used maybe three times, for about half what they cost brand new), we used it to find our property and then to stay in until we got the house built. When I finally quit the hospital we may travel around a bit and both work locum tenens, if we do we’ll tow the toy hauler (also) equipped with the shelter materials, and dig a hole for shelter.My concerns are that with just the two of us, we’re going to have trouble defending our place. We put a lot into our physical security (the property is fenced) and confidentiality. Our nearest neighbor is four miles away, and we have limited confidence in fire suppression in the area. I am on very good terms with the local fire department, the sheriff, etc but it’s just a long way for them to go. So, the house is as fire resistant as we can make it, with a metal roof, the fire suppression sprinklers, etc. We also have an alarm system and cameras set up to oversee the area (at least a little). We have extended invitations to a couple of very close, like-minded friends to co-locate with us, and offered them safe haven if needed. The kids don’t have families of their own yet but they’d be welcome, of course.s

JWie: Why did you choose Central Arizona?
Dr. November: Mainly because it offered us the option of working in several markets without too much commuting – when I finally finish working in LA, I will have the option of working at major hospitals in Flagstaff, Prescott and Phoenix with a relatively short (less than 2 hour) commute. Our commute in LA was about 35 miles and with ‘normal’ traffic it would routinely take me us an hour. With rush hour traffic it could take more than two hours, and we’d both show up to work stressed. ER physicians normally work shifts with rotating hours – a doctor coming on shift every two hours, for example, so there is always a ‘fresh’ doctor on duty. There was no way to avoid the traffic. We didn’t find another area with good weather, decent politics (at least relatively), low taxes and affordable property with adequate water supplies. The area is also relatively off potential fallout patterns and away from any targets. Its also close to our friends and family in Los Angeles.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Dr. November: It’s somewhat on the beaten path – lots of tourists in the general area. We’re not really near any big town or well-known tourist area, but we’re not really far away. The climate is kind of marginal for very productive farming. There are too many people moving from California to the area, and then trying to make it California again. This will tilt the politics leftward in the future. The location is a compromise.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?

Dr. November: Good question. Our kids are both in the military and may not be able to join us. We’ve extended invitations to a few select good
friends, but none have made any commitment.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Dr. November: Once things get totally screwed up, it will be at least 5 years, I think before some small semblance of our former standard of living
will be possible. Depending on the event, it could take much longer.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Dr. November: The main concern I have is a terrorist WMD attack. I doubt that terrorists have access to nuclear weapons but they can still cause a great deal of trouble with a dirty bomb, chemical or biological attack. We’re out of the way for the immediate affects of such an attack but the long-term ramifications are significant. The threat of an economic meltdown is still present. I don’t necessarily subscribe to Peak Oil theories but I think it’s time that society starts looking for an alternative to petroleum fuels. A major event in the middle east would disrupt the world oil supply and the worlds’ economy.And, China is building up its naval and missile capability – they must have some reason for it, and none of the alternatives we can think of are good.

JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Dr. November: My father was a pilot in the Air Force, as well – in the Strategic Air Command. I grew up with a bug-out bag and practicing getting out of Dodge, the Air Force required people living on base to practice.My travels around the world have encouraged me to try and protect (even more) what we have in the US. I do what I can to fix the politics in the US and make preparations for the future. One of the mottos I live by is from Teddy Roosevelt; “Make preparations in advance – you rarely have troubles if you are prepared for them”. Good advice. It’s always easier for weak and lazy criminals (individuals or nations) to take from those who have, rather than work for themselves.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Dr. November:This is the second (and realistically, probably last) time we’ve built such a home. There are many things we’ve done differently this time, partially because of improved technology, partially because the kids are grown. There are a few things I might change – more diesel and propane storage, either a larger home or a larger storage building, maybe a slightly better climate.
JWR: What are your long-term goals?

Dr. November: We want to settle down and work less. I have a contractual obligation to continue working in LA for another year or so, after that we want to just work near home. There are a few skills we’d like to acquire – farming and ranching, to start. We don’t have much experience with either. I’d also like to learn to weld. We might travel a bit more, but some goals we had previously like sailing around the world in a sailboat, and flying around the world in a light airplane are off the table these days. The problems in the middle East and in Africa are so substantial that we don’t want to go there anymore. We both just want to settle down, live our lives and maybe become better cooks, as well.

Update (as of 10/05):

Our (late) feeder steer is delicious, he’s in the freezer, and we’ve got some turkeys now too.
I’ve added a 5,000 gallon diesel fuel tank to my home (a surplus airport refueler). I didn’t cry (much) when I had it filled with jet fuel (instead of diesel). I’m also going to install an in-ground tank as soon as possible. I’ve also built most of a greenhouse (construction is still underway), and my son has 50 more magazines for his HK-91. I’ve sold my Yukon and replaced it with another diesel pickup, and also purchased an ’89 Ford F250 diesel (7.3L, all mechanical except for the glow plug relay) as a work truck. It’s getting the running gear upgraded now (tires/brakes/wheel bearings/hubs/u-joints/transmission/etc), then some body work and paint, including the interior, new fuel tanks (extended range and cross-bed). I have the parts and manuals to rebuild the engine this winter. I have new (matched) injectors for it, and a newly rebuilt injector pump, as well as spare accessories including a turbo, batteries, belts, hoses, etc. This makes us (except for our tools, like chain saws and ATV’s) all-diesel.

And, I found quite a lot of welding gear (gas, arc, and MIG) at a farm sale so I’m working on that. Our daughter is a 1st year cadet (senior) with a slot at UPT, and our son just made the Major list (below the zone) (I feel so old). He was home recently on leave and cut and split about 4 cords of wood for us (which brings us up to about 9 cords now). And we’ve gotten a commitment from two separate friends families to join us if TSHTF, they must be serious because they ordered food from Walton’s for themselves, and had it delivered to us, and they say ammo is on the way too. I think the H5N1 situation has them worried, too. We’re glad to have them, they’re our best friends.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations:

Gee Doc, I’d like to be your neighbor! 🙂

Seriously; buy yourself a full oxy-acetylene welding/cutting rig, extra tips, spare cylinders, goggles and a mask, fireproof chaps, fireproof shirt, plenty of welding/brazing rod, and a climate controlled cabinet to store the rod stock in. Even if you don’t have the chance to learn how to weld before TSHTF, you will at least have the equipment. (You seem to have plenty of spare logistics to barter for welding lessons.) The only gap that I saw in your firearms battery was a sufficient supply of magazines for your son’s HK-91. German army surplus alloy G3 magazines are currently as low as $3.00 each in quantity, so you have no excuse. Buy at least 50 of them. A good source is Cheaper Than Dirt.

With your budget, you should build a large permanent (glass) greenhouse to compensate for your retreat’s high elevation and short growing season. Lay in a supply of non-hybrid seed, available through The Ark Institute. Haul in top soil, if necessary.

Ditto, you can also probably afford to buy one of the late generation (compact) Raytheon Thermal Weapons Sights (TWS). They are Hotel Sierra! Talk to Al Glanze at STANO Components, Inc.

I also recommend that you resist the urge to get a C&R license or any $200 transfer tax Class 3 goodies. IMO, the risk/benefit ratio is not favorable. Remember the old Japanese proverb: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”


Profile 13: Mr. and Mrs. Oscar

Home/property: Located in eastern Wisconsin. 160 acres of mixed pine and oak forest. 32,000 trees planted in the last two years. Entered in tree management program. House 2,800 square feet. Principally heated by a soapstone stove with propane hot water backup. Built in 1981. Outbuilding shed/library/reloading room. A 40×30 pole barn. Shed has cast iron “cooking/heating” stove, wood fired…propane backup. 1,000 gallon propane tank. Inverter in place for addition of 6,500 watt diesel generator to be installed spring ’07. 200 gallons gasoline stabilized and in place. 70 gallons kerosene. 500 gallon diesel tank to be in place at addition of generator. Several solar panels in inventory and more to follow. Plan to get off grid by ’09 if there is time. Have 15 springs and an artesian flow into 18 acres of wetland with a five acre pond adjacent to home. Pond built as trout rearing facility by DNR in 1941. Trout/walleye/perch/crappies abound in crystal clear cool water. Site not nearly defensible as wished but 2-3 miles of barbed wire in inventory with staking to be erected when time comes. Dozens of caltrops on hand for roadway interdiction Security system in place with video system to follow. Another large pole building will be built in ’07-’08 for further storage of vehicles/tools.

Age: He, 59 and She 55. Children grown and gone but back to farm regularly.

Income. In excess of $400,000 annually.
Professions: She is an M.D. with 22 years on the job. He is an Instructor in Administration of Justice at a local community college. He is a Viet Nam vet and witnessed the Tet offensive firsthand. Saw Saigon a city in chaos, a society in collapse. He graduate with B.S./M.S. in education. Graduate of Oregon Institute of Technology (Gunsmithing) 1976. Practiced full time/part time 25 years in the trade.
Investments. The land and the trees, stocks and bonds, and “investment grade” weapons.
Property will be paid off in March of ’07. Plan is to invest in off grid power upgrades
Vehicles. She, a Mercedes. He a Ford 4WD pickup. There are two BMW motorcycles, one a 2002 1100RT, The other is a perfect condition 1985 80ST. The ST should need no protection from any EMP threat. Many small engine gas powered garden implements of the DR type. She has an Vespa scooter. Bicycles were bought last month. 11-06.
Weaponry. He is a state certified instructor with pistols, rifles, shotguns and submachine guns. He also teaches vehicles contacts and emergency vehicle operation and chemical munitions. They have incorporated a small business corporation to obtain registered Class 2 and Class 3 weapons. There are currently: 1 Ingram M10 in .45ACP with [suppressor] can. 1 Swedish “K” 9mm SMG, 1 Sterling Mk4 9mm SMG, 1 Thompson .45ACP SMG, 1 FN-FL heavy barrel select fire .308, 1 SAW M16 with can, 1 M-1A with glass, 1 FN Belgian .308 with glass, 1 Bushmaster .308 with Nightforce glass. 3 SKS, 1 AK-47 semi, 2 M-1 Carbines (U.S.G.I.) 1 Marlin Camp Carbine 9mm and 1 in .45 suppressed. 3 Remington Senderos one .223/1-.308/1-.300 W.M. All with Nightforce glass. One Barrett .50 BMG single shot with Nightforce glass. The Bushmaster will be suppressed in 01-07. There are many, many more “sporting arms.” 11 other suppressed items. Many handguns. Currently there is a FN 5.7×28 with can and 4 30 round mags and 4 20 round. There is a FN M90 5.7×28 rifle. A FN .223/M2000 is in the pipeline. The 5.7×28 weapons are astonishing in their performance and penetration. There are 6 fighting shotguns of various manufacture, all 12 gauge. We all shoot a lot.

Ammunition. Thousands and thousands. A full compliment of reloading capability.
Fuel: Gasoline. Kerosene, previously mentioned. We have six cases Coleman fuel. Many cylinders of bottled gas for stoves and 200 pounds of charcoal. (diversify, diversify)
Future improvements…previously mentioned. All depends on what is affordable and when and how the poop hits the prop.
Crops/garden: 2,700 square foot garden. To be planted this next season (Spring of ’07) with non-hybrids only. We can 300-400 jars annually the rest gets the deep freeze. We murder big and small game regularly and plan to try drying/jerky experiments with game in ’07. There are 20 fruit trees planted with 20-30 more to follow in ’07. We put up 20-30 pints/quarts of berries from the woods this year.
Property tax was typical of Wisconsin. Two years ago it was in excess of $6,800. Cut to about half by entering the tree management program.
Animals. One old Bouvier a new one to follow in ’07. A Labrodoodle for hunting. Two cats. No animal husbandry however we are looking at rabbits and chickens. Perhaps a Rhodesian Ridgeback in ’08 for a set of teeth for the farm.
Communications. Two receivers capable of AM/FM Ham. Four handhelds and one base Marine Band. We are well inland from the Mississippi and expect no interference. CB base and portables. 6 FRS walkie-talkies. Will obtain 2-to-4 field telephones when found for sale. Already have two miles of commo wire for same on hand.
Food. 1 year freeze-dried for 2 adults. At least 1 year of same in wet pack. 12 cases MREs, with more to follow. Much bulk stored wheat/rice/beans. 300 gallons of water in plastic. Capability to filter and clean 50,000 gallons from pond.

Hobbies. We read quite a bit with over 1,500 books in the library. He has been into preparedness for 30 years. She for 5. We can/garden/shoot/bird watch/tend the forest/study foraging ( a noted forager with a new book out lives within 6 miles…we will take his courses next spring). Reloading/hunting/woodcutting (Four cords on hand and ongoing).
Background. She a native South Dakotan. Now an M.D. A Christian. Enjoys hunting. A voracious reader of all things. He a former police officer (14) years who found teaching Law Enforcement was infinitely better than the frustration of being a practitioner. He, an atheist with respect for all peaceful faiths/beliefs. He teaches a course on terrorism for a local community college.
Concerns: There is a growing population of predators (animal) in the area. There have been five credible sightings of cougar in the district. We have a compliment of bears. Our county has been a dumping ground for “problem” bears from other parts of the state. Thanks a lot! Six wolves have been sighted this deer season on the property. Coyotes abound. I have no problem with a “healthy” predator population. It is a sign of a healthy environment. I worry for livestock/chickens/rabbits and the dogs. Feral pigs are a growing problem south of us. No doubt to be here any time. They are destructive.
Further preparations must be started for the improvement of the defenses.
There will be an influx of at least eight adults and one child if the poop hits the prop. More prep for those. Several “by in” to preparedness. Most (the spouses) do not.

There is a lot on our plate as with anyone in the process of preparing. We would like to meet with others of our ilk. How to do this is a conundrum. We have obtained a large amount of trapping supplies. Two close friends are trappers with years of experience. We will learn.


Profile 14: Mr. Romeo

Retreat: Live-aboard 30-Foot Sailboat

Age: One male 34 years old

Background: Grew up in small town next to Vandenberg Air Force Base, watching missiles being launched and sometimes blown up [“flight terminated”] over the ocean. I always knew that seeing one missile being launched meant “test” and that two or more mean “imminent death”. Grew up with most “toys” being bought at army surplus stores. My brother and I were the only kids who when we played “war” dressed in full army gear, complete with combat boots, helmet with outer cloth cover stuffed with branches, belt with two canteens, belt back pack, shovel, ammo cases, full camo clothes…the list goes on and on.

I moved to a southern California harbor 40 miles from Santa Cruz Island about two years ago to be closer to work (and distance myself from the nuke magnet–Vandenberg AFB). I have been getting everything on the boat ship shape for last two years. I have also been buying survival gear suited for an ocean retreat WTSHTF.

Annual Income: Was $46,000 a year until I got laid off three months ago.

Investments: So far 30 grams Pamp Suisse bullion, survival gear, food stores

Present Home: 30 foot Catalina Sloop sailboat that was but in the 1970s. I have upgraded the rear stern rails to ones with incorporated rear seats, repaired both sails, replaced the lifelines, replaced all essential lighting with solar powered LED lighting and have kerosene backup lighting in every berth. I also have solar powered exterior lighting.

For entertainment I have an XPower solar power pack that will charge my Creative Zen and portable DVD player starting from dead batteries with a one day charge on the power pack. That gives me 3-4 hours of DVDs and 11-12 hours of MP3 music a day, every day [for pennies in the lifetime cost of the system]. I have spare new batteries for all three units in the boat. Since I live aboard I am tax exempt and only pay $45 USD every two years for craft registration. I also have to pay $20 USD once a year to have harbor patrol give me a live aboard safety inspection. Insurance is $400 a year.

Vehicles: I have a 2005 Tank Urban Sporty 150cc scooter made out of chineseum and a 1999 Honda civic LEV (low emissions vehicle), they cost about $120 USD a year for registration and about $600 a year to insure with the minimum required by law. The scooter gets about 60-to 80 mpg and the Civic gets 30-38 mpg but I mostly ride the scooter.

Firearms: Winchester 12 gauge semi auto with 300+ rounds of birdshot (also have bandoleer that holds 50 rounds). Compound bow and arrows. Flare gun and 10 flares. About 60 yards cheap floating rope. (This is a defensive weapon) to foul the props of any would be attacking boats Just cut it into 10 foot strips and throw into water. I also have a machete, an axe, a Blackie Collins design Gerber clip lock serrated knife as well as about 30 other (various) knives.

Gardens/Orchards/Food source: What’s the biggest highway in the world that is full of food? The ocean, it is also the biggest moat in the world.

Property Tax: None.

Communications: VHF radio handheld and onboard units for emergency use, cell phone for domestic calls.

Food Storage: 50 pounds of rice, large supply of canned ham, large supply of canned food, I have also stored a lot of extra salt and cooking oil onboard for bartering purposes. I have room to store 20 gallons water built into the boat and have room for about 50 more gallons in storage.

Fuel Storage: 20 gallon tank built into the boat, five gallon tank in the dinghy and 5-1 gallon tanks under the cockpit seats.

Survival gear: Propane barbeque with extra canisters of LP, PUR Survivor 06-LL Desalinator Watermaker, 400 count 65 mg potassium iodide tablets sealed in factory bottles, solar lighting inside and out, solar fan that I made that works day and night.

Two fishing poles and assorted fishing tackle, Sailrite lsz-1 sail and canvas sewing machine with heavy duty stainless steel hand crank for use offshore. And of course the assorted tools needed to keep the boat working.

Worst Case Scenario: Economic collapse, nuclear war, Waterworld, tsunami, civil unrest, corrupt government declaring martial law, you name it. I am just a power cord and four dock lines from New Zealand via Hawaii or Baja California to Mexico. The thin veneer that holds “civilized” society from becoming something like the Rodney King riots is not as thick as you might think. Like a castle with a large moat, like an island or an oil rig is how I plan to bug out. Since owning the sailboat I have traveled over 400 miles in five trips to the islands and in that time I’ve used perhaps one gallon of gas.
Blow ships are the cat’s meow when it comes to efficiency. Top sailing speed (so far) 9.4 knots under full main and 120% jib.

JWR’s Recommends: Increase your food storage! Buy as much as can possibly fit in the space available. You should also increase your solar charging capacity so that you can keep your deep cycle batteries (for VHF radio, navigation, and cell phone charging, et cetera) topped off, even without running your auxiliary engine.

For defense, first buy 50 rifled slugs and at least 100 buckshot 12 gauge shells (000 is the best pellet size for shipboard defense.) You should then add a scoped stainless steel .308 or .30-06 bolt action rifle for “stand-off” self defense against pirates. (A stainless steel Browning A-Bolt with a half dozen spare magazines would be ideal. Second choice would be a Winchester Model 70 Classic Stainless.) Buy at least 500 rounds of .30 caliber ammunition–a mix of AP, ball (FMJ), and soft nose. BTW, it is too bad that you can’t buy tracer ammo in California. If you lay down accurate fire with AP ammo at 450 yards, pirates will go find someone else to pick on! I also recommend that you add an intrusion detection system to your deck, to alert you if anyone attempts to board your sailboat when you are berthed or anchored at night. Also, if your budget allows, buy at least six large white parachute flares, so that you can engage targets with your rifle at night. And if you can afford it, also get a headset-type night vision monocular, such as an AN/PVS-7B. Get firearms and medical training as soon as you can afford them. (Low-cost training is available from the American Red Cross, the Appleseed Program, and the WRSA.)

Buy a spare membrane and any other key spare parts for your desalinator. I recommend that you get as much blue water sailing experience as possible Since you’ve been laid off, it could be a great opportunity. You might try networking to find a trans-pac yacht crew/security position. (Check Craig’s List and for openings.)


Profile 15: Mr. Sierra

Present home: Apartment in a two family duplex house on dead end road, near two large suburban cities in Massachusetts.
Age: 52 years old
SOs: 16 year old teenage son

Annual income: $50,000+.
Profession: Technical Writer
Investments: 401K and some inheritance money
Vehicles: 1995 Volkswagen Jetta and 2002 Yamaha VStar Classic Motorcycle
Firearms Battery: .38 S&W snubnose 642, 9mm Beretta FS, Glock 22 .40 S&W, Sig .40 S&W 229, 45 ACP SW 1911, 45 ACP SW 1911 SC, 12 Gauge SxS Stoeger Stage Shotgun, 1897 Winchester 12 Gauge Pump Shotgun, Mossberg 590 Pump Shotgun, 7.62x54R Mosin-Nagant Finnish M39, .223 Bushmaster AR-15 M3, .308 Remington PSS, .308 Springfield M1A, 7.62 WASR AK-47.

Other Gear: Have complete Level 3 Militia List of military equipment, Flak Vest, U.S.G.I. Kevlar Helmet, web gear, camo clothing, boots, winter gear, US Marine 2 man Eureka Tent, Winter Sleeping Gear and Camo, Binoculars, NVG monocular, GPS, Medical Gear, Camo netting, NukeAlert, Pelican Case, Kestral Weather monitor, Leica Range Finder. DVDs of gun maintenance, Gunsite Training videos, British Berkefeld (“Berkey”) Water Filters, scanner, CB sideband radio.
Stored ammunition: 10,000 rounds, 4,000 of which are .223.
Fuel Storage: Plan to buy storage cans for gasoline and kerosene.
Improvements: Motion detectors for driveway and front door of apartment.
Livestock: None.
Communications Gear: Sangean Digital Shortwave 14-Band Radio w/AM & FM,

Grundig AM/FM hand crank receiver, 4 FRS Motorola walkie-talkies. Cobra CB single sideband radio. Uniden Scanner, flares and signal mirror.
Food storage: Plans to buy freeze dry food for one year very soon.
Presently have some cases of MREs for initial bugout bag.
Hobbies: Shooting, running, motorcycle, reading, animation, illustrating/cartooning
Background: Single divorced father with 14 year old son. Turned to gun owner and IDPA, SASS shooter and concealed carry gun owner 3-4 years ago after getting reformed by listening to Alex Jones,, the DVD Innocents Betrayed, web sites like I live in short driving distance to Lexington, Massachusetts and I’ve walked the Green where 200 years my neighbors ago fought and died for liberty. I served six years in the National Guard as a 11Bravo grenadier M79, and trained with a mechanized infantry company.

I lived in a former life in a large community in Tennessee called The Farm, where I learned a lot of farming and self survival skills. Hippie to 2nd Amendment Gun Owner with lots of experiences in a broad spectrum in between. My spiritual side is important but does not include organized religion.

JWR: Why did you choose the area?
Mr. Sierra: My home location now is close to work, and my son’s school. My retreat cabin/home would be ideally in rural Idaho…but Maine might be more realistic for me.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. Sierra: My present location I would have very little time time to evacuate before the highways became jammed with traffic – 10 minutes or less. I do have my bug bag ready and waiting, so that level of preparedness is functioning.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Sierra: I don’t know anyone presently who would go to a retreat with, I am attempting to connect with some people, and always on the look out for compatible souls. There just isn’t anyone in my part of the country or town who thinks like that or would be interested.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?

Mr. Sierra: If TSHTF I would think at least 6 months to a year if there was a nuclear event in this country before things started to return to a normal state.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Sierra: Worst case scenario would be getting stuck because of traffic in my present location. My neighbors would call and wait for directions from FEMA and the government, and presume that they would be saved by these agencies, not having any survival gear of there own. It would be a tough situation to try and help, while at the same time survive. Water would be tough to store…and kerosene is more than likely illegal to store and use as a heating source…even though I have a kerosene heater.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. Sierra: After recently getting divorced I have more decision making power to purchase and pursue a survival ready lifestyle. My ex-wife didn’t really share the commitment necessary to fulfil what you need as far as food storage, shelter, firearms, etc.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. Sierra: I would like to establish a nuclear type of shelter in the basement…and need to figure out an alternative heating source. I have no wood stove, and kerosene heaters are illegal in this state. Getting a Honda generator of some sort is on my list as well as solar panels for power generation for my computer and a few lights.
JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Mr. Sierra: I would like to retire from my job and find a small home with 20+ acres that I could settle down with and get busy firming up my retreat with food/water storage, and strengthen possible avenues of approach with defensive positions if need be. Also to widen my social circles to include other like minded people, and possibly a partner who had a
direction in life similar to my own.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Sierra is typical of most suburban survivalists in that he is tied to a Big City job. I recommend that he store at least 100 gallons of water and make preparations to collect water from open sources and a reliable method to transport it. Typically this would require a two-wheeled garden cart and a few 5 gallon plastic water cans. That would suffice for a situation where utility water is disrupted but the social fabric is still intact. (But in the event of TEOTWAWKI, it would be unsafe to venture out.) He noted that he already has British Berkefeld (“Berkey”) Water Filters. Those are excellent–highly recommended! He should store at least a one year food supply for two people. Since he is in a cold climate but restricted by law on fuel storage, if he hasn’t done so already, he should buy a pair of arctic weight sleeping bags for himself and his son. (The Wiggy’s Ultima Thule is a good choice.) Given the level of his other preparations, he has a disproportionately large firearms battery. If need be, he should probably sell his two minor caliber handguns (.38 S&W Model 642, and 9mm Beretta ) and perhaps his two rifles in odd calibers (the AK-47 and the 7.62x54R Mosin-Nagant), and use that money to buy storage food. He should also buy body armor for his son–at least Level II. With his experience living at The Farm as well as his experience as an infantryman, Mr. Sierra would make a valuable addition to a group retreat. I’ll pray that he finds the right one.


Profile 16: Mr. and Mrs. Tango

Present home/retreat: Near Show Low, Arizona
Ages: Retired
SOs: 24-year old son who still lives at home.
Annual income: +/-$88,000. (Company retirement plus investment income, and wife’s income. She works as a part time dental hygienist but is nearing retirement.)
Professions: Retired stockbroker and a dental hygienist.

Investments: Gold bullion (1/10th and 1 ounce Krugerrands), $20 Liberty gold pieces, Morgan silver dollars, pre-1965 junk silver dimes, and a few carefully selected blue chip and mining stocks.
Vehicles: Ford Bronco 4WD (modified with locking gun/gear boxes, radiac meter, and infrared driving lights–for use with his PVS-7 series night vision goggles), 2003 Saturn VUE 4WD (fuel efficient runabout.)
Annual Property Tax:
Firearms Battery: 2 pre-ban Bushmaster AR-15s both with tritium sights and one with a Gen. 2 PVS-4 starlight scope, 3 pre-ban L1A1s (one with BSA 3-9X illuminated reticle scope), customized Windrunner .50 BMG bolt action with a 18x Mil-dot scope and Gen 2 PVS-2 starlight scope and custom muzzle brake, 2 Remington Model 870 12 gauge riotguns with magazine extensions tritium sights, and SureFire forends, 3 Colt customized M1911 .45 ACPs with tritium sights, four .22 rimfires, Ruger Model K77 .223 bolt action with Leupold Vari-X III 1.-5-5X illuminated reticle scope and threaded muzzle (for flash hider), Ruger Model K77 .308 bolt action with with Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5X illuminated reticle scope and threaded muzzle (for flash hider), Remington Model 700 Sendero bolt action with with Nikon Monarch 6-20X illuminated reticle scope scope and threaded muzzle (for Vortex flash hider), an M1 Garand .308 conversion, and a few other odds and ends.
Stored ammunition: 38,000 rounds in various calibers.

Fuel Storage: 2 cords of firewood, 650-gallon underground gasoline tank. 25-gallons of kerosene.
Home/Retreat Property: 5 acres. Well water, AC well pump, (3 KW Homelite backup gas generator) plus a contiguous gravity fed irrigation canal. Improvements: 1,800 square foot two-story wood frame house (not counting basement. 500 square foot barn/shop. 800 square foot unfenced garden plot. 300 square foot basement/fallout shelter/gun vault with Swiss HEPA air filtration system (stationary bicycle chain drive powered.) Perimeter infrared (IR) floodlights with motion sensor switches. (Can only be seen with a starlight night vision system!)
Annual Property Tax:
Livestock: None.
Communications Gear: 3 Motorola FRS walkie talkies, 4 Army TA-1 field phones and 5 miles of telephone company surplus wire.
Food storage: 3 years for 4 adults.

Hobbies: Shooting and gold prospecting.
Background: Mr. Tango has a BA in Business Administration. He was born and raised in Washington, went to a university in the Midwest, and lived for many years in Boulder Colorado. But he moved to Arizona in the mid-1990s out for concern for societal upheaval and/or martial law.

JWR: Why did you choose the Show Low area?
Mr. Tango: It has lots of water. We also already had friends in the area.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. Tango: The growing season in marginal, to say the least. I’ve made up for that with prodigious food storage.

JWR: Do you expect a lot of refugees from Mexico?
Mr. Tango: Not as far north as Show Low.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Tango: Probably my sister, her husband, and their three kids.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. Tango: Six months to ten years

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Tango: That ten years I just mentioned.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. Tango: A lot of my preparations have been shaped by the climate here in this part of Arizona.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. Tango: Some ability to raise our own meat. Rabbits have problems with hot summers, so we will eventually raise poultry of some sort.

JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Mr. Tango: To make sure my future grandchildren grow up safe and free.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Tango is the best-prepared individual that I know vis-a-vis night vision equipment, illuminated reticle scopes, tritium sights, and IR lighting. He has also done extensive real world tests and prototyping with flash hiders. His efforts in this area should be emulated. Mr. Tango owns the night! I pity the looters that ever try to sneak up on his house under cover of darkness.


Profile 17: Mr. Uniform

Present Home: 63 year old brick veneer over weather board farmhouse (1,300 square feet) built by my father. 25 acres, consisting of 3.5 acres of pine, 9 acres of old growth hardwoods, 1.5 acres of apple, pear, pecan, grape, muscudine, and scuppernong orchard/grove/vineyard. Additional 900 square foot house, 100 year barn (30’x30′ with loft and sheds), outdoor privy, detached 24’x24′ garage building, 140 square foot storage building, dog house/lot, hog house lot (not used at present). Approximately three acres in farmstead buildings, drives, and gardens. Balance of land in open arable land presently used by neighbor as native grass hay field. All but the very front of house is inside a fence. Yard and road frontage is behind a five foot chain link or five foot wood picket fence. Remainder of property line is behind an old five-strand barbed wire fence (needs upgrading). Property is in northwest portion of South Carolina. Family has lived in area for over 500 years (Cherokee portion), most of the remainder for more than 200 years. Family on two sides and long term (over 80 years) family friends on two sides. House fronts on a small farm to market road but backs to a heavily traveled Interstate. Attend a small Baptist Church that ancestors helped to found 204 years ago (veterans of Revolutionary War). Property has two hand dug wells near headwaters of creek. Presently use public water, but both wells are usable by hand drawing with a windless. Water is free of contaminants per test. Presently plant garden from heirloom seeds and co-operate with neighbors and family in trade.

Ages: Mr Uniform: 47 His widowed mother: 82

Annual Income: Gross $86,000, Net $43,000

Occupations: Government employee. Mother is a retired widowed homemaker and cancer survivor.

Hobbies/Avocation: Hunt, Fish, Camp, volunteer fireman (Board Member and Arson Investigator), Volunteer Advanced State Constable (Police Officer), trained medical First Responder.
Investments: Gold and silver coin including ‘junk’ silver, copper coin, Thrift Board (similar to 401k). Some open note debt due to family sicknesses and deaths.

Vehicles: 1968 Chevy pickup, two Cadillacs (one built in 1980s, the other in the late1990s), 1998 Ford F150 4WD Pickup, 1957 Ford Tractor (34 h.p. gas) with crop implements and some mule implements. Keep all vehicles fueled and serviced.

Fuel Storage: 500 gallons propane for cooking and furnace. 15 gallons of K-1 kerosene for lamps, lanterns, and back-up heat. 25 gallons of 4 cycle gas. 2.5 gallons of 2 cycle gas. Two wood heaters in storage in barn. Plan: to cut and rack wood in a shed to be built. Plan on buying wood cook stove in future and put in storage. All wood heat was removed from house in 1985 due to Father’s health. Also to put in at least 1000 gallon gas tank and fuel oil tank. Also, a kerosene tank in 500 to 1000 gallon range. Probably in a ventilated shed instead of underground due to water table in the defensible zone.

Livestock: One collie at moment, used for guard/watch dog. Hope to add small livestock within a year (one species at a time). Beef cattle on one neighbor’s place. Dairy within 3 miles (high school class mate). Hogs on two neighbors farms within two miles and chickens close.

Communications: Land line with DSL hook up. Cell phones. Two privately owned walkie-talkies programmed for direct communication with local law enforcement, fire, and EMS. One pair of FRS radios. One small programmable scanner, one CB transceiver, one shortwave receiver. Want to add field phone capability.

Food and supply storage: 9 months to a year on most everything from food to toothpaste. We employ the method of :”use one and buy three.”

Mail service: Rural route delivery for some things, P.O. Box in neighboring village for others, while package delivery generally goes to one of the offices that I work out of.

Shortcomings: Too close to interstate highway though county is almost an island with lakes, control points could be manned at all of the bridges entering county and control much of the flow of traffic. Patrol the Interstate Highway corridor to keep unauthorized exit from the Interstate. Also, patrol the lake shore for unwanted landings. 100 miles from Atlanta, 50 miles from Greenville, 150 miles from Charlotte. All too close. Not enough food and supplies, I think 3 years should be on hand and rotated. Not enough ammo. Inadequate fuel supply, and no alternative source of electricity yet. Nuclear plant nearby.

Taxes: Moderate and rising due to refugees from northeast moving into lake developments and demanding more county services. Many of these will be first to go down in a long term grid down situation

Armory: Fire rated safe with S&G. Adequate with a mixture of heavy battle and hunting rifles, medium battle and hunting rifles, and light battle and hunting rifles, and .22 rimfire. Same with shotguns, and pistols. Somewhat of the Mel Tappan philosophy. Good supply of spare magazines. Have had very good tactical and firearms training from law enforcement, SAR, IDPA, and SASS. Two ballistic vests and several non ballistic tactical vests. Next door neighbor similarly armed and prepared. Sister (40+ acres) and cousins (1 to 10 acres each) (within 3 miles) are more armed for personal protection and hunting than tactical. I go armed from rising to bed. Also carry a minimum kit in vehicle: one .40 cal with rig, one carbine, ammo, water, clothes, meds, MREs. I travel an average of 800 miles per week on job. I average 13 hour days, 5 days per week, plus 12 hours per week law enforcement volunteer, three hours per week average for VFD. This is to help me get home. Need some NVGs. Have motion sensors. Placing more. Have more fencing in storage.

Other People Joining Us: Cousins from metro Atlanta area, former naval IT electronics person and shipboard security team leader. Maybe one cousin from Hart County, Georgia who lives alone and in late 60s. He grows the grain and has a saw mill. He is former army signal corps telephone. I have married sister, married niece, and several married cousins within area. If ones property becomes compromised, we will double up.

Affiliations: Active in Church (Bible Study Teacher, Church Clerk, and Deacon). Past Master in local [Masonic] Lodge.

Education: BS in Ag Ed, Masters in Agricultural Education, many semester hours over Masters in Administration and Supervision, 50 quarter hours in Criminal Justice. Former high school ag teacher and animal science professor in a Jr. College.

Area: Local fire district (all volunteer) is 25 square miles with a permanent population of about 2,500. Two private church schools, five churches, one truck stop, four country stores and locally owned building supply store, Medical Clinic with two Doctors, Pharmacist, and Nurses. Local fire department forms the basis of local Civil Defense. 24 out of 26 members are armed. Two Unarmed: One is a local Doctor and Army veteran (Bosnian Call-Up) and the other is a CPA. Adjoining fire districts are similar. I am covered under Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).

Safety Act for firearms carrying. Most of the fire department have South Carolina and New Hampshire carry permits with [reciprocity] coverage in several states. Civil Defense plans are in place to secure the interstate in an emergency. Overall, community, including elderly widows, is well armed, just not tactical. Has at least 14 present and former LEOs within five miles, one is the County Sheriff who belongs to same Lodge and is active in an adjoining Baptist Church. Both local sheriffs’ offices are upgrading their tactical capabilities with a full auto .223 in each patrol car. I am working with the new chief at the largest town in my county trying to convince him to upgrade to individually assigned patrol cars, preferable take home, and patrol rifles.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Given your proximity to the interstate freeway, you should definitely plan on having at least three families to man your retreat. With any less than that, you won’t have the manpower to maintain 24/7 security for an extended period of time. Stock up on plenty of ammo, defensive (concertina) wire, and night vision gear, for a “worst case” situation.

In a follow-up e-mail, Mr. Uniform added this commentary:

I would like to comment on preparedness as a mindset and as a way of life instead of just acquisition of things. I pondered this over the weekend as I ate various meals. At breakfast, I ate grits and eggs and sausage. The grits were from corn I grew and ground on a cousin’s mill. He received a toll for the grinding. I traded extra grits and cornmeal (which he also ground) for the eggs and sausage. At noon, we sat down to dinner and enjoyed fresh ham and several vegetables. All the vegetables were grown either in my garden or my sister’s garden. The ham came from a feral shoat that became a nuisance in the garden. Supper was similar. For dessert, we had fresh fig preserves. The figs came from a fig bush/tree that my grandfather had planted. He died in 1946 at age 83. We grow a lot of what we eat and eat what we grow. It is not just about saving money, it is more about living healthy and being self sufficient. Being able to open the store room or pantry and see a year’s worth of provisions is comforting during troubling times. As well, it is nice to know that one has the means and capability to protect and defend ones family, friends, and home. But simply a year’s capability is not enough for severe times.

In the past, my family went through roughly ten years of what is now called the French and Indian War, about seven years of the Revolutionary War, four years of the War of Northern Aggression then accompanied by 12 years of armed occupation by Union troops. It took another 100 years to somewhat recover economically. I believe that we need to prepare for a long term situation such as that. Also, plan on having property tax money saved back for multiple years in as many different currencies (paper, gold, silver) as possible. The Depression lasted for about 13 years. Now to address how do individuals practice living the lifestyle when not at a retreat. If you can grow flowers, you can grow vegetables. This will give [you] practice. In some cases, you can rent small tracts of garden space from landowners near the city’s edge. I know of one case where a city family made a trade with an elderly widow lady in my community. They work a three acre garden and three acre mixed orchard/vineyard. For rent, they share the produce with the lady and keep her yard cut. A good symbiotic relationship.

Take classes in Emergency Medicine, Fire Suppression, and the Martial Arms (Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun in target and tactical). Maybe even volunteer as a fireman, EMT, or [Sheriff’s] deputy. Learn to do many things: weld, wire, carpentry, masonry, etc. Learn to be the needed member of the community. Live in the community as much as possible, create a sense of belonging. Create a healthy lifestyle. Get rid of addictions, get health problems under control, build a network of friends and acquiesces. Most importantly, get right Spiritually. In troubling times, there is an inexhaustible supply of help from the Heavenly Father through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Become part of a local church congregation. Be the one to be ready to help the elderly, widows, and orphans in your church. Just some thoughts, – Mr. Uniform

Profile 18: Mr. & Mrs. Victor

Present home: 2,400 sq. solar home with 960 sq. ft. attached garage/workshop. We built it ourselves in 1995. Located off-road on 30 acres, surrounded by National Forest, in the front range of the Rockies about 1-1/2 hrs from Colorado Springs, Colorado. We’ve been lucky enough to have been living the life for almost 10 years now and I don’t think we could ever go back to civilization.

Ages: 55 and 66

SOs: Just us and three dogs. One grown daughter and her family in the DC area.

Annual income: +/-$30,000

Profession: Retired

Investments: Money market, precious metals and coins

Vehicles: 4 older model 4WD vehicles and one beat up 2WD pickup that just won’t die. Older vehicles are easier to work on in a pinch. I can’t recommend enough that you need to have the service manuals for all vehicles. Chilton or Haynes manuals are OK, but the actual shop service manual is much better. We have a conversion kit to make one of the vehicles run on propane or methane, but haven’t ever installed it. Would love to get a hybrid but can’t get one out here off road. If the crisis comes we’ll get an ATV if time allows.

Firearms Battery: Adequate. Many of our guns are registered, so I keep expecting the government to come and take them away. We also have a good supply of guns purchased through individuals stored in a separate location. No mention has been made of having a really good gun safe and having it securely bolted to the wall. There is no point in having guns if intruders can just walk in and take them away from you.

Stored ammunition: Adequate and reloading capacity for all firearms. One area I’ve noticed is overlooked in other profiles is the potential for casting lead bullets. Many tire stores will gladly give you their old wheel weights free for melting down. The melter and molds are relatively cheap and all this can be kept on hand, available for use if needed.

Fuel Storage: 1,000 gallons propane, and 100 gallon of gasoline, 25 gallons of Coleman fuel and 50 gallons of Kerosene for kerosene lamps . Waiting for the gasoline prices to drop before stocking that. Six cords firewood cut and split and the entire National Forest for replenishment.

Improvements: We’re totally off-grid on solar power (24 75 watt panels, 12 L16 deep cycle batteries, a power center controller and two Trace inverters) with generator backup (one 15 KW Onan propane and two 5 KW gasoline Colemans) and a wind charger. We have several outbuildings that could be used for storage, livestock or guest cabins. The house is active and passive solar. In addition to the radiant under floor heat system we built in, we have a woodstove we use for heating and which can also be used for cooking. Since the growing season here is short and the summers get lots of hail, in 1998 we added an attached 15′ x 20′ greenhouse for growing vegetables. Having it attached means we don’t have to heat it separately from the house. It also provides lots of daytime heat for the house in the winter. There’s a 12 GPM well and we have an 1800 gallon concrete cistern built into the center of the house which is also part of the passive solar heat retention. If the well went dry or the pump failed and couldn’t be replaced, we have access to 3 year-round springs in the forest to haul water like we did during construction. We had the water tested and it’s great drinking water straight from mother nature.

Annual Property Tax: $600. We’ve maintained our agricultural zoning. (Otherwise the property taxes would be doubled.)

Livestock: Currently none. We had two milk goats, chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, pigs, a cow, a horse and a mule. We got rid of them all so we could travel a bit to see the grandbabies. Several things I think haven’t been stressed enough in other profile: If you don’t currently have livestock, but would want it when the s— hits the fan, know ahead of time where to get animals. Find the farms or livestock auctions now, so that procurement could be done hastily. It took me several weeks to find my first milk goat and poultry chicks are only available seasonally at most feed stores. Privett Hatchery online has them year round, but that assumes there’s still shipping available during a crisis. Also, prepare ahead for housing the animals and feed needed for them. We had to lock up the birds in houses at night to keep coyotes, foxes and raccoons from getting them. There’s also the need of fencing materials to consider ahead of time. PS. If you’re going to get livestock, get a manual cream separator for the milk so you’ll have butter. I love mine. I recommend “Caprine Supply” company online. They also have cheese making stuff.

Communications Gear: Nothing fancy. Cell phones, satellite internet and TV and a solar powered radio. We both have ham training but haven’t acquired any equipment.

Food storage: We have a 10′ x 10′ concrete vault in the attached garage/workshop with nonperishable foods. Since we’re off grid, we’re not so concerned about losing power to refrigerator and freezer. We’re also surrounded by hunting opportunities in the forest for elk, deer, antelope and rabbits. I have over 75 cookbooks that include books for game, fish, canning and preserving, sausage making, drying and canning meat and fish, butchering etc. If you don’t have power, you’d better know what to do with 500+ pounds of elk meat. We also have the nonperishable ingredients for preserving meats. I guess it would fall into this category – stockpiling medications. By occasionally short dosing and ordering refills a little early, we’ve acquired a two year supply of our prescriptions. When a new refill comes in, it goes into the stash and the oldest comes out for use. I’ve also found veterinary meds (suitable for human use) available at feed stores or online through Omaha vaccines. Antibiotics, lidocaine, epinephrine, syringes etc are available. I also recommend the books Ditch Medicine and Prescription for Nutritional Healing for stocking up on herbals and homeopathic remedies. Surplus military stores and catalogs often have first aid kits and even instruments for minor surgery.

Hobbies: Reading, stained glass, target shooting, leatherwork, metal machining, gunsmithing and selling on eBay.

Background: We’re both retired after working many long years in and around the government in the DC area. He was an engineer and I was a programmer. We’ve owned several businesses over the years that have given us a variety of skills. We’re both only children so have been brought up as being fairly self-sufficient types. We have one grown daughter and her family still in Northern Virginia. I volunteer at the local emergency food pantry and my husband is active in a Buddhist meditation group.

JWR: Why did you choose your location?
My husband wanted to live in the mountains since he was a little boy in Alabama. I wanted to be a hermit but wasn’t particular about where. We love this picturesque mountain region. It’s relatively accessible to Colorado Springs and Denver but remote enough. With the altitude, it’s fabulous for solar living and the winters are surprisingly mild. We may get 18″ of snow and it’ll be gone in 2-3 days. The temperatures are moderate( I can’t tolerate heat) and the humidity is almost nonexistent. It’s also an area much like the old west where you’re free to be yourself, express yourself and defend yourself.
JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?

Colorado Springs has big military and right wing religious presences. The NORAD facility or the Focus on the Family facility might well be early terrorist targets and being within 100 miles could put us at somewhat higher risk. This mainly just means that we stay prepared and don’t wait for the 11th hour to get prepared.

JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Our daughter and her family would be welcome if they could escape DC. We’d have to get my mother in law out of the Alzheimer’s nursing home. We’ve also invited our 2 best friends and my husband’s Buddhist teacher and her partner. We could accommodate more and probably wouldn’t turn anyone we know away, but our hermit mentality would make it difficult to be surrounded by too many folks.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?

Depends on the nature of the crisis. The forecast avian flu pandemic could last a couple of years and have longer repercussions from loss of population and service providers. If the super volcano under Yellowstone blows, the western US might not recover for much longer.
JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Increasing frequency and ferocity of natural disasters like this hurricane season or Yellowstone blowing, followed by an avian flu pandemic, a major worldwide depression and the current government taking over as a dictatorship. Hope I”m just being a pessimistic paranoid but that’s why I live in the woods.

JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?

My parents grew up during the depression and were subsequently hoarders and packrats. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC during the Cuban missile and Bay of Pigs crises era. And three years ago there was a huge forest wildfire that started very near here, and was grossly mismanaged, when numerous friends had to evacuate with just the clothes on their backs. The combination of those things made me aware of potential personal vulnerability and the need to be prepared for whatever comes along. I hate seeing victims on TV crying because the cavalry never came. As far as possible, taking personal responsibility beats crying on TV.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
First we’d add a few more batteries to the system and get a tracker system for some of our solar panels. I’d like to add an underground gasoline storage tank, figure out how to use our septic system for methane production for when our propane runs out and we are thinking of adding hurricane-type shutters for the windows for protection and blackout value, but with over 40 windows it’d be long and expensive compared to simple plywood.

JWR: What are your long term goals? To live peacefully in solitude without interference from friend or enemy.


Profile 19: Mr. & Mrs. Whiskey

Present home: 420 acre Southern Indiana farm, in the family since 1832. Closest town is 6 miles away, a village of 1400. Closest major city, Louisville KY 50 miles, Indianapolis, IN 60 miles. Closest neighbor: 1 mile.
Age: Mr. Whiskey: 50, Mrs. Whiskey 46
SO: 2 kids-son 10, daughter 7.
Annual Income: $80,000 from work-a-day world. $15,000 from farm leases and livestock sales. $3,500 timber sales from a 100 acre managed forest growing high quality oak and hickory veneer trees for the export market.
Professions: Mr.:Architect. Mrs.: Custom Cabinet installer.
Investments: Farm land, beef cattle, 401(k) 100% in gold stocks and mines, bullion and coins held close, homestead, good kids, church life, good neighbors and even better fences. We brew our own beer (Belgian ale style).

Transportation: 2002 Isuzu Trooper 4WD, 1994 Jeep Cherokee 4WD, 1978 (pre-computer electronics) Dodge Power Wagon club cab 4WD pickup truck (350V8, 10 mpg). 4 mountain bikes with airfree tires and panniers.
Firearms: Will not disclose (WND) but setup per Mel Tappan’s advice. Plenty to go around if needed.
Ammo: 110,000 rds, various factory. Potential reloads with new brass and 25% recovered factory brass 65,000 rds. Night vision capable. Multiple caches around farm in selected and protected locations.
Fuel Storage: Main house is on the grid. 1,000 gallon underground propane tank fuels backup heat thru normal Lennox furnace. Main heat source is Hardy stainless steel outside wood burning furnace. This heats a greenhouse, separate studio building, the main house and also heats our hot water. Plenty of free firewood in the 100 acre timber stand. We pay a guy to cut it for us or he gets 3 cord and he brings us one (free). We use about 18 cord per year to heat 3 buildings and the water. We have hardwood firewood stacked, racked and covered for 2 years. Portable 5KW gasoline powered generator. Portable 1KW gasoline generator. Small PV panel array with (8) 12VDC deep cycle storage batteries linked parallel. Hand-powered tools and appliances (James laundry washer, tubs and wringer, scythes, hauling carts, hand water pumps, Aladdin lamps, hand-cranked food processors, Country Living grain mill, wood-fired cook stove, 5 extra wood stoves and stove pipe still in their boxes (including enough masonry and mortar stored for 5 chimneys)-for resale or use after the balloon is airborne-, crosscut saws, axes, portable propane refrigerator/freezer, people-powered crank generator, wood-fired hot tub) 75 gallons gasoline stabilized with Pri-G and rotated every 9 months or so. 350 gallons of kerosene. 30 gallons of ultra-pure lamp oil.
Home/Retreat/Property: Main house is 2,100 s.f. Studio building is 450 s.f., greenhouse is 325 s.f., 4 large barns for cattle, hay, grain and tractor/equipment storage, 6 smaller outbuildings for poultry, firewood, small equipment and tool storage. 420 acre farm on rolling hills and river bottoms. Main crops are corn, soybeans, wheat and timber. River runs thru farm, has never run dry (at least in 4 generations). Great fishing source and trapping source. Lots and lots of muskrat, catfish, mink, deer, wild turkey, raccoon and coyote. We have private campgrounds along the river (on the high ground, doesn’t flood in the camps) to entertain friends and give the local Boy Scout troop a place to weekend camp occasionally. Neighbors’ properties range from 10 ac to 1000 ac tracts. Within a two mile radius of home, there are 6 other homesteads.

Water: Spring-fed concrete cistern holds 1200 gallons of constantly running water, which drains off into a ground-level cattle watering tank that never freezes in winter. Steam rolls off of it in the really cold temps. The spring has never run dry. We pump the water from the cistern into the house by way of pressure tank. We have 2 stocked ponds in the pastures, for fishing and cattle watering. Ponds are about an acre in size. Also have 2 unused brick lined wells, usually holding 30 or 40 feet of water.
Improvements: Ongoing since 1832, oldest current building is the main house, built in 1895, main barn in 1905 and corn crib in 1898. Newest buildings include 40’x60’ tool shed in 1965, studio in 1970 and greenhouse in 1990. Garden plot is 60’x 250’, fenced tight. Large size of garden allows for yearly rotation within the fenced-in area, and also allows for tractor tilling with bigger equipment.
Current improvements underway: 25’ span footbridge across a stream connecting 2 campgrounds along the river, new outhouse behind main house with solar lighting, woodstove connected in greenhouse.
Planned Improvements: New UG root cellar/NBC shelter, outside wood-fired oven.

Annual Property tax: $2,300. $5 for timber stand.
Livestock: Black angus cattle, Boer goats, chickens, geese, ducks, guineas, a donkey, a horse, emus, pygmy goats and rabbits.
Comm: CB’s, SW. No licenses for ham. Handheld receivers. 3 pair FRS walkie-talkies. Several hand-cranked radios. One set of army surplus field telephones and about 10 miles of underground wire.
Foods Stores: Basics—5600 lbs wheat, 350 lbs white rice, 300 lbs millet, 750 lbs corn, 350 lbs soybeans, 500 lbs white sugar, 170 lbs salt, 400 lbs misc. dry beans. All stored in sealed steel food grade 55 gal barrels stabilized with CO2. Long term storage food (mail ordered) prior to Y2K for 2 adults and 2 kids to last for 18 months. Rotation of grocery store canned perishables for 60 days. 1100 canning jars with extra lids for those jars to last for 6 years. Dry dog food and cat food to last current animals for 2 years, stored in sealed 55 gallon steel barrels. Hay for cattle to last for 2 years. Fruit and nut trees abound. (Persimmon, apple, pear, paw-paw, hickory, and walnut). Many wild berry bushes. Very large collection of open pollinated/heirloom seeds.
Hobbies: Art, reading, decorating the house, self-sufficiency studies, aromatherapy and alternative home grown medicine, book collecting, vegetable gardening and herb gardening (medicinal), long-range target shooting. 12 yr old son is into army survival and he has Kevlar helmets, vests, camo, boots and lots of good equipment that he’s allowed to buy himself.

Background: Mr.—grew up on family homestead, Christian upbringing, graduated high school with 28 others in class, studied architecture and graduated from Univ. of Houston, TX. Purchased small construction company in Houston and built light commercial and residential for 3 yrs. Realized soon how fragile society and the culture was during the early 80’s TX oil bust. Began to get real interested in surviving a collapse and subscribed to Gary North in 1982. Sold company and moved back home when father became ill with cancer to help out on the farm. Dad died, mom moved in town, Mr. got married and still lives in the old farmhouse, though expanded many times. 25 years of planning for collapse and a planner’s education has made Mr. a well thought out and deep supplied kind of guy. Drives Mrs. Whiskey mad. Mr. is currently planning for support of community and neighbors through printouts and written help, food, clothing and other support to stabilize and get others who are caught unprepped a step ahead in troubled times. We have packets of physical help to hand out to people in need: backpacks full of dry food, written materials on how to help yourselves now, hygienic supplies, a new testament, socks, tampons, baby bottle, flashlight, etc. Each backpack is customized for a specific need, i.e., mother with child, father with teen, family of 4, loner male, etc. We’re preparing for visitors with 20 air mattresses, 30 pillows, tents, extra stoves, building supplies to dry-in old sheds, etc. We’re preparing the campgrounds for long term use (fire pits with cast iron cookers, outhouses, fishing ramps, extra boats, etc). We figure almost everyone will have some kind of camping gear if they are traveling on foot. We stock body bags and cardboard caskets ($49.95 each , from our local undertaker). We have a mindset. We are survivors and we intend to help as many people thru as possible.
Mrs. – BS in business from Indiana Univ., has worked for herself from day 1 as a custom cabinetry/garage storage system installer. We have an unlisted number, she does not advertise, and she has work backed up for 6 months. She’s physically fit, tall lean and a real fighter. She thinks we should avoid saving cash like the plague and put all our kid’s money into physical gold and silver held close. She thinks that we need some cash, but doesn’t object to the gold coins in our safe, either. She wants to make sure our kids can think for themselves, so when an 10 yr old girl was murdered in our town, Mrs insisted we sit down with our kids and tell them how to defend themselves, including firearms and all manner of stealth, escape and evasion to get away from someone that isn’t nice. Mrs is a true Christian patriot and a value to our family and neighborhood, even though she did not grow up on a farm, and thought the last place on earth she would be at this point in her life is where she is now.

Neighborhood: Neighbor #1—Owns and trains Morgan horses. Has several horse drawn buggies and knows how to tan leather. Collects firearms and reloads. Regularly butchers their own venison. Great shot, can hit a coffee cup at 500 yards. Makes their own wine. Within line of sight to our main house. Neighbor #2 – Owns, breaks and trains mules. Heats with wood. Good hunter. Neighbor #3 – Owns the best ham radio setup in 3 counties. Has built a 75’ ham tower behind his house. Good hunter. Neighbor #4 – Pharmacist who knows the value of veterinary drugs and their potential interactions and misapplications.
Security: Sorely inadequate. We’re hoping for visitors so we can put them to good work at outposts around the farm. Mr. currently planning concealed positions around for just such a need.

Future work: We have assembled sets of hand tools for various jobs/projects to give out to visitors or people who wind up staying a while. 6 garden sets include hoes, shovels, rakes, diggers, trowels etc to aid in planting and harvesting garden produce. 4 demolition sets include sledge hammers, pry bars, wire cutters, metal nippers, hacksaws, wood saws, carpenters tool pouch, hammers, nail pullers, gloves, goggles etc for crews helping with salvage operations. 3 farm work sets include scythes, manual push mower, rakes, cutters, fencing tools, large wheeled cart etc for people bringing in animal feed or general cleanup or repairs around the farm. 2 food prep sets include hand operated food processor, stainless steel water bath tub, complete canning tools and written instructions on how to safely put fresh food into canning jars. 3 woodcutting sets include crosscut saws, felling axes, splitting mauls, steel wedges, trimming axe, bow saw, sharpening kits for saws and axes, wheeled cart with airfree tires, gloves etc for crews bringing in firewood. Every work set of tools has multiple supplies of water containers, first aid supplies, gloves, sweat bands, hats and vitamins. This is getting really long, I need to quit, but we also have security sets, first aid sets, child education sets, medical/dental sets, hair cutting sets, trapping sets. Mr. Whiskey’s favorite quote: “Terrible can always get worse.”

Profile 20: Mr. & Mrs. XRay (aka “South Jersey Boy”)

Present Home: 2 Bedroom, 1200 square foot dwelling. Completely redone including 8 inch walls and 12 inches of insulation in the attic. Original windows (circa 1875)
were replaced with Andersons.Very energy efficient. Requires about 2 cords of wood and about 150 gallons of fuel oil per year.

Significant Other: Girlfriend (quickly becoming like-minded)

Profession: Retired schoolteacher, electrician

Income: $55K per year

Investments: TSA

Improvements: Small 24 acre farm, am raising Christmas Trees/garden. Old buildings removed over a 20 year period and new ones erected. Underground irrigation
for all fields in production. Previous owners were elderly and had not worked the land for several years. It had returned to a small forest in some areas. These fields
have been cleared. Approximately 10 acres of wood remain. Buried utilities to all buildings. House gutted and completely renovated.(my late father was a retired carpenter.) Also I have a 50 yard shooting range.

Vehicles: 1996 pickup, 1982 4WD pickup, 2 tractors, mowers, garden tractors, etc.

Food Storage: My SO tells me we could make it for about 3 months.

Firearms: Ruger 10/22 (2), M-1 Garand, Mossberg 12 gauge pump, S&W .357 revolver, AMT .380, Iver-Johnson TP-22, Ruger Mk-II, Ruger Single Six

Ammo: 22 cal. – 5000 rounds, 30.06–100 loaded 8 round en bloc clips (800 rounds), .357–1500 rounds, 12 gauge–500 rounds, .380–200 rounds, .38 special–600 rounds

Fuel & Power: 4 – 275 gallon tanks: Two for heater and two for hot water heater (HWH) that are connected so that either pair can supply both units. 1000 gallon tank for generator. I am using a Vermont Castings Stove with oil-fired hot air for supplementary heating. Have a 2 to 3 year supply of seasoned wood stored. 15 KW Diesel Generator which
would run for about 7-8 weeks full time with stored fuel. Based on four hours per day running time it would give me almost 8 to 9 months. Also a 500 gallon
gasoline tank for farm vehicles.

Property Taxes: $3,100 per year

Livestock: None

Commo Gear: Ham Radio Operator,General Class,–inactive since 1975 but am working on it.

Hobbies: shooting, Ham Radio, and Country Line/Couples Dancing

Background: 69 years old, born and raised in immediate area, college educated (Masters Degree), 4 grown children, 5 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Future Plans: Within 2 months I will add a 500 gallon propane tank for cooking/drying. When the HWH fails, I will change it over to propane. Also contemplating an inverter/battery bank.

Disadvantages: New Jersey gun laws, close proximity to a prison, and it’s New Jersey!

Advantages: Long growing season, family and friends that are craftsmen and farmers. I also have an excellent Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor, and Auto Mechanic.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Your level of preparation and your improvements to your farmstead are commendable.They demonstrate that you are thrifty and hard working. However,… Where do I start? Given New Jersey’s high population density, even in a grid up situation, the “rural” parts of New Jersey will be a great place to die in the event of TOTWAWKI. If you can afford to, then I recommend that you move to a safer, more self-sufficient rural area in with a light population density in a gun-friendly state! But if for some reason you plan to stay in New Jersey, then you will need to vastly increase your food storage. Assuming that you are on well water, you need to plan on pumping water by hand once the fuel for your generator runs out. How deep is your well? (If the water static level is more than 30 feet, hand pumps are not practicable.) Assuming that you have a typical submersible pump, how heavy is your electric pump, pipe, and wiring? (In the event that you have to pull it up and replace it with your pre-tested hand pump–or that you’ll use an even more labor intensive “bullet” bucket.) You might consider photovoltaics and a either a DC well pump or an inverter for your existing AC well pump. On second thought, scratch that idea, because in your region the PV panels will probably serve as a big “come loot me” beacon. In a full scale WTSHTF situation you likely have to hunker down for many months (perhaps hoping for a mass die-off) and will have no opportunity to do any gardening. It might not even be safe enough to step outside to bring in firewood. You will need at least six well-armed adults to maintain 24/7 security. And that is assuming that there isn’t a mass prison escape. If that were to happen, then you’d need a platoon to defend your farm. Lay in complete logistics for those six+ people. Replace the .357 revolver with a .45 automatic. Replace the .380 with a single column compact .45 ACP, or a full size one if you don’t anticipate the need to carry it concealed. Buy at least 20 spare magazines that will fit in both .45s. Buy another M1 Garand for your girlfriend. You should both get training at a school like Front Sight and continue to practice shooting a lot. Forewarn the relatives/friends that you’ve invited to shelter with you that each of the adults will be expected to provide their own Garands and/or 12 gauge riot shotguns, and be similarly well-trained. Get prong style flash hiders for each Garand. (Available from Gun Parts Corp.) Buy at least another 5,000 rounds of ammunition. (During the L.A. Rodney King riots and the looting aftermath of Hurricane Katrina required homeowners to fire hundreds of warning shots. If you only have a small ammunition supply, then your options will be limited to just one, and that isn’t very appealing.) Buy some night vision goggles–preferably AN/PVS-7Bs. You should find some way to conceal your fuel tanks–especially your gasoline tank, or they will become attractive targets for looters. If they can’t steal your fuel then they will likely want to destroy it, just out of spite. (Sadly, that is the looter mentality.) Lastly, if you anticipate a nuclear scenario, then you’ll need to construct a reinforced concrete fallout shelter. And given the population density, it had better have a VERY thick steel door!


Profile 21: Mr. & Mrs. Yankee

Present home/retreat: Adirondack Foothills, NY
Age: 33 and 31
SOs: Child under 10
Annual income: ~$100,000

Profession: Civil Servant and Accountant. In order to maintain level of income and rural homestead Mr. Yankee commutes 50+ miles to the state capital 9 out of 14 days.
Investments: Two pension funds and mutual funds. (Mr. Yankee considers their home and supplies as tangible investments.)
Improvements: Soapstone woodstove, back up generator, artesian well, berry orchards, fruit trees, 20×40 garden with raised beds, perennial food crops (horseradish, rhubarb, asparagus, etc.), poultry shed with small poultry flock, and kennels for several dogs.
Annual Property Tax: $3,500
Vehicles: 4WD pick up, 4WD Saturn VUE
Firearms Battery: Semi-autos: scoped HK91 clone, open sighted CETME (semi-auto 308s), SKS, SKS-M (accepts AK style magazines), bolt actions: 308 rifle, 308 carbine; 303 rifle, 303 carbine; 30-06 custom Model 70 Winchester rifle with scope, 375 H&H Winchester Model 70 with Leupold scope, 50 BMG single shot with illuminated reticle scope, two 22LR carbines, side by side 12 gauge shotgun. All firearms and ammunition have been purchased without a paper trail.

Stored ammunition: 2500 rounds 308, 2500 rds 7.62×39, 2000 rds 22LR, and +/- 1500 rds in other various calibers.
Fuel Storage: 2 cords of firewood, 25-gallons of frequently rotated gasoline. 5-gallons of kerosene. (Mr Yankee notes: “I keep two chainsaws in working order just in case we ever have to rely on firewood. If we ever decide that it is time to batten down the hatches the first thing I will do is block road access by dropping several large trees into the road where both embankments are wooded.”)
Home/Retreat Property: log home with poured concrete basement, oil heat with a wood back up system, on 10 acres of hardwoods with seasonal stream. 60 adjacent acres owned by family members in a rural farming area. The combined 70 acres boasts abundant firewood, wildlife, year round stream (with fish), ground fed year round fresh water springs, forage foods, several barns, sheds and 10 fenced acres. Adjacent family keeps 3 horses, and recently sold a dozen goats, so the fence remains goat suitable. The property also includes a pond with a large population several species of fish. The property is at least 20 rural miles off of major travel corridors. 150 miles north of NYC and 150 miles south of Montreal – the homestead is about as isolated from population centers as you can get within 300 miles of the east coast.
Livestock: We were both raised by families who kept livestock and raised gardens. We are intimately familiar with keeping large and small livestock and know how to process the resulting products (bees, waterfowl, poultry, hogs, goats, sheep, beef and dairy cattle, horses, etc.). Although our current livestock consists only of a small flock of chickens and several pedigree dogs (which supplement our income through breeding and sales) we can readily add livestock from local sources if needed.
Communications Gear: solar/hand crank AM/FM and shortwave receivers.
Food storage: One year for five adults. With the capability to plant and harvest crops indefinitely. The local community includes beef, dairy, corn, and potato farms within 10 miles.
Hobbies: hunting, recreational shooting, reloading, gardening, raising pedigreed dogs, writing, Internet web work.
Background: Working for the government keeps us tied here (at least while we look for other options). But as a native to the area, having hunted from Alaska to Africa I have found nowhere more beautiful than the historic southern Adirondack region.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: The area has a short growing season, summer tourist population, a high tax, anti-freedom, anti-gun government, two prisons
within 40 miles, and long cold winters. Of course the winters could be an asset in a SHTF scenario.

JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: The invitation has been extended to immediate family and several friends who live within 40 miles. All have homes and interests

similar to ours. Should any of our homes become compromised we would each incorporate the others into our homesteads.

JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: We frequently have weather related short term power outages, but in a worst case scenario it could be a decade or more until
order is restored.

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: A near meteor strike is beyond our ability to prepare for, but the worst case scenario we are preparing for is a terrorist EMP

triggered grid failure leads to total economic collapse followed by highly lethal and contagious pandemics.

JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: Growing up here, we are accustomed to self sufficiency for day to day inconveniences dealing with raising livestock, gardening, and
the winter weather. We have close family in the immediate area that we can draw on as a resource. Another major strength is our willingness to
work together toward the common goal of increased self sufficiency. But we recognize that our ultimate well-being rests solely in God’s hands.

JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: We are working to acquire night vision capability as soon as possible. Despite the log and concrete construction the retreat is
not really designed as a defensive position. It is simply a rural home where the main defense is isolation and limited access. Ideally a
hardened underground shelter could be added or incorporated.

JWR: What are your long-term goals?

Mr. & Mrs. Yankee: To serve God and raise our children to do the same. On a less important scale, our long term goals are to pay off the
mortgage ASAP, retire at 55 and relocate to a more conservative/ gun friendly state. Midterm goals include hardening our basement to become a more effective fallout shelter and continuing to add to our long term food reserves and the homestead’s food producing capabilities. Continue to seek employment closer to home and/or in a more suitable state. Short term goals include doubling the amount of stored firewood, acquiring night vision equipment, increasing the reserves of 308

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Given the climate, Mr. & Mrs. Yankee should lay in a much larger supply of heating fuels. They should start by building a woodshed that will hold 8+ cords of wood. Then fill it with those great northeast hardwoods! They should also buy–and keep filled–the largest home heating oil tank that they can find. Since most of their neighbors will depend on firewood, they should lay in a large supply of two cycle motor oil in small bottles for barter and charity. That will be like gold in a long term collapse. And they should buy at least another 20 gallons of kerosene. Make sure that at least 1/3 of that is in 1 gallon cans for barter and charity purposes. If their generator ever dies, they should replace it with one that burns diesel fuel. (Home heating oil will suffice! ) They should also buy some field telephones and commo wire so that they can coordinate security with their neighbors, post-TEOTWAWKI.

Profile 22: Mr. Zulu

Present home/retreat: Near Orofino, Idaho
Age: 38
SOs: Wife and three children, all under 12.
Annual income: +/- $45,000 (varies, depending on cattle sales).
Profession: 3/4-time telecommute customer service representative for a Fortune 500 company/ Also a part-time rancher.

Investments: Gold bullion (1 ounce Krugerrands), silver bullion (100 ounce Englehard bars), slabbed mint state numismatic coins ($5 and $10 US gold pieces), a few mint state numismatic Morgan silver dollars, and pre-1965 junk silver dimes. His investment advice: Strictly tangibles!
Vehicles: 1996 Ford Crew Cab F350 4WD with dual tanks and an additional behind-the-cab 40-gallon range tank, 1998 Toyota wagon (fuel efficient runabout).
Firearms Battery: 5 pre-ban L1A1s (inch pattern version of the .308 FN-FAL) with flash hiders (three with Trijicon TA-11 scopes and one with a Trijicon 4X 1″ tube scope), pre-ban Sendra CAR-15 “M4gery” clone with Colt-made M4 16 barreled flat top upper with threaded muzzle, flash hider, and Trijicon TA-01 (NSN) scope and ACE M4 SOCOM collapsible stock. Winchester Model 70 .30-06 in a HS-Precision stock with Trijicon 4X scope and threaded muzzle (for flash hider), .308 Steyr Scout with Leupold 2X long eye relief scope, threaded muzzle and Vortex flash hider, Remington 870 12 gauge riotgun with spare birdgun barrel, factory magazine extension, and Sure Fire forend, Remington Model 1100 20 gauge riotgun/birdgun with an assortment of screw-in choke tubes and Choate magazine extension, 2 pre-1899 Swedish Mausers (6.5×55)–one with threaded muzzle (for flash hider) , 2 Pre-1899 .44-40 S&W top break revolvers, 3 stainless Colt M1911 .45 ACPs with Meprolight tritium sights, Ruger Mk.II stainless .22 pistol, Chipmunk .22 single shot rifle, stainless steel Ruger 10/.22 rifle.
Stored ammunition: Roughly 20,000 rounds, various calibers.

Fuel Storage: 4 cords of firewood–mixed Red Fir, Tamarack, and some lousy pine, 250 gallon above ground gasoline tank, 550 gallon propane tank, 40 gallons of kerosene.
Retreat Property: 220 acres, 60% grazing, 20% hay ground, and 20% timbered. Gravity fed spring water.
Improvements: 1,400 square foot masonry house, 200 square foot barn/shop. 1000 square foot fenced garden plot. 180 square foot root cellar/fallout shelter, 90 square foot half-underground LP/OP.
Annual Property Tax: $1,120 per year. (Most of the property has special grazing and agricultural tax exemptions that reduce the tax bill.)
Livestock: 31 Hereford crosses, 1 Jersey dairy cow, 12+ chickens.
Communications Gear: Two Cobra 148GTL 40 Channel SSB CB transceivers with “freeband” mods., Sony ICF7600 shortwave receiver, 2 Motorola FRS walkie-talkies, 3 Army TA-1 field phones and 3+ km of WD-1 commo wire.
Food storage: 1 year for 5 adults.
Hobbies: Hunting, hiking, and target shooting.
Background: Mr. Zulu has a BA in Industrial Design. He moved his family to the Clearwater River valley in the spring of 2001. They at first rented a house in town and then bought the ranch in the summer of 2002.

JWR: Why did you choose the Orofino area?
Mr. Zulu: On your advice! It is a beautiful area, far enough away from the big cities to be safe, and fairly self-sufficient.

JWR: What are the drawbacks to the region?
Mr. Zulu: There is a state prison on the west side of town. And the economy isn’t too diverse. Its mainly government employees, plus some logging. It seems like half of the people in the area work either for the Forest Service, the County [Clearwater County], the [Federal] Fish Hatchery, the BLM, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the [Nez Perce] Tribe, the State [Mental] Hospital, or the [Idaho State] Prison. If the government dries up and blows away, there will be a lot of people with no way to support their families. So in a total wipeout, this area would be sub-optimal. But in a 1930s-style long term Depression it would be ideal, since the government payrolls would still be almost intact and there would still be a lot of dollars circulating through the local economy.
JWR: Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
Mr. Zulu: I’m not sure; possibly my mother; possibly my wife’s sister and her husband and their kids.
JWR: How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Mr. Zulu: It could be two months or it could be two years!

JWR: What is your worst case scenario?
Mr. Zulu: Nuke–a full-scale exchange. Then, an economic collapse that lasts a full generation.
JWR: What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Mr. Zulu: I am a Christian, so I have done my best to store up extra–to hand out as Christian charity.
JWR: What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Mr. Zulu: I need some greenhouse space to get an early start on the growing season, which is a bit short here. I need a bigger photovoltaic power system. I also need to buy a bunch of razor wire or concertina wire keep on hand that I can string up at the last minute. I should also probably replace our Toyota two wheel drive with something that has four wheel drive–maybe a Subaru wagon or a Saturn VUE.

JWR: What are your long-term goals?
Mr. Zulu: To raise my children to be good Christians.

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Zulu has plenty of guns, but he needs to buy at least one Starlight scope!

Profile 24: Dr. and Mrs. Epsilon

Present home/retreat: 14 year-old stucco one-story home on 18 fenced arable acres with plentiful irrigation rights and a perennial stream in Western Colorado; 3600 square-foot house; heated by solar, propane furnace, and 2 wood stoves; fenced 25-tree orchard and 150-vine vineyard plus two gardens; 5 outbuildings; 2 miles from nearest small town; 270 road miles or 5 hours from large metropolitan area.
Annual property tax: $2,000 per year.
Ages: 77 & 76, no children at home.
Annual Income: $72,000 to $200,000
Professions & Education: Retired (He – retired geologist/mining executive with PhD; She – retired elementary school teacher with MS); public company board member.
Investments: Silver coins and bullion; gold coins and bullion; cash; gold company and other stocks; many shares in a major rare earth company with principal property in NE Wyoming; 1/3 interest in a 100-acre remote family homestead at a lake in another state.
Vehicles: Late model 4WD SUV, 4WD sedan, older 4WD 1980 Jeep, and older 4WD diesel pickup truck; 4WD ATV; 4WD UTV; 2 bicycles; older John Deere and Kubota tractors; several trailers.
Firearms: Four AR-15 rifles; five 12-gauge shotguns (2 tactical); two 20 gauge shotguns (1 tactical); one 30-06 with scope, one 7 mm with scope, one 6 mm with scope, one 32 special, and three .22 LR rifles; eight handguns from .22 LR to 40 S&W.
Ammunition stock: 50,000 rounds of various ammunitions; including 30,000 rounds of .22 LR; 4,000 rounds of .223/5.56 mm; greater than 1000 rounds of each other caliber; plus some reloading equipment.

Night vision equipment: One Weaver Nightview scope; one ATN NVM-14 scope.
Fuel and power: 300 gallons of propane; 300 gallons of stabilized gas; 300 gallons of stabilized diesel fuel; twelve 260 Watt solar panels tied to grid; two portable 90-watt solar panels with charge controller and inverter; additional thermal solar setup is sufficient to help heat water tank and the house; two wood burning stoves with many cords of dry wood under roof; cooking on wood stove possible with fry pans and stove-top ovens; two cast iron chimaneas; Plus 2 tons of coal under cover.
Water: Shallow well at 38-foot depth with 15-foot static water level; gravity fed spring on property with 3.5 cubic foot per second flow rate; other gravity fed water rights (6 to 9 cfs) for 10 acres of irrigation; total water rights for approximately 20 acre-feet per year; 5,000 gallon cistern buried; capability to filter and treat 36,000 gallons.
Food supply: Two years of food for 2 people; supplemented by garden, orchard, and vineyard.
Farm animals: One medium-size dog; 11 chickens; consideration for future rabbits and goats.
Communication gear: One ICOM 7300 HAM radio; two receivers for AM/FM HAM; two CB radios; six hand-held Motorola 2-way radios, 6 Baofeng hand-held portable radios,
Personal: He – adequate carpenter, farmer, lumberjack, hunter, and fisherman; highly qualified in hiking, wilderness activities, and geological activities. 
She – adequate seamstress, and gardener; highly qualified elementary school teacher.
Retreat location: Chosen for long growing season; well-known fruit orchard and vineyard area, and plenty of gravity-fed irrigation water from nearby 10,000-foot mesa; plus a prolific spring on property.
Drawbacks to location: region subject to periodic (every 5 to 10 years) droughts so potentially less irrigation water available in some years.
Who will share the retreat: 2 daughters and their families, 1 son and his family; potential for 11 additional people (6 adults and 5 children) for a possible total of 13 people; concern they will have difficulty traveling to retreat following a disaster/collapse and in anticipation we have to extend considerably the food supply.
What type of disaster is likely: financial collapse; hyperinflation and currency devaluation; possible, but less likely, EMP strike.
How long might the disaster last: At least one year, but more likely five to ten years.
What is the worst case scenario: collapse of all levels of government and lack of any law enforcement, collapse of the electrical power grid, followed by attempts at martial law, followed by widespread lawlessness.
What personal circumstances shaped your preparations: growing up on a farm that was largely self-sufficient; no interest in ever working for or accepting unearned benefits from the government; concerns with growth and excessive spending of federal government and attempts to abridge the second amendment; Fed delaying the necessary changes in exchange for short-term gain; lack of people’s concerns about federal deficits and their assumption of continuing low interest rates; worry how, or if, the government will be able to pay interest on national debt, much less amortize it. Inflation or hyperinflation seems the most likely outcome; so concern that a worst-case scenario could develop with a collapse of the economy.


International Retreat Owner Profiles:


International Profile 1: Mr. and Mrs. Coffee in Costa Rica

AGE: 56 (He retired at 44)
SOs: Wife 42, adopted son 20, and daughter by previous marriage in the States, 30, two grandsons aged 2 and 7

Lives full time at his retreat in a rural portion of Costa Rica. 2,500 sq. ft. masonry house (four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms) on 3 acres

BACKGROUND: My parents were both born on farms and survived the Great Depression living mostly off the land. My father was 15 years old in 1930 and told stories of plowing fields on the farm in North Carolina with a mule. My mother was seven years old in 1930 and helped her father pick cotton (and many more farm chores) on their farm in Mississippi in order to survive. Thus “working the land” is in my genes even though I was brought up as a “city boy”. I grew up in Maryland in the suburbs outside Washington D.C. in the 1950’s and 1960’s constantly worried about a nuclear war with Russia. My father worked for the Federal Government and we couldn’t afford a fallout shelter so I guess that is when my survival instincts first developed. In the 1950s. I was really into playing Cowboys and Indians with my neighborhood friends. Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne were my heroes. I loved watching Davy Crockett defend the Alamo on TV and the movies. I don’t know how many hours I watched Indians attack homesteaders, or cattle rustlers try to steal cattle or bad guys rob stagecoaches. You will see later in my profile how these early experiences affected my philosophy on life today. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1970 with a B.S. in Information Systems Management I applied for and received a Direct Commission as a Lieutenant the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. The war in Viet Nam was still going strong and that year they started the draft lottery. I was assigned to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. (Soon to be closed I understand) and saw lots of wounded soldiers coming back from the War in Viet Nam. This experience, too, greatly affected my current political views and life philosophy. During the four years of service I obtained a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems which helped me obtain a great job working in higher education. Since beginning full-time work in 1974, I spent the next 21 years working as a community college administrator and part-time professor in a MBA program. My marriage of 13 years to my high school sweetheart came to an end in 1983 but I had the incredible experience of having a daughter.

In 1994 while on vacation to the beautiful country of Costa Rica I met a single, never married, very lovely and intelligent Costa Rican woman – a “country-girl” who lived with her parents on the family’s dairy farm in the mountains North of the capital of Costa Rica (San Jose). I decided then and there that I would prefer living with her and her son in Costa Rica rather than the United States. In July of 1995 I qualified for an “early retirement” from the Maryland Teacher’s System that would pay an “old fashion” type of pension for the rest of my life with annual cost of living increases equal to the Government’s CPI index. Even with a reduction in my pension, I had enough money to live the rest of my life comfortably. I decided to get out of the “rat race”, sold my house and furniture, and started a new life in Costa Rica. My friends thought I was crazy to give up the salary and life-style I had to move to a Third World country. Why did I leave the “good ole U.S. of A”? Here’s one reason. After the Civil War many slaves in the South became tenant farmers. They could keep half of what they earned from all their hard work. In the United States with all of the taxes at all levels of government I concluded that I was only able to keep about half of what I earned as spending money. In other words, similar to what former slaves got to keep over 100 years ago. Note: See JWR’s thoughts on importance of taxes in retreat planning in his Aug. 24/25, 2005 blog posts. Also, I grew tired of “Big Government” and the intrusions they were making into my life. I thought I could do better living under a different, less intrusive government system (Costa Rica) and I was right. Best decision I ever made.

WHY COSTA RICA? Costa Rica is not like the other Central American countries like Nicaragua or Guatemala that North Americans have such a low opinion about. In fact living in Costa Rica is much like living in the 51st state of USA only with much less government intrusion. There are no Patriot Acts, nor does the government tear down houses for Eminent Domain like the new law interpretation in the States. Police are generally nice people and very helpful and are not feared by the public as they seem to be now days in the States. There is no IRS, FEMA, FBI, CIA, NSA or “black ops” that I am aware of in Costa Rica. There is a SWAT team that break into houses looking for drug dealers when they have reasons to. Costa Rica is a democracy but with very small federal level government. Most of “government” is conducted at the city and town level (municipalities). It holds honest Presidential and congressional elections every four years. It is very capitalistic with American style Malls, much advertising of local TV stations, giant Wal Mart style supermarkets, etc. but it is also a socialistic society. The telephone system, Internet ISP, and gasoline production and distribution are all government owned monopolies with no competition. However they do generally provide for low cost, satisfying services. Although Spanish is the official language, there’s lot’s of English spoken. It is like a bilingual country similar to living in Miami, Florida or the border states with Mexico. Costa Rica is a small country (the size of West Virginia) with about 4 million population. At this size I believe the country could be self-sufficient with respect to feeding all of it’s citizens if imports ceased because of world problems. There are weekend “farmer’s markets” in most of the cities and towns where fresh fruits and vegetables (along with meat, cheese and seafood) are sold at very reasonable prices (no middleman) ALL YEAR LONG. Even with the “grid down” and supermarkets closed, citizens could still find food at these local markets if the farmers had trucks still running. (No affect on cars after an EMP blast in USA). Thus, in Costa Rica, people might not go on the rampage as envisioned happening in USA with grid down problems. I think that even with “grid down” most Costa Ricans would want to stay in their own houses to wait for order to be restored and the grid re-established rather than go marauding off into the mountains looking for food with a group of strangers. I guess this all depends on the degree of the problem. In any event, things down here shouldn’t be as bad as they’ll be in the States. Costa Rica has no Army, Navy or Air Force. There is a small Coast Guard. Thus billions of government dollars aren’t wasted and instead limited government funds go toward the hospital system and education (both excellent in my opinion). The local fire departments are excellent and have modern fire trucks for the most part. The Red Cross runs ambulance service and all come with trained EMTs. Students are taught English starting in Kindergarten and by graduating from high school at least comprehend much English. The University of Costa Rica (35,000 students) is rated the best university in Central America. This is where all the doctors and dentist receive education with most obtaining further education in the USA or Europe. There are also many private universities with programs such as Hotel Management. Our son will graduate from this program in 2006 and will be able to make a decent living. There is socialized medicine in Costa Rica where every citizen (and even illegal aliens) can receive medical attention without paying cash out of pocket. For example, I have full hospitalization through my wife’s coverage (family plan only costs $20 a month). My wife has had three operations the past couple of years with excellent results. What would three operations cost in the States now days? Thousands of dollars, right? I have a friend my age back in the States and he is paying $500 a month for health insurance. There is also a private hospital system side by side with hospitals equal to the best in the United States at much lower prices than the States. There doesn’t seem to be a “malpractice” problem as currently experienced in the States that jacks up medical costs significantly. By the way, dentist are excellent and cheap, too ($10 for cleaning or filling). I am aware of many North Americans taking “medical” vacations to have plastic surgery or dental work and then recover at the beach at prices much less than USA.One of the other reasons I moved to Costa Rica is that the Costa Ricans are really friendly toward North Americans. In my ten years of living here I have never experience any discrimination as some North Americans experience in other countries. Another reason is that the country is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world with it’s National Park system, rain forests, active volcanoes and incredible beaches only a few hours drive from the capital San Jose. There are Malls equal to any in the States with food courts consisting of KFC, Subway, McD’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, etc. from USA mixed with franchises from other countries as well (Barbeque beef from Argentina for example or Chinese and Japanese fast food). By the way a Whopper costs what many Costa Ricans make in one hour (1,000 colones or a little more than $2). That would be like paying $5, $10 $20 or more for a Whopper for Americans depending on one’s salary. Wow! A big reason for my wanting to move to Costa Rica in 1995 was the cost of living down here is so inexpensive. (Lots of examples of this in the profile.) There is a large percentage of the population living a comfortable, middle-class life style while only earning less than $5 per hour (less than $10,000 a year). Construction workers and secretaries only earn about $2 an hour yet can afford a relatively nice life using the country’s great mass transit system (busses) and not having a car. Small townhouse type houses can be purchase in the suburbs for about $35,000 and thus gives the ability of home ownership to the masses. Apartments can be found in nice neighborhoods for about $150 a month rent. Land is expensive and increasing in cost rapidly. It is sold by the sq. meter and an acre in the suburbs at $150 a sq. meter would cost $600,000 an acre (that is not a misprint). Out in the country where I live it is only $20 a meter or $80,000 an acre and going fast. There are two internet sites in English with news about living in Costa Rica: A.M. Costa Rica

and The Tico Times.

ANNUAL INCOME: This is a relative number because of the cost of living differences in Costa Rica. Thus I have come up with what I call a “lifestyle equivalent” income figure. I make the equivalent of what four Costa Rican high school teachers make. That would be about $150,000 to $200,000 equivalent in the States. Income will be 50% higher (6 teacher’s income equivalent – $250,000) when Social Security kicks in at age 62.

INVESTMENTS: Pension and Social Security only. If I live to be 80 years old, these are worth a million dollars. I never invested in stocks or bonds my whole life. They are a crap shoot in my opinion and are due for a big decrease in the near future similar to the market crash of 1929. I have invested in gold and silver bullion over the years. I feel confident gold will get back to it’s previous high of $850/oz. and silver back to $50/oz. If not much, much more as the dollar declines and hyperinflation begins.

PRESENT HOME: I am one of the lucky ones on this planet: I live in my retreat and it is located in a great place: out in the country of Costa Rica. Other than the 25 houses on the country road leading to my house, I am surrounded by hundreds of acres of lush, green pastures, hay fields and forest. There are creeks all over and even a small river a half mile away. I actually hate to leave my retreat even for a weekend trip to the beach. I am scheduled to go visit my mother and sister in Jacksonville for two weeks in September and I’m worried that I might get stuck there with Martial law being declared. What a horrible thought! I converted the equity I made from selling my house in the States (unfortunately before the housing bubble kicked in) into a 2,500 sq. ft. masonry house (four bedrooms, 3 and 1/2 bathrooms, great room with massive fireplace) located above my in-laws dairy farm in the mountains North of the Central Valley of Costa Rica. I have no mortgage. REPEAT: NO MORTGAGE!! Interest rates for houses down here would be in the 30% per year range from a Costa Rican bank. Note: Costa Rica does have an inflation problem. The government calculates a true CPI Index (not like the corrupt CPI calculation in the States) and this last six months it is at a 20% annual cost of living increase (usually it is around 10% a year). This is a problem for the local citizens but not as much of a problem for people earning dollars. The Costa Rican government has to float it’s currency (colones) on the world monetary economy and thus devalues at a 10% rate a year (in other words, a dollar purchases 10% more colones each year thus almost keeping up with inflation. Things cost almost 2 and a half times more in Costa Rica than they did ten years ago. How does that compare to things in the United States the past ten years (gasoline, college costs, medical costs, etc.?) At the present time the only taxes I pay in addition to gasoline tax and property tax is a 13% sales tax. We don’t buy much down here other than food so this tax is not a big burden. There is talk in Costa Rica government of a new “World Tax” being implemented where people like me would pay Costa Rican taxes on money I receive from the United States (my pension and Social Security) and replacing the sales tax with a value added tax (VAT) like they have in Europe. The government thinks this new system would add $500 million a year to government coffers which is a lot of money in Costa Rica but the plan is having difficulty getting through Costa Rican congress. There is a new Presidential election next February so I don’t think anything will pass this year. Note: Presidents can only serve for four years and are not eligible for re-election for the next term but can run again another election. Good system – no lame duck Presidents. I don’t know how such a “world tax” could ever be enforced. I don’t plan to pay it. I paid enough taxes on my pension when I lived in the States.

The house is constructed of red-clay blocks which were laid on deep concrete foundations with re-bar coming up the middle of the blocks from the foundations and then the blocks are filled with concrete (strong construction to be earth-quake resistance). Like most houses in Costa Rica the roof is what I used to call “tin roofs” back in the States but is made out of zinc metal down here. The house is thus “fire-resistant” from the outside. We built the house on two acres of level “pasture land” that we own “free and clear”. The house is at 1600 meters altitude about like the altitude of Denver, Colorado. Even though I live at 10 degree north latitude of the equator and the temperate stays at 90 degrees or more all year long at the beaches, the temperature at my house never goes above 80 degree F and never below 60 degrees ALL YEAR LONG. There are no seasons. It rains in the afternoons for about an hour ten months a year and is dry two months (Feb. & March). The incredible thing is that I have no heating system and no need for A/C. The inside of the house stays at 70 degrees just by opening and closing doors and windows as needed. We sleep under blankets with fresh, cool air coming in the bedroom windows all year round. My electric bills are around $25 a month (mostly because of hot water heater and washing machine). We live in a community of about 25 homes in a one square mile area that is about a mile and half up the mountain from the public road. “Our” road is just one lane wide made out of asphalt and was originally built and is now maintained by our community by having “country fairs” (live music, beer and food). When a pot hole develops, we don’t call the local government, we fix it ourselves. Costa Rica is NOT what JWR calls a “Nanny” government and I really appreciate this philosophy as compared to living in the States with “cradle to grave” government. This camaraderie of the community will be important in my “after the balloon goes up” section. My wife’s parents live in the old homestead (a wood house more than 100 years old) and two of her sisters with their husbands and children have built modern block houses, close by to form a compound. A single brother of my wife lives at home with the parents. He is an important member of the family when the SHTF as I will explain later. The mother and sisters prefer cooking with wood-burning stoves even though they all have both electric and propane stoves. All three of them have chickens (about 20 for each family – plenty of eggs to spare).When we built our house we had to make a drive way out of concrete in two lines to match the width of tires the entire distance further up the mountain about 1/2 of a mile from the in-laws house. You can not see our house from the road. It is like our house is an island of tranquility. Lots of very colorful, exotic birds, butterflies of all different colors and sizes, lots of squirrels and even Three Toed Sloths. Very interesting ecosystem. Coyotes come to visit from higher up the mountain from time to time. We are lucky to have an excellent municipal water system. The water for the entire region comes from higher up our mountain from a spring (pure water not treated by chlorine and is not fluoridated). Most importantly it is an “end to end” gravity fed system. No electric pumps involved. Costs us $3 a month for unlimited water. No sewer charge. We have a septic system I will go into the importance of my wife’s family living so close by and our tight knit community when I get to the section of what my plans are when “the balloon goes up”.

VEHICLES: Vehicles are very expensive in Costa Rica because the government charges an import duty on vehicles as well as all consumer items imported into the country. Many costs more than a house ($40,000 to $50,000). I would say that at a minimum new cars and trucks cost 50% or more than they do in the States (Maybe more – I haven’t priced them lately) and a car loan would be in that 30% annual interest range. I don’t know if the recently passed CAFTA law would do away entirely with import duties and cars would be the same prices here as in USA. Costa Rica has not agreed to signing CAFTA yet but I think political pressure from U.S. will force them to soon. When I decided to move to Costa Rica I had just finished paying off my 1992 Toyota 4WD Pickup and decided to ship it down to Costa Rica. It only costs about $800 to ship it but about $6,000 in import duties. Still, in 1995 my car was worth more on the local market than what I paid for it in the States plus the duties so I felt I made a good decision to bring it down with me. I am still driving the Toyota (excellent truck for the roads of Costa Rica/ many are dirt only and many potholes on paved roads). I had the motor re-built (for $1,000) at 120,000 miles and plan to keep it another ten years (or maybe forever depending on what happens in the world – Ha!). My son drives a 1994 Toyota Corolla which gets about 35 miles per gallon even driving in the mountains. We paid cash for it about three years ago. Very reliable car with spare parts available which is a very important consideration when living in a foreign country. Good luck finding spare parts for a Ford or Chevy down here. If you can find them they are very expensive. Japanese and Korea car spare parts are much more plentiful and affordable. Gasoline is very expensive in Costa Rica (oil comes from Venezuela) and is refined by a government owned refinery. The price of gas is the same at every filling station in the country. Current gas price is about $3.80 a gallon and ever increasing. Diesel is about $1 LOWER and that is why I would love to be able to afford a Toyota Hi-lux King Cab Diesel. Wishful thinking at today’s prices. There are two other vehicles in our extended family I would like to mention as valuable resources: one brother in law owns a 1976 Toyota station wagon that should work even after an EMP blast in North or Central America and another owns, believe it or not, an antique ox cart with two huge (live) oxen. That vehicle could really come in handy with bad times for hauling wood or water. The oxen even know how to plough the ground if needed.

FIREARMS BATTERY: Believe it or not I brought my Model 1911 Colt .45 ACP down with me in my suitcase on an airplane when I moved to Costa Rica in 1995. Boy, those were the good ole days of airline travel before Sept. 11th.You can buy firearms in Costa Rica without too much government hassle. For example I helped my wife buy a small 22 automatic ($200) for her use at a firearms store in San Jose. They sell hunting rifles and shot guns as well and I certainly need to get more firepower when money is available and before TSHTF. A neighbor has an AK47 and would “come a’running” when and if needed. When you read my “worst case scenario” you will see that I will need to purchase lots and lots of weapons and ammo. Any suggestions? I used to go to gun shows in the States but purchased only antique rifles (Harper’s Ferry) and revolvers (mostly Colts). I don’t really know much about modern weapons. My thinking is since I must now buy weapons here in Costa Rica, I should buy guns where there is ample supply of ammunition. It would be great to have night vision goggles and Kevlar. I don’t think that is available here.

GARDENS: We have about a half acre of our land in a vegetable garden right now but could more than double that if needed. The top soil is very rich (almost black, volcanic in nature and about five feet deep). We get plenty of rain (175 rainy days a year with about 100 inches total) so we can grow crops all year long. Currently we are growing corn. Several months ago we grew a big batch of black beans which store for a long time. We are also growing a very interesting plant that most North Americans probably don’t know much about. It is called yucca and is a root much like potatoes. Even if we experience a “nuclear winter” where the sunshine is very weak because of thick clouds we would still have our yucca roots to eat (similar to Scarlett O’hara’s experience at the Tara plantation in “Gone With The Wind”). We also have citrus trees (lemons) and blackberry bushes that produce fruit all year long thus giving us our vitamin C and thus no problem with scurvy. There are “wild” raspberry bushes all over, too.

PROPERTY TAX: This you won’t believe and is not a typo. Our property tax this year was $75!! That is for three acres of land and a $250,000 value house. This is one of the reasons why I move here (cost of living). Reason it is so low is that we are zoned “agricultural” and off the public road. Typical property taxes in Costa Rica could run hundreds of dollars (not thousands like in the States).

PETS AND LIVESTOCK: We have two great dogs that not only provide protection at night but are lots of fun to play with during the day. One is a large, five year old, spayed, female Airedale Terrier. Very alert at night. Excellent hearing range (too good sometimes barking at the wind). Our other dog is a huge, seven year old, spayed, female Rottweiler. She is very sweet and lovable with family members but can be ferocious with strangers and no doubt in my mind would attack bad guys if they got close to our house. We had a horse for about a year but he proved to be more trouble than worth the time and effort (and costs). He was really just a pet (like having a very large dog). I guess I would like to have him back if times get really bad. Other livestock belonging to our family (siblings and parents but available to us in hard times) would be about 30 milking cows milked by hand by father in law and brother in law and sold to a milk distributor (has milk containers in his pick-up truck) that sells fresh milk to the city-slickers every day of the week, 1 bull, usually 2 or 3 bulls calves a year (butchered for veal at around one year old) and the two oxen I mentioned under vehicles. I don’t know how many chickens are around (more than 50) and many times I see baby chicks that I have to dodge when I’m driving down our country lane to go to town so there is an ever replenishing system and if needed could maintain hundreds for even more eggs and meat.Our neighbors north of us (higher up the mountain) are both large-scale dairy farmers with milking machines selling to the big milk and cheese producer. I would guess they have about 50 cows each on 50 acres of land each. They also have horses and at time giant pigs. I even hear turkeys gobbling up that way, but don’t know how many. I am sure they would help us with extra beef and pork in tough times. They maybe would even give us a turkey to celebrate “Thanksgiving”. Ha!

COMMUNICATIONS: This is an area I am currently lacking in. My son uses a cellular phone, but it is my understanding that cell phones would likely go down with the grid down. I have a crank/battery AM/FM radio and a small shortwave radio but who would be broadcasting down here without electricity?. I also have an inverter that can be hooked up to a car battery that can power a small 5 inch color TV if indeed local TV channels would be available (doubt it). I would like to add walkie-talkies to be able to communicate with the compound below us if phones go out. I am interested in JWR ideas on base and mobile radio or even a land-line communication system that could be buried under ground in PVC pipes down our drive way to the folks below in the compound.

FOOD STORAGE: Long way to go here mostly due to lack of funds. Every shopping trip to town on Saturdays I try to add something to my supplies. It is Costa Rican culture to eat lots of beans and rice. They even eat them for breakfast (dish is called Gallo Pinto and add an egg and slice of ham and you’re full). We have a store here called PriceSmart. It is an exact copy of Sam’s Club where you can buy food in bulk. We buy lots of rice, beans, cereals, detergents, dry dog food etc. but could also stock pile much more. Like one of the other profiles I read, I would like to have enough food on hand to help other needy people (not just family members who may come to live with us). If the grid does indeed go down and stays down for several months or even a year, I assume supermarkets would close down (at least the freezer and refrigerated sections). Maybe they could stay open for other things using old fashion cash registers instead of scanning systems. With EMP maybe all the delivery trucks would not work thus shutting the supermarkets down completely. I guess this is the situation we all have to prepare for. Just think the of the enormity of situation just in washing clothes. My wife uses a large GE Heavy Duty Extra Large Capacity washing machine just about every day. We don’t have a dryer. My wife prefers the feel and smell of sun-dried clothes. Many Costa Ricans don’t have washing machines and instead use a large sink with three different areas for washing clothes by hand (in cement sink about a yard wide called a pillar). Every home has one and thus doing without electricity for washing clothes would not be the big problem down here that it would be in the States. But, you would still need to supply enough detergent and chlorine to last six months or more until order is restored. That’s lots of stuff to store. Also, think about how much toilet paper one needs to store – hundreds of rolls, no? So my point is, I think food and other supplies storage is a HUGE problem for everybody reading this blog and none of us will ever have everything we need if the Schumer Does Really Hit The Fan as we all believe it will. I guess we keep doing what we are doing and store away as much as we can afford on tight budgets and hope that we have many more months or years to keep prepping and not just days or weeks. I hope and pray that TEOTWAWKI won’t happen until the Mayan calendar date of 2012 you read so much about. I’ll be fully prepared by then. There is one additional thought I have in this area and that is storing stuff to barter with. With banks and ATM’s shutting down, one of the number one things to store is actual cash money. How long would “cash on hand” really last if we can not gain access we supposedly have to money in our banks.With this problem in mind I have established a system that many of you may want to follow and that is to save whatever change I get in an old fashion “piggy bank”. I especially like a coin they have here that’s about the size of a silver dollar and is worth 500 colones (a little less than $1) and after just six months, I have stored hundreds away and I’m sure that when the day comes that I will have to crack open my piggy bank I will be very pleased to have the cash. Who knows what a quarter might buy if cash money is in very short supply? Other things I collect for bartering are: small (350ml), plastic bottles of vodka. These contain seven times what you get in a “miniature” on airplane flights. They costs about $2 down here but for several weeks they have been a “freebie” when you buy a regular size (750ml) glass bottle of Vodka at $5.50. I also store away these liquor and wine glass bottles. I figure I could put any extra gasoline, diesel, or even milk in them and trade for something I need. Other bartering things I currently save are boxes of matches, small candles, little bags of salt among other things that I think will be in short supply and people will pay or trade almost anything to get. Would you trade an extra box of matches you have for a couple of red, ripe tomatoes someone has extra of? I sure would.

HOBBIES: Prepping is a hobby as is cutting an acre of grass without a riding mower (takes me about an hour every day of the week – 52 weeks a year). I could hire this out for $1 an hour but I need and enjoy the exercise. I have over 1,000 books in my library so reading is a hobby. I guess I would read lots if there wasn’t TV or Internet after the grid goes down. There is an excellent used bookstore in San Jose where recent paperbacks are half price and hardback books are $5. I have DirecTV with the NFL and Major League Baseball packages ($55 each) so I’m a sports fan. Finally, with Costa Rica’s mild climate all year round I guess you can call me an “outdoorsman”. I don’t hunt or fish but just enjoy walking in the mountains with my dogs and sometimes with my wife.

FUEL STORAGE: I really need to work on this area. Only five gallons of unleaded gasoline stored and a gallon for lawn mower currently. I have decided not to purchase a generator, thus fuel storage of gasoline would be for cars only. If the grid does go down we could simply live without electricity as my parents did when they were growing up. Believe it or not, my in-laws have had electricity for only 18 years (since 1987). My wife was 25 years old with a four year old child before electricity came to their mountain home. We have a creek just 10 yards behind our house that I thought about putting a micro hydro generator in, but have read that they are more problems than they worth. For lighting at night I have come up with two ideas. The first is to use inverters connected to car batteries with low wattage lamps. [JWR’s Comment: An all-DC system is much more efficient. Real Goods sells bayonet socket adapter bases for table lamps so that you can use 12 VDC automobile brake light bulbs.] The batteries could be re-charged in my brother in law’s 1976 Toyota if my newer Toyota 4WD wouldn’t start because of EMP. I wonder if I could use this system to run a crock pot on low setting to cook meats and make soup? [JWR’s Comment: That would draw way too much current. Either buy a wood cook stove, a propane burner, or a wick type kerosene cooker –such as an Alpaca or Kerosun brand, and store plenty of kerosene and extra wicks.] That’s on my “to do” lists. My second idea for lighting is to purchase the photovoltaic outdoor garden lights and just bring them indoors at night. Costa Ricans prefer to cook with propane gas (currently much cheaper than cooking on electric stove) or even on a wood stove out here in the country as mother in law does so we won’t miss electricity for cooking. The big sacrifice would be doing without an oven. I guess I could make pizzas on pan-fried flour tortillas. Ha! Other sacrifice would be to do without ice for my tea and occasional “happy hour”. I plan to purchase a 100 meter long, black colored, tubing (a hose) and hook it to water system and place it on the metal roof and thus have a “passive” solar hot water system. In summary, the only fuel storage I plan to have is propane. I need to get a much larger tank, however. Currently using small tank (20 pound?) that I carry to the supermarket to get re-filled every two months or so ($6 a refill – tank costs $15). They do deliver propane by truck but I guess I can’t rely on that if TSHTF. We have an un-limited supply of hard wood so I plan to make a lean-to storage shed out of metal roofing with five cords or more stored away in case propane runs out and can’t get more.

WORST CASE SCENARIO (“WHEN THE BALLOON GOES UP”): My assumption in my planning and prepping is that the worst thing that will happen is that one nuclear bomb will be set off at a very high altitude over the United States that will shut down the power grid and because of the EMP effect keep most cars and trucks from running. I don’t know if Costa Rica would be affected to the same level as USA if this would indeed happen. We are 1,100 miles south of Miami but I’m planning for it being the same. If the EMP doesn’t reach all the way down here and delivery trucks still work, our problems in Costa Rica would be minimal. In fact, there are several “Mom and Pop” mini-markets further down the mountain within walking distance. However, I don’t count them being open for business in my planning. Busses could still carry citizens to work, information systems and accounting systems could be done the old fashion way with pencils and journals. Food purchased in the markets could be calculated by writing prices on a paper bag like in the old days. Ha! If WW III breaks out with all the countries with nukes lobbing them back and forth I don’t think my plans and preps would be any good. Radiation would be blown all over the world by trade winds. Our trade winds come east to west so if Venezuela or Columbia get nuked (or the Panama Canal) we would be in trouble. I do plan to build a concrete bunker attached to the back of my house when money permits that might allow our family to survive for a few weeks, but then what? All cows and chickens would be dead and with “nuclear winter” crops wouldn’t grow. TEOTWAWKI!!!!! So the thoughts I am about to share about a worst case scenario is that there will be no electricity for a long, long time. In most locations in USA and maybe the rest of the world – No tap water: because no pumps. Greatly reduced medical care in hospitals (how long could their generators last?) No toilets. No baths or showers. No work. No schools or universities. No banks. No ATM’s. No stock markets. No television. No Internet. No supermarkets. No malls. No Wal Marts. No Home Depots. No movie theaters. No fast food restaurants (nor any restaurants for that matter). No refrigerators. No more ice cream (no freezers). No dish washers. No washing machines. No gasoline stations (pumps don’t work). NO PROBLEM!! Life for me and my family will be like the 1930s. Not easy, but livable. My parents survived hard times, so can us. The absolutely worst case would be like what happened in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. Remember the scene where tens of thousands if not millions of North Americans were crossing the Rio Grande River into Mexico and Central America? Well, WTSHTF, I hope and pray that doesn’t happen. Costa Rica couldn’t support tens of million more people. There are 5 million people in Nicaragua that would be searching for food and probably come down to Costa Rica. Also there are one million Costa Ricans living just 10 to 25 miles from my retreat (down in the Central Valley). Those numbers of people are a serious problem for a survivalist to face. How can you keep food supplies for you family and not let looters get it if there are hundreds of them in your neck of the woods?

MY SURVIVAL PLAN: My Costa Rica family (and our community) have something very special that most people in the world don’t have: livestock. Cows, pigs, chickens, etc. Months and years after the balloon goes up while millions of people are desperately looking for food or trying to hunt wild animals, our family could be eating ham and cheese omelets for breakfast, bacon cheeseburgers (on tortillas not buns) for lunch and chile con carne over rice for dinner because we live on a farm with these items available (eggs, cheese and meat from the cows, bacon and pork from the pigs and stored rice and beans). In my wife’s family there is a total of 25 people (she has four sisters with families, one sister died last year and one brother). I have a younger brother (50) living in Costa Rica with a young wife and 2 year old daughter that makes 28 total family members. A total of 17 males and 11 females. The females are all strong, tough country women. Three of the families live away from the family compound but would certainly come to live in the compound when times get bad. I don’t think my mother, sister, daughter and two grandsons could make it down here from Jacksonville, Florida because of Martial law and travel restricted. Could our family alone defend ourselves and livestock against the bad guys by ourselves? Maybe and maybe not. A total of 17 men could probably defend the family but how could we keep our cows and chickens from being stolen? I think the solution would be in uniting the community of 25 houses. Remember when I shared about how important Western TV shows were to me in my childhood? Well the survival of my family and community would be much like homesteaders out west surviving Indian attacks and cattle rustling. The “good guys” banded together back then. They constructed stockades and forts to keep their livestock protected from the “bad guys”. This is what I plan to organize for my family and community. An SOP to organize our community into a “citizen army” to protect our style of living (“country/farming”) from the masses. If successful, our community may become one of the few “cells” of humanity in the entire world surviving TEOTWAWKI. One idea that I have come up with is that I would buy this citizen army uniforms. Not army surplus but green tee shirts and green baseball hats. It would be camouflage because of the green background, but more important it would separated the “good guys” from the enemy. This was a huge problem in Viet Nam not knowing who the enemy is and I assume it is a serious problem in Iraq. With our uniform we could shoot at bad guys who don’t have a green baseball hat on. The one lane road (and only road) coming to our community could be closed off to traffic easily just by chopping down one large tree across the road. [JWR’s Note: A Caterpillar tractor or a backhoe tractor (with the bucket down and the rear arm extended) will make a much more convenient mobile roadblock.] In spots the road is like a “sunken” road and thus we could have a guarded, gated community. This would keep pick-up truck loads of “bad guys” from getting close but wouldn’t keep them away entirely. The bad guys could simply walk to our community.In the 25 houses I estimate a total of 100 people. Maybe 50 men and teenage or older boys. When TSHTF I estimate that this total would double to 200 (100 men) by having friends or relatives desiring to be with us instead of in the towns and cities where they currently live. In a desperate situation people could sleep on sofas, or foam mattresses. One of the profiles I read mentioned air mattresses. It’s doable especially since we will have sufficient food, water and workable toilet and bathing systems. While all members of the community are important, a newly arriving member could prove extremely important. A retiring medical doctor from Buffalo, New York is building a house and plans to move into it in October (2005). We also have a veterinarian, several carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, electrician, RN and\ a school teacher whose skills are all very valuable to a surviving community. My single brother in law living with my wife’s parents provides a very important skill. He can butcher animals. That is a chore that most people would not or could not perform. We could build shelter (like log cabins) if we were allowed to start rebuilding society without being attacked. So the big question is: could a 100 man “citizen army” guard a one acre corral/stockade of animals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year until order is restored to society? I would like to think that we could. If not, then would anyone survive a grid down scenario in the entire world? Probably only the “elites” in their underground cities. What a shame that would be. In my planning for attacks by bad guys on our livestock, I go back to the Viet Nam war days where bases were established by setting up perimeters of barb wire supplemented by claymore mines. For those that don’t remember what a claymore mine is, it is like a rectangle shaped explosive that can be stuck in the ground that shoots the shrapnel out in only one direction and can be set off from a distance. Thus an enemy charging a position in most cases could be held off. This is what I envision our citizen army doing. The only problem is we don’t have claymore mines. I don’t know how hard it would be to improvise such a weapon if explosives could be obtained. This is a subject for further research. [JWR’s Note: See my novel Patriots for details on improvised Claymores and fougasses. Check on Costa Rican legalities.] So from what I have learned from reading JWR, it would be difficult if not impossible for one family (myself, wife and son) by ourselves to defend our home from a horde of starving people no matter where the retreat is located. JWR mentioned feral dogs being a serious problem. Just think what “feral” starved humans would be like – kamikaze. The solution is to band together as our forefathers did in the old days. If our corral/stockade is breached by the bad guys and all the livestock taken I have a backup plan. I would like and will plan for my 28 family members (and perhaps a few others) to come to live at my house until the horde leaves or is killed off. This is where my remembrances of the Alamo come into play. If I’m not mistaken, the Alamo was an adobe building and Davy Crockett and the others were protected from flying bullets for the most part. Our house is a masonry building. If the bad guys were intent on getting inside our sanctuary for our food supply, they would have to charge us as the Mexicans did the Alamo, but we would have rapid firing shotguns. This time the good guys would win. I don’t see how any amount of bad guys could successful attack a building at close range with the defenders having shotguns and pistols (and machetes!!). Only a cannon would do us in and I don’t think the bad guys would have one. They could try to set fire to the house but with the masonry walls and metal roof if would be difficult. I will need to come up with a solution to cover window. Cage style metal protection for doors and windows is popular in most Costa Rican houses. I could add screening material over that to keep Molotov cocktails from coming into the house. Our women could be responsible for putting any fires out as the men defend the house. It would truly be a fight to the death. If our remaining food was stolen from us, what chances would we have to survive? BTW I plan to keep a small cow (with artificial insemination capability), a rooster and several chickens, and my two dogs in my storage room so they survive an attack for use after the attack is over.

CONCLUSION: I hope the scenario above never takes place. If it does, at least I have a plan for me and my family and my community of neighbors to survive. As I stated above, survival planning is my hobby. I think about ideas every day. One can not help thinking that something bad is going to happen with all of the hatred in the world. I don’t know if it will be Planet X reeking havoc on the planet or a nuclear attack (suitcase nuke) or a financial collapse. It could be an avian flu pandemic. It doesn’t matter what the problem is. Starving people will do anything to find food and those that have planned ahead to have food and other supplies will need to defend it with arms. This is the only logical scenario. I wish and pray that all the people that read this profile and their friends and family survive the bad times ahead. I will continue to read all of JWR’s advice and I look forward to getting even more ideas for survival from all the profiles submitted. Good luck to us all. We need it.

I would like to close with a quote a la JWR. “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” – Proverbs 22

JWR’s Comments/Recommendations: Mr. Coffee should stock up. Start out by stocking up heavily on rice, beans, and honey in vermin-proof containers. Buy enough for two years for 25 people. I know that is a lot, but it is a prudent precaution.

Buy plenty of medical supplies, including extra for barter/charity.

Salt, salt, and more salt. If/when the power grid goes down the only practical method for preserving meat will be as jerky (“carne seca”). That will mean using a lot of salt brine. Salt is cheap and plentiful now, but it will someday be like gold in inland regions. Salt is also useful for attracting wild game. Don’t “go hunting.” Instead, have them come to you at your rifle range.If something that you wouldn’t consider eating comes to visit your salt lick, shoot it and leave it there for the coyotes. Then when they come, drop them to supplement your dog food supply. Que lastima!

Kerosene lamps plus lots of kerosene, part of which should be in small (1 to 4 liter) cans for barter/charity. Extra wicking. Also consider buying some small bottles of two cycle (chainsaw gas mixing ) oil for barter. At least 40 gallons of storage (PRI -stabilized) gasoline.

Buy the biggest propane tank that you can afford (and that won’t be so large as to attract suspicion.) OBTW, I expect propane to DOUBLE in cost in the next year, so consider it an investment!

Fire extinguishers. (Large and numerous)

Plenty of cooking oil, soap, and detergent.

Several more guns, preferably with no paper trail (check your local laws), and preferably all stainless steel guns–in deference to the damp climate. I’d recommend getting a second Colt 1911 (but in stainless steel), a Stainless Steel Ruger 10/22 rifle (preferably with a laminate of synthetic stock for better moisture protection), and a Remington, Ruger, or Winchester stainless steel large caliber centerfire bolt action rifle. Again, preferably with a laminate or synthetic stock for better moisture protection. Buy one that is chambered in whichever large caliber (bigger than .223 ) that is the most common for hunting in your region. (I’d suspect that will be 7.62×39, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, or .308 Winchester. Ask your neighbors which caliber is the most common.) The rifle should be a detachable magazine model for faster reloading. Also buy two stainless steel 12 gauge pump action “riot” shotguns. The “marine” models made by Winchester, Mossberg, and Remington are all either stainless steel or nickel plated for corrosion protection. Get plenty of extra magazines (six+ per gun), holsters, magazine/shotshell pouches, and cleaning kits.

Yes, I know that stainless steel reflects so that it isn’t “tactical.” However, they can be quickly degreased with alcohol and spray painted with FLAT green or brown paint after the Schumer hits the fan. That won’t be pretty, and admittedly it will degrade their resale value, but TEOTWAWKI will not be a beauty contest!

Buy LOTS of extra ammo, especially .22 LR, 12 gauge (both #4 buckshot and some birdshot), .45 ACP, and plenty of 7.62x39mm (AK47). Get a lot of extra for barter. Store it all in military surplus ammo cans. Throw a freshly dried bag of silica gel in each can for moisture protection. Be sure to spread those ammo cans around to your various relatives houses so that you won’t get cleaned out in the event of a burglary. Even if the starving hordes from Nicaragua never arrive, there will be the perception that they might. That will make ballistic wampum a very valuable barter commodity.

Construct hiding places for each of your guns. (False wall, or a wall cache fronted by solid bookcase. Get creative.) Install a Golden Rod dehumidifier in each gun storage space.

Possibly some non-hybrid gardening seed if your neighbors don’t save their seed annually. (Ask!)

Buy four Motorola FRS radios, plus extra NiMH batteries several solar battery chargers for the same. Also at least two sound powered TA-1 field telephones for commo to coordinate security with neighbors. (These do not require batteries.) Buried WD-1 commo wire by itself is probably okay unless there are lots of burrowing rodents. (Then you might have to put it in cheap 1/2 inch flexible black PVC pipe as “conduit”.)

Night vision gear if you can afford it.

Install a heavy duty locking gate–or at least a steel cable–on your road. (No need to keep it closed now–only after TEOTWAWKI.)

Certainly all of the above will probably blow your budget. But consider it like buying a life insurance policy. Sell some of your gold if you have to, but you should get discreetly squared away logistically, muy pronto!



International Profile 2: Mr. and Mrs. Dulce in Chile

70+ acre Chilean Retreat, plus a 1,500 acre cattle grazing permit.

Ages: 43 and 41, and one child age 3

Background: Family is from upstate New York, dairy farmers. I grew up in NC, history major who went into the Army as an aviator. Spent time living, travelling, and working in over 50 countries. Separated from the army as a Major and went into investments. Retired to Chile in the 2000s.

Why Chile? – Chile is the best kept secret in the world. A strong democratic country with five major political parties, Chile is very stable. Chile has lived thru the tough times when a communist leaning government threw the country into chaos, and a military government took control to restore things. Chile has seen what social disorder can do to a country, and that memory influences the country today. The country runs a budget surplus (Chile is the world’s largest producer of copper), has privatized social security accounts for each citizen, uses its resources very conservatively, and has the lowest level of poverty in Central and South America. Chile uses its budget surplus to fund its social programs, and also has a large slush fund to weather any economic storms. The privatized social security has made everyone a capitalist, even the socialists, so irresponsible spending is not tolerated by the populace.

The climate of Chile varies, because the country is 4,500 kilometers long, but only about 220 kilometers wide. The best description is Chile’s climate is “Baja to Alaska”, a mirror image of the western US. I live in the lakes district, which is the bread basket of Chile- a rolling hills farm area with many lakes/ rivers, large farms, and few people. Lots of rain in the winter and sun in the summer. Similar to Oregon or Washington. Chile only has 15 million people. Chile’s main roads are toll roads- the country bases its systems on a user tax. Why should an individual with no car/transport be taxed for interstates? In Chile, the tolls support the roads, the taxes are low. Local roads are not toll roads, just the interstates. It’s a nice system.

Annual Income: $10,000-$20,000. One can live well on $1,000 a month.

Investments: Gold and silver, outside the US.

Present Home: A 1,100 sq. ft. cabin. 2 bedroom, 1 bath. I took down a 60-year old cabin board by board to reuse as much of the old wood as possible. Rebuilt large post beam construction, very good insulation, wood stove heat, natural gas cooking and hot water. Also have a large barn that includes three horse stalls, hayloft, workshop/tack room and storage area. There is a woodshed/ laundry room outside. Water is gravity-fed year-round from a reservoir above my cabin. Underground pipes, so we have good water pressure. Electricity is buried cable- no power lines are visible. The place is wired for a diesel generator.

Vehicles: 2001 Toyota Hilux 4×4, gas. Vehicle taxes are about $75 a year, includes mandatory insurance. Vehicles require an road worthy inspection each year- $26. Gas in Chile is expensive – Chile has no native oil or natural gas. Fuel must be imported from Argentina, so gas is about $5 a gallon. Oil is also expensive- about $26 for the cheapest oil change. Chile’s one weakness is lack of fossil fuels.

Firearms: Mossberg 12 gauge, Winchester .44-40 lever-action made in 1898. Chile has good gun laws. Each individual can register 2 or 3. You need to pass a licensing course and register the weapons with the local army unit, but most people don’t. Chile’s laws are much like the US used to be. If you kill someone in self defense- no problem, no hassle. On your property, no problem. Example: We had a good employee that it turns out the police had been looking for. He had returned to his house one night and found some folks trying to burn down his father’s barn. He tried to stop them and got stabbed. Well, later that month he tracked down the attacker and shot him dead. The Police said it was warranted, a form of self defense since the attacker was a bad seed, they just wanted our employee to finish signing the paperwork/statement, then they let him walk! Common sense in a civil system.

Gardens/Orchards: 30 producing cherry trees. Two apple, three plum, two pear, one walnut. There is a very large avellano tree orchard. Multiple new fruit trees planted. 1/2 acre garden growing onions, lettuce, carrots, beets, corn, beans, cabbage, potatoes, pumpkin, goose-berry, red current, raspberries, and strawberries. Oh, and trying grapes this year- hope to get some wine down the road. Will build a greenhouse this summer to continue winter production.

Property tax: None. My property is too small. I love this country!

Pets/Livestock: One Dogo Argentino (great hunting dog), 2 horses. 40 head of cattle. Will raise hogs and bees for honey this summer.

Communications: Cell phone for emergency use, satellite direct TV, high speed internet.

Food Storage: Hard plastic waterproof containers. Do not have a long term supply built up yet. We usually have a few months on hand of apples, nuts when we harvest. Rice. One reason I moved here was because you could be self supporting, and we are in an agricultural area where we trade fence posts (I have a lot of wood) for hay, and expect to do the same with foodstuffs if needed. We will have chickens, and the property has plentiful wild boar and hares for hunting, along with partridge and dove, and there are nice trout in the river 1 km away.

Fuel Storage: 55 gallon drums, 20 liter containers for chain oil and mixing oil for the chainsaws.

Worst Case Scenario: The global depression takes away my English Premier League soccer matches on Direct TV! No, Chile should be good no matter what happens. Most folks still work hard with physical skills, are not spoiled, and don’t feel entitled. I am blessed that my wife was the daughter of a border policeman, her survival skills are much better than mine, and our livelihood is based on firewood, not electricity, so we can do pretty well. We only go to town once a week, could easily cut that down to once a month or never if need be. We fill up gas once every two months, so our rural and very healthy lifestyle is prepared for anything. And I can always ride my horses to town or around the lake to trade with my neighbors.

Another benefit for the country of Chile is that the weather comes from the South Pacific- the closet country to us that direction is New Zealand. Chile is not on any prominent wind streams that could bring nuclear or biological fallout. Chile has no real threats or enemies and the country has the best trained military in Central or South America (Not a large military, but Chile still has a mandatory draft and trains 200,000 citizens each year for a 12 or 18 month service. Chile’s military heritage is Prussian and since everyone serves at some point, the populace is well disciplined compared to most nations). Chile is bordered on the north by the driest desert in the world, on the east by the Andes, the Antarctic on the south and the pacific ocean on the west, so Chile is very well defended against entry from disease/plague/etc. Come to Chile! Life is good!


International Profile 3: Mr. & Mrs. Enfield in Canada

Background – I am a 40-year old male, my Missus is a year younger and we have three children. The children are active in school, church and 4H. The eldest is a known “good worker” in the neighborhood and during summer vacation is in high demand for haying, etc. Middle child is interested in chickens and sewing. The youngest is an all round good helper and loves to go to the woods.

I have always been interested in farming and in non-electric tools and equipment. My off-farm job keeps me busy 50 hours per week. Missus does not work outside of the home.
I can build or fix most anything. I got those skills from my father although he is better and faster at it that I am. I have never had a high income so we “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without”.

Present home – We own a 40-acre farm in Maritime Canada, 19 miles from the nearest town. We live half a mile off a paved road and the house cannot be seen from the pavement. The nearest store is 17 miles away and we are not on a road to anywhere. The likelihood of people crowding through here escaping the city, which is 110 miles away, is nil.

The house is a 130-year-old storey and half. We have a large barn, wood shed, workshop and a couple of smaller outbuildings. There are about 8 acres of woodlot, 10 acres of hayfield, a couple acres of blueberries and the rest is (now) fenced for pasture. There was no fencing on the place when we moved in and I put up woven wire as we can afford it. We have a small flock of sheep, a few laying hens and a rooster. If we had to, we could live on lamb, eggs and the odd cockerel. We also have a beef cow, a calf, an ancient draft horse and in the summer we raise meat birds and the odd pig. I am working toward improving our pasture and hayfields so that we lessen our dependence on purchased grain and hay. Raising Highland cattle, Tamworth pigs and Royal Palm turkeys may be in our future.
Property tax – $400 per year.

Debt – After my “war on debt” 14 months ago we are down to a small mortgage and that’s it. We did have six credit cards with a total balance of $3,000 and were always behind with the power and telephone bills. We were paying out $100 per month just in interest. The cards were paid off and four were cancelled, the power was brought up-to-date and is now on a 12-month budget plan. With no debt and no interest to pay, life is soooo much better.

Investments – Through payroll deduction, I have put a bit aside in Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) for the last 17 years. Two months ago we had $80,000 in RRSPs but since the [equities] crash(es), we are down to $50,000. I have always felt that the farm is my retirement security so I am not too worried.

Right now any income from the farm is rolled back into the farm in the form of hay, seed, fencing, etc.

Shop – The workshop houses all of my tools (hand and power) as well as a blacksmith forge with a hand-cranking blower and a hand operated drill press. I heat the building with a wood stove. I like my circular saw, reciprocating saw and electric drill but I can easily fall back on my handsaws and brace & bit. Supplies that I need to stock up on include files, hacksaw blades, welding rods and coal for the forge.

Water – We have a gravity feed water system for the house so there is water regardless of the power grid situation. There is a year-round river at the base of our property and several intermittent brooks. There is also an unused well by the house and a well for the barn. We use an electric jet pump and tank for the barn but I have purchased a hand cistern pump for on top of this well. Lastly there is a small spring fed well where the old milk house used to be about 70 years ago.

Heat – We have always had an oil furnace, oil-fired water heater and oil tank and an airtight wood stove. When oil reached it’s high last summer I decided to make a change. I replaced the oil-fired water heater with an electric one and bought eight cords of hardwood. I also installed a mini-split heat pump in the end of the house farthest from the wood stove. So far this winter we have not used the oil furnace at all.
We had removed a wood-fired kitchen range a few years ago due to insurance and the space it took up but I am strongly leaning on re-installing it. I may even install a range boiler so we can have hot water.

Firearms – I have a British Lee-Enfield .303 and about 20 rounds and a .22 with about 200 rounds. I need to stock up on .303 [British rifle] ammo, a gun cleaning kit and I should get a sling and scope. I may also get a shotgun and some bird shot.

Security – Just the dog, motion lights and the fact that the house is on an open knoll away from the road. We have good neighbors and we all watch out for the other’s property. The main drawback is distance – each neighbor (north, east and south) is a little over half a mile away. Near the paved road we have had thefts of anything laid down in sight of the road – ladders, fence post maul, gas-powered water pump for a garden, and even chickens. Houses that are left empty have had break-ins and some have been burned down.

Fruit/garden – Perennial trees and plants interest me as a source of food that will be dependable no matter what our economic or health situation. We have several apple trees and rose bushes on the property. We are bringing back the blueberry field and the rhubarb plants. I have planted strawberries, raspberries and chives.

The children and I plant a fairly large vegetable garden every year. This year, after the cow and the sheep were done with it, there wasn’t much left for us. This spring we fence the garden.
This fall, for the first time ever, I purchased next year’s garden seed. This way, no matter what happens, we won’t have to worry about finding seed in the spring.
To extend our growing season, we plan on build a greenhouse onto the south side of one of the sheds in the not-too-distant future.

Food storage – We have three freezers full of chicken, turkey, beef and pork. Our generator is to protect the contents of these freezers. I have a lot of salt on hand so if we had a prolonged grid down situation I could salt down the beef and pork. We have also started stocking up on Mason jars and lids, and bottling accessories. The remains of our garden produce go into our cellar.

After my first week of reading SurvivalBlog last summer, I went to the local grocery wholesaler and bought 200 lbs of dried goods. I made the mistake of telling the guys at work so now instead of being the nut with farm; I am the survivalist nut with the farm. I now keep all preps to myself.

I have laid in a stock of flour, yeast, sugar, salt, rolled oats, white pea-beans, baking powder, baking soda, molasses, peanut butter, honey, raisins, nuts, canned goods, canola and olive oil, spices, pepper, pasta & sauce, rice, dried onion, powdered milk, cream of wheat, pancake mix, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, juice powder, and hard candy. We manage to put an item or two in our deep larder every week. I have been keeping my eye out for a grain mill as we can easily put in 1⁄4 – 1⁄2 acre of wheat.

Health – We keep our prescriptions filled or re-filled. My oldest child and I have just completed a first-aid course.

We’ve begun to stock up on: toothpaste, tooth brushes, dish soap, bar soap, Dettol disinfectant, Buckley’s Mixture cold medicine (tastes awful but it works), Raleigh’s Medicated Ointment, multi vitamins, vitamin C, aspirin, female items, Band-Aids & tape, toilet paper, peroxide, deodorant, lip balm, nail trimmers, and razors. I have just purchased a large first-aid kit for the house and a small one for the car. I will eventually add a minor surgery kit, which would be handy if just used for veterinary emergencies.

Vet – I have a large plastic toolbox for our growing supply of veterinary items. I keep a supply of needles, syringes, worm treatment, penicillin, castration bands, iodine, foot treatment, etc. I don’t shear my own sheep but this year I picked up Oster electric shears on eBay for a great price. I did try out the shears on our longhaired dog. He healed up nicely and didn’t hold a grudge.

Fishing – I have a large supply of hand line gear, a small supply of trout rods, and a small gill net and net knitting needles. We have a small fiberglass dory with two sets of oars.

Vehicles – We have a late 1990s mid-size car and a mid-2000s mini-van. Both are in good shape.

Communication – Other than the usual telephone, we have two walkie-talkies and a hand crank radio [receiver]. We live out beyond cellular service. I plan to get a short wave radio. Several hours into a power outage, our phone goes dead due to small fuel capacity for the Phone Company’s generator down the road. I would like to have some way to communicate with my parents (three hours away) and my siblings (one and three hours away) but we would all have to have Ham radios and I know that won’t happen.

TEOTWAWKI – farming – I have been assembling a collection of a few small tractors and 3-point hitch equipment. My main concern is that when gas becomes scarce and too expensive to purchase I will have no way to harvest hay for winter fodder. I have a small horse-drawn mower that I plan to restore. That way if worse comes to worst, I could at least mow hay and put it in the barn loose. In such a time, horses would be at a premium but I know how to hew an ox head-yoke so a horned steer or two and we’re back in business.

Long term goals – “harden” the house with better doors, dig a trout pond, build a greenhouse, increase firewood and hay stores, increase gasoline storage for the generator and chain saw, install a small safe, and buy more ammunition.

In conclusion, in a TEOTWAWKI grid up situation we will not have to change our lifestyle at all. In a prolonged grid down situation, we’ll be eating a lot of salt beef and beans in the winter and fresh veggies and chicken in the summer. – “Mr. Enfield” in the Maritimes

International Profile 4: Mr. and Mrs. “FerFAL” in Buenos Aires, Argentina

AGE: 28

SOs: Wife 30 and a 4-year-old son

Currently living in the southern Buenos Aires suburbs in a 2 story masonry house with independent reinforced concrete structure.
The houses share walls to the left and right, all around the block, completely enclosing the back yards which are divided by walls or fences covered with libustrina plants. You lose some privacy (noises, loud parties) but you ensure a rather safe garden and back yard for the children to play in since the streets haven’t been safe for a while now, and no responsible adult lets his children play on the street these days.

BACKGROUND: My parents are both accountants, and emigrated to Spain after the 2001 crisis. Both my grandparents emigrated to Argentina from Spain, escaping civil war. Its is ironic that their children and grandchildren escape the country that once sheltered them, back to the country they ran away from but now, 50 years later, is one of the most powerful and prosperous countries in Europe.

There’s a lesson there. Countries fall and rise, always have and one has to admit the possibility of leaving it looking for greener pastures.
Due to my father’s work we moved a bit when I was a kid. First to USA (Boston), then back to Buenos Aires, then to Cordoba (an Argentina inner province) and then back to Buenos Aires again. Now, due to the consequences of the crisis, we are going to move as soon as I finish my studies, either to Spain or to the USA.

ANNUAL INCOME: About $20.000 USD, give or take. I manage some family investments and a small accountant office my parents left behind when they moved to Spain. I also teach Architecture Representation at the same University I attend to, but even though its been three years now since I started teaching, I don’t get paid for it. (ad honorem )

INVESTMENTS: None ( other than those owned by the family business that mostly consist of real estate) no money in bank accounts either. We only deposit money in our debit accounts just to take advantage of some discount, we deposit the money right before we use it, most of the time within the same week. We never leave money sitting in a bank account. After what happened, most people, including us, don’t trust banks with our money any more. It has become common for people to store cash in bank’s safety boxes, but even those are getting emptied due to some cases in which the private safes have been opened by government officials. (Against the constitutional right to privacy, and private property, of course.)

We have credit cards but we don’t use those either, we only keep them for emergencies.
We have a safe where we keep about 2,000 Pesos ($600 USD) and $1,000 USD just in case of an emergency, or someone getting kidnapped and needing ransom money fast ( express kidnapping).

PRESENT HOME: It’s a two story, mortar house. Double walls, 12 inch thick, and poured concrete flowerpots on the 2nd floor which provide nice bullet protection in the master bedroom.
3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 car garage, and a nice size backyard with a small swimming pool. The house has a 1000 liter reservoir water tank, central heating, air conditioning, and both city water and an electric pump well for the swimming pool.
Metal bars and grating on windows and backyard door, add a lot to the security of the house.

There’s also a 7 foot metal fence, topped with foot long spikes, right where the front garden meets the sidewalk. Breaking into this house is not easy, no one can do such a thing if we are inside the house, since it would take a lot of time and noise to do so.
We have cable, gas, electricity, and pay for private security ( kiosks with guards on each corner). Even though we have all services most of you know about, they are a bit different form what you may experience in First World countries.
Tap water is polluted, so we basically pay for contaminated water. We have a water filter and drink filtered water exclusively. We bought a 200 USD filter, with smaller filtering cups that get replaced every 2 or 3 months. I keep a year’s worth of cups, and the filter itself is good for another 2 years.(active carbon-ceramic-silver)
Power goes down occasionally, and during summer we have “dirty power” low voltage power, lights go dim, and most appliances don’t work properly. That’s why we keep lots of flashlights handy, along with regular batteries and rechargeable ones.

VEHICLES: The streets are in awful conditions, and the constant roadblocks by “piqueteros” are rough on cars. Some kind of small 4×4 is obviously preferable to a sedan car.
Cars are very expensive, about $20.000 to $50,000 USD. A used Suzuki Swift, one with 100,000 km, goes for $11,000 USD.
I have a Daewoo Lanos, and though I wished I had something better its relatively fast and small which is also good for running around the city, and getting out of tight spots. Spare parts are expensive and hard to get.
My car is set up with GNC, meaning it runs both on gas an natural compressed gas, big yellow tank in the trunk. I can switch to either one just by pushing a button, and I run for 100km with only $2.50 USD worth of compressed gas. It also allows me to keep the gas tank full at all times, using only GNC, and having the gas tank full for emergencies.

GNC is used by almost 60% of the cars in Argentina, more than any other country in the world, so there’s enough infrastructure (GNC stations, mechanics, parts) for our society to run on it.
It’s also interesting to note the burst of GNC after the 2001, after people found out that they couldn’t afford gasoline for their cars. Maybe other countries that suffer an economical collapse or fuel shortage will end up doing likewise.

FIREARMS BATTERY: I have several firearms and my collection is constantly changing. I went into a lot of effort to get the collector license that allows me to purchase box magazine fed, semi-auto centerfire rifles. The average citizen that gets a gun permit can only acquire handguns, shotguns and manual repeating arms, with the exception of 22 LR semi autos.
The great majority of shooters in this country don’t have this license ( has to be approved by the Senate, took over a year for it to get approved), few knew about it back when you could get one, so I know I’m terrible lucky when it comes to firearms, having more firepower than most Argentines could ever procure.

My main handgun is a Glock 31 in 357 sig. Ammo is expensive and hard to get, but it’s worth it in my opinion.
I have several other handguns, as back ups and chambered for more popular rounds, such as a Norinco 1911 45 ACP, a Llama 4 inch 357 magnum revolver, A Bersa Thunder 9mm, two 9mm Hi Powers.
For long arms I have: As a main rifle I have a FM [FN clone] FAL Para carbine, and a FMK3 9mm SMG. A Mossberg 500 with a 14 inch barrel and mounted 80 lumen light.
Ammo is extremely expensive. I have about 500 rounds of 308 and 7.62[mm NATO], over 1000 rounds of 9mm, most of it +P JHP and a few hundred 12 ga shells, most of it 00 buckshot.
9mm is my “core” battery round, that would feed my 9mm handguns and SMG.

I keep a few boxes for each other caliber.
I have been in a few “complicated” spots so far, and being armed and alert has made the difference for me in more than one occasion. In those occasions the mere presence of my gun has been enough to stop the threat, without the need of ever shooting anyone.
It doesn’t make any sense to plan on shooting hundreds of rounds and not getting any fire in return, so I also have a concealed body level II body armor vest which has provided a lot of piece of mind on several occasions. Specially when going into “tough” places or meeting with people I’m not so sure about. It’s one of my most precious possessions.

GARDENS: No gardens for me, just a lemon tree that provides lots of lemons and a laurel plant to spice up pasta. I could have a small orchard in my backyard if I wanted.

PETS AND LIVESTOCK: No livestock, just a Jack Russell. Good pet but not as good as a watch dog, though I must admit that for the last couple of days he’s been more vigilant and watchful. He’s just a one year old so maybe it was a maturity problem. I’d like to have a larger dog though, but since I’m planning to move soon it could be a problem.

COMMUNICATIONS: Cable modem Internet, phone, and a couple of cell phones.

FOOD STORAGE: About 5 or 6 months worth of food. Most of it flavored rice, rice with dehydrated vegetables, canned meats, canned tuna, canned vegetables, soups, dry pasta, powdered milk, non lactose powdered milk for my son, smashed potatoes flakes, tomato sauce, tea, coffee, honey, sugar, salt and 30 5 liter bottles of water.

MEDICAL: Lots of medicines, several kinds of antibiotic, meds for my son, for treating gastritis, tape, dressings, band aids, disinfectants, ibuprofen, just to name a few. I also keep a nice supply of hand soap, disinfectant soap and cleaning products to insure hygiene inside the house. 3rd world countries are full of diseases due to the general poverty, so its important to prevent as much as possible.

HOBBIES: Shooting, collecting guns, reading, working out and watching a movie every now and then. Having a good time with my wife and playing with my son.

FUEL STORAGE: 30 liters in plastic cans, enough to get to the airport or out of the city, though I’m not planning on leaving my house during civil unrest, I’d rather “hold the fort” until I can leave.

WORST CASE SCENARIO (“WHEN THE BALLOON GOES UP”): Another December 2001 would be pretty bad, meaning anarchy, serious social unrest, looting and mobs invading privately owned homes. It happened before, I saw the mob just around the corner form my place so that’s something to worry about.
I’m also worried about our government being friends with Chavez, Evo Morales and Fidel, this county will end up like those socialist/communist if it continues to go in that direction.

MY SURVIVAL PLAN: We have already made up our minds about leaving. As far as I’m concerned, this country will only go down hill in the next few years, and the censorship and lies about things being better is downright scary. I’m sure this country will one day rise above the rest of Latin America, but not now. Many years will have to go by, and a lot of blood an bullets will be wasted before that day comes. I don’t want to take part of any of it.
So we have two make sure we are safe for the next couple of years, until we leave. This means being extra cautious and vigilant , bordering the paranoid line, to keep us all safe.

CONCLUSION: Prepare as well as you possibly can without turning it into a compulsive thing. I prepare to survive and live a rich life, not the other way around. I don’t live just to worry about the sky falling. The sky has already fallen for me and we’re still here. Things are bad, pretty bad if you want to torment yourself and research further into the corruption and violence in this country. We are still alive and we have each other. Millions of people have accepted this as their reality and decided to go on with their lives and try not to worry too much, many go as far as lying to themselves, denying the reality that surrounds them. We want to go on with our lives, but we don’t want to worry our brains out, nor will we go through life as blindfolded sheep that can’t see what’s in front of them. We simply accept the fact that this country has changed, and is now too dangerous, too corrupt, insecure and too primitive for the standard of life we look forward to, and we take the necessary measures, meaning we move out of it and start a life somewhere else.


International Profile 5: Mr. and Mrs. Tico in Costa Rica|

Mr. and Mrs. Tico
Present home : Farm in Northern Costa Rica
Ages : 54 & 57
Two sons 30 & 32, who are living in North Carolina.

Income $50,000 USD/year secure (many diverse overseas investments) and a tourism business currently at $120,000 or so per year (I own a botanical garden) .
Additional income from fruit groves and tilapia ponds $15,000/year.

Profession : Gunsmith, nursery grower, waterscaper, fish farmer .

Vehicles : Two 1970s Toyota Land Cruiser BJ40’s with 2.4 diesel engines, kept in top-notch condition and a 2 cycle Ez-Go golf cart set up [with tires and suspension] for all terrain.

Firearms : 2 Mossberg Maverick 8 shot 12 gauge shotguns (best pump gun ever made, never saw many broken in my 30 years of repair work ), Stainless Ruger 10/22, Stainless .223 bolt action in a custom bullpup stock, 2 Security Six 357 4-inch Rugers.
Ammo. 2,500 of each caliber and have reloading equipment-supplies.

Fuel : 235 gallons of diesel and 55 gallons of premium (stabilized)

Water : Gravity fed springs and 18,000 gallons of storage tanks, year round river, roof water capture system, 25 foot deep well

Improvements : 4,800 square foot main house, all high efficiency lighting and appliances.
Full wood and metal working shop.
Canning room, meat grinders, corn grinders, shrink wrappers, dehydrator etc.
One bedroom cabin with full kitchen near the main gate.

Rancho (like a tiki hut) seats 30 with a huge concrete smoker / barbeque and baking oven.
Another cabin with views down to the river and pasture below.
These structures are located so armed men can take out anyone entering the farm with ease. Big Iron gate out front surrounded by Bougainvillea (thorny flowering shrub-vines.)

Property tax: $90/year (Sorry guys, you’re paying for imperialism)
Gardens: extensive. One of the largest collections of exotic fruit and vegetables anywhere.

Livestock. 1,000 lbs of Tilapia and 500 lbs of Pacu at any given time.5 Goats.(2 milk goats, 3 goats for slaughter), 15 chickens at all times and 4 egg laying hens. 6 rabbits (so far..LOL)
Cattle are not sustainable. Too big to store the meat and use way too much water and acreage per head. I have one good trail horse.
There’s plenty of wild game and fish here but no need in harvesting.We all have livestock and many folks have ponds
Dogs: 2 American bull dogs that will shred anything I tell them to.

Security : Various cameras and motion detectors throughout the property with an early warning to me before the sirens alert. Its a full perimeter system with indicators so I can know precisely where the target(s) are.It has full battery back up

Food storage: Maybe one year for us and the critters but not really necessary here.

Communication : Cell phones, full intercoms throughout the farm.

Hobbies : Taking care of my exotic plant collection and building everything I need.

Next project. We have good, strong year round wind here, so I am working with the boys from Southwest on setting up a Skystream 3.7 [grid-tied wind generator]. Once that is done I’m doing an underground walk in freezer.

Background : Grew up in semi-literate southwestern Virginia, escaped 25 years ago to semi-literate rural Miami. I got tired of the political lies and (designed) ignorance of the average American voter and bailed to a truly free country that has no Nazis running it or nuclear weapons pointed at it. This is the most mellow, real place I have ever experienced. It’s like Fiji without being so remote. I first came here in 1986 for an orchid show and I knew this was my escape spot.18 years later I sold everything I had, put my money in real currencies, and took off! A one way trip. Pura Vida! (pure life)

Side note : When living in any Latin American country the rules are [essentially] the same as up there [in the US]. Even Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala are no problem provided you find the right spot and immerse yourself into the culture.
Stay far, far away from large towns and beaches. Get in the mountains in a small farming community. Where I live there is very little poverty since everyone has a chunk of land and most are craftsman and farmers. There are many Costa Rican and South American medical professionals here and many are retired but own farmacias and even make house calls! My neighbor is a cardiovascular surgeon with a huge macadamia farm.

Another plus down here is there is no need for heat or air conditioning, and nearly all of the water systems are gravity fed. No need for electric!
Fish, chicken, rabbits ( small meals) and fruits and veggies. No refrigerator required.