We work best when we have a deadline, so our preparation began in October 2008 with hopes of reaching our goal in seven years. Our son, who is a university professor, became convinced that we had seven years to “prepare”; we were not sure of exactly what we were to prepare for though. (We thought perhaps he had changed his name to Joseph, since the Biblical Joseph had seven years to prepare before the seven years of famine.) We decided to join him, because it couldn’t hurt to be ready for any calamity. Our half-hearted efforts took on urgency after we read Michael Cahn’s book, “The Harbinger”, and listened to his explanation of the warnings God is giving America in seven-year increments. The 2008 stock market crash was about the time our son started us on the preparation path. Only a little more than a year remains until the seven year stint is completed. We stand amazed at what we have learned and accomplished in the last five and half years! Our son keeps reminding us that we are “practicing” for the real event.
We live in a rural community and had five acres of land, but the opportunity came to purchase our neighbor’s house and land, so we now have 24 acres (and an extra home). Our son has planted fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and gardens to harvest heirloom seeds. This required a diesel tractor, diesel storage, implements, and lots of reading to learn how to practice. The reading has led to an extensive library, both paper and DVD. Construction included a hardened storage room, a rabbit shed for 18 rabbits, a chicken coop for 16 hens and two roosters, and a goat building for the 11 pygmy goats. Animals were never a part of our life, so this is a huge venture for us. We have town water, but we had our own deep well drilled, and we collect rain water to be more self sufficient. New chain saws help cut wood for the wood stove, which is used for supplemental heat.
We have learned to recycle and re-purpose, until it is now an automatic response. Tearing off a neighbor’s deck for remodeling provided free lumber for some of our projects. Free wood pallets have been very useful. Shopping has become an adventure to stockpile items like white rice, beans, salt, paper products (we NEED toilet paper), candles, blackout curtains, and things we like with an expiration date beyond 2015. Store specials provide products to save for the future and sometimes give free gas. Canning, food dehydration, and grain grinding are some of the skills we have acquired. Food storage with plastic buckets, oxygen eaters, and Mylar bags is now second nature.
Father and son took a free course to achieve amateur radio licenses, so they purchased some suggested equipment. A fire/police scanner was added.
Grandsons took hunter safety courses and practice on the shooting range on our property; they kill some animals in the woods during hunting season. Permits to carry concealed weapons were obtained for adults. Some weapons were purchased, and reloading skills are continually refined. Our property is not very defensible, so hopefully our friendly neighbors will continue to be friendly. Our small community works together, and everyone knows everyone. Being actively involved in community organizations fosters trust, so we are now busier than ever and have made many new friends.
Extra medical supplies have been added to our storeroom, including current medications. Feminine hygiene supplies are necessary.
An old treadle sewing machine is now operational, and supplies of thread, needles, and material are stored.
In case travel will be restricted in the future, we invested in family vacations, which included Disney World, beach vacations, and Niagara Falls. Camping and local day trips have been fun. Memory-building and family cohesiveness is emotional security for hard times.
A game, puzzle, and fun reading library has been created for use, if electronic toys aren’t operational. Many of these items were purchased very cheaply at thrift shops or yard sales. An old manual typewriter may have to substitute for our computer. (We were able to still purchase new ribbons!) Our grandkids have learned to play many musical instruments and can make their own music on the ones we have purchased– some new and some used. An old free-standing wind-up record player and records were purchased at a yard sale for more musical entertainment. (It has only one volume—LOUD).
When the power is out we use a generator, but we realize that gas may not be available. It also makes so much noise that the whole neighborhood knows when we run it. We have invested in some quieter solar panels and storage batteries but haven’t “practiced” with them yet. Oil lamps and oil have become part of our inventory. We are impressed by the output of the mini-candle lantern by UCO so are scavenging yard sales for tea lights.
We are on a budget track to be debt free by September 2015, unless something big breaks! Budgeting is a must as some “fluff” has to be sacrificed in order to buy items for preparation. We had one “farmyard sale” last fall, so the grandkids could earn money from what they helped to grow, and we have sold eggs (including hatching eggs), but there is virtually no income from our endeavor thus far. The cost of animal feed has been a surprise, so we are learning how to find ways to grow our own animal feed. Clearance sales have yielded clothes, including warm gear for our cold winters and shoes, in various sizes, for future wear. Zote soap has become an economical base for the laundry detergent recipe.
Our grandsons have become excellent “silver spotters” and turn gift monies and money they earn into junk silver dating before 1964. They have alerted us to old silver, and we have joined them in their hunt. Paying with cash instead of credit cards is a transition in progress for us, as we are conditioned to paying with credit cards and had gotten used to NOT carrying cash. Our son has invested in “lead and brass”, as he believes .22 shells will be a bartering tool in a cashless society and even now, since they are scarce.
Preparation is a mindset that enables us to react with a plan rather than panic. It is also looking at problems in a solution mode, so that we can figure out novel/inventive answers for overwhelming situations. We can’t know exactly what problems we will face, so we can’t prepare for every imaginable emergency. “Mother Earth News” magazine, Survival Blog, and numerous books, such as J.W.R’s “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” and “Patriots” have been helpful to teach us new information and techniques. Preparation is an awareness of what is necessary to survive. We have lived with ease and luxury and didn’t get down to the basics of life. What do we truly NEED to live? Essentials are heat, water, food, medicines, clothing, safety, and protection.
Planning, building, planting, harvesting, preserving food, fencing, studying, caring for animals, and storing supplies takes a great deal of effort. Prepping is not for the lazy, as it requires energy and hard work. Our multi-generational family has cooperated and helped each other to lessen the stress on individuals. We would not have chickens if someone else didn’t take care of them! I hate chickens, so my effort with them is to clean and cook the eggs. I am a “chicken hating grandma” (CHG). I have learned to tolerate them on our property, because of their efficiency in converting raw material into food. All ideas are entertained as we “practice” new life styles. Our family has grown closer as we work together toward our goal. The hard work ethic has been adopted by our grandkids, and they are excelling in school. This training will guide them for the rest of their lives, and we are blessed to be a part of it. The wide range of useful knowledge they now possess surpasses most of their peers and many adults.
As our deadline approaches, we have many projects still on our “to do” list. We are planning a cheese cave to be able to preserve the goat’s milk, expanding pastures, experimenting with grains and beans well suited to our climate, continuing to work with storing and filtering water, and devising a plan to help our friends and relatives, who think we are crazy, without depleting our supplies in the case of an emergency.
Our faith has also been strengthened as we study the Bible for clues to how God prepares His people in times of peril. He is our ultimate protection, and we are learning to trust Him completely. He has orchestrated provisions in unique ways and led us to knowledgeable people for guidance. We don’t face the future with fear but with confidence that God will honor our sincere efforts to be wise servants who have used the skills and resources He has provided to prepare for the unknown.
Probably the most important reason for our continued preparation, practice, and increased study is to fulfill God’s purpose. How can we be servants of God if we are not prepared to do His work? If we are unable to take care of our own house, how can we help others right theirs? While this “retirement” is not what I had in mind all of the years I worked as a teacher, His work, through preparing my husband and myself, our homestead, children, and grandchildren to be witnesses for Him to the less prepared has become my mission. We are to use our God-given abilities to help others, so that we “might bring forth fruit unto God” Romans 7:4b ASV. We are planning and preparing to be His instruments in a post-crash world.
When we reach our deadline of September 2015, we will be able to better adjust to whatever our world gives us than we would have if we hadn’t spent seven years in preparation. If there is no abrupt change, we will be in a better place to serve Christ. Just as God helped Joseph in the Bible, He will help our family through and at the end of seven years.