I’ve been a longtime SurvivalBlog reader. I’m glad to say that I’ve learned a lot from reading the blog. Herewith are my two cents:
I’m sick of city life. I’m sick of the endless traffic jams. I’m sick of the endless laws, rules, and political correctness. Yet I’m still here; I am not ready to move at this time. The main reason is getting more job experience. I’ve only been in the IT business for about a year and there is still much for me to learn. I’d like to learn more so that I can be more employable wherever I end up. I also enjoy writing and proofreading and would like to make a business of that as well. Small towns and rural areas have a lower cost of living, which is great – but the tradeoff of less people also means less job opportunities. My need for cash will not go all the way down to zero, so I need to be as employable as possible before I pick my new rural home. In the meantime, I’m prepping while I’m here.
Here in Southern California, the disasters I am most concerned about are earthquakes, riots, and electromagnetic pulse. I think I’m far away enough from the beach to not worry about a tsunami. Other readers may have different concerns depending on where they live.
Right now I’m the caretaker of my parents’ home. My father works overseas; my mother, who is retired, stays with him. This has given me a lot of practice at caring for a house, and it also gives me a chance to practice my prepping. Here’s what I do:
- First is taking care of myself. I eat a balanced diet and get plenty of exercise and sleep – most of the time. Very rarely do I drink sodas or fruit juice; those are pure sugar. I also switched to a different brand of pre-workout protein bar which has less sugar. I’m proud to say that I cook my own food. It’s healthy and it’s a great way to be creative! No gym for me; I jog in my neighborhood and stop every so often for pushups, situps, knee bends, lunges, etc. I swim at the beach. No gym fees, no contracts that are difficult to get out of, no lines for sweaty machines – works for me!
- I stockpile water and canned food. Canned food is easiest; I have meal-size cans of meat, beans, vegetables, and fruits to ensure a balanced diet. Canned foods require no refrigeration, no addition of water, and no other preparation – you can eat right out of the can. Sure, it isn’t gourmet eating, but it beats starving. I also stockpile vital stuff like toilet paper, paper towels, salt (“lite” salt for eating, regular non-iodized salt for preserving) etc. I stockpiled some sawdust in case I have to compost human waste instead of using a regular toilet.
- I have a garden. The tomatoes are doing very well; I made a big batch of tomato sauce today – the fourth in about as many weeks. I eat a fresh salad that includes tomatoes, kale, arugula, cabbage, mint, and chives every day. (Home grown tomatoes are so much better than tasteless, soulless corporate tomatoes.) Furthermore, this is the first year that my corn really looked good. In previous years, I planted the corn too far apart in nice neat rows. They did not pollinate each other enough, so the corn cobs looked very sorry. This year, I heeded my neighbor’s advice and planted the corn densely by scattering the kernels. Sadly, I did not store the corn cobs properly, so now they are only fit for feeding my neighbor’s chickens. On the other hand, I got some non-corporate eggs in return for the corn – yum!
- I have rain barrels; this year we received a lot of rain thanks to El Nino (Yes, in California this is not only allowed; it’s encouraged.) I use the water I collect to water the garden. I rinse off salad in a bin and then dump that water in the rain barrels to keep them topped up, but even so, the barrels usually run dry by August or September. Still, every gallon I use from those barrels is a gallon that doesn’t have to be drained from California’s reservoirs – and a gallon that I don’t have to pay for! In theory, I could drink that water in an emergency, as long as I drink through my LifeStraw, but that would be my last resort. (I have consumed creek water with the LifeStraw with no ill results – it’s a lightweight way to extend your hiking range!)
- I have a foldable solar oven. On sunny days, I’ve cooked enchiladas, spaghetti, one-layer cakes, and even bread. I learned the hard way that the solar oven does not get hot enough to kill yeast. One time I made a yeast bread and it rose all over the solar oven. That was a very sticky mess to clean up. Now I only use bread recipes that call for baking powder or baking soda. I also sun-dry clothes on the house balcony (after turning them inside out) whenever possible. That’s another savings of money, and there’s nothing like that fresh smell of sun-dried clothes! (I’m lucky that none of my neighbors smoke.)
My neighbor and I also make our own soap, using olive oil, coconut oil, essential oils (different blends for men’s and women’s bars), and a stick blender. I’m happy to say that I get along with all my neighbors. We pull in each other’s trash barrels, collect each other’s mail when someone is out of town, and keep an eye on each other’s homes. I’m proud to be the first Halloween stop for my neighbors’ kids; I always give them lots of candy!
Varmints such as raccoons and opossums are a problem, especially in freshly planted areas of the garden where I’ve mixed in lots of (homemade) compost. That’s why I don’t have a bean crop this year. Sometimes densely sprinkling red pepper flakes around new plants helps; sometimes it doesn’t. Shooting them is not a solution, unless I invest in an air rifle; but somebody would call the police or whine about animal cruelty, and I’m usually asleep when the varmints come anyway. (I need my sleep; I’m not going to sit up all night waiting to ambush varmints.)
Full Tank Fanatic
Other things I do: I’m a Full Tank Fanatic. Whenever my car’s fuel gauge shows ¾ full, I stop at a gas station. When you consider that (conservatively), even one gallon of gasoline means not having to walk 20-30 miles, you’ll appreciate that a full tank can make a huge difference! I’m also prompt about bringing the car in for service every 3000 miles. Whatever needs to be done gets done – no procrastination. Despite all the twaddle about car shaming (and now flight shaming), cars are absolutely vital. Public transit doesn’t cover most of my needs; neither does riding a bicycle. I can’t do major vehicle repairs, but at least I can jump-start a car with a dead battery and change a tire (yes, a full size spare tire, not a stupid “doughnut” mini tire!) That puts me ahead of many urban people. Lastly, I keep a portable battery jumper/air compressor, some spare clothes, some cash, a few cans of food and a manual can opener, and some water in the car.
There’s never enough spare time, because I have a full time job. So unlike some people on this blog who seem to live to prep, I prep to live. I have to fit in prepping whenever I can. The next things on my agenda are to renew my BLS/First Aid certificate, get back to martial arts (a weapon which can’t be confiscated at airports or courts!), and keep on saving for my move out of Southern California.
Now a last piece of advice on avoiding a major disaster: tell our leaders to do a better job. JWR has posted many times about telling our leaders to leave the Second Amendment alone. I agree. I also encourage SurvivalBlog readers to take a larger view. We should petition our leaders to reduce the sheer volume of laws and regulations that cover the United States and provide government officials at all levels with an opportunity to play “gotcha”. Instead, people should be left alone to live their lives in their own way as long as they are not harming or defrauding others. Instead of foreign interventions and “quantitative easing” (printing money) and the futile war on drugs, our government should facilitate expansion into space, which can be the source of valuable metals and clean energy. In other words, we can be preppers not just by stockpiling goods and learning skills, but by telling our government to do its job properly.
Seeking a Life and a Wife
Ultimately I want to switch to a lifestyle of less traffic, less 9-to-5 rat race, lower costs, more in tune with nature…and to be able to share that with a woman on the same wavelength as me. Finding a woman I can ride the river with is tough in Southern California; many are politically correct #MeToo flaming liberals who wouldn’t last long in a rural environment. I’d like a woman who I can get grubby with in the garden or hiking, but who I can take out for a night of ballroom dancing, and who shares my political conservatism. Perhaps I can find her in the country!