Time and Planning, Pt. 2, by 3ADscout

(Continued from Part 1.)

Learning from history about older technology and ways people lived is great knowledge but having the knowledge without the “tools” still leaves a gap in your preparedness. Finding the tools and devices of bygone eras will also take time. Scouring antique shops, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and attending auctions takes time but again the time spent can be productive use of your time in several different ways. It can be quality time spent with the family. It can also be used to teach our children about the past and what “things” were used for. Negotiating a price is developing or practicing a skill that will be needed in a post-TEOTWAWKI barter economy.

If you attend an auction knowing what “things” are, makes your time there more productive. Looking at a bunch of “Junk” lined up in boxes on the ground is not a productive use of your time. However, if you used some of your time to research and learn prior to attending auctions and other second-hand markets you won’t necessarily always see “Junk” but an old piece of technology that will save you and your family lots of time post-TEOTWAWKI.

I was at an auction a few months ago and happened to find a box of M1 Garand rifle ammunition clips that I picked up for $7 and then a medium size tackle like box filled with hundreds of older military firearm parts for $65. I saw two older gentlemen looking at the M1 Garand clips and asking each other if they knew what they were. I picked up a reproduction Sear’s and Roebuck catalog several years ago and use it to learn what older things are that are no longer used or produced.  Knowledge truly is power. Make sure you are using your time to gain some.

Knowing about and having technology of a bygone era is one thing, but do we know how to use it, and use it effectively? Like everything preppers do, we have to make sure we have the skills developed from using our tools to be truly prepared. I really enjoy the use of my 20-volt lithium power cordless tools but I make it a point to occasionally uses a good old-fashioned hand saw or bit and brace instead of the more convenient tools of today. One it is some good exercise, two my son gets to learn how to use the older tools, three it helps keep the tools functional.

Time Is Money

I read a lot of articles/blog post about having stuff for all the “downtime we will have” in a post-TEOTWAWKI life. Not to say that there will not be downtime but I think people, for the most part, believe they will have much more free time on their hands than they will in reality. We need to have realistic expectations of post-TEOTWAWKI life if we are to be as prepared as possible to survive it. As the old saying goes “time is money” and the reason for that is time equals time for production, production equals goods. Whether those goods are for sale or for use by your family they are still worth something.

Our supplies we have stored for TEOTWAWKI are finite. They will, at some point, run out.   So, let’s use fire wood for example. I often see where people have 3 to 4 seasons of firewood put away. This is an example of somebody who understands time and its correlation to survival. With chainsaws to cut, tractors to haul logs, and log splitters to split, firewood production is done at a much faster place thus more productive pace than 100 years ago. Using our time now and taking advantage of time saving devices to store up on firewood helps ensure our survival and more importantly save us time in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

Certainly, we can’t store everything we need for post-TEOTWAWKI. As we discussed earlier in this article, we can save time by good strategic planning. Where do you see your time and time of group members, being used in a post-TEOTWAWKI day? My thought is getting water for human, animal and plant consumption will be a daily task. Food production such as planting, weeding, watering, pest control, harvesting and harvest preservation will also take much of our daily time. This also applies to taking care of our animals for food too.

The Heating Imperative

Gathering firewood will also be a task that many of us have to contend with to ensure our survival over the colder months. Having younger kids assigned to pick up sticks that can then be used for fires/heating is a good use of time. As we become an agrarian society again, we will also need time to maintain our tool, such as sharpen blades on sickles, knives, saws, fixing leather harnesses for beast of burden, tending to fences and repairing buildings.

Security is also a task that will require time out of our day. I can’t stress enough how important learning from history is to our survival in a post-TEOTWAWKI life.   Recently my wife and I were watching an episode of “The Walking Dead”. As they try to re-build society one of the communities has a blacksmith and another community sent one of its teens to apprentice. Good job “Walking Dead” writers, in realizing that people did this before the Industrial Revolution. Then the teen comes up with bags full of “nails and screws”. I started to laugh and my wife demanded to know what was so funny. I told my wife that screws are not made in a forge, and a blacksmith making nails in this story is ignorant. In the 1700’s and 1800’s people would burn their homes down when moving and then go through the ashes and recover the nails and use them to build another home once they got where they where going. Not suggesting that people burn down building in a post-TEOTWAWKI world but the point is what can we learn from past to help survive our future? “The Walking Dead” is clearly fictional but we know that much misinformation comes from post-apocalyptic television and movies. Crack a non-fiction book if you want knowledge.

Time or Money, But Not Both

The interesting thing about time is that it seems like we have time or money but seldom both. I suspect that isn’t true for everyone but when I was in college and then when I was just starting out my career, I had more time on my hands than money, but as I advanced in my career, I found my income went up but my available “free” time to work on preparedness projects decreased. Now I look at projects and wonder if contracting them out is the way to go.

We recently had a new pole-barn built and addition added to our BOL home. It was important that we get these projects done so that we could expedite our move there early this summer. Money can’t buy you time but it can be used to contract projects out but this can be very expensive. I needed the pole barn done primarily to store much of the equipment and supplies that was in a room that was going to be worked on as part of the addition project. One of the things I did to keep the cost down on the pole barn was not to have the contractor put in electric (they did put in conduit underground for the wires however).

I am also finishing the workshop inside my barn by adding insulation material, lighting, and plywood on the walls. We are also putting the gutters on ourselves. So even if you decide that a project needs contracting out to get done quickly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the contractor has to do everything.

Remember that our time is finite so let’s use it wisely now to help ensure our survival tomorrow. I hope this article was also a worth your time and leads you to using your time more efficiently.


  1. An additional consideration is that when our society was agrarian, families had many more children, because children are also a “time-saving device.”

    Sometimes I get teased because I like to do my housekeeping the old-fashioned manual way. But it’s more physical, and I don’t have to go to a gym to get my exercise.

  2. Grid Down farming will be a sun-up to sun-down task. Providing security will be a 24 x 7 task. If your group is large enough, you can take a break from gardening to stand watch, but small families or individuals cannot do this. Good argument for building your group into a reasonable sized unit.

  3. 3ADscout,

    The Dutch in me loves your article. Productivity is more than just getting things done as you’ve pointed out very nicely!

    Use your time wisely is a biblical directive I remind myself of often.

  4. 3ADScout…As one who has lost much time due to poor, or no, planning, I appreciate this reminder. You also offer a quiet lesson regarding collaboration. I am grateful to have married a woman who is more planful than I am.

    We would do well, she and I, to recruit others who could complement our skills.

    On a different note, I was curious about your assertion regarding burning down a house to salvage the nails. So, I looked it up and found this:

    I found some details about this practice at Colonial Williamsburg, offered by the master blacksmith there:

    By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, nail-making had become a specialized industry in advanced economies…

    Throughout the colonial period, reasonably priced English nails were readily available in coastal cities, limiting the need to develop a substantial nail-making industry in the colonies. That is not to say that nails were not made in the colonies, but rather that nails were readily available and reasonably priced as imports… William Allason, merchant of Falmouth, Virginia recorded in one inventory that he had about 750,000 nails on hand. These were the product of workers back in England…

    I often hear the statement that “Nails were so expensive that when moving, people would burn their houses down to save the nails.” This is partially based in fact. In the 1640’s, here in Virginia, the legislature passed an act that “…forbade the burning of buildings for the nails…”. Some historians jumped to the conclusion that buildings were burned to save nails, because nails were horribly expensive. This seems like a logical explanation for such a drastic act, until you consider the circumstances in which an entire building would be worth less than the nails used to build it…

    The act went on to specify that if you had a building that you intended to burn for the nails, you could have two honest men estimate the number of nails in the structure, and petition the legislature. The legislature would give you the estimated number of nails in exchange for NOT burning the building. I suspect that this law may have been aimed at controlling wildfires more than at the cost of nails.

    Several of the sites note the urban legend nature of the assertion. The lesson here is to be careful of a statement that sounds “logical” without adequate background.

    I submit that our friend 3ADScout brings that lesson forward in cautioning us about assuming we will have lots of “free time” in a grid down world.

    Carry on

  5. I learned a lot about this by speaking to the father a of a friend who grew up on a farm(1000acres worked with horses) and how things got done and equiptment used(horse powered plows,cutters,rakes,mills etc). On smaller jobs dogs were used to power washing machines,mills etc. Do not forget the use of wind for pumps,mills etc

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