Guest Article Part 3
Adjust the Bison Plan in the 2nd guest article to fit your needs but hit these points.
Junk Land – your FIRST purchase.
What is “junk land”? This is land that few people want. It is usually outside city limits (good for us, less laws) It usually has few or no utilities ( good for us, we won’t be relying on them come the collapse) It may have limited access (mixed bag, road access helps you get to it, but may help raiders, tax men, and bureaucrats find it too). It is often smaller (or bigger!) than other more valuable lots in the area, making it less usable. My lot is too small (at 20+ acres!) for any of the farmers or ranchers in the area to have any interest in, and too far from town at about 10 miles to interest most others, it was a state land auction sale and no one else even tried to bid.
Junk land should be your first significant purchase. IF you can’t find any land in your price range in the area you are now? Expand your search area. Plan to move to where you can buy outright cash on the barrel head or with simple, low payment, short-term owner financing. Don’t even try to bother getting a bank loan on it even with stellar credit. If no place within biking distance of employment is available in your price range in your state, you probably have to change states or give up the bike element of the plan (bad idea but can be worked around if you are VERY careful). MD Creekmore, James Dakin, and others in the survival blog sphere all recommend this as the primary element of your long term survival plan.
If somehow you are in worse financial shape than Jim, you can do the tent or vehicle camping while squatting on public land or changing parking lots every few days. Yes this is basically being homeless. But while working even part time collecting cans you should be able to eventually find yourself a legal place to park your shelter. Better yet, if you can save enough to get the junk land you can build your own earth sheltered shack like Jim (the BPOD) to supplement or replace your other shelter. This should absolutely be your first goal while hitting up the soup kitchen for your meals.
If you are in better shape financially than Jim don’t spend a lot of it on land, keep your property purchase small/ near junk in value. Taxes will eat you alive when you lose your job if the land isn’t ‘junk’ enough. Instead use your money to secretly improve the utility of the land, and get your other preps in order, or get multiple lots of junk- you can always sell or abandon to the state ones you don’t want/can’t use.
Avoid any place with a lot of zoning rules or an HOA or nosy neighbors that will interfere in your use of the land. They mean you are too close to town or in too populated of an area.
If you get a windfall or can otherwise arrange it, see about legally ‘homesteading’ or otherwise protecting your land for the future, maybe with a living or revocable trust? That calls for a lawyer but if you have the money knowing a lawyer is good practices anyway. Just making certain that your descendants won’t lose it by accident or easily sell it for 3 magic beans, give you a legacy that will survive you, and the descendants may acclaim or curse your name for it, but they won’t forget you.
Shelter – What to get next.
Unless you are willing and able to build your shelter out of local materials on your junk land in less than a month you will need to find some sort of affordable shelter right away. Or if you can’t find the junk land at this time for some reason, you will still need shelter, and a travel trailer or RV fits this bill pretty well. It also allows for some element of mobility should your junk land become completely untenable. You can park it in a parking lot at Wally mart, or a theme park, or at a rest stop, or a campground or any other vacant land you can find. Heck you can use it to take vacations in if you have that sort of luxury! Almost no one thinks twice about your buying a travel trailer – they certainly don’t think it makes you a survivalist unless you make it obvious with armor and gun ports.
Since I am still on the hunt for one myself I won’t get into travel trailers further other than to say to check thoroughly for leaks and other suitability (if your allergic to mold, or formaldehyde, or….).
But travel trailers have some major draw backs. For my situation, -40 degree winters for months at a time is one of them. So you will also likely find the need for other shelter beyond your trailer. An earth sheltered structure of some sort is usually ideal; it can be a hole in the ground with a roof, or a deluxe 4000 sq. ft. concrete bunker bermed with 6 feet of dirt on all sides. Your available resources will mandate what you can get. I highly recommend doing as much of the work yourself as you can and use as much local materials as you can. Avoid zoning, keep it small and simple especially if you have to deal with a building inspector, and don’t initially call it a residence. Call it a ‘root cellar’ or ‘storm cellar’ or garage, or tool shed, or whatever you can to avoid the bureaucrats attention. You can always add on later if you plan for it initially. More than likely the first draft building you make won’t be completely to your liking and you will have to rebuild it or build another elsewhere on your junk land so plan for that too.
80 year olds, and pioneers with no experience, both built their own structures - you can too.
Plan, plan, plan, and take advantage of the current surplus of our industrial age, plastic, glass, metal, and most of all insulation are the things you should be bringing to your land to build with. Lumber, siding, stone, and concrete should all be minimized (expensive, hard to haul, attention getting). Junk yard and salvage finds are your friends, as are auctions and social networking. Lots of people throw out things even now at the start of the collapse, that you can make lots of use of.
I personally like the idea of bermed earth bag buildings and passive annual heat storage, but your plans need to be yours and need to take local conditions and resources into account...
Your shelter needs to be water proof. Ventilated, freely draining (no water proofing can survive water pooling against it all the time) and easily heated (small is good here). I also recommend making it fire resistant, above the likely flood level, easy to clean, easy to maintain, and disability friendly- you will get old and infirm eventually.
Something you can enclose quickly is a good idea. Once enclosed you can work on finishing the interior, making it pretty for the mate, etc.
And since you own the junk land, if you decide the structure isn’t to your liking for some reason, use it for a while as you build what is more to your liking. Then utilize it as storage or for a relative or tenant!
Water/Food – to be building up slowly
Don’t go spending thousands of dollars on freeze dried foods. At least not until you are done with the junk land and shelter! Instead pick up a couple hundred pounds of untreated whole kernel wheat at the local feed store, and some pounds of rice and beans from the grocery store every shopping trip. Also double up on any good priced shelf stable goods you are already consuming. If there is a sale on something you usually buy that can last a couple months on the shelf, pick up 2-4 times as much as you usually would. This will quickly build up a cushion of food. Slowly introduce you family to the wheat rice and beans as a diet staple a including it in a few meals a week at least.
Spend the money for a couple of slow drip water filter elements Berkey, Katdyne, etc. These use no power , should be cleanable, and good for thousands of gallons of drinking water. You will probably also want to use the 5 gallon water jugs used on water coolers for drinking water storage. 1 gallon per person per is the recommendation so a single person needs 30 gallons for a month. I found this is incorrect. It is easily double that just to drink and cook with. If it is hot out and there is no available lower quality water you can triple or quadruple it! That is a lot of water storage. BUT you don’t have to have it all in special containers. Know how to turn off the water to your house, hot water tank, and other such things and you suddenly have more water for emergencies (and obviously you need to know how to get to the water.) If you are living on junk land, you will want a cistern. As big as you can afford to make. Read up on it, there is lots of info on cisterns. Do not rely on just a well with a pump – drought and power outages could leave you dry. Have rainfall collection supplies, even if, like in much of the west, it is illegal to harvest it now- as the collapse accelerates it are unlikely anyone will care eventually.
Rain fall collection supplies are easy- a couple of screens, some barrels, and a modification to your rain gutters will work. Or rain collections can even just be a tarp draining into a kiddy pool until you can afford or make better.
Once your Junk Land is bought and Shelter is built. You should begin caching extra water and food supplies. Cache, cache, cache.
The tax man, raiders, nosy neighbors, nosier relatives, etc. They WILL find you on hand and most convenient preps. They will use, abuse, seize, and steal them. Fire Flood and pests will destroy them. You will be left with nothing but hopefully the clothes on your back. A cache or dozen of your most essential supplies will allow you to withstand these sort of setbacks. And of course all those setbacks can instead be visited on one or more of your caches instead, or, as well as your prime storage! So more than one cache is recommended.
Some future continuous source of food is recommended and needs to be planned for. Expect the hunting to be extremely picked over as the collapse accelerates, same with the fishing, and for gardens and livestock to be targets of theft. Trapping and guerilla gardens may be an option for your enviorment, look into them and plan for them in advance. Eventually the hunting and fishing will return and gardens and live stock will be less targeted. Plan for that as well.
Lord Bison goes on at length about the advantages of a bolt action rifle.
I will not go over that much here other than to state that I mostly agree with many of his reasons. And AMMO, AMMO, AMMO, AMMO, AMMO- you can’t have enough.
But security is NOT just a matter of guns. You need to also defensively landscape, setup alarms, watches, traps, etc. Also make yourself look poor. Really poor. Like 3rd world landfill squatters would pity you poor. And if events around you have negatively affected others (raiders, plagues, etc.) make it look like you too have been effected (burn marks above any windows, trash strewn about, quarantine signs, etc.
Don’t be a target, and be the hardest poorest target you can be.
I recommend a side arm be worn at all times, concealed or not. In your hovel, or working in the garden. Also a knife, the biggest you can that doesn’t violate law or get in the way too much.
And don’t neglect the ‘archaic’ weapons. Swords, staffs, canes, bows, slings, axes, hammers. The government might come for a few of them as well as the guns and ammo, but so many of them are ‘tools’ or can be easily improvised and or disguised. Know the basics of how to use them all, practice a little every once in a while, you don’t need to be a ‘master’, just competent with the basics will put you well ahead of most muggers, etc. and able to cost an attacker more than they intended to pay for their assault. Remember your rock paper scissors game as a kid? It applies to weapons for defense too.
For example a knife beats a fist, a cane beats a knife, a staff beats a cane, a hammer beats a staff, an axe beats a hammer, a sword beats an axe- from a range a thrown stone beats them all, a sling beats a hand thrown stone, a bow or cross bow beats a sling. And a gun beats them all close or range- if, and only if, it has AMMO!
But what wins against even a gun is running away and hiding before the fight! Keep your shoes in good repair and leave if the situation seems a little risky. Only fight when your back is against a wall and no other options are there. Remember – “violence is the last resort of the incompetent”. (If you think about it that quote can mean many different things…)
Bike and Transportation –
I personally find it hard in my situation to completely give up motor transportation. Small town rural living and building on my junk land need at least something to haul stuff from a hundred miles away. But when I am not hauling from a hundred miles away I am using a bike. So is the rest of the family. It is a weaning process for us. We have just started biking to the homestead (junk land); it is far enough out of town we only do so for the ‘adventure’ of it for now. But I am going to be in good enough shape next year (unless I back slide over the winter) to start doing it weekly.
Bikes should be kept simple – few to no gears. Flat free tires, big enough for you to ride comfortably.
And they need to be tuned up every so often. Chains tightened and lubed. Tires inflated. Brakes checked. Etc. Much of this is do it yourself. There is no need to pay a mechanic for most things.
Then you need to ride the bike. Daily. Bikes are still cheap enough you will find things you do and don’t need and will be able to afford to get now as the collapse is just starting. Get them as you discover them. Expect to need to replace your bike a time or two as you wear it out, and discover exactly what your environment calls for.
The good news is you can put down using it to “getting in shape” which is half true after all. You are getting in shape. Shape for surviving the PODA both physiologically and financially.
I personally found fenders (aka splash guards) a use full addition. A Trike with a basket behind the seat keeps the spouse happy to go grocery shopping via bike. Cool bling keeps the kids happy to be riding.
Places to carry cargo that are removable are nice. As is a bike trailer.
But you MUST use the bike daily ASAP. You can phase into it. A couple days a week to start with. Then go weeks then months with all your routine trips done mostly by bike. Then reduce your car bills (tell the insurance company it is just for driving on special occasions less that 1200 miles a year and get a big cut) - and eventually eliminate the car.
Or just sell it immediately if you are afraid you don’t have the necessary self – discipline.
Also don’t neglect your footwear. Business loafers and most sneakers are purely for appearances sake. Get work boots, hiking boots, snow boots, and heavy duty work shoes that fit well and are made with quality from a company with a good reputation. Two sets of boots if new should set you back at least as much as the bike. If you luck into some used ones, that is great, then you have less pressure on buying the new ones. But you must have the new boots. You can expect post collapse, even with repairs, to be going through a pair of cheap foot ware every 6 months or less. For quality you can extend that to at least 3-4 years with minimal repairs. Don’t forget the footwear repair parts and tools. Once you find a brand of boots you like after wearing for a year or two buy some new ones, and polish and treat the old pair before putting them back as spares, get a new pair every year or so when you can afford them and you will soon have a stockpile of footwear to last your life. Don’t forget also woolen socks, nylon inner socks, and laces. Stock up now, they will never be cheaper.
Actually that last line applies to many, many, things.
The cheapest time to buy groceries was? Answer: yesterday (actually last century about 1960 –ish.)
The best time to get _____ was? Answer: Well before you needed it.
I am not a medical doctor. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. That said-
Everyone has already told you to buy first aid supplies, bandages, painkillers, anti-biotics, etc.
You should also have been growing medicinal herbs and collecting some, and learning first aid, firefighting, and general emergency response.
Keeping in shape and having a healthy diet is probably the cheapest thing you can do to prevent medical issues. Don’t forget to wash frequently and brush those teeth!
Now while there is still a decent infrastructure is the time to get any bad teeth pulled or filled, and any other medical things dealt with that you can.
Don’t wait to have that odd growth checked out- if it is cancer this year it can probably be treated. If it is cancer 2 years from now it could be fatal. The same goes for any slight medical issue. Address it now while you can.
If your doctor wants you on prescription medicines find out if you can supplement or reduce the dependence on them with holistic or herbal remedies or lifestyle changes.
I had a good friend who died young because he would always refuse the lifestyle changes his diabetes needed him to make. He obviously was not a survivor. Learn his lesson. Make the lifestyle changes you need now.
A diet of daily leafy greens and vegetables. Low fat high protein in your main meals. NO processed junk. Simple whole grains and beans for your basic calories and bulk of your diet when leafy greens and veggies aren’t available. Don’t go hungry but don’t eat more than just enough to satisfy your apitite.
When you can do it by hand, do so. When you can’t, do as much of it by hand as you can.
Try not to eat more than you expend in calories- until post collapse, then staying ahead of calories expended might be harder, but that’s why you prep, right?
Don’t focus on weight – focus on the ability to DO- to lift, carry, bend, stretch, walk, bike, row, run, etc.
Lord bison tosses around weights all day as part of his job. If you are a cubicle drone (like me) find other things to do on the side that helps make up that lack. Building your shelter and other improvements on your junk land would help fill that bill.
Your homework is simple, take the headings we hit on over and over again above. Write in how you plan to survive in that category when you get laid off in the near future. Imagine it happens in a way that means you will probably never again find good paying full time work. Now, use your plan and survive, and leave your children more than they would have had otherwise.