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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few days ago I started reading a new book, it's called "War on the eastern front by James Lucas." War on the eastern front is a collection of personal experiences based on diaries from German soldiers.

The majority of books I read are non-fiction. This is because I like to know what real-life experiences people faced during times of hardship. For example what were some of the issues that were faced during the Black Death?

Why did I pick a book on the eastern front? We know the German army failed to defeat the Russian army due to two things - the harsh Russian winter, and resupply issues. Those are the two main issues taught in just about every world history class.

On page 4 of "War on the eastern front", it is noted that author A.J.P Taylor said "while his opponents were rearming for a great war in depth, Hitler rearmed Germany in breath. Everything for the front lines, but nothing for a second campaign."

Hitler was so sure the German army could defeat Russia in a single season, there were no plans for a long drawn out battle during the Russian winter. Nor were plans made for the following year, much less a war that lasted another 4 years.

How does this relate to survivalism

If you have adopted survivalism as a way of life, a lot of what you see, read, hear and do is somehow related to survivalism.

When I read how Germany had prepared in breadth, but not in depth, it snapped that a lot of people prep for SHTF/TEOTWAWKI in the same exact manner. The majority of preppers stockpile 4 - 12 months of supplies, but have no viable plans for a long term SHTF situation that may last 2, 3, 4 or more years.

If you put the majority of your resources into prepping for a short term disaster, what do you have if a short term SHTF situation turns into a long term situation?

Stockpiling is not a long term solution

Over the past century there has been a trend of moving away from growing your own and canning what you grow, to buying freeze dried, dehydrated foods and storing food in mylar bags. The problem with buying manufactured food, society slowly loses the knowledge of being self-sufficient.

What are your second, third, fourth,,, layer of preps?

How are you and your family supposed to resupply for the second year?

What about the third year? How are you going to refill the pantry?

Long after the #10 cans and mylar bags have been emptied, where will your food come from? Once that #10 can of freeze dried food has been eaten, how are you going to replace that food?

Will you be able to plant that empty mylar bag to grow fresh bags of mylar full of rice?

Stockpiling food in mylar bags, stockpiling #10 cans,,, stockpiling a non-renewable food source is a dead end street. Stockpiling food is like stockpiling time. You and your family only have as much time as you have food.

Self-sufficiency is the only long term solution


What did people do before our modern big-box-mart? They grew their own, stored their own, then bought and traded for what they needed. People learned how to work the land, plow fields, raise livestock, developed ways to preserve food,,, so that they were able to feed their families through the seasons.

My grandmother and grandfather had cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, guineas, and they preserved a lot of the food they raised in the garden.

A few weeks ago my dad told me how him and my grandfather would fill their small barn full of corn, corn that was used as livestock feed. I imagine they saved some of the corn to replant the following year. To keep rodents out of the corn my dad would go out to the barn a night and shoot mice with 22 shorts.

The 13 hens my wife and I currently have lay around 7 - 10 eggs a day. After my wife and I get moved to the farm, we plan on increasing the chicken flock to somewhere around 30 - 50 chickens. With a handful of roosters my wife and I should be able to develop a long term self-sustaining chicken flock. Long after the freeze dried eggs have been eaten, the hens will still be laying eggs.

Why did early settlers plant pecan trees? Because pecans are ready to harvest around the end of October, and store well through the winter.

Why have certain breeds of chickens such as the Barred Rock, Dominicker, Rhode Island Red and Buff Orpington maintained their popularity? Because they are hardy chickens that are well suited for the homestead.

Why did settlers bring goats, sheep, cattle and pigs with them? Because humans and livestock form a mutual beneficial relationship.

Long after the powdered milk is gone, the sheep, goats and cows will still be producing milk.

Conclusion

For those of us that are prepping for a multi-year, long term SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situation, stockpiling food is just one aspect that we should consider.

If we want to develop a well rounded survival plan then we need to move past "just" stockpiling food.

My personal feelings on this issue - the United States is going to hell in a handbag. Corporations control our government, the federal reserve prints money out of thin air, North Korea and Iran continue to develop their nuclear programs, our cities are turning into cesspools.

Various nations of the European Union are going broke, some of which are looking to communist nations such as Russia for a bail out.

It is just a matter of time before something has to give.

If you have the opportunity to buy land in a rural area please do so. Buy the land and if nothing happens in your lifetime, pass the land down to your children and grandchildren.

Teach future generations the skills that have been lost to the winds of time. Skills that may one day save their lives.

It is not only for myself that I prep, it is also for my children and my grandchildren.
 

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First, let me say Kev that I really appreciate what you've done with this site. I spend more time than I probably should on it.

I completely understand that in order to be truly prepared, we need to have the skills and resources available to us to be self-sufficient in the long-term. However, for many people, including myself, I just don't believe that that's something I can realistically do without completely overhauling my family's entire life.

Currently, I live in a mid-sized town (about 60,000) in an otherwise highly agricultural area. There are hundreds of miles of farmland in every direction. In order to be completely self-sufficient, I would need to buy a farm, practically quit my job, and take care of growing crops, raising animals, and everything else that entails. Granted, I could do a lot in my spare time and keep my current job, but I wouldn't be truly self-sufficient. Am I willing to uproot my family like that? Absolutely not.

Realistically, if my family is prepped for about a year (working toward that now), in a real WCS there will be other survivors after a year. It's hard for me to believe that some kind of cooperative system wouldn't naturally arise among survivors to grow food since that's already done in the areas immediately surrounding our city.

The other problem I see with moving just outside town is that it's hard to defend a farm against a lot of well-armed (most people here are, even non-preppers) looters with starving kids.

Of course, I suppose that I could move into a very sparsely populated area, quit my job, and be a rural farmer. However, I'm just not willing to do that. Am I taking a risk by doing so? Of course. But I would also be taking a guaranteed loss (total loss of my family's current life) by doing that when it might not be necessarily helpful to do so (gasp, a WCS might not come about in my lifetime).
 

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First, let me say Kev that I really appreciate what you've done with this site. I spend more time than I probably should on it.

I completely understand that in order to be truly prepared, we need to have the skills and resources available to us to be self-sufficient in the long-term. However, for many people, including myself, I just don't believe that that's something I can realistically do without completely overhauling my family's entire life.

Currently, I live in a mid-sized town (about 60,000) in an otherwise highly agricultural area. There are hundreds of miles of farmland in every direction. In order to be completely self-sufficient, I would need to buy a farm, practically quit my job, and take care of growing crops, raising animals, and everything else that entails. Granted, I could do a lot in my spare time and keep my current job, but I wouldn't be truly self-sufficient. Am I willing to uproot my family like that? Absolutely not.

Realistically, if my family is prepped for about a year (working toward that now), in a real WCS there will be other survivors after a year. It's hard for me to believe that some kind of cooperative system wouldn't naturally arise among survivors to grow food since that's already done in the areas immediately surrounding our city.

The other problem I see with moving just outside town is that it's hard to defend a farm against a lot of well-armed (most people here are, even non-preppers) looters with starving kids.

Of course, I suppose that I could move into a very sparsely populated area, quit my job, and be a rural farmer. However, I'm just not willing to do that. Am I taking a risk by doing so? Of course. But I would also be taking a guaranteed loss (total loss of my family's current life) by doing that when it might not be necessarily helpful to do so (gasp, a WCS might not come about in my lifetime).
Here is where I think the problem lies. I m not calling you anything bad but I just need to correct what is a concept that many have but is incorrect.

We do not need hundreds of acres to gain our independence and we certainly do not need to live out in the country. Many, MANY city people grow much of their own food, have off grid systems, and work with each other to survive. I began working on community gardens and community small livestock for several years now. Areas in big cities and small towns are being set aside so people can grow their own food and raise their own animals. A wonderful program called "No Lawn Left Behind" helps individuals become more self sufficient with their own land. Mad City Chickens is a group here in Wisconsin that is state wide and goes around helping people set up small livestock area in urban areas. It is concept that is spreading all across the nation. One of the things they bring out is that in WW2 70 to 80 % of all food consumed in the United States was grown on less than 1/2 an acre lots.

If they could do it back then, we can do it now!:D:

But many have become so separated from their food that raising it has become a big mystery that only farmers with thousands of acres of land can do. That mystery is slowly be dissolved though. More and more people are learning about the freedom of taking care of one's self. They are learning how to find land, turn it to being productive, change laws that were written in the 1950s and 60s that take away people's rights to control their own lives.

It takes getting out and doing it, but that is what America is about, rolling up our sleeves and changing the world. Every time America was down, it was her people who brought her back. They worked hard and changed the world. We're slowly seeing that happen again. :thumb:
 

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i agree with kev ,,,the most dependable way would be to provide for yourself ,,and i can see how some can not like willthrill says ,,,,but i dont think it has to be only one way,,,

the way i see it is its the skills that are needed,,,and these can be gained even in a city,,,you may not be able to become selfsuficent there but you can get the skills needed to grow your food in a limited way

i believe if TSHTF the citys will become death traps even for people that have a years worth of food,,,the thugs are not going to the country when joe down the street has been eating good for the last month ,,they are going to bleed the citys dry befor they move out into the country

so to survive your going to need to get out at some point in time

now here i am ,,in the country raising my food ,,,garden ,,some small livestock ect,,,
along comes joe with the last of his stored food in the packs his family are carrying,,,right beside joe is fred with almost no food but everyone in his family is carrying tools ,,,shovels /rakes/hoes ect
i can help out one group untill the garden starts producing ,,,who do you think i will pick??
 

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Very insightful

I agree with all said. I only have two acres but am already maximizing our growing area. Our area is slowly relaxing residential animal laws so we will have chickens soon but I am hesitant to sacrifice too much growing area for farm animals. I believe some neighbors will naturally turn to cooperative ways of thinking but the largest problem will not come from that source.

In developed countries like the United States, such a large portion of our population has no inclination toward self sufficiency that conflicts will be the norm, not the exception. And not only our large welfare population, but also a lot of our urban dwellers will naturally flock to those better prepared for self sufficiency.

A major factor in self sufficiency will be the ability to defend what you have also. Wether you stockpile for a year or prepare for self sufficiency, make sure you are well armed and prepared to protect your family, your home and your ability to produce what your family needs.
 

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Well I probably have one of the smallest lots on this site. I'm on just over an acre.I'm hoping to buy the 5 next to me. But my point is is that I just started gardening this year and am trying to be a little more self sufficient. Hubby said we have to get the other land before I can get chickens :( but we've been looking into rabbits recently. I've also planted a few fruit trees. I don't think we can be 100% self sufficient. But we're going to do the best we can until we can get more land somewhere else.
 

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Well I probably have one of the smallest lots on this site. I'm on just over an acre.I'm hoping to buy the 5 next to me. But my point is is that I just started gardening this year and am trying to be a little more self sufficient. Hubby said we have to get the other land before I can get chickens :( but we've been looking into rabbits recently. I've also planted a few fruit trees. I don't think we can be 100% self sufficient. But we're going to do the best we can until we can get more land somewhere else.
I have 480 acres and I am not totally self sufficient. I don't believe anyone can be. That why we humans reach out to each other on forums like this, because we know in the long run we need each other. :thumb:
 

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I guess I'm going to have to play Devil's Advocate here. As we all know it is unrealistic for millions of people to suddenly flee their homes and "live off the land" if and when the S hits the F. But by the same token it is unrealistic to think that most of us can, as you recommend, either move to rural areas now or purchase land in some secluded rural area. Goats, pigs, and turkeys? Thirty to fifty egg-laying chickens? Cows for milk? A grove of pecan trees and a barn full of freshly harvested corn? Not going to happen.

I, like most people in the world, live in a city. I, like most renters in America (according to the NMHC), live in an apartment building, which means that I don't even have a back yard to keep a hutch of rabbits or plant a vegetable garden. Yes, I have preps that are "wide" but not "deep." But remember, when running a race you don't have to be the fastest person alive. You just have to be a little bit faster than the guys behind you.

If my preps keep me alive longer than 98% of the population of my city, then that means in year two or four or ten, I'll only be competing for resources with the remaining 2%.

Can I have horses and goats and chickens? No, but I can prep so that when I am competing with fewer survivors I can hunt or trap pigeons or squirrels. Can I have a reliable source or running water or even a well? No, but I can prep so that I'll be able to supplement my stored water with what I can gather. Can I harvest an acre of private land and store the food in a root cellar? No, but I can prep so that my balcony and kitchen "garden" continues to supply me with fresh herbs and sprouts.

"If you have the opportunity to buy land in a rural area please do so." Ok, but I can't, and neither can most people.

"Stockpiling food is like stockpiling time." Exactly. I am buying myself time. If I use that time wisely, keep my head down but my tummy full, stay out of trouble, and prepare to defend what I have, then I just might make it to the point that other options become feasible.

I live in a valley with two million other people, surrounded by the Mojave Desert. Most of those people have three days’ worth of food. I have a few hundred times that amount. Most of them will be thirsty by the end of a day after their taps stop working. I won't. Most of them have a box of Band-Aids and a half-bottle of Tylenol. I trained as an EMT. Most of them will lock their doors and pray when the cops can no longer save them. I do armed security and I've spend untold hours at the range and in training courses. Most of them will be caught completely off guard, and those are the other runners that I just have to be faster than.

Yes, my preps are "broad." My job, should things truly go south, is to still be here when almost everyone else, due to their lack of preparation, are gone. For that I need time.
 

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Many, MANY city people grow much of their own food, have off grid systems, and work with each other to survive. I began working on community gardens and community small livestock for several years now. Areas in big cities and small towns are being set aside so people can grow their own food and raise their own animals.
I wish it was possible to do in cities, but the fact is that most have very strong restrictions on what you can do. Some places go so far as to see people fined for a silly useless potbellied pig pet because the city considers it livestock and therefore banned.

Try to bring a rooster inside most city limits and you could be wading in fines by the end of the first week.

Pile on top of that most HOA's insist on your place looking like their vision of suburban utopia. Try plowing a row of corn in your front yard where I live and the HOA will try to sue you out of the neighborhood.

For most in the city you are limited to "guerrilla sustenance" by hiding what you have below the fenceline in your back yard and it has better be of the silent variety. That pretty much limits you to rabbit raising for meat.
 

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A problem is see with people who live in the city is waste. What happens when the lights go out and sewer systems stop or back up? What are you going to do with dirty water? No garbage pick up?
It will not be long before the worry and stress of gangs roving around take place with worry of rat's, bugs and disease. Fires accidentally set by candles or propane with no fire department to put it out. Bucket brigades will not work because there will be no water. Where is the human waste going to go?

Kev is right when he speaks about self reliance.
If you can afford to eat out, go to bars, spa's live the city life, perhaps you may want to use that money to purchase a few acres of land.

I'm a woman, the amount of money spent at spa's, getting hair and nails done, massages, eating at restaurants can make a land payment every month. I don't know how much men spend for luxuries.

It just depends on what is important to you. Living for the moment or preserving the future and livelihood of your children, grandchildren.
You don't have to pickup your family, quit your job and move out but having some land is a good security net.

Think long and hard about what is important. Do we know if something is going to happen in our lifetime? No we do not. It's not looking good right now. We do know that at some point in time our country is going to go through turmoil. Be prepared. It's what your ancestors did for you.
 

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I've thought long and hard on just what Kev is saying.

My ultimate plan is to move to a place where I can become at least mostly self sufficient. Partly for Prepper reasons, and partly because that is the life I was raised in and just plain want to return to.

For now, the short term preps I have will allow me to survive long enough to figure out how to survive long term. Not a good plan, but the best I got.


I bet I'm not alone.

**Short term or long term are relative terms. In Kev's post, and in this thread, two years is short term. Even though most would consider a year long term**
 

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For those of us that are prepping for a multi-year, long term SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situation, stockpiling food is just one aspect that we should consider.
If we want to develop a well rounded survival plan then we need to move past "just" stockpiling food.
My personal feelings on this issue - the United States is going to hell in a handbag.
Amen...and thanks for what you said.

Wifey and I had a wake up/schooling this past week. We went to our cottage/bugout base/retirement home to work all week. We both got yucky sick with some stomach virus (source - eating out one day) that knocked us completely off our feet for 2 days (I was ready to dial 911 at 4 in the morning). Total, we lost 4 days of work. We barely made the drive back yesterday evening so we can go to work tomorrow. We're still not 100%. I left fence posts laying in the yard, new porch steps 1/2 completed, 3 trees still in the containers and unplanted, and a list of simple projects untouched. Basically, 1 week's vacation lost.

Lessons learned - 1. You can't make it on your own. We were at the mercy of the virus since we both got it at the same time. Thank God it wasn't anything worse (imagine you and your wife getting influenza at the same time during a pandemic). 2. Be prepped for the little things and have extras of the big things. We had to go to Wal-Mart at 6AM just to get more medicine. That won't happen again. Before this, I would have scoffed at you if you questioned our medical prep. 3. Eating out is over-rated. I've never gotten sick eating my own cooking.
 

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Kev, I could not agree more with what you said if I had written the post myself.

The only thing I took issue with is that you failed to acknowledge that while, yes, a self sufficient and self replenishing lifestyle is the ideal prepper/survival way of life, it is not feasible for some people to acquire that lifestyle at the current time.

For some people it is financial. For example, I am currently unemployed and trying to get work. The only income I have right now is the rental income I have from the rooms I rent in my home. As well, like many others, the work I am looking for is of a sort that requires me to live in an area where urban settings and populations are accessible. I have neither the financial ability, nor the skill set, to be able to up and move to a rural setting and make a living of it, let alone to a BOL in the middle of nowhere.

Don't get me wrong. If I had the money where I could move to a rural setting, let alone do nothing but work the land and animals, I would do it TODAY. On the other hand, I have a mortgage that, if I sold my house for top dollar I'd be lucky to break even on. Add to that I have Student Loans that I swear my ghost will still be paying in Heaven when I am gone, and I just cannot walk away from the type of employment I need to find in order to pay off my debts ASAP.

There are MANY other urban and suburban dwellers in a very similar situation.

As well, there are those who are preparing for a more short term SHTF, rather than TEOTWAWKI, type event such as a flood or severe weather, an earthquake, etc. For them, 4 - 12 months stockpiled food is MORE THAN ENOUGH to get them through. They don't feel the need to be able to restock, because they are more concerned with preps to get through a short term that with TEOTWAWKI. They feel if they can get through the short term, things will go back to normal.

Realistically, I think for most people 4 months to a year is going to be plenty to get them through any event they encounter. Personally, I am concerned with a number of TEOTWAWKI scenarios, and do what I can to prepare for that longer term eventuality, but there are limits to what I can do.

I am lucky to have a good sized home on a good size lot in a suburban area. I have put in a garden, fruit trees, and numerous food plants. We dehydrate, preserve, and can as much as we are able every year and supplement that with fruits and veggies we buy when there are good deals. I fully recognize that I have insufficient land space to sustain myself and my group in the long term, and as soon as I am able I plan to rectify that. There is little I can do but stock in high and deep until then.

One other point I'd like to make is that, for those of us without a self sustaining BOL or unable to acquire one for whatever reason, a year or more of supplies (assuming we can maintain and hold them from potential aggression, looting, or disaster side effects) will be plenty for most well planned preppers in the short term and here is why.

I fully recognize that my situation, with bugging in being my only realistic choice for most events, is not a long term sustainable one. This means that I have planned for the fact eventually I will have to seek out another location to sustain us. I have planned to leave this location after the initial and secondary threats have lessened, but long before my stored food situation becomes too dangerous.

Recognizing what we must do, and making adequate plans to act on that in advance of when the time comes, can be crucial as well.
 

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There are limits to what we can practice and not everything is predictable. As such, practice as much self sufficiency as you can. Self sufficiency isn't just dealing with food and water and defense. It is increasing problem solving skills, developing talents and skills that will be of value to others, learning how to build and fix things, developing better social skills, and networking and building resources in people in advance. It is being emotionally and mentally prepared to deal the the harsh realities of a societal melt down, the cruelty of desperate people, the ability to quickly let go and adapt to a different lifestyle, personal loss and to be able to manage the anxieties and depression that would naturally occur with most of us under severe circumstances so they don't hinder or paralyze our ability to get through...
 

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Have you ever tried to be self sufficient by raising animals on a farm? It's very difficult to do, in fact I've been raising chickens for many years and 99% of everyone I know that raises chickens actually loses money!

If you sell eggs you are barely breaking even, you will pay more for the feed than you'll get for the eggs, even at three bucks a dozen, and that's a hard sell since the stores sell them for a dollar a dozen.

If you try to butcher them you'll pay more in feed than the chicken is worth. When I started I butchered my chickens until I realized I could sell a chicken for ten bucks and go to the store and buy two ready to cook chickens for the same price.

I didn't start making money until ten years later when I realized I could hatch the eggs and sell the chicks and actually make a little money. Most back yard farmers will tell you they go in the hole every year, it's not worth the extra effort unless you are very money wise, are a good buisness person, and find the nitch market to get into.

Of course if the world ends it will be good to have everything in place and prices will go sky high, but in the mean time it will take a lot of time and most likely you'll lose money, ask any back yard farmer. They don't make money, they do it for fun and most lose money every year.
 

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cchardwick makes a good point. You can often buy meat and eggs for less than you can raise, if you raise with purchased feed. Rabbits can be suplimented with wild forage. A fenced warren can provide some pasture. Free ranging chickens, even part of the day, can take a big bite out of the feed bill and keeps the lawn and weeds trimmed and bugs down. For meat, think goats vs. beef. They are like deer and do better on weeds, shrubbery (which can be a problem if you don't adequately contain them) and woody plants. Even if you don't save money, you will have much better food AND more importantly be practiced at raising your food. I know many people who think they will just plant a garden if times get tough. Those who garden regularly will likely be able to live largely off what they grow. The inexperienced will not.
 

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I am the king of spare parts and redundancy. When I buy a weapon, I buy spare parts for it. I have six sources of or ways to make water, from stored bottles to calcium hypochlorite.

I have regular batteries, eneloops, imedions, solar battery charger, a charger that will work off 12v DC or 120v AC. I have candles, paraffin-fueled lamps, LED flashlights, LED light strings, incandescent flashlights, and solar-rechargeable landscape lights.

I just hate single-point-of-failure designs. Redundancy. Spare parts. It's my mantra!
 

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My BOL is 45 minutes from here on 20.2 acres, one mile from a river (as the crow flies). I find it ideal.

I have a well and some chicken coops (but now no chickens). All my chickens were killed by predators because I don't live there. I rent part of the acreage to a local farmer to graze his cattle. It helps offset the taxes and gives me an agriculture exemption.

Unless you live on property, you aren't going to be able to practice this stuff very efficiently. I have tried the permaculture thing and have a few old pecan trees and some walnut trees along with wild blackberries and I planted a couple fig trees.

It's not easy and it's a long trek but it's worth going out there weekly. I know I have a ton to learn and would like to erect a permanent structure for shelter. I do have problems with neighbors cutting my field fencing to bring their 4x4s onto my property to hunt. I have yet to catch them on the actual property, but it's going to be a bad day for them.

Aside from the little that I have done on the land, I am a full-fledged prepper (which was easier to do) with guns, gear, ammo, rotated food, LTS, water, filters etc...

I don't really know how easy it would be to transition to a life out there because it is still very primitive even with a working well (although not manual yet).
 

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For myself, I store food to get through the initial stages, but I also have a garden growing. What if the land is not workable for a while? What if my garden (or your chickens) get destroyed? The LTS preps are for the initial hurdle but all avenues should be explored.
 
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