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Yeoman Agrarian
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Adapt to Survive, by Elizabeth B.

You are incredibly mistaken if you think you can store up enough to see you through bad times. You are wrong, dead wrong. When I say store up, I'm talking, food, provisions, tools, barter equipment, and whatever.

The key to survival will be adaptation, just like in nature. Those who survive will be those who can readily adapt to a changing environment. I know many of you are sitting on little mountains of barrels, cans, packages and feel like you have an edge. Simply put, you will not be able to squirrel away enough.

What happens when the stash runs out?

I was shocked to read this week (October 31, 2008) when a SurvivalBlog reader wrote:
"Is there a good book that you can recommend on food storage for someone like me that is on a budget and wants to "do it myself", but not go so far as `grow it myself?' "

How long will the bad times last? Who knows? What will you do when the stash runs out? Barter those silver and gold coins that no one can eat?

Survival skills depend on knowledge and practice. If you have children, take them out of soccer and dance classes and immediately put them in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. Look until you find a good troop or better yet, join up, take the required training, and begin your own troop. You will influence more lives than you can possibly imagine. You and your children will have outdoor living experiences that will see them through the rest of their lives. Did you ever cook your food over a wood campfire and lie on the ground scanning the
night sky for meteors with the smell of smoke and coyote yelps lingering in the air? Scout troops teach children community living and cooperation, both critical survival skills.

Read everything you can until you become familiar with survival concepts and theory. Then you need to begin to practice, practicing daily. First of all, move out of your apartment into a house. If you can't afford to buy, then you shouldn't be storing food. Rent if you can't buy. You don't have enough room to practice and store your supplies in an apartment, no matter what anyone says.

Here is a short list of skills you and your loved ones need:

* Water: Harvesting, storage, filtration, sterilization

* Gardening: How to plant, save and store seed, make soil, propagate.

* Fire: Get rid of that propane tank and charcoal briquettes, practice fire-starting with a variety of materials that you find. Build many types of fires. Accumulate a couple of iron items such as a good grill or tripod, dutch oven, lifters, and work gloves … learn how to cook over coals, on a plank, in a box oven, in a trench, in a hay box, in a tin can, in a rocket stove…know how to dry and smoke … know how to build a fire anywhere on any surface and how to improvise safe surfaces. Buy as many matches as you can. Matches are an excellent storage item. They'll never go bad and will be a high demand item.

* Shelter: Practice making shelters from as many materials you find on hand for a variety of conditions. Sleep outside in different weather as often as you can. You'll grow to love it and will discover the night sky.

* Solar cooking. Make solar cookers from boxes, aluminum foil, glass jars. Practice, practice, practice throughout the changing seasons

* Tools: Know how to clean, sharpen, store tools; get very familiar with your ax and saw and hammer and pliers. Feel free to stock up on nails and screws and wire.

* Cooking: Unfortunately, the current generation of young adults really knows practically nothing about tasty and thrifty food preparation. This is easily remedied. You eat multiple times a day. Look on each meal as a practice event. If you have children, shut down the smorgasbord of choices for each picky eater. Everyone needs to know how to eat beans and rice with a few additions such as meat for flavoring, herbs and spices to make each meal new and palatable. Make soup a daily fare. It won't matter if you have thousands of dollars of food stored if it is not familiar foods that people enjoy. There is no SPAM or tuna in my storage. I won't eat SPAM, and I'm morally opposed to eating tuna due to depletion of our oceans and crashing fish populations. Learn to eat more simply now, today. Eat each meal at home, don't eat out. Practice serving vegetarian meals at least once a day. Terrific cookbooks like Apocalypse Chow and Backpacker's Recipes can point you in the right direction. Can you bake bread in a dutch oven? Can you make pasta with wheat and a pasta machine?

* Food. I saved this topic for last because it is so huge. First, buy some sturdy gardening tools from Craig's List. The older ones are better. Read up, talk to gardeners, go to free community gardening events, and begin now, yesterday was already getting very, very late
to learn this skill. Food is going to be much more important than just stashing and hoarding. Real freedom comes from being responsible for your own food. When you are out of the apartment, you'll be able to prepare for your chickens. True, you might not be able to house them right now due to city or HOA regulations, but the time will come. Be ready for your little chicks and their fabulous eggs. You need to plant fruit trees specific to your zone which will thrive. It takes three years or so for fruit production. In my incredibly tiny area I have pomegranate, olive, apples, figs, blackberry, strawberries, and bananas. Look on every square inch of your yard as an opportunity for food supply. Practice container gardening -- you never know. Composting and mulching cannot be overstated or overlooked. You should never throw another scrap of fruit or vegetable away again. Get a dog for the other food scraps, friendship, and protection. Invite wild birds into your garden. Learn what the sun requirements are for specific plants and what your garden can supply. Include edible native plants that you know you can serve in a pinch. I have mesquite, roses, cacti, lilies, and edible flowers. Learn to eat a huge variety of foods. Learn to prepare a huge variety of tasty foods. This will truly be the key to survival in the future. My Great Depression-era father thought that pickled pig's feet, cornbread crumbled into buttermilk, pinto beans with cornbread, and greens were some of life's greatest pleasures. Picky eaters will not be survivors. Complainers will not be survivors.

Finally, forget the batteries. They won't last forever and you can't buy/store enough for the rest of your life. You are contributing to the toxic waste stream by buying batteries. If you just insist on having a flashlight, then go buy a case of Faraday flashlights that work on the principal of magnetic induction. A radio is actually a terrific idea. Get a hand crank dynamo or solar radio. Like I said, ditch the battery idea. Prepare to adapt to a new life. [JWR Adds: Be warned that most of the Chinese-made "dynamo" hand crank radios on the market are very flimsy and are unlikely to last more than a month of daily use. I recommend the BayGen radios, made in South Africa. They are built to last.]

Critical issues such as waste removal, weapons, spirituality, residual recycling, and community need to be in the back of your mind, but that is for another essay.

As you reach for an item in the store, ask yourself this question: What if I could not buy this today or ever again, would I miss it? What could I use instead? Can I do without this today and forever? Rethink your lifestyle and prepare for another test of adaptability that may be thrown at humanity. Throughout time, we have been tested whether it has been by ice ages, wars, famine, or plague. If you can adapt, you can survive.

I'm only speaking in generalities because it is up to you to adapt to survive. You need to find out the information for yourself and think of new ways to live. Survival is not only about surviving, it is about living and enjoying life. It's impossible to teach someone everything
there is to know, at some point you have to depend on yourself. Check YouTube.com for endless videos on any subject in the world. I've improved my vegetable growing methods by learning from experts on YouTube. In the end, your existence will depend on your own mind and your own heart and your own hands.

[JWR Adds: While Elizabeth has made some excellent points, she has overstated her case for adaptation. There are some critical uses for both propane tanks and rechargeable batteries that justify their inclusion in preparedness planning. Granted, they represent finite
supplies. But I'd rather have them in reserve for a critical situation and not need them. The inverse is not appealing. (Needing them, but not having them.) Imagine if you needed to conduct impromptu surgery. Would you prefer to perform a surgery by the light of fat oil lamps?

I disagree with her assertion about not storing extra tools. Tools will be worth their weight in gold. A lot of things can be improvised and adapted, but high quality tools--especially those with tight tolerances cannot. You can probably improvise a plow, but you cannot
improvise a Unimat lathe. And consider this: With a Unimat lathe (in properly trained hands) and given enough high speed steel stock you can build just about any tool including another Unimat lathe. Thus a "stored" tool can be eminently useful for "adaptation. "

Lastly, keep in mind that preparing to survive in a warm southwestern climate is considerably different than in cloudy, cold northern climes. The colder the climate, the deeper the larder that you'll need. (Since growing seasons are short, and in some years with early frosts you will have hardly any garden yield. Stored fuel (firewood, coal, et cetera) is similarly important in cold climates. There may come a year when you cannot cut a fresh supply of firewood--say you break a leg or have a major illness. That is why it is very important to have several years worth of firewood on hand.]
 

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I am whatever I say I am
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The point of stockpiling food is to be able to "ease" into the new situation while not worrying about where the next meal will come from if the garden fails or the hunting trip goes bad. In fact, it SHTF big time (total collapse), one would want to live off the stockpiles and not really start gardening until after the first die-off during the first winter.
 

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Yeoman Agrarian
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The point of stockpiling food is to be able to "ease" into the new situation while not worrying about where the next meal will come from if the garden fails or the hunting trip goes bad. In fact, it SHTF big time (total collapse), one would want to live off the stockpiles and not really start gardening until after the first die-off during the first winter.
Right, but some people's only plan is to stockpile. Some people have no plan for when their stockpiles run out.
 

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I think stockpiles are for the times when family shows up with nothing. I know, I know send them on their way if they do not contribute. I would rather have a nice stockpile just in case and then work on adding to it from natural means. Such as hunting, growing a garden and possibly foraging for wild edibles. I don't plan on sending my family away and I know that they will not and have not thought about what is coming.

For this they will have to learn to hunt and garden, which I think they will become fast learners if they want to eat. Just my opinion on stockpiles, there just in case.
 

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Exactly. In my little world I live "prepped". How one might ask. Because through the years I learned to ask questions and learn from others. Especially those old grumpy ones that live down the street.
Hobbies: hunting, fishing, hiking, shooting, wood working and carving.
Jobs done for preps/skills: Handyman/contracting. "older" car mechanic, Military.
Self taught or from friends: wild plants for eating and medical use, sewing (machine and hand). Food preservation, basic black smithing, tin smithing, leather working and a few others.

When I can, before I throw anything away. I scavenge all screws and bolts from anything mechanical as well as some of the mechanical and electrical stuff. Stuff I don't use I give to friends. Anything leather I scavenge, cut up and stored. Any special fittings I save. If you need a small screw for electronics, I have them. Need a 2" 1/4 20 I have them. I might even have that bolt for your crane....I'm sure I have something that would work. Everything stored nice and neat.
If I have to head for the hills then option "B" takes over and all of my "country craft" wood working tools come along. Everything I would need for back woods living. All else fails. Option "C" Gun, ammo, knife, and back pack is all that is needed. Everything in there for extreme survival. Then it's time to start making things for the long haul.
If you remember one thing...Remember: From one thing, you learn 10,000.
Prepared for living in todays ever changing world. :thumb: Adapt and over come.
 

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Wide awake
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I think this author is smoking some grade A, all natural, free range crack cocaine when she says that if you "can't afford to buy [a home], then you shouldn't be storing food". Otherwise, not a bad article. Incidentally, I take exception to that comment because my sister makes peanuts for a living and lives in a small apartment. It took her seven months or so to save for a $179 shotgun (following a year of my incessant nagging). How is she supposed to move into a house? At the same time, she has a closet full of storable foods that she has amassed over the past couple of years, bit by bit. If things get bad, I anticipate her moving in with me. Thankfully, she didn't listen to people like the Miss Elizabeth B., and will be able to bring some sustenance of her own. Again, good article; just setting the record straight.

In addition, I think the true survivalist lives as close to the austerity of a SHTF situation as possible and practical. The Marine Corps holds to the tenet of "train like you fight, and fight like you train". Those who continue to ride the comforts of life for all they're worth will be shocked the hardest when things get tough. I firmly advocate turning off the climate control, making/growing as much of your food as possible, canceling the cable, and spending as much time training (shooting, mountaineering, practicing survival skills, etc.) as possible.


_________________________________________

"Civilize the mind, but make savage the body."

Survival360.net
 

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Unless you can buy a home out of pocket, it might be best to rent. You are strapped to a home mortgage even if the shtf and at the current price verse what it will be worth in an impoverished society. I have a house and would gladly trade it for 10 acres of nice farm land, and a shack.
 

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Wide awake
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Unless you can buy a home out of pocket, it might be best to rent. You are strapped to a home mortgage even if the shtf and at the current price verse what it will be worth in an impoverished society. I have a house and would gladly trade it for 10 acres of nice farm land, and a shack.
Yep. Concur with that phillosophy.

_________________________________________

"Civilize the mind, but make savage the body."

Survival360.net
 

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Amen !! Ths is what I have been saying for a long time. I do have food stocks, but these are more for a short term power outage due to storms and such. If things get really bad and I have to leave, I'll take some sustinance with me but I cant carry it all. I have been interested and practicing survival skills since I was a child, 40 years or better.

Being from the woods of Pa. these skills were just a way of life. Skills passed down from my grandfather and father. It is the root of what and who I am. There is so much to learn and still learn.

Best to test your skills whenever you are out. If one thinks they are going to go out into the woods and live, without knowing how to do these things, they are only fooling themselves. Maybe you can start a fire, build a shelter, aquire water, hunt and forage. Thats great, but are you confident you can do it for an extended period of time ? Can you make or repair clothing, make the things you will need. Not to mention having to take care of not only yourself, but you family as well. Are they as compitent in the woods as you are? This adds to the situation. The more you and they know, the better off you will be.
Preps are great. I plan to stay put as long as possible. I already have food, shelter, water, heat and clothing right here where I am. I take every opportunity to get into the woods to camp and practice just to stay tuned up. If and when the time comes, I'll be as ready as I can be.
It always amazes me how little a man really needs. The rest is just stuff.
 

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I agree with this article. On most survivalist lists that I belong to survival is about the skills that are needed for survival. Any idiot can store food, it takes skills to survive and make our lives better. The more skills we have the more we have to work with the better our lives are no matter if TShas HTF or not. If all a person has is stored stuff then they are only prolonging the time it takes for them to die off. The more a person lives self sufficiently the more their mind develops the ability to think of ways to meet a challenge. People who have other people do everything for them and they pay for it never develop the thinking skills that will make them a survivor.

The best part about skills is that a person doesn't need to have a whole lot of money to learn them. I always wonder at people who say if I only had more money I could get prepared. A library card is free, helping out the neighbors and learning from them is free, giving time to charity where you get back skills is free, studying the neighborhood is free.

I would take a person with skills showing up at my door 100 times faster than I would take someone with a truckload of store bought stuff showing up at my door. The skilled person may prove useful, the consumer is just a dinosaur that hasn't learn it is or should be extinct yet.

blt
 

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Prep to LIVE a good life!
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Thanks HeeHaw for this posting.

It seems that though there are a few people out here seeing survival in the big picture , most spend their time talking about guns and ammo and fantasy doomsday scenarios (& of course they always kick butt in those). But the words of Elizabeth B are right.

Being prepared is more than what we have cached away somewhere. It's about being able to do more than survive. We must know how to live comfortably, no matter what the scenario. I for one would rather live life like the early setters did than like vagabond Rambo.

Besides the stockpiles, knowledge & implementation of "living" skills are what we work on regularly. It may not be our day-to-day life right now, but we can morph into the "old ways" pretty seamlessly.

Besides, farming, canning, etc... can be a great way to spend time as a family or community group. If nothing else it provides a welcome break from the city Rat Race.
 

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Pretty good post I enjoyed that thanks, I didnt agree with all of it but some sound advice there. :thumb:

This isnt covered by any copyright wotchamacallits is it? We've already been there with survivalblog
 

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Thanks HeeHaw for this posting.

It seems that though there are a few people out here seeing survival in the big picture , most spend their time talking about guns and ammo and fantasy doomsday scenarios (& of course they always kick butt in those). .
:thumb::thumb::thumb: I am so glad I am not the only on who sees this. My wife and I are constantly amused by the gun toting, barrel-chested "Doomsday Mercenaries"
I thouht this was a well written article and it sees through to the heart of survival in my opinion!
 

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Inglourious Basterd
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If you think that everyone is going to have their own garden to live off the grid, then why would farmers not still be producing thousands of acres of crops like they always have? If we experience Nuclear fallout our soil will be poisoned for centuries. If we have prolonged nationwide drought ,our ponds will dry up ,our wells will dry up and crops can't grow without water.If we experience a rise in pestilence our gardens and fruit trees could be destroyed.Airborne pathogens could also taint our crops.Diseases may kill our livestock. As far as hunting ,if food is scarce , the deer and other wildlife will be poached into near extinction. So IMO, I'm just gonna keep socking away the big 3 (ammo , water and food) until I think I have a years supply on hand and rotate accordingly.
 

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Skills are absolutely important, and I agree with you on that, but what's wrong with rechargeable batteries and a solar panel or hand-crank charger? (There's minimal waste stream contribution there...)

Just because we develop the skills to live successfully in the Stone Age doesn't mean we should automatically revert to that when SHTF. I know how to make a club to swing or a sling for throwing stones, but I still have an AK-47 and some '39...



I think balance is the key. Skills are your fail-safe, and stockpiles, while finite, are there to help you manage more successfully and postpone that worst-case scenario.
 

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Even though we are stocking up, we also garden. If it would come to it, my sister has a farm...way out. She has the land,water, horses and cows. A brother has pigs, we have chickens. Another sister has wood (tons of it)
A plumber, and electrician, a railroad welder, 2 roofers. Everyone hunts.
3 vietnam vets (army, marine)- 1 WW 11 vet (marines)... 2 Iraqi vets (marine)
Everyone brings something to the table-even if it's not food...

Almost forgot...1 doctor-1 surgical nurse-2 other nurses
 
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