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Suburban Prepping: Good vs Bad

Suburb prepper

In the previous article the advantages and disadvantages of the city where discussed. In this article we’ll move out from the city and into the suburbs around the city. What is a suburb though, what differentiates it from the city and from rural? Suburbs are outside the city proper, typically have few if any tall buildings, and are mostly residential. Businesses will typically be small and centered around the needs of the community. With that clarification out of the way lets start with the advantages of being a prepper living in a suburb.

  • People – While suburbs aren’t usually packed as tightly as a city will be, there are a good number of people to draw upon for assistance after the SHTF. One thing you’ll probably have an advantage of is the skill set available. It costs more money to live in the city than the suburbs, so many of the trade skilled people will probably be in the suburbs like Plumbers, Electricians, and others with helpful skills.
  • Space – The suburbs are not densely packed, with most people living in homes with yards. This space also translates into a larger living space most of the time which equals more storage.
  • Garden – With the additional space comes the capability to grow a garden. Depending on the size of the yard it could be a large garden. You could also have room for a small Greenhouse.
  • Farm Animals – Every suburb is different, but many have zoning laws allowing some “farm” animals. Mostly it’s small animals like chickens or rabbits, but every place is different in what they will allow. If you can get some chickens going for eggs and rabbits for some meat you’ll have a little advantage if something happens.
  • Wild Animals – Most suburbs have more trees and grassy areas then a city so there will be more wildlife in the area to hunt and trap. Many suburbs have an overabundance of Opossum, Raccoon, rabbit, and coyote just to name a few. While not all of these may taste good they can all be eaten if you’re desperate enough.
  • Water – Just like cities, some suburbs have waterways running on top of the ground, while others have it underground. If you live in a suburb with above ground water you have a potential water source.
  • Foraging – With more space there is more possibilities for wild edibles growing in the area around you or in parks.

There are lots of possibilities for advantages if you live in a suburban area. Some are similar to city advantages like people and water, but others are unique to the suburban areas over the cities like more space and farm animals. On the surface the suburbs are looking pretty good as a potential bug-in possibility. Before that final call is made though, let’s look at the disadvantages to living in the suburbs.

  • People – Like the cities people can be a blessing or a curse. If you know your neighbors well you could all join together to help each other get through the rough times. Of course there are not nice people that live in the suburbs also, so you may have to watch you neighbors as a possible problem. You will also have to worry about people that are trying to leave the cities coming to knock on your door for help.
  • Aid – If it is a short lived event, aid will likely appear in the cities first and flow out. Depending on the size of the city and the location of the suburb it could take some time to get aid to you.
  • Water – This is another blessing or a curse situation. If the water is below ground how are you getting it? If the water is above ground is it even drinkable. If the water source is flowing into the city from your location you have a better chance of being able to drink the water once treated and boiled. If the water source flows by you after going through the city, drinking the water could be dangerous, especially after a disaster with people doing who knows what in the water.
  • Garbage – In a suburb you still have a large number of people with no place to put all of the garbage that people generate. Sure people in a suburb can pile it longer having more space, but eventually the garbage issue will get out of control. You might think you have enough space to burn it, but be careful around homes.
  • Heat/Air – While not always a problem modern homes in suburbs can have a problem with this. If you live in an older home in a suburb with a fireplace you have some way to heat your home a bit. Many modern homes are foregoing the fireplace or putting in gas with no chimney. The gas will run out and you can’t burn wood safely so it can be a problem. Air is a little easier since opening windows helps a great deal, but they are not designed for summer heat without the AC unit.
  • Death – People will die and their bodies will have to be dealt with. They can be buried or burned, but just like in the city they can’t be left to rot. Disease and rodents will be the result, which is a leading killer in a post disaster situation.
  • Fire – Though not as bad as in the city, most suburbs are still packed in pretty tight. A fire in one home could easily spread to another, especially if it’s windy and dry.
  • Traffic – You are one step further out from the city if your plans are to Bug-Out, but you will still need to be quick on the decision to leave to avoid the traffic. On the upside there are usually many different ways to exit a suburban area so walking out is a possibility.

Much like the advantages of a suburban area the disadvantages have many possibilities of bad things, but no too much over powering. Having more space and not quite as dense a population helps to mitigate some of the disadvantages, but they can still be a problem. Of course aid was a potential advantage in the city, but no so in the suburbs. You can plan for many disadvantages though if you know about them to mitigate them even further. Please leave a comment if you agree or disagree with my points or think I missed some.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

City Prepping: Good vs Bad

city prepper

Preppers come from all walks of life and all different locations. In any area there are perceived advantages and disadvantages. In these next series of articles I’ll be discussing these basic locations and some of the advantages and disadvantages that they have.

In this first article I’ll be discussing the possibilities of the City, but I feel I should define a little what “city” entails. For the purposes of this article a city has virtually no open grassland of significant size and most residents live in condos or apartments with very little to no yard. There will be parks, but that will be it. Within some cities they may have old neighborhoods that have been swallowed up and still remain that have yards, but they will be few. So that definition established let’s talk about the possible advantages of living in the city as a prepper.

  • People – If you are the community Prepper type and believe that people will/can band together and survive you are in the best place for it. In some cities hundreds could live in a single square block that can be drawn upon.
  • Aid – If it is a relatively short SHTF situation you will receive any aid that is available first, while people further out will have to wait longer.
  • Stores/Warehouses – There are many, many stores in which to find items of need in a SHTF situation. Whether your able to barter, buy, or scavenge there are likely many stores within a mile or so of your location to find what you need. Cities are also where the bulk of the warehouses are located before being distributed to the stores. There are of course more people to go after those goods though.
  • Water – This one is dependent on your city. Many cities were built along a natural water way, but how close you live to it is the question. Some cities have canals that run through at places while others are all pipes underground, but there can be an advantage if a water source is close.

The list for advantages is kind of short, but are potentially powerful advantages, people organizing for better defense and/or offense can be a game changer for many. If it gets bad enough that people are in open conflict with others for food the people with numbers will have the advantage. Getting any aid available sooner can also be a great advantage, especially if you are dealing with a chronic health problem. One thing people will need in a SHTF disaster is stuff, be it food and water, or sleeping bags and tarps, having many stores and warehouses available close by can be advantageous. So what are some of the disadvantages a city would have for a prepper?

  • People – Yes this was my leading advantage also. Looked at through a different lens the more people you have in an area the more chances you have for gangs and other criminal activities developing. The more people you have the more mouths you have to feed and clothe also. While a group can help provide security in a city, it can be a daunting task to keep it together and happy.
  • Water – Yes, this is another one that is also on the advantages list. The reason it is a disadvantage is because of the cleanliness of the water. While there are cities that have canals that run through it where you can get water it will likely be extremely dirty water. There will be viruses, parasites, and all manner of chemicals in the water. Unless you have a way of removing all of that, the water may be more dangerous than the people. For the cities that have no above ground running water you will find it difficult to locate water after a couple of weeks.
  • Hunting – In a SHTF disaster that is lengthy hunting/trapping can be a good supplement for your food. Most cities aren’t teaming with wildlife though so hunting will be difficult. Cities do have a large quantity of rodents, which means trapping may be possible, but they will go quick in a city of hungry people.
  • Garbage – People produce approximately 5 pounds of garbage each day. In normal times that will get picked up and disposed of, but if the grid is down and no one is working, it will sit around. Most disease outbreaks after a disaster is attributed with dirty conditions, and in a small city with 1 million people that is a lot of dirty. In a city with 2 million or more…….garbage up to your eyeballs. If it is burned the toxic cloud it produces can also be deadly.
  • Heat/Air – If you live in a city you likely will not have a fireplace to heat with and even if you do have a wood burning fireplace you will have the unlikely task of finding wood. Depending on the city, keeping cool will also be a problem. Cities are always as much as 5 Degs F warmer than the rural areas around it. If the temp is 100, it could be 105 in the city.
  • Cooking – You will require some kind of fuel to generate heat to cook with and in a city that may be difficult to find. Even if you are successful in catching something to eat, you will need to cook it for it to be safe to eat. If you burn garbage the toxic fumes it may put off could be worse than the rat meat uncooked.
  • Death – In a SHTF disaster with a duration, death will become a way of life for the people. The smell will be everywhere, along with flies and the disease that comes with rotting flesh. The estimates for survival in a long-term situation is not good for most and will be high.
  • Gardening – Cities have been referred to as the “concrete jungle” since I was a kid and while I haven’t been to every city in America, I have been to several and this statement fits them nicely. With all of the asphalt and concrete that gives cities this name there is very little dirt left. In many cities the only open ground is in parks, or medians of a road or highway. Most people also do not have a yard; all this together means that without ground to plant in a garden will be hard to develop. While some people can and will have small gardens on porches, balconies, or even a building roof, they will not be big enough to sustain someone that needs most of their food to come from the garden.
  • Fire – In a tightly packed city with people trying to stay warm and cook with open flame major fires are unavoidable. A fire in a city without running water, fire fighters, and equipment will be deadly and devastating. The only option will be to let it run its course and see what’s left afterward.
  • Traffic – If your plan is to Bug-Out then you better have a quick trigger on that thumb to say “load up and let’s go”. If you wait too long there is a strong possibility that the roads will be a mess, and getting out all but impossible. You could walk out, but since most ways out of a city are on the streets that are full of stalled cars and frustrated people, you walking by with a full pack may not go so well.
  • Foraging – There is a reason cities have been referred to as concrete jungles….their mostly concreate and steel. This doesn’t leave many areas where wild edibles can grow.

I have read about urban survivalists that believe they can forage and survive in a city setting just as well as someone in a more rural setting. While it may be possible it will certainly be an uphill challenge with the amount of factors working against you. Humans are very adaptable creatures though and some can and will survive in a cities. If you have other advantages or disadvantages or disagree with one of mine, please leave a comment.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

SHTF and your yard

Front yard garden

For many this may be a strange topic, but one of the things that people prepare for is a long lasting SHTF event. Some are envisioning a TEOTWAWKI event, but it could be a severe economic collapse that makes fuel a scarce commodity, and fuel will be used in a car long before a lawn mower. The topic is dealing with the loss of ability to mow your yard after such a situation. Many may be laughing at this point because I’m really trying to talk about yard maintenance after a major SHTF. Well I am, and here’s why.

If you were to let your yard go after a major event and you plan to stay in your house you will have an increased risk of many things. Letting your yard grow even 6 inches increases your risk of attracting mice and rats, as well as snakes. While some of the mice and rats will get eaten by the snakes, the snakes will not get them all and that means you are highly likely to be fighting to keep them out of your food storage. You will also be attracting more bugs, like ticks that can lead to other issues for you.

One of the major problems with letting your yard grow out of control is the risk of fire. When the grass is tall and the season is dry even a small spark (remember that fire will be the primary means for lighting, cooking, and warmth) can quickly turn your yard into a huge fire field. Grass fires spread quickly and if you have a wood sided house in dry conditions you may not have one much longer.

Many may not know this, but there is a reason that farmers always had their yards closest to their homes mowed as low as possible. Short grass is less likely to burn and if it does catch fire, the fire doesn’t move near as fast as a tall grass fire. One of the other reasons for the short yard is to expose mice, rats, and snakes. There are many predator birds that will help you keep the pests away if they can see them. This also makes it easier for you to see the vermin, so they can be dealt with.

You don’t want to be fighting the vermin for your hard-earned food and if they were to get into your house they can also carry many diseases. What is to be done is the question. Well without electricity or fuel your choices are limited; what follows are some ideas for dealing with your yard post SHTF before it gets out of control.

  • Garden – One option is to turn it into a garden…..the entire yard. If things have gotten so bad that you can’t mow your yard you probably are not going to the grocery store. Since you will need food you can turn as much as possible into a garden. What remains can be dealt with using manual yard trimmers.
  • Controlled Burn – Unlike a random fire, a controlled burn can be used to burn away the grass. This needs to be done when the grass is dry and the wind is very calm. Have buckets of water standing by just in case. Be very watchful or tamp it out when it gets close to the house. While this is risky it is a possibility.
  • Guinea Hens – While this bird is known for being noisy, they are good for helping to keep lawns in some order. As part of their diets that need greens and grass can be one of them. I have not had personal experience with them, so I can’t attest to how well they would do, and you might need to develop a way to steer them where you want them to trim, but they are natural grass trimmers.
  • Scythe – Many may not know what this is so feel free to google it. This is an old farm implement used for cutting grasses for harvesting. I have used one of these and with some practice you can get a good, with a mostly even cut.
  • Reel Mower – A Reel mower is definitely the easiest way to handle your yard. They are readily available at any hardware store and require no electricity or fuel. Many people use them now for energy conservation, low carbon emissions, and they give a yard a certain look that some people like.
  • Stone – You could stone or gravel in a yard similar to the rock gardens in arid climates. You will still need to trim in the cracks, but that can be done with clippers.
  • Kill it all – One of the methods used a long time ago, was to not have grass. People had so little space and spent so much time outside walking in their yards that grass didn’t grow in the yard. The earth became hard packed so much that people would sweep it of debris. In dry conditions, they would sprinkle water on it to keep the dust down.
  • Livestock – If you have livestock like sheep or goats, they would eat the grass for you. So instead of keeping the animals in the pasture area move them into your yard for some grass control.

 

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Gray House

Protecting-Property-on-Vacation-Pic

The concept of being a Gray Man for your person can and should apply to your house also. If you walk around in your blue jeans and a tee shirt, but your home looks like Fort Knox….you’re not succeeding at your goal.

How to ready your home for SHTF without looking like you’re readying your home. For decades police have advocated making your home unappealing for potential thieves and it applies here. You want to make your house look difficult to access without making it look like you’re ready for something.

Below are some easy improvements that you can do to your house to harden it, and do it covertly.

  1. Bushes under windows – You don’t want to block your view to look out, but you don’t want people to be able to reach your windows. Thick bushes will make it difficult to get right to the window, and prickly thick bushes would be best. A bush like a type of Holly is a good example of utilitarian bush to restrict access to your windows. A bush like a Blackberry (with thorns) is a good example of a bush that would restrict access to your windows, but also provide a food source for you. Both of these will grow taller though so pruning is required for them.
  2. Sturdy doors – Get solid wood or metal doors with a good deadbolt that is very secure in the door frame for all exterior doors. There are interior door braces you can get that will also aid in keeping the door in place and the problems out, which are easily put in a closet when not in use.
  3. Good lighting – At night like other pests, most interlopers do not want to operate in the light for everyone to see. Installing a well-protected and bright motion sensing light will make many scurry for cover. One side note though, if the grid is down, I would turn the lights off. No sense advertising that you have power if you’re trying to keep it to yourself.
  4. Good locks – Simplest and cheapest item to help protect your house are locks. A good deadbolt paired with a standard twist lock and perhaps an interior brace will discourage many.
  5. Security system sign – This of course only works when power is on, but it has been proven that given the choice of a home with a sign and without a sign, most will opt for the one without. Does this mean that the home with the sign has an alarm system….no, but you never know. I would also recommend a sound component to draw attention since it may take some time for law enforcement to arrive.
  6. Get a dog – This is a matter of choice. Dogs can be a big responsibility to take care of, between walks, food, and water. Some dogs also bark at the drop if a hat which could give you away, which can endanger you instead of help. Big dogs are scarier, but maybe all you want is some noise to warn you.
  7. Blinds/Curtains – Blinds/Curtains serve many possible purposes other than for security, but they can provide a simple, but effective deterrent. If the criminals can’t see in to see what you have they may not risk it, the danger of getting in for possible scraps.

Something that many don’t think about that can give away what you have in your home are your vehicles. Do not advertise on your vehicle what/who you support. If you are an ardent supporter of the NRA…..don’t show it. People pay attention more than you think to what information you advertise on you vehicle. One of my neighbors had their house broken into and only guns were taken. The police believe the thief knew what they were after before breaking in, because an eye witness said the criminal left with a nondescript guitar case big enough to carry rifles. The police also believe he knew what he was after by the bumper stickers on my neighbor’s car and SUV.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.

Gear Review – Kershaw G10 Cryo

Kershaw knife

Before I get to the meat of the review let’s get some information out of the way.

The knife is a Kershaw 1555G10 Cryo G10

·      Blade: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel

·      Blade length: 2.75 inches

·      Closed Length: 3.75 inches

·      Open Length: 6.5 inches

·      Weight: 3.7 oz.

The reason I purchased this knife was as an Every Day Carry blade, for at work and on weekends. I have used this knife for everything from opening Christmas presents, to yard work, to whittling hot dog sticks and many other activities. Through all that I have put it through it has held up great. I’m a big believer that there are moderately priced knives on the market that offer excellent quality and this knife didn’t disappoint.

It has a deep pocket design so when clipped into your pocket it’s hard to see anything of the knife except the clip. What I also like about the clip is that there are 4 positions that it can be mounted in. This allows a person to customize how the knife sets in their pocket. If you are right handed you can adjust the clips so that on removal from your pocket the knife is ready to open and use with one hand. Likewise, a south paw can adjust the clip for the same action.

Through the trials and tribulations that I have put this knife through I have also come to appreciate the handle on this knife. It fits comfortably in my hand and with the ridges on top for your thumb and on the underside for your ring finger. This gave me good control even in less than ideal circumstances.

Overall it has been an excellent knife for me and I will continue to carry it until lost or broken, but given the sturdy design of the blade and handle I do not expect the breakage option anytime soon. I little routine maintenance to sharpen the blade is all that is needed. I would happily recommend this knife to anyone that is looking for a EDC option.

Low Carb Food Cache

Low Carb

In several past articles I’ve been discussing food storage and what to store. Discussing if what many are storing is good for them and their health pre and post SHTF. How, the prepper community should eat better to be in shape and healthy in the event we are thrown into a physically demanding situation.

For many a healthier diet and life style can also help in reducing the need for medications. I think we all hope that once we are forced to do hours upon hours of physical labor the weight will drop and the need for the medication will also, but that is not a realistic approach to better health and being prepared.

The link below is an article about how to build a Low-carb prepper stockpile. While it is short it is informative and can get you started. As I always state about being prepared, it is personal and what works for one will not work for all. Review what works for you and for your family and adjust accordingly.

http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/build-low-carb-prepper-stockpile-08222017

BOL Long View vs Secluded

cabin in woods

Whether your BOL is a remote rural location or your home in the country one of the aspects of your BOL you will need to take into consideration is defense. Most of what I see and read of people’s opinions; many believe you should have a super secluded location hidden in the woodlands of the wilds. If you look back at the frontier days of the United States though people preferred places with a lot of view for some distance. What this article will discuss are the merits and drawbacks to both the secluded woodlands option and what I call the long view option.

Long View – If you look at many pictures and read about the homes that were built on the frontier when the United States was still not united many were surrounded by open land. They had very few if any trees or other obstructions. Some of this was caused by cutting down the trees for use, and others because there were not many trees to begin with, but all of them had that tactical advantage of sight. If you clear the land around your home for approximately 100 to 150 yards. This means that you should be able to see anyone coming long before they get there. This set up makes it easy to have a few people watching over the property from a central location as opposed to having many people strung out around a perimeter. This also allows for more planting of crops and areas for livestock if you have any.

On the flip side, this also means that you have a large clearing which is easier for someone to stumble into, and thus find your location. If there are any vantage points in the area a large cleared area will be easy to see. If you are dealing with a hostile force and they have ranged weapons they can snipe you from the tree line, but you can snipe back.

With the long view philosophy you have clear sight for many yards to see what is coming before it’s there. Along with a large area for crops and livestock to sustain you. The trade off is that you lack a certain amount of concealment from people, that you don’t want to find you.

Secluded Woodlands – The thinking along this path says that you are small in the woods and small to see or find. There is some wisdom in that, since the goal of most people is to avoid other people in a SHTF or complete failure of society situation. Because of the little disruption to the area your BOL may be harder to see from a vantage point and it will be harder for someone to stumble into. This also gives you one cleared path to monitor for people approaching, which is your drive.

With the secluded woodlands you will hopefully be harder to find, but you will have limited space for crops and livestock. Patrolling the area will be more labor intensive and allows people that finds your location to get really close before you know they are there. Processing firewood, which will be the main fuel for cooking and warmth for most, will be harder to collect.

As with so many things this is a choice of location that everyone will have to make. Maybe you live in a valley and feel safe enough to clear all the trees from it for fuel or construction. Maybe you think you will have the advantage of being concealed in the woodlands. Whatever choice you make you will have to contended with the downside of it and prepare for it.

Stay active, pay attention, and get prepared.