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Surviving In A Collapsing Economy

By: Tom Chatham

The bulk of humanity living in the western world are used to a life of comfort and leisure. This has been made possible by the production of cheap goods and a debt based economy. When this system fails it will cause much discomfort and even death for some that are not able to adapt to the changing times.

The ways of the modern western world are to work and save during the early working years in order to retire during the less productive older years. The act of retirement is a relatively new phenomenon for the working class. Until the 20th century, the only people able to cease working and enjoy their elder years were the rich among us. This changed with mass production and massive debt creation.

In the 1930’s the poor in America were thrown a lifeline in the form of social security. This program was meant to prevent some of the hardship for those struggling to survive. This program was never meant to replace savings and provide for a comfortable retirement all by itself. Over the years the political gerrymandering of politicians seeking reelection have sold the people on the notion that social security is an all encompassing retirement plan they can expect until they die.

The expectation of this program is one of the Achilles heels of the American culture. Very few save for retirement and many can not afford to with the ever increasing prices they must pay for necessary items. Many have no hope for the future except for this underfunded and soon to be extinct Frankenstein monster. When the government can no longer provide this and other programs to people barely surviving today as it is, hardship that is unknown to most will fall upon them like a pile of bricks.

When this happens these people will have no where to turn to ensure they have the items to survive daily life. This is the socialist bomb that is about to explode and very few want to acknowledge it and prepare for the inevitable problems that will occur.

When this house of cards collapses it will require every person to have a plan to maintain some semblance of a standard of living. This will require individuals to have one of two options available to them. They will either need to have sufficient funds to care for themselves or have the ability to earn a living and produce the things they need for themselves in the aftermath of this event.

Having sufficient funds to live on will necessitate having a medium of exchange that will survive the destruction of paper wealth. This will mean wealth in the form of precious metals or other similar options that will retain their buying power over the long term.

Those that work for others and depend on a paycheck to buy the things they need will suffer when that job no longer exists and they can not find another. This is a situation that is prevalent today with upwards of 94 million people in America. These people are non-persons according to the government as none of them are considered unemployed. Ignoring this problem will not change things when the number reaches the tipping point where these people have no option but to prey on those that still have the ability to provide for their families. This is where the golden hoard becomes mobile and begins to move across the land reaping a deadly harvest.

The Deagel.com site shows the population of America dropping from 316 million in 2015 to approximately 69 million in 2025. This has been characterized as a mass exodus from the U.S. to other nations as the working and living environment becomes untenable in America and people relocate to more hospitable locations. This is one possible scenario that we may see in the future if Americans fail to plan for disruptions to the economy and have no way to take care of themselves.

In a nation like America with all of the natural resources that we have available to us, it need not come to that. The one thing that we lack today is the motivation to do something positive about our looming situation. The current inhabitants of America no longer have the moral fiber that was common in the 1930’s when we last went through something like this. That will have to change or some other factor will have to be utilized to stabilize the population in the future. A mass exodus out of the country is just such a factor.

For those that have the moral fiber to make a stand and provide for their family it will be a trying time and a dangerous one for many years. Those that have the will to work through the problems will need to have either funds or resources to get them through. Simply having several months of food and supplies will not be enough. It will take a plan that spans two or three decades that you can enact to provide the things you and your family will need.

Something this encompassing will require many resources and the know-how to use them. The amount of resources can be a stopping point for many due to lack of funds to acquire them now but that is all the more reason to make plans and work towards a goal that you can accomplish. Many of the resources you may need can likely be made from scratch that can provide you with the things you need and even something to sell. It is not that hard to build a spinning wheel and floor loom to make cloth from raw cotton or wool. It just takes time and patience. The old ways are not fast or efficient by today’s standards but they allow you to produce something from the raw materials you can obtain. This is just one example of how you need to think in the days ahead.

You need to utilize the time, funds and skills you can obtain now to construct a plan to deal with the future and overcome the problems. If you need to house your family it is now common to get a loan and be in debt for 30 years. In the future it may be necessary to provide that home with what you have on hand to build it. That may entail using a few hand tools that you have and the available natural resources around you. A home made from sod, cobblestone, adobe or logs can be utilized to provide the shelter you need. It may not be pretty or what you are used to but our forefathers utilized this type of construction as a stepping stone to better things.

When the economy as we know it fails, the only thing you can do is to return to an earlier point in time that depended on a simpler more functional system and utilize the available resources. When mechanized farming fails it may be necessary to return to less mechanized methods and cheaper alternatives to grow the food and fibers we need for survival. The thought of having to go backwards to get to the future is not pretty and will likely be difficult but sometimes that is the only way to move forward.

Surviving during a collapsing economy where systems we depend on cease to function requires individual actions to reduce the hardship that will ultimately overwhelm society and cause societal breakdown on most levels. Skills to lessen the hardships are critical to stabilization and recovery. These skills are the only way to utilize available resources to provide the necessities of society. The first things individuals strive to produce are food, shelter and clothing. These are the very basic things people need to survive over time. Later, other things such as security, medicine, communication and transportation become necessary to form a more cohesive community.

The skills to grow and store food, purify water, build shelter, make clothing, produce heat and light, produce energy to power machines, produce medicines and administer healthcare, harvest and move raw materials and communicate over long distances are skills necessary today and will continue to be vital in times of economic distress.

The skills and resources to provide these things are the foundation of a functional society. The lack of these things results in chaos and anarchy that prevents the construction of sustainable systems that a functional society needs to grow. The special skills needed to utilize available resources depends on the location of the person and the natural resources available for development. Because of this, different locations may develop along somewhat different lines but the destination is the same.

The need to know or learn these skills is necessary now while the social situation is stable enough to enable persons to plan and prepare for the hardships we will ultimately face as the economy fails due to fraud and mismanagement. Those with a lack of skills and resources will be a detracting factor on society as hardships increase and constitute an ever present danger for those with the resources to survive the times. These are the things that everyone must prepare for now while the system is still intact. There are no guarantees for tomorrow.

In Want of A Nail

By: Tom Chatham

So, you’ve got all of your supplies ready for anything that happens in the future. You have plans and backup plans and you feel ready for anything. You have an ample supply of food and the means to produce more. You have weapons, land, communication systems, backup power systems and alternative energy supplies. You have a good library, precious metals and ample medical resources. So, you think you have everything covered within reason, right?

What will you do when your generator stops? Do you have spare parts to fix it? Do you have plugs and oil and supplies to do routine maintenance on it for years to come to keep it operating?

You have a good rifle and a pile of ammo and you can hit targets out to 500 yards with ease. What will you do if your firing pin or a spring breaks? Do you have critical repair parts to insure that weapon will continue to be useful when you need it most?

Something as simple as wheel bearing grease can cause a catastrophic failure if you don’t have any to keep your equipment lubricated. Sure you have fuel and alternative fuel systems to power your equipment but do you have the repair parts to keep those machines running or rebuild the engine if necessary?

Some years ago you could not drive down the road without getting a windshield full of bugs but because of all of the pesticides in use today the bug population has been almost eliminated. When everything stops and those pesticides are no longer available on large scale those bug populations will suddenly increase to previous levels. Do you have the materials to protect your garden from this threat?

Many people now have the bug guy spray around their home every year to prevent roaches and termites from getting a foothold and causing serious damage. What will you do when you can no longer get those services?

You did a lot of planning and you know your water will still flow no matter what happens in the world but did you stop planning there? What will you do when your faucet or your pipe starts leaking? Do you have washers, extra pipe or connectors to fix that problem?

When a storm blows through in the future and breaks a window or makes a hole in the roof, can you fix that? You have a woodstove and a good supply of wood and everything to cut that wood but what happens when your ax handle breaks? Can you fix that?

In the future, if you are using your woodstove every day, will you be able to keep your chimney clean? A chimney fire is unusual but can be devastating if it happens and you have no fire dept. to call.

It is impossible for the average person to plan for everything but there are certain things that you need to think about in depth and be aware of in the event you cannot get replacement parts or services in the future.

Simply having some woodworking tools and some hardware items can go a long way to maintaining your tools and home. Having a few key repair parts for your machines can be a lifesaver in a drawn out situation where you cannot find the parts you need. The fact that many parts are now made overseas will make any transportation or supply disruptions even worse. A loss of currency reserve status for the U.S. would make any imports much more expensive even if you could still get them.

There are so many weak links in our current supply system that it should make the average American very uneasy. No one knows for sure what the future holds in store for us but the trends are developing and the picture they are forming is not good.

Some economists have predicted a period of deflation prior to a hyperinflation developing in America. The current drop in commodity prices should be taken with a grain of salt and people should use this drop to bulk up their supplies just in case the current “prosperity” does not last.

When disaster strikes, many realize there was something else they should have had to get through it. Even a prepared person never has everything they would like to have during difficult times but that list can be minimized by careful reflection on their future needs in the dysfunctional world they may one day find themselves in.

What’s On Your Bookshelf?

By: Tom Chatham

Nothing makes me feel quite like walking into a library with wall to wall books, especially if it is a private library in someone’s home with all of the comfort items. The reading lamps, fireplace and soft leather chairs provide a vessel to carry you to your happy place, at least for a short while, and that is all that is required most of the time.

Most people cannot afford the large library that we all would like but you can still assemble a very useful and enjoyable library that will serve your purpose. It does not matter what types of literature you like, there are millions of books available to fill your special wants and needs.

The main thing to keep in mind is to prioritize your purchases so in the event your purchasing must come to an end, you will have the main reading sources that you want. It is great to have a shelf of classics that can keep you entertained for an evening on a cold winter night. When it comes time to plant or build something, it is great to have the reference materials to help you over the ruff spots.

There is so much knowledge that we want to have but have never had the time or opportunity to learn it. With a good library you can fill in the gaps in your knowledge on your own schedule. For those that fear some type of troubles in the future such as economic problems, natural disasters, wars or the loss of a job, the knowledge on your bookshelf can help you get through it with the least amount of pain.

It may be something as simple as a book to help you do your own home repair, fix your car or start a new business. In these times of shrinking home budgets and corporate downsizing, it is good to have some reference materials that can help you cook a good meal on a shoestring, reduce your expenses by fixing it yourself or building something instead of buying it. It may be a book that can teach you something that allows you to get a better job or start your own part time business.

It is apparent that those who read a lot are better at problem solving. This is due to their expanded knowledge base. The more knowledge you have, the more you have to draw on to find a solution to a problem. The larger your knowledge base the more creative you are capable of being. This is often evident when you are faced with some type of crisis situation.

It does not matter what types of books you buy, as long as they reflect your interests and give you pleasure buying and reading them. A well rounded library will likely contain not just literary classics but history, science, how-to, reference, cooking, medical, economics and even children’s books if you have kids in the home. You should also consider having resources to satisfy your spiritual needs when the search for answers requires more than conventional references can offer.

One of the best reasons to have a good library is to insure your children and future generations have the means to learn what is not taught in school and to counter the misinformation some children are taught. The truth has no agenda but public schools do and that is reason enough to build up a good selection of books.

When it comes to buying books the options are numerous. One thing I like to do is shop for old books at antique shops, garage sales or old book stores. Many times you can find some little known classics for very little money that can give you reading pleasure and provide a good investment. Many people now read a lot on line and there is nothing wrong with that but I personally like the feel of a book in my hands. One reason I like physical books is the fact that you don’t need power or electronics to read it anytime you want.

Building up your own personal library can be a rewarding experience and it is a project that can be handed down to the next generation just like other family heirlooms. Reading also has some little thought of advantages. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “ when a man pours his wallet into his head, no one can take it from him”.

The Big Picture

By: Tom Chatham

With so much going on these days it is difficult to keep focused on any one problem. Economic collapse, Fukushima radiation, drought, peak energy, WWIII, pandemic, famine, illegal immigration, government coverups and abuse and natural disasters are just some of the many threats we have to keep up with. With so many threats facing us it is impossible to focus on each one and hope to overcome them all. We need to try to keep our eye on the bigger picture and focus on getting through the events with some of our resources in tact so we can carry on. Being prepared is good but it means nothing if you do not make it to the other side in tact. That is the larger goal. To get through whatever comes in tact.

Many of the crises we face have many things in common. They can destroy the economy, cause shortages in energy or food, destroy freedoms, cause harm to our health, destroy security, make the future uncertain, destroy wealth and destroy hope. These are the things we need to focus on rather than individual problems. These things encompass the big picture. By focusing on the outcome of the events, we can protect ourselves from multiple possible events at once. We do not prepare for the events themselves, we prepare for the problems they cause.

One crisis that ties into many others is the turmoil in the Middle East.

The rise of ISIS in the region is no surprise to some. As with many things today, it was planned. There has been no serious attempt to stop this group because of the players backing them. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the U.S. are the forces pushing this group forward. It is natural for one to ask, why would the U.S. be backing a group like this. To answer that question you must also answer the question of why members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been given senior level positions within the U.S. government.

When ISIS moved into Iraq, there was no effort by the U.S. to stop them. And even now, the U.S. is only making feeble efforts to do anything. That is because the U.S. government does not want to stop them. When ISIS moved into Iraq, they were able to push the Iraqi army back with ease. This is largely due to the fact that almost all of the Iraqi officers the U.S. trained before we left were fired by the Iraqi government. These officers were replaced with political appointees by the government. When the attacks came, these leaders, lacking sufficient military training, fled leaving the army with no one to organize a defense.

This terrorist group now has some of the best equipment that America has in its’ arsenal. This is equipment that the U.S. gave to Iraq and they left behind when they fled the approaching enemy. Some of this equipment was supposed to go to the Kurds but it did not for political reasons. All we need to do is give the Kurds the equipment they need to defend themselves and this threat in the region will largely be stopped but that will not happen in any significant way.

If the minimal attacks on ISIS continue and the Christian refugees are allowed to slip through to relative safety and then the U.S. declares victory and stops the attacks, it will be a tell tale sign that the American government has no intention of stopping ISIS. I do not expect the American government to do anything significant to stop this group.

When you look at this and look at the current situation in the U.S. the government actions of the past few years seem deliberate. With over 200 senior officers fired in the U.S. in the past few years and more now scheduled, it is becoming obvious that the government is trying to decapitate the leadership of the U.S. military for some reason. The remaining senior leadership are those largely loyal to the government rather than the most dedicated and most experienced . This appears to be the same thing that has happened in Iraq. It also happened in the Soviet Union just before WWII when thousands of officers were purged from the military and that almost lost them the war. The only difference is that any vacuum of leadership in the U.S. will be met by the junior officers and NCOs taking charge as U.S. soldiers do. Any crisis in the U.S. may be initially chaotic but the junior leaders would step up and get control of the situation and many of these soldiers would uphold their oath.

This is why the military must be deployed out of the U.S. before any serious attempt to move against the constitution and the people. It is only my opinion but I think ISIS has been allowed to build up and will continue to get stronger so that a credible threat will arise in the region that requires the deployment of large numbers of the U.S. military back to the region. This will get these loyal troops out of the U.S. and open the door for federal agencies to do as they please. I also believe that once our troops are in the region they will be abandoned to their own fate while events unfold in the U.S. I think it is possible this may begin in early 2015. Again, this is only my opinion.

Why would all of this be done by the U.S. government? It is no secret that the current occupant of the White House thinks of the U.S as a Muslim nation and I believe that is exactly what they will try to do with it once all resistance is crushed. The barbarism and murder we now see in Iraq directed at the Christians there will happen here as well when the time is right. I may be wrong and I hope for America I am wrong but the situation seems to be heading in that direction. I also believe the Muslin Brotherhood is using the liberals in the U.S. to achieve this goal. The liberals think they are using the Muslims for their agenda but once conservative Americans are out of the way the liberals will be targeted as well. That is the bigger picture as I see it. Muslim nations are authoritarian for the most part and that is where the U.S. is heading. The globalists may be pushing us towards a North American Union but that is not to say it will remain a democratic or largely Christian one. A good time to take down a population is when they are struggling to understand and deal with a multitude of crises allowing an aggressor to gain the upper hand.

The main thing that stands in the way of this type of future are the millions of combat veterans in America, many of whom are armed at this time. The other thing that is an impediment to this type of situation is awareness which is possessed by too few Americans at this time. The willingness to accept what is happening as reality and the will to prepare for it are the things to keep in focus as the future plays itself out.

7 Items Every Citizen Soldier Should Have

By: Tom Chatham

There are many lists of items that people should have during times of disaster. Every list is dependant on the circumstances you may find yourself in. With the slowly rising tide of tyranny in America it is important for Americans to remember how we got here and what we may need to do to maintain a Constitutional Republic in the future. When you hear the words citizen soldier it beckons the image of national guard soldiers heading off to training. It is important for you to realize that virtually every adult American citizen is a citizen soldier. In many states you not only have the National Guard but also the navel militia, the state defense forces and the unorganized militia. This is because every citizen bears the burden of protecting our heritage and our rights from those that would try to deprive us of them.

In the weeks and months ahead it may become necessary for every citizen soldier to do their part in preserving those precious liberties that we now find in perilous waters. In order to do an effective job in defending those liberties it is necessary to own certain items that can leverage your abilities and help insure victory. The following items are some key elements that a soldier needs to have to take the fight to the enemy and insure continued combat effectiveness.

Rifle –

A good rifle is an imperative in a hostile environment. It is easy today to find older military rifles that are still capable of serving your purpose. While civilian rifles will do, military rifles are designed to better endure the combat environment with fewer problems. While a good quality military rifle is best, when the time comes that you need one, any rifle that you are proficient with will serve you better than a club.

Ammo –

A rifle is not much good without ammo to feed it. If you are contemplating the need to operate in a hostile environment for a prolonged length of time you must insure you will have sufficient supplies of ammo to carry you through to the end. It is difficult to determine the exact amount you will need in future encounters so you need to buy as much as you can now while it is possible to get it. You should also make allowances for utilizing captured supplies of ammo. This is why a military caliber weapon is best.

Boots and Socks –

Any good infantryman will tell you, a good pair of boots and good quality socks are imperative for long operations conducted on foot. If you are operating as a citizen soldier then it is likely most of your movement will be on foot. For an infantryman his feet are one of the most important pieces of equipment he has. You must maintain your feet in combat no matter what. These are two pieces of equipment you do not want to skimp on. Buy the very best you can afford.

Body armor –

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have given us statistics that are vastly different from previous wars in one regard. The number of killed is relatively low and the number of wounded very high. This is due to the body armor that troops now wear. Many soldiers that would have died from their injuries in past wars are now surviving to make it home. Body armor gives you a decided edge in combat and allows you to survive newer weapons with more likelihood. The psychological effect of knowing you can survive a direct hit allows you to be more aggressive and press the attack.

Night vision –

In modern combat the U.S. military owns the night. This has been accomplished by the pervasive use of night vision equipment. The ability to conduct operations day or night with equal ability allows you to choose when and where to attack the enemy. It no longer gives him the ability to relax during hours of darkness. Even a simple monocular can give you significant abilities and allow you to move at a time of your choosing.

Protective Mask –

A chemical protective mask is a critical piece of equipment on the modern battlefield. The use of chemical and biological agents to kill or incapacitate troops is more likely than ever. New agents that can incapacitate to varying degrees are constantly being developed by militaries around the world. The ability to continue the fight after these weapons have been deployed by the enemy gives you the ability to continue the fight and deny areas to the enemy he would otherwise get without a fight. The use of rubber gloves and full body suits may be necessary depending on the agents used.

Bible –

This is one item that might be the most useful and necessary. Without spiritual guidance, combat can devolve into something tragic. It is easy for prolonged combat to escalate into barbaric acts. History is full of tragedies that should not have happened. Without a moral compass to guide you through the worst of times the ultimate victory may not be worth winning. A small pocket bible can provide comfort when there is only pain and nourishment when there is little.

These items are not the only equipment needed by citizen soldiers but they are the most important in many ways. While some of these items are expensive and beyond the ability of many to buy all at once, the acquisition over several months is possible for many. Each of these items has the ability to keep you alive and combat effective to fight another day. When the balloon goes up you may only have the equipment on hand at that time to fight with. Anything you lack will hamper your effectiveness for the duration of the campaign so the sooner you can equip yourself the better off you will be when the need arises. Good equipment means life, and your life is not expensive, it’s priceless.

A Time for All Things, A Place for All People

By: Tom Chatham

Those that understand the mounting chaos around us know that something must be done, but what? Everyone knows they need to do something and want to do something, but what exactly is that something comprised of? Many people are now searching for that answer by talking to others and surfing the net hoping to find that elusive piece of information.

In the dark days ahead, everyone will have a role to play. It may be understood at this time or it may still be elusive but when the time comes for action everyone will respond in their own way. Everyone has certain skills or knowledge or resources that will be called on at some point in the future to save what we hold so dear.

To understand what role you will play and what you must do, each person will have to look inward and determine what their role will be. It may be through prayer, meditation or whatever you do to inspire creative thought when you have problems to solve, but it is an answer we each must find ourselves.

When the time comes, you may need to utilize the soldier skills you know so well, or you may need to share the special knowledge you are privy to, or you may need to support those that are actively engaged in resistance with intelligence or supplies. Only you know what you have to offer to affect future events. It is for each person to discover what their role will be and then you will know what to do.

For this reason, you will not find the answer out there that tells you in a clear voice what to do. Those that are now preparing are doing so in their own special ways and that is how it is meant to be. Everyone will have something to offer when the time comes. Some people are doing their part today by demonstrating, some are writing and coordinating with others and some are stocking up and acquiring skills that will be needed.

For those that are waiting for someone to tell them where to go or what actions to take now to make a difference, just give it some time and reflect on what I’ve said and then determine the course of action that is right for you at this time. There is a time and a place for everything. The lack of public outcry at this time may be for good reason. We cannot second guess events, only prepare to react to them when the time is right. The time for action may come at different times for different people and by different means.

All we can do is place our trust in providence and take what comes the best that we can. For those that do not believe in God, that is a personal choice, but keep this in mind. You can ignore God, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring God. That is a lesson this nation is about to learn in a very hard way.

Everyone should prepare now as they feel necessary and by the means they are comfortable with. Every person, every resource and every bit of knowledge is all part of the whole puzzle and we all must play our part to insure all of the pieces fall into their proper place. If we fail to do our part, it may be a disaster we won’t live to regret. The diversity of our preparations will be our strength. The indomitable spirit that we carry will get us where we need to go. Our trust in providence will be our shield.

Six Choices for Long Term Food

By: Tom Chatham

It is a foregone conclusion that at some point in the future, you will need to have stored food to keep you fed until you can grow or buy more. It may be a natural disaster, a grid down situation or food disruptions due to energy shortages, strikes or destruction of crops due to rain or drought. When access to food stops, it will be up to each family to make do until the situation changes.

With the abundance of food available today it is easy to put together a comprehensive food plan consisting of a variety of foods. Many are constructing food plans that range from weeks to years depending on their financial capabilities. For the financially challenged, a long term food supply with a variety of foods may be too much to handle. A plan that spans several months may be possible but what about longer term situations?

What would you do if you suddenly realized a situation was developing that would require you to feed yourself for seven years and you had to make those preparations on you current salary? That may sound extreme but, it could happen in the world we now find ourselves in. What if that seven year supply were necessary because you would not be able to grow or procure more supplies during that time.

Most preppers have a long range plan that includes growing more food but what if the situation prevents you from doing that? It might be environmental conditions, local scavengers or military operations in your area that prevent you from utilizing the land. In that event you are totally dependant on the supplies you have stored away.

With limited funds what would I store? I would limit it to six items that I can stock in depth that are relatively cheap now and store well.

White rice
Dried beans
Oats
Corn/ cornmeal
Honey
Salt

While these do not allow for a wide variety of meals they will provide you with the elements you need to function and prevent starvation. These provide a base to build around if additional funds become available. In a long duration event a few staples could mean the difference between life and death.

It is always preferable to have a well rounded food plan but when limited finances and long duration are taken into account, you must do the most you can with what you have.

Why would you want to stock for seven years? That may sound extreme but consider the Fukushima disaster that is still playing out. If it continues and gets worse, there may come a day when it is unsafe to grow plants in the exposed soil. If a major war breaks out there are several situations that may preclude you from growing plants in the open. A seven year supply may not take you beyond the emergency but it will give you seven years to plan for alternative food sources. It may take you that long to develop new systems such as aquaculture or indoor growing systems.

We are living in historical times and the worst may yet come about. The world has seen seven years of famine before and it may very well again.

A long range plan to get you through the worst of the situation is your goal. A simple plan is far superior to no plan and everyone needs a plan due to the unstable nature of the world we now live in. The basic supplies to keep you fed for seven years can be kept in a large closet or a corner of the basement.

The listed supplies, stored in 5 gallon buckets, are easy to store, move and to hide if necessary. There may come a day when hostile forces make every attempt to deprive you of food sources. In that event you may find yourself in a guerilla war where every day is a struggle just to survive. If your food source is secure, it will enable you to focus on other endeavors that may be necessary.

The future becomes more unstable every day now and any edge that you can provide yourself for future uncertainties will increase the likelihood that you will be able to navigate it successfully. Everyone would like to have a fully stocked bunker with weapons and supplies to last for decades but that is not a possibility for most people. You must work within your capabilities now to prepare for the uncertain times ahead. If the worst should happen, what 6 staples will you stock to insure your survival?

Ten Seeds To Add To Your Seed Bank

By: Tom Chatham

There are many different types of seeds that a self sufficient person might want to have but there are some beneficial plants that many do not immediately think of. Your soil and growing season will dictate what will work for you but it does not hurt to try oddities from time to time to establish a new norm in your area. Increased variety of plants will almost certainly increase your capabilities when the time comes to put your plants to work for you.

Soapwart-
Used as a natural soap, the roots and leaves are soaked or heated in water to extract saponins which produce a lather. A non-irritating skin cleanser, shampoo and soap for delicate fabrics.

Chamomile-
The flowers are used to make chamomile tea. Chamomile has long been used as a carminative, an anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer remedy. It is also anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial.

Hemp-
Hemp is an excellent fiber for rope, clothing and other materials. Hemp seeds also provide many nutritional and medicinal properties. Currently hemp cannot be grown in the U.S. but it can be imported as well as the seeds.

Aloe Vera-
Transparent gel from the pulp of the meaty leaves of the plant have been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, skin infections, burns and numerous other dermatological conditions. Dried latex from the inner lining of the leaf has been traditionally used as an oral laxative.

Sugar beet-
It is a good source for making sugar or sweetener and can be used as animal feed. It is also a very nutritious food for people.

Peanuts-
Provide an excellent source of protein where they can be grown. Great as a snack food and can be used to produce peanut oil for cooking.

Cotton-
Good for producing homemade clothing, rope, lamp wicks or medical supplies. Cotton seeds can be used to produce cottonseed oil for cooking. Cottonseed contains high levels of vitamin E, a natural anti-oxidant. Because it is unsaturated, cottonseed oil is cholesterol free. Some animals are fed cottonseed meal as a high protein supplement.

Tobacco-
Not a healthy substance but it can provide a valuable barter item in difficult economic times. It can be used to produce nicotine based pesticides.

Flax-
It can be grown to produce good quality fibers for clothing. Flax seeds can be eaten and have some medicinal properties. Preliminary studies show flaxseed may help fight everything from heart disease and diabetes to breast cancer. Flax oil or linseed oil, while edible, is used for a variety of industrial purposes such as pigment binder and drying agent for paints, lacquers and inks, sometimes used as wood finish and is combined with cork to make linoleum. After cold pressing, husks are often used as feed for chickens and other livestock providing fiber and protein.

Castor bean-
This item can be poisonous to people and animals if ingested. When pressed the toxic properties remain in the solids. The primary use is in making high quality oil and lubricants used in racing engines and jet engines.

With just a few odd plants around the homestead, you can increase your capabilities greatly. Some of the many products we now take for granted can become difficult or impossible to find in a serious disaster of long duration. The ability to replace these items with a sustainable homemade product can make life more endurable. The more capabilities that you have, the less fear and stress you will suffer from during catastrophic situations.

Energy: The Lowest Common Denominator Part I

By: Tom Chatham

There is one truism that anyone preparing for the future needs to keep in mind. Energy is everything. It does not matter if you are preparing for normal times, disaster or survival, everything depends on energy. Putting a man on the moon, driving a car, powering a freezer, growing food, cooking food or even keeping a human body functional all require energy in some form. The more energy you have the more capabilities you have.

In normal times, energy is available in many different forms, all for the asking but when people are thrown back on their own resources energy becomes in large part what they can find or make.

Energy can be converted from one form to another enabling it to be used for many different things. Some energy sources are easier to convert and use for individuals with limited resources or knowledge. Petroleum is one of our most used energy products and can be found all over the world but it must be pumped out of the ground and refined to be useful. This is beyond the capabilities of most individuals. Even if above ground supplies are available, they are limited and will eventually have to be replaced.

For the individual, there are many forms of energy that can be harvested and utilized. The more you know about energy production, the more potential capabilities you will have with time. With a hand powered mill you can grind several pounds of flour an hour, but with a mill attached to some type of machine power you can grind hundreds of pounds per hour. With a hand pulled cart you can move several bushels of grain a long distance but with animal or machine power you can move hundreds of bushels in the same time. The larger or more complex the energy source, the more it can do. A waterfall can be harnessed to provide mechanical power to many devices in contact with the waterwheel but that power is relegated to the immediate vicinity while electrical power can be produced from the same waterfall and be used far away and in many different devices.

The average person uses many different types of energy on a daily basis and rarely ever thinks about it. When that energy stops it can be a life altering experience. In modern times we are often confronted with power outages or fuel disruptions on a recurring basis but these things are usually regained soon and people return to their regular routines without further thought. If one day that energy should stop and not return in short order or should never return, it would be devastating for a large percentage of the population in the developed world. That simple little thing called energy would suddenly become a life and death situation.

Some of the most basic forms of energy are:

Food for animals
Plant material such as wood
Bio-fuels such as alcohol and bio-diesel
Bio-gasses such as methane from animal waste
Sunlight
Water
Wind
Plant oils such as sunflower, corn or castor bean

These basic forms of energy are the basis of a sustainable existence which the individual can access with only a few materials and some basic knowledge of how to make and utilize them. Wood for example can be used to fuel a stove for heating, cooking and limited light. It can be used to produce steam which can power larger more powerful machines. Alcohol, bio-diesel, wood gas and methane can be used to power internal combustion engines to produce electricity or to provide heat, light and refrigeration.

Sunlight can be used to provide heat, light, steam or electricity. Something as simple as a copper sheet, coated with cuprous oxide on one side with wires attached to each side of the plate, can produce electricity when exposed to sunlight. Falling water can provide water for irrigation, producing electricity or be harnessed for doing mechanical work. A windmill can be used to turn a generator, work a water pump or grind grains. Plant oils can be used for fuel to burn, oil for cooking or as a lubricant for metal parts.

With a little knowledge of energy, a person can benefit greatly from saved money and the potential circumstances of loosing their energy systems from sudden unforeseen events.

The most basic energy system we have, food, is at the mercy of energy that must be extracted from the ground, refined, transported, used to make fertilizers and pesticides, harvest the crops, transport and refine the products and deliver to you. Any breakdown in this system can be disastrous for a population that depends on systems out of their control. Sunlight is another part of this food chain. Without sunlight there is no plant life which means there is no animal life. There are alternatives to natural sunlight but they all require energy in some form.

This is just one of the ways energy plays a part in our lives and few give any notice to it. By taking the time to learn basic knowledge about the energy systems we depend on, each person will be better situated to respond to any disruptions in the future. They will have a better understanding of what systems they have available to them and which ones they can develop individually if the situation dictates their personal involvement in it. There are many different types of energy and we will look at each of them to provide a basic starting point for their implementation.

The Three Stages of Crisis Revisited

The following is a repost of an article first published last year. Given the recent destruction in Oklahoma it may be a good time to revisit this subject.

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

In every crisis there are three distinct stages that occur to form the complete crisis scenario. Once a crisis occurs, all three stages will be experienced at some level. In preparing for a crisis, you need to be aware of the stages and prepare for each one. A failure to acknowledge any of the stages will cause hardship for those caught up in it. Our ability to foresee danger and take precautionary measures sets us apart from other animals and gives us a distinct advantage when it comes to survivability. We have the ability to create tools and store supplies to see us through the worst of a given situation.

The first stage of any disaster is the pre-crisis interval when a potential crisis becomes suspect. Some will investigate the potential danger further to deduce its’ ramifications on their lives while others will ignore the potential threat in favor of maintaining the status quo so they will not have to face the reality. Many people have a problem facing a reality that suddenly changes and pushes them out of their comfort zone. To acknowledge a threat is to question the sustainability of that comfort zone and the beliefs that the person holds. Those that acknowledge potential threats widen their comfort zones to encompass the threat and they incorporate that into their beliefs so they can accept a changing reality and adapt to it. Once a person accepts a potential threat as real, they determine how best to protect themselves from it and form a defensive plan to deal with it. The defensive measures are dictated by the type of threat and the resources available to the individual. The defensive measures taken act to enhance the persons’ comfort zone and provides mental clarity when reality suddenly changes. This is why some people handle disasters better than others. Their comfort zone already encompasses the new reality and they are able to comprehend what is happening. Those that prepare during a pre-crisis interval are prepared for radical changes in reality.

The second stage of disaster is the unfolding crisis itself. This could be short or long in duration depending on the variables involved. An earthquake is relatively quick while a 1930s style depression is very long. The analysis and preparation one makes prior to an event will determine how well the person gets through the situation. Even without all of the necessary items identified by the prior analysis, a prepared person will fare much better than the unprepared due to the fact that their comfort zone will not have been breeched allowing them to make rational decisions in a timely manner. The preparations made during the pre-crisis interval will lead to successful navigation of the crisis and prepare the individual for the final stage.

The final stage experienced will be the post crisis phase. No matter how bad or long a crisis is, eventually it will end and recovery will begin in some form. A proper evaluation of the potential crisis will provide some insight into what a post crisis reality will require in terms of human and mechanical needs. The recovery effort following a crisis will depend in large part on what preparations were made prior to the crisis to provide infrastructure for the recovery. The failure to plan for a recovery effort will extend the crisis until the necessary situation develops in which recovery can commence. The act of preparation sets the stage for recovery even before the crisis actually happens and can limit how far outside of the comfort zone the crisis extends for unprepared persons. For every person prepared for the crisis, the extent of the crisis will be limited in scope and duration by a proportional amount. Hence, if everyone is prepared for a disaster, the impact will be small and manageable and recovery will be rapid. Many people prepare for disasters but their planning stops at the crisis itself and fails to go beyond it. This can potentially extend the crisis in scale or duration until a majority of the victims learn to move beyond the crisis and define the new reality they will live in.

As an example, you may determine that you are at risk of a tornado strike because of your location. Because of this you decide that building an underground shelter to protect your family is a sensible action so you build one. This is where most planning stops. If you believe your family is in danger then the possibility of loosing your home is very high also. A complete analysis of the potential danger can lead you to a conclusion that you may also lose your home and leave you without the ability to care for your family. Because of this you may decide to build a more robust shelter and equip it with the ability to house your family for several days and provide for all of their needs. Your post crisis planning will limit the hardship you face and aid in recovery.

To prepare successfully for crisis, you must look through to the other side of the disaster and determine how to best mold the new reality that will exist and prepare for the disruptions that are likely to occur. A plan to redefine the limits of a new reality will speed the recovery and prevent the lost, hopeless feelings that usually accompany any serious crisis. A failure to plan for the post crisis reality will leave the new limits to be discovered by trial and error and lead to a chaotic transformation rather than a smooth one.

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