“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this mornin’, could’ve sworn it was judgment day
The sky was all purple, there were people runnin’ everywhere
Tryin’ to run from the destruction, you know I didn’t even care
Say say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna PREP like it’s nineteen ninety-nine..”
I’ve been actively prepping for 13 years now, it’s easy to remember since it began, for me, the day my husband and I got married. He had been a prepper even before there was such a term!
I remember him, only two weeks after we started dating, pulling a huge pack out of his closet and opening it up revealing all sorts of survivalist gear from paracord and a compass to a mini fishing kit and emergency Mylar blankets and everything in between! Along with a map all marked up in detail showing the safest and easiest route, both by road and on foot, to his friend’s property in Southern West Virginia (we lived in central Maryland at the time, just north and east of Baltimore city…)
He also showed me a couple of guns and a couple of machetes that he said we would use for protection on our journey should we ever have to “get out of dodge” – nowadays the average prepper would say “bug out” lol – in the event of another 9/11 or something worse occurring, our plan back then was to get out of the major metropolitan areas before marshal law was declared (remember this was February 2002, only five months after 9/11…and yes, for those of you thinking it, he was a Y2K prepper…)
We were prepping in a tiny apartment just on the outskirts of a sprawling crime ridden city. We were prepping when we lived in an 82 year old fixer upper with a large backyard in a suburban neighborhood in West Virginia. And we’re prepping still, but now in a small cottage on 9 acres in the middle of the deep backwoods of Southeastern West Virginia. And with each place we’ve lived our prepping principles have changed and adapted. Basically, at this point, I think we could pretty much survive anywhere! lol
But no matter where we’ve lived, for us there has always been three main basics to prepping and survival: Protection, Water, Food…and yes, in that order!
There is NO POINT in wasting time and energy procuring water and food if you CANNOT protect it! If you will not or cannot protect what is yours then you are better off not preparing AT ALL ’cause you’ll just end up feeding the bad guys in the long run.
Half assed is a dead ass.
Protection doesn’t only mean physical protection from other people, it’s not just guns and knives which I am not going to discuss here as there are plenty others who are far more knowledgeable on the subject than I am. However, the subject of protection also includes protection from corrupt and unscrupulous government agencies that have no greater desire than to rip apart and destroy a large homeschooling Christian family. Always, always, ALWAYS be as compliant with the law as much as you possibly can if you are homeschooling, never give them any excuse AT ALL to think that you are doing otherwise.
Same goes for vaccine refusal. Here in West Virginia if you want to send your child to public school you are 100% REQUIRED to vaccinate that child, no exceptions, not even a religious exemption is allowed. The way around that? You homeschool.
Homeschooling and vaccine refusal tend to go hand in hand in this state.
But if you are going to homeschool, it must needs be done LAWFULLY or else when it’s discovered that you are not in compliance with homeschool law (and quite honestly all it really takes is just one tiny phone call from an idiot ass nosy neighbor who happens to “notice” that your kids are outside during school hours..) action WILL be taken against you in the so-called “best interest” of the children.
That being said, one simple way to protect yourself from this is to keep track of when school is in session and the days the kids have off in the year. Just call up the school board and request that a school calendar be sent to your house and do not let your kids outside unless it is a time when all other children would normally be outside after the school day is done (we wait till the public school bus passes by our house) or if it’s a scheduled day off, same goes for snow days as well.
Of course this applies more to those who live in a place where they actually have neighbors. Even though we now live in a place where we have no direct neighbors we still stick to this rule unless we are all headed into the woods, even a car driving by on the road can’t see that the children are out during school hours if they are in the woods! lol
Don’t be stupid. Pay your taxes (render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s)…if this really bothers you then stick to such wealth production as that cannot be monetized ie. hard assets. Knowledge and skills cannot be taxed, any and all tools are great for this niche as well, especially hand tools. Also food that you grow/forage/hunt along with livestock and wood, whether standing timber or stockpiled from the local lumberyard along with things like nails, screws, etc. etc.
Try not to so much view property taxes as them forcibly taking your wealth, but more like you are paying them off, a bribe to keep the off your back so to speak…they operate like an organized crime syndicate anyways so might as well call it what it is. And if all they ever demand of you is money understand, and then thank the Lord above, that you are getting off lucky! Most governments throughout the history of the world have often demanded far more from their citizenry, if not their very lives!
In many ways I do my best to be the gray man just another nameless face in a herd of blithering sheeple. I’ve been utilizing this all of my life, before I had ever even learned there was such a thing, it just came naturally especially when I was in high school. And honestly, it’s just plain common sense: if you are outnumbered and surrounded then you better do your damnedest to blend in and NOT draw attention to yourself, this is how I got through the twelve hellish years of public school (okay maybe the first five years weren’t quite hell, but the rest certainly were!) with my soul still fully intact on graduation day. It does not matter what they think of you and, ideally, it is best if they do not think of you AT ALL!
Also, in keeping with the gray man idea, we do not belong officially to any club or established organization, not a church, not any political organizations or gun clubs, not even the local homeschool group…we are friends with like-minded people, there’s just no “official” record.
Another thing to consider: West Virginia isn’t one of them, but some states have laws that require you to have electricity and/or running water especially if you have people under the age of 18 living in your house, make sure that your state isn’t one of them and if so make sure you are in compliance with that law. The same goes for healthcare (just keep in mind that there IS a difference between having and using)…again, give them NO EXCUSE to target you!!
Getting back to the more practical aspects of prepping, under the category of protection is also lighting and shelter. The number one thing for lighting that I simply cannot recommend more is a Waka Waka Light, it is a small handheld light with a built-in solar panel that charges even on an overcast day. We have one for each member of our family over the age of five, they use them for reading before bed but, of course, the true purpose is to be used in an emergency or teotwawki situation. You can also use outdoor solar lamps made for the intention of lining a walkway but they can just as easily be used indoors after charging in the direct sunlight all day, however the solar panel does not work as well as the one on a Waka Waka Light.
One thing that most people in a grid down situation might not think of is simply just doing without light and adapting to the natural cycles of light and darkness. We quite naturally fell into this rhythm during Derecho 2012 when our power grid was down for 11 days. You simply work when it’s light, sleep when it’s dark, this is especially important if you find yourself in a population center, using light at night could possibly attract all sorts of unwanted attention.
My main pet peeve about lighting that I have run into several times over the years is this absurd notion that you must buy those little expensive bottles labelled as “lamp oil” for your oil lamps…NO, you do not…instead just use good old fashioned kerosene from a gas station, it’s waaay cheaper and also produces a much brighter light! Almost needless to say, you can also use candles, I am always on the lookout for used candles at thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. If not used “as is” then melted down and re-purposed into fire-starters. I have bought huge pillar candles for as little as 25 cents each! Don’t forget to stock up on matches and plenty of lighters!
As for shelter, well, the securest shelter is one that you own in full and a mortgage, no matter how you cut it, is NOT full ownership, simple as that. We own our own house and land and have been absolutely 100% DEBT FREE since 2003. The closer you can be to fully owning a house and piece of land as far away from the city as possible the better off you will be and the more secure your preps will be…not much else to say really…moving on to water…
Water! is so important! If you do not have access to a safe clean water source independent of the electrical grid then you better be storing LOTS of it! One gallon per person per day is the absolute minimum, three gallons per person per day is more ideal.
One thing my husband did when we still lived in the city was locate a natural spring. In the woods between our apartment complex and the eight lane interstate highway, woods that were narrow but quite long running for a good distance along the interstate, about one mile from our apartment he found a naturally occurring spring and we kept it’s location in mind just in case we ever found ourselves in a situation without water…if you collect from a natural water source however, just make sure to boil the water for at least seven minutes, ten is better, and treat each gallon with bleach. For those who might be interested, here<—clickable link! is a good article on locating a natural spring.
I used to store water in old one gallon milk jugs and vinegar jugs adding 8 drops of bleach to purify and screwing the cap on tight stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight, like the back of a seldom used closet. When we moved from Maryland to West Virginia I remember dumping close to 50 gallons of water down the drain lol. Now we live on land with it’s own well and medium sized creek fed by two natural springs, I still keep 20 gallons (in four 5 gallon jugs) stored in the house at all times though. I also highly recommend the Big Berky water filter, we’ve been using one since 2006 and they work great!
As for food, I tend to disagree with other preppers out there on how exactly to go about on food storage. In my opinion, if you do not have the ability to cook or properly store food independent of the electrical grid then you should only be storing food that requires no cooking or refrigeration. Especially if you find yourself in a city situation, the smell of food cooking is liable to attract unwanted attention, ie. people that will want to take your food. Bag upon bag of dry beans and rice do you no good at all if you have not the means to cook it!
Buy Canned Food that does not require cooking. Everybody goes for the tuna, but it’s a poor choice, containing few calories or fat it can fill your stomach but will not provide much in the way of energy and in a survival situation you NEED energy! And FAT, fat is essential in helping your body to properly deal with stress and can even prevent you from going into shock should your situation become especially perilous. Go for the sardines or canned salmon or even canned mackerel, with plenty of hot sauce or mustard and some saltine crackers…it will provide you with REAL (mostly nutritious) energy.
Any of the canned chilis taste fine cold, and other canned meats like SPAM or canned ham (NOT the chicken, you need the fat and it doesn’t have enough!) or potted meat even…any of these paired up with saltine crackers (preferably whole wheat saltines if you can get ’em) or other cracker like Triscuits will provide good basic energy for little money and it will not go bad nor does it require cooking. Other good ideas are shelled roasted and salted sunflower seed kernels, banana chips fried in coconut oil or palm oil (both the sunflower seeds and banana chips I get from The Dollar Tree for $1..I mix these with raisins and mini M&M baking chips, or mini chocolate chips if melting isn’t going to be an issue, to make my own trail mix). Peanut butter is excellent as well and BUTTER is a good idea too, the salted kind can remain at room temperature, around 70°f, for weeks without going bad. All of these things have A LOT of calories for little money and they don’t require refrigeration or cooking.
Also, make sure you have plenty of manual can openers on hand!
Other good food ideas that don’t require cooking or refrigeration: canned olives, canned coconut milk, canned sweet potatoes, beef or BACON jerky in vacuum sealed packages, jarred pickled eggs, canned meat broth, extra virgin coconut oil, raw honey and dried seaweed in vacuum sealed packages..might sound weird but the seaweed will last forever unopened and has lotsa good nutrition it can be soaked in broth and then drank-eaten together even without heating the broth. Also, good high quality moist grey colored sea salt! It is one thing that most people cannot produce themselves (unless they live near the ocean) plus it will never go bad and if you have a large reserve you can use small amounts for barter since the majority of people in a SHTF scenario will be too late in realizing the preciousness of something as simple as salt!
Once you procure the means to cook without electricity, maybe a propane or kerosene stove with ample amounts of stored fuel. Or, even better, a Biolite Stove, we bought one a couple of years ago, it cooks great, especially the grilling attachment, we use hickory harvested from our woods for grilling…PLUS it can charge any USB device with nothing more than a simple woodfire and wood is the one thing that we have basically an unlimited supply of! Thus enabling us to charge things like our cell phone, tablet or laptop so that we can continue to run our Ebay business even when the electrical grid is down!
Next up, if you’re lucky, prepping and nutrition. AKA “We NEED Protein People!”