Preparing for the storm

From the comments:

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what many today are calling “The Benedict Option,” though that’s not the name under which I first heard it. My first exposure was this post, “Back to Qumran” at http://orthosphere.org/2012/11/20/back-to-qumran/ [MN: I recommend reading this article, if you haven’t already.]
I have been in the shadows of what some call the Prepper Movement for some time (preparing for the future just makes sense to me) so the idea of a “prepper’s retreat” was well known to me, but a retreat for the express purpose of religious and cultural continuance and strengthening was a new twist.
I think it may be one of the key aspects of preparing for future persecution – build communities now, unplug our children now.
When the storm hits, it will be too late. And when the storm hits, I think a vast majority of the “Christian” edifice in America will crumble.  —KingProphetPriest

I think this is worth speaking about here and now, rather than waiting for Preparing for Persecution. I saw an article the other day rightly pointing out some of the advantages of renting, rather than purchasing, your home. Conversation on the advantages of renting over owning seem to have increased of late, and the points they bring up are valid. Aaron Clarey, in his book Bachelor Pad Economics, gives a succinct run-down.

However, almost all of these analysis specifically focus on suburban home ownership. Many of the issues, including skyrocketing property taxes, drastic property value decline due to invasion by inner-city blacks, decreasing safety (i.e. Ferguson, MO), etc. are issues that are almost exclusive to suburban areas. The answer then, is not so much “don’t buy” as it is “don’t buy suburban.”

Rural life offers significant advantages over suburban life. Buying rural land is one of the best moves you can make. Rural land is often inexpensive–get as large a plot as you can. Make sure there’s a couple of good tillable acres for vegetables. Try to get a little woods for hunting and heating. If you can find a place that includes some water as well you are golden.

Now, I want to answer one objection right away. You’re not a farmer, you have a normal job. You have to drive to work every day, and living in the boonies makes that drive uncomfortably long. And why plant vegetables when you can just go to the supermarket?

Well, cupcake, you are going to lose your job.

It’s not if, it is when. If you haven’t come to terms with that, you need to do so now. When it happens, you want to be more than ready. That’s why you’re going to plant vegetables. That’s why you’re going to make sure you can hunt. That’s why you want to own your own (rural) land.

Some of you are noticing that I keep using the word “land,” and are wondering if I am recommending you buy property that does not already have a house on it. Yes, I am. I recommend you pull the permits yourself, and build your own (small) house. 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a nice size kitchen and living area is all you need. Now, someone is thinking “I’m going to have 10 kids, how am I going to live in a 2-bedroom house?”

Easy, Tiger.

Let’s say that you have 1 kid right now that is 1 year old, you have your next child in 1 year, and you continue to have a child every second year until you have 10. Since you can easily fit 3 young children in one room (a bunk bed + a crib), you don’t need any more space for a little over 4 years. 4 years is way more than enough time to build a bunkhouse a few feet away from the main house, and that is a far better option than building excess rooms to start with. For 4 years you are saving on heating costs by not heating an extra room, and saving on property taxes. Even after you build the bunkhouse, you will still save on property taxes, as outbuildings without bathrooms are generally taxed at a lower rate per square foot. If you put an exterior door on one of your bathrooms, the kids can trot over to it just like it was an outhouse without having to walk through the entire house.

Now that you have less neighbors (due to being rural), you can engage each of them more thoroughly. Help them with various projects. Hire their kids to help you hoe your vegetables. Live the Christian life faithfully, remembering that a properly ordered family preaches the gospel far more effectively than all the sermons in the world. Build the community that you want to be a part of.

And when the storm that is brewing hits the full force of its fury, you will be prepared.

14 thoughts on “Preparing for the storm

  1. That is exactly what I’m in the process of doing.

    I’m renting, for the moment, while I wait on God’s time for the property I’m looking at to work. Or a couple of them, though I will say I have one that I want more. It has less hunting, more growth (gardening and food forest) potential. Oh, and enough grazing to have some sheep or goats. I’ve got the thing roughly drafted out and know how I want it done.

    I also have some plans for the additions.

    I have to say, I’ll probably not build it myself (I’ll have someone put in the foundation, walls, and ceiling. I can do the interior myself). This is due to the fact that I want the walls to be made out of ICF (insulated concrete forms. Think rebar-reinforced concrete with insulation). Sturdy, good thermal mass, lasts hundreds of years, storm/earthquake resistant for when God gets angry (or people are shooting bullets). Two story, 800 square feet. Right by a pond, with the additions planned to form a type of courtyard around the pond. It will probably be 2400 square feet when its done, if I keep making decent money. Smaller if I don’t, or the plans will change as they often do as dictated by reality.

    But, I’ll have meat, milk, vegetables, fruit, and nuts. I’m good friends with neighbors, and the only electrician in the neighborhood.

    It’s solid. As self sufficient as my skills will allow, removed, small (thus not worth any governmental interference), defensible, and sustainable. Anyone that wants this kind of thing should do some basic searches on permaculture for agriculture (less work, less produce, more dependable), a good composting book, some basics on homesteading, and some building techniques.

    Just an example. I’ll have to go into some debt to make it happen; but as an electrician I feel a bit more secure for a few years against PC culture to make it happen, and feel fine defending it if someone tries to unjustly seize it for any reason.

  2. I liked it as well. It had a great deal of advice, balanced thoughts on a few options, and read easy.

    More than anything, the ideas presented were easily acted upon. For a beginner such as myself, thats huge.

  3. I recommend the book “city chicks” – chickens provide eggs – or meat. Rabbits also work as a veg to meat converter. Cows are large so you would need to sell. And learn butchering – livestock or hunted animals.
    I’m in Wyoming. Not quite a prepper, but I have a solar panel system and got my FCC amateur technician license so I can comm across the desolation – the zero-bar ranch area is huge. Amateur repeaters cover it.
    There are lots of farms and ranches around (that don’t need external support). Electricity is via hydroelectric.
    And it is Constitutional carry with a thriving gun culture.
    The city is large by Wyoming standards – 6000 population. Practically no crime. Many churches. Live and let-live attitude. No income tax. 4% sales tax., low property tax.

  4. For those of us who were born and raised in the soft, squishy suburban cesspool of careerism and consumerism, this ‘return to the land’ idea can be very overwhelming. We have been since birth in a state of perpetual infancy, mentally conditioned to see the state, corporation, and grocery store as our manager and provider. Many of us graduated college and are barely scraping buy, with poor job prospects. Buying rural land seems as far away as becoming a millionaire. So, a change of mindset is needed. Advice to those of us on how to reorient our mind out of the dependent, learned helpless mentality toward a more pioneering spirit would be helpful. Strategies toward this end would also be good. Some of us would just like to know where to start.

  5. Chickens and goats/cows are generally valued for their products – eggs and milk. Calculate what you want and what surplus can be traded and compensate for the random wild animal reducing your flock or herd.
    Also make sure if you need meat (great nutrition, see paleo/primal diets) you know how to do it right http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Butchering-Livestock-Game-Mettler/dp/0882663917 – it is a talent becoming more rare, even for those who want to get local meat.
    Also remember where you are. If you are in semi-urban, and people outnumber cows, you may have to worry about cattle rustlers. If cows outnumber people by a large margin, much less elk, deer, bear, sheep… you won’t have to worry about meat.
    Consider especially winter – There may be farmers and farmer’s markets and crops in summer, but you need to do some basic canning or other preservation (e.g. dehydration), to get past winter. Hunting will help, but you need to turn tomatoes into salsa and keep it in a “root cellar” http://www.amazon.com/Root-Cellaring-Natural-Storage-Vegetables/dp/0882667033 – and evaluate the electricity nearby. Coal needs railroads. Hydro doesn’t.
    Salt shouldn’t be a problem, but you might want to make sure. Also with herbs and other spice plants. You can survive if you can cook meats and veggies, but blandness gets old.

    Although I consider them toxic, starches (grains, flour) and sugars are calorie dense. Consider if you have several weeks below zero. Get some thermal underwear and layers. You can use a sleeping bag in bed. But for heat, you need simple calories. Fat is best (see “brown fat”). But sugar and flour are hard to spoil. If you need bulk calories (but little nutrition, get that elsewhere), that is what to get.

    Consider getting an amateur radio technician’s license. Then you can get a $30 radio that you can talk over satellite, to the space station, or to repeaters so you can talk around the world or county. Then get the General. See Gordon West’s series or qrz.com for test details. (I’m in an area where it is easy to get to zero bars on every cell phone, so having a radio I can contact someone in an emergency is prudent). Between Gordo’s CDs and QRZ, if you can memorize answers to multiple choice, you can get the license.

    I’m only doing solar (hackaday.io – solar track rack – vote for me in the prize contest) in case the hydro plant has some part blow up and can’t supply power. The problem with gasoline powered generators is in most long-term emergencies there is no gas. Stations require grid electricity. You need tankers from the refineries. See Katrina. Consider if you can do biodiesel with local oil-seeds. Or oil (there is a refinery not too far away…).

    One model of Ford (I’ve not checked others) can do 3kW with optional alternators. Do you need a generator if you have a car? But will the car (truck) start at 40 below? Try to find multiuse resources.

    (I don’t consider myself a prepper, but prudence is good; I was in an ice-storm where electricity was off 2 weeks in a large midwest city; and later in the mid-2000s summer blackout)

  6. How far away are the farmers and ranchers? And how dependent are they on “the grid”? You don’t necessarily need to go rural yourself, just be around enough of those who do. (Note: my small “farming town” has municipal fiber – the base is blazing fast but I can get symmetrical gigabit if I really want it)

  7. One last recommendation, during WW2 in London, they recommend raising rabbits for meat. You can also raise chickens or turkeys if you have the space. The problem with the larger animals is you can’t normally eat a whole one in one sitting, so it creates preservation problems. Rabbits are vegetable matter to meat machines not unlike cows, sheep, or goats (I’m not sure about the logistics of pigs), but are a single serving variety. For any of the smaller meat animals, how long from birth to being big enough to eat is a consideration as you will have to ladder them to get a constant supply.

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