The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm Going To ???

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

There are many articles out there that talk about what people are going to do when the collapse comes. Most of them are going to raise a garden, many are going to have livestock, many are going to forage for food, and some of them are going to take food from others. These articles all have the same general theme, what they are going to do. Unless you read very closely, some of these articles make it hard to tell that the wishful folks have not started these endeavors yet. Yes, I know, everybody dreams. Some people plan quite extensively before they make their move. Dreaming and planning are good things to do, but there comes a time when you have to put your boots on the ground. Literally.

Well, let's talk about what it means to do some of those items up above, like gardening, livestock, foraging and taking from others. Let me deal
with taking from others first. If you plan on surviving in a rural setting by taking from others, and this is your plan, then you might want to consider that most rural folks are armed and know how to use their weaponry. It's not uncommon to scare off a dog with a shotgun, send a mangy dog to dog heaven, and you get the drift here. Most rural folks use guns like any other tool. So, if you're planning on taking from others in rural areas, this may be your biggest failure of all times. I know of little old ladies that are very comfortable with a 410 shotgun. We all know talk is cheap, but this type idea, taking from others, will promptly get you killed, even by a granny with a 410.

Okay, let's go on to gardening, for those who plan to garden when things fall apart. I dearly hope you have a years supply of food stored up, and you have an existing garden place to go to. The reason being, if you're going to take a lawn somewhere and just start planting seeds, you're going to get awfully hungry by the time that seed produces fruit, if it does. Things to consider before planting. First, you have to be able to get to your soil. You need to be able to break the soil some how or another. Do you have a
source of water? If you're going to use manure, then you have to have a source for the manure. Now you need to mix it in and let is sit for, hmm, a month maybe. During that month you can continue to weed it, water it, if you have water that is, and just overall tend to your soil. If I remember correctly, this is what you're going to eat and feed your family. So, that piece of soil I'm talking about is probably going to be around 100' by 100'. Better get started early if you're going to do this with a shovel and a hoe. Say you like corn? Now you've got that 100' by 100' turned over and all conditioned, and the big day comes when you put that corn seed in the ground. What are you going to do for the next 90 days? Yep, this will give you time to weed everyday, because, remember this is what you are going to survive off of for the rest of your life.

Okay, while you are waiting for 90 days to get your first bite of corn, you can get a batch of day old chickens. That's right, I forgot, there's been a collapse of society. The guy you brought with you to help you survive decided one night he would expedite the matter and go steal granny's
chickens, but he never came home did he? So, by some miracle, you get a batch of day old chickens and it's in the heat of the summer, so the little guys might live, and you brought 90 days of chicken feed with you, because you're not going to be able to grow it until your corn is ready to harvest. Remember, you're waiting on your corn to get ready, some how or another you got some baby chickens, you've got less help now because your buddy never came back, and in about 12 to 14 weeks, you can butcher friers. What are you going to do with them? Well, if you butcher them at 12 weeks, you can have fried chicken and corn on the cob. Okee-dokee? You're not getting any eggs yet because your birds aren't 6 months old. You didn't by mistake butcher your hens, did you?

Oh well, you're going to eat red meat. Where are you going to get it? When you moved here, you were lucky enough to find a local farmer to sell you some baby goats. They're probably about 8 weeks old. You want milk and meat, right? Right. Those 8 week old
baby goats you bought, you can butcher the males when they are about 6 months old. Now, aren't you glad you brought that years supply of food with you? You've already waited 90 days to get your first ear of corn, 12 weeks to get your first bite of fried chicken, 6 months to butcher your first goat, you do know how to butcher a goat, don't you? But you haven't had that drink of fresh milk yet, because it's going to be 6 more months before you do, right around one year from the start. You do know how to get milk out of that thing, don't you?

Okay, now it's been one year. You've got corn, eggs, chicken and goat meat, and milk. Congratulations on the milk. I'm really surprised you lived this long. Too bad your buddy didn't. That was halted when he was stealing granny's chickens. Lost some weight, haven't you?


Okay, let's talk about foraging. You know those books you brought with you about things to forage? What to eat, what not to eat. Those pretty glossy pictures, they just don't look the same as they do when you are down on the river bank. That thing that you picked up that you're considering eating, it looks just like that other plant there that
will make you deathly ill. Do you take your chances? Well, maybe we'll forage a little deeper. What's that pain in my ankle? Is that snake edible? Am I going to die from that thing that just bit me? Still got that book you were carrying with all those pretty pictures in it? Okay, so foraging didn't work out too well.

Maybe you'll just hunt your food. Did you know that wildlife, let me take the white tailed deer to be specific, during the early
1930's, the Great Depression, there were no white tailed deer left in the state of Arkansas? But, you're right, you watched all of those survival videos. If you think you're going to live off of wildlife, sorry buddy, it ain't gonna happen. Even if you do know how to butcher the animal. I hear opossum is tasty, never have eaten it myself. But, I have long past relatives that did eat opossum, racoon, skunk, snake, crow, deer, squirrel, ducks and they knew which were wild onions and which were not.

Back to that years supply of food you brought with you. Let's say it's a year later, your years supply of food is gone and you weren't quite able to restock it. Things are looking a little gloomy, aren't they?

We all hear stories about people that are going to do something. Everybody looks good at the beginning of the race, but there are few that finish the race. This thing coming our way is no joke. If we are not prepared, and we have not practiced, and if we don't have our head screwed on right, then we're probably not going to make it. You can practice in your apartment. You can buy a case of carrots or peaches
and start learning how to can. You can find chicken on sale and practice your canning skills. You can practice foraging while the times are still good. You can put together a 'get out of Dodge bag'. Doing this will give your mind a lot of good work. Even those of us that do it everyday need more practice, because right now we are all living with the abundance that God has given us in this country. Everyday it gets closer. Nobody knows the exact day, but there are things you can do. 

By the way, our national population has almost tripled since the times of the Great Depression. A significant number of the population at that time were rural, and many did not have
electricity. When this thing does come, we as a population are going to be much worse off than the folks during the early 1930's. Thank you for letting me play with your head, about gardening, livestock, foraging, gardening again and taking someone else's stuff. Take advantage of the opportunities provided us while the stores are still full, travel is still free and the internet still works. There are many, many people that believe someday, in the not too distant future, the stores will be closed, travel will be highly restricted and the internet will be gone. Give thought to it.

We'll talk more later. Frank

37 comments:

  1. You have told the truth of it!

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    1. Fiona, thank you for reading. Sometimes the truth is hard to say. And sometimes the truth is not appreciated. Your blog looks great. Take care.

      Frank

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    2. A very real look at what it will take to "Survive". So many of my friends and neighbors think "I will simply throw some seeds in the ground and Viola Instant garden. I always ask them "So you got those seeds bought?" There answer usually is "well i will pick some up next payday". Guess what? They still have no seeds.
      Thank you very much for this article I am going to try ans subscribe to your blog.
      Hossmiester

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    3. Hossmiester, thank you for the comment. Unfortunately, I believe you are correct. Most people are playing a head game with themselves. I'm not exactly sure why. Fear. Fear of the unknown. I really don't know. But most will wait until the stores are closed, and then wait for the government to take care of them. That can lead into multiple different scenarios. You may have just picked seeds as an example, but seeds in the future will be critical. Thanks again for reading.

      Frank

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  2. Dear Frank,
    Spot On!!! You found our giggle button....
    Was reading some old newspapers from the 1895-6 times where people out in our neck of the woods were stealing me a t out of smokehouses and potato patches cleaned out...people best be paying attention and taking action....
    loved fhis read...keep them coming

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    1. M.E. thank you for the comment. There's one thing to glean a field with the owners permission, and there is another thing to steal without owners permission. I'm afraid for a short period, we will see a burst of stealing after the initial collapse. Some of these folks will be re-educated, because there are lots of people out there that don't know how to work. I know that sounds strange, but I have taught kids that are fourth, fifth generation welfare, that have never seen a man work.Therefore, they honestly don't know how to work. We'll see how it turns out. Take care.

      Frank

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    2. You seem to have taken the same trip from liberalism to survivalism that many have. Once you have seen past the veneer of civilization there is no looking back. It took years of working in inner cities trying to make a difference for me.

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    3. You're right, there is a very thin veneer. It doesn't make a lot of national coverage, but towns like Chicago and Detroit have crimes happening everyday, which we in rural, civilized America never see or hear about. That veneer, that now seems to protect us all, will be shed very quickly when things start to go down. We had all better pray that we're close to home when the veneer dissolves.

      Frank

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  3. Great article. Spoke to someone recently about the price of meat - sky high and rising. Their rationale was going to a plant based diet - good idea. But, they were going to grow their own beans and rice - in containers around their pool! Yes, we grow lots of greens, some beans, etc in our containers but we've been gardening for almost 60 years and would never even consider growing beans & rice. Reality really needs to kick in but I doubt it will.

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    1. Hi Bellen. I love beans and rice, and I have some stored and put away. I believe I could grow quite a few beans if I tried, but we don't have a clue how to grow rice. I used to watch the ladies over seas with babies on their backs work their rice paddies all day. Back breaking work. Reality needs to kick in for a lot of folks, sooner than later. Nice to hear from you again.

      Frank

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    2. I remember reading an article about how those that grew rice where more collectivist than those who grew grain because growing grain could be accomplished individually. You might need a small village to grow rice.

      Check out Caragana Arborescens (Also known as Siberian Pea Tree, Siberian Peashrub) recently profiled on Survivalblog, I plan on ordering some after winter is over. They are nitro fixing, drought tolerant and produces similar yearly harvests that are high in protein and oil content.

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  4. Spot on Friend! Glad you are feeling better and back at church some. Hope to visit with you sometime soon. Keep up the good words, the folks out there that may stumble on to your blog need them!!!
    We are fine, just doing our stuff in the Valley.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. I had a great conversation at church today with your son-in-law, and the lunch was great. We'll talk more later.

      Frank

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  5. Great great article . The take away sentence for me is."This thing coming our way is no joke " I totally agree , I am working on a biblical Joesph 7 year supply of food , 7 years of plenty 7 years of famine . Right now our nation is collapsing right before our eyes and all the press and media will not report it . How many died of starvation during the Great Depression ? The school lunch program was started in the 1940s because so many military recruits were so small and had poor teeth from malnutrition .

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    1. I was not aware of the school lunch program starting then, but I can certainly see why. I'm sure there is a certain percentage of people that are aware of what is coming, and of that group, there is a certain percentage of them that are actively preparing. I heard a brilliant man state once, that if 1% of the population were to earnestly prepare, then the store shelves would be empty.

      Okay. The closest town to me, which is 30 miles away, has about 10,000 people. 1% would be 100 people. So, imagine if 100 people went into, let's say Wal-Mart, and bought all of the staple foods that they needed, would the shelves be empty? My Wal-Mart keeps about 10 boxes of Grape Nuts at any time. This is just an example. 10 boxes of Grape Nuts and 100 people. Not going to go very far, is it? Food for thought. 1%, what about the other 99%? Better get it while you can. Thank you for the excellent comment.

      Frank

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  6. Well done.

    We, too, have shifted our lifestyle from consuming to producing. It isn't easy, is it? We had considered our food storage as the answer, but realized that it represented how long we could tread water after the SS Civilization goes down. Creating and building a self-sufficient sustenance lifestyle takes a lot of time. Gardening, livestock maintenance, and food creation (cheese making, canning, etc.) all have a steep learning curve. Since most are seasonal, one has to wait a year to implement new strategies and see the results. Most folks don't store beyond a year, and the twenty year storage foods aren't as appetizing as one might hope. This message needs to get out: start, start now, and stick with it. Once the skills and experience become necessary to have, it will be too late to get them.

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    1. Hi Jim. Thank you for responding. People need to read your comment more than once.

      We've learned a lot this year with my back injury, the amount of time that it takes, just to take care of the infirm. Our food production dropped sharply this year. We are fortunate to live in a society that is blessed with abundance, but over a period of a couple of days, or even a couple of hours, that abundance can be stripped from the shelves. Then that feeling of being blessed, will quickly deteriorate.

      The Town Criers have been warning us for a long time, "Prepare Ye, Prepare Ye!" Keep up the good work and thank you for all that you do.

      Frank

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  7. You are right on. I do think some sign of things to come has started. I planted a row of a rare heirloom variety of tomatoes for seed along the east side of my garden, farthest away from my house. I had been out taking some pictures of them to send along with the seed I'll be sending to friends and relatives. At that time there was about a bushel of vine ripe fruits almost ready to be picked. Two days later I went out to start picking and plants were tromped and all the ripe and nearly ripe tomatoes were gone. Deer and coon don't where boots. I tracked them nearly a mile up to the Rail Road tracks and finally lost tracks after they crossed a trestle. Bottom line, people are getting desperate enough to destroy and steal from others. If they had gone to the front of my property, in the shade by the road is a table where we put out surplus veggies every time we have anything available beyond what we can't eat daily, can, freeze or dry. You are correct, rural folks are armed and are well practiced in where to place a bullet. I let my guard down by not watching out for someone possible watching from the tree line across the pasture. It won't happen again as that weak point is now protected. All someone has to do is ask and if we can spare some food we give it freely. I had to vent a little. Luckily we produce much more than we can consume and preserve but in a survival situation it could have been a life of death situation for us.

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    1. I'm very sorry for your loss. It must trouble your heart that people would steal from you. It's a sign of the times. But it's not worth going to jail for a bushel of tomatoes.

      I think it started a while back, and I believe we are well in to an irreversible calamity. On the positive side, consider yourself fortunate that it was just tomatoes. Events like this should be a wake up call. Next time they may come for something significantly more precious. Good luck. Watch your back.

      Frank

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  8. You made it on JWR's site.

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    1. It's always an honor to have your work recognized by others.

      Frank

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  9. That's an expensive fence you've got for your goats. Almost $2.00 a foot. Worth more than the goats.
    Just curious, but how many years does it take to pay back the infrastructure, feed costs, etc.?
    Is it reasonable to fence them in using electric wire or are they escape artists as I've heard?

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    1. The fence is 48" field fence with one strand of barbed wire across the bottom, and 2 strands across the top. The corral is made out of graduated stock panels. Is it worth the cost of the fence? Absolutely. It is priceless.

      I've never used electric fence for livestock. I have never had a goat or sheep get out of my fencing. Why would they? They are well fed, well maintained and all of their needs are met. I did have a billy once that was a fence jumper, but he only jumped to where the girls were. So, after his job was done, he left.

      I also don't have problems with predators getting into my fence either. In the last six years I have had a couple of stray dogs in my pastures. They probably came through the gates. I have no mercy for any predator in my pasture. None. This is just the way it is. Therefore, to date, we have had no predator problems. I don't think dead goats, or dead baby goats are the least bit cute. Any predator that crosses my path will not live to see another day.

      So, good fences, make good neighbors. We consider good fencing to be an excellent investment in tangible assets. The dividends pay for years. Thank you for your observation.

      Frank

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    2. I'll chime in here on the fencing.

      Field fencing is the best for goats and small ungulates, but also works with larger stock like cattle and horses. We raise Boer goats commercially, all of our fencing is field fence. Strand fencing is far cheaper and easier to install, but simply will not work on goats and sheep nor their predators.

      We have made extensive use of electric fencing, particularly the netting. That stuff is expensive, but for field rotation within a fenced pasture it is a valuable tool. Strand electric won't work for anything smaller than a cow or horse. Sheep with wool won't feel anything and goats will find that one spot that is just big enough for them to get through.

      Goats are allegedly escape artists. Billy goats are difficult to manage and dangerous. Both are myths if you treat your animals well. We've had jail breaks, but the goats go as far as the nearest graze and always run home when "caught." Our 250# billies are pussy cats. They like to come up and rub their ears on us. No trouble at all.

      Forget the economics, you'll never compete with Walmart. That said, Walmart will never have the quality that comes out of your own field. No store will, not even those high-priced organic stores. "Your food tastes better when you know its name." But that is beside the point of the post. If you do not have complete control of your food and water from field to table, you are vulnerable to the disruption of a very complex system, a vulnerability which can cost you your life.

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    3. Jim, thank you for the detailed comment. When we moved here, I hired a bulldozer and operator and cleared all of the fence line, old fence included. Then I hired another crew to put up the field fencing. We had used it before in another location in Oklahoma, but it was the lighter grade. This time I went with the heaviest gauge I could find, American made. One of my neighbors told me that his cows would just push that fence down. Well, it's been six years and the cows never even touch it.

      Your last comment alluded to a disruption in services. I believe that to be a very possible and real threat. It's taken a hundred years to build the logistics and infrastructure of commerce that we take for granted daily. One little glitch will set the dominoes falling.

      Thank you for your in-depth observation. Take care.

      Frank

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    4. It sounds like you had better luck with fencing contractors than I did. We're carving our homestead out of five hundred acres of sagebrush and cactus. After watching two contractors put in our first fences and writing outrageous checks, I am now doing it myself. It takes longer (per foot), but the results are better because the care you take with your own installations far outweighs the lack of experience. My "professional" fences are loose and bagging, but the amateur fences are still tight as a snare drum.

      Our cows don't bother the field fence, either. Horses, on the other hand, cause a lot of damage by simply reaching over to graze on the other side. I strung a hot wire across the top and that solved the problem.

      We're surrounded by predators: coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. We use Great Pyrenees and they are very effective. I highly recommend them to anyone. To an intruder (two- or four-legged), they are vicious attack dogs. To us, they are 100 pound lap dogs. They are especially great with children, very protective.

      One piece of advice I would pass on to homesteaders is: Don't go cheap on the tools. Buy the best you can afford, and sometimes that means hitting the estate sales because older tools are generally far better than the new stuff.

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    5. Jim, I think we got lucky with our fencing man. He was slow, but he did a good job. It also depends on what time of year you stretch the fencing.

      We also have a Great Pyrenees, and we do not have predator problems. On occasion I will assist her, though. Also, on occasion she like to get in a tussle with a skunk. We tried a second Pyrenees, and used the same training techniques with the second dog that we used with the first. The second dog was way too hyper, she was more like a normal yard type dog. She just didn't work out.

      I certainly agree about the tools. When I was a younger man, Sears made excellent tools, now I don't even go into a Sears. You're right, invest in good, quality tools, consider them a tangible asset.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Frank

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  10. Wow. That's telling it like it is.

    That great post kind of knocked a little more sense into me and I've maintained a garden for years. Also, I've tested my mettle with goats, and I forage annually for black walnuts. (Lots of dense, nutritious, delicious calories in black walnuts!)

    Never tried to steal anyone else's food, though. Never will. I'll gratefully glean, but never steal.

    I hope those who are deluding themselves into thinking they can step right into food production will see the light after reading this. The level of physical exertion alone will be a shock.

    Just Me

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    1. Just Me, I think many people are going to be shocked. Like I said in the post, many people think that they are just going to go out and start raising food. This is very shallow and naive. It takes lots of work to raise food. People we know comment, "Why do you do that when you can buy it at the grocery store?" There are many reasons why. One is the pride of being able to feed myself. But even with all of the practice in growing food, I don't think that I could grow enough to feed my family. It's a lot of work. Thank you for your comment.

      Frank

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  11. In reality one should have 2 years worth of food because it will take that first year to figure it out. However, as I am learning, that can also be depleted should a grown child move in. For me, a lesson I am still working on.

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    1. You are probably right about having more than one years supply of food, because you never know what's going to happen. It's good that you can provide for another adult, but if you think about it, there are many reasons to have lots of extra food. Make plans now to prepare while times are good. Fern and I had to deal with my back injury this year which happened to come right at peak garden time. But, it can be other things, weather, pestilence or many other events can set you back. Thanks for the comment.

      Frank

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  12. Excellent article! A little.on the optimistic side I think. That corn, you best be up before sunup every day or the crows will get the sprouts. Well, not just corn. Better keep a close eye on those chickens and goats. The feral dogs will be rampant after a few weeks. Actually it's like that now around here. Of course you might find dog is pretty tasty.

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    1. Actually, when I was overseas, I had the opportunity to eat dog in a restaurant. You know the old saying, when in Rome, do as the Romans? Well, when in rural South Korea, up by the DMZ, then do as the South Koreans do. I know some will find this gross and repulsive, but at that time, 1970, it was just another red meat on the menu. It was one of these order by number type places, kind of like when you pull into a McDonald's now and order a number six. I can remember it clearly to this day, 40 years later. There it was on the menu, K-9, finger lickin' good. Take care. Thanks for the comment.

      Frank

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  13. My husband and I just had this conversation - even for those of us who want to believe we are preparing - there will be many lost because of just how unprepared we really are - great article - I have been gardening for years and without the proper weather and water you can starve watching it grow - the chickens cost more money today to maintain and by the time you have stored all your food to be prepared you hope that it is still eatable - we are in a rotation process now because we were more prepared 7 years ago than we are today - the perfect location is hard to find because everyone is looking for it - to be in the middle of no where when collapse happens would be ideal - but to be there when it happens you have to see it well before it comes because you will never make it there on the day of.... pretty sad to think about it and reality check

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    1. It is sad to think about it, and one day it is going to occur. I wish I knew when that one day will come. I don't think there is a perfect location, and I'm not sure out in the middle of nowhere is the best place. I don't share the concept of like minded people. The reason being, if you tell someone what you're doing, it will eventually get to the wrong person, that is not of a like mind, but sees you as a resource. For years, Fern and I have tried to sound the alarm. Most people just think we are a little bit different. But I have to believe that there are those that make note, and observe us as a source of entitlement. There are some people I wish I had never told. You're right. It's sad.

      Frank

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  14. Frank - thank you for telling it like it is! we started preparing/practicing back in the city many years ago and finally moved to our permanent bug-out location in 2010. it has been a learning curve for sure - we moved 1,000 miles from where we lived to a remote little island that is lightly populated, only one city (pop. 36,000) and we are in the middle of nowhere. it took a year or two to get the soil in our raised beds properly amended and we lost 4yrs of carefully saved heirloom, non-gmo seeds in a flood. oh well. we sucked it up, replaced our seeds and have been saving seeds again for the past couple of years. my husband hunts and fishes - we have incredible hunting and fishing here! we have back-ups to our back-ups and we just shake our heads at some of the blogs that we read where people are "just gonna" start foraging and tossing seeds here and there WHEN the collapse happens. not before. jeesh.

    this was a great post. and hopefully it can shake some cobwebs out of some people's minds. thanks.

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    1. Congratulations on your move. Fern and I have been preparing for many years, but we really started preparing about six years ago. Then we started writing this blog a little over a year ago. And sometimes, I believe we write this to remind ourselves what we need to continue doing. We have received many great comments like yours, that continue to motivate us, and I hope it does others. Thank you for sharing.

      Frank

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