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Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 04:37 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Many people throughout history have lived on plant based protein since animal protein was too expensive, forbidden from all but the nobility or privileged, or unavailable due to food storage issues. Corn and beans, rice and beans, lentils and rice, wheat and beans, oatmeal, etc were used in amino acid combinations (look it up) in order to provide protein building blocks to attempt decent nutrition.

Having fresh vegetables or fruit was an incredible luxury. That said, many items can be safely stored in root cellars in a little sand. Food items can be dehydrated in a car in summertime making a serviceable method for storing up too much produce. Harvesting a lot of meat or an excess of garden produce can be done in a community way, in order to share the bounty and put up as much as possible and minimize spoilage.

Making a stew shared by several might mean much more variety and better nutrition. It is far more efficient to take turns baking bread, and passing along sourdough starter or teaching people to make pita bread, or learn the importance of long lasting hard tack is vital for survival. A few mealworms adds protein. :) Likewise adding in heart, liver, and kidneys into the stew might not be noticed as much as directly serving it.

Milk will not be available unless you've had the forethought to store dried milk or evaporated milk. In any case, while you can get calcium elsewhere from certain leafy vegetables, any found sources like bones from animals should be added to the stew to remove some of the calcium from them and into the mouths of your family.

People doing more hard labor are remodeling bone tissue more often. This means that the body is pulling calcium from other places, and this can mean loosening of your teeth unless you're replacing the calcium.

Other community organization has been dealt with before in this topic like security, education, medicine, spiritual, hunting, water gathering, etc. It would be wise to band together with your neighbors at the right time to improve the safety of all concerned.

Being a leader, a ramrod, and organizing if that's your skill is important. Many of us have skillsets that will be useful in a collapse, and we can help the community in that area without having to shoulder the load of leading overall. Organizing activities to safely accomplish tasks to most benefit the community is essential. Otherwise everyone is gathering independently and do this randomly and in a noncalculating manner will result in shortages of water, firewood, food, hunted animals, etc.
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 04:57 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

A time may come when we run out of soap, but most people can still heat up hot water. We can adjust our level of cleanliness to a certain degree, but it's vital to overall health not to neglect it too much. In a survival situation, there may be real limitation on the availability of clean water for drinking, but still water can be heated to wash in.

I've seen a recent video by a prepper and bushcraft expert that made me cringe. This video was from a person I really admire too. It's very important to always clean your food safely, and this includes cooking pots.

In their video, they mention using wood ash to the water in order to create a weak lye solution. That is correct. Soap is essentially a mixture of lye and rendered fat or plant oil, and the oil isn't absolutely important, but it sure helps. Regardless, you must use hot water in order to adequately kill pathogens. You can get a little too loosey goosey with hygiene when you're a big strapping man, but then big strappin' trappers died of poor hygiene routinely during the pioneer days.

You need several large plastic buckets for cleaning. Keep cleaning buckets separate for bathing and cleaning dishes. It might seem fine to minimize containers, but in reality we all have lots of cellular debris and fecal material on ourselves. People touch their faces and bodies several thousand times a day, and after using the restroom, butchering up meats, etc. Use a little common sense about it.

Some very strong dish detergent or laundry detergent or a concentrated soap like Dr. Bronner's will all work well for cleaning dishes and washing up. Research ways kill bacteria like using a mild bleach solution or adding in a tiny amount of tea tree oil.

You can make things like a pot scrubber from splintering up branches or grasses, but they should be washed first, and discarded. It's not hard to make them, and that's more important that filling them with food particles and providing a perfect place for breeding bacteria.

Lots of things can slide when you live in a warm home indoors with piping hot water and abundant soap. In the wild you need to take extra care since you're hurrying to do unfamiliar chores, and haphazard hygiene can result.

Otherwise expect lots of diarrhea , infections, amebic dysentery, and parasitic worms. Having these when malnourished and living in tight poorly heated and ventilated temporary homes will mean passing around those illnesses.
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 05:02 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
One person wrote back in another forum a criticism of eating beans and rice, mostly based on some valid issues. Let's look at the issues of cooking them, why I suggest them, and how to deal with those issues.

Most of the world, billions of the 3rd world, don't eat a diet anything like what Americans or Western societies eat. Despite that, they continue to survive and thrive on the limited nutrition sources that they have.

The very base diet must provide common elements. People need essential amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Remove any of these elements, and malnutrition and weakness results. Remove sufficient caloric intake and clean water for biochemical reactions, and malnutrition, disease, dehydration, weakness, and death result.

In a perfect world, when calculating food needs, we would sit down and look at the number of necessary calories based on a strenuous amount of work (Cal) and multiple that based upon the family members we are providing for (people) and multiple that based upon the number of days of any crisis. People come in all sizes, but most people don't need to eat as much as a 70 KG man (154 lbs). To build in some goof proofing of caloric needs, let's build in some fudge factor by using the assumption that everyone needs the same calories that a 5' 9” man weighing 154 lbs aged 30 and doing strenuous exercise for a sixty day period of uncertainty. It could be far more of a period based on a long crisis or you might have more family members living with you (expect this), and as a result, it's better to adjust this based upon YOUR anticipated needs.

Cal x people x days
2500 calories x four people x 60 days = 600,000 calories

Of course your children will need less, but they're growing, and their nutritional needs are vital since they have smaller reserves. In truth most people are in bad health for doing daily strong exercise. Some obesity helps you for a draw against caloric deficits, but rapid weight loss due to too low intake will really hurt you in the long run. If you think there is the remotest chance you will need a bigger reserve of days or that friends and family might “move in”, then you need to scale this.

Security and Eating
In a perfect world, we don't want to cook at all for security reasons. MREs are very good at feeding hungry soldiers, but of course they will grumble on eating cold food. No one is happy with eating them, but eating a fast meal that will sustain people with sufficient calories and nutrition and not use fire and not require rehydration (water for cooking) is better but not ideal.

Not cooking means not having to go outside in an uncertain world, and gathering firewood, lighting it, cooking it and producing food odors, creating smoke, taking time to do this, extinguishing it and producing smoke, cleaning pans and dishes, etc. Cooking outside produces all kinds of food odors and allows “zombies” to home in on your territory.

Let's be rational, and not go overboard, and look at past history. While it's possible that a survival situation could degenerate into a situation like “The Road”, the chances of a severe crisis are smaller than say a global economic crisis like the Great Depression. There are many scenarios of terrible crisis. You'll have to make a realistic assessment as to the depth of a crisis, and based upon what you think, not what I think, store adequate provisions based upon your assessment as to the depth and type of crisis.

Storing provisions and equipment for 60 days is a start only. So assuming that things are bad like the Great Depression, but we're not fighting off “zombies”, and fearful for surviving, then we can return to a rational explanation of what you might do.

Carrying capacity
In many 3rd world nations, women and children spend an inordinate amount of time moving around to harvest sufficient food items, water, and fuel for fire in order to eek out an existence in their village.

Do a reading of all of my posts. I've deliberately detailed in broad strokes some ideas about this. I'd recommend you do some outside reading, as this is a very concise topic on SHTF scenarios and prepping, so there are limitations.

Having a village means the people are not nomadic, but fairly stationary and subject to carrying capacity. The reality is that nature can't provide for more than 500 people in a very tiny area of land without a lot of effort to raise animals and crops and timber and digging a well. In addition to those subsistence farmers, very necessary hunting of animals and fish, along with gathering of herbs, wood, edible plants, outside water, will all occur.

Very little of the US is rural enough or not densely populated enough to do this. Mostly we are a nation of specialists without rural skills and unable to perform with the level of farmers from 3rd world nations.

If the SHTF seriously we are doomed, and there is very little we can do to provide for that kind of Mad Max scenario. We simply have way too many people, and without the skills, or the availability of materials, or the chance of growing sufficient items, or gathering them in sufficient quantities, to survive. Seriously.

In reality, the scenario most likely to happen, would be a sustained period of uncertainty in which there is large scale unemployment along with severe economic downfall. In such a scenario, smart like-minded people would band together for protection and security and to grow/gather what they need from their area, and relying upon stored foodstuffs to ride out the worst of it.

We'll become the villages of 500 people living in an area, loosely connected by circumstance, but mostly without their skills, but literate and able to adapt, overcome, survive, and thrive. In that case, we do have many resources from Peace Corp volunteers, VISTA, USAID, and NGOs who have historically gone in to learn from and work with local 3rd world residents. In doing so, they collaborated in order to manage. It's a model that I hope plays out, if the SHTF. Otherwise, they'll be anarchy.

Little things that will help
One adaptation is not to cook in traditional ways. Gathering a diminishing amount of firewood means chopping down trees. Deforestation leads to erosion and damages the soil. Trees can provide wood for building permanent tools and structures and medicines and other items.

For example, let's look at salt, something we take for granted. Try living without salt for a week in the wild, and you'll see just how tough life can be without it. Salt can be harvested by boiling down the roots from the hickory tree, but of course if you kill it through overharvesting, then you're looking at other means of gathering salt like finding salt licks, gathering sea water and boiling it down, or salty sands and purifying it like some nomadic tribes do, or reducing blood from animal harvests to find salt.

Let's say you want to build a tool handle, but all of the larger trees have been cut down. You'll have to travel progressively further away, which worsens security. You might decide instead to use deer legs for handles in order to adapt, but of course the deer like to nibble on the new buds of trees for food, so it's a losing proposition.

The best strategy is managing wood resources by using a solar oven. It's a tool I've discussed previously that heats naturally but slowly, and requires forethought and deliberate intentional actions versus regular traditional cooking fires. They also produce far less odors, but they're somewhat limited by heat produces in order to make a stew-like meal. They are great for heating up a meal, but obviously not intense enough to cook many game recipes. Modified bread can be made in them.

Combined plant proteins

Yes, in a perfect world, we'd have MREs to eat cold or heat up in our solar oven, and that would suffice. It's way easier to heat up canned stew that to find water and rehydrate beans and cook rice. Yes it takes a lot of time. Of course, while the food is rehydrating, you hopefully are not just sitting around. After it does rehydrate, you put it into the solar oven, and utilizing the best time period on warm enough days, produce a hot meal that will cheaply sustain you.

In reality, billions of people survive this way every day. They combine grown foods that their tribes have learned will sustain them historically. If not, the tribe dies. Nutritional deficiencies can exist based upon the local soil quality, the harvest season, the time of low food supply, the availability of gathered food sources, and famine.

Combining plant protein and supplementing it with animal proteins, usually provides sufficient building blocks for protein in humans. These are supplemented usually with vegetables or complex carbohydrates from plants for carbon skeletons (look it up), and vitamins and minerals. An inexpensive way to prep is vitamin supplementation. In a survival situation, when adequate vitamins and minerals may not be in the diet, can cheaply be taken care of by vitamin intake.

Ordinarily, vitamin supplementation are a waste and are excreted if not needed by the body. Otherwise, the vitamins build up to toxic levels within. However during growth period, or periods with bone remodeling (look it up), especially in growing children and young people, vitamin supplementation is vital. In addition, pregnancy requires supplementation of crucial vitamins like folic acid. Many times women are pregnant, but they don't know it. If a fetus is not provided with adequate nutrition, a spontaneous miscarriage can occur, and other than a little more blood flow that month, it's missed entirely. It would be very wise and pretty cheap to buy some inexpensive vitamins and rotate them in order to provide adequate vitamin and mineral requirements.

Beans and rice are not ideal. They take a lot of water, are portable but heavy, require cooking of some sort to make them edible, but are cheap. You can inexpensively provide food for your family, but it's not a total solution for prepping. If you wish to become a prepper in earnest, I would hope that you would read some books on the best way to do that in more intentional ways. Doing so will make things much easier and provide a more balanced, more pleasant, and more varied diet
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 05:14 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
practice fitness, fighting, and knowledge of enemies and friends alike. As a family.

Or don't...
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 06:21 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Practical Strategic Thinking

What are the chances in your area of a disaster? Has your area ever experienced drought, floods, hurricane, earthquake, heavy rains, dust storms, ice storms, etc.

Start by pulling up Google Earth, and do a quick search for 300 mile radius, and note water sources, roads, cities, elevated areas, uninhabited areas, forests, and grasslands. All of those things will help you decide on an extraction strategy based on an increasing need or desire to bug out. Hopefully it's not ever necessary, but looking now is the best way to plan a "run to Aunt Sally's farm" now while things are stable, then say trying to do this from a road map with no elevation markers (like a topo or relief map), and no satellite imagery from the Internet. Having it all printed, clipped, and in a folder would be superior planning and vital intelligence to help your friends and family who haven't planned.

Then do progressively smaller analysis getting down to your immediate area. Know where the closet wood, water, hunting, and gathering areas are crucial. Thinking like this can be an alternative strategy game versus playing a computer war game that is simply entertainment.

Think how you would send a minor expedition to gather from an area 2 miles away and return in the safest manner by routing on the map. How long would it take? What would you need to carry? What would be some useful items? What's the minimal gear, and how could you most safely go and when?

If people are traveling more than 2 miles, then it's very possible for an overnight situation to occur, based upon a minor accident like a sprain, a broken bone, arriving too late to harvest animals or plants. Is there a way to make baskets in the area to transport it back? Is there a way to make a sled to haul it back?

Two miles may sound very close to home. In reality, on good roads in safe condition, you can run two miles in sixteen minutes. If sedentary it could take more than twenty minutes. If hurt, it could take an hour. If two people are carrying a third, it could take two hours.

If crossing up and down trails, or worse traveling cross country and trying to walk carefully at night, it could take much longer. Traveling at night in unfamiliar area in the woods with no lighting is not at all recommended.

Thinking about this, imagine a much more densely populated area with higher safety issues and many more people stripping out local firewood and water. This can mean traveling much further than two miles. See? Five and ten miles might be necessary, and both of which might mean having shelter based upon weather and temperature and natural materials to make them out of and carrying shelter.

These kinds of things are ways to prep mentally, now while it's stable, rather than later with almost no intelligence on local availability.

For example, while you might no a place where a vital medicinal herb grows, it might not be safe to travel later, and hence multitasking and gathering it while also in the area for something else.

Let's say you wanted to gather delicious persimmons. They grow, but you cannot harvest them until they mature AND have a strong frost to remove the tannin. Persimmons are full of glucose, taste good, the seed can be stored to replant, and it's a fun activity. Never neglect opportunities for a teachable moment in family life if it's safe to have an outing and give everyone a breather.

Most of the gathered fruit will be high, and mean a good long branch to gather them. A tool can be made by attaching a basket to the branch to scoop off many and catch them, else you drop them onto a blanket and possibly bruise them. This means having to either make the tool before, or making it on-site with local materials. Almost certainly this means needing cordage which you made prior to make the basket section. Almost certainly you'll need a basket to bring them back to prevent bruising too.

While there, it would make sense to gather other medicinals, pine needles for tea, cordage plants, wood for bowls and tools, etc. See? Tool making and gathering and cordage making all takes time and elbow grease. Your two mile journey could easily become an overnight stay.

If you didn't harvest the persimmons and other materials, they might go to waste and fall as humus for the forest soil, or eaten by birds, or be gathered by someone else while you're family is hungry and needs edibles and materials.

It takes quite a bit of planning to move a family through to a destination of five miles, in order to get back in a day, and considering eating, drinking water, and safety. All of these things like knowing the terrain, what plants or animals are available, how to harvest them, how to get there, how to carry them, etc are things you can plan and learn now.
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 06:39 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Here's a couple of pictures of tools people have made to collect fruit using old pioneer or tribal tech.

Sorry about any misspellings or grammar errors. I guess I should become a member so I can edit my posts, or else write them down first and edit before posting them. I tend to write in a stream-of-consciousness way.

[link to www.herbvideos.com]

[link to www.fao.org]

[link to www.melbergmandesign.com]

Naturally if you can break down a tool into sections, and craftily make a basket that you can both attach to a pole and carry fruit in, then that's real skill.

User ID: 2010704
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12/17/2011 06:56 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

A Man Has Got to Know His Limitations

I am just a sinner trying to make it to heaven!

Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Me too

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12/17/2011 08:56 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Excellent thread OP. Please post more.

Could you message me please?
Who is John Galt?

User ID: 1477165
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12/17/2011 09:27 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Just want to jump in and say reguarding water get one of these for your bath tub

[link to www.waterbob.com]

Absolutely excellent for an emergency. I have 2 baths and so got one for each bath. Completely sterile and keeps the water safe.
For a Fuckin book..Its NOT a FUCKING book! It's a weapon. A weapon aimed right at the heart's and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule we have to have it. People will come from all over, do exactly what I tell them..if the words are from ...the book. (Book of Eli)
Anonymous Coward
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12/17/2011 09:48 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Excellent thread OP. Please post more.

Could you message me please?
 Quoting: Me too

I'm happy to leave more posts, but I tend to read through all of these old ones, and look for some one new information that I haven't covered yet.

I don't message folks, but I'd be happy to answer questions here to the best of my ability. Given the current political climate, I'd recommend that folks maintain a pretty high OpSec given the type of faux postings that mind occur to scope out and invade folk's privacy.

I'd encourage people to watch some videos online about ways to prep. There's a lot of wannabee preppers who're a bit touched in the head. The one's who are attempting to prepare in rational ways and learning sustainable skills and learning how to live in harmony with Nature and hunt and fish using the old skills, those are the ones I watch. All of the useful ones that you find can be downloaded and stored, but the best way to learn is to actually try them.

Of course certain skills like finding, identifying, and eating wild edibles need to be done with a mentor. There generally are a lot of people like Scoutmasters, hunters, naturalists, old grannies, biologists, etc who are only to happy to pass that kind of skill along.

There are many nature guides like the Audubon society or Peterson's or whatever. Sometimes believe it or not, a picture can be superior to a photo. Knowing what the tree looks like in all seasons is vital, as you might be harvest from a sapling or a very big tree in winter and they can look very different.

A very good way to gather water is to tap a birch or maple. It isn't hard to make a spile, or simply drill a little into the cambium of the tree and poke a stick for the sap to seep out and downward and into a container. This will be pure water with a little glucose, and both birch and maple can be found just about everywhere, and almost everyone can identify and tap a tree easily. You can make a spile from a sumac branch since it's pithy inside, or you can also make one from willow. That's four trees that are great to know, and if you knew those plus pine, then you could gather:
1. Pine resin for firestarter and rudimentary candles and medicine and waterprofing.
2. Birchbark for baskets, torches, birch oil for waterprofing and oil lamps.
3. Maple for maple syrup, water, very god charcoal for brushing teeth, excellent recurve bows (osage is better).
4. Sumac berries for tea, extracting wax, pithy branches for pipes, flutes, spiles, etc.
5. Willow for making baskets, a source of aspirin from bark, edible spring flowers, charcoal, spiles, etc.

Oak would be the next to learn as of course:
Edible acorns (once tannins are leached away), tannic acid for making leather, medicine, white oak for strong tools and weapons, etc.

See how easy this is, and how wonderful.
Anonymous Coward
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12/18/2011 03:21 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Separating Rumor from Fact for Last Minute Prepping

Note the oxymoron. Last minute prepping doesn't sound like prepping at all. When you make impulse decisions, usually they are faulty. While a miniscule amount of people are blessed with great insight and can follow through on a hunch, most of us can't do that consistently.

This means that most preppers with common sense do not prep that way. The normal strategy is to act practically, buy frugally, buy in bulk, rotate stock, and buy what your family will rationally use. In addition to that, committing to learning valuable life skills like gathering from Nature, hunting, gardening, crafting tools, and raising animals are ways to cope with what we cannot buy, but we can gather from the Source's bounty.

Given that prepping for a SHTF scenario is a scary thought. A person who has not prepped will have a dramatically different last minute list ...than a person who's planned for sixty days ...than a person who
planned for six months months...and ad infinitum.

Still....each of us will inevitably delay purchases that we do not want to commit to. Some last minute items might be perishable. If so, that means carefully considering their expiration date and contrasting that with rotating stock. You are in effect like rural grocery store owners. You sure don't want to overstock and throw things out, especially now when money is tight.

Likewise some purchases might not be perishable, but Christmas is here, and committing funds to something that might not happen in the next month, especially when it might be unnecessary items, must be carefully evaluated. It's part of being a good steward.

Some things would be outright handy, but difficult to justify. Things would seriously have to be bad for them to be utilized.

This means that prepping is an intentional process of thinking strategically about priorities. It's something that you write out after a lot of research on what experts are doing. Like minded people tend to do what the people they respect do. If you're a worrier, then based upon your anxiety level, you'll make very different purchases. Writing out an outline forces you to carefully plan. See your 11th grade English composition teacher did do something useful.

The most practical thing to do is sit down with your partner and family and make an intelligent deliberate plan based upon your finances and anxiety. This plan will no doubt be based upon what others have done. There isn't a good reason for reinventing the wheel. If you're a prepper with specific needs, there is no doubt that another prepper has also thought about the same situation, whether that is a child in a far away college, or soldiers stationed overseas, or dealing with diabetes, or being pregnant, or newly married and fiscally challenged, or wealthy but traveling a lot, or elderly, or having a physically challenged child, or whatever.

Being afraid is never good...it's unhealthy. Being afraid generally is not based upon fact, but rather on our own deficits when we stare in the mirror. It's self-doubt in the face of a perceived challenge. Look in the mirror again and reframe it. Yes, all of us have deficits. Even the strongest of us can not be strong enough. Some of us have zero pioneer skills. Some of us have talents that would have little purpose in a difficult economic collapse. Some of us are aging and cannot run ten miles.

I'll tell you a secret. Everyone has those concerns. Breathe. You are not alone.

Fear is based upon a real threat. It's something that the Source placed in us that is an adaptation to rapidly evaluate a danger and respond rapidly to alter our actions in order to survive. Many times when we think we are experiencing fear in reality what we're doing is being afraid. Fear is hearing a loud bang in your basement at 2 am and estimating how long it will take to collect something to project more power to overcome the threat and respond in careful ways to increase security for loved ones. Being afraid is constantly worrying about it 24/7.

Being afraid usually paralyzes. It's marked by inaction. Experiencing fear generally evokes the fight or flight response. This means immediately doing an action to get away from the things we fear or rushing towards it to eliminate the threat. That's 180 degrees out. It's being a first responder and deciding if the fire is too great and you must leave or deciding that the best way is to put out the fire. Neither is cowardly, but practical based upon a hunch and wisdom and intelligence and bravery...either way.

Rumor versus Fact

Rumors are seldom true, but they are juicy and cathartic. They are like riding a roller coaster. They can be fun because they get other people riled up, or they're fun because they get us riled up. Then the action gives us a release.

Facts are very difficult to qualify. All first information is subject to evaluation and analysis. Is the data coming from multiple reliable sources? This means it's repeatable. Do you know the source and trust them? Is it first hand? Has an expert or two weighed in? Is it being downplayed by an apologist for a group you don't trust at all? Time generally helps decide veracity.

Last Minute Buying

This means that based upon a careful plan, reading expert advice, consulting with family, evaluating what you're preparing for, and how long, you'll make a list of last minute items based upon the worst deficit that you have in your preps and comparing that with whatever facts you can verify.

The worst thing you could do is buy impulse items, poorly chosen, not shopping around, and buying the things least likely to be needed.

Red Flags
Certain things might happen if the worst was about to happen. The first thing that all of those in power must do is organize their own contingency plans and security. This is very hard to keep quiet. It's very difficult to move the massive machine of the military in order to prep for the SHTF. Transport, medicine, supplies, and military hardware must be moved.

Legitimate alternative excuses must be made to cover any such actions. Otherwise any outside witnesses will be alerted. We have no cloaking devices yet.

Communication must be sent. Anything that has a paper trail has far more veracity than a whisper. Smart communication would not leave a paper trail, but it always happens. Listen for it, followed by action, followed by a legitimate alternative excuse. Then think, “Is it plausible that...?

The best of soldiers cannot help but warn family members. It's very important to maintain the military's vital role in defense and not compromise their safety or ours by leaking information that deals with National Security. That said, quiet careful preparation is a must. You might think you're helping by alerting Joan down the street that sort of is friends with you, but she will tell someone too, and on and on. Either you'll be right, and the whole city ends up in a panic, or you'll be wrong and look foolish.

Ancillary support industries that are critical infrastructure, but outside of government control, will also be alerted and responding. Think banking, utilities, natural resource suppliers, hospitals, food warehouses, shipping, etc. Rumors from them will have to be assembled piece meal and then the people reporting them may not realize the importance of the information themselves. These tidbits might alert you to do your last minute preps too.

If you hear a rumor, and you independently verify it, and you slowly decide that it's plausible, and quietly you discuss this with other preppers, then that would be your sign to do the last minute prepping.

It may seem altruistic to help everyone, but in reality most of the time we overreact. Y2K anyone? No matter what, you cannot help everyone prep at the last minute, not with just-in-time inventory practices, not with our fragile banking system, not with human nature. You probably will be shooting yourself in the foot if you're prescient and correctly assess the threat, but as a result make things worse for your family. Can I get an amen?

This is why preppers who want to help others try to teach skills and strategically communicate prepping all the time for emergencies like natural disasters and not SHTF scenarios. Believe me, we've been wrong before about H1N1, Y2K, etc. It is extremely hard to be optimistic when we see signs like new laws being passed, and given that despite the tragic state of America, we sure don't want to overreact.

But... despite all of that coming from an old hand, people are people. If you see other people responding to a perceived threat, then there is some wisdom to making some last minute purchases. Buying things that you need, but that the stores are running out of, is not impulse buying.

Better ways of community coping
We all live in several communities, but don't think that way much of the time. Part of that is we are living in an age of GenYers and hence we tend not to identify with the groups we associate with. That said, many of us live in close proximity with people we associate with. We attend certain churches. Our children play with certain children. Maybe we see those parents socially. All-in-all many of these people have various skills that we don't possess. Many have tools we don't have. Many might have supplies we can't feasibly purchase.

This means that we fall back to the old ways of prepping and sharing our resources. Yes, all of must feed our own families ultimately. Is it wisdom though to buy a lot of expensive fishing gear if we can loan our tools to someone who has it? If one of us is a great gardener, but our best friend is a great cook, it might be very beneficial to pool resources especially if in close proximity. If we have an aging parent who knows a lot about living through a hard time, but is frail then naturally it makes far more sense for them to come stay with us, then to worry about traveling to check on them if the SHTF.

This kind of collaboration is a much better strategy versus dog eat dog.

Quiet Prepping Last Minute

Okay you've verified the rumors and now it's time to make those preps. Hopefully you have a window of a week, not being obtuse and going “Duh what's going on?”

This means doing a last minute gas up, checking all the fluids and air, and obviously not dropping off the car for servicing. Locate maps and exit strategy. You have extra gas cans. Luggage has been been packed, but hopefully in backpacks. You have ready food to grab in some special boxes. Clean sturdy water jugs. The camping equipment has been checked for leaks and tears. The stove and lantern has propane. Imagine an extended camping trip.

You've taken out some extra cash and some trade items. Anything that you can't take is secured at home in hidden places. It no doubt might be found anyway.

You double check the security of your windows and doors inside and out. It's a pleasant fiction, but it following these steps in a rational way will make you and your family feel better. You walk the perimeter and note if anyone else is doing that. Are there any repairs that will become immediate issues?

You're filling up water containers. You'll rotate these. The best way is to have several large containers that you've specifically cleaned and out of the way but accessible. Sure water bobs are great, but they will close off using the tub too. You'll use those later. You know where the water purification is. You've discussed with your family how to purify water. Someone will take charge of controlling this to minimize polluting it.

You've looked and done last minute assessment of home defenses. All firearms are clean, cleaning supplies are located, ammunition safely stored.

You look at your map plans for firewood, game, collecting herbs, whatever and reassess based upon season.

You check your gardening supplies, seeds, fertilizer, tools, and other plant treatment, etc.

If you're relying upon anyone in your community, you make a personal visit to see how they're prepping. If they're doing it in earnest, you'll see unmistakable signs.

You assess if you have all of the home school materials that you might reasonably need. What could you do as alternative plans? How can you teach on multiple modalities? Is there any comprehensive yet fun ways to teach? Do you need any special equipment?

All prescriptions are filled hopefully for several months. Vitamins, soaps, hygiene items, over the counter medicines, first aid all assessed.

Look at all cleaning supplies including laundry. You'll be washing in different ways.

Check whatever is in your freezer/refrigerator/pantry. What don't you have? It's easy to run out of some item. What do you have excess of? What could you trade?

What non-food items could you purchase on your last run that you could trade? Pick one impulse item that you desperately want, but isn't majorly expensive, and get that for peace of mind.

If you're planning on bugging out to a safe zone based upon safety needs, then careful re-communication with loved ones about what you should bring, what they don't have, what they would love to have, what you have that they might not have thought of. Even if they say no, bring valuable trade items and things which will seem like presents.

Last up, what luxury items would your partner and children just love to have? If you can, buy some of that as last minute items to give out later and you'll be loved forever. It meant that when the chips were down, not only was your family prepared, but you thought of their needs to be spoiled. Even if nothing happens, and you produce these special gifts for no reason other than love, well their hearts will melt.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Warning Signs

If we have a global economic collapse, it most likely will happen gradually. Life isn't like a light switch. It doesn't just shut off. We have warning signs, indications that things are declining, perilous signs, and then the stores close down.

I think watching Greece is important. Greece is one of the countries in the worst shape. Watching the amount of businesses go bankrupt, and then seeing people have issues with procuring supplies, seeing homelessness rise, and watching how they cope, will all be ways of learning how to prepare.

Of course we can see how the people of Argentina coped from video testimonies. Those are older, but fairly recent examples. Things got bad there, but not apocalyptic.

There are lots of different kinds of people regarding prepping and survival. There are those who are unconcerned, those who always buy a normal amount of supplies, those who buy extra, those who buy extra and know skills, those who actively prep/garden/hunt, etc.

There's also some people who are sociopathic and claim that they'll live off of other's supplies. Well that's to be expected as we always have had a criminal element. There are people who have those tendencies, but function in society as long as things are stable for them, but given a challenge, will take the easy route of preying on weaker members of society who do obey the law.

Because there are many types of people that fit into either group, a wise person waking up has to prepare for both kinds. It's important to consider how to deal with any person who will want either want help, some assistance, collaboration, trade, or deal with conflict. Dealing with conflict is a long complex topic. I recommend that you research that and prepare for it. Discussing it would only detract from the topic. It's an emotional one, but I think taking a realistic approach is a balanced one, versus a hopeful approach that isn't based on reality, or a Mad Max one that's based on being afraid.

Argentina had issues, but of course each country has a bit of common ethos and character. Still people are variable, so of course they had issues with violence. By and large, it didn't degenerate into a Mad Max scenario. I don't expect Greece to, but it could, so watching it will give us some hint of how bad it might get eventually in our countries.

But quickly, if things get bad, what are realistic things that could happen?
Most people don't have seven days of food in their homes. Most people shop every 3-4 days. That normal behavior is replicated in stores with restocking. That means the transportation follows that pattern too.

Imagine a global collapse of the EURO. The European economy is more than the size of both the US and China combined. The contagion starts there. Chinese imports to European countries are halted while decisions are made to ship there. The Federal Reserve of the US sends treasuries as collateral to help the European banks borrow money. This stop gap allows a brief period for kicking the can down the road, but eventually the US can't send collateral this way.

Now the supply chain has been interrupted. The ships that transport Chinese goods get routed to countries who can pay for them. That means of course interruptions in any transportation that utilized European sources to relay the goods along. You can see how that would create issues. That will be a major red flag.
Meanwhile life in the US and other less affected countries goes on. Price increases for Chinese goods occurs due to shipping increases. US distributors of Chinese goods can reduce package amounts or supply sizes, and this will allow delivery but not full loads. Factories or distributors of products that can will reduce the amount within a package. We've seen some of that as a way to increase prices by lowering the amounts within the package over the last year and a half.

Eventually shortages occur. Chinese officials have to decide whether it might cause them more economic problems by not sending the goods at all or is it better to ship them without passing on more price increases? I think that some Chinese goods will not get shipped. They can devalue their currency to keep production and shipping going, but I doubt they can sustain that. Regardless any devaluation of the EURO will mean less purchasing power by Europeans and a subsequent increase in the Yuan.

American consumers wake up. Some people that ordinarily don't buy in bulk or prep start to. People without money share across extended families. Money is always tight after Christmas when the credit card bills arrive. Fifty percent of the US citizens are at the poverty line. Unemployment gets worse post-Christmas since temporary service workers lose their jobs.

People who never have gone to a food bank in their lives, go and find very little food there. People who have never had an issue with missing a meal, decide to diet to save money not lose calories and feed their children. People ordinarily diet post-Christmas, but Americans get thinner. People usually eat more when stressed, but as less income, less food stamps, more unemployment occurs, people don't eat as much. Some people switch to two meals a day, or one meal on Sunday.

People start to wake up, and this means people buying more at a time to bulk up and save money from uncertain rising food costs. This change in buying patterns will mean more people buying suddenly and in larger amounts than normal, and disrupting the standard 3-4 day pattern. More shortages occur. The increasing amount of empty shelves makes more people buy that don't ordinarily. It perpetuates.

That can't keep up as money is tight. Stores catch up, but the cost rises on increasing demand and supply issues from China. Other countries get affected by the EURO collapse too. Shortages occur from any exporter countries of food products.

A lot of countries have switched from subsistence farms to monoculture farms. The cash crop had been bringing in more money versus growing their own food. More people worldwide garden from concern about the food supply. Seed prices, gardening tools, fertilizer, all increase in cost. More people are reading gardening books. There's an increasing interest in canning and dehydrating foods, but this is not as prevalent since that's many months away. If you see a renewed interest in gardening beyond the norm, then stock up on preservation methods.

Rising state budget issues in the US come to a head post-Christmas. Utility rates go up. In some areas quite radically. Expect frustration and open anger to be reported on the news about it. Rate increases mean that for the first time people who have never considered the cost of water before, and those who garden with it, will put in rainwater catchment devices and plumbing. Watch for price increases as this is touted as a solution and more demand occurs.

Some new homes have hot water on demand systems. As utility costs increase, more people buy them. However as more utility companies cut down on employees, there's concern about disruptions in the utilities. Old hot water systems have a reservoir of water in them. This means that in the case of a disruption, the new system's won't have that reservoir of water. I anticipate issues with that long term since when the SHTF, that's a potential 40-50 gallons of drinking water. Check your system. If you have a tankless, you'll save money. It would be wise though to get large plastic storage container for water.

As state government budget crisis increase, their ability to repay municipal bonds increase. More state government's have to lay off workers. Disruptions in services occur. You have to go on certain days to talk to a government workers and the line to talk to them increases as any limited ways they can assist you decreases. Many more part-time government workers will exist.

The increase in unemployment coupled with rising costs and less financial resources post-Christmas mean people will cut back on unnecessary expenditures. Cable and satellite tv declines. Less people need the Internet since SOPA passes. People use the Internet to download movies or stream them. Some cable users switch to streaming tv instead. More tiered packages of services are offered. Prices significantly rise despite a decreasing demand in cable services. Layoffs occur in those industries. People who work in cell phone service see a decline in cell phone use as rates increase and people look for ways to cut expenditures too. A decline occurs across free forums as operators see less potential revenue from Internet advertising and less users. It's a major warning sign.

The decline in this deepens the entertainment industry's woes. TV seasons have far less episodes. Far less movies are made due to declining attendance and DVD sales. More people throw movie parties where someone rents a movie and many people watch it.

Fast food and regular restaurants see big decreases in sales. Much of their income is made in beverages. Supply issues increase beverage costs. Both create more unemployment from what few service jobs there are. Lots of temporary or part-time workers are laid off.

Discount retailers that market to lower wage workers see a change in demographics. Normally this would mean a change in inventory, but it doesn't work that way. People with more wealth buy cheaper goods.

Industries like Human Resources see almost no jobs except in fracking areas like North Dakota and medical jobs like nursing. Small independent operators see a temporary increase based on letting workers go, and possibly as human resources are outsourced, but ultimately they close their doors.

More people let medical needs go. Less people see the doctor unless absolutely essential. Expect an increase in medical issues from this. This will be a major red flag. Expect more contagion from flu, diarrhea, untreated fever, etc. Less people are working, but still in contact with others.

Many businesses that relied on government contracts see a decline. There are increases in ones that service military ones though. Expect riots to occur and more dependency on the military to control them. Expect more demonstrations, but less public sympathy at first due to targeted blockades of supply chains. Angry people will ultimately protest as they can't afford goods, and more people end up joining the protest movement.

Expect violent incidents to occur as police, National Guard, and the US military clash with protestors. More deaths occur, as well blindness and broken bones, and wounds. More protestors in jail. This could be a powder keg.

More people can't feed their children. Expect an increase in foster care. Expect to visibly see more homelessness especially children.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Community Building

There are two basic types of people: those who prefer to live alone and free of someone looking over their shoulder and limiting their freedom, and those who live within a community.

No matter what, a rugged individualist, unless they are incredibly talented with skills, cannot live alone. People recognize this and marry or live together and eventually children are born. A family, whatever it's composition, will have individual needs and skills. Pioneer families divided up responsibilities into group and individual chores, and these were based on the need to get things done, the complexity of the task, and the “knack” or gifts that the Source gave that person.

No one can provide security for themselves 24/7. All of us get sick and need medical attention. All of us get old and need care. Almost all of us need companionship, at least on occasion. There are four basic desires in humans. They're called the four F's: feeding, fighting, fleeing, and sexual intercourse. Excusing my coarse joke, all people need companionship, either friendship or making love, and so while they may feel like a loner, they'll press down that “lone wolf” nature, and at least temporarily have community.

There's also a deep desire to learn, improve oneself, and to a certain degree transmit or educate others. Obviously I have that last one. Living in community allows mentoring and learning. All of us have some knack, and that means a potential to learn from someone else.

Since some of us have certain “knacks” then we can trade those as barter items by making things or by providing a service. With altruism, you “pay it forward” by either gifting your knack to someone with no concern about return, or you help them out of vested self-interest since they have known skills of some level of complexity and they can help you later.

Reality check versus community building
Now when a community doesn't exist in reality, but only occurring by proximity, then the community can come together by an exchange of knacks as trade items or services. While a healthy developed community will exist out of self-preservation, knack trading, or shared group activities like gardening/animal husbandry/making candles, etc, a beginning community can't hope to transition smoothly without some binder to allow people to pay it forward.

That binder can be shared values, implicit trust, altruism, core beliefs, or clear demonstrative skills. If you don't possess knacks or talents, then you're relying on low level group chore needs much as a family relies upon children to do certain responsibilities. Other than that, a community will band together based upon threat since it evokes a fear response. If sustained, and the community is afraid, then specialists will arise based upon a constant threat.

What this means as members of a potential community, either leaders or followers, that you need to foster the process by touching upon all of those parameters in order to facilitate cohesion. Otherwise most communities will fail or at least it will a very bumpy ride. No matter what, it will be a dynamic process of negotiation based upon participation of knack trading, the need for companionship, and self-preservation.

Many people are wired to be lazy. We've been specialists for a long time, doing a very odd knack with little trade potential. That means that many people will slowly adjust to becoming generalists, or even participating since they'd rather do as little as possible, and rely upon other people to help them. That behavior will doom communities from achieving a stable state of cohesion. Y'all's team ain't comin' together inna pinch.

Expect this to happen. A community will happen gradually in fits and starts based upon reality. That means that any shared resources will inevitably be restricted by a lack of participation or by refusing to supply those not participation. Not working in early colonies meant not eating.

People do not just come together without leadership and people willing to accept command. The best transfer of power happens from respect and passion and even love. That happens from discipline and order and resulting stability and plenty. Relative prosperity happens at the apex in healthy communities.

The community will evolve into many different ways based upon shared beliefs or power transfer. That means you may or may not like the community around you. In severe cases this might mean bugging out. I hope not.

(Yum! Fresh duck and goose all cooked in a crockpot just arrived for dinner! See community works!)

If you're a leader this means that you're going to have to motivate all people based upon those qualities mentioned above. It also means a radical paradigm shift. It will be no less stunning than any other historical phenomena like the Industrial Revolution. I think that's what will happen with a severe economic collapse.

If you're a follower i.e. 99.9% of us, then you'll have to demonstrate a knack and a willingness to participate in group activities to survive. Lone wolfs can usually make it, but only by trading knacks or their ability to provide a trade good of great value. They're tolerated by their power, which is usually greater by necessity, or by the great value of their knack. About the maximum a tribe can sustain is 500 and that's based upon details I've shared earlier in any agrarian society.

Most likely many smaller communities will in effect occur as local leaders collaborate over their immediate area and work for self-preservation. That could mean a hippie collaborative produces something in trade and works with an evangelical group who works with a bootlegger group who works with a reloading group of hunters and on and on. That kind of community may be ideal as that means the normal gathering of like-minded people will self-segregate into core beliefs. That makes tolerance far easier. Otherwise it's very difficult to develop cohesion from disparate groups with tiny pieces of power and trying to assert control over pooled resources. Humans ultimately can't live together that have different core beliefs under stressful circumstances. Not realistically.

If people are lazy, and expecting someone to bail them out, they're in for a rude awakening. If a crisis is occurring simultaneously, there isn't a way for another group to help them. Even in isolated crisis, help usually doesn't get established for at least two weeks.

This means that now is the time to consider what knacks you have. Being able to communicate that persuasively will mean an increasing rate of success when the SHTF.

Otherwise you could amass some trade goods that would allow you and your family some chance. Eventually unless you can make more, it won't work. In the short run, any of the items on this list will give you a temporary respite based upon how many of them you can feasibly and safely trade.
[link to www.thepowerhour.com]
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Washing in the absence of soap

Soap is cheap right now. Even with inflation, it's easy to buy solid soap or concentrated soap and then dilute it for the job. Thinking like a Pioneer, imagine not having soap.

While it's relatively easy to make it since it only requires two main components: fat and lye, it will require making some special tools if you don't have them at all. That means collecting the lumber, construction times, several bowls, and time for it to prepare and cure. If you think about it, the lye is very easy to acquire from wood ash, but the issue is the fat. While oil, or tallow (Crisco or Lard or animal fat trimmings from the butcher) are cheap now, finding an animal of sufficient size to harvest the fat is not at all easy.

Imagining that it's possible for STHF, then you've stocked up. Still you'll run out. That means anticipating that, you'll properly dilute your existing soap sufficient to clean, but not overdoing it. If it's too concentrated, it takes far more water to rinse it away. A tiny amount is really needed to remove debris and dirt and natural oils. You've got to reteach your family how to wash with limited resources.

You might also be working with a limited water supply, which means be very careful about washing and timing it based on water availability. I've discussed hygiene and it's importance. Now here's a very basic way of staying pretty clean when you've run out of soap.

There are three main things you've got to attend to: cleaning yourself, laundry, and for cooking. It is best to have separate cleaning bowls for all three. That's tough if you're bugging out. As I've detailed, when bugging out, it's a major undertaking to gather enough water and get everyone clean.

Bathing and Washing Up
Without oil or tallow it's hard to get really clean, but you can just about always make lye from a tiny bit of wood ash added to your wash basin. A second rinse basin will have some hot water added to it from a central pot that stays heating on low on the stove. For folks who are modest, it's pretty easy to do this within a tent or to string up a tarp. If you can fashion up a place with runoff on a slightly pitched hill and some stones to help it to drain, then another person can use a rinse bucket to pour on whoever has some of the mild caustic lye on them. Mostly, you'll be using the scrubbing action of a towel to wipe away cellular debris and dirt with the toil, and using the lye as a disinfectant to knock down the Strep or Staph bacteria that will accumulate on your skin. Lye feels soapy, but can burn the skin, so you make a really weak solution and wipe away and rinse thoroughly. Be careful around your eyes. That's why soap burns them from the lye.

You'll be washing your hair far less. You'll be cleaning off simply with a wet portion of the towel and drying with the other end. When done, you'll squeeze the towel in the lye water and hanging it up to dry. This means timing it when it's cold out and based upon the availability of fire to heat up the water too. You must always clean off hands and feet and face each day. Keeping your feet clean and free of things like cracking, dirt, long nails, and fungus is crucial. You'll be walking WAY MORE than you've ever done in your life. It's far easier to file your nails done every other day in seconds then trying to clip them without a clipper. There are lots of sandstone pieces you can find to do that in the absence of a clipper.

You'll need several pans, several bowls, and a cutting board when cooking. You'll make a bowl of the lye water and run your hands through that and then quickly rinse them as you touch things and keep on cooking. A dedicated kitchen towel will allow you dry off your hands. You'll be minimizing dirtying up dishes to save time cleaning. Making one pot meals and a starch like hard tack or a corn bread will mean less dishes too.

When handling raw meat from harvesting an animal, it's very easy to taint other containers with food in them while preparing the meal. This takes practice. If you don't exercise care, then you can easily introduce Salmonella or Shigella into the stew. People don't normally live out of tens for very long, otherwise they encounter this. Using this system will really cut down on intestinal flu.

Pots get really black from cooking with wood. The best fires are coal fires. Mostly it's the inefficient flame fires that produce lamp black. Rubbing the pans with ash and water and a little sand before will make cleaning the outsides way easier. In addition, the lamp black will get on everything, so using some care about repacking your cooking gear will help. A net like a netted laundry bag makes a great way to carry them. This allows them to dry better and also removes the direct contact with other gear.

Locating some sand, and tossing it into the boiling water, will give you a way of scouring your pans. Try not burning any food as it will make cleaning the interior miserable. Obviously some water poured inside and then boiling away the debris makes this easier too. If you've added a lot of starch from tubers like cattails, this can burn in your pans, so be careful.

Likewise, it's easy to find a tiny pine tree branch as a ready made scrubber. It's also an antiseptic (from a little of the resin), so it's doing double duty.

You'll be wearing clothing more often. You'll be making a little stronger lye solution to wash. Take care of your hands as you'll be doing a lot of hand wringing, unless you modify a mop wringer for the task. You can rig up a washboard pretty easily, but try not to do this too much as you're breaking down clothing fibers. If you've got minimal clothing, you're managing the wash based on who can borrow from another family member. It takes time to dry out clothes or boots, so care must taken. Wet clothes or boots chaff terribly. It meant you did a lousy job timing the wash.

Other hygiene
A little cattail pollen or dried tuber will produce some starch. This is great for chaffing. You'll be no doubt drinking a lot of pine needle tea for Vitamin C. It also produces tannin, so that will help cut down on bacteria in your mouth and breath. Dabbing a more concentrated tea under the arms cuts down on bacteria which is what causes sweat to smell. That's important for hunting as animals will smell you or hear you before they see you.

A little saved tallow will also be helpful for chaffing and for treating your hands. Oils collect in your hair and along your nose, so wipe that into your hands from all the lye being used. This is very important in winter as the humidity declines. Obviously rubbing your hands though hair and on your face will prevent cracking. In times other than winter, scrubbing the skin a little firmer removed the dead skin and giving a health glow. Use caution doing that in the wild as you are exposed to higher bacterial counts and you may get more pimples that way.

You can brush with a little ash or charcoal you ground up. It sound dirty but it actually works and cuts down on bad breath. Mint is found lots of places, and is easy to identify and is prolific, so when you find it, you'll gather it for treating stomach ache, a welcome and calming tea, cleaning the sinuses, making the temporary shelter smell better, etc. It also is a great descenting herb for hunters as mint is s common.

Later after not having soap for so long, you'll see why making soap is so important. If you're lucky enough to have some tallow, then you can make a small batch and let it cure as you travel. Mostly since food may be very limited, you'll be using that fat for essential calories. However at times it comes in all at once from a kill, so that's an opportune time to make tallow lamps, tallow laced cattail candles, or soap. Remember that pine resin is plentiful, and that can be used to make up homemade pine oil cleaner, but dilute it. It's very medicinal too.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The First Community Activity- Water Gathering

A lot of people will be afraid in the event that the SHTF. The shock that our economic system and anything else that supports has failed will simply overwhelm their senses. The facade of civilization will be disrupted. Suddenly the availability of common supplies and services will be gone. Their jobs will be gone. Accumulated wealth- gone.

In that kind of event, it will remain to be seen what will happen. You can either let the chips fall where they may, relying completely on randomness and the vagaries of who decides to be vocal and organize a community, or you can participate in the community building to help mold or shape it. It's ultimately in your family's self-interest to do so.

The most persuasive way to help organize the community is by direct action that will clearly communicate everyday that pooling resources helps everyone.

The most vital community resource is clean water. Everyone needs water in three days or they will die.

Most natural water sources are a considerable distance from your home. While it is entirely possible to gather water at certain times of the year from rainfall, this is obviously not possible in winter or in times of seasonal stoppages or in times of sustain stoppages (drought). In addition, evaporation from rainfall due to temperature or low humidity will wick away rainfall, so care must be taken to in collecting rainwater safely, else it will follow the normal cycle of absorbing into the ground, adding to local pools of water (ponds, lakes, or rivers), or evaporate into the dry air.

Snow can be melted in winter, but it takes a variable amount of snow based on moisture content to produce water. You'll see from doing some research that the amount of snow to produce an inch or rain varies from 6 inches to a foot. That an enormous range. Taking 8” as a standard for example, imagine gathering filling a gallon pail full of packed snow. Taking a 1:8 ratio will mean a gallon of snow will produce two cups of water. It requires 80 calories to melt snow. That's almost as much as boiling. It's true, you could use a slow melting system. Say bringing in snow into a room and as the snow is exposed to say a 55 degree F room, it will melt. It will also evaporate too, so you'll get less than a cup of water in all likelihood. See why snow melt will not work very well?

A much more likely way will be gathering from a local water source. Water is heavy. The weight of water is 1 gallon = 8.35 lbs. In addition imagine how you would transport it. To carry water of any accumulation at all (10 gallons or more = 83.5 lbs) means a cart and decent paths.

Next is must be purified. Most people don't have filters at home, but they do have bleach. Many people have scented bleach and that is terrible for purifying water. Standard liquid bleach will lose it's effective strength by 20% a year. Sure people can store a solid form like pool shock that's used for swimming pools, but most people will not have had the forethought to do that.

Let's say you had a natural source of water and carried it back. That expended energy in the form of work. Most likely at least two people due to security concerns. You mix up your bleach by adding ¼ tsp to 1 gallon. Then ideally you let that stand for several days to let the chlorine evaporate. This means letting the water open to air too, so more evaporation occurs.

Still, mostly likely that water has had runoff. If you're anywhere near livestock, a farm, gardens, or lawn yards, then fertilizer, pesticides, fecal matter, debris, are also in the water. The bleach will kille some of the pathogens, but you still need to filter off any debris, and it's very difficult to remove the chemicals from the agricultural runoff. That should be a major concern.

Rainwater can easily be collected with a tarp, four poles, a funneling device, and a catchment vessel. This will still have whatever air pollutants that exist, and care must be taken to carefully clean the tarp, but it will be a very good way to collect clean water. See an earlier post about how to do that. Typical rainwater systems are meant for outside watering only, not potable water. The water is collected from rooftops and gutter systems, and those are contaminated with molds, algae in the air, and bird fecal matter. That's not a great way to produce drinking water and cannot be adequately filtered safely other than distillation.

All of this means that to save the hours of working to collect, haul, purify water can be greatly saved by digging a well. The easiest way to do this is to pre-make some material before hand for your community. Here's a link on how to dig a community well with minimal materials. It does require about 500 gallons to dig a well from experience, so that's important to know before hand. This doesn't take int account all of the water needs of the workers constructing it too.
[link to manualwelldrilling.org]

This is tried and true method for assisting 3rd world villages with potable water.

Additionally, someone with forethought, might dig a shallow well with a well point system for minimal money but a lot of elbow grease. That equipment might cost around $400 for the well point, pvc, cement, sand, and pump. A well dug this way is intended for agricultural use though and is only good for digging down about 15 feet maximum. That's not great as again agricultural run-off is an issue. It will only work based upon a relatively low water table and hopefully not very much bedrock. Google well point drilling for more details.

An actual well is far superior in order to accomplish all of the safety goals and provide good drinking water.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Second Community Activity- Market Day

When the SHTF, many of us will still have some supplies or we will have knacks i.e. talents that we can use as trade for other's supplies. Others can make things based upon seasonal materials or by helping people procure and create their own devices. This means someone has to organize it in order for it to happen. The easiest way to do this is to find ten people in the community that people generally like and trust and get them to work with you to spread the word.

The first ways market will evolve through necessity. In a perfect world, you'd go door to door and do a survey about skill assessment, but that will make people nervous and suspicious about your intentions. Let this happen naturally from the first few market days. Meet with those ten folks and organize what day and time will be most beneficial for security reasons. Obviously a lot of trade goods will be out, and they could be stolen. In fact, I'd expect for them to be stolen if word gets out beyond your community. Try to relax a little. In reality, your trade swap will most likely affect other communities out of self-preservation. Still it will of course be wise to organize security and pay them from donated goods from traders.

Currency will no doubt happen later. Currency in hard asset items like matches would be great and cheap and practical for everyone. Small caliber bullets too. Cans of beans too. Toilet paper too. Passing around alternative currency is not recommended for sustainable trade days due to potential counterfeiting. It might evolve, who knows. It did in Argentina when their system collapsed.

Luxury items will have low worth to most people in the beginning. Foods that are ready to eat will have very high value initially as people are unsure how to cook these days and less work will be needed for heating. Later luxury items like ethanol, tobacco, perfume, lipstick, rouge, will all be very valuable when people run out of them.

The first few market days will be unusual. Some people will still think that things will return to normal. It might, but doubtful if the SHTF. They're still transitioning in the grief process (see earlier posts) and dissuading them will be impossible. Let them come to their own conclusions and try to help people stay optimistic. All things end and transform into something new. It's up to the community to reframe it.

So... many people will mill around aimlessly. They'll trade dollars at first, but doubtful on subsequent trade days. Metal might be traded and might or might not have value in the future. Even so, the base value of say copper will have to be independently evaluated. To me construction nails will have much more value than a piece of copper for practical reasons. Anyone who collects valuables in trade will quickly get labeled a profiteer. It might seem like a reasonable strategy, but I think it's putting a bullseye on your back. I'd expect to be robbed out of built up resentment, and word will spread that so and so has valuables. See? If people lack trust and resentment grows and rumor is a currency then that rumor will spread outside of the community.

People will realize that their skills are important for trading, but until a few follow through on doing skills for canned goods or other trade items, they won't have the trust level to do that. This means some initial trade might have to be done in honest transactions between you and the ten organizers. A good way to start is to offer to teach people how to do something in exchange of a small amount of trade items out of altruism. Then this will catch fire as people realize they can do that. They'll demonstrate good faith and follow through. The ones that don't will immediately out themselves as untrustworthy.

Here's a story. I once had a martial art teacher. When I asked him about the cost of lessons he said, “The best way is charge a fortune or give them away based upon the person. If you charge a small fee people won't respect you. If you charge a fortune, people assume the lessons are valuable. If you do it for free, have the students return the favor by keeping the dojo (school) clean.” I think that's wisdom.

Perishable goods will become scarce. This is a teachable moment since everyone will be faced with it. Trade days are an opportunity for educating the community about scarcity and working together in ways that will replenish the perishable items. This means the eleven of you can start up discussions about community gardens, catching and raising rabbits, locating and gathering and preparing natural materials like cattails and tallow, etc.

An excellent trade item is entertainment. A way to do this is to have a a tiny amount of live music. The musicians work for a nominal amount of trade items. This will lead to the 4th up community activity: Community Night. More about that later.

Next up, creating a school to teach sustainable skills and educate children.

Eventually the eleven of you will see deficits in what you possess and will discuss both together and within community how to acquire what you need. This will be different based on the supplies and talents that your community possesses. Naturally the weather and season will all play into this. The level of trust and security will too.

You're not elected, strictly ad hoc so that will eventually change based upon the community anyway. Truly the people who don't want to do it, but have the skills, will be the best ones. Professional politicians stink in my opinion. Organizing is a thankless job. Very little praise returns for all of the motivating and optimism that you're sending out. It can burn you up, much like the Coal story I told earlier, so take that to heart.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Realistic Ideas About Gathering Food

It's wintertime. The SHTF and you're hastily looking through cabinets to see how much food you have. You estimate that you have two weeks of food by a visual check. How much do you have in reality?

Breathe. Relax. Wake up. Let's do a careful analysis based upon what I've written here. As a reminder
# of People x Minimal calories for strenuous work x Days need
4 people x 2500 calories x 60 days = 600,000

That should be the very minimum reserve you were supposed to plan for. My guess is that less than 5% of US households have that much. This is your reserve, a food cache that you'll supplement from based on whatever you can collect from Nature. There won't be much you can.

If you eat three times a day, then now carefully count up what you could reasonably put together with other things to generate 2500 calories for each person per day. That's hard with odds and ends, but of course you'll adjust what you think is a meal. Eating carefully, and in the correct order based upon spoilage will mean actually having two weeks worth of food. Panicking people eat out of stress. The excess calories are stored as fat, not wasted, but not eating is not normal for most people and will also freak people out.

Reading back, you'll see that most adult Americans are obese. This means they have 30% BMI (Body Mass Index). On a 5' 9” man, that's fat calories that will slowly transform into usable energy. Within going into all of that, that means you can make it as an adult for about two weeks, but following that, severe weakness will result. You'll lose water and muscle first, which is not good, since you're working 3x harder from increased activity.

Children are growing, and the malnutrition will affect them sooner. Read back about that and hair breakage, a primary sign followed by distended bellies. That's called kwashiorkor. Teeth will become loose from scurvy first, so you need pine needle tea.

Reading back you'll see that you'll need to adjust what people eat and when based on taking watches, inducing or delaying nap time or traveling on a full stomach and cramping. This means alterations in the three meal a day paradigm.

The SHTF didn't happen suddenly barring a bomb going off, so most likely either you didn't prepare at all for motivation reasons or lack of funds or availability of last minute supplies or whatever. What the heck do you do now?

Well realistically if you did have two weeks of food and there wasn't a danger about water shortages then immediately I would create a cache of water anyway. I'd store water needs for my family at a minimum of two weeks. When people say not to worry about water, that's exactly when I would worry.

# of People x Minimal Water x 14 days
4 x 1 gallon x 14 = 56 gallons

If you had a regular hot water heater, you have 40-50 gallons but need to know how to remove it. Don't count this as your basic water cache. That's your fall back water. Immediately think what you could safely store water in by cleaning it with mild bleach water. Then do it. You can always transfer it later, but doing it thoughtfully the first time saves you from wasting crucial time.

Minimal water will be gathered without intensive calories burned in winter. The lack of calories will kill you.

It takes a long time until you can break soil and plant things. These cost calories, it's not a free ride. It assumes you have seed, and hopefully seed that isn't a hybrid as that means you can't save seed that will germinate next season, should you be lucky enough to survive.

Usually peas are the first things followed by other cold weather crops. Plants don't need sun to germinate, but they do need warmth. Once germinated they need frost free days and lots of light to undertake photosynthesis. From today until I could reasonable begin to take tiny amounts of peas for miniscule calories and protein, without killing the plant, is four months. I can plant broccoli, cabbage, spinach, then later leaf lettuce, herbs, etc. None of those provides any amount of needed protein and very little calories. It will provide needed carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Far later as it really approaches mid Spring, I can safely plant tomatoes, potatoes, corn, beans, etc. Several of these will provide dense starches for calories plus protein, but they need to eaten in combination to provide essential amino acid building blocks for my children, otherwise severe malnutrition will result. From now until harvest might be seven long months.

See why people prep? In the interim period, it's winter. Animals are hibernating in their warm dens, or they've died. Animals do come out from time to time to get water or eat, but this is minimal and based upon species. Some have migrated or burrowed deep. You could fish some, but likewise many fish drop down lower in the lake below the freeze line in a state of suspended animation and rely upon built up fat stores to live into the Spring. This means minimal hunting and fishing is available. You could easily expend far more calories than you could rationally expect to collect as meat and fat.

Very little food can be harvested from plants. While there may be some frozen tubers from cattails in the ground, mice will have eaten much of them, plus the energy of attempting to dig them versus what starch they provide. Maple or birch syrup can be harvested in areas as the sap rises up (not down) into the cambium layer, but usually that's February or March based on rising temperature. It takes a lot of boiling to remove water and leave syrup. It was survival food in Winter for Native Americans, something they prepped months and months prior to save them in Winter. It's not gathered in the cold of Winter. That means that syrup is out as a survival plant based food.

Can you see why you need to prep today? Don't imagine that you can hunt, fish, or gather enough calories in Winter to offset your lack of food stores. It's not realistic. You can begin getting more animals and fish later, and there are some plants you can gather in very small amounts, else you kill the plant in Spring (like fiddleheads from ferns), but that's about it. Taking too many squirrels that you might find will mean robbing Peter to pay Paul, as while squirrel is chewy (unless you boil it for a bit), then the meat you might take later will not be there.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Lets just get real. The old, the young, the obese, the sick, the mentally challenged, and the idiots will all die off rather quickly. Very few, percentage wise of the populace will survive a true scenario. Most will be dead in three months or less...
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Lets just get real. The old, the young, the obese, the sick, the mentally challenged, and the idiots will all die off rather quickly. Very few, percentage wise of the populace will survive a true scenario. Most will be dead in three months or less...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1003364

It is certainly true in that certain scenarios would could see a dramatic and scary decline in Humanity. That said, historically it hasn't happened, other than the last Ice Age. As such, it's not a persuasive way to convince people to prep. It is plausible, but not probable. I'd expect American to fare less well than poorer countries, strictly because a lack of prepping and skill sets needed. Also survival is based upon mental outlook, and given the preponderance of folks on medication for this, I'd expect a lot of people to not cope well, give up, or lose it. That couple seriously impact the survivability of anyone choosing to try to make it.

Some people count on a die off, and think they'll gather up supplies. In reality, I think that those supplies will be used up, then a die off. Depending upon season and supply houses and livestock, we could have fields of grain and vegetables, but no people to harvest them. The same could happen with livestock, but an inability to feed them. The same with food warehouses, but an inability to transport it minus gasoline.

Barring a major catastrophe, most of the time what happens is a slow decline, deaths from various causes, and then a readjustment period with deaths during that period. Either way, it's not a bright future, and having six months of food as a reservoir and skills and defensive capabilities will all help.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The 3rd Community Activity- Schools

Realistically you're not going to save everyone. Some people are wired to be mentally, spiritually, and physically tough, however that manifests. People who can balance out those characteristics tend to be people who enjoy learning and educating people.

If you're a spiritual person, and not an angry fundamentalist, then the love of the Source tends to include a love of people. You might have ideas along a long continuum about conversion of people to your branch of spirituality, but by and large, most missionaries build schools and hospitals as well as places to worship.

Some people will survive based on becoming a keystone species in the food chain. The keystone species is the predator that sits at the top and feeds off the rest of the ecosystem. They might or might not have to move based upon the carrying capacity of the environment and season. Those kind of folks tend to self-destruct based upon history i.e. the Mongols during the medieval period, but still for a time they can be a major concern.

Since food resources will be low, expect that some people will starve, either by non-cooperation, lack of preparation, lack of balanced characteristics, disease, etc. Since people tend to ration food, expect weakness. This tends to work hand in hand with predation. Since people realize they will get weaker, if people are sociopathic, then they will attack based upon their time of being strong and to replenish supplies before others consume them. This means that you also must be realistic about home and community defense. If you are safe, but your next door neighbor isn't, and they're a great gardener, doctor, teacher, spiritual leader, herbalist, etc, then it is in your best interest to help them survive too.

Likewise, if a community brings in a good harvest, and has food stores and supplies in abundance, then probes should be expected to determine the level of vigilance, the number of specialists (soldiers and those who can be them), and the amount of plenty to be harvested from them. Probes will come before an attack. However unless security and training is there, the probes will not be detected. Since it takes resources and soldiers to mount a probe, a predatory leader will have to make a good analysis based upon the success of a thieving mission and wasting time. If the probe members are caught, and they don't return, expect reinforcements. It meant that your community had enough and were strong enough(an abundance of calories) to mount an attack, and hence a potential target, if only to be a threat to the predator group.

The first groups to be attacked will come early when the predators are strong but attacking the weakest and most vulnerable since it means a higher likelihood of success.

The military is not organized as a series of lone wolf warriors. That would be an epic fail. The way that it works is a chain of command: an education that perpetuates more soldiers all doing certain things, behavior, and duties.

This means that education is key, both to instill the core values and some of the beliefs of the community. It also means that research is a part since that might reveal ways to replicate what another community is successfully doing. The education will be both practical lore and helping to perpetuate a command structure plus instilling a desire for independent study.

In the absence of normal routine due to the SHTF, a school will be vital to easily transmit education to adults and children on ways to cope. They'll learn practical survival skills first, then move up Maslow's Hierarchy of Need to self-actualization. Lots of dreamers are not needed, only tolerated. Lot's of people willing to gather the best firewood that burns the most BTUs, construct traps, grow vegetables and herbs, hunt efficiently, heal the sick, artisans, and toolmakers, etc are far more essential.

Everyone will be doing more drudgery than normal. This means that children who normally would be at school and cared for will need supervision and education. Likewise the adults of the community will need to learn how to do things in the most efficient and pleasant manner in order to maintain order and continuity and security. That means that someone who is good at teaching and someone who has practical knowledge will both be necessary and welcome. A better candidate not only has those qualities, but is also passionate about it. The ideal teacher also loves their students and will fight fiercely to defend them from whatever threat there is.

Allowing and encouraging the members of the community to live in the wilderness for several days will force them to collectively use all of their abilities and lore to awaken them. They will realize the importance of what has been transmitted to them. Otherwise they will not understand its usefulness. It's a crucial Milestone. They have graduated one level. No one will ever completely graduate, but most will accomplish major milestones.

Having a central place to teach won't come for a long time and then only based upon assigning those resources. Likewise, a full-time teacher will only emerge over time. Many villages went without one for a great period of time, but few grew beyond a certain capacity without one. Since a teacher is fulfilling a role over a long period of time, and cannot collect the necessary items to completion, they must be compensated in some way. Most likely, you'll have interim teachers who either guest teach a topic, or work in tandem, or will have to settle for someone.

The rule in ministry is to take no volunteers, but recruit...recruit...recruit. Some people volunteer because they would like to be able to do something. Because people are generally busy, they are only too glad for someone to volunteer. For the role of teacher, that isn't the best strategy. Volunteers might be able to guest teach, or help, and might become a teacher over time. It is a great honor bestowed upon that person. Oblation is meaning that you sacrificed your life to the Source to be the hands of the Source.

Locating a school close to a food and water supply will be helpful. Obviously young people will need certain resources else they'll have to bring them. Some of the best education will work with combining multiple subjects in an environmental milieu. For example, having the children do an assessment of the plants in a particular area, making a map, counting up the species, studying the biology and chemistry, and writing or doing an oral report shows command of that knowledge. It's the drudgery of rote learning in a classroom that bores them. Making pottery, or flutes, or skinning a deer hide and sewing it, are all ways or transmitting lore that helps the community and adds beauty and value and happiness. Tracking an animal by examining fecal remains, tracks, rubbings, fur remnants, being quiet and observant, are all excellent ways of feeding the community and providing necessary tools and leather. Taking a class through a forest silently and then stopping and making them recall how many plants they saw, smelled, tasted, heard, felt will make the totality of their senses open. That is enlightenment.

Anyone who learns in this manner about the Earth versus thinking food comes from a jar, or that eggs comes from the grocery store, will no longer act in the same way to devalue Life and the interconnectedness of all things.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Here's a link for a calculator for food requirements for a year:
[link to lds.about.com]

Here's one for three months
[link to preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com]
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The 4th Community Activity- Community Night

Humans are a social species. Although we love to watch television, there's something very thrilling about rooting for your team and sitting next to total strangers who are fans. Although movies allow us to watch very new movies, many of us enjoy the sitting in a dark cinema full of other fans and watching a long awaited movie.

Because we like each other for the most part, from time to time we have a need for company. We may not want to spend everyday with our best friends, and company is like fish...it stinks after three days, still there's something about spending time with with friends or acquaintances.

Routinely having Community Night builds community. It perpetuates itself; it builds up a sense of esprit de corps. Getting together after a SHTF scenario we'll say, “You know things are bad, genuinely bad, but we're still here.”

People need play. With so much work that our ancestors knew was drudgery, we'll REALLY need it. Throwing a silly talent show, organizing a volleyball game, making refreshments that everyone can share, having a song contest, will be desperately needed as a light against the darkness.

Just wait until you can't go to the store and buy a cherry pie. When you gather cherries and someone is kind enough to spend their time and knack to make a delicious pie when so much of your diet is the same, I'll bet your heart will leap with the excitement of eating something that once was commonplace. Sharing that on community night will be talked about and looked forward to in ways that many of you can't fathom. Talk to someone who's lived as a sojourner elsewhere, and they'll share similar stories of getting to eat something homemade that just wasn't available there.

When you have your first market days, you'll give people a teaser of that by allowing musicians to play a short bit as a draw, but saving it up for community night. People will then really look forward to it. People will practice for singing in it. People will write scripts and perform in it. You'll see.

Once I worked with some pregnant young moms and young moms with babies. They'd had a pretty tough life. Most of the time, they struggled terribly for something that had happened in an instant, and had to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. Much of their life was work work work. Then if they wanted to go to school (or college) since they were as young as 15, they had to balance all of the normal aspects of being a teenager with a crying infant and working a job and doing homework, because without an education they were doomed. Despite that, when we organized the conference, it was full of play time, fixing their meals, allowing them to fix each other's hair and nails, all the things that a normal young teenager would take for granted that their parents did. They cried. It'd been a long time since they'd been given such a precious gift as play. They ended having a talent show that they organized and you can't believe how had they practiced just to perform for each other.

Our gifts to each other, the moments when we allow ourselves to play, the times when we create and entertain each other, are gifts we get from the Source of creation. The Source gave us the ability to create too, and more times than not, that creative energy expresses itself in messages of Hope.

All people can manage the most brutal life as long as there is Hope. The idea that someday life will get better, that we can rest, that someone will take some of our burdens, will keep the community going. Think about it, people who falter and consider suicide say the opposite, “There is no point as there is no Hope.”

Afterwards, when the mood has lifted, and people feel more inspired and hopeful, then those will be opportune times to talk about a Vision of the community. You'll be sharing the successes and failures. People will have ideas about ways to improve things. People will no doubt gripe too, but if the general mood is optimistic then that's the way most people will be.

Talking about concerns every day, and not letting them fester, will make many of those issues go away or be solved way before a community meeting. That's why it's important in whatever teams you form, be it hunting or leather scraping or teachers that you discuss things well to deal with conflict and not avoid conflict.

Still, there's an incredible power in consensus, since people want to be respected and loved, and because much of that comes from the community, these are moments when people can be honored for the work they've done to help others. Most of the time will be spent building each other up, and only on very rare occasions will special community meetings happen for censure.

When I've worked with young people, I often began with a conference with, “In a perfect group, how would people be treated?” Almost always people say the same things. Respect regardless of appearance. Being thanked. Having a role that helps others and carries their burdens when they can't do it. Not being afraid.

Then having voiced that, we lived into it. We did that, everyday, in every way in order to both get work done, but honor each other, still respecting the chain of command, but giving people respect when they earned it. That kind of community is possible, but takes a lot of work to reverse years of the opposite. You cannot believe how few times there were issues over a twenty year period. A handful at most, and these were usually misunderstandings and easily dealt with by positive peer pressure. The community helps discipline itself.

Most of the time, the kids treated each other with such kindness and tenderness regardless of who was fat or who was plain or who hadn't developed breasts yet or who was scrawny or who was this race or who was dirt poor. It really works. Almost everyone, no matter how talented at sports, or beautiful, or wealthy has been mocked by their appearance. It is universal. Somehow knowing that people will mostly respect each other, people will be their best selves.

Tearing each other down is part of an unhealthy society. Societies that tear each other down lead to chaos and destruction. Aren't we seeing that play out on the news everyday?

The worst punishment we can ever apply is solitary confinement. Except for a few individuals, most people desperately need company and positive reinforcement and a role helping each other. Unless people have deep seated issues (and you'll have some unhealthy people in your community), most people will be so glad to be in an environment where they are welcome, that despite hard work, they'll be much better than normal.

Don't get me wrong. Life in a SHTF community won't be a Camp Kumbaya. It will be harsh and brutal and people will die. Many terrible cruel things will happen to the best and worst of people. Life will be terribly unfair. Still...for those who can pull together and help each other, life will get better and more stable by using shared resources and talents. Community Night will help that process along.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
What kind of man am I?

Every morning, as I get ready for the day, I look in the bathroom mirror and think, “What kind of man am I?” It's a brief time as I shave usually, that I make eye contact with my reflection, and note the increasing number of gray hair and new lines. It makes me smile mostly. When I'm not looking in the mirror, I forget how old I am. Most of the time, I feel 16: hopeful, strong, calm, and secure. Then I confront my reflection and laugh when I see that aging man. The inner image I have of myself, is not what my physical body looks like.

A long time ago, there was a man I knew who exercised a lot, and he kept a cartoon on his tool bench door. It showed an older man with a thought balloon looking in the mirror and imagining a muscular, very buff perfect specimen of a man, but in reality he was not very muscular, quite rotund, aging, and not nearly as handsome. He was smiling at his reflection, because what he saw was not at all what his physical body really was. It didn't mean that much to me as a 20 year old, but as I continued working there, and had my first child, gained a little weight, turned 30, noticed more gray hairs, well that little cartoon had much more meaning.

Most of the time, we're busy with work, or family, or church, or our organizations, or doing chores and we don't think and really meditate on who we are. We glide along, get things accomplished or not, and move on to the next thing we have to do. But as we get older, at least in my own times spent doing work, my mind turns to thinking about, “What kind of man am I...really?”

The times gardening, walking the woods, collecting plants to make cordage, stalking an animal, rock climbing on a sheer cliff, are the times when I am the most reflective about this question. Being with Nature, the creation of the Source, and being cognizant that I am part of it, not separate from it, are the times when I feel the most awake and aware.

Our ancestors long ago lived in harmony with Nature. There was no heat in their homes unless they went out and collected the best wood that they could find in order to get warm. The wood could not be gathered at all times or places, and as they gathered the source of wood would diminish unless more trees were planted and carefully harvested. Those who thought about it, if they possessed wisdom and knowledge, would create the very best stoves that they could, to burn less wood and produce more heat, because otherwise all the wood would be used up in an area, and they would have to go too far from their homes to gather it. They carefully burned it, cooking while heating, and doing without perfect warmth and not wastefully using up resources since it would run out.

All of their tasks were like that. Whatever they could raise and collect, only came in its season, and preparing for a lean season and a lack of availability, and planning for traveling to new sources, was the only pragmatic means of coping. That was the kind of people that they were.

Today, most of us are not agrarian hunter gathers. We are specialists who flick a switch and use up natural gas or electricity to heat our homes. In exchange for comfort, we work at a job that most of us despise, and work whatever time is needed in order to not have to live like our ancestors.

A long time ago, I was catching a ride with an acquaintance, and he said, “You know, there really are no free men any more.” As a young man, with little experience, but newly married with a child on the way, it made me a little angry. As I sat there, I felt that stir up, rolled my eyes, but respectfully asked him what he meant. He was a good 30 years older, and said kindly that most of us cannot take care of themselves, garden, hunt, ride a horse, defend themselves or their families, build a house, chop any large amounts of wood, fix a leaky roof, etc.

It made me angrier as I sat there. Well of course I didn't know how to do most of those things. I felt like I didn't need to. My gosh, this was the 20th Century. We sure didn't need to live that way. While I admired my ancestors, and that they had those skills, and regularly read magazines like Mother Earth News, and enjoyed Nature, well I felt like it was anachronistic and silly really to bemoan the relative ease of modern life.

Being wired to be a reflective sort of person, but being young and foolish, I argued with him a little. He was very kind and considerate to me, and smiled and explained about getting older and the important of being truly awake. His politics were different than mine, he was pretty liberal, but an honest spiritual sincere man, so his words had meaning and I respect him.

It planted a seed, a mustard seed. If any of you have ever seen one, you know how miniscule they really are. That seed might have died, but being inquisitive and already loving Nature, and being conservative and respecting the people who came to this country, I could see great wisdom in what he was saying. That seed fell on some soil, and as it germinated, it pushed down it's roots, and tiny leaves emerged to spring up for the Light.

Yes, we don't need to learn any of the old skills. We can eat from jars from major food chains. We can live in homes made by specialists. We can work at places to get money to buy what we need and shiny toys. But as I bought into that materialism, more and more, I was unhappy with working long hours, spending more time away from my family, and felt like life was good but very hollow.

Spending time with the Source and with the community of believers, I gathered strength, and doing work with people in order to share the Source made me happy, but ultimately most of the time I spent on working for others and acquiring things. The two very different philosophies seemed at odds. What I learned about the Source, and the people who believed in it in history, was a far cry from modern life and the kinds of specialists that we had become. The communities that we lived in seemed estranged from each other in actuality, and we seemed to be headed for a time when the old skills died and became lost to time.

“What kind of man am I?” That question has haunted me for many decades of my life. Not in a bad way, but in an unceasing pulse, a twin heartbeat, a rhythm, a song that makes me wistful. Because of it, I found more excuses to walk the woods, learn to make things, learn to repair things, learn to grow and collect things, hone the old skills.

I think that real Freedom, the kind of Freedom that is spoken of in the words of the Source, in the words of Patriots, in the words of wise elders, will never exist by tapping into materials produced by specialists. Real freedom comes from being able to be more self-sufficient and being able to share bounty from it, as well as teach others to learn it. The more we spend on relying on others in a lifestyle that is not sustainable, and governed by materialism, the more unhappy and unfulfilled and lonely we will be. At the very root of that wistfulness is the realization that we are not Free as long as we are dependent upon a lifestyle that is not based upon the Source and the Freedom of living in harmony with the Earth.

All communities will produce specialists that is a normal progression based upon efficiency. Healthy communities that are Free will have individuals who can provide some materials themselves.

I think it was Tom Brown Jr. who said (and I am no doubt paraphrasing), “when a man stops wearing moccasins he made, he can no longer feel the bones of the Earth”. I think that the separation from feeling the Earth is part of the loss that I feel when I wear store bought shoes that were made by impoverished children in factories far away. That may seem silly to you, and unrealistic, but when we have specialized so much, that we abuse others to have cheaper and cheaper things for our convenience, and no longer are reliant upon gathering materials from sustainable resources, from things made locally, then I think we are lesser people and slowly enslaved.

That's the kind of man I am.
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12/20/2011 07:40 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Stranger

He was tired. The long twelve hour shift wasn't particularly difficult just long, but it was Saturday and noon and he'd been up for more than 24 hours and was weary. He rubbed his eyes, having passed the bridge into his hometown, and slowing down for the turn on to the road ahead.

He smiled, the lonely country road seldom had traffic on it. It bordered a state park, with a wetland on the other side, and the shade from the forest made the car immediately cool and fresh when he passed this way each day. It was a welcome milestone, as it meant he was minutes from home, and the fragrance of the Earth's wild Sweet Annie herb wafted through the car.

Suddenly up ahead, he was forced to swerve. A large boat-like car sat in the middle of the road. Cursing, he pulled to the side, barely able to squeeze through safely, and avoided a collision. His teeth in a clench, he wondered why in the heck would someone just park there, then looked back in the mirror at the old African American granny looking perplexed at her tires. He sighed. He was very tired, and hardly felt altruistic, but reparking his car, he popped the trunk, got out a tool bag, and walked slowly to her.

She was nervous. She was frail and venerable. The dark-skinned Asian man approached her. She fretted. The tire was flat, and she'd barely been able to handle her car as the tires buckled. She sure couldn't change it. She was miles from a phone, and her car in a bad spot. Now a stranger was coming close to her, and she felt a bead of sweat inch down her neck.

What was she going to say to him? He seemed mad. His face was in a frown and it scared her a little. She was running late now to see her waiting grandbabies. They were counting on her to watch them.

“Howdy Ma'am, car trouble?” The man seemed a little miffed, but okay, she thought.

“Yes my car started to swerve as I rounded the corner. Then my car pulled to one side as the tire went flat.” She unconsciously touched her mouth, and the man saw that she felt uneasy.

“Let's have a look. Shouldn't take long to fix her. I'm John.”

“Thanks John, that would be so nice. Please, if you help....” her voice cracked, and the man felt bad at letting such a little thing irritate him.

He sighed, “Sure. Can you pop the trunk?” He fiddled and fished out a tire iron and her jack. The tire and car seemed enormous compared to his own. The contrast in the lady's size and her car in comparison to his own compact and his size made him smile. “Don't worry, I'm nice.” he said, trying to allay her fears.

A few cars passed them. Some honked and one shook his fist. The close proximity of the vehicles and the last person's anger made him try to quickly get off the lug nuts. He heard another car pass, stop, a door close, and footsteps.

“Hey, what's going on?” a soft Southern drawl, much like his own, but in a whisper voice was behind the prone man changing the tire.

The man looked up. A large thirtish African American man, dark skinned and grinning spoke to the two of them. He had his hands full and was bent over and felt vulnerable. A unconscious nervousness started to rise up in him. “Not much. This lady's tire went flat. I'm helping her.” Gosh why was he so nervous?

The stranger nodded, “Want a hand?”

“I think I got it. It's really a one man job.”

The stranger appraised the kneeling man. He seemed okay. He'd seen an Asian man in the middle of a road, and an old woman like himself standing next to him. He'd wondered what was going on. “Okay, I'll get out the spare.”

The two men worked on the tire. Minutes later, the lug nuts tightened, a brief thank you, and everyone got back in their cars, and went their way. The man realized that he hadn't caught their names. He looked in the mirror. When he made eye contact, the eyes looking back looked a little guilty.

When he got home, he washed up. The stranger had only been trying to help. Why had it made me feel apprehensive? The though flickered in his mind briefly like a candle. He rubbed his eyes and yawned and crawled into bed.

The phone rang, the man's wife answered. They wanted her husband to double back. Could he come in tomorrow morning. When he got up, she told him. He felt very irritated. It was his day off, and he'd wanted to have some family time, go walking in the woods, and renew himself. Work was the last thing he wanted to do, but he could hardly say no, so altered his plans.

The next day, rising in a stupor, he felt exhausted. He already was in a foul mood, and the day was just starting. As he rounded the swamp road, even this simple pleasure gave him no respite, only reminding him of a delay in hiking. He frowned, stopped, and turned onto the busy highway.

It didn't take long for his to notice the car's motion felt off. Something was wobbling, oh man, and he felt the car shimmy and shake. He drove on, he could hardly stop, not here on a bridge.

As he crested the hill and drove on, he felt unsure what was happening, but he was running late, and hoped he could get to work on time.

He didn't. In moments the tire went flat. He grit his teeth, again?

He pulled over, braking to a stop. The tire facing the highway was flat all right. He cursed. You'd think since he'd just helped someone that God would cut him some slack. Looking at the distance, he wasn't pulled over enough, but dang it, he had to get to work, so he got his tools and set to work on the tire.

Taking the lug nuts off was a cinch, but for darndest reason he couldn't get the tire off. What the heck? He tugged and pulled, but it just didn't want to come off.

He looked at his watch. He should have left sooner, but had been irritated at having to come in. He was late. He didn't have a cell phone. They were expensive, and they were new and bulky to carry. He cursed again. Thanks God. Really great. I help you all the time...and this is what I get.

A familiar car pulled up. The very same stranger from yesterday smiled. “Hey John.”

“Hey. Didn't catch your name yesterday.”

“Henry. Tire?”

“Yeah, it won't come off.” Henry noticed Rob was pissed. He'd apparently been doing this awhile. “Some of those import tires have to be kicked a little from the side. There's a catch that has to release on some models that grips the wheel. Watch...”

John watched while Henry kicked the wheel. It didn't budge. The tire rebounded a little, but didn't come off. “Guess it's stuck. Where you going?”

“To work, I'm late.”

“Wanna lift.”

“Oh man that would be so nice. I was just hoping you'd give me a lift to a service station. But a ride to work would be more helpful.”

“Get in.” The two men chatted. Henry seemed entirely normal. Just a regular working guy, not much different, married with children, and friendly. John felt guilty. Henry was as nice as he could be.

After dropping him off, Henry sped away. He was from the same town, a tiny one, they'd just never run in the same circles. John hadn't gotten his number, and didn't know his last name, and wondered if he'd ever see Henry again.

He said a quick prayer for Henry. It was the best he could do. He thought about him from time to time. Just another guy, the same in every way, save the color of skin. John had been worried just because of the color of the skin of a man of God's creation. It made him feel very bad.

I'm sorry God. Thank you for letting me fix that lady's tire. Thank you for Henry. I'm sorry that I let the smallest of things worry me from time to time.

John never saw Henry again even decades later. He figured he was out there, just like him, making his way, living in a little town, not a stranger, a child of God.
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12/20/2011 11:50 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
In the absence of medical assistance

Here are some links. It would be very wise to download these and have them available. Reading on nutritional needs before hand as part of your preps and buying vitamins is far easier than trying to deal with the long road to recovery on a limited diet. A stitch in time, saves nine.

[link to www.thirdplanetfood.com]

There are too many potential interactions with wild edibles, though many have benefits to stave off deficiencies, but since women make up half of survivors, and many might be of child-bearing years, caution must be used. I'd like to give you some advice, but it's ill advised. You should do your own research as there are many wild edible pages, but conflicting information on some of them. Many common edibles while providing scant calories, they can provide whopping doses of vitamins. However because there are many phytochemicals (perhaps thousands) in a plant, you must read read read.

Stressed out people cope by making love more or less depending on the person. So unexpected pregnancies can easily occur. Remember that if the SHTF, you might easily run out of normal contraceptives, and obviously the rhythm method doesn't work unless you carefully do the mucus and the temperature test religiously.

All of the Hesperian docs are free and in several languages. There are three main ones for no dentist, no doctor, and specificly for women. All good.
[link to hesperian.org]
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12/21/2011 12:26 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Incredibly timely info. This is where your head needs to be in the coming days.
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12/21/2011 01:26 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Thanks. If anyone want a post on a particular aspect, I'd be happy to write it. While many people have read and starred it, few have commented on it. There are many topics I could write about, just reticent to discuss medicine, though the role of medicine, minus normal medicine to dispense, and utilizing good nutrition, exercise, water, and massage will all become crucial if we suffer something like a severe economic collapse like the Great Depression. Prior to the role of regular availability of medicines, only patent medicines could be purchased and they didn't do anything and might actually have poisoned people.

Medicine prior to about 1920 was called Osteopathic medicine, and these folks called Doctors of Osteopathic medicine still practice today as regular doctors called DOs. After 1920, new medical schools called Allopatic medicine emphasized the importance of isolated medical compounds like aspirin (Salicylic acid) from plants like White Willow bark. Those folks are MDs.

If we don't have medicines from a collapse since so many are produced overseas, then we could see shortages and rationing. This could mean that we'd have to return to some herbal remedies that originally stored the compound, and dispense those. The Pioneers kept several of them in glass containers or collected them. That way they could both treat illness or stave it off from eating correctly.

Many people eat fortified foods. Whether they realize it or not, much of packaged food like cereals contain vitamins and minerals to boost the ersatz breakfast cereals that largely contain wood fiber. Look it up. We might see a return to some nutritional deificiencies like scurvy, rickets, pellagra, etc from not eating right, or lacking a variety, or not eating fortified foods. Think iodine, folic acid deficientcies (very problematic for pregnant moms) etc.
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12/21/2011 06:06 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Who is my neighbor?

If a rough sustained period of severe economic uncertainty arises, we will all have to re-evaluate “Who is my neighbor?” When people are fearful, it is very scary to risk helping someone you don't know. If supplies are limited, and given the duration of uncertainty cannot be known, and the intention of the other person is unknown, and the security of the person helping is flimsy, all of those will realistically factor into the decision making process.

Obviously, the better prepared each of us is, the less we'll have to help or be helped by others. I've talked about that a lot, in practical ways to both store up food, but also to learn skills that will help you adapt and ride out a storm. If the storm lasts very long, our apprehension will rise based upon the vagaries of chance, our size of community, and the intensity of the storm.

Responding and not reacting will help you cope. Most of the time, people are people, not a horde of zombies, and the storm will be a temporary one based upon where it hits and how hard and its duration. The better your skill level and supplies, the better you'll cope, and be able to assist others.

People will tense up, because people like to be around their friends and family. People like to be around people who are like them. People like to be around people who look like them. The ones who knock on your door, the ones who gift you with supplies, the ones you encounter while harvesting from the wild, the ones who can trade items and skills, will not be like you. If you can find common ground and respect each other's differences, and not worry about things like age, ethnicity, sex, religion, etc then you will all cope better.

People are afraid of each other. We've all been reminded that we all are different. The news used to be on for a few hours a day. Now it's on constantly and we can search out all kinds of news based upon the immediacy of the Internet and the people other than paid journalists who blog. That means people today are inundated with information, and in that morass of information, it can feed that feeling of being afraid.

All of us can find justification for any idea that flickers in our minds. Think that the world is an evil place of rapists, looters, murderers, fanatics, crazies, etc...well you can easily find those news stories. Of course while they may be true, and mostly there are elements of truth within them, in reality it's not the whole story. The most exciting news items are ones that are about anger and violence and conflict. No one writes a news story with any following about all the great things that happened today. While some of us love to hear those stories, they are not as juicy as the other. People are wired to love a scoop or rumor and the fact that it's only partially true and subject to interpretation and mostly doesn't pan out ...doesn't matter.

Bad things happen, and get repeated, and these feed our fears and make us afraid. If the SHTF, that feeling of being afraid may actually hurt your survival. All successful groups that survive happen based upon teamwork, community, some specialization, all knowing some generalized skills, and respect. We might not love each other, we may not like each other, but we do tolerate and work with each other.

If not, then we have to make it as lone wolfs and that's a very tough way to make it. Some did live lonely lives on the prairie with occasional visits from strangers passing through but even those folks went into town on a seasonal basis for community. If that's the way you think you'll survive, then you'd better have an enormous skill set to draw on to survive. Eventually your children will want friends, get sick, you'll need something you can't make, get lonesome, and you'll have to adapt or die.

Sure things might be chaotic even deadly if the SHTF. I sure wouldn't want to live in a large metro area or even a town of larger than 50,000. Based upon carrying capacity, the normal supply reserve, and people's skill level, it will be very hard for the citizens in a city of greater than 50,000 to make it...if the storm is bad, lasts long, and people freak out. A few people who decide to give in to their shadow selves could make life miserable or horrific for many people.

While I have enjoyed living in large cities because of the culture there, I'd much rather visit on vacation than live there. With high unemployment, strapped state budgets, crime increasing, and desperate people, I can't see that living there is a stable situation. That's just a country boy weighing in using common sense.

If things are bad, most people will want to stay based upon inertia. It takes time for a situation to ramp up, and for that to provoke enough of a flight or fight response, and then to respond in kind. That usually means people delay leaving an untenable situation based upon denial and false hope. Then because people are wired the same, many people will simultaneously get the same idea to bug out, but will have no idea where to go. Then others won't be able to leave because their family doesn't want to. Then others can't because of jobs. Others will be fearful or unprepared to leave based upon their ability to protect themselves. These are all things I've discussed in better detail earlier.

For some people, they're either correctly wired to be prescient and will bug out based upon a plan to a known safer zone, or they're worriers who will. It takes a lot of parameters and money and luck to make this work. This is a one way road, since the idea is leaving and cutting ties and implies permanence.

All safe zones need water, a growing season (good soil and temperature), the availability for tool making and firewood, an environment that will support livestock, and like minded people. Your definition of a safe zone will be different based upon personal interpretations of those variables, luxuries that you also know are located with a potential safe zone, and your abilities. If your abilities are limited, then people tend to add the need for specialists to those safe zones too.

If you're bugging out, that means you can't bring what you need, and most likely your money will be tight, and you're in an unfamiliar area. This means even if you have skills with plants and animals, your ability to know their habitats, behavior, migratory movements, food sources, dens, will have to be re-learned.

You will become the strangers, competitors for the carrying capacity, and most likely distrusted, despised, and unwanted by the local people. Since those people tend to be gun owners, who know the terrain, food sources, watering holes, and usually have higher skill levels, you can expect trouble. This has played out in history numerous times with any immigrant group. Even if you look like the people where you are going, unless you have a rare skill like being a doctor, then you can't expect to be welcomed.

If you're a mad survivalist packing heat, don't come knocking on my door. You'll be very unhappy you did. Seeing the standard youtube survivalists wannabees, they look to be in ill health: mentally or physically or spiritually, and I doubt they can make it. Real survivalists will not seriously entertain making it in that way. They've done their own analysis and made contingency plans.

Real criminals will make it, because they're experienced at it. They've chosen that lifestyle and made their money in illegal ways and violence to maintain it. In the absence of lots of money to sustain and create new income, but the availability of supplies in concentrated areas like the metro areas, most of them will stay there for a time. Smaller criminal groups will form organically based upon necessity and ethos, and most likely an experienced criminal will lead them. Most big organized groups have gone semi-legit by laundering their money. They'll be like fish out of water in the country.

Some people with military or law enforcement experience, but with sociopathic behavior might band with rural folks, and that group would be very dangerous. Having weapons, rural skills, and a warped mind, they will be the most likely reason a community forms to repel them. Since most military and law enforcement people that I've know in rural areas are the exact opposite, they'll be repelled like rabid dogs.

Many country people will temporarily feed young children a small portion of food based upon obvious malnutrition and compassion. From experience, I've seen country folk do extremely magnanimous things, ignoring differences, because they were raised that way. If you're a city person, and you expect to come and be assisted in any major way, that's not based upon reality. If some areas are more stable, and people rise to the occasion, then more help will be given. It's really down to how much is available there in that place. There's a lot of you, and you eat a lot, and we just can't feed you. Sorry. At most, if you were a hoard, you might get a day or two from trying this. It's self-defeating as most food is raised in rural areas.

In the Civil War, it was common for the military to seize local supplies to feed troops. This might indeed happen, but there are limited ways of dealing with it. I can't even go there. It's based upon historic fact, so it's plausible, but not probable. It didn't happen during the Great Depression, so while it could happen, well.... The present politicians, the slow ramp up of the police state, and the military operating as police locally concerns me.
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
I am right and you are wrong

People allow the aspects that we are most passionate about to divide us. Doesn't that seem strange? This tends to be about conversion. The other person doesn't accept out beliefs and we are passionate about them. If both are stubborn and insist that, “I am right and you are wrong.”then there tends to be conflict based upon the intensity of passion. The conflict comes to a head, like a nasty infected wound that turns into a boil, when we insist on converting the other.

In the old days, people self-segregated by their core beliefs. It was a way to avoid conflict by being with like-minded people. As a population increases in an area, more mini-communities tend to form and they encroach on each other. That means some conflict becomes inevitable as cities become a collection of communities with disparate beliefs.

Because the size of the city we live in tends to be more than 500 people (tribes), it is very difficult to self-segregate based upon core beliefs. Being a nation composed of specialists, we flock to cities where the other person provides a special service that makes us press down our need to be around like-minded people for pragmatic reasons. The more that people are unhappy though, and the more that those specialists can't provide their services, and if security is an issue, people will realize that most of the people around you don't share your idea of community.

Think about it this way, why do gangs form? Gangs are in essence a way to self-segregate in order to provide more security for like-minded people, but a perversion of the idea since they don't posses normal tribal skills. They don't posses teachers, healers, gardeners, hunters, shepherds. They only possess soldiers, and much of the time dedicated soldiers are only needed when another tribe attacks. Most of the time the tribe fulfills duties other than being soldiers.

Immigrants new to a city, will often self-segregate based upon a healthy way to form a tribe, and provide skills to each other, based upon skill level and trust. I know, I used to work with immigrants and greatly enjoyed the idea of people loving America so much, for its wonderful freedoms, and working hard to improve their lot, and add their strength to my nation, but still staying together for support. Most came because they had similar beliefs like their spirituality, and so seeing what was common to the both of us, rather than seeing what was different, it was easy for me to help them. That's reframing based upon deeper core beliefs and the love of the Source.

Trying to convince people, we tend to say or do things to influence their core beliefs. That's difficult, mostly impossible, unless there is some impetus for a change, a reason to reexamine those ideas and their validity. That almost always happens as a seed is placed on the soil of another's open mind. A healthy true debate, something that almost never happens, is about the exchange of ideas based upon experience, that one person believes is Truth.

Since those ideas happen slowly and grow, just like seeds that germinate and give rise to primary leaves, then based upon experiences and analysis, arise into secondary leaves and grow so strong that they bear fruit. Pruning happens as ideas are discarded, and more energy is committed to valid ideas and they form the basic plant within our hearts.

You might have the most accurate version of the Truth, but you never possess all Truth. I think that the Source provides all Truth, but my feeble mind, no matter how honed, cannot grasp the immense Truth f it. I am human. That's humility.

When we see Truth in others, and they are honorable, intelligent, persuasive, and their actions are in alliance with their words, then the Truth that they speak is easier to listen to. This means the other person at that moment is more willing to accept our core beliefs as tiny seeds and it might be able to grow based upon proper soil, healthy ability to nurture it, and less pruning of it as it matures. In time, that seed can entirely overcome whatever core beliefs that once were within their hearts. No mustard seed grew overnight, and insisting that it does, kills the seed.

Thoughtful people, will be willing to consider the validity of ideas, but seldom will those imported ideas grow so much that they supersede the other person's core beliefs. That process is startling conversion. It seldom can take root, find enough fertile soil, and blossom into fruit.

The earlier story about the yeast from the Source is the only catalyst or agent of change that I know that can transform lives in that way. It is so powerful, but you must yield to it because you feel its Love. Yeast does not make more yeast when added to the wheat. It makes bread. If you believe in the Source, and allow its yeast to transform your ideas of Truth, then you will become something entirely transformed. If you are like the woman, who was willing to use her hands, and work to knead the yeast into the wheat, then your actions have the chance to make bread. Trying to knead more yeast to make more yeast is not what the Source asks us to do.

The Son who came to tell us about the Source, His words and actions prove He was the Truth made living. His words showed us the Way to act. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. If you accept that, then you have to be willing to let that overcome the other plant in your heart.

He must increase and you must decrease.
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12/22/2011 12:55 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
"Dakota Hymn" / Lacquiparle
by Joseph R. Renville (1842), paraphrased by R. Phillip Frazier (1929).

Wakantanka taku nitawa
tankaya qaota;
mahpiya kin eyahnake ca,
makakin he duowanca.
Mniowanca sbeya wanke cin,
hena ovakihi.

Many and great, O God, are your works,
Maker of earth and sky;
Your hands have set the heaven with stars;
Your fingers spread the mountains and plains.
See, at your word the waters were formed;
Deep seas obey your voice.

Your will, mysterious and so strong,
Brings growth to all the earth.
Food for our souls and clothing to wear
Are like your cup that blesses and fills.
Provide for us each day of our lives
Sufficient for our needs.

Grant unto us communion with you,
O star-abiding One;
Come unto us and dwell here with us,
With you are found the gifts of life,
Bless us with life that has no end,
Eternal life with you.

That day you came to dwell on the earth,
Bringing us all great joy!
The nations scattered over the world;
To them you gave the light of all life,
O Lord, O Compassionate One,
We offer praise to you.