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Message Subject Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Self-Assessment Revisited

Okay, I've spent about 160 pages writing about the sorts of things that I've been thinking about, considering, doing, feeling in my life. I wanted to spend that time discussing the meditations of my heart, soul, and mind so you can see if I'm a loony or if I'm a rational caring person. Lots of people post, but sometimes less than serious things, or just want to have fun or silly, or maybe are angry at an event. I think a reasonable person reading what I've written, will see that I care about the world and about the Source and about the people that make up the creation of the Source.

Now I hope that some of you are thinking about your own view of the world, the Source, or the people. Mostly though any plan begins with self-assessment. How well are you prepared if there is a dramatic change in your country based upon the events of the last year and a half?

Is our current economic situation more stable or less stable than it was a month ago? Think about your expenses. We all have bills and income. Are your bills more and your income less? How about your friends and family? How about your community? How about your nation?

Is it possible that the world economy is declining as the financial experts have said? Is that borne out through data? Is it supported by many people from agencies that have nothing to gain from reporting it?Do you feel that it's true that tough economic times could be ahead? Is it plausible? How bad do you think it could be? If several of your friends and family feel it, and your community is also sensing it, then is it likely that we are feeling something that is plausible and possible and likely?

Do you think that your governments are spending money that they don't have, that they know that they don't have, and that they're acting in responsible ways to pay for their bills based upon the income that comes from taxation? Despite all of the government workers who determine income and expenses, and the outside consultants who are paid to work for the government as contractors, do you think that they are concerned about the high expenses and the lowered income from taxes? Is it possible, plausible, and likely that the difference between the two could cause a major issue in the months ahead?

In the nineteen twenties, there was an enormous boom of economic growth. People who had been raised in relative low income came into more income, or they had greater net worth from investments, and as a result they could buy more things. It was a time of great prosperity for many.

However, in the nineteen twenties many cities were relatively small. Looking back at my earlier analogies about metropolitan areas and specialist versus rural cities that supported them, I think you'll see that there were many small towns that supported the large cities with new specialists, income, and food and supplies.

Many small towns were so rural, that a great portion were built around agriculture. People didn't go to the grocery to buy most of their food, except for the large cities composed of specialists. In most cases, people in the small towns grew their own food from gardens, they hunted and fished, and in addition raised food from crops and livestock, and this provided a business so that the metropolitan areas could exist.

As time progressed, more and more young people didn't want to be farmers, and were encouraged by their parents to have a better life, and more were college educated, both men and women. The majority leaned skilled trades within the towns to produce goods for more income than farming, but still they also knew how to garden and hunt from personal experience. Life changed.

Since more people had money, they bought more. Mortgages were rarer, but people might live in multi-generational homes, or they might live in a home that had been paid for and passed down from their ancestors. Many people didn't own their homes, it wasn't possible, but they worked hard, lived with their parents, and eventually might live in the ancestral home and own it, then pass it down. In large cities the property values were high (based upon the concentration of people and demand), and the ratio of income such that many people rented houses or apartments.

In some cases, people went to the large cities, made money by being specialists, and came back to their small towns with new skills. They might start businesses that improved their small towns, make improvements on their ancestral homes, or if very fortunate buy land or built on land of their ancestors and built a home for themselves.

Then abruptly there was a disturbance in the markets. While many people didn't speculate by investing money that they didn't have, many people in their towns did. Suddenly the people who had been working in ordinary businesses that provided services to the large towns, and the people who had been working in the large towns, saw a major upset of the economic system. It might have begun elsewhere, but it cascaded, and came to their towns regardless of size. The ones who could best cope were the ones who provided their own food sources versus the ones who had specialized and lived in cities of high unemployment.

How would such an event play out today? Are any of us like our ancestors who could raise their own food? Do we have their general skills to make things or repair them? How many of us have spent far more than our ancestors ever did? How many more of us took out mortgages compared to our ancestors? How many of us are specialists with very few life skills?

What kind of person are you? Let's look at basic physical strength? Are you in good health by any definition of the word? Do you exercise like your ancestors from physical labor? Are you sedentary? How far can you ride a bike? Do you have a bike in working condition? How far can you walk? How much weight can you lift for sustained periods? Do you have any injuries which could limit these activities? How old are you? What medicines do you take for chronic conditions? If things got economically unstable, could you realistically do hard physical labor?

What's your body mass index? How much do you eat compared to your ancestors? Is it a simple diet or is it fairly complex compared to what they ate? Looking in your food stores, how many of those foods can be purchased locally? How much money is spent on eating out or prepared food to save time? Do you know how to cook simple healthy meals?

How about growing food? Is there an area around you that can support a garden or raising animals? Do you have any experience with the skills to do so? Do you have books, tools, or materials to garden? How much food that you normally eat, could you create in your immediate area?

How about your climate? How long is the growing season? How much water comes in and when? Is the area that you could grow in well-drained? What would you reasonable have to do to prepare the land in order to begin? How long would it take? What crops could be grown? How would you do so?

How do you harvest them? How do you store them? For people who've never raised food before, many times all of the crop comes in about the same time. Humans by and large can't eat an enormous amount of green beans and then skip meals for a month. They also can't tolerate a diet of green beans for several weeks and nothing else. This means planting intentionally in ways to space out the harvest and canning or storing raised food for times when the harvest is over.

Because food comes in, and because it's labor intensive but rewarding and saves money versus purchasing it, people have stored food for times when it isn't locally available. Yes, right now you go to the store and purchase these canned, frozen, dehydrated, smoked, pickled, butchered ,pre-made foods...but is it possible that based upon a period of economic decline that certain foods might not be shipped to your area?

When I was growing up, we didn't buy a lot of fruit. I actually used to get fresh apples, oranges, bananas, and nuts at Christmas time, and it was exciting. Some of those foods didn't grow around my home, and were expensive to buy out of season. While some small amounts of apples and walnuts and pecans were available here, we didn't have those trees, or buy those foods when they were harvested locally. We looked forward to them. We didn't eat them all the time. I liked it so much, that when I got older, I always had fresh fruit and nuts around the house for my family. It was entirely normal for my children to eat many rare fruits, fruits from tropical areas, fruits out of season, in order to please them. Today, we take that for granted. In the future, we could see real disruptions in the availability or the idea of eating non-seasonal foods.

What about meat? Meat doesn't come from the grocery store. It comes from the sacrifice of animals. It meant someone spent an enormous amount of time and care for them to be raised, harvested, and transported, and packaged for sale. Can you raise animals or hunt them in your area? What laws exist that limits how often you can do this? What equipment and skills are needed to do so? How many of them can realistically be raised or hunted in your area? Is it possible that if everyone suddenly tried to take them that it would be impossible to yield sufficient meat that way?

What about the heating of your home? If there were a problem with the transportation of coal to your area, could your utility company generate electricity? Do you have a fireplace in your home? Do you have a wood stove? Do you have seasoned wood to burn in case of disruptions? Can you chop wood? Even if you can, it takes a long time to season wood once you cut it, is there a source of wood where you can harvest it? How about heating with kerosene or paraffin oil? It comes from a special process of distilling petroleum. While there might be local oil drilling in your area, chances are that the places where it's distilled and packaged are not located around you. How might you heat your home if there were issues like a bad storm or economic disruptions?

Have you a way to provide light safely in your home? Do you have both flashlights (plus bulbs and batteries) and candle/lamps that use fuel? How long would they realistically last based upon the directions and number of hours of use?

Can you realistically build a wood fire? Try it and see using minimal matches and from gathered materials especially if it's been awhile since you did so. Try it without using a chemical accelerant. From my experience over a thirty year period, most of the people I've asked to build a fire cannot do so by themselves without a lot of coaching and time. All eight year olds can build a fire with experience. 90% of people can't do it upon demand.

Where does your water come from? Is it piped in very far away from outside sources? Does your community have seasonal water shortages now? Is your community experiencing a drought now? Looking at a map, and measuring the distance, and imagining that you'd have to walk, what route would you have to take to gather water from the closest and safest source of potable water? Is it possible that if everyone were gathering water from it that there might be issues with sanitation and security?

On a scale of one to ten, based upon known crime that happens in your area, how would you rate the security of your town? Have you ever had a burglary in your neighborhood? Has anyone every been violently attacked? Have you a realistic way to deter crime from happening in your home? Can you realistically defend yourself based upon personal health and skills? Do you possess something to increase a way to defend yourself at a distance? How long has it been since you used it? Do you have the ammunition to do so? How long has it been since you cleaned it? Do you know how to take it apart and clean it yourself?

All of these are very basic self-assessment questions that would be practical ways to plan for an event in which the economy would be disrupted.

For levity and insight, here's a video from DEMCAD. He often makes videos and discusses his thought process about living in Flint, Michigan. It's interesting for me to watch his process since I live in a small town in the country, and he lives in the Rust Belt in a decaying metropolitan area. We couldn't be more different, but both of us are concerned. As you'll see, while preparing, he's got some issues with his abilities and health, but he's sincerely trying and making himself learn skills. I admire his efforts, and while the easiest thing to do would be to criticize him, I won't. In reality, while I can't imagine trying to make it in Flint, at least he's making an effort to prepare.

How many of you are like him in some ways, but very unprepared in others? How many of you live in similarly large areas? He's a good sport, because while he's not a woodsman, he is working to improve his ability to cope. Take a self-assessment and see how you compare.
 
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