Monday, March 3, 2014

The Shanty

I haven’t written in such a long time! I guess I was going through a combination of rethinking my survival preparation plans, dealing with work, not having great internet access, and also lacking time. I suppose the only good excuse of the four is not having great internet access. It’s hard to post when you can’t. Well, that’s not quite true. I can get onto my blog from the work computer and post whenever I want. The problem with that is work has a very intrusive email and internet system. We can’t get onto personal email, youtube, ebay, and the like but yes to blogs? Doesn’t make sense to me. Everything we send and receive through their system is documented as ours. I do not wish for them to document my blog.

Work has been interesting. I made it through my first year and didn’t get fired or laid off. About 10% of our division is now gone…most laid off or retired. My supervisor? Outright fired. It’s really ugly at the office. On the other hand, (and isn’t there always one when I write?) I do really like the group of people I work with. But I trust the executives in this company so much less than I trust the executives in this government… So I do my work, I cause minor amounts of irritation, and hopefully I will keep the position for another 3 years and 10 months until I am fully vested and can leave. Of course, I can leave before then (first goal is 18 months from now) but I will be leaving quite a bit of money on the table from the 401k. We will see…

I have done quite a lot of thinking and rethinking about my survival plans. You hear so much about needing to relocate to less populated places, and I agree that the middle of a big city during a total meltdown would be terrible, but I don’t think the less populated places are all that great either. I am not going to pack up and move out of state…probably. (You never know what twists and turns life brings.) I read stories about other states that are so much better for survivalists and those states have some totally crazy rules and regulations that I don’t wish to abide by either! And many of those states are getting worse by the year. So I’m settled here, I will plan for here.

What brings moving up? I had the opportunity to purchase my friend’s property. I like the place. It’s over 80 acres, with ponds, some fruit trees, a nice house, etc. But the political landscape of that state is as crazy as here. I also have the Bug-out property. Son is living there with his family. I was going to put time and money into that place. Then the drug dealers moved into the neighborhood. That area has always had some crime…amazing that a population of 250 people or so in a 10 mile area can spend their life “borrowing” things from their neighbors. But now it’s ugly. High fences going up. Guard dogs that get out and eat neighbor livestock. Hope it changes, but it’s not really going to be my go-to place anymore.

I may still purchase some other go-to Bug-out place. I have been spending more time in the wilderness and know where many backwoods camps are. They are great in years like now, with little snow. Put 10 feet or so of snow on the ground and I’m not wanting to be there either. So, for now, it’s my five acres of paradise in the Great Central Valley of California. Oh yes, I do have water unlike many of the farmers that are desperately in need.

So then what am I rethinking? Am I doing it right? While I love this property, as long as I have to work full-time somewhere else I just don’t have time to do everything that I want or need to do. So instead I decided to rethink the way I am prepping. Do I need the monster garden to grow all of our food? Do I need to can 600 cans of fruits, vegetables, and meats each year? Do I need to store 20 boxes of crackers only to have to feed them to the chickens when they get stale? Do I need 30 or 40 chickens? What changes to the house should I be making? What changes to the yard should I be making? Do I need more fruit trees? Should I be making olive oil now? Can anything be just for fun or does it all have to do with prepping? How should I balance contributing to a 401k compared to paying off the house compared to stocking up preps? Do we dare go on a vacation away from home? How far away is not too far? How do I really predict a collapse of society or is it just happening in front of us everyday and we as a whole can’t see that the flame is just being turned up underneath the dancing chicken?

I’m not going to go into all of my decisions today. Then what would I have to write about? Girl and Boy? They are growing up. Girl is in jr. hi. At least it’s a K-8 school so while there are jr. hi issues, it’s not the same as a real jr. hi. Still drama. Just got a text from one of her girlfriends…”If you are killed I won’t be at your funeral…I’ll be in jail for killing the person who killed you because I love you. Pass this email along so you will have good luck with everyone who loves you.” No, Girl won’t be passing that email along.

About a month or two ago girl decided to build her own house. She keeps asking for me to buy her a shed that she can move into. No, I’m not spending the money on a house for you. Earn or build your own. So she did. At the back of the property, under the fig trees, she built what I call “the shanty”. It’s a little homeless shelter looking thing built out of scrap she found in our scrap pile and in the neighbor’s scrap pile. The neighbors had a lounge chair frame which she fixed and covered with seat cushions. She built a table out of scraps of wood. She has a bookshelf, sealed boxes for food, and a container for clothes. She brought matches and a candle out there. I promptly brought it back into the house and told her no fires. She hasn’t though about taking one of the solar walkway lights to use for lighting. They would work just fine until about midnight or so when they would go out. If she put a good backup battery into it the thing would be able to stay lit all night.

Unfortunately for her, she is afraid of the dark so she won’t sleep in it. She does go out there on weekends during the day. The other day she left the phone in it so I told her she had to go get it. Unfortunately it had just gotten dark. Even with my best flashlight, she was not going to walk the ¼ mile on a moonless night. So I made her sit out on the back patio for about an hour until I was done with what I was doing. Then we walked together to the back. She got the phone and we started walking back to the house. I told her to close her eyes. She did. Then I turned the flashlight off. It took her about a minute to get her bearings but then we walked back to the house without the flashlight. The stars can light your way if you let them. If you adjust your eyes you can see quite well. The problem is when you have lights on or near the ground, these interfere with the light from the sky. When we were getting closer to the house the neighbor’s bright light really did make it more difficult to see right in front of us. Blinded by the light!

So am I. There is so much information being thrown at us that we are blinded. So stepping back and then figuring out how to look forward has been made a little easier. I will write about my changes. Just not today! I plan on making time to post at least once a week. I sure do miss writing daily but this new job does not allow me the free time.


  1. Glad to read your writing again. We are having the same thoughts you are. When to "retire," where to live, how much garden, etc. We also have been leaning towards staying put at this time. If things fall apart, then we know the resources at hand. We won't have to learn in a new environment.

    Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

  2. Glad to see you back. I've missed you. The problems you've had with the change in culture around your BOL is typical of what many of us have to deal with and one we tend not to think about when we are planning. And when the drug dealers or similar move in the value of the place to either sell or use drops away enormously.


  3. Even though you didn't ask for input I can't resist. In your situation I would put more effort into making life easier in the future. Instead of a huge garden now, put in raised beds that are high enough to save your back. Definitely plant more fruit trees. Consider cutting the flock in half and just butchering as needed (extra roosters or stewing hens). Get rid of the mortgage and possibly sell the other property.

    I don't know about the canning. If it's difficult to do so much while you work full time, probably cut back for now at least.

  4. Everyone needs a shanty some time.

    Your thoughts seem to be coinciding with ours.

  5. Yep, was wondering what was happening with you. Glad to see you posting.