Tuesday, October 12, 2010
You’re here, reading these words, likely because someone told you about a yarn that follows a family through some exceptionally trying times. The point of writing the story was just to get people to think about what they would do if faced with the trials that the Drummonds found themselves in. The entire effort was supposed to be a short story; one that was limited to the first chapter of Deep Winter.
The readers of that short story wanted more. I obliged. I set targets of five, then ten, then thirty, then sixty chapters. Then a second book, then a third. Now a fourth.
The point is, people are now thinking about what they would do. Not with ‘just’ an earthquake, but if any one of a number of Bad Things come their way. That is the goal, to be ready for whatever life tosses your way. Some things you can control, most things you can’t. There are hundreds of sources out there on ‘bug out bags’ and ‘survivalism’ and ‘prepping’ that include the entire spectrum of knowledge, from good to bad, right to fatally wrong.
I encourage all to use the discernment provided to you by God to judge what is right for you, what must be done, what should be done, what is not necessary. There is no solution that applies to everyone, as everyone’s ‘worst case scenario’ is different. You need to do your own research, you need to learn, you need to act. Sitting in front of a computer reading about what to do is not the same as doing it. Getting ready for whatever takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t. It takes time to gather what is needed, sometimes finding local sources (highly encouraged) rather than getting something from two thousand miles away. So, as the title says, think locally.
‘Rick Drummond’ is all about having options: From shelter, to a way to heat without utilities; for light; for water; for power; for food; for defense. The one constant is his faith. There is no option for ‘Rick and Karen’ or for the author. My faith in God is my strongest and most dependable prep.
To help folks along, here are a few sources of information that I’ve found exceptionally helpful in thinking and acting toward a goal of increasing self-reliance. I’m not promoting them as whole-hearted supporter of every speck of their philosophies, I’m hoping that you use them as a resource for education towards your own goals.
Sources of information like Bob Waldrop’s http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/compendium.htm can quickly fill up your hard drive and kick start your creative process. Seriously—download this stuff. It’s great info. Bob also has a blog that’s worth your time: http://bobaganda.blogspot.com/
http://survivalblog.com/ James Wesley, Rawles is probably the current guru of the survivalist movement, and is the author of ‘Patriots, Surviving the Coming Collapse’ and several other non-fiction resources. I'd recommend some quality immersion time in the archives section at Survivalblog.
http://www.ferfal.blogspot.com/ Want to know what a hyperinflation event looks like from the inside? Fernando has lived it. Spend some time there as well.
http://waltonfeed.com/store I like their ‘resources’ section, but really the whole site is worth some time.
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/ is a great place to learn and contribute about alllll kinds of things. That said, I’m more of a reader than contributor on that site, unfortunately.
Index of How To Survive Hard Times-- http://www.grandpappy.info/indexhar.htm Again, a good resource, down to earth advice.
http://theepicenter.com/ Remember that really cool little generator that ‘Rick’ built from a small, scrapped Briggs and Stratton engine, a car alternator and a power inverter? This is where you get plans to build one, or buy the bracket to make assembly much easier. http://theepicenter.com/cgi/order.cgi?page=power_sources_generators_and_batteries.html&cart_id=
Financial Guys I Read:
Many folks ask me where I think the financial system is going. Short answer, I think it’s going in the toilet, and have thought so for some time….like, fifteen years, and I’m fifty now. As a youngster, I read a lot of Robert Heinlein, and am re-reading some of his works and finding a warm spot in my heart for the Grand Master. “There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” was apparently not learned by any American in the past thirty years, and danged if the debt doesn’t want to be paid. Here are a couple of key resources that I read on a regular (think, daily) basis:
Karl: http://market-ticker.org/ Karl Denninger’s been all over this mortgage mess for YEARS and has been demanding accountability for the same period of time. I’m not a financial guy. The men and women who populate the forums on the Ticker Forum site (registration required to post) are, and their opinions and views are worth study. When they see a financial tsunami coming, you’d be wise to head for high ground.
Gerald: http://www.geraldcelente.com/ Speaks for himself, well, frequently, and in depth.
Mish: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/ Mish presents technical information in a manner that even I can understand.
Want to be depressed? Punch in the buying power of a dollar here, and see how it has been destroyed over time. You would be wise to invest in non-depreciating assets. http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/ You can also see through some time spent here how the Feral government is cooking the stats.
A number of folks have been asking me about a few obscure references made in the first three books; questions about sources for the material I’m writing about; and if any of the places in the books are, well, real.
Starting with the last one first, yes, most of the places / businesses /vendors that I reference even casually are real, like a vendor of handcrafted soap mentioned in Remnant. The company? Garland Road Soap. http://garlandroadsoap.com/ Great stuff. I bought a bunch of Olga’s soaps for Christmas gifts last year, and I can’t speak highly enough of them.
Other products, like Carhartt clothing, Sorel boots, etc. mentioned in the books because I wear them and they work. Maglite flashlights, too. Most of the clothing I wear around the house/garden/office are what was mentioned in the series, and most of them are bought through Sierra Trading Post, www.sierratradingpost.com on sale. Usually, on a serious sale.
The Railcars In Remnant
A reader asked me where I got the idea for Colonel Drummond's rail mounted brigade. http://idscontainer.com/recovery-solutions.da provided the inspiration for Third Washington’s rail-mounted living and working units. This company has done amazing things with shipping containers. In fiction, I took liberties….
A few readers have asked me some very good questions about the series and other topics. Here are a few for your consideration. Don’t hesitate to ask me something. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll say so….
As I hear of things happening around the world, I try to think of how my husband and I could survive if it happened here in XXXXXX. I'd be very interested in knowing where you go to find survival information. I am a member of MrsSurvival Discussion Forums on the internet, but I can't always find information I'm searching for on there. Plus, some of those women are so extreme on their prepping that I'm put to shame.
Remember that on any internet forum, there are people that "talk" and there are people that "do." There's a fair chance that some of the folks that you think are "ahead" are "talkers." There is no one-size fits all....we're all different and we all have different threat scenarios to think about. Don’t feel put to shame. Ask those that have done it, done it wrong, and learned the hard way. They’ll generally be happy to help you.
Once you begin the process, you should be developing confidence that the ‘basics’ are addressed. Remember, the ‘prep level’ for Northern Michigan is not the same as the ‘prep level’ in central Alabama. You have different cultural dynamics, different climates, different growing seasons. Get the basics taken care of for one major scenario, and many others are taken care of by default. Water. Shelter. Food. Defense, to start with. I’d add (first, in my case) Faith, and last, Finances.
Is your wife as knowledgeable on prepping and into this mode as you are?
Canning/freezing/preservation; inventorying mostly, but she's getting up to speed on many other items....for most of our lives, we didn’t look at is ‘prepping’ we looked at it (and still do) as ‘life’.
I'm so glad my husband agrees with me that we need to be prepared. We're unsure of WHAT will happen first to set things in motion, but we both sense that things are spiraling out of control and we feel an urgency to do what we can, when we can, to get ready.
We started with 'what happens in a power outage?' and then, ‘what happens in a winter power outage that's extended?’
Dark = need lights to get around the house, need the ability to cook food, need the ability to keep food cold until the power comes back on, need water to drink (main water pumps cannot maintain line pressure without power...)
Dark + Cold: All of the above, plus ability to keep house warm/pipes from freezing, store closures due to lack of power, etc.
Once we worked through a scenario like that, then added other Bad Things Happening, it was easy to develop a sense of confidence that the solution for problem A also is the solution for problems E through M, or at least took care of some of the needs....
A lot of people we know seem to think we're going to have a political or economic crisis that will set the ball rolling. Do you have any views on the subject that you can share with me?
I used to look at it in terms of a 'trigger event'. I think now that a single event is probably the wrong way to approach the future. The insidious nature of events over the past five years has crept into our lives and dramatically changed them without a defined point in time being a 'trigger.' In the end, that I think is more dangerous.
We are now faced with more controls of our finances, our freedoms, our communication, and our ability to dissent. Extrapolating what could happen at the rate of change we have seen recently, and in a few years we will not recognize the place......
That said, a financial collapse would happen quickly, and change the entire landscape overnight. Not many people are prepared for that.
I'm a Christian and I went to our Pastor and asked him his views on prepping and he told me that he and his wife try to stock up on what they can. I was surprised, but he told me that he believes God calls some of us to do this, and to be there to help others, and that we don't know the sequence of events that will unfold, so we should be ready for anything.
I agree. We know not the time.
That gave me another "push" to work on our prepping. I've felt a need for about 5 or 6 years to do something, but didn't listen to my inner voice until about 2 years ago. Boy, if I'd listened way back when, I'd be a lot further in my supplies than I am now! With the economy being so bad, it's difficult to find money lying around to go out and buy things to put away, when it's hard enough just to find money to buy our everyday items! But, I keep on struggling along, doing what I can, when I can. My list grows almost daily with things I want to make sure and have on hand, things I want to read up on, things I want to print out, etc. It can sometimes be overwhelming!
The oft-repeated wisdom of 'use what you store, store what you use' comes into play. There are essentials that can be purchased quickly and cheaply, and can buy you some piece of mind as you grow deeper into creating a larder that your grandparents or great-grandparents would recognize. That's really more valuable to me at least, in having 'options' on hand, whether it be food, hardware, clothing, material, or the ability to light and heat the place. And being prepared to defend yourself...
What made you decide to write something like this?
I've read a number of apocalyptic fiction novels, including one that I remember as my first read, "Malevil", written in about 1974--it made a pretty big impression on me (I was in Junior High or High School at the time). Off and on I'd pick up sci-fi novels, but really didn't get hooked on the genre until I read several others a few years later. Some though, were completely unrealistic, the dialog unbelievable; the relationships wooden; the fact that no one had elderly parents or children; and they were 'gear hogs'. Every contingency was accounted for, in duplicate, with weapons and gear.
Other stories were written on another web site that I'd discovered (that has since gone round the bend), and they were good stories, but sometimes left unfinished.
News coming soon on the fourth book 'Distance'. Stay tuned for Chapter One, probably posting next week. (If I didn't have this whole other need to earn a living....)