Bartering. There's tons to be said... more than I'm going to say here and now, but I'm always considering bartering. It's been around for a jillion years. I think it's "the thing" for hard times. I think most of us have considered bartering. We learn what items are the best to have in store for post SHTF just for the purpose of bartering. That's great! but...
Who will you be bartering with? Do you have a network? Do you have any idea who will have what you need, and whether or not you'll have something they want in trade?
Bartering is true free market economy, but it will be useless if you can't get what you need or if you haven't got the right trade goods. It might not be easy to access goods or people who want to barter. There may not be a big marketplace. This is where tribes, groups, clans come in.
NOW is the time to find prep groups, to establish relationships with neighbors, and to build tribes, or clans, with close friends. Make NEEDFUL contacts and build on them NOW before the balloon goes up.
If you're one of these "lone wolf" types, sorry... you're not prepping, you're hoping, and you will lose. Don't come around my place being G.I. Wanabe and think you're going to get my stuff. You are officially the first bad citizen of the new normal, and you're not welcome.
SO-- prep and be ready, but don't leave contacts and groups out of your plans. You'll need them, and they'll need you.
On that note; Have skill sets that are helpful to a group, keep (and learn to make/produce) items that will be valuable for barter. Have something to bring to the table.
One of the things, if not THE #1 thing, we should be most concerned about storing for emergencies is water. I'm dangerously, woefully behind on realistic water storage, so this is my current area of research.
We live in a very small home (450 sq ft? 3 people, 2 pets) and storage is a difficult, continuous issue. Some things I can squeeze into little nooks and crannies. Some things I can repackage or redistribute to save space, but water is water, and you can't compress it, and you can't squeeze it into the cracks. Yet, it's vital to have it on hand in an emergency.
You need water available, independent of "the grid", municipal, or shared sources. Shoot for outdoor tanks. Water catchment would be awesome. You can survive if you have a 1500 gallon tank outside, but can you access it? If you're in an emergency situation things are already uncomfortable and strange. Wouldn't it be nice if you planned ahead so that the most mundane tasks don't turn into an additional burden?
The general rule is to have 1 gallon of water per occupant per day. That adds up, and I think that's a conservative estimate. Multiply your daily use by how many days worth you would feel best about having on hand and you'll see, it adds up fast.
That 1 gallon rule probably just means drinking water. You will NEED water for sanitation and hygiene. It's really not optional. Hand washing, dishes and even showers are important, and become more important the longer the emergency situation drags on.
There are lots of reasons to have, and ways to stash, emergency water, but have you considered how you will access it? If you have barrels outside or some other way that you store larger quantities of water, do you have a way off accessing it with relative ease if you need it? Have you ever siphoned before? It's not hard, but have you done it? If you need to, can you do it? Can you pump it? Can you transport it to your house?
One of the pics I added to this post is of a product called Water Bricks. I'm NOT promoting them. Like I said, I'm researching, but I do like the idea and the design. There are lots of different kinds of products on the market for water storage, some are cheaper, some just as good, some just cheap knock offs, different sizes, etc... I chose to picture these because of their ready-to-go functionality. By observation alone I can see:
A. They stack neatly and interlock securely.
18.5 x 18.5 x 18.5 inches ; 18 pounds
B. They hold 3.5 gallons per unit, which makes them portable. Incidentally, most toilets will flush with less water than that... just thinking out loud here.
C. They seem well constructed and durable.
D. You can get an optional spigot to fit the opening. Big plus.
This last feature would be great in the kitchen. Think about it. If you've ever done any primitive tent camping where there's no running water and you didn't have a faucet, you instantly understand what a benefit it would be to sit one of these blocks along side the kitchen sink.
There are some good looking, but costly and bulky equipment you can get for camp kitchens and water, etc... but it wouldn't be practical in a house. I've tried to figure out how to fashion a similar system and adapt it for indoors in case of emergency. Think about a camp shower. The pic I chose was the cheapest, simplest one I saw. They are very portable, lightweight (when empty) and stowable. You pop them out of the box, hang them up, and you have a gravity fed faucet.
Speaking of a camp shower, after a few days without water you will be pretty gritty and grim. It won't kill you, but "survival" would be nicer with a few simple preps. Hang one in your shower stall, or outdoors in a tree, rig a curtain... You will be surprised how good a shower will make you feel, and how morale will improve.
You can buy a pop up shower stall for around 30-40 bucks if you want to go that route. There are even portable propane water heaters for around a 100 (and up). On the cheap end, my husband used to drive for the oil field and he'd be out for WEEKS with no access to showers. He used baby wipes and a 7 dollar pump up, pressurized type sprayer like you'd use for bug spray or weed killer. lol Innovative, but if you're gonna prep for comfort and "homey" familiarity, that ain't it.
I'm just sharing my thought as I'm having them. These things might not be life saving preps, but they are life improving preps, and probably time/labor saving preps. They aren't for your B.O.B. but if you're bugging in through a power outage, a natural disaster or something like that, they're worth a look.
These are just a few considerations concerning water and it's usage in an emergency. Feel free to point out things I've missed that are needful. I'm sure I'm not hitting them all. I need to learn, too.
It turns out, the Water Brick also has a water filter that fits in the opening. Like I said, I'm not promoting this product at this point, but it has given me some great ideas. It's pretty cool, and pretty well thought out. You could probably be innovative and McGyver your own equipment if you already have water containers. There's no reason not to just adapt something to them if you have them. I don't have any real stash supplies for water yet, so this is looking pretty inviting. It's a bit pricey, though, all together. I'm going to shop it and see what I could cobble together myself before I commit. Just cogitatin'.
What if I decided 1 foot could be 11 inches just this time for this one build, because I have a good reason, and it's just easier- .just.this.one.time.
NO, 1 foot = 12 inches. It's the standard. You start changing the standard and nothing will fit, and whatever you try to build will be horrible, ugly and unstable. Trust me: your "one time" easy way out will catch up one day, and the fall thereof will be great.
Keep to your standards. If you don't, don't come crying to me, don't think you can convince me to change mine because my emotions are pricked. Don't expect me to feel anything for you but pity for your foolish, stiff-necked ways. You made your choices and now you have consequences. The way of the transgressor is hard.
To the rest of us: learn from the ways of those who suffered by thinking that changing their standards could ever help them. DON'T CHANGE YOUR STANDARDS.
I'm stunned at how many people will lower their own standards because of their feelings, as if emotion had any bearing on the truth. Shaking my head, for real. How can you trust people like that? Their foundations are like sinking sand. Maybe that's what it means to be "shifty." Just ponderin' life.
So much of what "preppers" teach and study is just stuff our grandparents did as every day practices. Some of us older folks remember it. It's not magic, and it's not some mystical lore. It's just practical things that have been bred out of our culture by the onslaught of industrial farming, big box stores, electronics, and our convenience oriented age.
Most of what we want to know is really easy to access without buying gadgets or gear or even taking classes. Just study up, practice and build up some skill sets. It's easy and fulfilling, and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment along with the knowledge that you have gained another needful skill.
Check out some of the free resources. There are MANY, but I recommend starting with these three, just because they are MASSIVE:
Or, just go to google and search what you want to learn, then go to the top where it says "more" and choose books. After you do that you can click "tools" and it'll let you pick several things. Go under "any books" and choose what you think you will want to see. I usually go to free google ebooks, or however it's worded. Most of the free ones are old books. FASCINATING stuff.
Books: old, out of print, past the copyright dates, and chock FULL of valuable, timeless information. Just go to one of these, type in the subject you're interested in, and strap in. You can read for yourself what people used to do everyday before we found ourselves so dependent on our modern systems. You can learn steps, how to's, materials; the list is almost endless. I can spend literal HOURS reading once I get on one of these sites. You'll have so much info you'll be swimming in it.
I really thought this through and hope you read it. I don't expect to change you viewpoint. That's not my job. Time and experience will teach you just like it teaches everyone. What I WOULD like is to show you that others aren't evil schemers or cruel or unkind because we see a different solution to a problem. I hate, h.a.t.e. HATE this one-sided blind arguing. It isn't Us vs. Them, no matter what we've been taught to believe.
Hot button issues are designed to incite division. The only reason it works is because the problem is real. Pretend you are in my kitchen having a nice conversation. Perhaps it will help to stop that "Us vs. Them" mentality, and possibly end this horrible divisiveness and hatefulness.
Let me start by saying, if you were at my house I'd offer you coffee or tea and we'd sit at my kitchen table and eat toast and smile a lot and joke and probably like each other, because we're decent folks. I'm a roundish gramma lady who loves to chat and feed people, and I make folks comfortable. I am kind, fairly intelligent, most who know me would probably tell you that I'm very nice. I'm just a no nonsense, cut through the crap kind of a person.
So, on with it. I strongly disagree with an enforced $15.00 an hour minimum wage law as a solution to economic struggle among our nations' poor. Generally skipping past the financial problems and inflation and whatnot, lets get straight to the conflict point: caring and kindness
No one is saying that the wage to cost of living gap isn't growing or that life isn't a financial strain on some more than on others. Discerning the situations on a personal level and offering help to people who sincerely need it is generally not a problem for anyone from either "side" of the argument. No decent human being wants to see others struggle under prolonged financial pressures. I simply don't see an inflated minimum wage as a viable solution in any of the arenas that will be affected by enacting such a law.
I believe that people, like butterflies, or baby chicks, no matter how they struggle or how it hurts our hearts to see their hardship and seeming agony, if we help them escape the trials of emerging from their shells we doom them to catastrophic failure that they will never overcome. It looks so impossible, but they can do it. It's how they are made and it is necessary to their existence.
People grow, become strong, and get the beautiful opportunity to experience life and have a wonderful sense of accomplishment through hardship and struggle. Forcing others to intervene is a way to pass the buck and salve pricked emotions without doing anything of lasting value to helps anyone including yourself. In my mind, it's a terrible thing to do to them, to yourself, as well as being a bad thing to do to those who are forced to pay for it, which, by the way, is not going to be the corporations. It's going to be you and me, the consumers. I see it all as unhelpful, unkind, and unjust.
If we personally involve ourselves and our OWN resources in charity, which we are all responsible to do, we will quickly learn where the line between charity and entitlement is drawn in our own minds, and then no amount of argument or shouting will sway our conviction. As long as we aren't hands on and invested personally, we have no skin in the game and it's easy to point fingers and look accusingly at other people, but we CAN NOT pawn off our personal responsibility.
We can never legislate our responsibility for personal charity away. We will always have the poor among us, and we will have to see it and deal with it on a personal level. To try pass some legislation to relieve us of the burden of responsibility only further involves government into corporations and further restricts individual liberty. Government + corporations = bad. I would rather keep them totally out of it.
I hear all the cacophony about, "it's not charity, it's about living wages..." but, actually, it is about charity. It's about misplacing your charitable feelings of wanting to help someone by forcing someone else to do it instead. That is a vicious and never ending cycle. It will never be enough to fulfill you or satisfy them. Ever.
"But, the evil corporations!" No doubt corruption is rampant and profit to the top levels and the politicians is hair raising. I doubt we know the depths of it all, but who will hire you if not those who can create jobs? Will someone magically create employment if actual people and their businesses stop employing you? Even if those people are scamming and cheating, or whatever they may be doing, they are providing millions of jobs that will not be replaced if we "rid ourselves of this evil!"
"It's about appreciating employees!" Well, firstly, employees agreed to the terms when they accepted the conditions of hire. Secondly, maybe a little thankfulness for a job and some appreciation to the employer is in order. Not all appreciation has to be directed at the employee. In fact, that's a fairly recent view to have. Thanklessness is, in my view, the biggest part of the problem anyway, but that is a different blog for a different day.
Change you viewpoint and attitude about your job. Be the guy people LIKE to be around. Anyone can stand around and gripe about their job, and draw a crowd doing it. Contrary to popular belief, that crowd, those numbers, do not represent a movement and do not indicate the rightness of their argument. It usually represents the easiness of the path. There is no strength or growth there.
Some NEED charity, and are usually the last to say anything, let alone DEMAND. There is no experience like providing that to them for y.o.u.r.s.e.l.f. There are many life lessons in giving and receiving charity. Dot miss out on either.
Some seek an easy path: help breaking through their shell. Don't help them. It may seem cruel or uncaring but quite the contrary. It will make matters worse. They simply need to work: hard and long. Work, think, learn logic and reasoning, break through and grow up.
Still others are horrible, freeloading layabouts, masterfully scamming the system and robbing hardworking taxpayers. Whether few or many is debatable, but they are there and anything they are receiving as a handout, a charitable gift, or an entitlement needs to be stopped.
Also, money is rarely the real issue. Again, a different blog for a different day.
The moral of the story: A kind heart is manifest in many ways. Please don't assume that people aren't kind because they see solutions in different ways.
Do you have a Bug Out Bag? I'd like to know what you consider you're MOST ESSENTIAL items. I welcome any and all intelligent input.
For all my prepping and big talk, I don't have a ready bag. I'm going to remedy that ASAP. I don't hold the popular view of a B.O.B. Read on and I'll explain why.
First, I don't think you need MOST of what is being hard sold to the modern "prepper" market. If it says prepper, survival, any of the "cool" catch words in their advertising, I'm immediately suspect, and looking at that particular item with a wary eye. It might be a good product, but marketeering is a BIG red flag (and a turn off) to me.
It's my belief that B.O.B. is to get you from point A to point B. It's not a camp out bag or a way to spend time in the woods... whatever. If you're bugging out, #1. You'd better have a destination planned, and #2. You only carry the essentials to get you there. You should have preps stashed at you B.O.L. enough to keep you a few days until it is safe to move on, go back, or go to a contingency location.
1.) Weight: Be smart. You are only as fast as the slowest person in your group, and you have to know your own capabilities. DO NOT over pack. Bug out bags are for emergency travel. FOOT travel. The more you have the harder the trip. Think it through.
2.) Water: Take water. Have water ALREADY IN YOUR BAG. Don't wait til you're bugging out to say, "Oh, hang on while I fill my water." You can't make it without water. A life straw or something to purify water would be a definite plus.
3.) Tarp for shelter. You need it. Elements claim more people than most other things in a survival situations.
4.) Clothing. I'm not going to carry changes of clothing, although having a separate small bag attached to the outside with additional clothing in case the weather requires it would be smart. Then if you need it you can take it, and if not you can take it off and spare yourself the additional weight and bulk. An extra pair or two of socks might be smart. If your feet hurt it's the makins of a horrible trip.
Additions to clothing: I know a guy who has a "naked bag" stuck right to the outside of his B.O.B. He says it's in case he's in the shower and something happens and he has to run for it-- RIGHT NOW: NAKED. Then he'll have clothes at the ready. Pretty good idea, actually. If you don't use it, you can jettison it later to lighten your load.
5.) Food. I'm not going to carry food that has to be cooked, only fuel for the trip, as and lightweight as I can find. No pans for cooking, no using water to boil dried foods. Just energy bars, calories, carbs. Remember, B.O.B. is for MOVING, not for being Grizzly Adams.
6.) Gear. A good multipurpose knife, a multi tool, some paracord, a couple of disposable lighters and maybe a fire starter puck, flashlight, a small first aid kit... essentials is all you should have in a B.O.B.
7.) Bag. I chose this pic, because I'd take that rig in a heartbeat, but truth is, you don't absolutely need any particular type of a bag. Some are made better than others and are tried and true, made for the job, and have very functional components, etc... but if you don't have one, don't be deterred. Just get something that you can easily carry for long periods. Fill it with what you NEED. Don't buy every top dollar item that's out there. A ten dollar Morakniv would be as good as any knife. A kitchen knife is better than NO knife.
8.) Special Supplies: People who need medication or have some special need that can't be ignored had better have a ready bag with that stuff, and you'd better schedule rotation for it so it's as up to date as possible at all times. Considerations for children, elderly, women's needs, anything peculiar to your group... address it and provide.
Just think about it long and hard. What is essential? What is not? What does it weigh? Are you able to operate it successfully (a whole 'nuther subject)?
Pipe up, jump in. I'd like to hear what you think.
This is the Success Blog of Rhenda the Representative. I will attempt chronicle the journey from life attached to the umbilical of the grid and the government to a more self-sustained life closer to God and the good earth He gave me.
"For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee."