Has Reality Come to Stay?

The world is in a terrible mess, we all know that, but has the reality of TEOTWAWKI set in yet? Really set in?

This has been a recurring thought and conversation in our house for a while now. I know I’ve said this before, talked about it before, and written about it before. You may be thinking, “All right already, you’ve told us, now get on with showing us your greenhouse and stuff.” If you are thinking this, you’re right, I have. But when your mother taught you to look both ways before you cross the street, for your safety and well-being, did she only tell you once, or twice, or twenty, or a hundred times?

We’ve had several conversations with friends lately about a number of situations that have stuck with me. These are the kinds of conversations that make me ponder, think, and think some more, that’s why I bring them to you. Tell us what you think, and it will give us even more to ponder and think about. Mental preparation is the most important aspect of preparedness and survival. 

First situation. How are you going to deal with not knowing what is happening in the world when the power goes off, really goes off? Even if it is intermittent for a while, it’s doubtful commercial radio, TV or the internet will function normally, and what news is out

there may be spotty at best. Will that drive you crazy? Let’s face it, we are used to instant communications via cell phones and the internet, along with the utopian ‘reality’ television provides. How will you deal with not knowing what is happening around the world, around the country, in your region, or right down the road? One mile from your house is a very long way if you’re on foot. A half mile away from your house could be deadly depending on the environment you live in. If there were gun shots a mile from your house would you hear them? Would you wonder if someone was out hunting or being attacked? What would you do? How would you cope? 

This is the reason for our new antenna towers. There are many ham radio operators that are in it for the hobby. You would probably be surprised at how little Frank talks on the radio. He listens, he monitors, and he tests his equipment to make sure it is working. Yes, Frank has started the Survival Radio Relay Net in our area, trying to bring together some local folks so we will know what is happening down the road. The way we look at it, any 

warning is better than nothing. If there were gunshots a mile down the road, we may not be able to find out what is happening, but we would be able to contact some of the folks in our network, let them know what we hear, and find out if anything is happening in their area. This is just one example of how radio communications can help save your life or the lives of your neighbors. Frank knows that many folks don’t have ham radios. He firmly believes, once things go down, that the humble CB radio will be the main form of communication. Folks that have them in their trucks or stuck out in the garage, will get them out, dust them off, and fire them up in an attempt to find out what is happening. 

There are folks that are planning on relocating when things get dicey or the collapse is imminent. Unfortunately, not everyone can live on a homestead, retreat or in their bug out location. Even more unfortunate is the reality that most people won’t make it out of the major metropolitan areas. There are 

just too many people to deal with, on the interstates, on the streets, causing disruptions, rioting, looting, chaos. I really fear for those that need to relocate. If only there was a crystal ball that would give an accurate indication of the time to go, and go safely. If things get really dangerous, it will not be any safer for you to go get someone any more than it will be safe for them to come to you. We’ve read of family members that plan to gather when the time comes. We have family members in other locations, and the thought I have is that I will never see them again. Hard? Absolutely. Will I always wonder what became of them? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? No. 

During this time in the history of our world, we have all made choices to be where we are, live the lives that we have, and to prepare or not. Many of you have commented on family and friends that just don’t see what

is coming. Some may see, but refuse to prepare. Some play a little at preparing, but don’t really believe anything beyond a temporary disruption from a natural disaster may occur, but they do believe the legendary THEY will come save us. It will all be okay, you’ll see. I’ve been told I always think the worst. That’s okay with me. If it helps me be prepared and live to fight another day, so be it. This reminds me of a scripture we added to the right hand column of the blog the other day. Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Let’s say you are at your survival location, you have your preparations, the initial violent phase of the collapse has past, and you’re wondering how folks ‘down the road’ fared, or you wonder if there is anyone out there you can barter with since there were things you overlooked in your preparations. How are you going to find out? Safely? Let’s say you 

can’t drive anywhere, because even if you stored some fuel, it’s gone. Do you have horses? If you do, can you feed and care for them for the long haul, or will they end up on your dinner table? Do you have a bicycle with extra tires, tubes, patching kits, pump, etc? And how much can you haul with it? Do you have a wagon that your horses can pull? Are they trained? Do you have tack with a harness and everything you need? Have you practiced? If not, can you manufacture a wagon, harness, etc? If not, who can? If you leave your home, who will guard it? If you leave your home, who will guard you? If the person you depend upon for your safety leaves to find out information or barter, and never returns, will you manage without them? 

There are so many what if’s I could write about them for hours. The bottom line is realistic expectations. We have to be hard, realistic, no wishful thinking, and no holds bared about what is to come. Wishing never made it so, wanting to know what is happening won’t make it so, and even the best laid plans can come to naught when the unexpected or unplanned

happens. I challenge you to take a long, hard look at the realities that are coming upon us. It’s a very scary proposition. I think the hardest part right now is not knowing what quarter the collapse will come from. There are so many possible scenarios, some I would choose over others, but I don’t get to choose, I only get to experience. What I do get to choose is who I am, how I will prepare, and what I will do when the time comes. We practice this mentally everyday, all day long. There will come a day when I no longer sign off using ‘until next time’ because there won’t be a next time.

You know that feeling, like something is breathing down the back of your neck, and is about to pounce? Be ready.

Until next time – Fern

A Pervasive Sense of Dread

Why is it that more and more people have this sense of dread? The feeling that something is not right? The notion that something bad is going to happen? Anxiety is on the rise. Talk about impending disaster of some sort, natural or man made, is becoming more common place. Even people that don’t want to think that something is very wrong, are coming to the conclusion that life as we know it won’t be recognizable for much longer. 

The Sunshine Thiry Blog wrote an article yesterday that deals with this feeling or sense of what is happening called Unease. I think she voices the sentiments of many people, not wanting to believe that there are monumental events in the wings that will come to pass, probably sooner rather than later. It’s a well thought out article, and I recommend you take time to read it.

There are a number of events happening in the financial markets that are of great concern. Everyone is talking about and watching what is happening in Greece, but not much is being said about the free fall of the markets in China. They have enacted serious restrictions on their markets extending out six months to try and curtail the dramatic drop they have experienced over the last few weeks.  

And while this article was in draft mode this headline came up, NYSE Suspends Trading of All Securities Due to Technical Difficulties. My first thought was, what was the difficulty? A major sell off that they won’t publish because they want to prevent a panic? We will never know the answer to that one. I hope it is a technical difficulty, something as simple as someone hacking the system. But even if it is, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a simple little glitch that will one day topple the the gigantic house of cards our financial system has become. 

A while back I mentioned the roller coaster ride that we will involuntarily be on in the coming months. This is just part of the ride. Does it increase our sense of dread? Does it make us wonder almost daily, is this the big one? What will next week bring when Jade Helm gets into full swing? Or when the Greek banks begin confiscating the peoples’ money from their bank accounts? Governments world wide will be watching how that plays out, taking notes, seeing what works and doesn’t work. That will give them the opportunity to tweak their playbooks for when it is their turn to do the same.

There are folks in Frank’s radio class that are starting to mention the need to be able to communicate with each other when the collapse comes. Everyone agrees that the current system and way of life is not sustainable. That’s even scarier. You know, Frank and I have our opinions, and we read other folks out there that share those opinions. Then we started this blog 

and you started sharing your opinions and perspectives with us. When we realized that there are many, many more people out there than we thought, with the same frame of mind, it was staggering, reassuring, and scary. Now we are meeting more and more local people that are expecting difficult, violent times to come knocking. Does it increase our sense of dread? Yes and no. Yes, because the anxiety we all feel about something happening in the near future is now palpable. Everyone feels it at some level, whether they are preparing or not. No, because it is reassuring that there are others in our surrounding rural area that know things will collapse and they are interested in looking after each other. That is very, very reassuring.

There is no way to know what avenue the coming collapse will take to find it’s way to your door. But make no mistake about it, arrive it will, whether with a bang or a whimper. I can’t be more direct and serious about encouraging you to be ready mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Remember, by the sweat of our brow will we eat our bread, and only after all we can do, will God do the rest. Your life and survival are up to you and no one else, not your mother, or father, or spouse, your children, grandchildren or neighbors. You and you alone are responsible for your life and your choices. Please, please, choose wisely.

Until next time – Fern
 

Have a Plan

Hello everybody, Frank here.

A few days back we received an email from a lady that has some questions. Here is the email, followed by my response. I hope you enjoy both.

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Hey Frank and Fern,

I was wondering if you’d consider doing an article on potential widow/widower-hood.  How that possibility affects your planning and how it should be something others at least give a thought to from time to time? 

It is something that often crosses my mind.  My husband is thirteen

years older than I.  Likely I will be the one left behind.  We made our last move with this in mind and solar is one of the last items on my list to get done. 

We moved to a place where we have a septic system and a well and a spring nearby. There is no separate trash or sewage bill as it is included in the property taxes for my county.  So, from where we were living we had a water bill, a trash bill, and an electric bill.  I’m trying to get it down where I have to pay my house taxes and that’s it period in widowhood other than house insurance which I hope to be in a financial position one day to be self-insuring on that item.  We live in an all electric house.  (Hate that as I’m a natural gas kinda gal.) But, we do have a woodstove so I can at least cook if the electric goes out/grid goes down.  (Along w/a couple of butane stoves. We got those when we lived in a condo so at least we could loan them to unprepared neighbors.)  We do have life insurance if that industry stays afloat.   

We are adding to our orchard yearly and expanding the garden and our gardening skills yearly.  I have a treed acreage that I could sell wood or trees from to the nearby sawmills.  We are debt free.  We have already bought our burial plots.  I put money back monthly for house taxes, new roof, new HVAC, etc. although my house is only 6 years old.  I don’t need a new roof or a new HVAC for a long time, but want to be ready if and when I do need them.  Same for our headstones, dentures, long term health care.  Many women have no idea how to handle money or their own financial needs looking towards retirement and are generally the poorer for it as they are generally the caretakers in their family and their working life ($$ opportunities) are lessened because of it.  Mine has been as I care for two disabled sons and now have aging parents.  My husband has helped me think through a timeline of action if he goes first… when to sell the second vehicle, which CDs to cash in first, which retirement account to draw down first, etc.

I had a long time friend lose his wife just this year rather unexpectedly, I’d love to hear about this topic from a male perspective as well.  How men can prepare in the case that they are widowed and how they think about preparing for their own demise and their family’s well being if they are the ones to pass first.

What do you think?  Have ya’ll a plan?  Maudlin I know, but I’m a practical person, I need to think these things through while I have time.

I am working on saving for a large solar addition of our own.  Our home site is not ideal (tall pines), but I think we could manage a wheel about solar panel.  As it is we have a small system now that we use in power down situations…small trickle solar panel, lawn mower battery, inverter…these allow a small electric lamp, coffee pot, toaster, drill, box fan, or other small draw electrical accessory to be used in an outage.  I think it cost me about $115 dollars a few years back to set it up.

Anyway, would love to hear ya’lls thoughts on the subject.  Even if it’s just a listing of your plans, maybe some other folks will chime in with helpful comments! 

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When we got married, I told Fern she would never have to worry

about money. Because I am one of those people that can get blood out of a turnip. If it means living poor, we have lived poor many a time, but she never had to worry about money and she never had to worry about food on the table. That’s the way it’s been since day one.

Moving along. Fern’s father passed away when she was very young, and that will lead into the next part of this article. When Fern and I got married, her mother insisted that we have lots of life insurance and I told her no, we’re not going to invest in life insurance, we’re going to invest in education and skills. You know the story about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day? Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime? Well, instead of putting that money into a life insurance plan, we invested our time and money into ourselves. Not just Fern, but me also. Because when we got married, I was going to marry a teacher. We kept adding degrees and certificates. So, that was my response to the need to buy life insurance.

The issue of marrying a teacher? When I started college full-time, I was a little older, ten to twelve years older than most college kids. I was tired of the big city racket, and wanted the type of job that would take me

anywhere that I wanted to go. The allure of having summers off just couldn’t be passed up. So I decided to become a school teacher and I was going to marry a school teacher, and we were going to live in little town America and escape the rat race. Here we are. Of course, there was a lot more detail to that plan, and there were many lean years there. But I think the lean years make you stronger, and we still do not have life insurance. Maybe this will make a good post someday, but if you read the history of insurance, it comes from a protection racket, that if you didn’t participate, you might get hurt. But that’s a different story.

Okay. The house. Our house is not all electric. We do have wood burning heat, if we choose. Our cookstove is propane. When we moved here the house had a large propane tank, and we supplemented it with a larger

propane tank. Now the only thing we use off of this propane is our cookstove, and I guesstimate we have approximately eight years worth of propane. The house we live in is standard stick frame construction, built with the intention of having perpetual grid supplied electricity. Long term I hope to replace the windows with double hung windows. One of the first additions we made to the house were full length east and west porches, which means that the porches are on the east and west side. Someday, we hope to have a greenhouse on the south side. We did replace the roof with heavy gauge metal roofing that should last our lifetimes. The exterior facade we replaced with a concrete type 4 x 8 sheet, called in some areas Hardy Backer. 

When we moved here we had two deep water wells dug. Fern and I installed a Simple Pump system in each one. We have planted fruit trees that failed, and then planted more fruit trees that failed. We have expanded the garden every year, which for the most part is a pretty good producer, supplemented with some failures. If you read this site, then you know we produce our own meat, milk, eggs, dairy products, and we hope to continue to do that with or without the economy prospering.

Everything we own is paid for. I’m going to talk about finances, but before I do, let me qualify something. Everything that I have comes from God. I thank God every day for the life He has given me and the opportunity to be here and participate. On occasion I forget who I am and where I come

from, and in a short manner I turn myself around, face my Father and thank Him for all that I have. Now, I’m not a stand on the corner Bible preacher, and can’t see that I’m going to be anytime soon, but I know where everything I have comes from. Okay? Okay.


Now, having qualified my position on my Creator, this plan developed about 30 years ago, maybe a little longer. I have had the opportunity in my life to see what money does to families, and I chose not to go that route. My choice, my design, my plan. I’ve chosen to live a humble life style. None of this ‘look at me’ stuff. Simple, humble and functional. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. Cute means nothing in my world. What’s the old woodworking saying? Form follows function. When I do buy something, I buy the best I can afford. Not the most expensive, but one that will last and do the job for the longest period of time. An example. When Fern and I first got married, a close relative of ours was a licensed gun dealer, FFL. We bought a handful of cheap pistols. Sometimes they would work, sometimes they wouldn’t, but they were pretty. One day it dawned on me, if my bride is going to carry a weapon in her purse, then being cute means nothing. It has got to work. Since then my bride has carried the most reliable handgun made. It’s black and it works. Do your own research. It’s not the most expensive, it’s not the prettiest, but it’s the most reliable handgun on this planet. And some people look good in black. But this is my point, if you’re going to invest good, hard earned money, get the best product you can afford.

Investments. As stated earlier, we invested heavily in education and training. Often times this training was provided free by the government. First aid, CPR, EMT, Police Academy, Firefighter, and Military. As we speak right now I am taking a CERT course provided free by the government. Yes, I have to invest my time, and I have to put out some effort, but this is training that I have wanted for years.

Financial investments. Fern and I invested in a few retirement accounts. We put money in, our employer matched. Now 25 to 30 years later, we are reaping the benefits of these accounts. One of these programs also provided a life time medical insurance plan. These are things we invested in for years and years. This did not happen overnight. If I die, which I will someday, all of my investments will automatically switch to Fern. There  

will not be any change in program or financial status. If Fern passes first, the same applies for her investments, they will automatically switch to me. I know some will say, that’s not fair. But first, let me assure you that every investment that I have I worked for. Every piece of education that I have, I earned by the sweat of my brow. In a month when I complete my CERT training, and I get a certificate of completion, it will be because I worked for it and earned it. Key words there. Worked for and earned. Thirty something years ago when Fern and I started this path that we are traveling, there was a plan, and if you will plan, then you can do the same thing too, because nobody is going to give it to you. We, Fern and I, have worked for, done without, and earned everything that we have. If one of us dies before the other, the other person will be taken care of.

Okay, let’s talk church. If you are a spiritual being, then I would recommend that you attend a local church. It’s just good brotherhood. If you’re looking for the perfect church, you ain’t gonna find it, because nothing is perfect. So accept the fact that people are different, and go to church. If and when things get bad, you’ll be glad that you have a church family. I harbor no ill feelings against TV preachers, if that’s your cup of tea, good for you. But I would highly recommend a local church. Even if you disagree with some of the doctrine, focus on the big picture, let the little stuff slide, and have your hiney in church.


I hope this answers some of the primary questions from the email that we received, and I also hope it opens doors for thought. There is nothing special about Fern or I, we just worked all of our lives, saved a little bit here and there, tried to be good decent people, but we always remembered who we were, where we came from and where we are going. Tonight when I go to bed, I will get down on my knees and thank God.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

Musings About Things on Frank’s Birthday

Happy Birthday to Frank! Happy Birthday to Frank!

I have the honor of being married to a man that has a 30 year old mind encased in a 65 year old body. His mind is sharp and more active than ever, his learning curve continues to go through the ceiling, his dreams and aspirations are never ending, there are just

days he wishes his body would keep up. In our discussions recently we have pondered how others meet up with an aging body. We really don’t ‘see’ ourselves as aging or even getting older. There are still so many things we want to do and learn, the list only grows longer instead of shorter. But time marches on and our bodies are aging. Some things we didn’t used to give much thought to, now present more of a challenge, some of them much more of a challenge. We still set goals of what we want to get accomplished in a day, but the amounts we are able to complete just aren’t as much as they used to be. Sometimes that’s frustrating, sometimes is surprising, and sometimes it’s just downright disgusting. The aches and pains tend to interrupt things when we keep pushing and pushing to get something finished, even when we know it is past time to stop for the day. Such is this thing we call life. We’ve heard about it for many years now, and it would seem it is now our turn to experience it for ourselves.

We got an interesting envelop in the mail today. We have been waiting for the inevitable W4’s and 1099’s to arrive so that we can see how much we have to pay the piper this year. In years past we had our withholding set up at the highest rate so that we would get a tax refund. For the past five or six years we have changed our withholding to the lowest rate. We would rather owe at the end of the year instead of face the possibility of the feds deciding it would be a good year to start keeping, instead of disbursing, 

the refunds to help feed their ever insatiable appetite for spending The People’s money. Well, the envelope we received today was from the Oklahoma Tax Commission which informed us we will have to pay federal taxes on last year’s state refund. What?? Enough is enough, folks. When are they going to start taxing how much we pay in taxes, how many breaths we take, and how often we go to the bathroom? After all, we are using up oxygen when we breathe, not to mention how much each exhalation we complete is adding to the devastating, Earth killing global warming! We probably shouldn’t even talk about how much water is used each time we go to the bathroom. But they have already regulated that by limiting the amount of water you are able to use with each and every flush.

It saddens us to see the state of families now days. So many people are caught up in the world. The shiny, dazzling, fast paced world has so much to offer in the way of activities and distractions. Over Christmas, a family we know had scheduled a vacation to Cancun, a once in a lifetime trip.

But they left their two year old daughter with grandma, for a week, at Christmas. I guess she would just be too much in the way. What will this girl think when she is older and the family is sitting around looking at the pictures from this ‘once in a lifetime vacation’ and reliving what a good time they had, and she realizes that she wasn’t there? That she wasn’t wanted there? That she would have been in the way? What does that say to a child? When I asked the grandmother how the girl was managing, being away from her parents and brothers, the answer astounded me again. The only person this girl ever cries for is her grandmother, not her parents. This grandmother takes care of the girl most weekdays while her mother attends nursing school, which is very admirable on both their parts. And it’s great this little girl is very comfortable and happy with her grandmother. But to think she has bonded more with her grandmother than with her parents bothers me. What does that say for this family? And so many other families in our society?

We saw a young man yesterday that Frank has known for a number of years. He has read some of this blog, and has shown an interest in radio communications, using GMRS and MURS. The last time Frank saw him they talked about the possibility of getting a ham license. But yesterday

when Frank saw him and asked about using radios, the young man just smiled and said he hadn’t been doing anything with them. When Frank reminded him that time may be short to get things set up, the young man laughed at him. Laughed at him like he was humoring someone that either wasn’t quite right in the head, or didn’t know what he was talking about. Laughed at the possibility that something devastating may come to pass in our country and world. There are many people out there that have this very same attitude. These same people that rush to the store in a panic right before the big storm comes through, only to find the shelves bare and people fighting over the last case of bottled water. The experience Frank had with this young man bothered him. It bothered him to think that this young man, his wife and young daughter may not make it when the time comes. He may think back and remember the warnings he received and did not heed, and because of that, unspeakable tragedy may be visited upon his family. 

It’s not like it’s the first time we have been laughed at and ridiculed for the way we live and the warnings we share with others. We had people thinking we were nuts way back before Y2K when we wanted to grow

our own food, live off the beaten path and be much more self-reliant. Then Y2K came along and we did the best we could to be ready for the long term. Our location wasn’t the best survival location, but we prepared the best we could. Most folks just couldn’t fathom the depth of our preparedness and why we would even consider going to such lengths. They laughed then, and we knew, should a devastating collapse come upon the world that we were much better prepared than they. Not only had we tried to gather ‘stuff’, we began very serious preparations of our minds, which is by far the most important aspect of preparation that you can undertake. 

Since Y2K, the experiences we have had and the learning we have pursued have changed our lives. Literally. It is with heavy hearts that we continue to see the vast majority of people ignoring the warning signs all about us, from the economy to the fascist government that is quickly

suffocating every form of freedom, independence and self-reliance that it can possibly rape, pillage and steal from The People. There have been so many instances of people going along with the actions of the government only to find out they are being lead like lambs to the slaughter. They stare around in wide eyed wonder, and their life is snuffed out in an instant. Is that what awaits the Sheeple? I really can’t say for sure, but it sure does appear that way. If we live to see the day, the great and dreadful day, of the collapse of our society, country and world, my heart will cry with anguish for those that are not ready. For those that will continue to refuse to look reality in the eye without blinking and turning away. For those that simply will not make it. I mourn for them already.

There are many things in this life that we give thanks for every single day. We give thanks for another day. We give thanks for our warm home and

a roof over our heads. We give thanks for the food on our table. We give thanks for God watching out for us and guiding us every day of our lives. We give thanks that we have been brought to this place at this time in the history of our world. And on this day, I give thanks to God for bringing me into the life of the man you know as Frank. He has blessed me for these many years with his knowledge, skill, generosity, integrity, honesty, willingness to serve others through his military service, law enforcement work, volunteer EMT and Firefighter work, dedication to family, his love for God, and his love for me.

Happy Birthday Frank!
Love,
Fern