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Becoming a Prepper
Old 02-15-2014, 09:44 AM   #1
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Becoming a Prepper

Notice? No Question mark... I think we're going to join the Preppers, based on the most recent news....

Here are some of the things I've been hearing (haven't done fact checks yet)...
Some true, some not so sure, but enough to make me think we're looking at an upcoming squeeze.

Food:
The Western Drought. Last night saw a TV piece interviewing a California Farmer working on 200,000 acre farm that wouldn't be planted. Also said that California supplies 1/2 of US fruits and vegetables.. (don't think that's right, but it's a lot.)
Cocoa Beans... coffee, chocolate... prices already going up. Forecast for a huge price increase in dark chocolate.
Shrimp... supply at an all time low... prices up well over 50% already. Salmon Prices also skyrocketing 25% since beginning of this year...
Beef, we've already heard about, beause of the loss of grazing land. Now Lamb prices are soaring.
So far, the midwest grains futures don't look too bad. Maybe a saving grace.

Energy: Of course Propane... up 50%, though that will probably not last. Gasoline prices (according to some sources MSNBC, FOX pundits mostly agree)... to soon go to over $4.00 Nationwide. (Our lowest here was about $3.15, a month ago.)

TV, Internet... Watched a CBS special this morning, that looked at the interaction of Comcast, Netflix, the coming FCC decision on the merger, the increasing mobility of TV... (watch anywhere, anytime... not waiting for latest episodes but just continuous binge watching... netflix Amazon, Hulu). The latest surge of content providers outside of the major networks.
Also... the social changes that are taking place within the marketplace... ie. Restaurants, where the clientele drops on days or nights when network TV has specials.
As Cable and Satellite TV providers lose customers, and with high speed internet access mostly directed to Cable... the general thinking seems to be that the current throttling of bandwidth will be allowed to increase so that access will become even more expensive. (the only small consolation here seems to be a gradual fall off of social networking).

For those of us who spend a lot of time watching TV... (you might join us geezers as you get really old)... the Prepper part may come from the gigantic 2, 3 and 4 terrabyte drives... My 3T is almost full already.

Some of our own major Prepping has come naturally, without even trying. Our car mileage has dropped from 15K miles, down to about 5 or 6. We have done some erstaz Prepping, by moving to a senior community... for while we rely on others for some aid, we're insulated from many outside bad things... not being isolated has some great benefits. Safety from crime is one, but having available assistance to avoid fraud, and to not be so exposed to unscrupulous service suppliers and vendors is also important.

So... for the short term, we've lowered our meat intake, are learning to lessen the urge for shrimp... (causes gout, dontcha know? and have determined to not develop a taste for hi-grade chocolate. We also are hoping for a good corn crop, and that the Florida Orange blight can be stopped.
We MAY, buy a few extra cans of coffee and bags of nuts

Things we will NOT do:
. enlarge the cave
. fill the second bathtub with water
. increase the ammunition supply... if we need more than the box of .22's that I bought 30 years ago, we'll just surrender.
.string barbed wire... HOA rules prohibit

That said... the extent of our long term plans...
Suggestions?
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:15 AM   #2
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Your "not do" list looks to me to be the typical prepper menu, i.e. getting ready for widespread shortages and social chaos.

The rest? Just paying attention to the ups and downs of marketplaces and adjusting your purchases to your budget. Seems reasonable enough at the scale you propose.

Only one idea. Do they allow chicken coops in your retirement community?

I can't get my head around the extreme prepper mentality, which I often see based on an extrapolation of observed turmoil in third world or autocratic countries, applied to the world's richest democracy. IMHO, there's not a logical path to that state of affairs from where we Americans stand as a people, economy and country, and the distance to a truly dire situation is very far indeed.

I keep my mortgage balance low, hang on to my old boy scout Field Book, allocate about 5% of my portfolio to commodities and call it good.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:32 AM   #3
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I like reading prepper blogs and forums for sustainable living ideas, like what foods to buy in bulk and how to store them. But I do that to save money and keep staples on hand to make meals with healthy, single ingredient whole foods, not prepare for invasion.

I think in terms of life threatening probabilities, I'm better off spending my time on action items like researching safe cars to drive and how to keep my brain active to not get dementia in old age compared to preparing for the apocalypse. The latter is a pretty low odds event.

I do think it is wise to prepare for bad weather, earthquakes and power outages. I have restocking all the emergency kits on my list of things to do. The kits seem to get disassembled over time as people need jumper cables and flashlights and don't put them back, and the food and water supplies have to be restocked.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:47 AM   #4
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I don't anticipate the collapse of society; I think we'll continue shuffling along. But, around here, it is wise to be prepared for another hurricane that knocks the power out for a week or two and interferes with the transportation infrastructure. So we have canned food and water to last a couple weeks, a camp stove to cook it, gas lantern, hand cranked radio, cash, etc. But the most important factor is a well prepared mind. I try to anticipate the major questions -- where will we go, what will we need, what will we do, and how will we do it? If I don't know about something that might be necessary, I learn it. Better to have knowledge you never need than the converse.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:30 PM   #5
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An anti-prepper thought: broadly speaking things have been getting better for a awfully long time. See stock line below with a few bumps along the way.

I'm in the Alfred E. Newman school of thought: what me worry?

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Old 02-15-2014, 12:43 PM   #6
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See stock line below with a few bumps along the way.
Just one more reason I'd love to be able to live to be 200 years old
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:10 PM   #7
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I admit it - - I am not a prepper.

Still, I really like knowing that in New Orleans there is more than enough water falling out of the sky to meet my needs, usually 60+ inches per year. All I would need is a barrel to catch it. We also have lots of sunshine and a long growing season, although I don't really take advantage of that.

I find it puzzling that preppers aren't flocking to the rainy, sunny South.

As for me, I tend to be one of those people who believes that against all odds, things have always worked out somehow in the past and probably will continue to do so.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
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Can't say that I am all that worried about The End Of The World As We Know It, but none the less I am happy that we are moving to our vacation home in the mountains. Three acres of level land to grow a fabulous garden, raise chickens and goats if need be, with a clean, clear prolific creek to provide a second water source and fish. Am considering putting in solar to run the well pump, and a wood stove for heat/cooking when power is lost. And we are 1/10 of a mile to a National Forest trail, which would be good for hunting deer, turkey and even bear if we get desperate.

Mostly I'm just looking forward to chilling. Not really wanting to become part of a new frontier, but having the resources are nice.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:29 PM   #9
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As for me, I tend to be one of those people who believes that against all odds, things have always worked out somehow in the past and probably will continue to do so.
In our country and in recent world history, things have worked out somehow. But things haven't always worked out everyplace.

I'm not an extreme prepper either, but I do realize that many Americans, not having lived through a war on their home turf or lived through a devastating natural disaster they couldn't cope with, might be a bit naive.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:32 PM   #10
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I always figured that, if things did go Tango Uniform, then those with the most guns would 'commandeer' whatever they (felt they) needed.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:42 PM   #11
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I love the prepper shows. One I remember was when the prepper shot off his thumb trying to teach his family how to defend their stuff. I guess I was a prepper as a kid in the 60s. We had a stash of food and soap in a central hallway of the house, with bags of dirt for our sanitation needs. The atomic war was coming soon. I remember bomb shelters being build in people's front yards. We couldn't afford that, so it was just a central hallway for us.

Then I remember storing food and cash in the 1970s. Remember all the "coming crash" books?

As for the drought in the west, I remember the last drought in 1986-1991. Santa Barbara built a desalination plant, just to have it shuttered when the drought ended. I also remember watering restrictions in the mid 50s or early 60s in So. California.

I keep a UPS for the internet and computers, enough water and food for a week, batteries, etc for expected power outages, earthquakes. Sure everyone should be self sufficient for a few days to a week or so.

But all this "prepper" nonsense leaves me a bit cold. If there are real problems, we will solve them, just like we have done in the past. You, your family, your neighbors, your city, state and county will work together. Problems bring people together, historically this defend you home idea IMO is just foolish.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:51 PM   #12
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But all this "prepper" nonsense...........
Do you actually think there is a lot of "prepper" nonsense, as depicted on the TV reality shows, going on?

I know there is also a TV reality show about folks making and selling bootleg whiskey, but I don't think there are very many folks actually doing it.

BTW, from the preparation activities you described in your post, you're much more of a "prepper" than me!
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:00 PM   #13
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Do you actually think there is a lot of "prepper" nonsense, as depicted on the TV reality shows, going on?

I know there is also a TV reality show about folks making and selling bootleg whiskey, but I don't think there are very many folks actually doing it.

BTW, from the preparation activities you described in your post, you're much more of a "prepper" than me!
Sis and her much more religious branch of the family are convinced that we are in the midst of the turmoil associated with the second coming of Christ. They feel it is their duty to survive the turmoil, buying such Christian things as guns to shoot anyone who tries to take what is theirs. She has tried to get me to listen to sermons that preach the prepper way. Yes, I believe there is a lot of "prepper nonsense" out there.

Personally, if I see a mushroom cloud nearby, I'm walking towards it, not running from it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:02 PM   #14
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I'm most worried about head coverings. Haven't been able to figure out the pros and cons of tinfoil over aluminum foil. Are there better alternatives? Lead foil is nice and soft, so it's easily rolled into shape, but I'm leaning toward gold foil, to kill two birds with one stone. Making my hat with a wide brim, I could just tear off a piece of it to pay for some ammo, right?
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:03 PM   #15
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I think we're going to join the Preppers, based on the most recent news....
I think the interesting question for folks who do some moderate "prepping" is under what circumstances, when and with whom do you share?

Say you've got a couple weeks of water, food and fuel for your generator. Tornadoes and severe rain storms/flooding take out power and close roads which are likely to take days to reopen. Thousands have been killed or injured in other areas, so your neighborhood isn't the top priority for emergency responders.

Would you share anything and everything immediately with anyone that asks? Would you try to "lay low" and make sure your immediate loved ones would be OK before setting eveything out on the front lawn for all to share? If the neighbor you can't stand wants to plug his sump pump into your generator so his basement doesn't flood while the power is out, would you do that? How about if you were low on fuel?

We find out a lot about people in trying times!
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:10 PM   #16
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If there are real problems, we will solve them, just like we have done in the past. You, your family, your neighbors, your city, state and county will work together.
I hope you are right. But societies change, and it is unrealistic to assume the US of 2014 will respond to events as the US of 1929 or 1941 did. I'm not spring-loaded to the "everything will work out, just as it always has in the past" mode.

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IMHO, there's not a logical path to that state of affairs from where we Americans stand as a people, economy and country, and the distance to a truly dire situation is very far indeed.
On a local and regional basis, I think the veneer of normalcy can be gone very quickly. New Orleans descended into a very bad place within a few days after Katrina. Several cities have experienced a breakdown in law and order that lasted for days in response to a court case or public response to an event. And in all these cases the rest of the country was unaffected and able to respond.

I'm not building a bunker, but I do think it makes sense to have things on hand so we can ride out a few weeks of disruption, and to have small number of inexpensive but very useful things that might be unavailable if a disruption lasted a long time. I also think it makes sense to think about these things in advance and to keep one's eyes open for things that could fundamentally change the game.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:15 PM   #17
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Yes, I believe there is a lot of "prepper nonsense" out there.
That's what I was thinking when you wrote this:

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Can't say that I am all that worried about The End Of The World As We Know It, but none the less I am happy that we are moving to our vacation home in the mountains. Three acres of level land to grow a fabulous garden, raise chickens and goats if need be, with a clean, clear prolific creek to provide a second water source and fish. Am considering putting in solar to run the well pump, and a wood stove for heat/cooking when power is lost. And we are 1/10 of a mile to a National Forest trail, which would be good for hunting deer, turkey and even bear if we get desperate.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:21 PM   #18
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I hope you are right. But societies change, and it is unrealistic to assume the US of 2014 will respond to events as the US of 1929 or 1941 did. I'm not spring-loaded to the "everything will work out, just as it always has in the past" mode.


On a local and regional basis, I think the veneer of normalcy can be gone very quickly. New Orleans descended into a very bad place within a few days after Katrina. Several cities have experienced a breakdown in law and order that lasted for days in response to a court case or public response to an event. And in all these cases the rest of the country was unaffected and able to respond.

I'm not building a bunker, but I do think it makes sense to have things on hand so we can ride out a few weeks of disruption, and to have small number of inexpensive but very useful things that might be unavailable if a disruption lasted a long time. I also think it makes sense to think about these things in advance and to keep one's eyes open for things that could fundamentally change the game.
"I'm not building a bunker, but I do think it makes sense to have things on hand so we can ride out a few weeks of disruption,..."

That is kind of a natural condition for us as a result of my shopping sales. We could live on what we have for some time. Also having lived where there were multiple serious hurricane threats per season, I keep gallons of water on hand, and stock up on cook free foods before a storm, fill gas tanks.... Was surprised a week ago when we hunkered down for 3 days without electricity, (or well water,) that those gallons of water have an expiration date! We cracked them open anyway. Tasted just fine.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:28 PM   #19
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That's what I was thinking when you wrote this:
LOL. I think the last line of my text, which you conveniently discarded, sums up my POV: Mostly I'm just looking forward to chilling. Not really wanting to become part of a new frontier, but having the resources are nice.

We bought the place so I can kayak from my backyard, without the hassle of putting the Yak on the car. The rest is gravy. The priority of a prepper would be the reverse. As to the gardening and hunting, food tastes much better when you provided it for yourself, as opposed to picking up something "fresh" at the supermarket that has been traveling for a week. Ever eat a tomato right out of the garden, still warm from the sun? It is heaven.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:29 PM   #20
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What scenario are you prepping for?
How probable is the scenario ?
How much does it cost to prepare?
Doomsday is unlikely and preparations expensive.
Hurricanes in Florida are common, preparations(an evacuation plan) are cheap
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