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Preparedness in Practice

As it turns out in the face of reality, action really does speak louder than words.  I read several of the Blog sites posted on prepping, survival issues, arming for Armageddon and much of the impractical advice that is dished out as though hordes of experts have contributed their wisdom.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SurvivalCache.com

Personally or professionally I am nowhere near any kind of a prepper expert, but I know horse hockey when I smell it.  Ironically you never read any of that overly inflated junk here on this website.  There are other reliable prepping websites that I read as well, but this home place is the most well-rounded.

Mark Q

So, it is quite refreshing to find someone locally who albeit slowly but surely is getting his act together toward prepping for a Mark QBug-In scenario.  For the sake of privacy, I am going to call my prepping friend, Mark Q.  He is very private to his fault (OpSec), but as with all of us I suspect it is aided by a good honest dose of paranoia.  These days that is not considered abnormal behavior.

Prep Justification

Around the fire ring at my own remote potential Bug-Out hunting camp, Mark Q discusses the reasons he wants to be a measure ahead of most should something catastrophic happen in this country.  His reasons for prepping go even beyond the virtual everyday bad news we get about the poor economy, short gun supplies, ammo stocks diverted by government agencies purchasing and hording, rapidly inflating food prices, shortages of goods, and the scare over banking stability (see Cyprus) not to mention the fear of an over all government collapse.  “Geez that ought to be enough to make anyone put back a case or two of beans and rice…..”

“I recently retired from my full time job as an instructor at a local school teaching metal trades, machine shop, and TEOTWAWKI Survivalcomputerized machine operation.  That was after a stint in the Navy as a readiness and supply seaman for Naval Special Warfare Unit,” profiles Mark Q.  “I wanted to get settled in back at my home place, do some machine work on the side, put away some cash and really complete my prepping work just in case.”

Mark Q is not a conspiracy theorist, but a realist.  “Where I worked I saw my student population ever more dependent on grants and loans to live on with no intention of ever repaying them.  They would cover their required tuition, but then receive the balance of the funds to spend as they wished.  It went for everything from rent, food, clothes, spinner wheels, pit bull pups, or whatever.  I viewed this whole system as another form of welfare and I wonder just how long it can be sustained,” noted Mark Q.  This is not unique to where Mark worked but is happening at every school in the country.

“I don’t wake up every morning to go out to collect my chicken’s eggs for the day glancing up in the sky looking for black helicopters or drones.  But one day they might well be there or someone in a uniform at my front door with a federal list of my 4473s to pick up my legally purchased and owned firearms.”

“More importantly I am concerned about walking into the local grocery store and finding little or nothing to buy.  I want to raise as much of my own food on site as I can.  We cook a lot of Korean dishes, so we can grow our own vegetables and other products we like to eat,” says Mark Q.

So, Mark Q is practical in his discussions of prepping.  There is no panic in his deliberations, but there are no hesitations either, like most of us, me included.  If something bad happens here then he is way ahead of the prep curve, but if nothing happens, then he can still enjoy the fruits of his labors and planning.

Food Reliance

First and foremost I plant a huge garden every spring and repeat with some additional plantings into the warm summer Survival Gardenmonths.  We grow a host of fresh vegetables including peas, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, okra, squash, corn, watermelons and cantaloupe and a number of specialty plantings we include in our Korean dishes,” says Q.  “As different vegetables mature, we pick them and do our own canning.  We maintain a good stock of canned food supplies that can last several months.”

Mark owns and maintains a medium sized utility tractor and the appropriate implements to disk and plant a large garden.  It’s more like a mini-farm on open property right next to his house.  His only problem is keeping the wild deer that come out of the adjoining woods from eating up everything.  Of course, he has a strategy for that as well.

“I generate my own garden fertilizer from the droppings underneath my rabbit hutches.  I raise domestic rabbits for food, not Raising rabbits for foodpets.  At any given time I will have one or two buck rabbits and 2-3 female breeders.   At the proper maturity, weight and size I process the rabbit meat, bag and freeze it or we are likely to eat some fresh.”

Mark Q also raises chickens in a coop built behind his work shop.  During my last visit he had two roosters and several hens.  He let my special needs 14 year old daughter gather the eggs, a first for her.  We found a dozen or more brown eggs in the nest stalls.  For the time being Mark does purchase commercial bagged chicken and rabbit feed from the local farm Co-Op store.  He has alternative plans for food stuffs to feed his “livestock” from garden plants and residuals.

Mark Q is also an accomplished hunter.  At any given time he will have 2-3 processed deer in the freezer.  They mostly do Survival Preppingvenison burger and smoked sausage from a local meat processor.  He also hunts and consumes wild rabbits and squirrels.

Additionally, Mark is heavy into local freshwater fishing and also coastal saltwater fishing.  In fair weather months he will hit the local lakes and ponds for catfish, bass, crappie, and bream.  On the coast he fishes for redfish, speckled trout, flounder, and other saltwater species.  When I was at his prep site recently we had a lunch of fried cobia in the work shop.

He also keeps stocks of regular food stuffs as well like flour, cornmeal, lots of big sacks of rice and some freeze dried food and canned goods.  They use a lot of Korean sauces, spices, and condiments.  He maintains a supply of 50 cases of bottled water at all times.  If you nose around enough, one might also notice several cases of 12-gallon bottles of table wine.  I can only guess that is for the cooking or the cook.

Utility Prep Work

Mark maintains enough gas generators on site to supply essential electrical power in the event of an outage.  He started this during Hurricane Katrina which knocked out rural power for several days.  Occasional ice storms can also be counted on to disrupt local utility power supplies.  There is sufficient fuel kept on hand to power these units for many days if used wisely and sparingly.

A recent project that Mark completed was installing a water well and hand pump on his property entirely by himself.  He Survival Waterresearched the process for “drilling” pipe into the ground with a metal tipped drill pipe section.  He bought all the materials locally and hand drilled the well.

He researched local water supply depths to get an idea of how deep he might have to sink the pipe to hit fresh water.  He has completed the project and upon priming the pump has fresh, clean, cold water.  With this he can supply the family water needs, animal needs including three dogs, and irrigate the garden as well.  Pretty smart prep planning I’d say.

Bug-In Security

Mark’s primary accomplishment in terms of security is the same as mine.  He maintains an extremely low profile.  His circle of friends is small and tight.  He is very closed mouth on any details of his prep work often disguising it as other generic household projects.  As his friend, I know better, but most do not.

“Being an active hunter both for recreational interests as well as supplying meat for the family, I am used to handling a wide variety of firearms.  I have a more than adequate supply of weapons and ammo to keep my family safe.  My son can also use firearms with good proficiency.  My wife has her own handgun and knows how to use it,” remarked Q.  He also secures all this firearms and ammo in a burglar proof steel safe.

“Our security system consists of a black Labrador retriever roaming freely on the outside of the house, and two small ankle chewers on the inside.  The old lab will bark at any strange vehicle coming up the driveway, but is likely to roll over for a belly rub for anybody.  The two inside dogs are another story.  They will literally tear down the blinds off the window at anyone approaching the house.  By then we are made well aware of anything coming up to the door.  If it’s a stranger, then we have the Berettas ready.”

Utility Shop

Mark is a highly trained craftsman when it comes to running the lathe and milling machine in his shop.  He is equally proficient survival toolswith his plethora of hand tools, wrenches, hammers, and gauges.  He can weld, cut and shape metal and other materials.  He can build about anything with wood, nails, a saw and a hammer.  He is a decent mechanic with anything nuts and bolts.  He possesses skills beyond the basic elements needed by most preppers.  Some of these skills we all need to learn especially basic mechanical tool use and building skills.

His outdoor metal building shop with a concrete floor also serves as a garage for his fishing boat and his ATV.  It securely stores all of his equipment, tools, supplies, animal feeds, fuel, lubricants, hunting and fishing stuff along with other essential gear.  All preppers should consider such a building when the budget can afford it.  Secure storage is critical.

There are a lot more details about Q’s prepping plans and its execution.  The point here is that Mark has created the foundation for his ability to sustain his family for a reasonable time in the event of a SHTF event.  He has developed provisions for food, water, security, self-reliance, and skills he can sell or trade to others.  He has all of the most critical elements of the Bug-In prep pie filled.  Let’s just pray he doesn’t have to use it.  If he does, I’m moving to his house.

All Photos by Dr. Woods

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