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

USA Berkey Filters

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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25 thoughts on “Preparedness in Practice”

  1. While I congratulate Mark Q on his level of preparedness, I resent his equating student loans with welfare. I am a single mom going to college for my bachelor's degree at a university. I use my student loans for necessities and I work. It also states in the student loan form what the money can be used for and it is possible to get audited. While I don't like the idea of going into debt in my case I had no choice.

    Reply
  2. Until this entry, this was the last site I could read that was realistic and not full of neoconservative ideology and fear-mongering.

    If you had bothered to do your research, you would see that DHS buys 5 years worth of ammo every 5 years, and 5 years ago they made a purchase of similar size and scope as this year.

    Congratulations; this site has lost a regular reader based on your stupidity; I had read EVERY entry here, and will never return after today.

    Reply
    • Also , why does DHS NEED five years worth of ammunition !!!?????? correct me if I'm wrong , and Im giving you the benefit of your statement . If they have previously purchased an allotment of five years worth of ammunition ( 5 years ago ) …….unless they are dumping it in the ocean , they should have more than enough for current operations WITHOUT continuing to order more . How much have they used up in the line of duty ? not much ! The only people that should have large ammunition stocks should be the US military .

      Reply
    • Perhaps his handle says it all , it could be describing the sexual relations he has ( had ) with his wife . That is assuming he is heterosexual , however the fact that he states that he does not approve of conservative ideology , that may not be so . Either way things could be " Withheld " .

      sorry folks , its the Scorpio coming out again .

      Reply
  3. Good article.I am amazed at how an article such as this could possibly draw any negative responses.But I understand things are what they are.Congratulations;You have just gained a new reader to replace any one you might have lost.Thank you for your real life posts.

    Reply
    • as Chuck said, Good article.I am amazed at how an article such as this could possibly draw any negative responses.

      In time of need ( Withheld ) will be the person at your door asking for food…………

      Reply
  4. why would you never return to this great sight,maybe they did have a bad article(although I dont think so)but that doesnt mean they will never ever have an other article worth reading.however i didnt learn that much from this article like i have from others.

    Reply
  5. I would highly recommend people reading Selco's blog , its as real ( and grim ) as it gets . This guy lived day to day for a year in Bosnia during the Balkan wars . He does not speculate or candy coat things . It changes the direction of my preps .

    Reply
  6. Great article. As for practice, I enjoy playing "what if" and then coming up with solutions. I put the solutions to task and keep what works and drop what doesn't. I may not have everything but what I have, I am good using.
    I no longer say I am a prepper. I use the term "homesteader". All the same skills and tasks. I also have changed how I talk about my prepping. I offer ideas or expected problems and let the person asking develop a solution.

    Reply
  7. The type of preparedness we all aspire to. reading this i feel good about my situation, not where I want to be yet, but heading in the right direction. i have friends doing this and that, while i do this and that, hopefully we can become a whole. have my hand pump bought, need to install.

    As to student loans and grants. Some are working great, others are milking the system. those that are milking it will will fail quickly and become fertilizer, expensive fertilizer. Public financed education is a divisive topic. It can work as long as we don't finance Liberal Arts. Pick a vocation that helps, it's not about bettering yourself, it's about being an asset to your country.

    Reply
  8. I would like to hear more about how he dug his own well. To research such a project, where would you look for information?

    Reply
  9. FarmerPhyl

    you might find out from neighbors how deep their wells are first this gives you an idea of what your going to need.

    If you want a hand pump for emergencies a small pitcher pump only draws from about 30 foot most wells are deeper.
    Lehmans has a list of pumps some resist freezing others are deep draw some are different designs.

    Remember that once you get to your shoulders a collapse is a danger if your digging a open pit there are other open pit wells basically either using a sand pump and raising and dropping a pipe with a internal flapper it makes the dirt
    surrounding to be compact and you get less sluffing off (where dirt falls away and fills the hole}.

    jetting using water pressure either by a dug pit for a reservoir to keep your pump from running dry or use a water hose and water pressure by jugging up & down the dirt is flowed up the outside of the pipe until you get to depth.
    you may need to glue couplings as I would use PVC and before you start know about the depth and have enough
    couplings I would bevel the edges on both ends of each coupling.

    Once you get to depth a slotted pipe is needed as your first pipe this allows for water to flow in and not clog and gives
    an exponential area of water to come in this is your water table your draw pipe goes inside the outer is a casing
    to prevent collapse and obstruction.

    All this is basic and there are some tips like blue clay once you see taillings of a blue looking clay your almost there
    then the sand layer beneath should be your water bearing zone.
    an open pit is ground water this is not always high quality and it does need to be away from sewer pipe and septic fields if they over flow it will migrate to the well. the well needs to be on the highest ground this helps from rain washing fertilizer etc into your well.
    every so often like 6 months a puck of pool bleach needs to be dropped in just in case some mold or mouse has fallen gotten in sh*t happens literally.

    there are drive point wells but that is for ground water from a near source like a creek lake or river all you need is a
    sledge hammer and the premade joints of specific pipe they go in order.

    Each of these methods have dangers drawbacks and limitations a well is only as good as the flow or seep and in some cases you need to have some depth in the zone to have a pool of enough water.
    some wells pull down and have to wait to allow it to refill before you can pull off more water.

    Here is a good well explanation and methodology of how they work.
    http://www.clean-water-for-laymen.com/hand-dug-we

    Reply
  10. the Shop well that is a man cave from the lower regions

    I have bought much of my tools from garage sales and swap meets and others.

    I think people first need to have some idea what they are good at or their intentions
    I work on about everything I am not great at everything but I get the job done.

    a general list OMG

    Wrenches open / box end metric and SAE there are wrenches that do both and you will find you may have to have
    2 wrenches the same size or grind and bend to suit a specific task.
    Crescent wrenches from 4 inch to 12 inch length
    socket set of standard and deep sockets in both metric and SAE 1/4 inch 38ths and 1/2 inch drive
    impact sockets these are thick and tough
    ratchets a couple of each 1/4 3/8ths 1/2 inch and breaker bars.
    a chain vice grip
    strap wrench
    pliers slip joint pliers, electricians pliers, dikes or side cutters fencing pliers, nippers mini plier sets in fact if
    it is a plier tool youl need it eventually.

    drill electric and a new version of a brace and bit or hand drill that uses new bits designs
    Bits the best set is kinda expensive but they are incremental by 1.000ths of course the standard set of bits by 64ths
    and spade bits if you like good round wood holes forestener bits. and masonry bits.
    Hammer or twist drills for masonry sometimes you need to stake in damper or a door hinge / grate.

    levels bevels straight edges squares speed "T" and carpenters types string line & chalk box and a plumb.

    chisels for steel and wood up to 1 to 2 inches wide

    wood planes you need at least a block plane.

    Hammers minimum 4 pound sledge 2 pound shop 22 unce framing 16 ounce claw ball pien's in 3 sizes and a roofing
    hammer looks like a hatchet with a hammer head a brass drifting hammer and a plastic and rubber mallet.

    screw drivers long medium and short interchangeable bit types with a mongo box of all bits and box of #2 phillips head bits you never have enough of these
    Phillips straight individual screw drivers as the interchangeable ones are to large to get into tight places.

    an anvil
    a decent vice
    pipe vice just in case works well on anything round —-and pipe benders if your loaded with scrap pipe

    a drill press you can use it as a make do lathe for small parts
    Tap & die set

    Reply
  11. Welding rod if not for welding this makes great snap clips cage clips hooks and pins once you crack off the flux
    as far as welding this is a good general welding rod for most purposes I also keep P5 rod around I weld pipe and plate for hobby and project reasons I use a cracker box that only pushes 120 amps but changes from 120 to 240 volts
    by changing the wiring setup
    If you plan on welding a stick is best as wire feed wire gets oxidation and you need shielding gas so 2 strikes 3rd strike is it takes special nozzles and accessories and speed is hard to set up if you do not use it all the time so wasting wire and if it hangs it's sometimes a pain to re thread it.
    you will need a 4 inch angle grinder a 12 case of replacement disks chop saw and extra blades
    wire brush chipping hammer magnetic holders vice grips an assortment
    A strip of gasket material or pipe wrap to square your cuts steel punches to mark and a carbide scribe.
    rod boxes soap stone helmet with replacement lenses welding gloves and I use a set of slip joint plies to handle hot
    pieces.

    I figure you will figure out all the safety sh*t like not wearing sandals and not wearing proper lens darkness
    and gloves and never weld with AC in wet conditions use a or change to DC or else you won't have a chance to learn
    you'll be dead.
    reminds me you need to use the proper rods for AC or DC and specific metals you could weld with flux and wire coat hangar but that is real off the grid solar and car battery stuff.

    Reply
  12. the Shop well that is a man cave from the lower regions

    I have bought much of my tools from garage sales and swap meets and others.

    I think people first need to have some idea what they are good at or their intentions
    I work on about everything I am not great at everything but I get the job done.

    a general list OMG

    Wrenches open / box end metric and SAE there are wrenches that do both and you will find you may have to have
    2 wrenches the same size or grind and bend to suit a specific task.
    Crescent wrenches from 4 inch to 12 inch length
    socket set of standard and deep sockets in both metric and SAE 1/4 inch 38ths and 1/2 inch drive
    impact sockets these are thick and tough
    ratchets a couple of each 1/4 3/8ths 1/2 inch and breaker bars.
    a chain vice grip
    strap wrench
    pliers slip joint pliers, electricians pliers, dikes or side cutters fencing pliers, nippers mini plier sets in fact if
    it is a plier tool youl need it eventually.

    drill electric and a new version of a brace and bit or hand drill that uses new bits designs
    Bits the best set is kinda expensive but they are incremental by 1.000ths of course the standard set of bits by 64ths
    and spade bits if you like good round wood holes forestener bits. and masonry bits.
    Hammer or twist drills for masonry sometimes you need to stake in damper or a door hinge / grate.

    levels bevels straight edges squares speed "T" and carpenters types string line & chalk box and a plumb.

    chisels for steel and wood up to 1 to 2 inches wide

    wood planes you need at least a block plane.

    Hammers minimum 4 pound sledge 2 pound shop 22 unce framing 16 ounce claw ball pien's in 3 sizes and a roofing
    hammer looks like a hatchet with a hammer head a brass drifting hammer and a plastic and rubber mallet.
    Rock hammer has a square hammer face and a opposite chisel to chip and cut stone or block.

    screw drivers long medium and short interchangeable bit types with a mongo box of all bits and box of #2 phillips head bits you never have enough of these
    Phillips straight individual screw drivers as the interchangeable ones are to large to get into tight places.

    an anvil
    a decent vice
    pipe vice just in case works well on anything round —-and pipe benders if your loaded with scrap pipe

    a drill press you can use it as a make do lathe for small parts
    Tap & die set

    bars 5 foot pinch bar or digging bar pry bars crow bars flat and cats paw and pipe for adding length and leverage.

    jacks scissor hydraulic cam house jack 12 ton you'll need all of these and car ramps for bending lifting towing
    and reminds tow and lifting straps some ratchet straps.

    chain falls or chain hoist at least 1 ton block & tackle I never use cable come-a-longs seen people hurt with them.
    rope para cord twisted rope spins or uncoils as tension is increased where as braided rope or line does not but both stretch you need eyes clips snaps D rings anything you can imagine for any number of projects.

    razor knifes all kinds and blades

    files and rasps at least a couple of bastard files a 4 way rasp and a set of needle files

    pipe wrenches 6 inch to 18 inch {length}

    soldering iron solder low temp silver and common solder acid core flux assortment of sand paper and emery cloth.
    hand propane torch tubing cutters flare tool wire brushes all sizes.

    Reply
  13. siphon pump like on a boat gas tank flexible tubing to siphon rack wine or beer containers 5 gallon 15, 30 and 55 or 60 gallon blue plastic drums or containers
    5 gallon fuel tanks for gasoline, lamp oil, diesel, kerosene and citronella vinegar bleach alcohol what ever
    if you cannot store it you cannot have it even if it is given to you.

    sawzall with a good selection of blades a handle for sawzall blades replaces a keyhole saw
    shark wood hand saw bow saw w/ extra blades hand folding pruning saw stainless also makes a great bone saw.
    hack saw with all blades other wood saws by tooth pattern and use.

    dental picks, brass rod, punch set awl leather stitching awl with needles stitching raoul looks like a western spur on a handle makes stitches uniform if your going to sell a service it needs to look professional leather strap cutter and a lace making tool.

    circular saw and at least 6 blades and 1 plywood blade for fine cut / finish.

    clamps holy crap, hand pinch clips pipe clamps ratchet clamps corner clamps too numerous to mention all.

    belt / disk sander and replacement belts and disks

    Impact wrench and OIL THE DAMN THING a drop in the air chuck and in the port that say OIL I use remington synthetic gun oil it does not gum and stays fluid in all temps.
    hammer wrenches if you think no power
    air chisel.

    scrapers paint type all widths trowels and floats works from mortar cement mud or clay.

    garden tools A good hoe I use a mortar hoe and a furrowing hoe grubbing hoe shovels square point sharp point sharp shooter iron rake
    spring steel rake pick a ground fork or a broad fork if your doing potatoes and a pitch fork 4 tine and a sling blade or also called a yoyo
    limb clippers and a pole saw ax double and single bit wood splitting wedges draw knife
    hand pruning and hand tools like a pocket shovel 5 prong weeder a broadcaster to apply fertilizer and have plenty of balanced fertilizer on hand like 10-10-10 propane insect fogger and lots of juice for it.
    a push / high wheel cultivator with a plow attachment. steel buckets and a damn good garden cart wide tires and 2 wheels as you may have to water by hand and a 15 gallon blue tank weights about 140 pounds pump up sprayer/s have a few just in case.

    If your going to build with logs you need a set of log tongs welded chains at least 2 – 7/16th X 20 foot with hooks and some short chains for building a triple tree and some oval links or eyes.

    5 gallon bucket of tar to water proof roofs seal cut tree limbs so ants and insects do not kill it brushes all kinds for cleaning painting scrubbing with handles and extensions.

    I would have a push reel mower grass will still grow no matter what as you can see at Chernobyl and Mt St. Helen.
    with the sling blade or yoyo you can keep a safe yard from snakes they like taller grass if you have a field you'll need
    a scythe / sickle or a old old animal drawn sickle bar hay mower for large acreage lots of luck finding one in good shape.

    100 foot X 2foot X 1/4 inch hardware cloth rabbit cage clips thousands are not too many and a plier tool LMAO
    it takes any where from 13.5 foot to 17.5 foot to build a simple cage for birds rabbits etc so you could only build 5 cages and have a repair reserve.
    and animals poop and squirt this eats the wire and you have to patch it with rabbit cage clips

    Reply
  14. Now specialty tools if you have a vehicle there are many special tools that are only for your model alone
    unless your a mechanic it may not pay to have these but I do have a 3 jaw puller a steering wheel puller
    dent puller or slide hammer special drivers and tips and some body irons and hammers.

    then there is leather work and sewing sail making plaiting weaving knots cordage and net tying
    plumbing I have a bread rack of fitting and buy glue and cleaner every year like clock work as it goes bad leaks out or evaporates you never know till you check it.

    I keep a lot of electric wire plugs boxes and conduit

    16 penny nails fence staples steel lag bolts and aluminum wire barbed wire screen and some basic lumber like 2X4's
    cedar pickets 1X4's 4X4 posts and land scape timbers and re-bar all thread rod scavenged nuts bolts and
    self tapping screws and sheet metal R panel Corrugated iron and AG panel and some odds and ends from metal building trim pipe T-posts old pipe an assortment of angle iron, I beam, C channel flat bar z beam etc.

    I guess I am a hoarder except my stuff is neatly stacked on steel rack and has some order.
    Need more fencing I ran out OMG ! at a dollar a foot I am not running to buy a roll I need 2 rolls

    I noticed when things need repair it is on a weekend holiday or at night so I have what I need to get sh*t done NOW.
    it ticked me off I had to go to the hardware store to fix a fish cooker I got at a yard sale for 4 bucks it cost
    3 dollars for the brass gas fitting I had everything but that one fitting to gas regulator hose MAN I hated that.
    this is where NPT dies and taps you may can make your own in some cases or chase threads that have some damage.

    DID I FORGET ANYTHING well probably I have a shop filled from top to bottom with shelves and organized with
    plastic containers from shoe box type 2, 5, 10 and 20 gallon totes.
    It takes time and focus I used to go to a lot of auctions as well estate auctions you can get stuff for pennies on the dollar build a stock of material that you can use or build with don't say NO to a buy I got a lot of metal when it was 30 cents a foot now it is 2 to 3 dollars a foot
    if a situation comes up even simple crap may be worth gold we just never know.

    Reply

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