What now?

Amanda Witman
By Amanda Witman on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - 7:29am

Given the most recent blog entry by Chris, it seems that we're getting closer to the point at which "preparing" will be a thing of the past and "making do with what we have" will be the present. 

Where are you at in your resiliency-building?  What are you working on?  What's next on your list?  If you could ask for a minimal amount of time or money (or...) to "finish up" the most critical things left to do, what would you ask for? 

Or are you already minimally set?  How does that feel?

If the music stopped tomorrow, would you have a chair to sit in?

Do you have thoughts on how you'll proceed if you haven't reached your preferred minimum level of preparation? 

Personally, I wish for more time and more money (or more time to amass more money) so that I can acquire those things that only easily be purchased.  I wish for more time to accomplish projects, and more time so that the helpful people in my life whose sense of urgency is less than mine will get to where they can help me with the projects I need their help for.  I'll detail my own assessment in a separate response.

Where are you at in your resiliency-building?  What are you finishing up or hoping for more time for? 


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
My situation is that I have

My situation is that I have my bolt hole. Food will become a problem, but I can fish from my yachts. I have date palms, but they are 60kms inland, so I do not know if I will be able to attend to them.

I can start Norrie farming here. We have ultra clean waters, provided that there will be a market.

There are some things that are on my to-do list that require more time. I do not know if I am deluding myself, but I seem to be in a secure job and so I may have time for more preps.

One thing I a spending money on is the Dentist.

I need an electric motor on my yacht so that I do not have to pay for diesel. I need a good computer set-up so that I can free lance as an electronic draftsman from my yacht. I need more sailing time. And I need to gather hay while the sun shines. There is some land that I think is going to be sold at a discount when China proves to be a mirage.

What I have found to be particularly useful is to have skills that cover two specialities. In my case they are industrial electrician and electronic draftsman. There are Industrial electricians and there are electronic draftsmen, but there are few who cover both fields.

So my advice is to see what skillset you have and find some allied skill so that you are positioned to take advantage of your uniqueness.

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Time, time, time.

I wish I had another couple of years to get my yard planted with perennial food and prepped for annual planting (beds).  It takes time, especially in a life full of work and raising kids and all the other day-to-day stuff.  I'm waiting on wood for raised beds from a friend who has a mill.  I'm needing to prep the area I will call the "orchard" (small strip of 3-4 fruit trees to one side of my driveway).  I have ideas on how to develop a neighbor's neglected garden patches in exchange for a share of the produce.  I want to put in a grape arbor, but need to clear out some useless perennials and build the arbor first.

I'd like to get into a better routine of growing and preserving food as a matter of course -- more as a routine than something I dabble in.

I would like to get a rain barrel system set up and functioning.  My house/garage do not have gutters, and it would be great to strategically place at least one gutter for rainwater harvesting, but I'm not 'there' yet...need cash and time and a good design.  Also, what can people in cold climates do for backup water in winter?  Rain barrels must be drained to avoid freezing/cracking, right? 

I would like to have "more" of various supplies -- water filter candles, pantry food, extras of things that will need replacing in my lifetime.

I'd like to get chickens, but there's the added complication of having to convince the town to grant a variance.  Others have done it, but the thought overwhelms me at the moment.  Actually getting and having the chickens will be the "easy" part -- it's the planning and coop-building and town hoops to jump through that do not appeal. 

I'd like a mini-greenhouse of sorts.  Have been contemplating that for months. 

Unfortunately, I'm not a born carpenter.  My carpenter friends have their own projects, and they have to prioritize personal and/or paying projects over barter projects.  So I'm waiting.  For that chicken coop.  And also for some storage shelves in various closets in my house that will allow me to better store useful and necessary things.

I think that means I need to cultivate some carpentry skills.  Need time for that.

I also have this sort of crazy idea that I'd like to look into soon...I'm about to have solar hot water panels installed on my south-facing wall of my house.  (For various reasons, a roof-mount installation is not going to work, but the side of the house is nice and flat and partially window-free.)  The installation will leave an empty space high up on my wall about the size of a solar panel, or perhaps a panel could be found to fit it.  I was thinking, what if I just installed one grid-tied panel to fill that otherwise wasted space?  It wouldn't be much, but it would be something, and it would offset my electric bill (in anticipation of a time when I might not be able to afford electricity).  Would it be significant enough an offset with only one panel?  Would it be affordable?  Maybe not, but worth asking about anyway.  I think "some" electricity cost offset must be better than "none," if the upfront cost can be justified. 

Really, what I need is time...time to develop my ideas and plans, time to amass cash (or discover barter opportunities) to fund those projects, time to get them done in and amongst all else that takes my time.  (Or, I suppose, if the sky dumped a bunch of cash on me unexpectedly, that could solve these issues easily as well!  Nice fantasy.)

annie.grace's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 26 2013
Posts: 7

I'm pretty new to the bandwagon here, so time seems to be the most scarce resource of all.  We're in the middle of moving, which is kind of all-consuming for now.  My pantry is not very deep at the moment.  We will be next to the fjord, so there's fish, a few apple trees, rhubarb and berries.  Planning on getting a few chickens as soon as possible.  I still need to get gardening tools, a few years gardening experience (did that a lot when I was a kid/teenager, but...), the list goes on endlessly!  Everyone else here seems to be light-years ahead of me.  But I appreciate the ideas and am scrambling to put as many into practice as I can.  However, a water purification system would be the most urgent thing on my list!

Doug's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3200
water and garden

Good topic.

I put water on a back burner for a long time because I have a very reliable well and we get sufficient rainfall for most purposes.  But, I have become more sensitive to the issue over the last couple years during prolonged dry spells, particularly with respect to expanded gardens and my beginning forest garden.

I recently put a rain gutter system on my barn that drains into a 150 gal "stock tank" that I have had for years, but have reoriented to feed the young fruit trees near my house.  BTW, Amanda, I have had that plastic stock tank for over a decade.  I put a faucet in the bottom of it and used it primarily for manure tea fertilization for my garden plot.  It filled naturally with rainfall and snow, and rarely ran low.  It freezes every year and has yet to develop a crack or leak.  I don't use it for potable water so haven't had to use it in the winter.  It probably freezes up enough it would be worthless in the depths of winter.

I'm planning now to put a gutter system on the house to provide more water for my beginning forest garden and I'm going to embed a storage tank into an intermittent stream at a high point of my property with a delivery system of some sort for my basic garden plot and trees and shrubs I've planted in that area.  If it ever becomes necessary, I could convert some of the overall system for water for the house.

In line with the water system, I still have a lot of work to do on my forest garden.  It is my primary focus for now and for the foreseeable future.  I will probably be expanding my livestock beyond a small flock of chickens also.

Oh yeh, a solar hot water system is pretty high on my priority list also.


Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Doug, I like the stock tank idea

Would be more convenient here than a number of smaller barrels, and I could potentially position it to water my garden and orchard.

Keep the responses coming, folks!

jgritter's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2011
Posts: 273
intermediate bulk container

I've recently set up a rain catchment system using two IBC totes ( Intermediate Bulk Container, 1000 liter plastic tanks set up to be moved with a fork lift used for shipping things like juice concentrate) stacked on top of each other.  Several midwestern thunderstorms on 600 sq/ft of guttered roof was enough to fill them.  (the most recent storm dtopped a tree on the house, tearing off the gutters but the totes came through undamaged dispite a direct hit)  So far this year has been substantially rainier in Michigan then it was last year so the water is surplus.  I only paid $45 apiece for them, I don't what they might go for in other parts of the country.

mumusha's picture
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Joined: Jan 2 2009
Posts: 13
Arthur, you mentioned

Arthur, you mentioned Dentist. For me, I want to get LASIK surgery. I hate wearing glasses (it fogs up, can't do sports, can't wear ride motorcycle, what if it breaks? etc), and I don't assume contact lenses would be readily available. Getting good vision would be one big worry off my shoulder.




Cherihuka's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 18 2012
Posts: 41
skills and questions

I don't know how much time we have before things go bust or boom. I'd like to have another 5 or 7 years but I think we'll be lucky if we can squeeze out 2 more.

Something is better than nothing is my motto, but after so much insecurity for for so long now, I don't feel I'll ever "be ready" for what's coming (if it means the chair pulled out from under us). I don't know how to prioritize. Zombie hoards seem a little overboard, gardening seems inadequate to the full needs of survivial.

We have lost our home after a long battle to keep it and are moving at the end of next month, (with 80+ y/o parents in tow). Resilience for us has been the highest priority, but come at the bottom of the 'needs' list for a long while.

As far as growing food this year I have only 100 perpetually harvested green onion plants, a few flowers for the bees, and a drawer full of seeds.  My pantry is not deep, but I do have 18 laying hens, two roosters, and surplus emergency beans and rice - plus sugars for the 1 beehive to help them overwinter. (It has been attacked by a bear 2x in the past 9 days, so we're getting electric fencing. It was saved the last time by having tied it down to the pallet with a tow strap.) Many in our area are having to hand-pollinate their gardens this year, so bees are an exceptionally important aspect of our food security.  

I can see the system isn't geared in our favor in any way now, so the only opportunity going forward is what opportunity we make for ourselves. How to make opportunity?

I saw an article yesterday on "52 skills",http://www.survivalblog.com/2013/07/learning-52-skills-applying-a-purchasing-plan-approach-to-learning-new-skills-by-seth-t.html , that catered more toward prepping exercises IMHO, but the title was a good catalyst for thought; I think that skill sets will be one of the best things to develop as time runs out. A good way to create opportunity.

Skills are as good a bartering & survival tool as any product or produce. I think key concepts of resiliency are: redundancy (if one breaks there's a back-up), diversity (if something doesn't grow something else does), and multiple streams of income...(artisinal and crafting cottage industries, surplus produce and needed skills).

For instance, I'd like to raise a few rabbits for -non-kill fur and to nourish worm beds (supplemental chicken feed), and goats for milk and meat, as well as for pulling carts and a source of hides for leather work. (I'm thinking of Midieval style summer shoes and winter boots, for women).  

I hope it is a long slide down from here, not like getting pushed off a cliff. (After we spent many, many $ thousands to keep from being 'pushed off the cliff' with our home, It would've put us in a better position now, (if we had been prepared), we could have just jumped -gone with the flow and let them take it, not fought so hard giving it everything and ending up worse off). I don't know how to apply those lessons to the current economic threat/financial system- we can see the decline of empire, but not how far and fast whatever's coming next. I feel lost in the aspect of priority and can only answer "what now" after discovering what I can manage to do next. (This also depends a lot on what we can do where we end up renting).

I feel the urgency daily, but also feel a bit lost. Will "it" hit suddenly & completely, or will we all simply continue to slide with regional mini-crisis? It's impossible to judge how much time we have, or what event or hardship will come next -in order to prioritize what to do to mitigate it.  Does it matter? Should one plan for the worst scenario of a complete and sudden collapse with bank closures, marshal law in short order, intermittant electricity and gas lines? Or should one live as though we have several years to pull things together and practice, getting poorer slowly due to inflation? 





Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Hi Amada, just saw this.

It's been quite a journey. I left Long Island,  NY and a long commute to a job in NYC for semi-rural SC four years ago. Am I more resillient now than then? Absolutely: I am in an area with a lower population and more food resilliency. I have nearby family now, most of which "get it," - my new husband's family and my son and new daughter-in-law. We have multiple sources of water (well, rain barrels, local ponds), off-grid heat, adequate ventillation in lieu of A/C, and I have figured out how to grow some of our food in square foot garden beds (that took time to learn!) and have added edible landscaping. Due to the size of our lot have decided to trade for the rest of our food; this is a big grain-producing area (mostly winter wheat but also corn) and there is local beef and dairy. We have a paid-off home. Some solar energy. Pantry is up-to-date. We know more of our neighbors (one of whom runs a large apiary).

What's left? Next steps are chickens and bees and a whole mess of solar grid-tied PVs. Once my step-daughter moves out next month we still need to get rid of mold in one bathroom and give it adequate ventillation, and mold-proof our house by removing carpet and adding humidity-proof flooring. After the flooring, we want a watch dog. The chickens, for protien, are the most important item, followed by the mold problem.

What worries me the most is my blood pressure is still a little high and requires medication. I am losing more weight to solve that.

How would I proceed if things blew up today? We would put together a makeshift chicken coop and get some spare birds from my hudband's best friend and ask for help with bees from the apiary-running neighbor. We'd cut out the sheetrock with mold (a small area) and put a hand-controlled vent into the attic. And I would lose weight on the restricted diet so my bloodpressure would take care of itself.

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