When the chickens come home to roost!

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When the chickens come home to roost!

Some of the members of the Pacific NW Group held their first get together today. It went well and the details can be found in my post in the Pacific NW Group thread.

A very interesting topic was brought up at the very end that I think is worthy of discussion as it pertains to the CM community at large.

In various threads, I have made passing mention of the Aesop fable, "The Ant and the Grasshopper".

Now, think about this: What if the Grasshopper is a family member or a close friend? They watch you (the industrious and forward thinking Ant) making all these preparations against an uncertain future but don't do much of anything themselves. Then, one day, they begin to realize that maybe you weren't so dumb after all - that you were, in fact, ahead of the curve. So, they let you know that, when things get bad, they'll come live with you as they know that you're prepared!  Surprised

Your first reaction would probably be, "Ha! Forget it!" However, if you're like me, you're going to be in a quandary because one of my Grasshoppers is my youngest daughter and her husband and their three young boys - and they only live 1.5 miles away.

I've been making sure my wife and I have sufficient for our needs. I haven't planned for, nor prepared for, 5 extra mouths to feed and water! Well, you say, tell them that they need to get on the stick and start making their own preparations. Well, I'd say you were absolutely right - and I have done so. Unfortunately, like so many others, they dismiss my ideas as the ravings of an old codger who has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel! (tip o' the hat to my mother for that one.)

So, now you see the dilemma - if things go to hell, and they show up at my doorstep, what do I say?

Now look at your own family and close friends. What will you say?

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Hi Sam,

The first thing you do is... don't leave any banana peels lying around. Ha!  

Seriously, I have a similar situation.  Fortunately, my parents who live nearby are fully on board.  Unfortunately, my brother and wife think we're crazy, and my friends pretty much do too. 

I'm lucky to work in a business that sells lots of food, and I have authority of it, so if/when the SHTF, I can just take all I need. Not sure what my plan would be otherwise.  I guess I'd be cautious about just who I would divulge my plans to - only the closest friends and family, and think of ways of putting to work those that do stop by for an extended sleep-over.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

I would tell my sisters to come on in, and put on these work gloves,
and by the way, this is my house and I have certain rules you have to
follow. You don't live by my rules, you don't live in this house.

Some
of the rules would be: your kids don't run wild here; you and your kids
get up at 5 a.m., you work and cook and clean, you don't preach your
crappy religion to me, etc.

I'm totally into peace and
understanding, except I notice when people come to my house, I turn
into a fascist dictator. It's a failing, I know, but I lose patience
with people who think they know better how to do things. Well, doing
things their way got them in the fix they're in. Now they have to do
things my way.

As for food and water and the nitty gritty, you
just have to make it work out. I know my native american friends would
never turn a family member out. They'll share everything and all be
hungry together, rather than hide their stash and eat privately while
others in their tribe go without. 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

PS:  Sam, there is also the advantage of strength in numbers.  There will always be someone home to guard the house, different people can split errands/chores, and it's hard to play "charades" all be yourself. 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Well, Sam, hopefully things take shape slowly enough so that they'll get on board and then be self-sufficient by the time of true reckoning. Otherwise, if things take shape quickly, you're probably stuck with them, assuming that you have no intention of letting your daughter and grandchildren die just to make a point.

In another sense though your post touches on a critical and under vocalized point. In the grand scheme of things, most people will be totally unprepared as things get worse and all of us on this site will be the ones that were ahead of the curve and, therefore, prepared. I don't look forward to being the one person in ten who's ready to roll in the new model.

A hungry mob is an angry mob.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
Patrick Brown wrote:

PS:  Sam, there is also the advantage of strength in numbers.  There will always be someone home to guard the house, different people can split errands/chores, and it's hard to play "charades" all be yourself. 

Good points, Pat. However, what about water and food? When you've only stored up enough for two, how do you feed seven?

ceci1ia says,

"As for food and water and the nitty gritty, you
just have to make it work out. I know my native american friends would
never turn a family member out. They'll share everything and all be
hungry together, rather than hide their stash and eat privately while
others in their tribe go without."

Admirable traits, ceci1ia, but I'm not sure how on board I can be with that - even though it's my kids/grand-kids. Talk about an ethical dilemma!

I would take care of the grand-kids because they're too young to have to suffer the bad choices of their parents. I'm not sure I would be as generous with my daughter and son-in-law.  Undecided

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Sam,
You bring up an extremely valid point that reminds me somewhat of Pearl Buck's "The Good Earth", in which the honest, hardworking brother ends up supporting a neer'do'well brother who is involved with a gang. His family sits around, and soaks up resources - contributing nothing - but because of family allegiance and fear, nothing is said or done about the brother.

I can see this becoming an issue for myself, and I'm sure many others as well. I will be watching this thread for creative ideas, because I can't figure for the life of me how to shake deadbeat family members who will be relying on our labors.

The hallmark of many people today is the ability to do absolutely nothing and prosper because of social programs. I can see how this may pan out in the future for those of us who prepared... and as you say, it's easy to say "no way!" on an internet forum, but reality won't be nearly so cut and dry.

Great thread, and something that should be examined by everyone!
Cheers!

Aaron

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

That's a tough one, Sam.  I think you need to do a Ben Franklin analysis on each scenario and the potential pro's and con's of each.

Only you know what potential assets (land, skills, transportation, contacts, other) they could bring to the table are, and even if they bring none, if family-ties alone are sufficient a reason to bring them aboard (in which case you'de have to multiply your preparation efforts several-fold).  It's a very tough choice, and not one I'd want to be making, but it is one only you can make. 

Sorry I don't have a magic bullet.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Sam, I really commiserate. Aaron, I have total ne'er-do-well relatives
and friends who will expect something. I go to other websites that
recommend building community and relying on your family and getting
ready to live with them. I am so embarrassed because I don't like my
family, and I don't have any connection with my community. I am a blue
person living in a very red county. I am in a vulnerable position and
may find myself moving to be closer to people I DO like. I'm stuck.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

If it were me, and it is I suppose, as I haven't managed to convince a soul in my family of this stuff, I would stock up on another few hundred pounds of rice from Costco, put it in more sealable 5 gallon buckets, buy more sacks of wheat berries as well (both last for many, many years, the longest of the stockable food supplies) and either be prepared to hand that out or eat a lot of rice and beans with the extended family. I'm not personally as worried about water, but what about getting another water filter (I saw a cool one on St. Paul Mercantile's online store that seemed very low-tech and long-lasting, used a filtration "candle," if I recall the terminology correctly.)
I think of these stores as tiding us over until we get more beds prepared and into production to grow food crops, so it doesn't seem too dificult to think about expanding our store of such basic supplies. I'm not sure what scenarios everyone else feels moved to prepare for.

fwiw,
Sue

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
Patrick Brown wrote:

That's a tough one, Sam.  I think you need to do a Ben Franklin analysis on each scenario and the potential pro's and con's of each.

Only you know what potential assets (land, skills, transportation, contacts, other) they could bring to the table are, and even if they bring none, if family-ties alone are sufficient a reason to bring them aboard (in which case you'de have to multiply your preparation efforts several-fold).  It's a very tough choice, and not one I'd want to be making, but it is one only you can make. 

Sorry I don't have a magic bullet.

Good idea, Pat.

OK - now that I think past the water/food situation, my son-in-law is a Portland police officer (he's got guns!) so that certainly brings something to the table - plus he's pretty handy at building things. Maybe I'll let him and the grand-kids in and tell my daughter, "tough cookies!" Wink  (yeah, right!)

Although, I jest - the question is an important one and I wanted to bring it up for discussion because I think everyone needs to consider the implications of the dilemma. (btw - it was Linda B who originally raised the issue at our meeting today, so I thank her for bringing this to my attention.)

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Or, perhaps, "bake cookies."

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Heck, in my way of thinking, a police officer is up there.  Now you just need a Doctor, farmer, and a mechanic.  Any extended family?  ;)

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Hey Sam

You must live in a very different world to me. I can't even conceive of eating while my neighbours starve. I guess you are secure too?

Don

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 So few then with so many ways, so many now with so few ways.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Hi Sam,

You've mentioned you live somewhere around Hillsboro, if my memory serves me correctly.  Are you in an apartment or a house with a yard?  If you have a house with a yard make sure you have vegetable seeds and a small tiller.  Buy your bagged manure from Bi-Mart as well as fertilizer.  Put those "grasshoppers" to work tilling up your yard for a garden.  Buy  mason jars to can every last bit that you can't consume fresh.  Make sure you have a camp stove  and propane to cook with (and can with) in case there is a loss of electricity.  When the garden starts to mature someone will have to be on night watch to make sure the unprepared don't steal the fruits of your labor.

 Who kows how the scenarios will work out.  I really think that if things become this bad Martial law will be declared. If this is the case then all bets are off.  The people who don't have food and/or cause problems will get free lodging at Camp FEMA. 

Personally, as I have mentioned before, I have 150 acres to retreat to.  I'm going to welcome a few who can pull their weight with all the work involved in farm life.  I've been preparing for the unprepared family members.  They have their job assignments, they just don't know it yet.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

 

Hello Sam.

   I'd like to suggest a YouTube video which is relevant to your concerns (especially at the 7:30 mark). Search for 'Don Harrold Rise of the Renaissance Part Two Friends & Family'. This particular video really hit home with me. I'm not too tech savvy but I'll try to post a link. Perhaps Davos will include some of Don's work in future Daily Digests.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/donharrold

 

Regards,

Paul

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
suesullivan wrote:

If it were me, and it is I suppose, as I haven't managed to convince a soul in my family of this stuff, I would stock up on another few hundred pounds of rice from Costco, put it in more sealable 5 gallon buckets, buy more sacks of wheat berries as well (both last for many, many years, the longest of the stockable food supplies) and either be prepared to hand that out or eat a lot of rice and beans with the extended family. I'm not personally as worried about water, but what about getting another water filter (I saw a cool one on St. Paul Mercantile's online store that seemed very low-tech and long-lasting, used a filtration "candle," if I recall the terminology correctly.)
I think of these stores as tiding us over until we get more beds prepared and into production to grow food crops, so it doesn't seem too dificult to think about expanding our store of such basic supplies. I'm not sure what scenarios everyone else feels moved to prepare for.
fwiw,
Sue

Good advice, Sue. I'll have to look into some of your suggestions. One of the minor problems we have is where to store this kind of stuff so it stays cool. We get some wicked hot days during the summer. Our pantry is limited in space and we don't have much storage that wouldn't be affected by the summer heat. Just one more thing to deal with. Frown

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
Patrick Brown wrote:

Heck, in my way of thinking, a police officer is up there.  Now you just need a Doctor, farmer, and a mechanic.  Any extended family?  ;)

Son is an excellent Medic. However, he currently lives in Tucson, AZ and plans on heading for Afghanistan this summer.

Have a first cousin who's a doctor - but he lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Don't know any farmers or mechanics.

Sigh....

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
pir8don wrote:

Hey Sam

You must live in a very different world to me. I can't even conceive of eating while my neighbours starve. I guess you are secure too?

Don

______________________________________________________

So few then with so many ways, so many now with so few ways.

Don,

It's a real ethical dilemma, isn't it? But, what do you do if you have prepared and your neighbor hasn't? It's nice to share but then you may end up starving together because you've run out of food and water sooner than expected. What does that gain - beside population reduction?

I guess you are secure too?

I'm not sure what this question meant. Would you please clarify for me? Thanks.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
Worker Bee wrote:

Hi Sam,

You've mentioned you live somewhere around Hillsboro, if my memory serves me correctly.  Are you in an apartment or a house with a yard?  If you have a house with a yard make sure you have vegetable seeds and a small tiller.  Buy your bagged manure from Bi-Mart as well as fertilizer.  Put those "grasshoppers" to work tilling up your yard for a garden.  Buy  mason jars to can every last bit that you can't consume fresh.  Make sure you have a camp stove  and propane to cook with (and can with) in case there is a loss of electricity.  When the garden starts to mature someone will have to be on night watch to make sure the unprepared don't steal the fruits of your labor.

Who kows how the scenarios will work out.  I really think that if things become this bad Martial law will be declared. If this is the case then all bets are off.  The people who don't have food and/or cause problems will get free lodging at Camp FEMA. 

Personally, as I have mentioned before, I have 150 acres to retreat to.  I'm going to welcome a few who can pull their weight with all the work involved in farm life.  I've been preparing for the unprepared family members.  They have their job assignments, they just don't know it yet.

Hi Worker Bee,

Yes - I am near Hillsboro. We have a house with a small backyard - most of it taken up by our deck. The rest is shaded by 40-foot trees that separate us from the folks in the next housing section. Makes it too difficult to start any kind of garden.

The good news is that I've finally convinced by daughter to start a garden this year in her extra-large backyard (it's about 1.5 miles from here). I think she feels sorry for me but also realizes it's a good way to get really fresh veggies.

Thanks for the tip about Bi-Mart - is their pricing the best you've found?

I think I'll be able to get my son-in-law to till up the garden area when we're ready. I've also been thinking about canning - any suggestions on a site that has good info on how to do that?

I already have a camp stove and propane - part of my 72-hour emergency kit.

I like your comments in your last two paragraphs - especially the very last sentence! Laughing

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
PCars58 wrote:

Hello Sam.

I'd like to suggest a YouTube video which is relevant to your concerns (especially at the 7:30 mark). Search for 'Don Harrold Rise of the Renaissance Part Two Friends & Family'. This particular video really hit home with me. I'm not too tech savvy but I'll try to post a link. Perhaps Davos will include some of Don's work in future Daily Digests.

http://www.youtube.com/user/donharrold 

Regards,

Paul

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the link. I checked it out but must confess that I don't necessarily agree with what he says at the end. If I am understanding him correctly, he is saying that I need to be prepared to carry the load for everyone else even though they ignored my warnings.

I can see where it is important not to let family fall by the wayside, but those of us who plan ahead should not have to be responsible for everyone else who didn't.

It sort of reminds me of an old saying, "Bad planning on your part should not constitute an emergency on my part."

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Hi Sam

I mean your position can only be maintained if you are prepared to back it with force and that you must therefore be confident of your own physical security.

Could or would I stop my neighbour by force from taking food from our garden? For me the answer is no, but I would feel differently about people from afar and need my neighbours to help protect us (our community). In my opinion if we stay with neighbours in situ then our future is theirs and we must share amoung us what we have.  I can't imagine myself and partner surviving in isolation of our immediate neighbourhood. We are all way to vulnerable. Our country (NZ) does not have a weapons culture in the way we have been led to believe that parts of the US have, we don't even have fences. That said; most of my neighbours are growing food, we have vacant land behind our homes and a small river less than 50 meters away. We have purchased much more seed than we need and many other things
like significant quantities of fencing and chicken wire, tools, nets and hooks etc that are of communal
value.

Don

______________________________________________________

So few then with so many ways, so many now with so few ways.

 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Good topic Sam.  Makes me kind of glad that I live absolutely nowhere near any members of my family. But seriously, my sister and BIL are on the wagon and we share tips and knowledge. They know if TSHTF so bad they can't bunker down where they are at, they're more than welcome at our place if they can get there. Their hands are not idle and we'd all make the situation work. Our folks aren't on the wagon and think we're a bit nutty. They live around the corner from my sister... so they'll be her problem well before they are mine, but I have tried to contribute what I can to her extra preparations on their behalf. I seriously pray to whatever Gods are listening that my folks don't end up at my place... I really don't think me or DH could take it. Dad would work willingly, if somewhat obstinately. Mom... well, let's just say that I'd rather put a red-hot branding iron in my eye than try to get her to work toward a common goal.  The rest of the extended family probably wouldn't even consider me, and that's just fine by me. I have a few friends who would be welcome and wouldn't come empty-handed, and they're the only ones that will know how to find my place.

I think warning people, pointing them to information, and offering to assist in their preparations (i.e. planning, not doing!) is about the best we can do. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink... if it dies of dehydration, it isn't your fault or responsibility.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

 

Hello again Sam,

 

  Your understanding of Don's video is the same as mine; if by 'everyone' you mean friends, family and co-workers. In other words the people with whom you've shared your life, the good and the not so good: dinners, weddings, graduations, religious services and traditions, illnesses, divorces, car trouble, fishing, board games, belly laughs, movies, philosophy discussions, business successes/failures, hopes, dreams, etc. And.....probably will again in the future, after (what my wife and I euphemistically call) the 'reset'.

  Strangers will try to take what they want (the operable word being "try").

  You brought up the 'ant and grasshopper' Aesop fable. If I recall correctly, the grashopper starved and then froze to death. A cautionary tale to prepare for an uncertain future if there ever was one. I have really benefitted from the questions you posed and the responses in this thread as I will be better informed when/if 'grasshoppers' arrive at my door. Between now and then I will do my best to include as many of them as possible in my planning. Two extra 5 gallon buckets of rice is easy (a cup each until it's gone). Extra fishhooks and line is brilliant, I'd never thought of giving out tools (perhaps they will share the catch?).

   When/If the reset occurs I will not expect any reward from the 'grasshoppers' for my clear vision and hard work. I trusted my insincts (hat tip Chris M), I followed a diffcult path and did the right thing. That's enough for me.

 

Regards,

Paul 

 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

I remember reading in an autobiography of a native american that in
his Sioux culture, a young man could not eat the meat that he killed.
This kept talented hunters from going off by themselves or hoarding. It
meant that the men cooperated and hunted in a band, so that the men
could eat the meat that another man had killed. It kept the whole tribe
reliant on each other. I believe after the hunter was married with
family, he was allowed to eat the meat he killed. I notice that
everyone in the tribe had something to do with hunting and gathering
and there was no such thing as ants and grasshoppers.

I'm just relating something I read that I think is useful in a discussion about cooperation with family and friends. 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

cecilia -

We could stand to learn quite a bit from the people we stole the country from.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

I'm lucky enough to live in a "community" where people are already fairly self reliant.  There are many skills represented of a more nuts and bolts variety. Some farmers and lots of shade tree mechanics, hunters, carpenters, plumbers, etc.  Not many doctors, but some nurses.  Mostly blue collar types.

My biggest problem would be family.  None of my very few personal relatives live within a thousand miles, but my wife has two sisters, one an "old maid" and the other married with four kids, all gone except one still in college.  The latter sister is married to a worthless no-count idiot (think Homer Simpson but not funny).  Aside from him, I would take them all in and make do as best we could.

Thanks Sam for bringing up the subject.  I really hadn't thought much about it.  I guess I have some more preparation to do.

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

I hate having to dwell on this scenario, because like many others here I know many (though not all) of my family and friends aren't making much in the way of food preparations.  Most of my family and friends back in Alaska keep a little extra food and emergency supplies on hand (even in Anchorage it's possible to get snowed in), but that's usually aimed towards short-term emergencies.  And when their food runs out after 1 or 2 months, I can't imagine leaving them to potential starvation.  So after I make my move up there in May/June, I have resigned myself to buying a lot of extra rice and beans, at least enough to get my family and friends through a winter (of course I'll have other storable food too but it's too expensive to buy extra of that stuff).  It chaps my a$$ that I'll be shelling out big bucks for others' lack of preparation, but the alternative of letting them go hungry when I can prevent that is not an option for me.  I plan on at least having enough to get them through until they're in a position to provide their own food.  But like the others here have said, if any decide to not pull their own weight and just sponge off of us, then I'll threaten to kick them to the curb.  Knowing my family/friends pretty well though I really don't see any of them being extremely difficult or myself having to carry out that threat.

Strangers are a more difficult issue for me.  I'm certainly not going to be advertising the fact I have stored food... if I can afford to help my neighbors and see they're in desparate need, then I'll try to provide them with food in a preferably anonymous or discrete manner.  Now if it's a stranger trying to steal food/provisions from me I have no problem dealing with them as harsh as is necessary (exercising responsible use of power as the situation demands) and driving them away one way or another.  But when it comes to starving people begging for food that would be much harder.  If my family and friends are barely able to scrape by on what we have, then I'd have to turn them away.  I'd certainly do everything else possible to find a way for them to forage and feed themselves, perhaps loaning some spare fishing tackle or the like, but nothing that would place my family at risk.  The only exceptions in that scenario I can see myself making would be for starving children, and I don't even like to think about that.  Anyway, this is merely my worst-case scenario, and I think the odds are much higher that when really hard times hit we'll see lots of people going hungry, but most will not starve to death (perhaps something like the situation in Cuba after Soviet aid dried up).  But as many here have said it's still sensible to make reasonable plans for worst-case scenarios, even if you assign them a low probability. 

Of course when I say this worst-case scenario isn't highly probable I'm talking mostly about the US and Canada.  I can't necessarily speak for other countries, and it's heartbreaking to think that some nations are likely to suffer greatly if/when food imports dry up or become prohibitively expensive.

- Nickbert

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

cecilia -

We could stand to learn quite a bit from the people we stole the country from.

I've always like the following quote:

"America is one of the finest countries anyone ever stole..."  -Bobcat Goldthwait

- Nickbert

 

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Re: When the chickens come home to roost!

Nickbert - you reminded me... everyone should be getting their hunting, trapping & fishing licenses, with all the appropriate tags and stamps because I'm sure that food will be short long before the regulations fizzle out of existence.

If strangers show up hungry, I'd probably trade with them for food (probably labor). I have several small publications on trapping, butchering, wild edibles and net fishing that I downloaded and have printed out, as well as one on how to build fish traps and nets... I'd be passing those out long before I hand over more food. I have no problem sharing my farm produce with my neighbors, but no one is tapping into my emergency rations. Lord help anyone who tries to steal... I'm pretty sure my neighbors wouldn't steal, but they'd be more than willing to come to the defense of their food source if me or DH didn't pepper the thief with buckshot first.  Ask and you will receive, take and you'll be sorry.  I've been talking with some of my neighbors about setting up a siren warning system for just these cases. Half the village already has sirens for the local volunteer fire brigade, it wouldn't take much to extend the system to include invasion.

There are many downloadable or purchasable food-related pamphlets targeted for your area/region at your local Cooperative Extension, Dept of Natural Resources/Agriculture Division, and Dept of Fish & Wildlife (in the US, but I'm sure other coutnries & territories have something similar)... it's worth having a box or two of these around for those that didn't prepare. Hand them a sandwich and a stack of pamphlets, or else we'll soon become the new Homeless Missions.

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