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Elise

For the preppers: What made you first get involved in prepping?

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Hope to GOD I'm wrong.

I know the feeling. Cannot stand it when people seem excited to be proven right about this kind of stuff.

Why would you want these terrible things to happen?

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. That's my mantra.

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Once I had that Oh crap moment I have never stopped I try do something every day that has something to do with prepping. 

That's really good, I am going to try and make that a rule in this house.

Norm.

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Kinda comes with the territory, living in a natural disaster prone area.

Otherwise, it's  just common sense to me, I have no crystal ball, I can't tell the future, so to make up for that, I prepare for as many situations as possible.

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Kinda comes with the territory, living in a natural disaster prone area.

Otherwise, it's  just common sense to me, I have no crystal ball, I can't tell the future, so to make up for that, I prepare for as many situations as possible.

That's very true.

Do you feel that the vast majority of the people in your area are much more accepting of prepper ideals than average in that case?

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That's very true.

Do you feel that the vast majority of the people in your area are much more accepting of prepper ideals than average in that case?

i would say so

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Wow. Never really thought about this before. I was a Boy Scout, and our motto was "Be Prepared", so I had that drilled into me as a youngster. My parents, especially my dad, were children of the Depression, so they had a lifetime habit of being frugal and storing some essentials against "a rainy day", so I had that influence as well.

Here in St. Louis we have had two really major flood events, one in 73 and another in 93, that wiped out so many homes and even entire towns. Google Valmeyer IL Flood of 93, and you'll see what I mean.

We have had quite a few short and long-term power outages due to massive ice-storms. And one year the early 80's we had a massive blizzard that virtually shut down the entire region for over a week. Only private vehicles allowed on the road during that period were 4x4's being used to shuttle medical and emergency personnel.

Then there was the whole Y2K thing. Also, about that same time, some "scientist" was predicting a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Fault Line just south of here, and had enough people believing him that St. Louis did an emergency inspection of the Mississippi River bridges, and stuff like that. I never really got caught up in the frenzy, but it did get me to thinking about "what if ..." scenarios.

About 8-10 years ago, I began getting really concerned about where our nation is headed, and the prospect of complete societal breakdown. Trust me, living through that whole Ferguson MO mess last summer really opened some eyes. People really saw up close just how easy it would be for entire regions to go up in flames virtually overnight.

So, for some time now my wife and I have slowly but surely began various prepping activities. Every shopping trip we buy a few extra staple/storable items. I have begun knocking the rust off and sharpening my outdoors skills. We have begun gardening, although on a small scale due to the size of our tiny city plot. But I hope, in the next year or two, to begin growing enough to make it worth investing in canning equipment. Or even to buy extra produce, if necessary, to can and store.

Also, lately I have been thinking about trying to locate and buy a few acres off the grid out in the middle of nowhere. There is a lot of land that can be had cheaply in southern MO. Right now it's more a matter of lack of financing than anything else that is preventing me from pulling that trigger.

So, that's my story ...

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That's an awesome story, Ron! Looks like you've had prepping "thrust upon you" so to speak. Definitely sounds like so many life experiences were all pointing you the same way.

It's tricky as hell having a prepper garden in a city, especially when you're in an apartment or have a house yet with a small garden. But it sounds like you're definitely managing to get everything you can out of your space!

I cant' wait to buy a few plots of land in the middle of nowhere to use for bugging out. I have in mind to immediately plant a bunch of berry bushes, apple & pear trees, etc., so that they have a chance to grow and will be there when I'll want/need them.

One day!

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It's tricky as hell having a prepper garden in a city, especially when you're in an apartment or have a house yet with a small garden. But it sounds like you're definitely managing to get everything you can out of your space!

The Dervais family's Urban Homestead is my ideal. They grow over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits, harvesting about 6,000 pounds/year. And get this: their cultivated area is only about 1/10th of an acre! Being in Missouri and not SoCal, I don't have the perfect weather to fully duplicate their extraordinary success, but I can at least work towards a fraction of it. You might want to check out their website.

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The Dervais family's Urban Homestead is my ideal. They grow over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits, harvesting about 6,000 pounds/year. And get this: their cultivated area is only about 1/10th of an acre! Being in Missouri and not SoCal, I don't have the perfect weather to fully duplicate their extraordinary success, but I can at least work towards a fraction of it. You might want to check out their website.

Wow that's impressive. Thanks for the link - I actually hadn't heard of them before.

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My Dad’s work ethic wasn’t the greatest.  Sometimes we ate great. Other dinners were coco and toast. When that failed Mom would serve cambric tea (hot water, powdered milk and sugar) and biscuits announcing ‘This is what Grandma loved’

In the late 50’s us 4 siblings started to squirrel away staples when times were good. Not sure if Mom ever figured it out. Magically appearing sugar or beans etc.

Not sure if Dad’s current job loss was a true “emergency”. But to see Mom struggle, almost in tears, at her offerings was to us.

That prepping state of mind has never left me.

PJL_______________________________________________________________________

Today is the last day of your life  ~~  So far.

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I like the elemental aspects of the material and physical life. I am always 'breaking everything down'.

Trying to get underneath the basic forces and intentions of these building blocks of the more complex.

So my Life and World is always coming apart in new ways, not always (or often) for the better.

So it is like I am out of control on a broken roller coaster with parts falling off of it all the time..

I think that survival is my code word for trying to stay alive and strapped into my seat in this situation.

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In the late 50’s us 4 siblings started to squirrel away staples when times were good. Not sure if Mom ever figured it out. Magically appearing sugar or beans etc.

Not sure if Dad’s current job loss was a true “emergency”. But to see Mom struggle, almost in tears, at her offerings was to us.

That prepping state of mind has never left me.

That's one heck of a back story! To me, job loss is as good an emergency as any. A mother's struggle just as much so. You and your siblings were wise to do what you did. Well handled, that's for sure!

So it is like I am out of control on a broken roller coaster with parts falling off of it all the time..

I think that survival is my code word for trying to stay alive and strapped into my seat in this situation.

Trying to remain in control while life throws curve balls at you is pretty much the ultimate reason for being a prepper.

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Just wanted to say how much I love that description lol.

What was the first thing you changed/invested in after that experience?

I decided to look into portable products. First thing I bought was a portable stove. Then looked at candles / flashlights

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i posted my origin story so to speak in my into thread.  so ill just copy/paste that here so as not to retype it all: 

 

thank you for the welcome.

i feel like preppers get a bad rap because of a lot of the junk they see on television.  there are some good programs (like history's Alone) that portray survival in a more realistic sort of way but for every one of those, there are 5 'doomsday prepper' type shows that make us look like we are all crazy rednecks living in bunkers just praying for a disaster to hit.  its funny how people react sometimes.  it usually starts with that 'youre crazy, dismissive' look.  but then when you actually talk to them for a few minutes a lot of times it starts to make sense.  they start to think about what might happen if they were caught in a flood, or a snowstorm, or their car breaks down, and suddenly having a little bit of preparedness doesnt seem so crazy

 

as for the snowstorm, i wasnt quite as well prepared as i am now.  i am sure being from Canada that you are well versed in snow.  we had 7-8 feet fall in the course of a few days.  i was in college at the time and living in a house i was renting.  thankfully, i did have a good bit of food on hand.  i was already in a house so shelter wasnt an issue, but power was out for roughly a week and a half where i was, and it was cold enough that the pipes began to freeze pretty quickly. 

you pretty much just melted snow for water and cooked with a gas stove or grill (if you were lucky enough to have one) or with a small fire if not.  no power, no running water, and feet of snow on all of the roads, is the sort of thing that makes you look at things a little differently.  like how much of a difference something as simple as a good flashlight or candles  can be when you cant just flick a switch for light.  or how quickly you go through food when you have a finite supply and dont know when youll be able to go get more. 

it was a very interesting experience.  you realize just how easily some of the things you use daily and never give a 2nd thought to can go away.  it wasnt a life and death situation in my case, but it was certainly enough to get me to think about things a little differently. 

i see so many people these days that are so dependent on different things.  be it the internet, caffeine, cell phones, whatever.  im not really sure exactly when, but at some point i just decided that i wanted to be able to be self sufficient.  i wanted to be secure in knowing that id at least have a better shot at making it through whatever situation i run into.  i like gadgets and technology as much as anyone, but i never want to feel like i cant live without it.  and i DEFINITELY never want to be one of those people who panics the second they lose cell phone service.

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Even as a kid I was always kind of a dork or geek and kept a pocket or backpack full or whatever random crap I thought I'd need throughout the day.  When I was in middle school I read Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer and it really haunted me a little I guess.  I would daydream about how I would fare in a situation like that with what I just had in my house.  I began to be a little more deliberate about what I kept in my backpack after that.

All in all I grew up in a very DIY household.  My mom was always a canner and we definitely had at least a couple months worth of food in the house (usually, more like six months.)  She has your classic homemaker's skillset and nearly everything we had was from scratch, including a lot of our clothes.  My dad was a millwright (and now a general contractor as his "retirement" job) and so we kids were exposed to all things mechanical as we helped him fix and maintain the cars and what not.  The only thing missing from this upbringing was hunting, firearms, and livestock (my mom always had a very nice vegetable garden.)

After I got married and out on my own, I spent a period of time wanting to "simplify and streamline" my life, I wanted to live as efficiently as possible.  That meant doing away with redundancy, buying groceries at need, and reducing the amount of actual possessions.  That's all good in it's own way, but it really provides no "depth to the bench" if things go sideways.

This became ever so clear to me during the Blackout of 2003.  Three days of no power or water throughout much of the upper east coast and Great Lakes region.  My wife and I stayed with my parents on nights 2 and 3 but on the first night when the "youths" were out in the street partying I realized that if it went to a day 5 that would become a riot.

After that we began to "prep" in earnest.  Having kids turned up that particular dial to 11.  While I still have an aversion to hoarding or saving items or their own sake (if it doesn't have a definite use, it's gets ejected) I do see the need to keep a well stocked pantry and a supply of raw materials on hand.  My goal is to have a years worth of supplies on hand.  In some areas that was easy to achieve, in others we are not quite there yet.

Our preps developed around the basic camping gear that we already had on hand.  We've expanded past that now and have fully ready BOB/GHBs and a larger Bug Out Kit, but our primary plan is Bug In.  The ultimate Bug In will be the future homestead.  It's looking like that is 3 to 5 years out at the moment, but I'll confess that some days the desire to push up the time frame is pretty intense.

When prepping, I try to keep two principles in mind.  The first is "prep what you can, when you can."  That is, don't make yourself crazy with the need to have it all in place right now.  Do what you can as the time and funds are available.  It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint.  The second principle is the acronym (brazenly stolen from the military) P.A.C.E.  Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency.  I try to apply that acronym to what I identify as the basic core needs of my family's survival (shelter, food, safety, etc.)

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Unistat76 - sounds to me like a pretty seamless process into becoming a prepper, with that one power outage giving you a jump start into the big leagues.

While I still have an aversion to hoarding or saving items or their own sake (if it doesn't have a definite use, it's gets ejected) I do see the need to keep a well stocked pantry and a supply of raw materials on hand.

I feel you on the aversion to hoarding front, but you're right about the fact that the "if it doesn't have a definite use, it's gone" rule really helps keep things away from the hoarding front.

Also really strongly feel the same way about the impatience factor. Sometimes I just want to be able to get all my plans done in one go, even though they really take years to save up for and do go about carrying on properly. We really shouldn't be dumping all our savings into prepper gear or homesteads. Slow and simple, and with a good chunk of "rainy day" savings is definitely the best way.

Thanks for sharing!

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I live in Ecuador, next to an active/erupting volcano. And there are two other currently erupting not too far away. We also get occasional earthquakes, mudflows, and, of course, super El Niño is coming.

I'm originally from Finland and we prep for every winter. There are always snowstorms and you can be left without electricity for few days or even a week at the countryside. As a kid my parents had a small homestead and we had chicken, turkeys, goats, and other small animal.

i think a better question would be, when I have not prepped. It took me few years  (I've been living here for almost twenty years) to get used to the different lifestyle here in Ecuador and the fact that there isn't snow or real winter here. And to adjust to all the other challenges the nature offers here.

Prepping just is the smart thing to do. It's important to be prepared and to know what to do when something happen. And since I have family, it's important that they are prepared also. And to know what we will do to find each other and to be together when something happens.

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I live in Ecuador, next to an active/erupting volcano. And there are two other currently erupting not too far away. We also get occasional earthquakes, mudflows, and, of course, super El Niño is coming.

I'm originally from Finland and we prep for every winter. There are always snowstorms and you can be left without electricity for few days or even a week at the countryside. As a kid my parents had a small homestead and we had chicken, turkeys, goats, and other small animal.

i think a better question would be, when I have not prepped. It took me few years  (I've been living here for almost twenty years) to get used to the different lifestyle here in Ecuador and the fact that there isn't snow or real winter here. And to adjust to all the other challenges the nature offers here.

Prepping just is the smart thing to do. It's important to be prepared and to know what to do when something happen. And since I have family, it's important that they are prepared also. And to know what we will do to find each other and to be together when something happens.

Great story, Joanna! Just wondering - what would you consider to be the most important preps an individual or family living in Ecuador could have ready?

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Hi Elise,

right now, here in Quito, the number one is a bug out bag. We all (the three of us) have one ready. I have asthma and both my husband and son are allergic, so medication is a must. Also first aid supplies, a good mask, eye protectors, a cap for the volcanic ash.

Besides that we always have a supply of food and water at home. When we built the house we made it with a cistern. We also normally cook with propane and have a good supply of that. It's not at all strange for the electricity to go out where we live and same happens with water from time to time. So, it's good sense to be prepared.

The gun laws are very strict in Ecuador. We don't have any but my hubby knows how to use them and where to get them in emergency. The real problem is that since he's in the Ecuadorian Air Force, in emergency he isn't usually at home.

In my opinion the best prep one could have here is a homestead outside of the large cities. It's always the growing season and you can easily be independent. Hubby's parents have a farm about two hours by car from our home. I know we can go there if we ever need it. But my dream is to have a place of our own as soon as hubby retires. Right now his job and my son's school makes it impossible.

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You seem to have it all figured out. That is good. But stay diligent and have goals and always work towards them. Slow but steady. I love the stories of your home down there. A little scary but cool. Is your political system stable? Do you fear mass violence or is all peaceful? Just wondering because I'm not sure of your region. 

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I can't really pick a date or a particular thought that got me into prepping. I feel that it was more of a natural progression. I have been into survival pretty big for ten years or so digesting all I could read or watch. I learned a ton but you never can really know it all. Knowledge leads to wisdom but it turns to more of a philosophical view on survival and less about tools and more about resources. Tools are awesome but without knowing all the tricks you can do with it, it is just a shiny brick. I think I really started headlong into prepping when I started building my first BOB. If I was to worry about that why not prepare for in home and away. I am a little out there and have a few buried caches on public land where I could stage or bug out short or long term. Prepping makes me all warm inside. I like going in the basement and look or catalog and think about "what if" and how I would adapt and provide for my family in a tough time. I hope it never happens but it's fun to image.

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In my opinion the best prep one could have here is a homestead outside of the large cities. It's always the growing season and you can easily be independent. Hubby's parents have a farm about two hours by car from our home. I know we can go there if we ever need it. But my dream is to have a place of our own as soon as hubby retires. Right now his job and my son's school makes it impossible.

It's a great dream that I'm sure you'll act on fully once the timing is right. There are so many factors to weigh into preps, definitely nice when the timing is finally perfect and you can act on the ones you wanted to the most.

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I can't really pick a date or a particular thought that got me into prepping. I feel that it was more of a natural progression. I have been into survival pretty big for ten years or so digesting all I could read or watch. I learned a ton but you never can really know it all. Knowledge leads to wisdom but it turns to more of a philosophical view on survival and less about tools and more about resources. Tools are awesome but without knowing all the tricks you can do with it, it is just a shiny brick. I think I really started headlong into prepping when I started building my first BOB. If I was to worry about that why not prepare for in home and away. I am a little out there and have a few buried caches on public land where I could stage or bug out short or long term. Prepping makes me all warm inside. I like going in the basement and look or catalog and think about "what if" and how I would adapt and provide for my family in a tough time. I hope it never happens but it's fun to image.

I really like your approach to prepping. I admire your dedication to learning new things, it's awesome how much you've been able to teach yourself (obvious from all the posts you've made on this forum, of course!).

Prepping makes me "all warm inside" too, lol. It's a nice feeling - peace of mind, really - that comes when you've added one more good prep to your arsenal.

I'm of the same sort as you that I really do hope it never happens - there are some preppers who almost want things to happen to be proven right. I'd rather not any of it happen, but I know it's likely something is going to happen, at least eventually, so I prep.

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