The first thing you have to keep in mind is that the typical home is not a defensible structure, unless specifically designed that way. You can of course fortify your home, but once you begin doing that you have already conceded that criminals and other malcontents will be reaching your front door. In a …

This content was originally published here.

This article was originally published by Tracey Watson at Natural News

We live in an unstable world, where even countries that look financially and politically stable can suddenly descend into chaos. Venezuela is an excellent – albeit sad – example of this. Once the richest country in all of Latin America thanks to its huge oil reserves, Venezuela now resembles a war zone. Residents of this once thriving country are now forced to cope with crippling inflation, devastating food shortages, virtually non-existent healthcare, and most recently, electricity blackouts.

While we all hope that the United States will never have to face this type of devastating scenario, the reality is that nobody can predict what will happen in the future. Reflecting calmly on just what might happen in a catastrophic grid-down situation can help put things in perspective and provide the push needed to knuckle down and start preparing for any potential future “what-ifs.”

The 10 most likely grid-down scenarios

Urban Survival Site recently provided a list of the most likely things that would happen if some type of disaster should cause the national grid to go down.

No more supply trucks

Soon after a grid-down situation ensues, supply trucks will likely stop running, leaving store shelves empty and unable to supply the food and other goods that we would so urgently need in this type of situation. This is yet another reason why obtaining the right type of storable survival food now is so important.

No more stores

With stores and restaurants unable to source supplies, most will be forced to close their doors within days. Some people will very quickly realize this, and looting and rioting can be expected to ensue within hours.

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No more school

Unable to continue with normal schooling amid the chaos, schools will likely shut down quickly. Since school administrators are unlikely to allow children to leave unaccompanied, parents would need to make their way there through the chaos to collect their kids and take them home.

No more business

All commerce as we know it will shut down completely in a grid-down situation. While cash might still be used – at least for a while – banks would be closed and ATMs would not be operational. Most people will quickly switch from buying things for cash to trading (or bartering) with others to exchange goods they have in excess for those they need from other people.

No more fuel

No supply trucks also means no gasoline. And that doesn’t just mean we won’t be able to use our vehicles. The generators that many would hope to rely on for electricity will also need fuel.

No cell phone reception

Cellular phones and the internet will likely go out of service quickly after the grid goes down, making it even more important to invest in a HAM or CB radio now – while you still can. Bear in mind that no internet also means no email communication.

No functioning post offices

With no email communication available, old-fashioned letters may once more become a preferred method of communication. Unfortunately, however, post offices are likely to stop operating soon after the grid goes down, leaving people with absolutely no way to contact each other – especially those who live far apart.

No more air-conditioning

While keeping cool in summer might not be a life or death necessity, in some places it could really make life very uncomfortable, adding to the stress of an already traumatic situation.

No more heating

Now this one really can mean the difference between life and death. Insufficient heating during periods of extreme cold could result in serious loss of life. Urban Survival Siteurges people to prepare for this situation now by stockpiling firewood, propane bottles, candles, warm blankets and sleeping bags.

No more running water

Last, but certainly not least, is the likelihood that there will be no running water if the grid goes down. This means no drinking water, no way to water the plants you need for food, and no way to maintain personal hygiene or wash clothes.

Water is one of the most important items to stockpile right now, and remember to collect both drinking water and water for cleaning and personal hygiene.

It’s true that the future could be a scary place, but it will certainly be a lot less frightening if we take the time now to plan for the worst case scenario.

Sources include:

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When it comes to preparedness information, far too many of the so-called survival experts focus on events that quite honestly don’t come close to having a one in a billion chance of happening.

While talking about asteroids slamming into the earth or some dystopian vision of the apocalypse might be a good way to get attention, the reality of those events happening in your life is probably pretty unlikely.

So what type of events should we be planning for?

It’s not that the big
nation-destroying events will *never* happen, it’s just that smaller individual-destroying
events are far more common. Also, those big SHTF events rarely take the form of
a big announcement: just take a look at
some of the actual disasters people have suffered over the years, like
Hurricane Katrina and Venezuela’s latest economic collapse. It’s not as if
people couldn’t see these events coming, but it’s also not as if they all
happened in one day and were announced in a special news bulletin the way you
typically see such events occur in disaster movies.

With Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophe took several weeks to
unfold; Katrina began as just one more of a
number of tropical storms, most of which never amounted to anything
serious. As this particular storm grew and moved into the Gulf of Mexico,
anyone with half a brain could see this was as good a time as any for people on
the shorelines to bug out and head inland. In short, Hurricane Katrina was
hardly an unexpected disaster, though some could certainly fault the local
leadership of the affected areas for not having acted more effectively to
evacuate their people and fix the damage afterward.

As for Venezuela, anyone with a grasp of history could have
foreseen that electing a power-hungry Marxist dictator like Hugo Chavez to
office was bound to lead to economic disaster, as Communism always has. If
anything, the only thing nobody could anticipate was that the economic collapse
would take as long to unfold as it did.

As late as 2013, fool leftists were praising Venezuela for being a “working” socialist state. Meanwhile, anyone with half a brain had already either fled Venezuela for a country with freer markets and more civil liberties or was busy storing and hiding supplies for the imminent disaster. Also worth noting, is that martial law has never really officially been “declared” there either, it was just gradually imposed through a series of enabling acts and policing actions. As Venezuela’s collapse ought to demonstrate, you don’t “wake up one morning” (as even some prepper websites like to say) to discover your nation’s economy has collapsed; what actually happens is that you watch the economy slide into ruin day by day, gradually at first, and then more and more rapidly.

This is not to say that huge nation-destroying SHTF events never begin with a huge announcement either; just that the onset will tend to take longer than a “moment” or a day.

When it comes to putting together a SHTF Plan, you should be looking at real-world historical disasters!

The truth is for most, a SHTF disaster could be as simple as losing your job or a summer storm causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home when you’re already strapped for cash. In all likelihood, those are the types of crisis situations that are most likely to happen. Unfortunately, these are not the types of threats that receive attention on prepping websites. Not many people share articles about the dangers of losing your job!

What’s your SHTF Plan? Are you prepping for Personal and Localized Disasters?

The last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from prepping; hell, even the people who are prepping for events like a zombie apocalypse are probably going to be better off during a small-scale event than their unprepared neighbors. That being said, as someone who regularly talks about preparedness, I think it’s important to really think about what you’re actually preparing for.

How realistic are your preparedness plans?

The reality of prepping is that when you reach that metaphorical SHTF moment, there is a very high chance that the event will be either hyper-personal or extremely localized in nature.

A job loss, a freak winter storm that shuts down your city, or even an event like Hurricane Katrina are all examples of localized or personal disasters. While they aren’t the Walking Dead, they are things that can feel like an end of the world event when you’re living through the situation firsthand.

If you’re not prepared financially, then you’re not prepared.

Another aspect of prepping, one that is sadly often ignored, is the area of personal financial security. It’s certainly not as exciting as the Doomsday Preppers Crap that a lot of people try selling, but the reality of the situation is that if you are not prepared financially, you’re not prepared for anything.

The odds of losing your job or being hit with a major personal financial crisis are much higher than an asteroid slamming into your local Costco. Hey, if the Asteroid keeps you up at night then have at it, but I’m telling you that if you’re not preparing for these mundane small-scale events, you’re not preparing for the reality of the world we live in.

What can you do to Plan and Prepare SHTF Moments?

In most areas of the world, including the United States, most people are already living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, according to almost every published study, 40% of Americans cannot handle or pay for a $400 emergency expense. If that number hits $1,000, only only 39% of Americans have ability to cover the emergency.

Think about that for a minute; that means that for many Americans something as simple as a refrigerator breaking down could be their SHTF moment. While romanticizing preparedness might be a good time for some, logically thinking about the reality of your situation is the only way to truly solve your preparedness equation.

Your Preparedness Planning needs to include realistically figuring out how long you can actually last without an income.

If you lost your job today, how long could you and your family go before you hit that Crisis moment?

Start taking a personal inventory of what you have, how long it will last, and how much money you have in reserves. Next, start thinking of ways to build up your stockpiles of food, water, emergency supplies, and all of the other essential necessities of life – that includes the boring things that nobody ever writes about like socks, toilet paper, bath soaps, and the things you know you will use on a daily basis.

What can you do today to fix your situation?

Supplement your income, Now!

One of the best ways to secure your future is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you have a job that you consider secure, it’s still a good idea to have a backup plan.

Chances are you have at least a couple of skills that can be used to start a small side business. It doesn’t have to be big, but it will give you a fallback plan should something go bad – and hey, you never know you could find out you make a lot more money working for yourself!

Worst case scenario: you have a little extra cash to throw at that emergency savings fund. Yes, you do need one of those!

Get out of Debt!

Living debt free is an extremely important part of any well-rounded preparedness plan. It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting, but it is essential to your long-term survival. It’s about thriving, living a comfortable existence, and having peace of mind while everyone else is living amid the chaos.

Do you have a SHTF Plan?

Now that you’ve started thinking about the most likely threats that you will face, you need to really dig down and do a little work to formulate your plan.

My Plan of Action

The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: I wrote this book to give people a real-world look at the threats that are out there and a solid plan to deal with them. Quite frankly, I was sick of seeing a bunch of wilderness survival manuals being sold as actual advice for people in the real world. The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide takes everything I know about prepping and preparedness planning and condenses it into an easy to follow guide that can be used by anyone as a real SHTF Survival Plan.

From surviving natural disasters, man-made disasters and disease outbreaks to essential tactics and step-by-step instructions for surviving urban disasters, crime, violence and terrorist attacks, readers will learn the self-reliance strategies they need to survive in just about any real-world situation.

This content was originally published here.

Man carrying food to storageSome of the most popular web articles on emergency preparedness have to do with food.  This is also a widely discussed topic in print and on forums.  And it is no wonder.  In today’s society eating is no longer just for sustenance.  It is a social form, a source of family bonding and togetherness and for many, a hobby.  And, with rising costs, it is a significant part of almost everyone’s household budget.

Today I would like to share ten tips for securing your food supply so that in the event of a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or civil disobedience on a massive scale, you will be able to eat and to thrive – no matter what.

Protecting Your Food Supply – No Matter What Happens

1.  Grow your own food.  This sounds so simple yet few actually do it.  There are lots of excuses:  not enough room, not enough sunlight, don’t know how and so on.  Well I say get over it.  Whether you have a backyard area, a raised garden, or a few pots on the deck, with a little bit of work you can grow something.   Try using edible plants in your landscape or how about some fruit trees or an herb garden?

2.  Learn to “put up” food by canning, freezing or dehydrating your bounty.  With or without modern gadgets, putting up food as it is called, takes some effort but the results are worth it.  You save money, control the use of salt and preservatives, and guarantee a source of food when the grocer’s shelves are empty. You can also ferment your homegrown veggies to make sure nothing goes to waste.

3.  Plan for supplemental power sources when the electricity shuts down.  If the power grid goes down, you will be out of luck if you only rely on a freezer for stored foods.  One option is to get an emergency generator – just be sure that you also store an adequate amount of fuel.  Or forget about freezing and either purchase canned foods or can and dehydrate your own.

4.  Zip those lips. Be discreet.  Don’t brag about how much food you have stored away or you will find yourself the hit of the cocktail set as your friends and neighbors take note of where to go to eat when the SHTF.  Speaking of which, do you have a way to defend your food supply?

5.  Get creative about storage.  As with the garden, you may need to get creative when it comes to food storage.  Walk around your home or apartment with a new set of eyes.  What about under the beds or in a back corner of the closet?  The crawl space under you house is good too – just remember to keep things elevated a bit so that a damp floor does not ruin your stored food.

6.  Have alternative cooking sources.  You are going to need some way to cook your stored food if the power is out.  Pick up an inexpensive wood or charcoal burning grill such at the Volcano II Collapsible Stove.  You can also – very very little money – get a rocket stove that will burn wood or biomass (twigs, pinecones and such).  You will be amazed at how versatile these little stoves are.  Also consider a solar oven.  Whatever you choose, make sure you either have fuel or access to fuel.

7.  Learn depression cooking.  Cook from scratch, make your own bread, and learn to cook full meals from low-cost, easily stored staples such as beans and rice.  One of the mistakes people make is to acquire food for emergency use yet continue to purchased pre-made, pre-packaged, or takeout food for daily consumption.  They never learn to cook let alone learn to cook using the most basic of ingredients.

8.  Take advantage of natures bounty.  Depending on where you live, fishing or hunting or both may be an option for you.  Learn fishing and hunting skills now and please, don’t forget to learn to clean and cook your bounty.  There are some excellent videos on butchering and well as preserving your bounty.  It is not as difficult as you think.

9.  Store food properly.  Read about the six enemies of food storage and plan accordingly.  Moisture and bugs can be a more common problem in a SHTF situation. Purchase food in bulk then package and store dry goods for the long term in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Or shop at dependable vendors such as Emergency Essentials for foods that are already safely packaged for long term emergency use.  You will be surprised at the many options available to you.

10.  Depend on yourself, not the government, to take care of you.  No list would be complete without reminding you that you need to rely upon yourself, and not others to tend to your needs if a disaster or other major catastrophic event occurs.  Your neighbors, who have not prepared, may be downright hostile and the government, while well-intentioned, may take some time to get needed supplies to your area.  Analyze the potential for disaster  in your geographical area (earthquake, wild fires, floods, tornado, hurricane) and have a plan that you can implement should you need to shelter in place or evacuate.

Getting Started: What Foods To Stash Back First

A lot of foods that store well are very inexpensive compared to a lot of the mass produced convienence foods so many people consume. You can make a variety of meals by putting back some basics and then dressing them up.

Variety is important to your health

Sometimes preppers get caught up on just stocking up on the cheapest calories for their dollar. While there is nothing wrong with doing this to some degree, you need to have a variety of foods so that you get enough protein, fat, and fiber. While adding multi vitamins to your preparedness stash is a good idea, even they can only go so far to bridge gaps in the diet during a SHTF situation.

The Final Word

There are tons of resources available to help you achieve food security by taking advantage of these ten tips.  On excellent source to get you started are some of the articles here on Backdoor Survival (listed below).  Another source is the DVD sets Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm and Food Storage Secrets.

However you choose to do it, work now on getting things growing and on learning the skills you will need in order to survive.  And remember, when the public food supply is interrupted, it will be too late to start prepping.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

Survival is all about learning to fend for yourself and food self-sufficiency is at the top of everyone’s list.

Canning: If you are interested in learning how to can and want the basics, the bible is the USDA Home Canning Guide.  I have compiled all of the various sections into a single document and made it available for download here or if you prefer, you can download the individual sections at the USDA site.

Solar Dehydrator:  Want to learn more about how you go about dehydrating crops?  Here is a free download on Solar Dehydrator technologies including how to dry fruits an vegetables.

Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner:  If you are looking for just the right food preservation gear, check out this pressure canner and cooker.  It is constructed of warp-resistant, heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating and works on both regular and smooth-top ranges.

Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator:  This food dehydrator is highly rated yet inexpensive.  Be forewarned, though.  One you are hooked on drying your home grown fruits and veggies, you just might want a dehydrator with a larger capacity.

Want to support Backdoor Survival? Your purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

This content was originally published here.

When the SHTF, assuming you are able to manage to create a stable situation where you are able to survive day-to-day, those small comforts of life are what you’ll really begin to miss—and what will make the difference between feeling like you’re surviving, and truly thriving.

Little things like real maple syrup. Salt and pepper for your eggs. Fresh butter. Some dark chocolate. And yes, also that­ morning coffee you’ve grown so accustomed to enjoying to start your day.

In a situation where coffee is no longer widely available, there are a number of easy to identify alternatives you can learn to find in the wild to create your own  survival coffee-like beverages.

While these won’t literally taste like coffee or have the same caffeine (don’t expect them to mimic coffee in a precise way), they provide a great way for you to get a rich, hot, satisfying morning drink to replace the coffee you grew to rely on to start your mornings. Many of these pair delightfully with cinnamon and nutmeg to create an even more delicious brew.

Start experimenting with these now, and fine-tune your process, so you’re that ready when you really need them. Hey, you might even discover a new forager’s beverage that you find out you love in its own right! These can also be combined with your regular coffee to help stretch out the supply and make it last longer.

As an added benefit of making your own survival coffee substitutes with wild plants, you can cut down on the deforestation, water use, and oil consumption that go part and parcel with industrial coffee production. Foraging is a great way to stretch your stash and live an overall greener lifestyle, allowing you to cut out environmentally-wasteful middlemen and connect more deeply with your own food and the natural world around you.

Each of these are roots, seeds, or nuts, which you can dry and roast, and then grind in a typical coffee grinder before percolating them through hot water like your normal coffee. For proportions of ground material to water, try the same brewing ratio as you would for your typical coffee.

As a general rule, root vegetables are in season during the fall, and nuts can be harvested as soon as they fall from trees. While roots could theoretically be harvested for most of the year, they will be far from prime and probably not worth your time in the off-season.

1. Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)

Used for centuries for its medicinal properties, dandelion tea is a forager’s classic. If you roast the roots, however, they can then be ground up and used as a healthful survival coffee. The resulting brew is less bitter than coffee, and also less acidic.

While the supposed health effects of dandelion root coffee haven’t been widely studied, the plant itself has been found to be extremely healthful, with many medicinal properties and beneficial nutrients. As for the “coffee” drink made from the roasted roots, it is said to have probiotic effects.

The best part about dandelion root coffee, however, is how incredibly plentiful the plant is. As long as you live near yards containing weeds, you probably have dandelions growing nearby!

2. Chicory Root (Cichorium intybus)

Chicory is a ubiquitous sight on many roadsides and highway on-ramps during the summertime. You can pick it out easily by its long, woody, gangly stems and distinctive bluish-purple flowers. As a young plant, it looks similar to a dandelion rosette, which is no accident – it’s closely related to dandelion and radicchio.

I love tossing the flowers into yogurt to liven up my snack, and the leaves are a popular edible as well. The roots, however, are a special prize once roasted and ground, and are one of the most popular coffee substitutes among intrepid foragers.

The brew is said to be good for inflammation, liver function, and gut health, as well as having a beneficial effect on blood glucose. Plus, of all the coffee substitutes you can forage, many naturalists agree that chicory coffee comes closest to the real thing flavor-wise.

The bad part? Chicory is easy to find on the edges of busy roads, but can be elusive to find in the actual woods. In other words, a lot of the chicory that you’ll encounter will be growing too close to the road to be good for harvesting, for risk of consuming the bi-products of automobile exhaust and other chemical consequences of nearby development.

3. Cleaver Seeds (Galium aparine)

Cleavers, also known as “Sticky Willie” and “Goosegrass,” are easy to I.D. — once you have what you think is the right plant, see if it sticks immediately to your hands and clothes! These little clingers are covered in miniscule hooks that make them stick to most things they touch, including themselves.

They’re lots of fun to fling at friends and annoying siblings, but also happen to be edible. And the seeds, coincidentally, can be turned into a hot, pleasing, coffee-like beverage. As a relative of the coffee plant (they’re both in the Rubiaceae family), this isn’t too surprising!

Much like traditional coffee, cleavers have diuretic and laxative effects. The cleaver plant has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb by native peoples. The biggest challenge with harvesting it is getting rid of other plant debris, as all kinds of stuff will stick to your cleavers and won’t want to let go.

On a related note, for a clever little survival use for cleavers, a wad of the stems makes a great filter to get bits of debris out of water. To identify it, look for skinny leaves that form in a whorl around a limp stem. And if in doubt, pluck it and fling it onto your pants to see if sticks!

4. Purple Avens/Water Avens (Geum rivale)

The roots of purple avens can be harvested year-round for a tasty, robust stand-in for coffee. Many like to mix in some milk and sugar, which makes an almost hot chocolatey drink. The leaves are toothed and hairy, with numerous leaflets.

The buds are droopy, reddish-purple and alien-looking, with long stalks and spreading clusters. Flowers bloom into five yellowish petals that form around the purplish centers. Roots are purplish and aromatic.

Seeds emerge as part of a feathery plume or tendril. As the name implies, this plant (related to roses) loves wet soil.

5. American Beech Nuts (Fagus grandifolia)

This deciduous, 35-55 meter tree has bark that is silvery-gray and smooth. Leaves have fine teeth at the end of each vein, but the easiest way to identify beech (other than by its nuts) are by finding the cigar-like buds. Its smooth bark makes it a favorite tree trunk for young lovers to carve their names into.

The nuts fall to the ground in the fall, at which point you’ll be locked in a desperate race against the local mammal and bird population to get to the choice specimens before deer, foxes, bears, squirrels, and all types of other forest creatures steal them all for themselves.

Hidden in the spiky little pods are two or three nuts each. Beech nuts also have an outer coating that comes off easily after roasting. After getting rid of the husks, just roast your beech nut harvest in a cast iron pan and then grind them up.

They’re rich in fat and protein, making for a hearty brewed drink. As a side note, the young leaves and inner bark of the American beech tree are also edible. As is also the case with acorn-producing oak trees, beech nuts don’t fall every year, and some trees will go years without producing any.

For that reason, there’s an extra little sense of reward in finding a good crop, knowing that you arrived at just the right time. In addition, trees don’t start seeding until they’re around 40 years old, so the young ones won’t drop any nuts. Nut production is said to really ramp up around age 60. If only human beings always aged as gracefully as beech trees do!

Forget instant coffee in a survival situation

There is going to be some preperation involved when it comes to using any survival coffee substitute. There is no instant coffee solution when it comes to making your own substitutes.

Don’t set your expectations too high.

There is nothing that tastes completely like real coffee. While some of the survival coffee substitutes in this article migth be really tasty, don’t expect any of them to taste exactly like your favorite free-trade dark roasted Columbian coffee beans. However, in a survival situation, any similar hot beverage is going to be a lot better than nothing at all.

Final Thoughts

These are a few of the most popular plants you can use to make a coffee-like beverage, but there are lots of others you can try as well. To name a few: the Kentucky coffee tree, fever wort, and sunflower also make popular coffee substitutes for foragers.

Sure, they’re not really coffee. But by learning more about how to use the plants that surround you, you can start making the most of what Mother Nature has to offer, and live a more rich, rewarding, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle in the process.

Even better, making a coffee substitute is only one of a whole array of uses for each of the plants listed—save for the Purple Avens, which only has an edible root, every plant on this list is a versatile edible and medicinal ally, usable in lots of other ways, from steeping in hot water for tea to cooking into a forager’s frittata.

Put back some real coffee if you want a good barter item for SHTF

If you don’t want to do without real coffee in a survival situation, then storing green coffee beans and roasting them in a frying pan as needed is one option. Green coffee beans sealed in mylar with an oxygen absorber will last for many years. You can also roast some and seal that too but it will have a longer shelf life. Buying green coffee beans is much more cost effective than buyin coffee that is already roasted. Here is a link to Samantha’s article on roasting and storing coffee at home.

Author Bio: Eric is a nature-loving writer, experience junkie, and former Boy Scout who never forgot that time-honored Scout Motto: Be prepared. Aside from camping and survival, he loves writing about travel, history, and anything he finds strange and unique!

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Selco interviewed by Daisy Luther

I was recently emailing back and forth with Selco and we were discussing the situation in the US right now, with the political polarization, the rage, and the general cognitive dissonance. I asked him if he saw any similarities between our situation and the one in Bosnia when the SHTF there during the war. When he replied I knew I had to share this information with you.

While we might like to think it could never happen here, the current events here are eerily similar to what happened there in the 1990s.

When you read this. think about recent events. The deep rage about the last presidential election and the upcoming one. The scorn, derision, and actual hatred for neighbors who think differently. The way the media fans the flames of dissent between our fellow Americans. The anger about immigration. The destruction of Civil War monuments. The unease between the races.

You’ll realize that it definitely CAN happen to us…and there’s not one darn thing we can do except to be prepared.

What parallels do you see with events in the US and Bosnia before the SHTF?

US and Yugoslavia (in 1990) on first look do not have anything in common because people are going to say, “The USA cannot have anything similar to any socialistic system.”

This is true but only on first look.

Yugoslavia had somewhere around 20-22 million citizens, six republics (similar to states in the US), 3-4 main religions, and many national groups (ethnicity).

The official state policy was to build Yugoslavian “nationality” (from the end of WW1) and through different ways that effort was successful until the 90s.

We were “something big, united through differences with a strong connection to make something big.”

And then those differences were used to make chaos.

In the late 80s and beginning of the 90s (when democracy came) the problems started and ended up in series of wars and cases of complete collapse.

Things that I experienced in my case prior to SHTF, and things that you might recognize:

Can you explain how the current political polarization could make matters worse when the SHTF?

Strong polarization eventually brings fear and hate towards “others”, and once you get into that state of hate and fear it is very easy to be manipulated, even though prior or later, it looks weird and funny how easily you were brought into that state.

I remember the exact moment roughly 25 years ago when I was brought in discussion and actually rioting over the statue of a general from WW2 which was about to be destroyed because for some people he was a war criminal and for others he was a hero and important political figure.

It was a big event, and people were brought into that event in big numbers, arguing and fist fighting and rioting…

At the same time, the wheels of big events were actually already starting to move, and if I were smart I would have left the country or bought a weapon instead fighting over a historical figure.

Does this sound familiar?

It was only one event that was used in order to polarize people more. “Us” and “Them”.

It is so easy to manipulate people when you throw hate and fear in the game.

Polarization makes things worse when SHTF because it is easier to “dehumanize” others that are different than you. Through the fear and hate, groups are pushed to do whatever the people in power want them to do, even if that means horrible crimes. Remember, once some group of people (religion, political, regional, race…) is dehumanized (for example through smart media work) the rules are changing and everything is possible.

For example, with careful media work even today (in time of the internet, social networks, and independent information) it is possible to make the prepper movement look like a terroristic and anarchistic movement and then it’s open season on preppers.

Did political disagreements go away when it hit the fan or did they intensify?

In essence yes, they went away because it all went to how much food, ammo, or whatever resource you had. You realized that big opinions simply do not matter, especially once when you realize that all was somehow planned, and especially once when you realize how foolish you were because you trusted some things.

But of course rage was fed with again fear and hate for ”others”.

It is like that story about how they tried to explain to a conscript [someone who was drafted into the military] what is war all about: higher causes and honor and everything else, and he simply could not get it. Then later in the middle of a fight he suddenly understands everything and yells: “Oh I understand now – THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL ME.”

When you strip everything down to the bare facts, he was right.

How does it move from political arguments to one day, it has all hit the fan and everything has changed? Is there something predictable we could look for?

Again it is about dehumanizing, no matter who or what group. It is about adopting opinions like “they are so different that they do not deserve…( to live here, to have rights…)

Once that happens a whole new set of rules jumps in and those rules mean that lot of your liberties and rights gonna be taken too, and that is the problem actually.

When that happens, you will understand that it is not really important who is who. The only thing important is that somehow you do not have your rights anymore (for example the right to carry a firearm) and then you are in s..t.

You can be so mesmerized with “important political events” or something else that you might even not notice that you are suddenly not allowed to grow your own food or have a solar panel on the roof, or carry a pistol.

You might say now “it is impossible in the US”  but I think in this moment it is bigger news than if some reality show star had “spicy” video than to understand how food delivery in your city works and how much food is in one average store if everything stops moving.

Yes, it is possible.

Have you taken Selco’s online courses yet?

Taking the online courses are the next best thing to getting over to Europe and studying with him personally.

If you want the real deal from a legend who has lived through the SHTF, these are the online courses for you.

Which events in the US have you seen that made you immediately flashback to your situation?

I do not follow politics too deeply even in my country, not to mention politics in the US, but what I do follow is people’s reaction to political events. By that, you can sense where the majority of people’s opinions go and what you can expect from that.

Maybe a year ago I did comment (through an article) on some events in the US and I got an excellent comment from one of my readers who said “My nation, America, is being abruptly dragged out of a deep and prolonged state of subconscious anxiety and depression. It is being assaulted with hope and this is beginning to produce a state of relief which will be managed into uncritical nationalism if at all possible. This euphoric state of national mind is the perfect cover from which to ambush a nation. The pressing for a one world government did not die under Trump, it simply got a new face. The danger to America and to the other nations of the world is more real now than ever. Extreme sobriety is warranted at this time. Most people I have spoken with cannot see this…”

Hope in something new and something better was exactly what I was experiencing just prior SHTF, new leaders, new democracy, freedom…

It clouded my perception, I trusted too much.

What suggestions, if any, do you have to help us be better prepared for political upheaval?

As always, operate in “small circles” (your family, prepper group, network of friends). Learn useful skills, meet good and interesting people (in prepper terms).

That small circle is what it is all about and what is important when SHTF. Sorry, but your political opinion and worries about state policies are worthless, and can not change anything big- it is the big circle, and it is important only in terms of looking and recognizing signs of future events, so you may recognize the correct moment for bugging out for example.

Do not be pulled into general fear and hate because it clouds your judgment and it simply wastes your time.

Do not be pulled into it.

Do people start to realize that their opinion means nothing in politics or do they still hang on to their illusions even after it all goes sideways?

Illusions were the first victims when SHTF. Here are a few of many:

Anything else to add?

I have seen many people killed, a lot of women and children too, civilians. A huge number of people suffered, were hungry and cold and were terrified through that period.

But I can count on one hand the dead or hungry politicians in that time.

Things were good for them through that period. Some of them ended up even richer. A lot of them are still powerful in the same or different parties, and are still talking about “their people” or “ causes” or “fear from others”.

It is the way it works.

About Selco:

Selco survived the Balkan war of the 90s in a city under siege, without electricity, running water, or food distribution. He is currently accepting students for his next physical course here.

In his online works, he gives an inside view of the reality of survival under the harshest conditions. He reviews what works and what doesn’t, tells you the hard lessons he learned, and shares how he prepares today.

He never stopped learning about survival and preparedness since the war. Regardless of what happens, chances are you will never experience extreme situations as Selco did. But you have the chance to learn from him and how he faced death for months.

Real survival is not romantic or idealistic. It is brutal, hard and unfair. Let Selco take you into that world.

This content was originally published here.

Having bees in the backyard to some may not sound appealing at first. Bees are however, an important part of life on earth and without them pollination of plants would cease in your backyard and in the wild. Bees produce honey, which to them is a food source and is a food source for humans as well.
Honey by most accounts is the perfect food for storage and its shelf life out of refrigeration can be counted in centuries instead of months or years. Honey provides calories, it boosts the immune system, and it is used as a topical antibiotic , furthermore raw honey can help you in your fight with allergies. The honey is produced from pollen and local honey of course is produced from pollen from local plants that you may be allergic too. By consuming the honey, you are allowing your body to build a natural immunity (antihistamines) to the pollen over time.
The process of making honey also produces beeswax, which can be made into candles, soothing ointment for lips, cuts and abrasions. Beeswax is often times used in soap making as a hardener. Beeswax can be used to waterproof leather and for wood preservation and maintenance as well.
Honey can be bartered with/sold during a crisis and it is recommended that you do not advertise the fact that you have beehives, to other than close neighbors and family members.
Keeping Bees
Bees can be kept, even if you have limited space, but the hives should be shielded so small children and animals cannot tip over or otherwise disrupt the hives. This is for the safety of the children, animals and for the bees.
Having a beehive in your backyard also ensures pollination of your garden crops and fruit trees in the area. Most commercial orchards have numerous hives in the orchard to ensure pollination.
Most experts recommend that you place high obstacles such as a wooden fence (some recommend at least eight feet) around the hive so the bees are forced to fly back and forth well over the heads of anyone in the area. Your neighbors may have mixed reviews about you keeping bees so it is recommended that you have a talk with them.
It is important that pesticide use is limited if not eliminated altogether around bees or on the plants in the area. Your neighbors may dust their crops with pesticides that can wipe out a hive if the bees collect the dust as they gather pollen and bring it back to the hive.
The typical hive can have up to 75,000 bees, at any one time, with roughly half always at work gathering pollen, hive maintenance and honey production. A hive of this size can produce up to 100 pounds of honey a year but realistically expect to gather 75 pounds. Remember bees use the honey for food so make sure you leave ample supply for the bees when gathering honey in the fall. The bees will hibernate and feed off the honey all winter.
Constructing the Hives
The Ten-Frame Langstroth Hive is considered the most common type of beehive. In this type of hive, the bees build a brood nest at the bottom and fill the top frames with honey.
Hives can be purchased pre-built and all ready to go or you can build your own. Essentially a hive is nothing more that sheets of material that lay side by side similar to folders in a wooden filing cabinet. This makes it easy to remove the individual sheets (wood framed) and to remove the honey.
Keep the hives off the ground (between 18-24 inches) to protect the structure from ground dampness and water runoff, to provide ventilation and to keep small animals from invading the hives. Bees naturally build hives in an area between two and three cubic feet of space.
You need protective gear especially around the face and head. Hands must be protected as well as other parts of the body. Most beekeepers use smokers to help control the bees. Smoke to bees signals a forest fire and they naturally go to the hive or leave the area. Worker bees will go to the hive to gather honey for the mass exodus. Smoke also interferes with their communication system and this helps prevent them from gathering into a swarm.
Types of Bees
Bees are usually purchased in swarms and most recommend you start with two swarms, in the event something happens to one or the other. The colony will increase in size over time.
Everyone that has raised bees for any length of time will usually have their own opinions on the best bees for the new beekeeper. Italian honeybees are recommended for those just starting out because they are considered gentle and easy to manage.
Get with your local extension office on local regulations and for information on the best type of bees for your area.

This content was originally published here.

While being able to meet basic food, water, medical, and shelter needs provides peace of mind, attention should be paid to other areas too. No matter how well you prepare, … Read More

This content was originally published here.

STAY TUNED AFTER THE CREDITS FOR A SPECIAL EXTRA MESSAGE!

Chapter 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjs8ql-fDDk

Chapter 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZdzjdE0zfk

Chapter 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlrUxGNL1iE

Summary: For their first home together, Twilight and Applejack wanted a house close to Applejack’s farm and big enough for Twilight’s books, with a little something special besides. They settled on the perfect place, one of the oldest barns on Sweet Apple Acres, and had it converted into a comfortable house for their little family. But when strange things start happening just after they move in, Twilight finds that she has a mystery to solve before she can really call her dream house “home.”

Original fanfic can be found here:
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/142803/the-homesteading

Downloadable .mp3 versions of Pony Tales Fanfic Readings can be found here:
http://www.mediafire.com/folder/b021763bj94p3/Pony_Tales_%5BMLP_Fanfic_Readings%5D

Support me on Patreon to help Suki:
https://www.patreon.com/ObabScribbler

Please leave feedback in the comments below. I promise to read every single one. If you have something you’d like me to read, pop that in the comments too and I’ll take a look. I can’t promise I will do a dramatic reading of all suggestions, but I will at least consider everything.

The beautiful art of my ponysona used in the intro were created by TaserTail, CeeHoff, FinishLine, Aise, Law44444, Aisu-Isme and Matty4z.
— http://tasertail.deviantart.com/
— http://finishlinemlp.deviantart.com/
— http://ceehoff.deviantart.com/
— http://matty4z.deviantart.com/
— http://aisu-isme.deviantart.com/
— http://law44444.deviantart.com/

And if anyone feels like checking out my own fanfic it can be found on Fanfiction.net for non-pony stuff and Fimfiction.net for pony goodness.
— http://www.fanfiction.net/u/139401/Scribbler
— http://www.fimfiction.net/user/obabscribbler

Cast:

Scribbler (Twilight Sparkle)
https://www.youtube.com/user/obabscribbler

Illya Leonov (Narrator)
https://www.youtube.com/user/Melotah

TheFangirl (Applejack)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCudGmreoaIkjGNe6VTG2NyA

Caitbug (Spike and Fluttershy)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6dxbc0kfA1Nw3XoMXeBPw

Jennabun (Pinkie Pie)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClY59aNrWaPxmrEp-tPC_KQ

Emogak (Rarity)
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheEmogak

Ribonchan (Rainbow Dash)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkPN5xcI82yh2hgacU4VsoA

Keyframe (Cadence) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpRLi63Nu9KZuEFvHvdGprQ

Solar Pony (Night Light)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLQH9kr1MknnYcD2DFZxrA

Music Used:

Twilight Princess (Mystifying Melodies)

Quiet Snowfall (TeknoAXE)

Santa’s Workshop (Derek Fiechter)

We Believe (Florian Blur)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUCu7jcgdYU

This Is The Life: Jingle Bell Version (CrusaderBeach Piano Music)

101 Strings Christmas Selection (101 Strings Orchestra)

Winter Wrap Up – Arranged for Percussion Ensemble (MusicByOctavia)

Other Important Stuff:

Support Suki and me on Patreon
https://www.patreon.com/ObabScribbler?ty=h

ObabScribbler on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ObabScribbler

The question some, if not many people have is “Can I be charged and/or arrested for failing to heed a mandatory evacuation order. The answer is yes, in some states, but not likely. It is akin to a curfew issued in some cities due to civil unrest or a natural disaster. A violation can lead to fines and or incarceration in some cases.

In North Carolina, for example, the governor can “Direct and compel the evacuation of all, or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state during a state of emergency”. “Anyone who violates an evacuation order can be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor, which can be punishable by up to 30 days of confinement, probation, or community service” (Blitzer, 2016).

Texas, for example, specifically provides that a county judge or mayor of a municipality who orders a mandatory evacuation “may compel persons who remain in the evacuated area to leave and authorize the use of reasonable force to remove persons from the area” (Tex. Government Code § 418.185).

Mandatory evacuations are employed to protect the public, and to protect the first responders as well. The order is used when the disaster has the potential to cause severe loss of life, and property damage. The authorities, of course, would prefer people voluntarily leave, and in some cases, a person may be asked to fill out a form if they refuse to evacuate. The form may ask for a person’s next of kin, social security number, and other identifying information so your remains can be identified. This is essentially a scare tactic to encourage people to leave. In most cases, you would be told that emergency services would not be available to include police, fire, hospitals, and paramedics/ambulance services.

By staying, you endanger your life and possibly the lives of others. Rescue personnel even though they may be ordered from an area may still attempt a rescue, that’s simply what they do and in some cases, the rescuers die because of their efforts. Friends and other family members may also try to help or even complete strangers, and thus, their lives are put at risk, it’s not just you in danger.

The urge to stay and protect your property and possessions is overwhelming, but possessions can be gained back, a life cannot. This is another reason to make sure you have prepared, prepared by having adequate insurance coverage, an evacuation plan, and the means to evacuate. If you do not fear a financial disaster, you may be more apt to leave knowing you have the financial means to rebuild and to regain what material possessions you had lost.

Every person has a personal choice to make and if it is just you staying then nobody really has anything to say. However, if there are other family members staying then again it’s just not you in danger, and then there are those that may try to rescue you or bring you supplies.

It is a very difficult decision for most people. You may not have all of the information that the authorities have, so in some instances, you have to trust in their knowledge.

During Hurricane Matthew, some 2 million people evacuated and some found that their homes and property suffered no damages, and thus, some stated they would think twice before leaving again. The fear of looting is a major concern, so many do stay for that reason. However, no one knows before it is too late just how severe a storm may be. Evacuating from one storm only to find out you would have been okay staying, is not a reason to stay the next time.

Be prepared and know the facts and do not put your life or the lives of others in danger for material possessions.

Blitzer, R. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-follow-an-evacuation-order-during-hurricane/

weather.com. (2016). Retrieved 2016, from https://weather.com/safety/news/what-mandatory-evacuation-means

This content was originally published here.