We often go to the dire, the negative and to the desperate when we think of the breaking down of societal norms. And for the most part, there is a lot of negative there to behold.
We should also look on the bright side of all of this chaos, and hardship that is currently upon us or will be shortly enough. That bright side is the grandest of opportunities to build up a community, or series of communities as they did in the 1800’s for each person and family to survive in this world of ours once the modern conveniences are no longer available nationwide. How those who wanted freedom, and liberty went to places and built a society that could sustain them in that purpose.
No! I am not talking about holing up in a commune, compound or bunker of any sort, I am talking a gathering of like-minded people settling an area with grit underfoot, heart in their chest and God overhead. Where people in that community can have all their main needs met by what their neighbors produced and what benefits they can be to their neighbors by what themselves would create. We should look at how the guys who wandered the west 150 or so years ago did it.
I. Community – There are going to be those who want to go it alone. That by far will be the hardest way to get things done, because you only have so many hours in a day, and you can’t duplicate yourself as far as I know of. We need to be able to gather with a group of people who are of good stock, no matter their nationality, color or creed, that honor their word and live by it. There are many skills we can learn from one another. Nothing will help people survive and even thrive more than a tight knit community that cares for its members. In this community, you should find different skills, known or beginning in practice who have access to different resources, and a continual psychological improvement of the community’s morale can be a result of that. Finding others with the same or similar mindset will help y’all survive long-term, and make the situation far more bearable than braving the dark times alone.
Unless it is another group bent on marauding (and there certainly could be those roaming around in this day of decentralized government) You want to be able to have people who are sensible, seeking to understand and the holding of one’s integrity (not necessarily one’s honor) at the highest level. Thus when conflict comes to your community, that things can be resolved without bloodshed. People are more likely to cooperate than fight – in a harsh and lawless world, it would be better to side with your neighbor for mutual benefit than start shooting. That element of trust needs to be there in your community that their word is their bond and will not ask you to back them when they are in error.
II. Speaking of Marauders – There will surely be a need that will arise from time to time in the vein of Self Defense. Beyond what we need to be ready to deal with and the level of defense that we will need to exude, and what we ourselves need to have on hand to make that possible; We also need to take into consideration the defense of our community and the coming to another’s defense when or if called upon. Where your community is can lead to advantages or challenges to do so. But we all need to be fully committed to be our “brother’s keeper” as we would hope they would do for us in a dire situation would come upon us.
III. Building a home, or another shelter, or a fort, or a fence. A lot of hands make the required work light. We’ve seen the present day Amish show up for a barn build and have it done in a day or two. This could also be said of a house, or a community building that is needed, or any larger community building project. Being handy with a hammer or a saw, or a measuring tape will come into play then. Such activities for a single family or for the group as a whole can increase the comradery of the community.
IV. Community Order “We don’t dial 911” – As societal norms continue to crumble and decay, there will be an absence of those law enforcement departments, as well as the larger swathe of first responders. Every type of gun known to man is here to protect their family and property. Our Founding Fathers were wise to put that into our unalienable rights of the Constitution of self protection against anything tyrannical. In the last 100 years or so, we have lost the penchant to be able to not only be ready for self defense with potential deadly force, but also be in full practice to be able to do it. The brainwashing of those who are afraid of guns, or see no need for them, have never been held up or accosted by one. We must be ready to defend ourselves, especially when bodily harm or death is being threatened, when the prospect of law enforcement is scarce or nil.
V. Shooting your dinner, straight and on target. Despite what that Vegan lot try to sell ya, the human body needs to have it’s protein and there hasn’t been anything better that has arisen since God gave us the earth to be caretakers and stewards of it, than to utilize the animals around us for that purpose. We need to use the most efficient ways that we have at hand to do this. Thus the need to have a trusty firearm (or set of firearms) to get us the sustenance our bodies need. We need to be well-versed in the ways of firearms, ammunition and all the tangents that hang thereon. We need to learn to hit something with a bullet and you’ll be better fed and it may even keep you and your family alive in more ways than you now suppose.
VI. Learn Healing Methods – first aid. Don’t get me wrong here, I love modern medicine! I have been a beneficiary of the skilled hands of surgeons and the eyes and minds of specialists that have blessed my life a hundred fold. As long as we can have access to it, at a reasonable cost, then by all means utilize the knowledge, know-how and wisdom that has been revealed to us in our day.
Learning first aid is in that case when you are a bit further away from that still operational Emergency Room, or if society crumbles enough that you can be that type who we call currently a paramedic. Because, treating yourself and or others will probably be the only thing someone can do as medical professionals are going to be few and far between. Make yourself well acquainted with the practices that come with treating bodily trauma. Learn to recognize shock, or hypothermia, or potential internal bleeding. You can take classes for this, many places offer free classes on first aid because they want people in the community to be prepared.
A good first aid book along with a first aid kit is something every household should have before, during, and after a disaster. Primitive and basic conditions should be expected when anyone is helping someone after a catastrophe physical or fiscal. A stockpile of already prescribed medicines should be on your list to get if society breaks down. Antibiotics among the Insulin, or the myriad of others people are using nowadays are always a good idea. Use those medicines that are life giving, until they are completely gone as long as you can. When gathering of these medications, don’t overlook the veterinarian equivalents! At the same time as you are relying on the past Big Pharma, learn what you can do to get the same effect and result with plants and herbs that the Big Pharma medicines often derived from. Even by the acquiring the skill of making your own needed medicinals can save lives in your community as time goes on.
VII. Herbal medicinal remedies. As mentioned above, there are many, many medicinal plants and herbs that have been used by Big Pharma who has synthesized and put into powder or pill form their healing compounds. Often these synthetic made compounds seek to treat only the symptom and not the cause. When the doctor’s not around, knowing which herbs to use and how to use them to treat common ailments like cough, fever, headache, etc. can be a great blessing to your family or others around that may need the help. (herbal remedies)
VIII. Blacksmithing.Being able to make something useful within the community is key to the group’s sustenance. When it comes to societal breakdown, there will be many things that someone can do that everyone will have use for. Everything metal, like a horseshoe, tool, or cooking utensil from scrap metal could come in very handy. This is a skill people will barter for. Blacksmith work does require a good deal of practice and some special equipment, but it’s a skill worth learning and the learning curve is cut a bit if you already know how to weld or do other metal work.
Those other items, like making shoes, or rope, or canvas, or nails, or anything that can be used daily and tends to wear out over time will be something others will want to trade for or buy from you. Start working on those skills now so that you won’t have a horrible learning curve when the time comes to do the skill(s) full time.
IX. Gardening. Growing your own food, vegetables and fruits, with Aquaponics or by Permaculture i.e. knowing soil conditions, how to get water to your plants, extending your harvest season, and common garden pests will be vital to having a continuous food supply. Check out how you can get started growing your food with Aquaponics with the books and set up manual for this highly specialized way of growing food.
X. Clothing. In the past was hand-made on the frontier. Almost any source of cloth could be used to make shirts or dresses. In the last depression in the 1930’s the flour and potato sacks were a great source for mothers to make their husbands’ and children’s clothing. Any knowledge you have with wool or cotton or with any other type of material that can be used for clothing will be something that this community of yours will need to have. Weaving, Looming, Sewing, Tailoring all that is involved with keeping our private bits covered and warm in the winter months.
XI. Leather Tanning – In the habit of wasting not wanting not, when you are hunting for protein, learning the process of skinning a deer, fleshing, stretching, drying, scraping, soaking, brain tanning, and then smoking the hide to waterproof. Deer hides, horse hides, coon hides – any animal hide, was used for just about everything, & rawhide was very useful. The rightly treated leather can have many uses, one of which is clothing, but can be used for many other uses. Having the know-how for working with leather will be a valuable skill to have in this community.
Things that could be done and bartered with in this Community
A. Repairing guns and reusing ammo. Additional ‘Side Jobs’ that one can do is something that everyone will need sooner than later. Because there will be limited or no ammo availability past a certain point, the brass from the shells of expended bullets will be en vogue. The brass can last as long as possible. Gathering your own or finding caches of the various caliber shells that you need can be a great item to barter with, especially if you are able to “reload each shell with the needed caliber sized lead and gunpowder.
B. Stockpiling Wood and/or anything else that is a fuel source that can keeping your community warm in the winter would be a desired commodity. About the only thing all folks can burn is wood. Back in the Wild West, you had a woodpile or a woodshed associated with just about every building you had. Heat came from a fireplace, & it generally wasn’t very effective in heating the rest of the home or building except the direct area around it. In modern times we have gotten used to are central air, but it would be good for your household if you had a fireplace or wood burning stove as a back up.
C. Preserving food without a fridge. Refrigeration is a recent phenomena in relation to all of history. People had to be real ingenious when it came to having long term access to food. Many people have forgotten this old method of preserving food, especially meat.If you can assist others to preserve their food, in the many different ways of pickling, canning, dehydrating, smoking, salting etc. that is a great way for you to earn some extra big bucks with the neighbors in your community.
By the way, beyond how you prep the food, there are ways you can make your food last in the way you store it as well. Click Here to find out more on how to do that!
D. Trapping – When it comes to wild game, you don’t always know when one will come traipsing along, thus, knowing how to trap animals you want for food and clothing; using dead falls and snares; proper preparation of traps; understanding their use and safety. It would be a good thing to know and a way to earn our keep in the community.
E. Tracking – identifying animal tracks; understanding process of tracking. It is a whole art form in and of itself, and takes practice to do well. You see them do it in movies, and the best of the best that trapped knew how to do it. Being able to recognize what could have left its mark or disturbed the surrounding area is a good thing to know and practice.
F. Saving seeds. The other end of gardening is being able to plant again next year. Saving seeds the right way; to ensure the seed gathered has the utmost in growing viability is a great skill to have This is definitely a learned skill, but could be vital to a continued food supply for your community.
G. The Bee Whisperer. One of the most important people on the frontier was the person who sought and found honey. Sugar was almost impossible to come by back then, and could be so again soon enough. Honey, which was called ‘long sweetenin”, was the only source of sweetening for many years. And could be a highly valued commodity that you could bring to your neighborhood.
H.Knowing and preparing wild edibles. Edible wild plants have much more nutrients than their domestic counterparts – if there is one. Wild plants have survived on their own without the help of modern agricultural practices. Only the strongest wild plants survived, leaving the best, and most nutritious of the line to continue the species. Keep in mind that every domestic plant has it’s beginning from an edible wild plant. Which plants in your area are safe to eat and what parts of them are edible? A little foraging can add variety to your diet or even sustain life if there’s nothing else to eat. And be a valuable way to increase your value to the community.
i. Learn how to maintain light at night. Now that may seem a little odd. Especially in the age of electricity, having light after it gets dark is a luxury often overlooked. But if you now how to start a fire, get a wick lit, take care of the candles, or lamps, or lighting oil, or kerosene and all that comes with it should be a skill to consider learning. Fats and other oils will burn and can be obtained throughout nature and the outdoors. Long term solar battery rechargers for flashlights and LED battery powered lanterns are another option.
J. Maintain proper hygiene. This is one of the top priorities because disease and sickness can and do take down the toughest man. Knowing how to make and create the soaps, toothpastes, deodorants, and powders can be a hefty business to be in and to provide to our community. Water may be scarce, and it may not work for any bathing consideration too often. So having that ability and knowledge will be a good for all around you.
What You Need to do for Yourself in this Community
1. Navigation and Orientation – basic compass, map, landmarks; preparation for traveling outdoors; reading nature signs, stars, and sun to navigate through wilderness; knowing the best routes and time to travel. All great things to know, and very few in our day and age have experience with. Odds are that Google Maps will go down… eventually. And it doesn’t get any worse than getting yourself lost, especially if you could have prevented it from happening.
Transportation is a very important issue to consider and how much of what they have can be moved to where they are planning to go. Fuel will be a huge consideration as the lack of it prohibits how far someone can go. Something else everyone should understand is how to read maps.
2. Start a Fire without Matches and I’m not talking with a lighter either. Learning how to keep the fire going 24/7 could be a matter of life or death. You can certainly do it like Tom Hanks did in Castaway, but there are various other ways that may be a little easier to do and not require so much ‘elbow grease’
Flint and steel, 9 volt batteries and steel wool, or even AA batteries and the foil from Doublemint Gum… All good ways without a match in sight.
3. Cooking over a fire. If it isn’t microwavable then most of those in our day and age may not have the skill to cook. Even using the conventional oven couuld be a stretch for some. What I am saying here is getting out of the comforts of home and get yourself over a good campfire.
You may have other methods to cook your food available, like a solar oven or barbeque grill, but an open fire is the most primitive and one of the most common means of cooking in a grid down emergency. And there are certain tools, and methods that if you have and know them will help fire cooking go a lot easier for you.
4. A car or a horse? What should come first? I always say, lead with what you know first. If it is an animal, than you don’t have to worry about gas, and tires and maintenance but you do have to worry about shelter, feed and horseshoeing.
Driving a car. They do go a lot faster than a horse. There are a ton of upside with a vehicle, and a few on the downside. If you decide to go this route, make sure its one that is prior to the computer age (early 90’s) and one that is easier to maintain and fuel.
Riding a horse. They make this look easy in the movies, but there is a learning curve involved. A horse is transportation, a pack animal, and a friend. Learning to ride one can get you places when roads are impassable or vehicles aren’t working. Plus, your gas reserves or money to buy it won’t last forever when no more is being produced.
5. Don’t throw away anything that may be useful at some point in the future. I always wondered why my grandparents kept so many bibs and bobs around; so many buttons and spools of thread, a ton of washers, nuts, and screws of various sizes, even types of wood, or stone, or brick. They found out, during the first Great Depression that you never knew if you could find, afford, accommodate what you needed and you kept it around just in case.My grandparents NEVER threw away jars, plastic bags, casseroles dishes, boxes, cans, and all sorts of metal.
7. Stealth. Nature is a gift, and the ability to live comfortably from its provisions is one of the most life-changing experiences a person can ever have. The art of living within one’s surroundings without making a major impact on it seems to have been lost over the years, Adopt the ways as much as you can of the plains natives who roamed with the large herds, and thrived in such a state.
Also, you need to know how you can be light on your feet, or silent to your footstep. Being quiet as you and your love ones move from a dangerous place or people could be a valuable skill to practice.
8.Understand the mindset of desperate person. Difficult times truly show what a man (or woman) is made of. When hardships hit, some people are going to, simply put, go crazy. That neighbor that was in control during many minor emergencies may be the one pounding on your door with whacked out eyes demanding what you have because they did not prepare for anything. Know what you are willing to do in any type of scenario, up to the point of defending yourself by taking another’s life. Grim can be that time, especially in the early stages of the conflict.
I am sure there are a few more examples of what we can do to build the community around us that we want. Birds of the same feather (or mindset) do flock together. And we can start today in being an asset to the group, instead of a drag upon it.