This article has been written by Jim for Survivopedia’s contest “My Prepper Story“. You can vote for this article until March 29, 2015 using the “Vote Up” box at the end of the article.
It all began back in 1996, after I had read an article in a Soldier of Fortune magazine or something similar to that. I read about saving foods, and how bullets would someday become a form of currency. I didn’t believe what I read, but it got me to thinking about things.
Today is present day 2015. I’ve kept on with my prepping attitude even tho I’ve worked a lot of low paying jobs. Any time that I was able to get free food, I put some of it back and saved it, proving that even a poor person has no reason not to be prepared with food stores. I have always enjoyed gardening, so I’ve always had that to give me fresh foods.
As time went by, I landed a better job and began making more money than I needed. I began purchasing small amounts of Silver bars. I bought a house with a 30 year mortgage.
Time changed some more, and I found a foreclosure house. It was a run down, two story brown house that someone had literally destroyed from the inside out, and the bank wanted $5000 on a $58000 house. SOLD! I then sold my house with 27 years of mortgage left on it, which got me out of monthly house payments.
The foreclosure house has a big back yard. The yard was nice, but it didn’t DO anything….It just sat there waiting for me to mow it. So I went one better. I quit smoking, then spent some of the cigarette money on a brand new rear tine tiller. I tilled up the whole back yard. Well, most of it anyway, where there wasn’t fire wood stacked. Now I work a 60×60 garden every year.
My $5000 house came with a crawl space large enough for me to store stuff under. So I kept on buying boatloads of food at Aldi. Who’s going to look under the house for anything? One spring, it rained a lot, and I noticed that some of the canned goods were rusting. Come to find out, it wasn’t from the weather; it was from a washing machine drain line that came apart. That incident cost me about $300 in ruined canned foods. Which goes to show you, don’t keep it all in one spot!
And it’s a good thing that I didn’t. Since my $5000 house needed some repair work on the inside walls, I tore off the plaster in one room. Then I added small shelves between the wall studs, added canned goods, then stapled some nylon strap to hold the canned foods in place. Afterwards, I installed OSB instead of plaster board. I added a 6′ tall x 8′ long shelf in front of that and put food on the shelves. Some of my food is now out of sight and out of mind, yet safe from the elements. If anyone comes in to rob the house, they’ll see the stuff on the shelves and take it, not realizing that there’s a ton of food behind the wall.
The same room had space to create a false wall that doesn’t look like a false wall. So I made it one. It’s stashed with boxes of medical, canned foods, hand crank kitchen items, hard liquor, etc.
The first thing I did to my new “junk” house was install a wood burner and brand new flue pipe. Then I set to keeping a steady amount of wood on hand to last for 2 winters. All of that wood cutting and splitting would take a severe toll on one man, so I invested $1000 in a log splitter, 2 cheap chain saws, and a decent wheel barrow. In the event that I don’t feel like burning fire wood on a given night, I’m still okay. I did research on Kerosene and found out that it won’t go bad. So I bought enough to fill three 55 gallon drums.
I keep two Kerosun heaters on hand, along with a few extra wicks. And it sometimes takes Charcoal starter to get a fire going. One day it dawned on me that Charcoal starter is $4.57 per 1/2 gallon at Walmart, and that the gas station sells Kerosene for $4.59 per gallon. I did some research and found that Kerosene is less likely to ignite that Charcoal, so now I get double the product for it to do the same job (start the fire!).
In addition to the wood burner and the kerosun heater, I have a small Heat Unit that installs on a 20 lb. propane cyclinder. And on cold winter nights, I often use a propane light (on a 20 lb. tank) to add light and heat to the house.
I recently added bars on all of the downstairs windows. I used 1/2 conduit and flattened the ends, then drilled holes in the flat part, and screwed them to the window trim with 3″ deck screws. There are also brackets (with 4″ lag bolts) and solid 3/8″ bars across all of the doors. There are no bars on the upstairs windows yet. I’ve taken time to go around the property and look at it from a robber’s viewpoint; trying to find weaknesses.
Over 5 years since I’ve bought the two story house, I’ve added many types of fruit and nut trees. There is also a well-insulated shed to hold about 10 rabbits thru the winter. Big meat rabbits.
Three years ago, I got rid of my 110 volt fridge and bought a propane fridge. The operating cost is about the same, but I still have a good trade-off. When the power goes out, my fridge still works. And since I purchased solar panels, a charge controller, and half a dozen deep cycle batteries a few years back, I also have lights and a few ceiling fans in all of my downstairs rooms. So I’ll be able to sit back on a cold Winter night with heat, light, and food when the storm knocks the power out to the country-side for who knows how long.
Maybe I’ll just go out to the garage with its solar lights, grab some non-electric hand tools, and find something to work on until the power comes back on. Life is good when you prepare…
When it comes to opsec, I’m playing the part. From the outside, my house looks relatively run down. Good. That makes people think that there isn’t much of value there.
And most of my neighbors frown on me having a garden and fire wood around my house. My neighbors don’t have gardens, and they use the utility company to heat their houses. They frowned enough that the village board sent a letter telling me to get rid of the fire wood. So I spent money to put a fence around the whole property. That’s even better for opsec! May I have another!!!!!
Water. As luck would have it, my cheap house came with a 23′ deep well. I’m not drinking the water yet, but it works well for washing laundry. And for additional support, I keep 100 gallons in the house, and another 200 gallons of treated water in the garage.
The laundry is set up differently also. The wash water goes down the drain, and the rinse water goes into a 50 gallon plastic drum with an overflow to the city drain.
The water in the drum is then pumped via 12 volt pump, to the bathroom, and is used to flush the toilet. As a result of water recycling, my water bill is around 400-600 gallons per month. Even tho I use my electric washing machine, I bought a back-up for this job also. I bought a hand-crank washing machine and two hand-crank wringers for $200 from an Amish guy. I have tried using a square plastic sink and a plunger, and have also used a clean trash can in the back of the truck. All methods work well. The trash can method uses water, detergent, and the shaking motion of driving to wash the laundry.
When it comes to prepping, there still isn’t a way to take care of everything, and I still have a lot to do. I have information on the computer that needs to be on paper. How do I hide from Mandatory Health Insurance? And cash is still needed for gasoline and truck insurance in order to get the fire wood. Cash for property taxes too. And in a grid down situation, my 100# propane tanks won’t last long, and I need cash to buy the propane and haul it. FishMox/FishFlex anti-biotics are bought online which take a form of currency.
Keep prepping everyone. Remember that two is one, and one is none. Remember why you are doing this. And never, ever tell anyone what you are doing unless you enjoy DHS visits to your house.
Keep prepping because you’re gonna need it.
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grintch | March 10, 2015
Where did you get the Propane light?
Jim | March 12, 2015
The propane light is from a nearby amish store.
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Ann | July 10, 2015
I am with you in spirit because S__t is going to hit the fan real soon. Starting in Sept. Watch what happens. I am an old lady that’s alone now. I don’t have the resources or strength to do all these things. My heart is with you though. God bless you all. Look to Him to help you.