Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Food, Ammo, Land, Gold, Bitcoin or Stocks?

6 Survival Movies with Really Important Lessons

 Original Article


by Fabian Ommar

Life is not a movie, but there are claims that it imitates art. Here are a few SHTF and survival-themed films (including some takeaways) for preppers looking for a bit of educational entertainment during (much deserved) breaks.

We are continually discussing and suggesting prepping and survival books. Besides direct experience and/or training, they are probably the best source of knowledge and information indeed. Movies, too, can be entertaining yet educational and inspiring at the same time.

Who doesn’t like a good flick?

Some may say that films are fantasy, too detached from reality to be taken seriously, and too superficial to be useful, even more so when it comes to something so dramatic and practical as survival. But many times, we have an “Aha!” moment or come up with a solution to a problem while playing a game, jogging, or doing something completely detached from the issue. That’s how our brains work.

While it may be true that mainstream studios and producers (a.k.a. Hollywood) tend to lean toward fantasy, they also have an unequaled capacity to put out amazingly realistic content. Some of it can fill gaps in our imagination, inspire and boost our creativity. So I guess it depends on which movies we chose and how we look at them. An open mind can draw lessons from almost anywhere.

Movies are the modern version of ancient storytelling

Every civilization has a way of registering its history and passing ahead its myths, fears, and achievements; of telling its stories, glorifying its heroes, and vilifying its enemies (real and imaginary). Cinema, also called “the seventh art,” is a valid form of expressing this tradition.

I don’t mean this to be just about learning and being practical. Sometimes we need a distraction, to take a break from the hardships of life and routine. Preppers are normal people, after all.

As a disclaimer, I consider myself as far from the intellectual cinema snob as one can be. I like simple things and do appreciate a good commercial blockbuster as much as anyone else. But more than fancy CGI or big-name acting, I tend to favor coherent plots, a strong script, character arc development, intelligent dialogs, and above all, gripping stories. In other words, just good ol’ quality entertainment that won’t patronize me or treat me like a ticket-paying, brain-dead movie-goer.

I would like you to enjoy watching these films AND take something from them

I aimed for titles that embody survivalism in one or more ways. At the same time, movies that fulfill those criteria and balance entertainment and education. Finally, I added a few personal takeaways from each one. You’ll draw yours, I’m sure. 

I also made an honest effort to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. These films have been out for a few years already. Some are acclaimed box-office hits, thus widely reviewed and discussed in MSM and other outlets. Either way, my sincere apologies in advance if I let something slip.

So, without further ado, here are my top 6 choices.

THE ROAD (2009)

If The Road is not the most realistic, grim, and haunting depiction of a cataclysmic SHTF, I don’t know which one deserves this (dubious) honor. Maybe you do – and I’d be curious to hear about it. 

Even though we could conceive something different in our imagination, it’d pretty hard to come up with a scenario worse than the one portrayed in this (still) incredible movie that tells the story of a father and his son trying to live through a literal hell-on-earth SHTF.

It is unquestionably, an all-about-survival film. It is also the darkest, gloomiest, most depressing one I’ve seen. Based on the acclaimed (and even darker) book by Cormack McCarthy, The Road presents quite graphically and unyieldingly most, if not every, nightmares entertained by preppers and Survivalist. I mean, ever.

The movie depicts absolute and irreversible devastation of the land and complete extinction of all natural and artificial resources. (For which no apparent cause nor even much clue is given.) It also portrays the grotesque in human beings: widespread cannibalism, suicide, diseases, fights, and disputes. 

We’re spared the horrors that led to this point. But there is a constant and tense showcase of fear, desperation, and hopelessness. Which begs a fundamental question, presented as flashbacks of the man’s wife and her irreconcilable dilemma: why would anyone want to survive in a dying world, with so much suffering and absolutely no sign of hope? 

As always, Charlize Theron delivers an intense performance, personifying this conflict internally and externally. The way she finally deals with the matter carries a powerful symbology and dramatic charge. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as a loving and caring yet imperfect father, a tough man with a tormented soul in a world where “everyone is either dead or dying.” We can feel his pain and misery. Throughout the movie, his character arc is the perfect survivalist script, going through every phase that any common, decent man would if dealing with such a situation. 

In the end, as hopeless and depressing as it may sound, it’s still a beautiful story about fatherly love and the survive-at-all-cost nature of humanity. It provides lots of themes for reflection too: the importance of holding on to sound principles even in SHTF; how fortunate we are for being in this situation we find ourselves in today; how valuable yet fragile our existence is; and how impotent we are in the face of the powers of nature.

Main takeaways of The Road

There are lots of prepping and survivalism techniques and concepts delivered throughout: scavenging, camouflaging, food and water acquisition, treating and rationing, the whole playbook. At one point, they even come across a subterranean cache in a farm, which ends up providing perhaps the lightest moments in the entire movie. The reason why the father keeps a gun with only two bullets is heart-wrenching (as one can imagine), but it can be a thing. Trust no one, stay off the road, and kill-or-get-killed are also lessons from The Road for the darker hours of a truly dark SHTF.

ALIVE! (1993) 

I’ve mentioned Alive! in a previous post here, so I’ll keep this brief. The movie is based on the book. The film fills any eventual blanks in our imagination with graphic scenes and visuals, and compelling drama.

According to the survivors themselves, it is also a faithful depiction of the Uruguayan rugby team’s real situations and their families who got stranded in the Andes after a plane crash in October of 1972. Acting is spot-on, and a very young and talented Ethan Hawk takes the front as the level-headed Nando. The movie is even more powerful because it’s a real story, and we know it to be so. We can put ourselves in the characters’ places and share their dilemmas and desperation, imagine their drama, feel their pain.

Main takeaways of Alive

Mostly, the absolute and definitive importance of mentality and mindset in survival. You will do whatever it takes to live another day, even the unimaginable, and this can make all the difference in the outcome of a disaster or SHTF situation. 

THE SURVIVALIST (2015)

As the title makes clear, this is the quintessential lone wolf survivalist story: a young, resourceful, and well-prepared man living alone in a shack right in the middle of a secluded, beautiful forest after a SHTF event kills a large percentage of Earth’s population (a, uh, virus maybe?). One day an elderly woman and her young daughter show up, and the Survivalist faces some dilemmas, new situations, and developments that end up breaking the delicate balance of his lifestyle. 

The Survivalist is a low-budget independent production filled with textbook wildlife prepping and survival techniques and concepts. The guy does it all: gardening, foraging, hunting, trapping. And the movie takes the time to show some of that in more detail. There is some nudity and sex, so be forewarned.

Situations we know to happen during real-life SHTF are seen in the movie. In this case, bartering is a sexual agreement between the main character and the two women. This agreement ends up being the connecting thread and the catalyst to a lot of the film’s action. There is also a lot of suspense and turnarounds, dark secrets and revelations, and surprises. 

Main takeaways of The Survivalist

During a SHTF, we may not search for trouble, but trouble will come for us. We see how hard it can be to survive alone, in a perfect place, even if you’re young, healthy, smart, and prepared, with abundant resources around you. Tough decisions need to be made many times, and often we succumb to our most basic instincts even during SHTF. 

THE BOOK OF ELI (2010)

The Book Of Eli isn’t just a superstar list. It’s a superb post-apocalyptic commercial flick with saddening yet impressive filmography of endless devastated landscapes. It is a well made, solidly acted movie with some fast action through and through.

The background couldn’t be more typical: in a post-nuclear, apocalyptic SHTF world, a warlord (Gary Oldman, great as usual) and his gang of sociopaths rule over a small town and control the resources by the power of numbers and use of violence and oppression. It seems to work, though, because it’s the only place where cannibalism isn’t common or even accepted, and there’s some semblance of civilization and order. 

The main character portrays another recurrent and mythic fixture of survivalism: the independent, extremely skilled, highly prepared and trained, probably-ex-military loner with unwavering faith and confidence and unbreakable resolution—sort of a Mad Max with serious training and religious mission. Mila Kunis becomes his female sidekick after trying to break out from the warlord’s tyranny.

Denzel Washington’s mysterious character is perhaps a bit overpowered, never so much as flinching even in the face of great danger or when dealing with numerous deadly threats. He never misses a shot (gun or arrow) and can swiftly defeat entire hordes of dangerous thugs. His power seems to derive from his faith, as does his mental and physical toughness. We’re taken along his adventures through a devastated land in search of some eluded safe heaven. A place he’s been told by a voice to exist somewhere in the west, and to where he must take the last of King James’s bible. (Said to be the cause of the final conflict and the only thing capable to heal humankind and the world.

Main takeaways of The Book of Eli

When SHTF, stay off the roads. Stay away from people, and trust no one. The Book Of Eli highlights the importance of having faith in a world without much else to live for. It shows the importance of being healthy, skillful, and resourceful for survival, which we know to be the case in serious SHTF situations. Finally, “leave it alone, this doesn’t concern you” may be a rule to follow if you want to stay alive when SHTF.

CAST AWAY (2000)

Guy gets stranded alone on a virgin island in the middle of the Pacific after his airplane crashes. He has to learn everything from making a fire to cracking coconuts open, fishing with spears, and even removing a rotting tooth.  Cast Away is a modern version of the classic survival tale, stemming from a long tradition of 18th and 19th centuries tales of sailors, shipwrecks, and pirates.

Cast Away is a superb film, and as everyone probably knows, Tom Hanks delivered an Oscar-worthy, jaw-dropping performance. He carries the film almost entirely on his back, and just like Denzel Washington in The Book Of Eli, he makes it all look credible and fun.

Main takeaways of Cast Away

First, there is the importance of covering the basics, such as improvising shelter and fire. It may be possible to learn skills and develop survival knowledge from ground zero without tools or special resources. But having prior basic knowledge can accelerate that learning curve, in most instances, perhaps being the difference between making it or not. Also: always have an EDC 9 with some painkillers on you, especially if you’re traveling. Finally, sometimes we must break out from complacency to survive in the long run. Oh, and always take good care of your teeth.

THE MARTIAN (2015)

I’d rank The Martian as a high-tech, space version of Cast AwayWith a few differencesboth movies paint a very realistic portrait of how it is to live alone in a far-away place with limited, dwindling resources. Surviving is indeed a marathon. 

Matt Damon plays a scientist on a mission to Mars that suffers an accident and is marooned on the red planet. He survives the explosion but is deemed dead by his colleagues as their spaceship takes off back to Earth. 

It’s the “perfect individual SHTF scenario” script. The guy in trouble is a prepper and has a stash of supplies by profession. He is a scientist and gets fresh food cultivated. An SHTF inside his SHTF happens and cuts supplies short (very common). He has to ration the remaining food, find a way to communicate with others, and keep a plan advancing—all the while fighting to maintain his sanity amidst disaster.

Beginning the flick as a healthy, strong astronaut, he’s shown as a bony, skinny survivor waiting for rescue by the end of the movie. In about a year and a half, he transformed due to resources becoming scarce. The only threat missing is also the most significant one in any SHTF on Earth: other human beings. In this case, humanity is either working to bring him back or rooting for him. He had so many different threats and challenges to deal with that made the whole situation crazy-dangerous, so we’ll let that pass. 

Main takeaways of The Martian

The Martian is about a personal SHTF, but that happens: an accident leads to a crisis. The acceptance, the assessment of the situation, the compiling of resources. The application of skills to deal with multiple challenges. The creativity to improvise. The adaptability. The will to survive. Those are all great takeaways. 

CONCLUSION

Except for The Road and The Survivalist, these are typical Hollywood, feel-good blockbuster movies. So the endings were happy ones, in various degrees. It’s not always the case in real life, where the script is written for us. There are so many other things that can and do go wrong, so many factors playing a hand. 

No crisis lasts forever. We must look from this perspective to deal with the peaks, plateaus, and valleys of any SHTF until we can reach the other side. And there’s a lot to reflect upon on how SHTF wears us down. Surviving is all about working, yet the importance of keeping spirits high and not give in to desperation is of significant importance. 

The biggest takeaway from this collection of movies is perhaps to look at life in the present: let’s be thankful and enjoy the world as we have it now.

There are many other survival movies worth our time. For more survival movies for your next prepper movie night, check out this list. If you have your favorite ones, be sure to share them in the comments below. 

About Fabian

Fabian Ommar is a 50-year-old middle-class worker living in São Paulo, Brazil. Far from being the super-tactical or highly trained military survivor type, he is the average joe who since his youth has been involved with self-reliance and outdoor activities and the practical side of balancing life between a big city and rural/wilderness settings. Since the 2008 world economic crisis, he has been training and helping others in his area to become better prepared for the “constant, slow-burning SHTF” of living in a 3rd world country.

Fabian’s ebook, Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City, is a practical training method for common city dwellers based on the lifestyle of the homeless (real-life survivors) to be more psychologically, mentally, and physically prepared to deal with the harsh reality of the streets during normal or difficult times. 

You can follow Fabian on Instagram @stoicsurvivor

6 Survival Movies with Really Important Lessons

Monday, May 23, 2022

Could You Feed Your Chickens Without Buying Commercial Feed?

8 Useful Tips for Rotating Your Stockpile

 Original Article


By Tom Marlowe


If there were ever two things that went hand-in-hand they are living a prepping lifestyle and stockpiling: food, water and other goods so you are ready to face the fateful day when society falls apart.

Having the skills to live off the land and furnish what you need is of course great, but it is better to have everything you need on hand for the duration when you need it.

Amassing a large quantity of various foodstuffs, bottled and potable water, medication, batteries and more will form the core of your material preparations.

metal cans of various foods in can racks in pantry

However, like the song says nothing lasts forever, and everything you can buy, no matter how shelf-stable it is, no matter how preserved it is, can wear out, breakdown or spoil. The only way to prevent this is to rotate your stocks.

I hate to say it but stockpile rotation can become a job unto itself. Luckily for you we are here to provide you with several tips that can give you a major leg up when it comes to efficiently rotating and maintaining your stockpile.

Tip #1: Mark It and Date It!

For beginning preppers, or those who are sticking with a doctrine of, ahem, minimal preparation, you probably won’t need to worry too much about rotation because you can simply consume, use or refresh your supplies once or twice a year without too much additional expense.

However, once you start dedicating banks of shelves, whole pantries and even entire rooms to your stockpile rotation becomes critical for preserving your investment and preventing waste.

Failing to rotate properly means you’ll be throwing money in the trash at best or, at worst, opening up spoiled and wasted goods when you are depending on them!

The simplest and most essential element of any good rotation plan is marking every item that you put into storage. At its most basic, this is nothing more than the date you purchased the item.

Knowing the actual date you purchased an item at a glance will inform your decision of how long you can keep it before it starts to go bad (the case of food or water), or when it is likely to start breaking down or losing efficacy (in the case of something like medication or batteries).

You can opt to include additional information like where it was purchased from and other useful bits like lot number and so forth whether or not you purchased it or preserved it yourself. In case of accident or mishap this can be good information to have if you are trying to track down spoilage.

A large batch of preserved fruit, for instance, that spoils but has since been mixed in throughout the rest of your supply will make for a nerve-wracking game of chance every time you open one of the like items.

If you had every can labeled with a lot number you could easily pull them for closer inspection or quarantine.

Lots of preppers like to write directly on the container using an indelible marker like a Sharpie, but I personally like to give the container or item a craft tape or painters tape label that I then write on, allowing for easy removal and easy, high-contrast reading.

Tip #2: Get the Real Data on Expiration Dates

This might come as a surprise to you, but you cannot trust the expiration dates on much of the packaged items that you buy from the store. Simply put, most of these are sell-by dates have been established by byzantine government agencies with very little basis in fact.

As it turns out, an awful lot of items, particularly dairy items and dry goods can stay safe and edible, if not palatable, far longer than the advertised dates would have you believe.

So, how will you really know when your canned or other preserved items are no longer safe to eat? First, you’ll have to do a little research. There have been some initiatives that endeavor to figure out what the real story is concerning longevity of the items we buy.

Second, use your head. Any canned or pouched food product that is swollen or overly firm has probably already gone bad. This is due to the presence of bacteria that have taken up residence in the item, hungrily devouring it and generating waste gases as a byproduct of their microscopic feasting.

Should you notice this happening, you will want to compare it to other like items purchased at the same time.

Though this is a generally reliable indicator of spoilage, it is not foolproof. It is a bad thing to let your food and other items sit too long and risk uselessness, but it is just as bad to keep buying them over and over to replace them when the sell-by dates are flat-out lying to you.

Whatever legitimate expiration date you decide on, write it down on the item below the purchase date.

Tip #3: First In, First Out! Always!

There is one maxim that any stockpiler should live by: first in, first out! FIFO means that any items that go into your stockpile earlier in the timeline are the first ones to be used when you are drawing them out.

This prevents the altogether too common syndrome of items being pushed to the rear of the pack where they languish for eternity, only for you to find them hopelessly spoiled or useless when you have consumed all the others that have been piled atop them.

By way of a “for instance”, let us say you buy three cans of green beans for your stockpile, one can in April, one can in May, and one in June. All three are labeled accordingly. Let us also say that you will be drawing from your stockpile for everyday cooking to prevent waste later on near the end of the year.

As additional cans of green beans go into your stockpile the newest and most recently purchased cans of green beans should be placed behind the one you bought way back in April, with the can from May immediately behind that and the can from June immediately behind the May can.

Done this way your oldest stock gets pushed or “fed” to the front where it will be used first, or “pulled out” first. First in, first out. This doesn’t just apply to food. It can also be used with water supplies, batteries, medication and all other consumables.

One element that will help you adhere to FIFO is careful organization. We will talk more about that in a minute, but the tidier and more organized your storage system is the easier it will be to make use of this principle.

Tip #4: Planning: Analyze Your Consumption Against Your Capacity

A classic mistake that some preppers make when beginning to amass supplies for their stockpile is buying well in excess of their storage capacity or buying contrary to their primary disaster survival plan. What does this mean?

For instance, a prepper who lives in a larger two-story house in a rural setting, one with a full basement and a detached garage or workshop, will have considerably more room for useful storage of goods than a prepper living in the middle of a major metropolitan area in an overpriced apartment that is scarcely bigger than a lunchbox.

Does this mean that amassing a stockpile is only viable for people who don’t live inside cities? Absolutely not! But it does mean you should stockpile according to reality, and rotate your goods accordingly. Other factors enter into the equation also.

A prepper who is taking care of a large family of eight all living under roof is a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of gear to store and many bodies to take care of. A single prepper, or a prepper living only with their partner, will have a much easier time of things.

Especially if your family is not entirely on board and contributing to your prepping plan, someone who has many other people to take care of might be best served to stockpile particular goods and store them in such a way to facilitate less frequent rotation.

cans of peanut butter on pantry shelves

Tip #5: Buy and Store for Stackability

You will likely find that whatever space you have for storage will quickly be consumed by what you are purchasing. Every prepper knows the pain of looking for space to install one more set of shelves, or build one more rack.

Under beds, in cupboards and on top of appliances, pretty soon every spare space that can hold a can, a jar, a bag, pouch or container will be crammed full of the same.

Remember, prepping in quantity like this and maintaining your stash is an efficiency game. Act efficiently from the very beginning! You might not need extra room if your shelves are sturdy enough to support cans and containers stacked one upon the other.

Instead of a mishmash of container sizes, standardize them as best you can. If you cannot standardize, consider storing groups of jars, bottles and bags inside of larger containers that can then be stacked. Make sure you note what groups of goods are inside per hour advice above.

But a word of caution: considering that all these goods must be rotated, the farther out of sight and the less accessible they are the less likely you are to rotate them. You are only human.

If you do decide to group your goods into containers make sure you have a preset schedule for when you will access, inspect and rotate them accordingly.

Tip #6: Use a “Ready Rack” Method.

One of the best things you can do to maintain your sanity and keep your goods accessible for everyday use as a result of them coming up on their expiration dates (yours, not the manufacturer’s) is to keep your pantry in your kitchen free from as much clutter as possible. I mean to say keep your pantry set up for everyday use, not for long-term mass storage.

When doing so, any of your stockpiled goods that are to be pulled out of storage and used should be moved to the pantry so that when you need lima beans, fruit cocktail, or corned beef hash it is ready for you to grab. This “everyday use” position is called the “ready rack” for any given item.

This helps ensure that items close to the end of their useful storage life will not be wasted, pushed off into a corner and forgotten about or simply discarded. Essentially, your first out products are placed in their typical spot throughout your home.

This applies to more than just food. The ready rack for batteries could be a designated drawer or cabinet. Water could be moved to your vehicle for emergency storage, or trips to the dog park or beach. This is one of the best ways to protect your investment and preserve your emotional health.

Tip #7: Make Your Menu Off of Your Stores

A common failing preppers have when maintaining their stash is making their grocery list per usual, and not off of their stores.

This mistake ensures that you are less likely to rotate your items in storage. One simple way to counteract this is to create your menu off of the items you have in storage.

Remember, you want to be using these goods, not treating them like they are precious metals. Whatever your recipes call for, whatever your weekly menu is, plan off the things you have in stock, don’t just go buy them again to cook with and waste an opportunity to add fresh reserves to your stash.

If you’re going to be whipping up Aunt Millie’s fruity jello dessert, go see if you have the prerequisite gelatin, canned fruit and crushed walnuts in your stores.

If drawing from the stores will run you below your preferred readiness threshold, then you should still go on and buy those ingredients at the store but you add them to your stash.

Not only will this approach save you a considerable amount of money, but it will also keep all the items you need fresh and free of potential spoilage.

Tip #8: Inspect for Pests, Spoilage and Damage

Like I said earlier, maintaining and rotating the items in your stockpile is going to very nearly be an extra job. It is a lot of work, and a big part of that work is keeping an eye on each individual item for signs of spoilage, failure and damage or infestation by pests.

There is seemingly no end to the mishap and misfortune that can befall your stash before you need it.

Canned goods may be more or less safe from all kinds of pests, but should they be compromised or start to spoil, the cans will swell up, as described above. Sometimes this is easily detectable, sometimes not.

All kinds of dry goods are vulnerable to infestations of mites, weevils and other insects. Anything that is not in a metal package will be vulnerable to mice and rats, which can chew through nearly any other material with aplomb.

Even your non-comestible items are vulnerable. Batteries can wear down, lose their charge or even corrode overtime for seemingly no reason. Fabric goods of all kinds can dry rot or mold. Metals will rust.

Every kind of problem you can imagine can happen and the only way you’ll detect it in time to save your goods or to stop an infestation is to really pay attention when you are interacting with it. Don’t go through the motions, and don’t leave it out of sight and out of mind.

Conclusion

Having a stockpile of goods and supplies is an integral part of being prepared for trouble. But the accumulation and maintenance of such an important stash necessitates a considerable amount of care in the dispensation of the items in order to prevent wasting money and your precious time.

Though it is a lot of work, and work proportional to the size of your stash, intelligent procedure can help make the process more efficient and easier, helping you get the most out of it with the least possible effort.

rotating your stockpile pinterest

Sunday, May 22, 2022

How to Survive an Economic Crash (pt 1)

How Prepared Are You REALLY? The Prepper’s Objective Self-Assessment

 Original Article

How Prepared Are You REALLY? The Prepper\'s Objective Self-Assessment

by 1stMarineJarHead

As humans, we tend to look critically at others but not ourselves. We look past things about ourselves we could or need to improve on. Some even blatantly ignore these things. (Caveat: Not everyone looks past or ignores things they could improve upon.

As I look out the window, I see the fields covered in about four to five inches of snow and the thermometer hovering around the low 20s. This time of year is when I like to do an annual Objective Self Assessment. I say “Objective” as this is a totally honest and even brutal assessment of myself. A personal risk assessment is one of the most important things a prepper can do.

What does this Prepper’s Self-Assessment entail?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Top 10 Occupations After Grid Down

The Uncensored, Real-Deal Guide to Bugging Out of the City

 Original Article

The Uncensored, Real-Deal Guide to Bugging Out of the City


by Fabian Ommar


The concept of bugging out is one of the most discussed and controversial topics in preparedness and survivalism. The term “bug out” comes from the military. It means retreating, fleeing in a hurry, abandoning position in panic. This definition applies to the act of bugging out in survivalism as well. For the sake of objectiveness, let’s consider bugging out as fleeing the urban context because this is the current situation for most people. 

Given the tense situation building around the world, we’re about to see more and more people fleeing from the cities. Many of them have no idea what they’re doing so the definition above fits perfectly. As situations escalate, these relocations will be less planned and they won’t just be moving – they’ll be fleeing.

You can find entire chapters in numerous books, endless videos, articles, and treaties dedicated to the whys and hows of bugging out. The debates continue whether it’s the best or the worst idea ever for when the SHTF. 

This dilemma stem perhaps mostly from two conflicting factors:

Friday, May 20, 2022

10 Things You Should Never Do | Survival and Prepping

7 Homestead Items You Forgot To Buy

 Original Article

By Francesca Hernandez Singer


When you first set up a homestead, you tend to be focused on the obvious big-ticket items, and that’s fine because you’ll need a lot in the beginning. This post is a checklist of homestead items you might have overlooked, but they’re good to have when you need them.

Based on personal experience, these items are essential on a homestead—and very easy not to think about the rest of the time. Having these seven items will make your life easier, and you’ll thank yourself for keeping them stashed.


1. An Electric Generator

Portable Generator In The SandFor some, this one is a no-brainer. For others, this one is a must-have. Living in a rural location means big storms can knock out the power for days.

Now, if you’ve got a solar array or are comfortable camping at home for a minute, all the more power to you. However, if you’ve got a chest freezer full of meat or an incubator full of eggs, a disruption to the power supply can cost you terribly.

A generator will make these times considerably easier. The other thing that generators are ideal for is giving you a power source far from a building, which can come in handy when you need to use welders or power tools on remote parts of a large piece of land.

Just beware—as left in a generator for too long can go bad, so either use an additive to preserve it or drain the tank when it’s not in use.

Related: 5 Ways To Generate Power When Living Off Grid

2. A High-Quality Headlamp

Woman With Headlamp Looking At StarsYou may think a flashlight is all you need to venture out in the dark—which might be true in the city—but on a homestead, you usually need to use both hands. Trust me on this one, when you’ve got livestock of any sort, some nights you are going to have to head out into the darkness to check on them.

Storms, flooding, and predators are all things that will have you out of bed doing a wellness check at 3 a.m. And if all you have is a flashlight, you’re going to curse yourself for not investing in a good headlamp.

Note: Don’t buy the cheapest one you can find. Do your homework and find one that is comfortable, powerful, and has a long battery life. You will thank yourself for this many times over.

3. A Come-Along Winch

Come-Along Winch Pulling Car Out Of MudIf you’ve never heard of a come-along, then you’re in for a treat. This small, portable winch is one of the most useful tools any homesteader could hope for. You can use a come-along to straighten trees, remove tree stumps, erect poles, and much more.

My personal favorite use of a come-along has been pulling vehicles out of the mud by attaching it to a tree with a rope and tow chain and pulling it to more solid ground. Talk about a lifesaver!

4. A Chainsaw

Man Cutting Wood With ChainsawRemember when I mentioned severe storms up above? Well, in addition to knocking out your power, a serious storm can also take out trees or lots of tree branches that need to be cleared quickly. Felled trees often block roads and driveways, damage livestock shelters, and ground out electrical fencing.

You should have a chainsaw for a wide variety of land management activities, but when it comes to emergency tree clearing, the chainsaw is an indispensable tool. Make sure you keep your chain sharp and your gas fresh to ensure that your trusty chainsaw cranks up when you need it most.

5. Plumbing Patch Kit

Frozen Pipes and FaucetWhen hard freezes hit, irrigation and other exposed pipes sometimes freeze. This is a minor problem typically solved by waiting for them to thaw. However, when frozen-solid pipes do finally thaw, your relief can turn to anxiety and through-the-roof stress if they’ve burst.

Of course, you can turn the water off at the source, but if you have animals who need troughs filled, you’ll need to repair your pipes as quickly as possible. Having a good plumbing kit around will save you countless headaches.

Any pipe repair kit should include a pipe cutting tool and an assortment of push fittings (shark bite or compression) in appropriate sizes for your pipes. You’ll want to act fast, so learn the basics of pipe repair beforehand so that you can spring into action without hesitating when the time comes.

6. An Extensive First Aid Kit

First Aid Kits Lying On TableI don’t want to scare you, but the reality is that most homesteaders live more than an hour from a hospital—very unfortunate when considering that heavy tool use and the living off the land lifestyle make us more prone to accident and injury than your average office-working city dweller.

Having a thermometer, band-aids, bandages, antihistamines, an epi-pen, burn cream, antiseptics, and some pain relievers on hand is absolutely necessary. Depending on where you live, a snake bite kit might also be a good investment. Knowing how to stop bleeding, dress a wound, and apply emergency care to injuries will give you what you need to take care of any unforeseen medical emergency.

Related: Homestead First Aid Kit for 10 Common Injuries

7. Veterinary Supplies

Goats in a Barn with HayAnimals are an essential part of most homesteads, which means that you need to be prepared to deal with all sorts of bizarre and potentially deadly conditions. Flystrike is one of the most nightmarish afflictions an animal can acquire (Google at your own risk), and keeping a supply of Ivermectin around for topical treatment is a small thing that you’ll thank yourself for later.

Keep a stash of wormer (for all your livestock, from chickens to horses), as well as some syringes and injectable antibiotics. You can care for most animal wounds with vet wrapBetadine, and a supply of sterile gauze.

Having a basic working knowledge of how to perform sutures, or a skin stapler to close a gaping wound will save you time and money. The first time I gave my dog stitches, I was able to have a productive day by not spending hours at the emergency vet.

Related: Protect Your Livestock from Deadly Diseases – Part 1: Birds

Conclusion

It’s probably pretty clear from this list, but most of the things you don’t think about in the beginning are emergency supplies. Sadly, by the time you realize you need them, you’re already in the weeds.

Save yourself some time and trouble by investing upfront in some of the little things you don’t foresee yourself needing right away. Even if you don’t use them at first, you’ll be thankful to have them ready when the need arises.