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

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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?

I begin by asking myself a few questions:

  • What went well this year, and why?
  • What did not go well or even failed, and why?
  • Have I improved upon my strengths?
  • Have I worked on my weaknesses?
  • What new skill sets can I learn to improve my prepping?

To get a better handle on it, I use lessons learned in the USMC when addressing a humanitarian crisis. Categorization made the situation more manageable. We broke it down like this: Food – Water – Shelter – Security. Providing the refugees (for lack of a better word) those essential elements gave them what they needed for basic survival.

Applying that type of management when assessing my own prepping has made it easier for me to be genuinely objective. During one of my previous assessments, I identified a lack of medical training as a weakness. So, I saved up funding and took vacation time from work to attend a night course to become an EMT-B. Then, I took it a step further and participated in the NOLS Wilderness EMT course. (Here’s an article on the most important medical skill to learn.)

How do you break it down when it comes to prepping?

The question is how to apply that type of management to prepping. We don’t have a nation’s logistic network to bring food, tents, medical supplies, and security? How do you make this assessment when it is the prepper and their families and what they have on hand?


Short Term: Daisy has mentioned the need for a well-stocked pantry many times, including how to build a 30-Day emergency food supply fast. Building a good pantry when you are tight on funds can be difficult, but it can be done. You can feed yourself and your family from a well stocked pantry, with some imagination and a few good recipes

Medium Term: Anything from a small seasonal garden (even when you think you can’t) to stocking a years’ worth of MREs for every family member can get you through for a while. However, what happens when the gardening season is over? After eating MREs for a year, even rationing them, the supply runs out at some point.

Long Term: A multi-year endeavor. Not only in the sense of growing food but how can you increase your food production?

For the winter months, canning will save food without the need for refrigeration. Learning about long term storage and processing of meats will help stock your pantry. Root vegetables piled into mounds of hay will stay cool and protected. Can you build a root cellar? Can you raise small, medium, or even large livestock? (Check out this article about learning food preservation methods.)

Before buying the farm, I didn’t know a thing about livestock. The only time I saw livestock was either from the school bus window or at the county fair. I got some books and read a lot. Now I can raise rabbits, chickens, ducks, and hogs and process them all. It wasn’t easy, and I made mistakes. But, I made notes and learned from those mistakes.

Hunting for wild game can also provide a great source of protein. However, I went hunting a few weeks ago. Despite putting up the deer stand a half-hour before sunrise (in single-digit temps) in an area with game trails, fresh tracks, deer droppings, and sightings of live deer, we didn’t see a dang thing. I heard what sounded like two bucks fighting 200-300 yards behind me. Otherwise, nada, zip, zero, zilch, the fat lady sang, had dinner, and went home. So, I won’t leave it to chance that a deer walks past my stand vs. having chickens in the coop or rabbits in the hutch when it comes to survival.

Wild game is subject to fluctuation in their population. Last year was a frigid winter, with more than a few major snowstorms. I only saw a few set of rabbit tracks. This year, I have seen more tracks. One is even around the barn. I leave it a carrot under my truck every afternoon. Will there be enough rabbits to feed the wife and me for the entire winter? Probably not. Even setting traps out by the brook is unlikely to increase my yield.


Water is a tough one. Assuming a long term, grid-down situation, your geophysical location may dictate access to it. Having the means to collect, purify, and store water safely is crucial. Check out Daisy’s book on the subject of water preparedness.

Sanitation goes in this category as well. I do not want to contaminate my water source with my waste in a post-SHTF situation. Learning how to compost human and animal waste can be beneficial here. Animal compost aged for two years makes excellent additions to the garden and container gardens. 

Daisy wrote about the impacts Hurricane Maria had on the island of Puerto Rico. One news report that stood out to me was people in the more mountainous regions were using rivers and streams for their water source. Unfortunately, many got ill because people upstream were using the same rivers and streams for human waste disposal or washing contaminated clothing. We saw something similar in Afghanistan during a drought and had a Cholera outbreak requiring a humanitarian mission.

Selco offers great information when it comes to water and SHTF.


How well insulated is your dwelling? What can you do to your residence to improve your chances of survival or improve your comfort level?

Fire can be categorized under shelter as it provides heat and a means to cook. In the North, a stand-alone wood stove would be an excellent alternative to electrical heating. But that then begs the question, where do you get the wood? In the deep South, an outdoor wood grill might be a better option. Solar ovens I have read work well, but I never tried one.

I also include clothing for cold, wet, and hot weather in this category. Suitable footwear is a necessity. Adjust according to your climate with base layers, performance layers, in-between layers, and outer layers. I find synthetic underwear and base layers to be better than cotton for cold weather. Wool socks of various weights are also better than cotton, even in the summer.


Some people believe that “pull the trigger. Bang! Bang!” is all there is to security. We also need to keep in mind physical and mental health security. 

Do you require Rx medication? Is there a natural alternative? Is it possible you can engage in an exercise regime within the limits of your ability to replace those medications?

Regarding the “pull the trigger. Bang! Bang!” type of security, make sure to get formal training from a certified instructor. Try many different firearms from other manufacturers and different calibers. Get educated on the differences and take notes to make an informed decision when making a purchase (within your budget). 

Be prepared to get your home ready for an emergency quickly. You can learn about building a safe room in your home or apartment here and about preparing your home for potential unrest here.

SHTF situations can be high stress but can also be boring

During those boring times, it’s good to have something to occupy your mind. Books of various kinds and genres, for example. The wife and I have a massive library of physical books. Digital books can be good, depending on your situation. Some will say they can fit our entire library and more on a thumb drive in their pocket. But then they are dependent on all the infrastructure that goes along with using that thumb drive. And we all know how easily the infrastructure can become unstable. 

Monitor not only your mental health but your spouse, children, friends, and neighbors. Watch out for deep depression or melancholy and short tempers in those not inclined to them. Here’s an article on how the pandemic and lockdowns have affected the mental health of preppers.

Many different factors will affect your prepping for SHTF

If you live in the deep south, close to the coasts, it makes sense to prep for a hurricane. More so than say a blizzard, which I am more inclined to experience. (It was negative fifteen this morning here in the Great White North.)

Local weather patterns will dictate your preparations. The climate and what agriculture zone you live in also will. Other factors are if you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area. Even your socioeconomic status has a place in all this. If you are pulling six figures, you might be able to afford that 80-acre, well-insulated, hobby farm with the full solar array and wind turbine. 

My point is, learn NOW while the lights are still on, and you can still get Chinese carry out if you really mess up. 

While this self-assessment should be honest, it is not to dishearten or make one feel they are a failure. If anything, it is to look at ourselves, our preps, and our situation to focus on improving. Set realistic goals for the coming year, and do not be afraid to try something new or outside your comfort zone. 

In other words, make your own objective assessment and prep accordingly.

What are your thoughts?

You may already know where you need to improve your preparedness or you may need to spend some time thinking about this. How can you get better prepped? Moreover, what is your plan to do so?

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  • good article daisy. after the chaos of yesterday, seems things will only get worse. my question is this: how can a senior citizen get more intently prepared, when husband bitches about the happenings, but doesnt contribute or even think about getting prepared??? I have done some prepping on my own, only because I was taught back in 50/60s to be, like food, some water, hygiene and other stuff. my green thumb has gone brown (have hard time with houseplants now, haha), cant bend easily due to knees so hard weeding/planting etc., husband doesnt believe in a water barrel, or such (we have a pool, get water from there, yeah), laughs at me when hurricane coming and I fill up bathtub, water buckets, etc. he doesnt want to prepare the house, setup trips outside for intruders, secure windows with something but yet closes the door – pull shades just because…..well, you get the picture. how do I go ahead with more intense preps against his disregard…..cant do the heavy stuff myself. any ideas? tempted to just “forget about it” at my age. he wont even look for a bug out area….prepare the vehicles and such. oh well…stay well and safe my friend, I’ll keep doing what I can do…..

    • Hey Kat, you can only do what YOU can do. MY wife and daughter weren’t really into it either, until a Hurricane hit and knocked out power for 7 days (not much really). My Wife got on board really fast after that. My daughter just thought it was cute for the longest time until the RONA hit. She couldn’t work due to the virus and unemployment ran out fast. Now she is full on into it, has laying chickens and meat chickens, does some gardening and is stocking up on other things. I feel for you its very hard but just keep plugging away. If need be trade skills for skills to help get some things done if possible. GOOD LUCK!!

      • @Kat,
        Vic said it best, do what you can.
        Not sure you can change his mind, but keep at it, and stay motivated! Even little things are wins!

    • I have simple magnetic window alarms from a Harbir Freight store. Makes loud alarm if opened. I have driveway alarms set in other places. If a beam of light is broken it sets off an alarm inside for me to hear. I also have fishing line with cans attached that make noise. I use pull tops from cans hung in my fruit and grapes to keep birds away but they are noisy enough to hear in sumner with a window slightly opened.
      I found stackable water storage containers at wal mart. A few of those in a cabinet or empty corner somewhere are handy.
      Watch for inexpensive gadgets. There is even a door alarm made like a simple wedge door stop. Intended for travelers one could be placed at all outside doors to give warning of intruders. I buy my gadgets at Harbor Freight but other places carry them as well. I also have motion sensor lights. Some for intruders on my property but some for me to have light without wiring in more outside lights. Solar powered they last for years. Usually simple to put up with 2 screws. I have areas I use those lights in my yard and with my critters. All I have to do is walk within range and lights turn on. Most have settings. I choose the longest setting. As long as I’m moving in that area the light will stay on. I used one in my rabbit room. Walk in the door and it turns on. If I step out of range it will go off but a simple wave of my hand and it turns back on. Light inside but little solar panel outside. Another one by the front door so I can see to unlock the door if I don’t turn on the porch light in the daytime. At 74 this month I look for ways to simplify life. But I also stay as active as possible.

    • I suspect you can do a lot of prepping without his buy-in, his help, or him noticing it. Don’t know where you live (zone, acreage, climate) but grow bags work great for potatoes. And I suspect other veggies will grow well in them also. Initial cost of bags and soil but bags can be reused and at least some soil should be too. Adding compost to it I think would work. Farmers markets, barter, or trade for fruits or veggies.

      My better half is only so much into prepping. Despite canned goods having a) a best use by date and b) shelf life of more than a few WEEKS, a period of time during his youth is burned in his brain. Buying 12 cans (an example) of tomato soup is guaranteed to set his mind to consume all 12 cans of that soup in two weeks time. Better half does most of the food shopping (I do non-perishables) but I’ve figured out how to stock up without triggering that part of his brain.

      Nothing stopping you from preparing the vehicles (as in supplies) OR from planning where you could bug out. Not buying a bug out location but knowing where you could go. And go without him if necessary.

      While your spouse isn’t an adversary, you can figure out how to work around him so to speak.

    • I did this, don’t know if it will work in your case? My girlfriend was not into prepping at all? So I got to thinking, and here’s what I did. I said I’m texting my prepping supply’s this weekend, and going to see what shortcomings I have in it? So Friday night, I turned off the power, water, and heat? LOL!! Eat and drank from food and water storage, ran a old LOUD generator! Heat was a small propane heater . And used a small portable toilet? 2 1/2 days later, she had a change of heart? LOL!!! Said can you get a quieter generator, and we need to shower now? LOL!!! She totally on board, and really enjoying prepping?

    • Kat, Know where you are at. A small, yet perhaps viable idea for you. Approach the manager of a nearby fast food cafe. Think Panera. And ask if it is possible he/she can give you empty 5 gal pickle buckets they normally throw away. And ask for the covers also. These are food grade. A simple wash and air dry is all you need to prepare them for use. Once washed you can use a tbsp straight bleach and fill with water and snap the cover on for long term storage. Should you be fortunate enough these can also be used for some food storage. If you are daring, ask if they wouldn’t mind dumping used coffee grinds into a bucket or two to add to a compost pile, AND theses bucket can be used for planting food. Not necessarily the the prettiest but effective. As for the coffee grounds if you can’t use them perhaps you can offer them to a neighbor who has a garden and does composting, in exchange for a few veggies. These are also good for a bug out. You can prepare a weeks worth of food to be stored, snap on the lid and IF you have to run, grabbing one or two of food, and a couple with water can help to reach a family member or friend.

  • You will make much more efficient use of your land and your time, if you concentrate on growing crops, rather than meat.

    You will need to provide anywhere from 8kg to 16kg of vegetation, for every one kg of meat.

    • I garden but also raise rabbits. They will eat many of the “weeds” you’d pull from your flowerbeds and garden. Near a community water ditch i find volunteer alflafa so i feed it fresh and dried leaves for later. I just cut bucketfulls with a pair of scissors. They will eat lots of other green plants. The kits are fryer sized by 8 weeks but I predere them a few months older. I also let moms nurse each littler as long as they choose. 4 litters a year us enough in my estimation but they could infact have many more litters. I know of some breeders who breed a doe as,soon as she’s delivers a litter so she is nursing one litter as the next litter is born. So close to 12 litters a year. I don’t agree with that so I aim to keep more does and treat them well. I do agree that raising larger animals takes much more time, space, and feed. Still a larger animal will give you far more than one or two meals. And many such as goats and cows give you milk as well as larger amounts of meat.

    • @BoBeagle,
      I let the chickens, and ducks free range, so I effort there.
      With rabbits, I have done the rabbit “tractor” thing in the past. Basically a small A-frame, with an attached weld wire run. Move them 4 or 5 times a day. Only takes a minute. Check their water once a day, twice in hot months. Put a mesh wire down for when they are getting close to kitting to keep the kits from falling through. Makes for a good lawn mowers too.
      The medium and large livestock go out into the fields where they convert greens, weeds even small trees into meat. I mob graze so I move then every other day. Takes about 40 minutes by myself, 20 minutes with help. Otherwise, just have to water them. Mob grazing breaks the worm cycle too, so the beasties are healthier too.

    • On paper, perhaps but I find that statisitical math is sometimes trumped by real world common sense. In some areas you can “grow meat” or “eggs” all throughout the year while plant growing seasons might be limited to just a few months of the year. Lots of external factors can impact both options: weather, pests, predators, etc.

      I think for many people it is prudent to not put all your proverbial eggs in one basket and do both.

      • @Sher,
        Well said.
        Read an interview with a agriculture author in Acres USA so said something to the effect of,
        “Follow what the books says. Make observations and notes. When the observations do not follow the book and exceed what the book says, make additional notes reflecting that. Then put the book on the shelf.”
        I know a guy who’s land is high in clay. He has been growing a variety of beans that over the years have grown longer and longer tap roots to get through the clay. His beans produce very well.

    • It’s not for everyone but many do – and I did for a while – a meat-only diet. Known as the carnivore diet it helps bring down inflammation, is great for weight loss and various other things. The tricky bit is when you go back to sugars and starches, as your gut biome isn’t expecting it and it can get quite interesting for a while…

  • Great post! One can be realistic without being too hard on yourself. Realize that everyone is on their own journey. Whether you are new to prepping or have been at it for years, there is always something new to learn/make/do. Don’t get overwhelmed. After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! It’s the time of year to make resolutions, right? Resolve to learn one new skill at a time. Resolve to build your stores one item a week (or whatever is reasonable for your budget).

    A realistic assessment of where you are combined with a list of goals is something all of us should be doing.

    • @GrammyPrepper,
      Well said about being realistic and not too hard on your self.
      I love the elephant line! LOL!

  • I really need to get an alternative to my electric powered well,even if it means taking a loan out. I know a’friend’ who I would pay to put it in,but he is ‘too busy’ to be bothered with a small project. I’m also reviewing ‘friends’. Food,always grabbing an extra can or two when I’m at the store. Gathering sand bags for extra security. Need to know how to break down my weapons for a good cleaning,again,looking for help on that. So,you’ve probably guessed I need to find reliable people to get ahold of.

    • Sylvia, you need to do some reading about wells, and compare & contrast your own setup with the other types described. You say you “really need to get an alternative to my electric powered well”. It wont be that difficult or expensive if the water table in your area is close to the surface, less than 32 feet. Is your well “dug”? “Drilled”?
      If you live in a poorer area, people have to work 2-3-4 jobs to make a living. Your ’friend’ who you would pay to put it in, but he is ‘too busy’ to be bothered with a small project, sooner or later may be cold or hungry enuff to take you seriously. MYy own experience is mostly with shallow wells that dont require a jet pump. Several of them used hand pumps, you know, the kind found on Depression farms, where you had to stand there & pump the handle up and down awhile before you would hear the water coming up into the pump body.
      I, too, I’m also reviewing ‘friends’.
      Food,always grabbing an extra can or two when I’m at the store. Gathering sand bags for extra security. Need to know how to break down my weapons for a good cleaning,again,looking for help on that. So,you’ve probably guessed I need to find reliable people to get ahold of.

      • VA3ROD. Thank you for your reply. I believe my water is close to the surface,have to read the report again. I’m also comparing generator to hand pump alternative. Again,thank you.

        • I purchased a well bucket from Lehman’s last year. Cost was just around a $120.00 including shipping up to Vancouver Island Canada. Must less if you’re in the US. Brings up 1.9 gallons of water and is totally silent (if you need that)

  • A “traditional” preparedness self-assessment would be based on parts of knowledge inherited from lots of historical experiences. Some examples would include centuries of farming and gardening experience, the great pre-Civil War bug-out of the Mormons in fear for their lives as the book “Handcarts to Zion” described, training from the Boy Scouts on wilderness living (much of which came from American Indians), military training from both infantry and pilot bailout survival learning, plus centuries of coping with the deadly surprises of natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, prairie fires, blizzards, droughts, dust storms, earthquakes and lightning strikes.

    What Trump’s announcement yesterday (that he is giving up the fight against the most monumental voting theft scam in world history) highlights is that the left-wing / communist deep state and the globalist oligarch push toward mandatory vaccines with DNA modifying capability and digital tracking built in to lay the groundwork for central government and banking control of “your” digital money as well as “your” health is underway. This same government mindset despises the 2nd Amendment and intends to disarm the American public if at all possible, even to the extent of outlawing the possession of civilian armor. Such digital tracking threatens to deny your right to travel, to conduct business, to associate with people of your choice, and to deny your right of pursuit of happiness — let alone minimal survival.

    Such mandatory vaccines (however potentially deadly) violate the informed consent mandate of the Nuremberg Code as well as the ancient medical oath from Hippocrates that requires “first, do not harm” — such violations for which we imprisoned some Nazi medics and executed others.

    It’s even clear that Stalin’s infamous remark (about who counts the votes being overwhelmingly more relevant than who votes for candidates) is live and controlling in US elections — given the inability to shut down the use of the fully corrupted Dominion software that has been manipulated from multiple overseas countries.

    It’s not clear that the preparedness community has ANY definable defenses against these newest man-made threats, and if so … is trying to do a self-assessment of this simply a useless exercise? And while remembering the famous boat people who barely escaped from the communist takeover of Vietnam, have we become the newest boat people without a boat?


  • what went well? almost everything. What failed? my
    hubby stopped eating real food and concentrated on carbs and sweets. a loaf of bread a day and a jar of jelly in 2 or 3. desserts enough for the whole family in a single sitting and not sharing. I have no idea whats up with that but it cost a fortune to replace some of that.

  • Great article. It is for me also this time of year that I reassess my preps and needs.
    This past year I took several courses about Herbal medicine. I have since began growing and processing herbs.
    It seems for me I have been learning to prep my entire life. I grew up on a small family farm, hunting and processing our own meat wether it was what was raised or hunted we had a large garden which we canned or put in a root cellar. Then I went in the military. After the military I went into the medical field then I trained in construction and building trades both residential and industrial as a fabricator.
    But I am always still looking to learn new skills and share my skills with family and friends.
    Never stop learning and always be willing to teach others.

    • @Jeffrey Hill,
      Where did you take the herbal training courses?
      I have seen a lot of interest in that and I and I think many others would like to know.
      I think that would be a valuable skill set.
      Thank you!

  • Excellent article. As an experienced hunter with a “target rich” environment on our place in WV, I have some suggestions –

    First get a trail camera and see what is moving through the area where you plan to hunt. You can spend $70- > $120 for a good one. If you have deep pockets, you can get one with Bluetooth to play back the images on your phone. If on public lands, forget it, it will be stolen.

    Next set up your stand well in advance of your hunt if you can. You may have spooked the deer when you set it up.

    Make sure your rifle is properly sighted for the likely distances you’d shoot. (In WV where I hunt, a 100 mt zero is fine).

    Make sure you are using an appropriate caliber for deer. 5.56 x 45 (.223) is illegal for hunting in some locales. I prefer 7.62 x 51 (.308) or 7.62×63 (30-06). I also prefer my steak a certain way, but I digress. I’ve heard good reports on 300 Blackout (it is based on a trimmed down 5.56 x 45 case). Avoid match grade ammo for taking game. Hollow points are the way to go. I’ve been hand loading ammo for ~ 45 years. I have some “pet” loads that work for me. Because we also have black bear in the area I hunt, I always carry a sidearm. Any caliber that starts with a “4”. Some areas specify a minimum caliber for a handgun (assuming you’d use it to hunt). Don’t get busted for a technicality like that.

    Wash your outer clothes in a soap that does not contain ultraviolet brighteners. Woolite or an order from the big box sporting goods guys will get you fixed up.

    Use a deodorizing soap for clothes and your body. Do not use deodorant or aftershave. I wash my armpits and crotch with anti bacterial (pre-operative) soap (available at drugstores) or diluted bleach with a thorough rinse. If you sweat, you won’t have an odor.

    Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Vaping is also a no go. If I can smell it I assure you a deer can too.

    I’ve had nil results with various attractive scents. A deer call has sometimes worked for me to bring them in range.

    Been deer hunting for about 40 years. Hopefully I’ve shared some pointers for a more successful hunt.

    • It warmed up to 23 degrees.
      Took the dogs out for a walk.
      Lot of tracks in the snow. What appeared to be two coy, and a fox.
      A note on trapping: What do coy/fox call a rabbit caught in a snare/trap?
      Fast food.

  • 1st Mar…
    Good article, like your many (noted) comments here and elsewhere with good reminders and a note to self to continue the mission regardless of past failures.

    Happy New Year to all, lets hope and pray it’s much better than last. Plant a garden and don’t let your guard down.

  • Outstanding article Marine. I have doing the same over the past couple of weeks. I’ve got all of my seeds, grow pots and potting soil ready to begin seedlings in Feb/March. Garden is planned, tools are cleaned and ready for spring.

    Lost one hive of bees this summer to a bear which was able to reach between the barbed wire and electric fence and pull the hive over. Reinforced the apiary so that doesn’t happen again.

    Always give yourself a fair and honest assessment as this is the only way to know where you are strong and where you are weak. Strengths can keep you alive but weaknesses will get you killed. There has never been a time in our history where it’s so crucial to be prepared and ready for anything.

    • Thank you Romeo Charlie.
      I ordered seeds the other day. We save our seeds, but I want more diversification, and looking for early to produce, or “container” type veggies for overwinter, indoor production.
      Good advice!

  • Great article! I am a 51-year old woman, been living completely off-grid, no running water, in a tiny house, for five years on my own, in Eastern Ontario, Canada. I installed a hand pump in my well, pumps with little effort down to 100 feet in all temperatures. An electric pump can be installed at the same time. I will always have access to my well water, and that’s how I want it!
    I study herbal medicines with Doc Jones on The Homegrown Herbalist. I make my own St. John’s Wort tincture, remineralizing tooth powder, skin lotions, lip balm, about a dozen herbal remedies just from plants on my half acre and counting! Weaknesses? I need to expand my gardens, grow more beans for protein. I have been very busy building a small energy efficient cabin that will be my permanent home (18 x 24 feet) on this land. I know things will be more balanced once I can move in there! Good luck to all. Take small steps towards your destination and do your best to enjoy the journey!

  • My thoughts are that you wrote this to those who plan to bug in. Which for most people will only result in their deaths. Things will be far worse that you plan for and Food, the most common prep, should be at the bottom of the list! Food (though you might not like all of it), is everywhere. Most plants are edible. There are lots of rodents and small game that can be caught and eaten. It really is the least of your worries.

    Next, it seems you have no clue on the amount of waste that is generated by a family and animals. Unless you have a lot of ground to compost it on, 2 or more years worth, is a gigantic amount. Then comes the question of what you do until the first batch is ready?
    And I would be careful not to use human waste to grow food with.
    “In the home garden, composted human waste is considered to be unsafe for use around vegetables, berries, fruit trees or other edible plants.”

    Next you talk about being bored. Come SHTF you will wish you could just find time TO be Bored!
    All this talk of boredom shows that you have no clue what it will be like during SHTf. Maybe during a short term natural disaster you can be bored, but survival during SHTF, that is totally different.

    Assuming you are planning to provide proper security for yourself and your family.
    24/7/365 security will keep one person busy full time. And for the first 2 years or so, this will be required.

    That leaves all the other chores to another person; Getting water, cooking, gardening, composting, cleaning, washing, chopping wood or gathering it (as at some point that will be your main fuel), taking care of any animals, etc. and of course some time to sleep would be good also.
    Then if you have kids, add watching them 24/7 to that also.
    You might rotate this into shifts and swap chores, but the amount of time required, will still add up to be the same amount – More than there are hours in the day.
    I believe it was Selco that mentioned, not getting much sleep during those years.

    BTW, Natural disasters are not SHTF scenarios. SHTF defined: Normally connotates the TOTAL break down of civilization and social order. A natural disaster is short term emergency with outside help and supplies available after it passes, so that you can rebuild. In a SHTF, no help is coming to rescue you, ever.

    The biggest issue will be water. Electricity will be scarce to non existent. so pumping water or carting it will be a problem. Solar panels and batteries to run a pump, have a short life span. Wind power is better but unreliable in many places, as is trying to catch rainwater and store it.
    Some people think they will get water from a creek, lake or river. Maybe, but creeks can be dammed up and water sources can be poisoned or contaminated. Once everyone is using the same basic source for water in your area, many sources will dry up. Other sources will be fiercely guarded and fought over.

    The second biggest issue is Fire. That comes in three main types.
    1) The fire you make for cooking, lighting or other uses that gets out of control and burns up your shelter.
    You would be surprised how common this is.

    2) The fire that Looters or Attackers will use to burn you out. This is a common and historical tactic. So don’t dismiss this possibility, lightly.

    3) The natural or otherwise caused wildfires. With all the people that will bug out or flee, many will not follow proper fire discipline, most won’t even know what that means. As a result there will be many fire started by abandoned campfires. With no government services to control and extinguish them, it will be a real problem. When 100 to 150 million people (families) ,have to use fire to cook, boil water and everything else, that have hardly ever used fire before in that manner, you know there is going to be a big problem.

    You make lots of suggestions that do not fit a SHTF scenario, you need to rethink this…

    • Actually, if you really think about it, the way we broke it out, can apply to any situation.

      With proper training, food can be found nearly anywhere.
      But let us take as an example 1996 Summer Olympic bomber, Eric Rudolph.
      Allegedly he was some kind of survivalist with mad survivalist skills. While he did in fact evade capture for 5 years, it was most certainly not by survivalist skills living off the land. By his own writings, he survived, briefly, by eating salamanders and eating acorns. That was his extent of his living off the land.
      The rest of his food came from what he stole from remote cabins, stole from gain silos, stole from peoples gardens, and more significantly dumpster diving behind grocery stores. It was also while he was looking through a dumpster behind a grocery store that he was caught.

      Is it possible to live off of wild game?
      Yes it is.
      But as I noted in my article, I have not seen deer tracks in some time. A few rabbit tracks. Could I hunt the coy/fox/feral cat I have seen (tracks)? Yes. But there is not significant numbers of them to sustain me for an entire winter. We have what we call field mice here. I could trap them too. Would take a significant amount of them to sustain me as well. I am sure it would be a great weight loss plan.

      Just got back from walking the dog. Sunny, mid-20s, still 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. If I like pine needles, I might be able to make a soup out of those. Other wise, nothing is growing out there.

      The average American produces approximately 1,200lbs of waste a year (source Human Manure Handbook). Same book goes into great detail about how to compost human manure safely. For that matter it is a great book about composting in general. Using that book, I have been composting animal manure for about 7 years now. This would be real world experience.

      Yes. Boredom. Currently it takes me about 30 minutes for morning chores, and 45 to an hour for afternoon chores. The rest of the time I have for reading, writing, making bread (I enjoy cooking), wood working, and other things to occupy my time.
      When the livestock are out in the fields and I have to move them, takes about 45 minutes by myself. Hauling water? Depends on how far I have to hump the water to their paddocks. Split the difference, call it 20 minutes.
      Gardening. Why does everyone think gardening is so labor intensive? Stick seed in soil (at the right temp). Water accordingly. Wait. Harvest. Watering and weeding (if kept up daily weeding is not really a chore) is about the only attention gardens need. I have dill and tomatoes that come up every year with no effort on my part whatsoever. This would be real world experience.

      Children. The Amish put their kids to work just about as soon as they can walk. A few weeks ago, a flat bed trailer went by, being pulled by two draft horses. There were three boys on the trailer, the eldest might have been 10-11 years old. Raise them right, kids dont need that much supervision.

      We heat with wood. We have it stacked in the wood shed before the first snow. This would be real world experience.

      I was a volunteer firefighter in the deep South. I am well aware of the dangers of fire. During power outages, our call rate would go up.
      In my current area in the Northeast, a lot of people in my area use fire as heat. They all know the dangers of fire. This would be real world experience.

      You have made no suggestions that are of much help and clearly show you have no real world experience.

    • Just got back from afternoon chores attending the livestock.
      Only took 20 minutes today.

      Observation: I can go into the coop, put my hand on a chicken and say, “This is dinner tonight.”
      I can go into the barn and put my hand on a duck and say, “This is dinner tonight.”
      I can put my hand on a goat and say, “This is dinner tonight.”
      That, is food security.

      I can go out into the fields, lay a dozen traps and say, “I hope I trap something for dinner tomorrow night.”
      I might trap a dozen rabbits or rats. Likely not. One or two is a more likely outcome. None at all is also a possibility.
      That is food insecurity.

      Depending on hope or chance for a meal is a poor way to plan to survive.

  • Mental health. That’s a good one. I already see short tempers over stupid stuff, egos, and evil looks over politics in my neighborhood area. We have the informed prepared patriots vs. the uninformed clueless lefties looking for free college. lol They will get a FREE education all right. Just give it time. All I can say is keep good layers of perimeter security in place. Lots of layers with force multipliers like IR video cameras and stay frosty.

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