OK, back from the land of Parishes and it’s good to be home. I cannot even begin to say enough about the hospitality I was shown. What started out as a small fish fry ended up being a huge ad hoc family reunion for the people I was visiting and those kind country folks went out of their way to make me feel welcome. James your hospitality is not lost on me brother. Thanks!
The area I visited was unique – and not in a bad way. I was able to actually sit down with a small group of folks that live in what they consider their tribal area that included ages ranging from 20 to 60 somethings of both males and females. Now these folks aren’t fired up about the III% or militias but rather concerned about how the economy is going and what might happen if things completely collapse. Concerned enough to invite me to come out and have a look-see and get them started on the right path. That’s significant. How? It demonstrates that folks looking at some form of resiliency aren’t just groups of preppers or ad hoc patriots but include those that are once removed from the depression era generation and remember the stories told, young folks with “that feeling” (meaning they feel strongly something bad on a big scale is going to happen but don’t know what it is), and even professionals (they have one member that is a GP with his practice at home). So if you thought the folks heading this direction were nothing but those often wrongly made out to be whackjobs by shows like Doomsday Preppers nothing could be further from the truth. For a laugh I asked what political affiliation a few of them were. Democrats, republicans, Libertarians, the entire spectrum. IMHO that just shows the urgency all the more that time is of the essence with our efforts to form resilient and defended tribes.
Anyway we started off by looking at what these folks consider their “tribal area” if TSHTF. It’s quite a bit larger than the examples I’m using for the blog but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Their terrain is also quite wet with numerous creeks and ponds crossing and dotting the area. It’s also pretty heavily forested with game out the wazzo. Seriously there’s deer run amok down there. As far as terrain goes water is a good thing as it serves not only as a source of sustenance but as an obstacle to anything/one less than desperate. When I get into obstacles you’ll gain a better appreciation of how just powerful water can be. There is one huge hazard with their location. They are less than five miles away from a small town that has a pretty significant crime rate given its population and at least one known gang operating in it. The stats for that small burg show almost a third of the people living in it receive some kind of government subsidy. That is a huge problem if SHTF when those hand outs disappear as it’s almost a given crime will expand and eventually hit their Area of Operations (AO). That’s where they might have a choice to make. Their AO is separated from said burg by a decent sized creek (more like a small river) with two bridges spanning it on routes leading into their AO. I asked my host if he had a plan to deal with this issue and he admittedly did not. So he’s in an awkward position. For example he could leave the bridges open and possibly his tribal AO open as well, guard them if he has enough manpower possibly destroying one, or destroy them both and cut the tribe off from any resources they might need or be able to get across that water. A difficult decision indeed and one best made only after weighing every aspect of the impacts of any course.
Tribe wise I wasn’t too surprised to find that most of the folks in that little area are related. They have strength in the fact the majority (probably 75%) are family within second cousins. When I hit my host up with the “family being a liability scenario” while conducting an informal inventory of the folks in the area he was quick to counter that everyone hasn’t lost the lessons of depression era hard times passed down from their elders. These good old country folks are a lot more cohesive than most groups nowadays due to their shared lineage and familial ties to the land. Which brings us to an important teaching point. Yeah family can be a liability (especially if they don’t prep) but being near family is better than having no support mechanisms if you need them. Family is probably some of the best “shovel ready” folks you’ll ever know. So if you haven’t made that move to what city folks call “the sticks” consider relocating near family. IMHO the benefits outweigh the possible risks. As always your mileage may vary so apply to your own situation as feasible. One thing we discovered is that this “extended family area” has few veterans in it. We counted three that had been to Vietnam and of those only one had any kind of combat experience. I was warned shortly before the fish fry to watch out for the fellow and make sure I didn’t hang around him when he started drinking. There’s another lesson unto itself – people (including family members) that suffer from addictions or have other problems need to be taken into consideration especially in the early stages of an emergency. If those sources of addiction or medication aren’t available there’s going to be issues. I spoke with one elderly lady that relies on a synthetic hormone due to her thyroid removal. I asked her son what his plan was and he pretty much came straight out and said “Mama knows she’ll be done for if we can’t get it”. It’s going to be hard enough surviving in the first place so it’s time and effort well spent now to develop some kind of support and coping mechanism to deal with losses like that. The despair brought on by the loss of a loved one call very well make folks just want to throw their towels in and quit. Plan accordingly and prepare for those losses now as best you can.
One disadvantage is that the entire area has little to no agriculture. Sure some families have small gardens and a few cows, chickens, and goats but no significant crops or animal husbandry. After discussing it I believe given the economy of it they pretty much decided to pick up a few more animals here and there and expand their gardens. But as it stands now their resilience is questionable. That’s a big point – if you aren’t going to keep your farm or ranch going or you live in one of the areas dotted with those 5 acre burb ranches then you definitely need to evaluate your resilience. Ask yourself “Is my farm/ranch going to be able to provide sustenance for me and my family? Is it going to be able to give me enough surplus to trade?” This is a critical point a lot of folks seem to miss. What good is a defensive plan if you’re not going to be able to stay in place without starving? That is why i stress remaining operational rather than completely halting everything and hunkering down.
I had an awesome time, met a lot of great people, made a few friends probably for life, and don’t consider the gas money spent to be wasted in the least sense. Now I’ve got some catching up to do on the ranch and some work tonight on the next entry – it’s time to discuss obstacles.