Saturday, April 30, 2011

If a tree fell in the woods...?

My family was all set to go camping in the Ozarks with five or six other families from our CiC group. We were all very much looking forward to it but God had other plans. So, we cancelled the trip.

Our youngest daughter was going to bring a friend along and since they both had a hankering to spend some time in the woods, they quickly developed Plan B. They went down into our bottoms and set up camp there all by themselves. Not many teenaged girls today would just go off and camp in the woods alone like that.

The pictured tent has been our daughters’ tent since they moved out of ours at about 4 years of age. We bought it for $10 at a garage sale. I didn’t like the colors (tan fly over maroon tent) so you can see we modified it. Krylon is your friend. We also painted the tarp with deck stain to add a super-waterproofing. We taught our girls how to set up the tent when they first started sleeping in it, lo these many years ago, and we helped them several times but they eventually figured it out and have been setting up that tent all by themselves for years.

The girls had to cross pastures and slide under two very hot electric fences and continue the hike down a large hill to get to where they wanted to camp. After they had been gone awhile, I went down to see how things were going and told them not to burn the place down with their campfire (which they had not started yet). My daughter said, “Please, Dad – we’re not Boy Scouts!” Well, I took that as my cue that they had everything well in hand and hiked back home. The weather was beautiful and calm and I knew they’d have fun.

We left one of the house doors unlocked for them “in case they had to come in for something” but they took toilet paper and shovel with them so I doubted they would be back that night. About four in the morning I awoke to the sound of my sliding glass door opening (all of our doors are loud) and heard the girls voices. I heard the toilet flush twice and I will admit I was a bit disappointed. Then I heard continued talking and decided to go down and see how they were.

My daughter’s friend was sitting in the kitchen with a pack of frozen venison on her knee. “What happened?” I asked.

“A huge tree fell on our tent and landed on Sarah’s knee!” my daughter explained.

I looked at her knee and it was okay. My daughter apologized to me and said she thought one of the tent poles may be broken. Well, Plan C became a sleep over in our daughter’s room and I went back to bed.

This morning I went to investigate and you have already seen what I saw. Wow.
Praise God! That puppy could have crushed them both. It was a standing dead tree that just decided it was time to fall. Good news is I have firewood. Bad news is, neither I nor my daughter looked for it. We did look up for “widow maker” branches in the limbs of the above trees but not for dead trees themselves. And this tree was a fair piece away.
All’s well that ends well. According to my daughter and her friend, YES, you can hear a tree falling in the woods – especially when it falls on you.

I’ll see ya out there.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. – 1 Kings 19:5

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Idea is not a Plan

I surf and participate in a fair number of preparedness and survivalist forums. I suspect you do as well. For the vast majority of participants, these forums are merely social entertainment. Most posters are not really into preparedness – they are just interested in the subject much like most people who enjoy martial arts movies could not fight their way through a Boy Scout troop.

One thing that bugs me (because I care) is that many people have actually fooled themselves into thinking that because they read a lot of posts about preparedness, they can handle anything that comes down the pike. They cannot. Many people have an idea that “bugging out” is the thing to do when the world turns upside down. I mean, gosh! EVERYBODY (on the forums) knows that trying to stay in a city during social turmoil is a bad idea! So their idea is to flee the city ahead of the crazed, starving masses and bug out to a safe place.

As if they will get warning before said masses.
As if they will be able to travel to their intended destination.
As if they really had a destination (does Aunt Mabel know your intentions to live with her?)
As if living at Aunt Mabel’s would actually be any better (how much food is at Aunt Mabel’s?)
And that is for the folks who actually have the idea of living somewhere specific – many have the idea that they will bug out to the country and live off the land.


An idea is not a plan.

I discuss Planning (capital P) in my book Survivalist Family (which is also available at Amazon) but let’s cover just a bit here as well.

Plans start with ideas.
I don’t like planning to bug out as a primary response to troubles so let’s consider something else...hmmm....ah! Food.

Let’s say you have an idea that food could get scarce for you and yours.
Good start – let’s kick that around a bit – why would it get scarce? (no answers from me – this is YOUR idea!) Based on each “why” (because there are many causal factors and yeah, you better start making lists here) you could develop your idea as to how long food could be scarce. You will probably develop related ideas depending on the causes you dream up – if it’s plague then you might want to avoid people; if it’s a Chinese invasion you might want to have a plan to hide your food, and so on. Consider these, but try to stay focused on food – you are developing a food plan.

Let’s say your idea is a longer term food shortage. You look around your place and figure out that you have an acre of lovely lawn surrounding a house with about four days worth of food in it. This is an assessment of your current situation. It is your start point.

Now figure out, based on your ideas, where you want to be. Maybe you want to expand your food storage but have no room but you do have the idea of converting part of the house into an honest to God pantry complete with shelves, lights and the works. That would be short to medium term. Maybe your idea carries out further – perhaps you desire one day to sculpt your property into a permaculture food forest (if you don’t know – YouTube it) complete with a rabbitry, egg production facility and tilapia pond.

Right now you are still in the idea phase. Let’s start planning.

For each idea, (you have several now) come up with three courses of action (COA). They have to be feasible and unique. Take the food storage idea: Maybe COA 1 is to convert the spare bedroom into a pantry. COA 2 might be to wall off part of the basement and COA 3 could be to build a separate shed for the purpose. Each is doable; each is different from the others. Now start looking at your COAs and try to pick them apart. Be ruthless. Find the holes; discover the things you didn’t think about yet. Consider costs in time, money, emotional investment, and so on. Consider threats (would one COA be better than another when considering foraging Chinese soldiers?) Consider how well each COA meets your needs. Then pick one.

Let’s say you chose COA 3 – the shed. You know your current situation – you have no shed. You know what you want...or do you? Have you really thought out how you want this puppy to look? How you want it constructed? Wood or concrete block? Front yard, side yard, or back? You now have other COAs to consider. Do so.

Once you have this figured out you need to develop milestones, points along the way from now (no shed) to competed survival pantry. With each milestone set a date.
Perhaps you have something like:

1. Complete blueprint – July 4 (that means you want it done by Independence Day)
2. Raise funds – July 10
3. Purchase materials – July 12
4. Exterior complete – July 20
5. Interior complete – July 25
6. Food purchased and stocked – 1 August

Now obviously that was grossly simplified but you should get the idea. You now have something more than an idea – you have a plan. And because you have an actual plan – you will very likely accomplish what you set out to do. Sure this is a lot more work than dreamily typing on some internet forum – I plan on storing a lot of food; but you will actually have a food storage facility someday as opposed to the folks who only come up with ideas.

Time is short.
You can feel it.
You are running out of planning time.
Get busy.

I’ll see you out there.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. - Proverbs 22:3

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Took a little walk in the bottoms today and look what He provided!

They were tasty.


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mulching the Upper Orchard

Several years ago I had a student for a private course “Survival Intensive 1” who was a fascinating man. He was (and probably still is) a nationally known python breeder. Well, if you are in those circles you would know him. He was also a arborist. He knew all about trees. He told me my fruit trees would do much better if I mulched them. He also told me to mulch them well beyond the drip line and to mulch them at least 3” deep. He was a professional in his field and I like advice from professionals.

So, we took his suggestions, mulched our trees and man, did they start doing better! Now, we free range chickens and ducks and Guinea fowl and they have access to our orchards. They like to scratch. They spread the mulch a bit out into the grass and every year we need to add a bit more to keep up.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day at High Prairie Acres and while I was out attending to other things, my wife went to the county dump/transfer station/waste disposal place to pick up some mulch. When the county picks up grass and brush and limbs and trees they put it all through a grinder and out comes a beautiful mulch. They load it into your pickup for you for $10 a load. And people in this county still run to the various box stores to buy their mulch for about $5 a BAG. Silly sheeple.

As you can see from the photo, our work truck is in pristine condition and we don’t want it scratched or dirtied – I mean, we paid $800 for it so we want to take care of it! My wife laid a brand new tarp in the bed and had the men at the station fill the bed with mulch. That was a mistake. We unload it with a potato fork because a shovel just doesn’t work and a dirt rake does not have long enough tines for the job. My tarp now has some holes in it. Live and learn.

We cannot back the truck up to each tree in the upper orchard so we have to get close and then offload. We could use a wheel barrow I suppose but we really like using those plastic toboggans to haul stuff around HPA. We just place it on the ground under the tailgate, fork the mulch in, drag it to where we need it, dump it and rake it nicely. Ta-da!

We want to mulch out a bit farther from the trunk but our goal yesterday was to just get some fresh mulch down.

My wife and I had a good time working together. It made the job easier and more fun. We would have had even more fun and the job would have been that much easier if we were doing it as a community though. We have been meeting regularly with a group of Believers investigating what living in an intentional community would look like. We do stuff together and it is awesome. It will be more awesome when we get CiC off the ground and onto the land…another blog entry for another time.

Spring is in the air – I’ll see ya out there!

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. – Isaiah 65:21 - 23

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, April 01, 2011

Christian Preparedness - Don't Worry

A reader recently posed the question, “How do you justify preparedness in light of what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 6:25 – 34?”

Here is what Jesus said:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

It's a good question – I’ve heard it before. The key to unraveling this bit of scripture with regards to preparedness rests on two points - the first of which is the verse preceding it, Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We always need to take things in context and here the context is that you can either serve God or the world (worldly things and ideas) – but you cannot serve both; and then examples to illustrate the point follow.

We need to serve Him. Period. The greatest commandment is to love God with everything we have – heart, soul, and mind.

The second point is how we translate/modernize “Take no thought for”.
What this means is “do not WORRY about.”
Don’t WORRY about life, food, drink, clothing and so on.
Worry is a sin.
There is no trust of God in worry.
Trust God – He’s got it all under control.

I try to follow God’s commandments.
I read the Word – His letter to me (and you), and I try to learn from it.
Here are some things I have learned about preparedness from the Word of God:

Because of Adam, man has been cursed with work. By the sweat of our brow shall we eat our bread. Does it mean we don’t trust God if we actually listen to Him and go out and work for our bread? Should we instead just lay around and wait for it to fall like manna from the sky?

Noah built the ark. God told him to get ready and Noah did. It was not a popular thing to do - building an ark when one was not needed. Did Noah trust God? You bet. Did Noah say, “If God wants to save me from the flood let HIM provide an ark?” Of course not.

Joseph stored up wheat during years of plenty so that he would have it during the lean years. Did Joseph trust God?

The Ant
We can read in Proverbs 6:6 – 11
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

After being told to consider the ant who works hard and stores food during times of plenty are we to now “trust God” and not do anything about our future preparedness? That would not be trusting God – that would be TEMPTING (testing) Him.

10 Virgins
Consider the ten virgins waiting for the wedding feast (Matthew 25). Five had oil and five did not. Those with oil are called wise, those without – foolish. When the time came did the wise virgins share with the foolish ones? No, they did not. That story has a few different levels to it but the obvious level is still true.

If you buy my book, Survivalist Family, from me instead of from Amazon, I sign it. Along with that signature I write this: 1 Tim 5:8.

I Timothy 5:8 reads: But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

My understanding and advice is to Work (with a capital W).
Instead of spending your money on worldly things – prepare.
Prepare and then leave it in God’s hands.
Have faith in Him.
Then get busy – faith without works is dead.

I prepare.
I don’t worry.
I am not overly concerned about tomorrow – in fact I eagerly anticipate His return.

I prepare because I am told to.
I don’t worry because I know God is in control.
I don’t worry because I read the whole book and I know how it all turns out in the end.

I hope to see some of you there.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. – Revelation 22:20 - 21


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America