Sunday, October 12, 2014

Survival Retreat or Homestead? A Rose By Any Other Name...

Ever watch Chris Carter's finest effort, Millennium? Season two was exceptional, chiefly because Carter was so busy with other projects that his writing team produced and directed the show that season.  Long intro here, but the Season 2 two-part finale episode plot concerned a Marburg Virus outbreak...  Frank Black and formerly estranged wife and child head to an almost fallen down cabin in the woods, mountain foothills that his father left him...

The Blacks show up with whatever gear & supplies they could bring in their small Jeep wagon and mid-size Taurus or whatever the wife drove.  Not much stuff.  But the house and gear was not central to the plot. 

The basic thought of removing the family out of the line of fire, hunkering down with food and supplies to ride out the epidemic was discussed in the episode as regarding the efforts Europeans of means made to avoid contact with Plague.

Lots more to it than this, but the concept is valid.  If you are self-sufficient and able to meet your daily needs for living under the worst circumstances you at least stand a chance.

In Nuclear War Survival Skills, Cresson Kearny and his staff researched the minimalist approach to quick and hand tool constructed shelter.  Lots of interesting concepts in that book (free download at, but the idea was to survive the over pressure and fallout of nuclear blast in proximity to the edge of the survival zone.  Survival zone being outside the approx 5mi diameter fireball and total wreckage zone.  Not really such a quick even here in terms of the death being manifest in seconds and having fast decay within 2 weeks.

Really concerned about the global pandemic that is manifesting on a reported basis so far in Africa, Europe, and the Americas?  If you have money, you might find a suitable property to buy for self-sufficient living with some degree of security and remoteness.  If you have money and already own or your family owns land with a cottage or even just raw land, you might shelter in-place there and ride this out.  Maybe even a lake house if there is a fairly large plot of land and your own sewage, and water utilities already in place.  Talking about a Septic Tank or other self-contained waste disposal and a well.

Food is not yet a problem.  Can probably buy a large order from a food wholesaler, or do Costco, Sam's etc.  Take a truck to haul what you need and buy it.  Ice chests to keep frozen meat and dairy etc.  Got a motorhome or RV with lots of storage and weight capacity?  Take that and you won't need to have someone guarding your supplies while you make 2nd or more subsequent trips to fill your list.

So, if we have the remote location in hand, and septic tank and well, food is the last major concern.  Presumably you know you will need to stay Warm, Dry, Hydrated, Fed, and Able To Mount Self and Property Defense. 

But day to day living off the grid is what we are talking about.  Even if your property has electric service, it may not be reliable, so you need backup or run the risk of no electric at all.  Backup is what is going to run your well pump, and maybe your water distiller.  Backup electric will run the super efficient heating systems that will heat a 1500sq ft home on a gallon of heating oil a day.  Backup is what will power grow lights for indoor food production.  Backup electric is what keeps some semblance of life as we used to know it and refrigeration and freezing of food...

Location.  Couple miles off the nearest paved county road and 20mi or more from any US highway or interstate.  Just as rule of thumb.  Got your place now?  Maybe right off an exit from some traveled road?  Just take extra precautions and know they will be necessary.  Yet, ideally, you will be several hundred yards from nearest neighbor who isn't a relative and your property access to those traveling will be minimal.  Anybody coming out a dead-end, private road had better own property there or know somebody...

Plenty of food and gear tips contained in other articles on this blog.

Got money?  This may very well be the time to deploy it or find you have saved it only to die with a big bank or brokerage balance, but w/o the daily necessities.  Some will be unable to take action, and unwilling to grasp that if they cant help themselves they may not have circumstances which enable their survival should life as we know it change in a matter of days.

Just In Time inventory practices and deliveries mean limited supplies. When the trucks stop rolling, the food and other gear will no longer be widely available.  If you have seen the news in the past week, some suppliers are no longer shipping to Sears on credit...  Sears, for first time in over a hundred years, may not be a viable resource.  Might want to consider any parts you need or expect to need if you own any of their equipment...

Just as you probably need a backup electrical power source, and there was a recent blog entry about this, you will also want to be sure you have backup cookstove and fuel.  Propane makes a very fine fuel for cooking and is very efficient and widely available.  A number of 5gal bulk tanks with a couple of dual burner campstoves may be all you need.  Propane has indefinite life when stored in a clean vessel w/o contaminants.  New tanks of 25gal size or larger ought be vacuum pumped to remove oil and preservative liquids inserted at the factory.

There has been no discussion of viral infection avoidance in this article.  Maybe later, but maybe not...  If you are
out of the line of fire, not really any valid reason to put yourself and those who depend on you at risk.  Going from your refuge into the fray makes little sense.  But we will all have to do what we have to do...

God Bless you all and best of luck!

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