The End Is Near(er): Being prepared over time

With the drums of war in Syria beating loudly this morning, talk of preparedness is breaking out all over cyberspace.  In the last 24 hours I have seen discussions of issues of food storage, gasoline shortages, and “stockpiling lead” in at least three different comments sections that I glance at around the net.  Strikingly, two of these comments sections were in more political “news” aggregating sites where talk of things like this is rarely mentioned.  So I thought it might be appropriate to discuss preparedness a bit, because at times like these it seems to be very much on people’s minds.

Cyberspace can be a very contentious place, where a wide diversity of opinion usually results in strident disagreement at best, and often outright all-caps shouting and personal attacks at worst.  We are very fortunate that the types of people attracted to TFMR, and the tone set here by Turd himself, have greatly diminished that type of thing in this little corner of the world.  I have seen many other sites that started out as interesting places to hang out but over time were largely taken over by the mindset and personal invective of the most strident or rude posters, acting as an internet “Gresham’s law” driving good posters out. We have disagreements and highly varied opinions here, but this is nevertheless a very positively oriented and supportive community.  I believe that one of the core opinions shared by most posters here, and one which acts as a central touchstone of agreement, is the belief that the end of the Keynsian experiment is going to be a difficult time, and that we need to prepare ourselves accordingly, whether that be financially, household or personal security, or preparedness.

However, I want to focus on one aspect of disagreement within this paradigm that comes up quite often and naturally- the topic of how close we are to seeing the end of the Keynsian experiment. In broad terms, people here generally agree that ‘the end is near’ but have serious and legitimate disagreements about what near means.  The question of whether near means within two months or within five years is no small thing, as it would entirely dictate your strategy for preparing.  Please consider this post from TFMR : 

Prep Timing:  The end is near… or is it?

I am posting this in hopes of stimulating a conversation about when the 'Great Keynsian Experiment' will end, and more specifically, how your personal view of this question structures how you prepare.  Because let's face it: if you think we will see a currency collapse sometime next decade, your approach for being ready for that event would be VERY different than if you think it will collapse next week.  In short, your view of how dire things are structures your 'decision tree' and dictates your strategy.

Let me explain why I am putting this out there-  I have seen any posters at this site and others, whom I have great respect for based on their other writings, often say cryptic things like "better get your stuff together cause we don't have long", or even make direct predictions like "we have four or five weeks, tops".  And I totally understand the mindset behind doing this-  most of us are procrastinators and the more dire we think a situation is, the more likely we are to get off our lazy butts and start preparing.  Nothing wrong with that, but I think people do themselves a great disservice by adopting a "world is ending next week" mentality. Here's why- many of the best preps are long-term projects that take some time to develop.  An imminent doomsday mindset may keep you from taking on things that, ultimately, you would be very glad to have.

Check out the picture below.  I took this yesterday and if you look very carefully you will see four different projects of mine that I would never have even started if I really thought the end was near when I began them.

The chickens are the newest- got my pretty ladies as little fuzz-balls in February, when the buzz at ZH and other places was 'Greece is the first domino and watch them all knock each other over in a sovereign debt default extravaganza'.  I built the coop over the winter, while gold and silver were exploding and some claimed the dollar was dying right before our eyes.  If you look carefully to the left of the coop there is a glimpse of our first big 'food production' garden, put in in the spring of 2009 when the trillions in porkulus spending and QE were exploding the deficit to no obvious end, and real unemployment was pushing 20%.  Finally, to the left and right of the coop you will see plumb, apple, and peach trees.  I was planting these in 2008 during the dark days of the financial crisis, when Wall Street firms were dropping like flies and it looked like economic apocalypse was upon us.  Fruit trees that take 3-5 years minimum to start producing was a real leap of faith at that time, but I cannot tell you how glad I am that I took the 'long view' back then. 

And I guess that's my point-  if you get totally caught up in a "The End Is Near" mindset, you will likely not take on projects which will take months or years to develop.  If the end really IS near, then short-term is the way to go.  But if the great unwinding takes a while, realize that you are costing yourself opportunities for developing long-term assets.

You have probably already guessed the kicker from the text-  I posted this in June of 2011!  And believe me, there were many times before then and since then - just like we have today with the Syrian War headlines -  that I have heard a specific piece of news, read a headline, or seen yet another “economic chart of doom” from Zerohedge and thought that indeed, the end was near. 

And yet, as best I could, I kept doggedly plugging away to develop resources, and continued to take-on longer term projects that have, in fact, now had time to pay off.  After literally years of pruning, fertilizing, spraying, trimming, and working, those fruit trees finally produced a crop in meaningful amounts such that I can preserve the harvest.  Much to my joy, we have already taken in and preserved a big batch of sour cherries (and there is nothing like a hot, fresh cherry pie in the middle of winter).  We have harvested peaches and plums, canned jelly, preserves, plum sauce, whole fruit, and even fruit leather.  I hope to finish up in 2-3 weeks with apples in decent amounts, provided we can keep the bugs and critters away. 

With the help of a truly fine friend (and fellow Turdite), I was able to finally put up a High Tunnel this year- a movable 16’ x 32’ greenhouse on skids that should be able to extend our garden harvest a month earlier in the spring, and a month later in the fall.  For the first time we are going to be able to grow fresh greens all through the winter.  Several other things big and small have been done since I wrote this, but the bottom line is that I am far more self-sufficient and better prepared for any possible disruptions associated with the end of the Keynsian experiment than I was then.  And if there are no disruptions of any kind and the world sails along as it has? Then my family has great, healthy organic fruits and veggies, preserved fresh to eat all year long.  Win-win, in my book.

And yet… if during all that time I had taken the view that “The End Is Near!!!” there is no way I would have even started most of these things- what would have been the point in starting long-term projects that took years to pay off if there was just no time?  So herein lies a cautionary tale: It pays to be as ready as you can today (particularly given current events) because difficulties or disruptions might very well be near.  But it also pays to proceed at the same time as if the end is quite some time away, and to work hard to develop resources or assets (of many kinds) over the long-term in case the end actually may still be quite some time away.  I will admit, it is a hard mental balancing act- to try and think “It might happen soon, but it might not” and to keep working on your preparedness for both timelines. 

I truly believe that being as ready as you can be today, but investing the time and energy to develop longer-term resources and to work a long-range plan at the same time, is a rational way to go about this stuff.   And whether the end is near, far, or not coming at all:  I wish you all the very best.

170 Comments

Chord's picture

1st !

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,

and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

achmachat's picture

but...

when all is done and over, I could still buy those chickens from you with Bitcoins, no?

kingbee4's picture

Agreed.

Been working on preps for over 15 years.  We also added chickens last year.

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

achmachat

Accept digital currency for my precious laying ladies?  No way Jose'.  I will, however, accept your fealty to my realm and service into my armies if you support my warlord empire and promise to serve my kingdom. ;-)

Bollocks's picture

Mmmmm, me like chicken!

Chord's picture

The first harvest comes early....

I began my little orchard just this year, with two each of

apple, sour cherry, peach and pear trees, and am glad I did,

because even as I planted them I felt better; and realized that

the first harvest is you gain is a measure of hope for the future.

That is something we all need more of.

Be Prepared's picture

You rock! Miles to Toil before We Sleep!

It is difficult to keep both a mindset that includes a short and long term preparation plan, but it's really no different than life itself.  The looming threat of being taken by the surprise of calamity tends to narrow our focus to tunnel vision as the adrenaline courses through our veins.  It makes all us reactionary to the stimulus around us, so we run to grab the nearest things in hopes of staving off the impending disaster.  Those spurts, although they can yield some progress, wear us down and leave a growing build up of fatigue in dealing and seeing the bigger picture.  I say this, because I have been it's captive to some degree.

When you first are awake to the truth of the reality of how we are bound and numbered by a system and class of society, it leads to a rebellion and desire to break away.  Thrashing about will not leave you in control and certainly won't free you.  The layers of the system have been piled on thick and the games hidden in the deep tunnels of laws and regulations.... provide a seemingly endless myriad of avenues to prolong the collapse.  Pining is reminding us to be marathon runners so that we can keep going as we hit the various walls along this dark path.  Sprinting is good, but we still have miles to toil before we sleep (Yes a hit to Mr. Frost).

Whether it happens today, tomorrow and years from now, does not change the truth.  It only matters that you know and each step you take which builds a stronger you will leave you able to stand whatever may come.  Make a plan that sees the whole view and work it with steady and progressive hands.  :-)

erewenguy's picture

Ah, those were the days

Well, the angst when 22 fell, punctuated with a hat-eating video, seems a bit quaint now. With gold looking to hold a solid 1400 for now, my only regrets are not buying in the 1100's. Purchases made in 1200 through 1300's look like steals. We might be looking at these past few months with nostalgia in the not so distant future.

(reposted from the last thread due to echoing when I hit "Save")

thesandbox's picture

Syria updates....

Thought I would keep the link going here...

http://rt.com/news/syria-crisis-live-updates-047/

Watcher's picture

Good Post P4TF

Watch and be ready is His command. We will not know the day or the hour but we will know the season (Luke 21). I believe we are in that season that will see His return that is really the only hope for this world as the Bible teaches. 

Don't forget sprouts. A great resource for greens and protein especially if you can't farm.

http://www.handypantry.com/sprouting-seed/broccoli

http://beprepared.com/hearty-health-organic-blend.html

¤'s picture

P4 said...

 "I wish you all the very best."

Right back at you P4 and everyone else here. yes

Nice write up and I guess the impression I'm left with is it also depends where a person is living as far as "the end is near" perception. Not to mention what "the end" really means also.

If you were living in the Middle East then that feeling might be a perpetual one that is more like "normal" then something off in the future potentially. They're living it right now or on the brink of it.

I know you touched on this one other time in another great post about how good some of us actually have it where we live now ( I certainly feel that way) in The States or elsewhere relative to some predicaments or every day existences people around the world struggle with. 

The bottom line to me is to appreciate everything you've got while you got it and not to bemoan the boredom in life or what you feel you're missing out on relative to others maybe. I think if more of us (and I know many, if not all of you do) we're to consider some alternative places that we could be living or situations we could've been born into that most of us would look at things much differently when adversity strikes or seems to be on the horizon of our concerns or worries.

The only major thing I'm concerned about at this point in time (and there's several minor things also but less likely anytime soon imho) is if a conflict starts to spiral into something bigger over in the ME. An escalation into something much larger would have my overall radar working overtime and thinking what happens if a conflict or series of incidents start to happen here domestically

The same types of incidents or circumstances (or lesser one's) that seem to  happen in many places around the globe that few of us can ever imagine happening around them could be our daily normal routines. Just imagine that or picture yourself in some country where your safety is in dire jeopardy every single day. no

To me, when that cocoon of safety or normalcy (where I live) has been punctured is when most of us will feel quite a bit differently about prepping or the end and what it means to each of us individually.

It could simply be the end to an era that most of us have enjoyed (or moaned about at times) that starts to become reflective of lower living standards or it simply becoming tougher in some unmeasurable manner around us (inflation and scarcity of goods)  that we simply feel around us and hopefully not raining down upon us.

I could end this post with a negative Doors video entitled The End but it wouldn't be reflective of how I feel or view life most of the time so I'll post one that actually reflects how I feel about life in general...

fatherhood.jpg

oldtimegal's picture

Rocket Stoves

Thank you Pining for this morning's post.  My little plot of real estate includes  a bit of what you write of.  Not that it's like this due to the mindset of *the end is near*, although it's of upmost importance, but has been a way of life and depending on our own efforts to provide needs. 

A couple of other little goodies I have are some easily constructed rocket stoves to have handy, a bailer bucket for the well as well as a simple filter for small amounts of water that I use for the rain barrel water or camping water if needed.

My gardens supply an abundant amount of food that I put up and I cover some of my raised beds to allow for plantings of greens throughout winter like you write of.   

The metals are not going to buy food at the stores when there is none and we have all experienced the anxiety of this for a short time when storms are in the forecast. 

We need to get this word out of self sustainability to friends/family, but so many do not want to hear it or put forth the effort.  The convenience of heading to the store is the line I get.  

oldtimegal

ag1969's picture

Plan your work, work your plan

A lot of us already know about short, medium, and long term goalsetting as a result of our professional careers, and that is the way I prep.  What do I absolutely need if TSHTF tomorrow, a year from now, or 5 years from now.

For tomorrow, you need food, water, guns and ammo.  Since I have been prepping for several years now, I am pretty good in these categories, so I moved on to lots of other stuff.

Another thing to consider is that my wife and I prepare in different ways.  I tend to think in terms of the basics to keep us alive and harvest food and water, whereas my wife tends to prep with maintaining our lifestyle in mind.  The two seem to go well together.

Make sure you have everyone in your household on board.  It seems to me that most intend to "bug-in" and are prepping to stay in and defend their homes.  Just remember, that there is a very good chance that TSHTF when you are not home.  Make sure you have a bag in your car with 24 hrs of survival gear and a plan to get home, also a plan to pick up your kids wherever they may be and get them home too if you have kids.

My first priority in an event is to make sure my entire family is together in as short a time frame as possible.  Here is a good article about preparing your vehicle and getting home:

http://www.survivalblog.com/2013/08/car-mageddon-getting-home-in-a-disaster-by-becky-m.html

So yes Pining, quite obviously I agree with you.  Thank you by the way, I now have greenhouse envy.

ReachWest's picture

And so we press on ..

Fruit trees, chickens and a garden!  I'm envious of your accomplishments - and those are just the ones in that photo. Great Post, Pining.

It does take a lot more time to prepare than one might think. Certainly more than I thought when I started down the road to serious prepping. The more time we are allowed the better. For those of us that are city dwellers, the very act of stocking and mentally calculating all of the items that we should have 'on-hand' for the multitude of contingencies is a time consuming and draining process. Food, water, medical, defense, financial - any of these important prepping aspects is important and complex in it's own right - and so, it takes time, research and patience to be done properly.

I have friends/family that simply think they will stock up a day or two before - they are sadly deluded. And despite coaxing and debating with them - they are not prepared and continue to have the wrong mindset to even begin to do so. At the end of the day, though - there is only so much you can do for others that refuse to do anything for themselves. It makes me sad.

Time does seem to be running short - But - we press on. Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Mantis's picture

nice pop in bitcoins

Not just gold and silver having a nice move up today, heres a 5 day bitcoin chart

bitcoins 5 day chart

Mantis's picture

the end is near

becoming aware of the major problems in the economy late on compared to most here i rushed to get all in PMs in 2011 thinking the major collapse would only be weeks away. since then i've come to realise its really like a slow moving glacier. The collapse is happening, all around us now, in ultra slow motion and tiny constant increments.

good point to take longer term view, i've made changes, started my own small veggie patch this year, nice organic food, plus being in the garden is very grounding and zen. highly recommend a bit of gardening.

ag1969's picture

Good for you Mantis

I hope you have some heirloom seeds stored so you can keep your Zen in high gear!

Edit:  And just one other thing, if shit gets so bad that our preps are not enough, I say we all meet at Gold Dog's for margarita's...I'm just sayin'...

Pining 4 the Fjords's picture

Great point ag1969

A fun "stacking" item is heirloom seeds. I firmly believe that anyone stacking ASE's or junk silver should take a percentage of their PM fund and regularly buy and save seed packs.  It's easy, won't take up too much room in a tupperware container in cool basement, and could be a fabulous investment.  There are so many fun and interesting varieties of things that you may find it quite enjoyable!

Oldhat's picture

Prepping...to provide for others?

Prepping is fine, however let's face it all of your stuff will be looted by force if it gets bad enough.

I prep myself, part of those preps are pm's and that is why I lurk on this site.

I have come to realize that that there will be waves, at least in my beliefs.  Waves in a sense that I live in one of the wealthiest small towns in the U.S (based on cost of living we were the wealthiest city in the U.S in 2010 (I think)).  The first wave will be fending off the "zombies" that pretty much have lived on the government teat that are no more than 3 miles to my east(they realize there are resources here).  They will scour our neighborhood (suburbs) like a plaque of locust leaving not much intact if it ever gets really bad.   The second wave will be folks like me that planned on "bugging in" for a 3-4 month period to now hit the road to the country or to meet up with family and friends.  Those of us that survive due to excess use of force to protect our stuff from the "urban dwellers" will now be involved in the same type of scenario, the looting of your long term preps...your chickens, your produce, and what ever else you have that is a resource.

It's all about survival.  I mean no one any harm but if you try to take "mine" it will result in violence, I expect the same if I attempt to take yours from you and I am prepared for that, are you?

When contemplating the "prepper" aspect I realized that training and experiences we obtained in life will be far more valuable than an apple tree or chickens.  It's about creating a "group".  A group of strong minded individuals that realize what it actually takes to survive...mainly combat war vets like myself.

Unless you likewise have this resource (a strong group for defense) there is no doubt that 8-10 of us WITH TRAINING will take over your homestead in a matter of minutes.

Why do I bring this up?  Well maybe it will help you in your long term preps, another facet if you will to consider.

Me, I am no badass nor claim to be.  I laugh at the goofy preppers on TV trying to act all "rambo"... they have no clue. What I don't laugh at is the Vietnam ranger that is a good friend and now a dentist.  The Vietnam vet that carried a prick on his back through miles of jungle, the vets that I served with during the 1st Gulf War that went over 30 days without a bath (even a whore bath), a hot meal or any creature comforts.  We can be the meanest folks on the face of the earth. Are you prepared for us?

I am betting it never gets this bad, and for the sake of my 3 young children and my wife I hope we never see it.  With this said your preps and what you are doing is a great idea, that is if it's only a mild short-term issue.

Now that you all think I am a nut case, please realize that I am not! I am just an ordinary guy with an engineering degree, love to play golf (played on collegiate level), love to fish, bow hunt, and flat pick bluegrass guitar and retired at age 40....I'd much rather spend the rest of my days lurking here, fishing, hunting, raising our kids, playing guitar and golfing vs the things I'd have to do if things fell apart.

ag1969's picture

Yes Pining

Seeds are not only good to keep the gardening Zen in high gear, but the aforementioned seed packets just may become extremely valuable barter items. 

I have also read in several places that three of the most valuable items in a collapse scenario are toilet paper, alcohol, and cigarettes.

I also installed a bidet toilet seat in my home in case toilet paper runs low.  I do not want to ride out a collapse with monkey butt!

Mantis's picture

Wasn't sure what you meant by

Wasn't sure what you meant by heirloom seeds until i googled it. sound great, wonder if you can get that in the uk?

that last comment is very sobering oldhat. perhaps the way people react will be like that in parts of the usa, i think in uk the mentality might be for strong communities to develop naturally, where you all look after each other. like in the second world war, all pulling together against adversity.

If a bunch of war veterans come to take me on i won't be much of a match, nor would want to be.

ag1969's picture

OldHat

Thank you for the thought provoking comment.  I have an "understanding" with several vets, as well as an RN.  And no, I am probably not ready for you, that is scary!

Bollocks's picture

Anyone noticed

the really clear inverse H&S on the gold chart that's appeared since the beginning of May?

Looks like a continued take-off is a big possibility.

ag1969's picture

Moringa Oleifera: The Miracle Tree

For those of you in warmer climates, I highly recommend planting these trees.  If you are in a cold climate you can grow it indoors as a shrub if you have some space:

http://www.naturalnews.com/022272_Moringa_medicinal_herbs.html

Be Prepared's picture

Community...

Excellent point, oldhat!  We are here to learn and gain insight into PMs, but this place has morphed into a broader community with an emphasis on preparing for the end of the experiment.  If there is anything that has been proven throughout history.... is that an individual can change things, but can't stand alone in doing so.  There is much more strength in a collective group of friends and family standing together because one individual can't cover it all.  I appreciate the information and friends that I have gained here in Turdville.  I try to bring as much of this virtual world into the real one as possible so when the day comes that this place may no longer be here... I will truly be richer for the experience.

Hawkman's picture

Well done P4, another great post

Thanks for your insights and for some much needed perspective.  Yes the black swans are swirling and diving but unless and until they roost, there is time.

As far as stacking goes, nothing - not even stacking gold and silver - makes me feel as good as stacking firewood. Yes, firewood.  I live up above 7,000' in the Rocky Mountains and while I have a propane furnace and baseboard heat, the first thing I diid when we moved in was to install a woodstove.  Since our forests here are all aspen, pine and spruce softwoods (read: burns like matchsticks in gasoline) I went looking for a source of hardwoods. Actually found a guy who brings in Missouri oak on a monthly basis and I've been gradually stacking since last year.

I'm just like everyone else, prone to self-doubt and procrastination at times. I was absolutely convinced in 2009 that we were only months away and yet here we are in 2013. But when those feelings of impending doom approach - I look out my window at now 3 years worth of hot burning firewood for my family and friends who may end up staying with us - and I get back to work doing what I can with what time I have left.

Never let the fact that you can't do EVERYTHING prevent you from doing SOMETHING.

-Jack

P.S.- for those who are new to prepping, may I suggest a guy who IMHO nails it from a very pragmatic, hate-free, positive viewpoint: Jack Spirko.

Jack (not me, just a coincidence we have the same name) runs www.thesurvivalpodcast.com and presents an hour or so every single day on topics as diverse as precious metals, gardening, alternative power, economics, home livestock, sustainability, first aid and medical, etc, etc.  He keeps it upbeat and welcoming for everyone - beginner and hardcore prepper alike. You can also find him on the iTunes store under podcasts. Check him out.

flyinkel's picture

Great post P4 and Old hat.

Thanks, different perspectives, both very valuable.

Buy a book on wild edibles or edible weeds in your area with pictures and good descriptions.  Find an expert via county extension and go searching one afternoon with the family (also Organic farmers are usually happy to trade some weeding for edible plant ID)

Mantis's picture

toilet roll, ciggies and booze

i wouldn't be worrying about toilet roll.  you can use a leaf or something to wipe with.

Might have to as unfortunately i recently lost all my gold, silver and bitcoins in the bottom of the sea so doubt i'll be bartering any.

Igiveup2's picture

My $.02

I believe the first step in prepping is to reach your own conclusion about what circumstances are likely exist when the end is here.  It simply is not possible to prepare for every eventuality.  The vast majority of people, even those on this site, simply do not have the resources to prepare for a mad max world.  Self sufficiency is pretty much out of reach for most people.  Self reliance is another game all together.

I believe the financial crisis will result in a new social order.  I do not believe the guns and ammo will be necessary although I have much of both.  I do not believe one will need their own sources of water and electricity.  They may be disrupted temporarily but long term, I just do not think so.  I don't think having to grow your own food will be necessary either.  It a great hobby and it is certainly cheaper to grow it than buy it if you own the land anyway.  However, I believe anarchy is a long shot and if it does happen, no amount of preparation will save you. 

I think the worst that can happen will be just this side of anarchy.  The masses will be fed, clothed and sheltered.  No matter what happens, that will happen.  Those in power do not care if you are miserable but they do fear for themselves when those who can harm them have nothing to lose.   Look at the refugee camps in the middle east.  Miserable living conditions but for the most part, they are fed, clothed and sheltered. 

I believe in a worst case scenario, the lights will still come on and the gas will flow to the furnaces in the homes.  Food will be available.  Not necessarily what you want when you want it but you will be able to get it.  Not saying prices for any of the above will be affordable but they will be within the means of nearly everyone.  Most people will likely not be able to afford anything else but they will be able to afford the essential.

My primary preparation has been for a short shock (30 days) and the likelyhood that things get "basic" for awhile, maybe a long while.   I have guns and ammo because I have always had guns and ammo.  I have altered my investment and savings strategy to take into account the financial realities few "outsiders" see yet but self preservation and wealth preservation are not the same thing. 

As I stated in the beginning, self reliance is different from self sufficiency.  It is much easier for me to do the former than the latter and I think that is the case with most people on this site.

My 2 cents.

And good post Pining

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