Should I stay or should I go?

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CrimsonAvenger
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Should I stay or should I go?

Frequent reader, rare poster here with a question I haven't seen addressed (though I could have missed it in my searches)...

I live in the suburbs of a major city in a small (less than 100 homes) community. Am I better off staying here or pulling up stakes and high-tailing it ASAP out to a rural homestead?

Rural life sounds good, considering the potential to grow food, have chickens, and have your own water supply (especially one you can go fishing in!). But I'm very concerned about being the "stranger" out there, the city rube who's not quite part of the community; also very concerned about security if the SHTF and my nearest neighbor (who doesn't really know me anyway) is two miles away.

The suburbs may be the safest option, with good relationships with neighbors and lots of folks nearby, but with little opportunity to live off the land (city water, no chickens/fishing spots), etc.

Which would you do, or better yet, if you've made a decision on this front, what and why?

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:05
Puck T. Smith
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I'm kind of in the same situation

I work in Washington, DC and live in a suburban area about 15 miles out of town.  I am very conscious of my vulnerable situation, but I am not yet ready financially or psychologically to pull up stakes and head for the hills.  I am fortunate that should things break loose tomorrow I have friends and family further out who have made it known that I will always be welcome, but I do not want to impose myself on them for any more time than necessary in an immediate emergency.  Some friends and I are are looking to buy a farm with an eye toward self-sufficiency, but it may be a few years before we are ready to make a go of it.

If you are able you might consider buying your bugout plot but not moving there on a permanent basis.  Spend some weekends there and get to know your neighbors.  Throw a cookout and invite them, visit the nearest farmer's market and start meeting them now.  Be a friend and make some friends.  

I don't know your situation so I don't know if what I suggest is realistic or not, but we all know what's coming.  You have the right idea, you just need to think about how to make it work.

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Ojibwemowin
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If you can provide something

If you can provide something to give to the community of your time,  you will find it very easy to integrate in with the local folks in rural communities.

My wife and I lived and worked on remote communities and Indian reservations in northern MN and Ontario for years. We both had our regular jobs until my wife stayed home with our kids when they started being born. I signed up right away to serve on the local ambulance crew and volunteer fire departments. I taught piano lessons and put on annual recitals with the children at the elderly homes. We ushered at church. I plowed snow for folks for free when they needed it, started a community garden, helped build a few sweat lodges, and even helped skin out game for elderly, etc. etc. etc.

Point is there is a lot to do in rural communities, and you will always be welcome, and get back far more than you give out. For example, after we helped my wife's old boss skin and butcher one of the moose she shot,  she gave us 50 lbs of wrapped burger right off the bat. From that day on, we had all the moose burger we needed year after year.  

It doesn't take long either, as soon as you start giving or your time and talents, and it is sensed that you are genuine, you are in the fold. It does help to share common interests. be able to listen/not talk too much , and be able to endure lots of teasing.

Ojibwemowin
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To answer the other part of

To answer the other part of question: I would pick as rural an area as you can find over suburban for almost any scenario. We lived a mile from out nearest neighbors. We could shoot, saw firewood, enjoy total quiet, dark skies at night , fresh air and total privacy every single day. It it is the right place you have water and food at your fingertips. We didn't have to go to the store once a week if we didn't want to. We hung on some of our land and have build another place that is our refuge for the future, God willing. 

CrimsonAvenger
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Thanks to you both

Hi guys,

Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. I'm very much undecided and every bit of input is accepted and considered. (And hopefully this discussion is helpful to others - I can't be alone here, as Puck would seem to indicate).

I keep drawing a parallel between recent developments and 1930s Germany, specifically to the long and gradual path the Jews in that country found themselves on. They'd see warning signs, but normalcy bias being what it is, found a way to brush them off - 'certainly it couldn't get any worse,' that sort of thing. The Fed's QE3 announcement hit me as another big step - I don't think it's the monetary equivalent of kristallnacht, but it is definitely a big step in the path we're going down - and that has given me a renewed sense of urgency to position my family for what seems to be coming down the line.

It's not an easy choice - we don't have family here, but we do have roots here now, with a school my kids love a  job my wife enjoys. My wife thinks I'm a bit of a loon on all of this, but she's still willing to uproot if I'm 100% sure it's right. I'm still weighing it all - thanks again for your insights.

CA

Puck T. Smith
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I hear you.

My problem, even for the short term, is I'm not a very organized person.  I have gotten myself what I consider a good start in stacking metal and I add to it on a regular basis, but it is other areas--food, medical and emergency supplies, etc--I know I am very deficient.  When we had a power outage earlier this year it caught me flat footed.  It lasted almost a week and I ended up getting a hotel room near work.  I was glad I was financially able to do it, but it was kind of a wake up call for me.  In the real deal money alone is not going to cut it.  Even if not a SHTF scenario, there are things like hurricanes, big snowstorms--heck, we even had an earthquake last year.  I realized that if I'm not ready for "normal" emergencies what am I going to at The End Of The World As We Know It?

Part of my problem is I live alone.  My "community" is either online or a couple hours driving from where I live.

Bottom line is I am just not prepared as I should be, but being kind of scatter brained, I end up being overwhelmed by not really knowing what to do so I do nothing.  I guess I need a checklist or something.

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CrimsonAvenger
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Facing the same challenges

Hi Puck,

I hear you on being disorganized. I feel like I'm living in two worlds - the blue-pill world (where the rest of my family lives) and the red-pill world (where I am, and where they'll join me when circumstances dictate). And while I'd like to spend most of my time in the latter, there are so many demands in the former - mowing, shopping, cooking, piano lessons...conventional living can really eat up your day smiley. So it's easy to be disorganized in the latter and give it scant and sporadic attention. Reminds me of the Covey work on the difference between "urgent" and "important."

To your last point, none of us could be as prepared as we would like to be - there's never enough in stock, in your metal vault, in your skills bank. Being mentally prepared is half the battle, as you won't have the cognitive shock so many others will have - the rest may come down to luck. So, good luck . smiley

Patriot Family
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Same here, Puck. 

Same here, Puck.  Disorganized - to a point.  More like a random approach to purchases.  I've found it's really useful to work off of an extensive list and keep track of inventory.  Plus, we also keep track of our longer term investments in prepping that way.  Some things you buy will not go down in value if you buy it used and it's of high quality.  Craigslist is a favorite.

Anyway, we're making progress - food, clothing, knowledge, ability to defend ourselves.  Still a ways to go.  But it's sad when you look at everything you've done and realize that without the homestead or a group to join up with you won't make it for long in a serious SHTF situation.  We can hold out for about a year, assuming we have access to antibiotics when sick and a decent water source.

So, that's our next step - land and a house.  Productive well with clean water, solar power, other alternative power sources, the ability to grow a large garden throughout the year, livestock, and a means to make a living. Praying  I land a job I've been interviewing for so our finances aren't interrupted and we can continue on this path.

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I vote for leaving

Leave.  You sound like you have the means to do it, and when you "need" to leave, you may not be able to, or you may not know what to do once you get there.  I made my break from urban/suburban this year and the road ahead is a long one to get my property where it needs to be... and there is still some red tape in the boonies.  Check up on the building rules/regs of the community you want to move to and make sure you wont be up against too much red tape to build the homestead you want.  My example is the town I moved to supposedly supports/encourages farming, yet the requirements to engage in farming are quite strict - lot size must be X, structures must be at least Y distance apart and Z distance from roads, and as to the definition of farming in my town (and my state for that matter), you are a farmer if you have a pet dog...

If you plan to go, get moving and go.  Right away.  It will take years to get your new homestead ready, and the clock is ticking away.

CrimsonAvenger
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That's good advice

Thanks, Goldust - that's the way I'm leaning. Trying to take some concrete steps, yet not move in such a frenzied way that I freak out the wife. smiley

Goldust
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Living that balance

Not freaking out the wife is a skill we all need to hone...  Best of luck. 

benny_bomb_boom
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funny how

this topic is so pertinent. huge struggle area for me. golddust hit the nail on the head. my wife freaks when i start talking about buggin out, she is just so positive. i hate to bring it up. she LOVES the city life and i do not yet have the means to buy the land i want to the east or the south. i had thought about land in CO where two of my best friends have moved and they tell me dirt and water are still "cheap"  a mile high compared to socal and opt 2 my wifes country of birth. problems i have so far w/ CO, a 18 hr drive in optimum conditions from my current location and then the question of if i could even get there when i needed to.  same hold true for brasil, but it is 18 hrs flight instead of drive and that has to decrease the likelihood of reaching our destination.

to that point i think owning the dirt w/ a personal water supply is never a bad thing. i may pull the trigger if we get a historic spike in the metals on something around an acre in size. in my opinion that is big enough to do i would need to be self sufficient and from the right location you've got eyes on every inch of your property. i would just go out there, find my water supply, and start digging. create a 500-1000 sf UNDERGROUND basement,  put in ventilation, a full bath, a power source, stock that place full and then be able to SECURE the area. im talking concrete reinforced manhole style. i would put that thing together, then lay the foundation of my new pad right on top of it and start building that sucker. just talking about it has me jazzed this am. 

bowls of thoughtful knowledge this am. thank you all for sharing your ideas and opinions.

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HappyNow
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Ojibwemowin wrote: If you can

Ojibwemowin wrote:

If you can provide something to give to the community of your time,  you will find it very easy to integrate in with the local folks in rural communities.

...........

It doesn't take long either, as soon as you start giving or your time and talents, and it is sensed that you are genuine, you are in the fold. It does help to share common interests. be able to listen/not talk too much , and be able to endure lots of teasing.

Right on!   Small communities are friendly although suspicious toward newcomers.  The sooner they get to know you the sooner they will take you in.

Volunteering or even just joining social things that fit your own interests (eg card league, church groups, dancing club) moves it along quickly.    Actually volunteering will come naturally as Oibwemowin lists some small ways of giving that we in the big city call volunteering but it just plain lending a hand where it does good.

Good point on being able to take the teasing.  They tease each other too and while they find out what your characteristics are that make the most fun to joke about they will just joke about being a newcomer.

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shadwag
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just saw this today

i visit tf metals pretty much daily but don't venture into the forums much so my apologies if i'm kinda bringing this back from the dead.  that said, some of you have exactly the same concerns.  

i'm in the dc area too puck and am trying to time the jump.  i work a pretty good job and don't want to quit too soon, leaving stacking/prep money on the table but don't want to get stuck in whatever might become of the dc metro. 

i'm lucky that my fiance sees things in the same light, but neither of us know what to think when it comes to how much time is left.  could have years left.  could have days. 

no matter what happens, at least you will be (hopefully) ahead of the curve by being mentally prepared.  most of the people i know would probably be brought to tears if they lost facebook.  i've not had it for 2 years and have never been happier.  just being over little obstacles like that will be helpful...and i'm rambling but anyways.  good luck man! 

edit:  forgot to comment on the meat of your post.  stay or go?  stay another year or so...i think you pry have a year or better before it gets too hairy out there.  but what do i know? 

Jager06
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Some sense

Just wanted to throw some of my experiences at the board and see what sticks.

I see a couple things going on here:

1. Lack of Framework for a lifestyle transition

2. Fear

I have been working with folks in my area for four years now. The basic program is the same, presentation of problems we all know exist in a simplified format followed by the framework necessary to identify personal/ family/ neighborhood/ community weaknesses and solve those problems.

So in very abbreviated format I would like to submit the following to you:

1. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs- Take another look at this from a prepper perspective. What do you NEED? When you have those things, did you forget security? How are you going to replenish them when they run out or wear out?

2. Where are you? Once you realize the significance of #1, you realize you NEED a piece of property, relatively secluded and very productive. You also must have "locals" that you can work with and gain labor, experience and goodwill in trade for that "work". Work is whatever it is that needs to be done to help out, whatever you can contribute.

If you think you can make it on a 10th of an acre in the middle of a subdivision of 80 families, surrounded by highways and concrete, good luck. Let me know how growing your garden and feeding the "free range" chickens works out for you.

My own story is probably encompassing of where many of you find yourselves. I realized we as a society, nation and economy were headed for trouble soon after departing the military. Outside of the sequestered military society, things were not Americana and Apple Pie with neighbors taking care of each other. So our first home was on a creek, in the middle of a small township, walking distance to everything, with a couple acres to get some chickens and a garden going. Not enough for this family of 6 I can tell you right now, not at this elevation and geographical layout of the property or house.

So after identifying my (our) problem, I chose a course of action based on Maslow's Hierarchy, some of which it helps to be scatter brained with. First I decided on water, and got a decent filter (good for 40,000 gallons) and 500 gallons of storage. Next was food, and storing some up. By keeping a few months worth of food on hand, I did not need to buy anything that was not on sale at the local supermarket, and continue to save money by never paying full price.

Next I realized I needed to find a way to increase my food production beyond what was appearing on the shelves at the local grocery. So the horseshoe pits and lawn got tilled under and raised bed planters built. After three years, theres is a lot to be desired from this method of gardening. Lots of good points, but lack of space and sunlight due to a north facing ridge that the property is on are impossible to overcome. I also began buying local produce and that includes beef, which meant I needed two chest freezers, one 9 cubic feet and one 14 for the meat and fruit storage. Apple, pear and persimmon trees as well as the blackberries were producing massively. Can you say canning and freezing and dehydrating? It seemed tough to learn until we actually did it, like so many other things I have learned along the way. Then came the chickens. Too easy, event to train them to come when called. Just make the same sound every time you feed them. That sound will have them trying to fly to you from wherever they might wander later when you want them.

Clothing for four children and two adults has been purchased two years in advance, and hand me downs are working fine. My wife already knew how to sew, so we have been counting on that and have the sewing machines and supplies.

Lack of sunlight and Draconian laws prevent me from using the stream to produce energy, or going solar. So its time to move on. Between food storage and production to energy is a couple steps on the Hierarchy, just so you know I am truncating things quite a bit in the interest of brevity. I have skipped over my return to hunting and fishing, wood gas experiments, greenhouse fiascoes etc.

Now we are headed towards a 20 acre spot with everything ready to set up for a homestead. My priorities are the same, securing a solar and hand operational secondary well pump, moving my food storage to the excellent root cellars (plural!). Next is going to be getting five acres of orchard set up with apples, pears, nuts, figs, persimmons etc. After that comes the garden and then comes the barn/ garage/ workshop/ power station. I am thinking a 60X80 using storage containers as the perimeter walls should be good. Inside the containers will be the various areas for storage, such as a container dedicated to battery and charge controllers for the next step, a solar and wind system.

Lots to do. I have already been out and met the neighbors. They are there for the same reasons I am moving out there. We have already exchanged phone numbers and agreed on lend/ borrow some tools, and compared shooting ranges on our respective properties. We also have an agreement to hunt across each others properties, which opened up 400 private acres adjacent to the national forest for us to use. People are just as good as you are willing to treat them out here. The Golden Rule goes a long ways, and everyone appreciates it.

More to come as I get time, or if you have specific questions, post them or PM me. I will try to answer them.

Best Wishes,

Jager06

Bongo Jim
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Storage Containers

Jager,

I don't know if you saw my post(s) on storage containers a few days ago, but here's a link to them...

http://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/241445#comment-241445

thecoloredsky
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I've been toying with the

I've been toying with the idea in my head for quite some time as well. My problem is that if I get some rural land, I want to own it. I'm not paying property taxes on it. I want to OWN it. So I've been spending a lot of time researching contract law, sovereignty, and things like that. I want to do it right the first time and not succumb myself to some bullshit and fraudulent IRS agency.

The other issue I've thought about was Internet connection. I know its not a big deal, but I would like an Internet connection to get updates in real time but only thing I've seen is satellite which is expensive. And if its anything like satellite TV, the connection gets knocked out every time a rain cloud comes through. Thats not a good solution.

BlackHawk
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Made the Jump

to the country one year ago. I bought an inexpensive fenced 1 1/2 acre property with a small 100+ year old house, above ground root cellar, 350 sf chicken house with a fenced pen, well with an electric pump, cistern with a hand pump and hook up to the power grid at a paved intersection 22 miles from the grocery store. I have met lots of nice neighbors who stop by to buy eggs.

Last winter I raised 100 rooster chicks from which I canned 22 qts of chicken meat, froze about 4o birds and gave the rest away (goodwill to neighbors and churches). When I bought the place I wanted to be able to give food away. My freezer failed and I only have the canned meat left from Project Rooster.

In the spring I built an aquaponics system using plans from Friendly Aquaponics in Hawaii. It took more time than I expected to get the fish water (fertilizer feedstock) quality ok for plant growth in the water troughs. But its running now and I have a stock heater to hopefully keep the fish alive over the winter.

@thecoloredsky -You will always have to pay property taxes, whether you own your place outright or have a loan on it. If you rent from a landlord, he will have to pay property taxes. If you rent from him and he does not pay, the sheriff will likely evict you and sell the property to pay the taxes.

HugesNet internet service is very affordable, about $60 per month. No problem for me to trade online.

I have taught myself carpentry "tightening up" the chicken house and making nest boxes, roosting bars, new doors, screened runs, and building the AQ system.

Get some land in a place that has low population density and low cost of living. I live mid-way between Kansas City and St. Louis, for weekend excursions to urban attractions. Find some land within driving distance of your job and get started NOW. If you work in a densely populated area, look for a job in the country (now)!. Then quit your city job and move to the country. What do you expect to do when you have a little food stored in your suburban "fort" and starving neighbor children come over begging for food? Will you get you newly purchased (for security of course) Mossberg out and shoot them? This will become the moral dilemma of our age of scarcity. Who shall I help? Who must I turn away? But that is much better than being on the other side of the door, begging.

Prepping takes time, money and motivation. Get going. Feel the urgency.

heyJoe
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@ Jager 06

Have a couple of questions for you.  First, a little of my background.

Lived my whole life in the suburbs of Chicago, the armpit of the midwest.  Stayed here for family reasons.  No longer need to live here, we are relocating.  Been prepping for 3 years and recently read 2 books:

25 Great Bug Out Communities by Dave Stebbins

Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen

A lot of good info about what to look for in a community.  Both books are focused on the Mountain West region (Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Eastern Washington and Oregon).

My questions center around:

  Where are you located?  Appears you are in a warmer location based on the trees in your orchard.

  How did you find the location?

  Did you know you had like minded people in your location before you moved there?

I appreciate you response; and, please be as specific as you are comfortable with.  No right or wrong answer, just helpful info.

Thank you very much!

Jager06
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Answers...

heyJoe,

We are on the West Coast, but not near the water, if that makes sense. The trees are all cold tolerant for the elevation. Some may not make it, but I dont have an orchard planted yet. My old property had trees planted by the granddaughter of the original homesteaders, two owners prior to us. We found the new location two ways, one I have been out there before visiting friends who share a common history with me from my military days. To answer your second question, I am always looking at real estate. I ride my dirtbike all over God's creation and read every real estate sales flyer I come across. This place happened to come up for sale, and although I was familiar with the area, I had not ever seen it before and decided to take a tour. Luckily I did! I was actually looking for a place to set up a hunting camp and dirt bike adventure jump off point when I found this.

And the final question, no. I knew at least one person in the area was like me because of the military thing. Everyone else here just happens to be a bonus.

IveBeenDrinkin
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Bugging out?

If you need to farm, and have a solid plan that can be executed, leave for farmland.  If not, how will that help?

Most depictions of social & economic breakdown have people hitting the road on "wander quests". I guess when things fall down, the grass is always greener somewhere else?  Not really.

It means you will always be passing through areas in which you aren't familiar with the current situation. And it takes a lot more energy to always be on the move. Inevitably, luck or your ability to "handle any surprise" will run out faster than if you stayed put and mastered your environment.

To me, it seems better to  become an expert on your surroundings instead of trying to cover ground. Questers  exiting cities will tend to  find your "hiding place" for the same reason you found it. And if you are one of those questers, you are aiming for a lifestyle that means not having a clue what's going on more than about 20 feet from you at any one time. Sounds like  a recipe for trouble.

That is, are you safer in a city apartment building with 50 units interested in maintaining the integrity and safety of the place, or out in farmhouse with your wife and kids 200 miles from town, hoping no one else is clever enough to think to go there? Which is safer: being at point A  OR point B, or traversing 200 miles so you are at point A, AND point B, AND every point in between?

Historically, people gathered in cities for mutual protection. At first the cities had walls to keep out all the bandits wandering through the unsafe countryside. Notice in regions that are not modern, how common it is to find people who have spent their whole life within a few miles of where they were born. They aren't out wandering around.

I suspect that in a breakdown, small towns and rural areas will become nasty, indefensible, and quickly over-run even as the hard-cases exit the cities for easy pickings.

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