Posted on July 23 2019
It's the little things that jack up the best laid plans of mice and men. Let's look at a few that experienced preppers know will go from "minor issues" to "major problems."
No problemo, right?
The Four Seasons
Bright idea: I’ll supplement my food storage with a burly garden and some chickens.
Crappy reality: Garden food is fresh in ONLY a two month harvest window. Even chickens don’t produce much in the winter.
If you actually garden, you know this hard-and-fast truth: the weather and the photoperiod utterly control your gardening success. Not even a greenhouse buys you more than an additional month or two. Like it or hate it, your grown food will appear within a two to three month window. If you’re a jedi master gardener, you can add a bit to that. Even expert greenhouse gardeners struggle with winter gardens. If you haven't stored food prior to a collapse (canned, bottled or dried) your garden isn't going to help.
Unless you build a solar-powered hot light in your chicken coop, your egg production is going to peter out significantly when the photoperiod goes to crap during the winter. Unless you stored a ton of animal feed, your animals will likely die in the off season when nothing grows around your homestead. There’s a simple truth mankind has known for ten thousand years: it is very difficult to survive north of the snow line (or anywhere near it) unless you plan like an obsessive-compulsive. Even diehard preppers don’t plan enough for winter and spring.
Truth: you’re going to be living off your stored food and canned food except for brief, glorious periods of fresh garden produce.
Don’t believe it? The ReadyMan crew will test this question in their Homesteader Challenge on August 17th and 18th (2019) where survivalist teams will bang out a gigantic meal of stored food, fresh garden produce and foraged foodstuffs. What will they be able to accomplish even in the best of seasons? Jump on the ReadyMan FB group to find out. We’ll LiveFeed the results, hot off the press on August 18th.
Magic box of solar electricity?
Bright idea: I have a solar generator, so I’ll have electricity.
Crappy reality: Even huge, pre-manufactured solar generators don’t supply enough juice to run most survival-relevant appliances.
Truth: In order to have any significant solar power, you need to design the system to run the very appliances you plan to use. You cannot cover electrical necessities with solar power unless you are already running them. Solar systems must be designed to match the “draw” that is intended and all the components (panels, batteries, controllers, inverters) must be sized to that specific draw. If you plan on figuring it out after the shit hits the fan, you will not have electricity.
Pre-built solar generators will produce reliable power, but when compared with the appliances that offer the biggest survival advantage (grain grinders, tool chargers, refrigeration, metalworking tools, etc.), even the biggest, most-expensive solar generators don’t come close to providing enough juice. It’s not rocket science: read the wattage on the back of your mission-critical appliances and compare that wattage to your solar genny. Then back out cloudy days and inverter loss. Spoiler alert: you ain’t gonna be happy.
In August, ReadyMan will put this to the test in the ReadyMan “Homesteader Challenge.” We’ll see what a bunch of solid preppers can do with a giant stack of solar components. Can they figure out how to run a grain mill? Stay tuned and we’ll report back to you. (If you’re interested in being one of the survival students to take this on, go to https://blackautumn.com/rm1introduction to inquire.)
Are you prepared to bike for your carbs?
Bright idea: I have a hand wheat grinder, so I’ll just take my time about it.
Crappy reality: Hand-grinding sucks, big-time. And you will probably not have idle time like you think you will.
Before you bet the farm on this bright idea, grind grain for just five loaves of bread. I promise; you will immediately seek powered grinding options. And…powered wheat grinders use a shit-ton of wattage (See Bright Idea #2.)
Most people satisfy their “prepping seizure” by buying a cheap wheat grinder on Amazon. Problem solved? Warning: there is a good reason reliable wheat grinders cost so damned much (because it costs a LOT to build a reliable wheat grinder.)
Truth: the solutions to actually grinding wheat in the apocalypse are to either build a bomber solar plant, big enough to power a Wondermill, or to build a bicycle-powered hand grinder, employing a $400 wheat grinder. Either way, it’s a pain in the ass that will require more than a weekend and more than a thousand bucks.
Again, the boys and ladies of the RM1 ReadyMan group of survival-types will bang out wheat and bread using all types of grinding options: cheap grinders, expensive grinders, hand grinders, bike grinders and the best electric grinders. We’ll see how this all works out with our own two eyes, August 2019.
All set for the Apocalypse?
Bright idea: During the chill days of the apocalypse, I will build cool stuff like defensive bunkers and outdoor cook sheds.
Crappy reality: You will not have the two-by-fours, PVC, bolts, screws, washers, PVC connections, fencing or any of the zillion bits of hardware and supply you will need for any of those Homestead Honey-dos. Lowes and Home Depot will be just a fond memory and you can only build just so much out of the “bolt jug” in your garage.
Truth: almost nobody stores and stocks the myriad of hardware bits that are required to live on a primitive homestead, and that’s just for repairs. If you plan on building anything new, try to think of the last time you did a project without running at least once to the hardware store.
Can you even make a humble two-by-four at your homestead? How can you build anything without two-by-fours? Pine studs are cheap and easily-available during good times, but could you make even one, simple board during hard times? We’ll try it out with our ReadyMan guys in August. Stay tuned to see if they can pull a tree from the woods and make a hardwood board. Could you?
A veritable god of the apocalypse.
Bright idea: All my critical survival stuff is stored away and good-to-go. I’m way ahead of 95% of the rest of the schmucks.
Crappy reality: When you start actually using all your cool survival gear, a TON of it is going to break under pressure. Almost nobody has the tooling and power they need to repair equipment when it inevitably busts under daily use.
If an electric wheat grinder uses a daunting amount of solar power, then a welder is simply beyond imagining. Yes, it’s possible to weld with a battery and two cables, but the weld won’t be a decent one. If your shovel busted under heavy workload, do you really think a repair with a hasty battery welder will do much better?
Truth: any working homestead will run into mission-critical failure over-and-over again without serious tooling and modern metalworking machinery and skill. OHVs will break down. Wheat grinders will bust. Shovel handles will crack. Our modern implements are not made to last—they’re disposable by any homestead standard. A metalworker with the ability to power his tools will never, ever go hungry post-apocalypse.
In the Homesteader Challenge, we’ll see how survivalists do when given a simple test: make a knife out of an old leaf spring and use it under homestead conditions. We’ll see how much we really know about one of the greatest inventions of mankind: steel.
Maybe we’re full of shit and maybe we’re not. Let’s debate it and then try it. What are some other “minor details” that you think will screw most people after the collapse?
If you’d like to attend, a few spots remain on the teams of survival guys (https://blackautumn.com/rm1introduction)
More than anything, have a great time learning!