Be Prepared, Not Scared
Research and editorial essay by Jer In America for MaloneInstitute.org
Editors comment - “Jer in America” is obviously a pseudonym used by a friend and colleague who lives in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. He is a modest, private person, and generally keeps both his “prepper” side as well as his personal religious convictions to himself.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, people in the United States and Canada who took an active interest in preparing for an uncertain future of intermittent scarcity and disruptions in food and other key supplies (“preppers”) were considered to be a somewhat odd fringe group, far from the mainstream of America. Like so many things that have been transformed during the COVIDcrisis, so many “conspiracies” that have turned out to be true, the previously “fringe” prepper movement has increasingly become mainstream.
Knowing that so many “leading indicators” are pointing towards supply chain disruptions in food and fuel this winter both here in North America and throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world, and that many of our readers are interested in how to prepare for an uncertain future, I asked “Jer” to write an essay in which he would share more of his personal practices and world view. I hope you enjoy learning more about the way that he approaches his life (and prepares to protect his family) in the Rocky Mountains, and that you and I both will learn from his insights and experience. If you like what he has to share, perhaps I can convince him to write more about his approach to life in the Rockies.
Be Prepared, Not Scared
By: Jer In America
Beginning with the outcome of the 2020 election, events of the past 2 ½ years caused a sudden paradigm shift within me. The blessing of being surrounded in very close proximity by very like-minded ex-military brethren who love and fear God, as well as family, friends, country, community and the U.S. Constitution allowed me to make some very proactive and intentional decisions on resources my family would need in the very near future.
At first I thought to myself “am I overreacting, having a knee-jerk reaction here…is this really necessary?…I mean after all, God said he would provide for all my needs.” Some of these new friends confessed they had already been doing serious prepping for 10 years. I thought good grief, I need to get going…I want to catch up! I pressed-in and prayed hard and asked God to reveal to me if this was his will for us. The answer came back a very clear ‘YES, trust me ultimately for everything and you know this is not your real home here on earth, but these decisions you make to invest in these resources also require faith and I want you to be engaged….times are going to get tougher in the world, even for those I call my own’….or something like that. So I started making a series of significant purchases, and each time more and more cool stuff arrived at the house, it started giving me some peace of mind, a quiet confidence and new kind of purpose. And I wasn’t even thinking about my own family. I thought since God can bless me, I can bless and share with others and pay it forward when I am led to do so.
Fast forward to today and I thought I would share with you some of my prepping tips. I would surmise many of you reading this have already pulled the trigger on some of your own preparedness plans. Good for you. Some may say if you haven’t already started, it’s really too late. I partially disagree. It is never too late, and while you may experience delays in getting stuff because of the supply chain debacle, start today if you have thought about this but have not executed your plan and pulled the trigger.
If your spouse or significant other is not totally on board, talk to each other with patience and respect, pray about it. Avoid the emotions and stick with the practicality of how these resources can indeed come in handy. I had to do the same with my wife, and we grew closer because of it. We actually watched this short webinar together early on, and she totally got it. If diesel production soon ceases or is shut down, we’re all going to be up a creek. In this article, I will focus on just two critical categories: emergency food and backup power generation (in the event of power outages and rolling blackouts) for your home and property. There are many other prepping categories (i.e. guns and ammunition) I could delve into more details, but not this time. OK, are you ready? Here we go:
1) Emergency Food Supply:
· I would recommend having 6-12 months of long-shelf life meals for your family. MyPatriotSupply is a great place to start. The buckets have a 25-year shelf life. A little pricey, but worth it. But they also have great promotions, specials and discounts. Boxes shipped are plain, unmarked discreet boxes. I would still recommend being home to take receipt the day they arrive if you don’t work from home for instance, especially if there is perhaps any history of thieves stealing packages off people’s porches in your neighborhood. Check out AzureStandard as well. Their delivery concept is quite unique: they use small trucking companies/independent truckers and have pre-arranged drop off points in your zip code where the drivers deliver to and you go pick it up. And after watching the Canadian Truckers Protest/Freedom Convoy movement that began in January, who doesn’t love and appreciate our over-the-road truck drivers?! A word of caution: after receiving and storing any emergency food supply, be careful who you share this exciting news with—now they know where you live and where to go if they are starving!
You can also learn to grow your own food, yes even indoors this winter if you don’t live in the Deep South for instance. We bought some very inexpensive (under $100) “hydroponics growing systems” off Amazon and they work very well in a spare bedroom, sunroom, even in the basement if it affords some natural light.
First, buy some seeds (I recommend heirloom, non-GMO) online for your favorite vegetables. I recommend SeedSavers. If you live in higher elevations such as the Rocky Mountains, try SeedsTrust. These seeds are engineered for high-altitude, short growing seasons. We live at 7,500 feet above sea level and except for our tomatoes, ground cherries and jalapenos which were started indoors, we plant our seeds by direct sow in raised beds (actually in old repurposed metal livestock tanks) either after Mother’s Day, or this particular summer we couldn’t until after June 1st because of some late, unexpected May frost and snow. We planted squash, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, ground cherries, jalapenos, basil, dill, cilantro, radishes, swiss chard, lettuce, and spinach. These were taken at the end of July after only two months planting by direct sow; it exploded as you can see, and even my dog Daisy approves:
Now that we are heading into winter, you’ll want to start some seeds indoors. How, you may ask? These would be seeds you start to transplant/transfer to a “hydroponics growing system”.
Step 1: Get yourself a seed starting dome like any of these. They come with the little-cone shaped, spongy soil pods that you drop the seeds in that look like this, but you’ll want to buy more of these little guys separately as you’ll need them to start other rounds of seeds later:
Step 2: Get a grow light like this, available at Home Depot. I used a cheap shop light and suspended it above the seed starter tray on a metal shelving system.
Step 3: Follow the directions that come with your seed starting dome, but you basically drop a few seeds into each pod with the right amount of water in the base of the tray. When say 3-4 tiny adult leaves have sprouted, it is time to move the pods from your seed starting tray to your preferred hydroponics growing system. This ~$60 system is called a SpiderFarmer, and we just use it for mostly herbs, and this was taken just after I moved the pods:
STEP 4: We bought this triple-combo fertilizer solution on Amazon, enough to last a life time as the concentration amounts you add to your water are so small. Another tip, some hydroponics growing systems (like our SpiderFarmer) may tell you to avoid using well water. So if you’re on a well, no problem, just drop one of these cartridges in the base where the water goes every so often:
STEP 5: Come early spring, there are other vegetables you can start independent of using a hydroponics growing system, that you can still start indoors using a bit of soil, plastic trays, a grow light, some labels to write down what you planted to stab into each pot, and tiny biodegradable, cardboard starter pots such as these. Then you can transplant the saplings directly into your garden in late spring/early summer:
STEP 6: Love potatoes? They’re satiating and are packed with a lot of good nutrients that you will be glad to have on hand with increased food shortages and supply chain disruptions. Here’s a great way to grow potatoes indoors for consumption even for fall, winter and spring.
And here are some good tips on common mistakes to avoid when planting potatoes.
2) Backup Power Generation:
· I have to say this was a very fun and engaging project to undertake, everything from picking out the generator, deciding where it should go, convincing a neighbor Army buddy to help be build a nice platform for it, to when the Electrician came out to make the plug and special connections and modify my electrical subpanel. And finally, after it was all hooked up, my electrician said you need to do a trial run. So I pretended we just had a power outage and went through a trial mock run so I could get familiar with the procedures. Everything worked like a charm because we did it right! Before I bought the generator I chose, I was thinking solar. Everybody thinks about solar. To each his own, and that may be the right solution for you, but #1 they are way more expensive. I bought a hybrid gasoline/propane model. And what if you live in say Seattle, WA or Salem, OR…places where you don’t get much sunshine throughout the year? I get over 300 days of sunshine per year here in Colorado, but my generator is also underneath my deck mostly in the shade and it’s housed in a nice cedar picket fence enclosure. So ruling out solar was easy for me.
OK, here is your crash course on Generators-101: How do I know what size generator to get? Answer: go down to your electrical subpanel which may be in our garage or in our case, the laundry room in our basement. Open the panel. Hopefully, all of your circuits are labeled well. Determine which appliance has the highest amp circuit switch. In our case, it is our double-wall oven which runs on a 50-amp circuit:
For you, your highest amp circuit on your subpanel may be for your well if you are on a well. Whichever appliance has the highest amp circuit switch, you need to buy a generator that is rated for that many amps. So I knew I needed a generator that is rated for a max of 50 amps. After you order a generator and it arrives, call an electrician and make an appointment to have them come out. Tell them you need them to hook up a whole home backup gas/propane powered generator system with an Interlock plate and an appropriate male/female connection cable. Don’t worry about running watts or peak running watts—those will be what they are for the number of maximum amps your generator is rated for. If you mistakenly buy a generator rated for only 40 amps, and your well or oven is rated for 50 amps, sadly you won’t be able to run your well or use your ovens in an emergency, and you would have a safety problem on your hands as surging voltage would be back fed into your generator and probably fry it, or perhaps back feed from your house to the power lines on your street (not good). Here is the generator model we went with. No assemble required; all I had to do was take it out of the box, put the wheels on, the handle bar to tow it around, add oil and gas and it fired right up…even came with a remote start key fob! And here it is in position including the connection and the plug the electrician came over and did. I installed a cedar picket fence door to conceal the generator after these photos were taken.
I mentioned firearms and ammunition briefly above. So many options out there, but let me make just a few important points on the topic: an ex-Army Special Forces friend of mine says you have 5,000 rounds of ammo in your possession; about 1,000 for pistol and the other 4,000 for say an AR-15. And get plenty of shotgun shells (i.e. 12, 16 or 20-guage). While that sounds like a lot, remember this is not about you defending yourself against a large, overwhelming force. It’s about having enough on hand to last in a prolonged period of chaos and uncertainty since efforts will likely be taken to shut down online ammunition sales. A good shotgun is essential for home defense. You should begin acquainting yourself with the idea the home defense is a rifle fight that most people bring a pistol to. Sure, there are some cases, such as small homes, condominiums, and apartments – places in urban settings – that lend themselves to having a pistol as a primary defense weapon with a rifle in reserve, but in a rural or retreat setting, your pistols can safely remain in their holsters as backup – where they belong. As renowned firearms instructor and gun guru extraordinaire Clint Smith said, “The only purpose for a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should have never laid down”.
I hope I have not given you too much information where you feel like you have to drink from a firehose. You’ll be fine, just take a deep breath and go for it. I’m anxious to read everyone’s comments and questions after Dr. Malone posts this substack, so I’ll look for those then. Best of luck! I’ll leave with this great quote:
“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”
General George S. Patton
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