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Prepare to WORK!

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We are condensing posts from the old blog site here so that we can do away with the old blog site-

Prepare to WORK! copyright 2009 Robert Henry

It's my contention that most American survivalists have no concept whatsoever of the amount of work that will be necessary in a long term survival situation.

You always hear things about storing board games to "p*** the time." This could prove useful if you had a long term stay in a fallout shelter, but even then, their will be work to do.

Many folks seem to have this idea that they will sitting around playing Yahtzee after TSHTF. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Folks that homestead know what I'm getting at. However if your the typical suburban survivalist with the 2.5 children and 1/4 acre McMansion, you probably won't understand till it's too late.

I've seen a lot of guys and gals that were semi hard body types falter when it comes to real work. Sure they could "bench" a lot of weight, go the distance on a stairmaster in a 70 degree airconditioned gym. But when it was time to dig a big hole in 90 degree heat, their world came crashing down.

And just what will you need to do work wise if TSHTF? Dig and prepare fighting positions, fill sand bags and move heavy objects in order to add ballistic protection to your home or retreat structure, clear brush and trees to increase view, cut, split and stack firewood every year, dig soil, rake soil, build new structures, string wire, bend over for long periods of time picking veggies, fruits, etc. ***ist with livestock, stand for long period of time remaining watchful and vigilant, be able to carry out patrols in your area to give you early warning of bad guy activity, work into the night canning food, perserving the harvest, and many other things.

Did you notice playing Yahtzee wasn't on that list?

Now couple ALL of those tasks with the ever present possibility that someone is trying to hurt you or steal your stuff. Just that factor alone long term, will cause changes in the functioning of your body.

Now is the time to ascertain REALISTICALLY, are you ready to do hard manual labor on a day to day basis? Yes it's going to be more than just being a "shooter."

"Shooters" are going to be a dime a dozen. A decent group will have every man qualified as a shooter but every person will also be capable of many other tasks- medic, beekeeper, armorer, animal husbandry, comms, security, blacksmith, etc.

A person has to PROVE THEIR WORTH to a group. A squared group is going to be looking for more than just a warm body to fill an opening in a guard duty schedule!

So first and foremost you need to educate yourself. Most of these long term survival skills, aka homesteading skills can be learned fairly easily. You CAN practice some of these on the 1/4 acre lot behind the McMansion in Slumurbia. That's precisely what I did the 5-6 years before our move. I grew a garden every year, we raised rabbits, chickens and even ducks. I bought every book I could relating to homesteading, read it and studied it and where I could practiced the techniques. I never had a "mentor" when it came to homesteading skills, but I was able to bounce ideas off of knowledgeable folks on message boards, etc.

Course their is schools that have homesteading type cl***es including the "Folk School" in North Carolina and I believe their is one in Texas. Some things ARE better learned from a hands on point of view and with an instructor there to correct you. A prime example of this would be shooting, most everyone feels like they "know how to shoot." But after attending a professional cl*** you usually hear them say- I knew "nothing" about shooting.

In other words, don't be afraid to get outside the box and LEARN. If your a part of a group or forward thinking enough to realize the need for a group, then you should make it your goal to be "attractive" in your skill sets to a group. Remember, "shooters" are going to be a dime a dozen. It's the guy that can fix the generator or the well pump, show you how to boost production in the garden, fix broken weapons or take care of the beehives that will be more "attractive" to a real group than just a "shooter."

The other prep for work we need is physical. This means getting in shape, staying acclimatized and being able to "go the distance."

Here again, the multi cam clad "shooter" that can make good hits at 200 yards but isn't able to do physical labor for more than 20 minutes before pooping out isn't going to be of much "value" to a real group. If you planned remotely well, got away from the cities and suburbs, you will NOT be fighting every day. Other "speciality" personnel like medic and comms need to branch out also.

If your job is inside, nice and cozy with airconditioning and fluffy marshmallows, you need to realize that your going to have to start doing things on your own, after hours to get yourself used to doing manual labor for long periods of time outside. Maybe that means spending a few hours working outside every day, going on long hikes carrying a heavy pack, jogging, etc.

Increased stamina helps with your ability to do and sustain hard work but it also helps your mental state. When your exhausted and tired, we tend to do stupid things, cut corners to save time, etc. Cutting corners in a survival situation might very well mean your death. Been there done that, got the stupidity shirt from being lazy and cutting corners on not carrying enough gear then suffering with hypothermia.

Better physical fitness means your body operates more efficiently. People that have a better metabolism tend to get sick far less frequently than the average PoopDonalds eating cubicle occupying slugs that don't want to better themselves. You can see the implications for this in real survival situation.

The other "physical" preps for work include the actual tools themselves and physical protection items. This can mean gloves, a safety helmet, chaps for using a chainsaw, eye protection and respiratory protection. The tools necessary for homestead work are at a minimum a good set of handtools. You can figure this out by sitting and thinking through every task you will have to do. That's what I did and it worked out fairly well.

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  1. Rmplstlskn's Avatar
    Good motivation by using reality... A true SHTF event will be harder than most of us can even realize... and I include myself in that group that really doesn't grasp the magnitude... But I'm working on it...
  2. DreamVoyager's Avatar
    Wow, 114 reads & only 1 comment so far... Guess no one from Slumurbia has read this except Rmplstlskn & I? Or they're working on it already. Well, guess I'm a Slumurb, aircraft computer programmer type, just registered, this is 1st blog column/article I've read here. Glad you've taken it so easy on us and want to help/***ist us! I've only recently (un)twisted my distorted reality, recognized the dire economic/political straights we're in & started to read several survival blogs (elsewhere), ending up here tonight.

    My typical problems are, been unemployed almost 10 months (jobs off-shored), underemployed for last 8 years, wife is working steadily, but I need to figure out our Slumurb's exit strategy (Dallas metroplex). I'll be leaving home soon to work on-the-road/contract. Wife doesn't want/care to face new reality. Son in 12th gr. Our other children out on their own, clueless, also 'mad' at heir parents who couldn't provide their full college educations, etc. What a world - like The Matrix. Half-real, half-unreal, hard to adjust/adapt/act.

    I well know we're in for bad times, collapse, depression, likely police state, the U.S. of A. is too far gone to save. (Man, I had to sell all my guns to get to my last job 2 yrs ago! Arggghhh.) I can see we have to downsize more, get next contract, lose weight/build endurance, & agree w/ all you have said, but may never get there in time. Wife is labor-&-delivery/women's services nurse in hospital, good transferable skills. I'm handy, worked on own cars & homes, but still... how to plan... how to make a (new) income myself... (lost home, owing taxes, renting now...) Haven't had the $$ to buy any books on the survival planning subject... just the Internet. I am betwixt, between & beside myself! Yet, 99% of Slumurbia isn't thinking/planning for anything! I'm sure there's not much safety in that number... God, what a mess we ***umed and let ourselves into!

    How can I start a plan? Is it too late?
  3. 610Alpha's Avatar
    Good starting point. If you can't buck 70-100 lb. hay bails for a half day then you are in for a very rude awakening, I don't mean that is what you will have to do just as an example of the labor intensiveness of living without machines to do all the work. Carrying 5 gallon buckets of water get very heavy very quickly. The one good thing is you won't really have to worry about whether or not your yard is all nice and pretty

    Better hope your soil isn't very rocky like in Missouri, digging fox holes or hasty positions is tough in that kind of soil. Ever dig a post hole? Even know how to work a post hole digger? I don't mean the kind that have a rope attached to them either.
  4. Gun_Nut's Avatar
    Great post on the reality of post SHTF. Related to the huge amount of manual labor is the need to prep for the high calorie lifestyle as well. Too many advertisements for food plans that "feed 2 adults for a year" (based on a 2000 calorie a day diet). You will be in a severe deficit when you are burning 4500 + calories a day. We need to plan our preps for all the manual labor. Thanks again for this post as it reminded me of this issue and has me re-evaluating.