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Lessons Learned from Being Unemployed


by “singlemom”

I prep because I’m a former farm girl who grew up with a year’s worth of food sitting in the cellar at any given time and because I’ve had to start over several times with little more than the clothes on my back.  Once you’ve spent some time shivering without enough blankets or skipping meals because there’s no food, you do everything you can to prevent that in the future.

My kids, like many of this latest generation, have never experienced lengthy power outages, financial collapse, war, or being stranded at home for days on end because of the weather.  They’d roll their eyes and say “Mom’s getting ready for Armageddon again” every time I’d toss a pound of beans in the grocery cart.  “Don’t eat the Chunky soup.  Mom’s saving it for the end of the world.”  

Well, our TEOTWAKI came when I lost my job.  As the only wage earner, we had no income whatsoever until I found work.  Taking inventory that first day, we discovered that we had enough supplies on hand to get us through several months, so our savings could be reserved for paying the bills.  That doesn’t mean it was easy.  We still had to ration everything, and we weren’t as prepared as I’d thought.

Buy more dish soap.  Yes, I could’ve grated the bars of Ivory that I have in storage or mixed up a batch of Borax and washing soda, but I like using dish soap on my dishes.  When you’re home all day, you use a lot more dishes, so the dish soap is going to go fast.

There is no such thing as too much toilet paper.  Again, when you’re home an additional 45-60 hours a week, you’re going to use more than you’d expected.  Double the amount you thought you’d need, and then buy as much more as you can.

If you plan to bake bread, you’re going to use 4-6 cups of flour for each batch.  That 50 pounds that you carefully packaged in mouse- and bug-proof containers isn’t going to go very far.  You’ll also need a lot of powdered eggs.  Make sure you’ve rotated your yeast.  Don’t wait until you’re in dire straits to try making bread and tortillas.  You’ll have a lot of fun laughing at the end result, but you’ll waste your supplies.  If you’re getting your recipes off the Internet, carefully read the reviews that follow. 

The cold-weather sleeping bags and fleece and wool blankets come in handy when you turn the heat down to lower your utility costs.  Socks, slippers, and baggy sweatshirts become the norm 24 hours a day.  Those frilly sheers look lovely on the windows, but I really should’ve bought the thermal curtains when they were on sale.

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, buy more.  You’re stressing out about finding a job, so you’re going to drink more.  And if you’re drinking more coffee, you’re also using more of what goes in it, whether it’s creamer, sugar, or flavorings.  I thought we had plenty of powdered creamer set aside, but it went quickly, and I didn’t want to use the powdered milk, because it was needed for cooking. 

Buy more powdered milk.  I thought we had a decent amount, because the kids won’t drink it.  I didn’t stop to consider just how much of that powder is needed to mix enough milk for baking and cooking.

Buy more canned vegetables and meats.  Once the real meat is gone, you’ll be more dependent on vegetables to add flavor to your meals, and you don’t realize just how many you use until they’re no longer available.  TVP is a great substitute…once in a while.  While not big meat-eaters, we’re also not vegetarian, and canned meats can add flavor to a wide variety of dishes.

Stock up on canned and dehydrated potatoes.  They’ve always been a comfort food for us, and we didn’t have enough.  Canned potatoes taste “tinny” and dehydrated ones never rehydrate fully.  Instant mashed potatoes don’t taste real.  Deal with it.  The only other option is to live without potatoes.

Stock up on a variety of sweets.  Hard candies and freeze-dried fruits won’t cut it.  You need Jell-O and canned fruit, instant pudding, chocolate chips, and M & M’s.  A couple containers of Cool Whip in the freezer is a help.  Molasses and cocoa powder store well.  We could live without fresh meat, eggs, milk, and pre-sliced bread, but when the chips are down, we want dessert.

Salt.  We haven’t used added salt in decades.  The ex had high blood pressure and the daughter has potential kidney problems.  We always got enough from the processed foods we ate regularly.  When you start cooking all your meals from scratch, the only salt you’re going to get is from the occasional bouillon or packaged gravy mix.  We were eating well-balanced meals, but I started feeling shaky and sick.  Out of liquid Gatorade and unwilling to open the canister of powder, I licked a spoonful of salt.  Nasty, but it did the trick.  Don’t underestimate your body’s need for salt.

Stock up on garbage bags and bags for cleaning up after the dog.  We live in a community that has mandatory immediate dog-doodie duty.  When you’re home all day long, the dog wants out more often, just because he can.  You’ll also be doing more housework and clearing out all that “Why did I keep this” junk.  Your garbage men might learn to hate you, but you’ll only hate yourself if you run out of garbage bags.

Don’t forget dog food.  We generally have at least 50 pounds of dry food, but I wish I’d bought a couple cases of canned food.  It has a good shelf-life, and it would’ve lowered my stress levels.  He’s big, he’s old, and he’d never understand if I tried to tell him to go on a diet.

Fill your gas tank.  We’re all advised to keep the tank full for any emergency, and the inability to buy more is about as urgent as it gets.  You don’t want to head to an interview or, God forbid, the ER, and realize the gas gauge is on “E.” 

Follow Grandma’s advice and always have a little black dress on hand (for you guys, that would translate into a button-down shirt and tie, preferably with dress slacks).  Don’t forget nylons and heels.  You really don’t want to show up for a job interview dressed in blue jeans, work boots, and a t-shirt, and you don’t want to call the electric company and tell them you can’t pay your bill because you spent that money on a new wardrobe.

Buy several cookbooks.  Not the fancy ones using bay scallops, escargot, and spun sugar, but the ones published by your local church, a good old Betty Crocker, or better yet – one from the Depression or war years.  You may not need to know how to make a squirrel casserole for 12 people, but knowing how to bake cakes with nothing but flour, water, and a magic wand is a good skill to learn.  Be willing to experiment with new dishes and adapt the recipes to the foods you have on hand.  My daughter’s a food major, so we made good use of the African and Indian cookbooks she’d collected.  They use a lot of lentils, rice, split peas, and root vegetables, all of which we had.  Now is not the time to follow a traditional American meal plan.

After all that:  Take time to relax.  Keep to your old schedule.  If you’re used to going to bed early and getting up in the wee hours, keep doing it.  Renew your acquaintance with old hobbies.  Finish reading that book that’s gathering dust on your nightstand.  Call an old friend.  Bake cookies with the kids like you did when they were little.  Make sure you argue over who gets to lick the spoon.  Dance in the rain.  Volunteer at the local soup kitchen to remind yourself that you still have a good life.  And always remember – “This too shall pass.”


Guest Post: To the Wives, Girlfriends and Other Happy Ladies


This post was originally published as part of a Guest Post Writing Contest over at ModernSurvivalOnline. It can be seen in its original format HERE.


By Jennifer S. in Reno

Today I woke up and did some house cleaning, I did some laundry and vacuumed the carpets, I harped on the kids to get them to clean their rooms and I changed the cat litter box, I mopped the kitchen floor and made sure all of my dishes were washed.  When I was done with that I went to the grocery store.  Actually, I went to four grocery stores because I like to go where the good deals are.  I like to come home and put my purchased food away and know that my family will have a good dinner and that I saved money doing it.  After I came home and stored away my groceries I went into the backyard to hang out with my husband and work on our backyard.


Six months ago, this was a normal Saturday for me.  With that being said I would like to say six months ago, I was happy, but also blind.


It all started on a normal day.  I believe it was near the end of November, perhaps early December.  My husband came home from work and joined me in the kitchen.  I was starting dinner and he began to talk to me about things I had never heard of before and quite frankly never would have considered listening too.  His topics included HAARP projects, the TSA and Chemtrails.  I remember slicing tomatoes and listening to him talk.  I also remember looking at him out of the corner of my eye and, while nodding along, thinking to myself “I have married a crazy person.”


Now ladies, you and I both know that most of us would never be so cruel as to tell the men that we love that their new interests or concerns are either crazy or scaring us to death.  We pretend to take interest and listen to as much as we can handle before we tune them out.  This is exactly what I did over the following 3-5 weeks as the subject matter got broader.  His topics ranged from economic meltdown to EMP catastrophes’, to hidden meanings in the artwork at the Denver Airport.  I would listen and listen and listen, and then the next day I would pretend I didn’t hear any of it and do what I usually do, clean and make things pretty.  I would read through the news from mainstream media and I would watch American Idol or other useless programming to make my life seem normal.  I didn’t do these things because I didn’t believe my husband, but because I was trying to forget what he had been talking to me about and pretend that nothing bad could ever happen to me or my family.


Thinking about unfortunate things occurring and planning to protect your family is scary.  It’s very disheartening and it’s very hard to buckle down and look at it in a realistic frame of mind.  It is much easier to pretend that we are untouchable and that everything will remain as it always has been. If you don’t see it and don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist right?  Wrong.


One day at work I decided to research a bit of what he had been talking to me about, I found myself reading some things on alternative news websites and blogs that pertained to the government and other worldwide issues that caught my interest, and then I stumbled upon a few pages referencing natural disaster.  I read some scenarios about what could happen (and most likely would happen) if we were not prepared or protected.  After I read those, I read some more.  Then I read some more.  Before I knew it I had been reading for a few hours and realized I was hooked.  It never occurred to me the domino effect that any number of SHTF events could have on the world.  I never thought of how it could directly affect my family.  I never thought of having to protect my family from others who were simply trying to protect themselves.  I actually copied one of those articles and emailed it straight to my husband and titled my email with “We should get ready”. That day, was the beginning of our joint effort to prepare to protect our family.


The truth is, not preparing your family before disaster takes place, means that you are actually harming them more than the disaster.


Through my own research and reading and having extensive night time talks with my husband, I began to prep mostly for a natural or manmade disaster.  We live in earthquake country so that is a big priority of mine, although I will admit that after I stopped being so stubborn and took of those rose colored glasses I got right after birth, I started to become aware of disasters that have nothing to do with nature and everything to do with our current political system and world leaders.  Our children are not old enough to fend for themselves, nor are they old enough to really understand what we are doing for them so it is our job to make sure that if SHTF, we have a strong support system to defend ourselves  and our livelihood.


The purpose of my guest post is to try to reach out to other women like myself.  Happy women who have never heard of any of this until their husbands brought it up.  Happy women who don’t want to think about it and who would prefer to see the world as a place with singing children, cooperative neighbors, and leaders who care.  To those women, please think for yourselves; please be strong enough to do some research and listen to not only your husbands, but to formulate your own opinions and ideas.  Think outside of the box.  Don’t accept the world as it is presented to you.  Your loved ones will Thank you for it when the time comes and you have supplies to keep them safe.


There are some very basic and easy ways that you can begin prepping your family for a disaster.  Here are some things to start with:


1.) Water. We all need water.  We cannot survive after three days without water.  What are you going to do if your stores are out of bottled water (think Japan) and your supply has been cut off?  Bottled water and other jugs are the easiest.  Gallon jugs typically cost less than $1.00 at any local supermarket or you can purchase the packages of individual bottles.  (Usually 24 bottles for around $3.00)  I prefer the packages because they are easy to stack and easier to store (although the jugs are easier to grab and run with).  You can also wash out old soda, milk and juice jugs and fill them with tap water for storage as well although some of these bottles disintegrate quicker than others so do some research on them before you start using those.

2.) Food. Food is easy, but can also be tricky. First off when you go to the store grab two of anything that stores well that you and your family normally eats.  The reason this needs to happen is because your body is used to the food.  If SHTF and you start eating nothing but canned corn, your body will have a reaction and you will get sick.  Make sure to stock up with food items your body is used too but also make sure you grab some items that are less conventional.  My favorites (courtesy of my husband) are dehydrated milks (remember, if electricity is down, that milk in the fridge won’t do any good), 100% natural honey (great vitamins and stores forever), dried beans, spam and even other liquid items such as Tang (tastes good, keeps the spirits up and is a great source of Vitamin C).

3.) Other misc., items: Batteries.  And lots of them!  If you have re-chargeable batteries that’s great but if you lose power it won’t do you any good.  Buy extra batteries for everything you intend to use should TSHTF.  Make sure that you have plenty of extra flashlights on hand and stock up on candles.  Cheap tea lights are better than walking around in the dark.  Grab some matches (big boxes are cheap and you can still find strike anywhere matches if you look in the right places!).  Get some extra blankets from the goodwill if you don’t already have some in-case the heat goes out.  Another priority item should be a weeks’ worth of clothing for everyone in your family, sealed in a vacuum air tight bag so they are ready to grab at a moment’s notice and stay clean and dry in case you have to leave your home.

4.) First Aid Supplies: This is very important, especially if you have kids.  Stock up on band-aids, gauze, fever reducer, pain reliever, diarrhea meds, a thermometer, cut ointment and other first aid items you can think of that you might need in case someone is hurt or gets sick.  Remember, depending on the size of the catastrophe, doctors might be unavailable and hospitals might be down or overworked.  If you have prescription meds, try to stock up on those.  I used to think that it wasn’t possible but found a very reputable nationwide chain store that actually fills up to four months if you pay with cash.  Call around and see what you can find.  It would be smart to also look into homeopathic medicine if you cannot get your hands on prescription meds.

5.) Your Sanity: It’s easy to think that when the time comes, your fight or flight instinct will kick in and you won’t need some of the normal pleasures of life.  This would be wonderful if true but I am not willing to blindly try it if I have the option.  Try and stock up on a few things to keep yourself and your family entertained.  Some hand held electronics or small board games will help.  Perhaps some puzzles and books.  If you own a portable DVD player it might be a good idea to have that on hand with extra batteries and some movies.  This way you are less likely to lose your sanity (and rational thinking) while you are waiting around trying to make it through whatever catastrophe hits.

6.) Last but not least, firearms: Imagine you have prepared your family and SHTF.  You are bunkered in your home with food, water, batteries and flashlights.  You and your family are getting by and while it is not ideal, you are alive and doing well.  Then there’s a knock at your door, you don’t answer it because you are being cautions.  Let’s say that whoever is behind that door decides that they are going to break into the house.  They come in and see that you have food and water.  That’s when you realize that they do not have what you have.  Are you willing to share your families’ rations with total stranger?  I would guess not.  When you tell them that you are not willing to share do you think that they will politely leave and thank you for your time?  I doubt it.  You need a way to protect your family.  I leave this one up to my husband and he has covered the bases.


Once you make an informed decision and think for yourself, it’s easy to start prepping.  It’s easy to take the first steps and turn preparedness into a part of your everyday life.


Please think about it and take the proper steps to prepare for your safety.  Don’t let disaster strike without having what you need to get through it and in turn letting you and your family suffer.  Other people are not going to help you and it will be nobody but yourself and your family looking out for one another.  Morals do not exist when people are forced to survive.  Make sure you and your loved ones are covered.


Have you prepped for visitors?

Summer11 115

by Ecomum

I live in the UK on my own, with my daughter, her husband and their two children living nearby. As money is tight for them I prep for them as well as myself. Recently my brother moved to my town; there’s no way I would tell him about my preps as it would be akin to taking out an ad in the local paper. So now I prep for the six of us.

We’re about to have a family reunion making 23 people plus 3 dogs.  I’m not too worried that civilisation will collapse over that weekend, but, given the recent unusual weather patterns, it’s possible that we might all be snowed in or cut off by floods. From my preps I can feed us all for quite a while, but I realised that it’s all the other stuff that I don’t have enough of.

If the electricity goes off, then I assume it won’t be long before the pumps stop working and we lose water and gas.  Certainly our gas central heating won’t work without electricity to pump it. I have a wood burning stove as well as central heating, but not the space to store a large stock of fuel, and everyone would have to come to me to stay warm. The average house in the UK is smaller than in the US, and I have a smaller than average house – a Victorian terraced cottage. We wouldn’t all fit round the stove and would have to take it in turns being warm.

I have 4 hot water bottles, not enough. My daughter only has the microwave variety.  My camping stoves would not be able to cope with cooking for such a large number of people. My daughter has camping equipment and a barbecue; it would be difficult but we could probably manage.

I have half a dozen torches and 4 head torches; the children also have the type which need to be squeezed or wound up but they soon get fed up with doing that.  Although I have camping lanterns, we may need to save the fuel to cook for so many. I have plenty of candles and tealights but they may not be safe with so many children around.

I don’t have the room to store 2 gallons of water a day for so many people. I have a couple of dozen bottles of water and 5 rainwater butts, all currently full. I only have a small domestic water filter.

I have a garden shed where we could improvise a toilet if that became necessary, and plenty of toilet paper and wet wipes.

Many of the visitors will have come with just an overnight bag so I’ll have to try and come up with spare clothes.

So, my list of things to do before they come includes buying more wood, charcoal and camping gas; a couple more hot water bottles; lots of long life milk and crackers/crispbreads for if we can’t bake bread.  I need to bring down spares of toilet paper, etc, from the attic so it’s not too obvious if I need to go get some. I just want to appear as though I have a full pantry, not that I’m a prepper.

I’d love to hear what preps others make for large-scale family get-togethers, or if you have any suggestions for this ‘probably won’t happen but best to be prepared’ scenario.


A Survival Story: Trip to the lumber yard and folks return

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



September 9th   Trip to the lumber yard and folks return…..

Writing this while watching the lumber yard.

Tommy, Brian, Kenny, and Joel came back home today(feels like yesterday as I am writing this at 3:00am). It was a somber occasion as six had left but only four came back with the death of Mike and Neal and all. Another reminder that this attack on the Bandanna Gang must be done.

As promised – they came back fed and brought with them 18 eggs along with 4 chickens. Many in the neighborhood are looking forward to being able to eat more fresh eggs, meat from chickens eventually, catfish, etc.

Carrie and Jessie walked the neighborhood Friday and Saturday looking for volunteers to go back to Hwy 72 for another week. It was difficult but they managed to find six more to go. M and I drove them over this afternoon. A few guns needed to be borrowed. From what Joel said – the folks at the Hwy 72 Farm were fine. They had no issues with them. They said they ate great – especially the catfish from the pond.

At the lumber yard nothing is different. About 9:30pm the last of the gang members entered the building and no one has been seen since. It appeared that the final group of 4 men to come in had a girl with them. She had her hands tied behind her back and was being forced to walk. When they got to the door of the main building she screamed as they pushed her in. I could hear the men laughing as she screamed. My blood has been boiling ever since.

Bill, Ryan and I will be heading back home in a few minutes. Will get some sleep and then start making final preparations.

The time is drawing near.

- Jed



A Survival Story: The trouble never ends

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



September 2nd   The trouble never ends…..

This morning a small boy on the other side of the neighborhood near the service road was attacked by a coyote. Very rare that coyotes attack humans. Maybe it was the animal was extremely hungry due to the rabbit population decreasing over the last weeks.  Maybe it was that the boy was playing with his cat in the backyard. Maybe the coyote was sick or injured. Maybe a combination of all of hose.

The boys mother ran out of the house hitting the coyote with a garden hoe laying nearby. The coyote started running off before one of the patrols in a tower shot it dead. The boy will be OK – several bites. Rose – the neighbor who is in charge of the Medical Team – had to clean up his wounds and give him 24 stitches.

Another danger in a dangerous world. Glad I have a fence in the back yard so I don’t have to worry about this when M, Aaron, or Caleb are out back.

Karl drove over from Walnut Street. I miss male companionship. Alright – no funny thoughts. Mark was my best friend around here. My best friend from High School has long since moved away and lost contact. I love having M here, and Aaron and I are getting along great, but I miss having a “buddy”. Bill and I get along – but he listens to the radio’s all night and sleeps during the day. We just don’t see each other that often.  Anyways, Karl and I sat in the garage for a couple hours talking. I ran an extension cord from my battery bank to power a couple fans – it’s HOT.  Karl said that things are going OK on Walnut Street. Food is extremely rationed. A book I gave him on finding edible plants has helped a bit. He said he makes a pine needle tea every couple days – good vitamin C. He said one couple this past Wednesday overdosed on painkillers. They couldn’t take living in the world that exists today. The couple used to have the latest gadgets, big screen TV’s, brand new cars every couple years – and now…. all that was important to them is useless. They just couldn’t take it.

Choices. You have to live with them or… don’t.


- Jed



A Survival Story: Joel is a good man

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 29th   Joel is a good man…..

I walked over to Joel’s house this morning. This thing with Hwy 72 has been eating me up. I have always hated the feeling of regret and I very much regret reacting the way I did. Joel and I made some small talk about planned Sunday services – and the conversation made its way to what happened. I told Joel that I needed to “lay the cards on the table”.

I told Joel about my feelings that I made a mistake with Hwy 72. I told him that I did not want him to think I condone racism at all – but I am thinking about what is best for the neighborhood. Joel sat silent for a minute like he was really searching for the words to convey what he was thinking. He looked at me and uttered the words……”Jed, you did make a mistake.”

I was shocked. He went on to say that he has dealt with racism many times in his life. Sometimes he put up with it because it was in his best interest to just be quiet. Sometimes he did not stay quiet. He said that I overreacted and failed to look at the big picture. He appreciated the gesture – but the entire neighborhood needs to come first. Somehow I wasn’t feeling any better.

We talked for awhile longer and I headed back home. I talked to M about the situation and told her I want to try to make it right. I am going back to Hwy 72 and see if I can get things right. She is supportive and said she wants to go with me.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully it will benefit the rest of the neighborhood.

- Jed



A Survival Story: Neighborhood meeting, coyotes, and hunting trips planned

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 24th   Neighborhood meeting, coyotes, and hunting trips planned…..

A meeting was organized for the entire neighborhood. Ryan and I discussed the offer from Phil and Lisa with everyone and made some recommendations.

The recommendations offered was for a small party to travel to the Hwy 72 community and see where they live, meet more of the people there, check out the land layout, and discuss matters more. We asked for additional suggestions and a few spoke up:

  • Mike (Jennifer’s husband from the other side of the neighborhood) said the deal sounds awfully suspicious to him and he was very nervous.
  • Joel – who was training to be a minister prior to The Event – said that he was happy to hear that Phil and Lisa emphasized their Christian faith. He also volunteered to make the “inspection trip”.
  • Neil, who always has an opinion – said that he agreed with the inspection trip but said we need to be extremely careful. He also said that it was very true that we could use their help providing sustainable food.

The decision was made to go and visit Sunday. Who exactly would go has not been decided.

- – – – – – – -

Last night I was woke up by a yelping, high pitched sound. It sounded like coyotes. In all my years here I have only seen one coyote around and it was lying dead on the side of the road a couple miles from here. This morning I walked the perimeter of the fence and saw some tracks. Looks like coyotes were right outside the fence. I couldn’t tell how many.

I am guessing they are getting hungry. The rabbits and squirrel population has been reduced in the area. The cookout we had the other night probably did not help either and brought them in closer. Will pass my observations along to everyone.

- – – – – – – -

Kenny stopped by this evening and said he was planning to make another trip and asked if I would go. I suspect he is wanting me to drive as I don’t think he has any gas. I told him I would very much like to go and I wanted to research out what could be done to preserve the meat rather than cooking it all. 

Going to start planting some Fall crops here pretty soon. Need to look into that tomorrow.

 - Jed




A Survival Story: We are paid a visit

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 23rd   We are paid a visit…..

A man and woman came to the front entrance today asking to speak to whoever was in charge. I was radioed as well as Ryan. Jumped on my mountain bike and headed up to see what was going on. The couples names were Phil and Lisa. Ryan and I introduced ourselves after they did the same.

They said they represented another neighborhood just south of us on Hwy 72. A small community of 30 families outside the city limits. Several of the families have chickens, goats, rabbits and a few cows. They said they were Christians and looking to reach out to others in an attempt to not just rebuild, but come together to help provide security for each other and survive. They said that they have had scouts watching us and felt from what they have seen that we were good people. We are the first neighborhood contacted.

I asked them about their defensive capabilities. Firepower is lacking as they mostly have weapons best suited for hunting – long barreled shotguns, bolt action rifles, bows, and some muzzle loaders. They are 12 miles south and off a side road of a side road. They have had a couple of run in’s with trespassers but no causalities. They admitted they have been lucky and feel it is just a matter of time.

I told Phil and Lisa that I would have to talk to the rest of the neighborhood. I asked specifically what they wanted. They said that they could share some of their food as well as provide a few animals over time in exchange for security assistance. They said there may be other ways that we could mutually benefit each other as well.

I asked them when the last time they had paid us a visit. Phil said it was a couple days ago they had come through the woods and were spotted and took off.

I told Phil and Lisa that I would need a few days to talk to everyone and get back with them. They drew me a map to their location, asked if we could pray together, and left. They had a car parked off the road a couple hundred yards away.

Ryan and I talked. We both felt that they were awfully trusting – too trusting. Regardless – we are very curious.

- Jed



A Survival Story: Walnut Street is attacked

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 21st   Walnut Street is attacked…..

The folks on Walnut Street went weeks with no problems – until last night. Karl radioed me this morning and I drove over. He told me a group of 4-6 men right at dark forced their way into two homes and killed the people living there. There were no initial gun shots – those poor folks were stabbed. Karl said he heard screams and went to investigate. He was met up by the two patrol’s they had walking the neighborhood at that time.

They walked in the general direction of the screams and heard a ruckus inside one of the homes.  With very little light out the two patrols approached from the front while Karl walked around back.  One of the patrol’s saw the front door broke and started blowing his whistle. Apparently that is their signal to the rest of the people on the streets. As soon as the whistle was blown a couple of the guys inside shot in the direction of the sound and then ran out back. Karl said they were fast and bolted out the back door and into the woods.

Karl – not knowing what happened to the people inside – did not fire any shots as they exited the homes. I asked him if he got a look at them. He said one thing is they were all wearing blue bandanna’s.

Hearing who was involved…..I was enraged. Whoever these people are they are likely wreaking havoc all over the area. They killed my good friend Mark. They killed four others in another attack a few weeks ago. Now they have killed others trying to just live. Just trying to live.

They must be dealt with. They need to be taken out before they hurt more innocent people. Who knows – they hit our neighborhood once, they may hit it again.

Tomorrow going to talk to Bill and Ryan about this. We need to find out more about this gang. Where do they live? How many of them are there? How well are they armed?

I feel this pressure in my chest. It is anger and frustration. If this community and area is to ever get some resemblance of normalcy – we can’t except these kinds of people exiting near us.

Going to have a hard time getting to sleep.

 - Jed


A Survival Story: Eric has a girlfriend

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 18th   Eric has a girlfriend…..

Figured out why Eric had been spending so much time away from the house….he has a girlfriend.

He told me today that he has been spending a lot of time with a women on the other side of the neighborhood. Her name is Pam. I remember seeing her before The Event but had never talked to her. Eric told me that he helped her with a couple of raised bed gardens and during the time at her place – something just clicked. I told him that was great and I was happy for him. He mentioned they are talking about moving in together but she is concerned about the limited food supplies she has.

This is tough. The neighborhood has come together and helped each other out, but I cannot basically take in another mouth to use up the supplies I have.  I told Eric that if he decided to move in with Pam I would support him the best I can. He can certainly take some supplies with him. He said that he felt that his moving was likely to happen.

Interesting….. “Dating during a disaster”. If electricity was still on this would make for a reality show.

Finished up quite a bit of work on the bug out trailer. M is making up an inventory list which I might slip into this journal for future reference. I watched her with Caleb earlier today. She was beautiful. I am surprised that she never had kids of her own. Seems to come natural to her.

Short entry today. Tired and need to get to sleep.

  – Jed 


A Survival Story: What if we need to bug out?

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 15th   What if we need to bug out?

Things are going decent in the neighborhood. We have contacts a couple miles away (Walnut Street) as well as Ben down in Chester. M asked me today – What if a large gang comes and overwhelms us?

Good question.

We talked a bit and decided we needed to be prepared in case the need to leave in a hurry arises. In the Jeep I have some supplies – the same supplies I had when M and I left Athens after The Event. There is a BOB (bug out bag), spare fuel, water, maps, some tools, extra serpentine belt, small air compressor, and a few more things. Really need to have more supplies ready if we are to leave and not come back.

Worked on it some today and hopefully will finish by this weekend. I pulled the small flat trailer out from behind the shed in the backyard. Inflated the tires and cleaned it off and moved it in the garage. Basically I am setting up the trailer to be able to hook it up to the Jeep and head out – pronto! The trailer will hold the supplies we will take to our destination. Where will that be? Man, I really should have planned all this out – even before The Event happened.

Today I brought in quite a bit of deck wood that I had stored behind the shed and will use it to build up some walls on the trailer as well as provide divided areas on the trailer to store stuff. I have several totes already being used to store things. The totes can be attached to the trailer as well.

Brainstorming here  – will need to consider:

  • shelter
  • food
  • water
  • medical
  • defense
  • clothing
  • cooking
  • sanitation
  • information
  • light
  • power
  • fire starting
  • general supplies

Not sure how complete I can cover all those categories on one trailer and inside my Jeep. Prioritizing will be necessary. 

 - Jed


A Survival Story: Trip to Walnut Street and M’s surprise

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 10th   Trip to Walnut Street and M’s surprise…..

I borrowed a trailer from one of the neighbors and pulled it over to Karl’s place. I had a couple empty 55 gallon drums that held some kind of floor wax at one time as well as a boat-load of 5 gallon buckets and tops. Made a couple trips filling everything up with well water. The 55 gallon drums had been washed out previously with Simple Green and rinsed several times before the event. Likely will not use the water for drinking – at least not yet.

While at Karl’s I discussed several of the things we have done in the neighborhood as well as much of the news that has been heard. Turns out that the Walnut Street people have few firearms – couple shotguns, some .22LR’s, and a few pistols. Karl himself has a Ruger 10/22 with a partial box of ammo and one 10-round magazine. Discussed some ideas for security – setting up patrols and such. Also talked about communication. They have a couple walkie-talkies from the trip yesterday as well as a few FRS/GMRS handhelds. Most of the folks still had some fuel in their vehicles. Karl said they were scared to venture out much. I told him about our building battery banks and setting up charging stations. He is going to ask his neighbors to see if anyone has the skills to duplicate our efforts.

Told Karl I would be back in a couple days for some more water and if he needed help with the battery banks I would be glad to help.

This evening I gave my surprise from yesterday to M. We ate dinner – outside by candlelight like usual.  Glad I stocked up on OFF bug spray. Dinner was beef stew over rice. Getting tired of it but still good. Anyways, after dinner I told M I had a surprise for her. Tried to get her to guess – kinda fun. Went inside and brought out a small box. She opened it……. “chocolate!!!”.

I had found a few Hershey bars. She hugged me and immediately scoffed one down. Amazing how she appreciated something that just a couple months ago she wouldn’t have given a second thought.

Overall – good day.

 - Jed


A Survival Story: A bartering system comes together

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 8th   A bartering system comes together…..

I called a neighborhood meeting this morning. Everyone met at 2:00pm at the model house. I filled everyone in on Karl’s street including the situation they are in and that they are asking for help – of any kind.

Although I led the meeting which accounted for close to 75% of the residents – I emphasized that whatever decisions made we must not sacrifice the survivability of the community. A few of us mentioned that no doubt Walnut Street needed food more than anything, but they actually had something we could use…..water.

We continue to filter water from the “swamp” near the utility road, but the water has to be boiled and our filter materials are running low. Their well-water could really help us out.

People were supportive of providing assistance but rightly showed concern about donating food that we really couldn’t afford to give away. Ryan suggested that we could go on a couple more scouting trips looking for supplies from abandoned homes, businesses, etc. to trade off to Walnut Street and help them out. The decision was made to go on a scouting trip tomorrow to look for supplies and then make a decision as to help Walnut Street or not.

It’s a tough situation. Many of us want to help Karl’s people out but we have to look out for ourselves first. With that in mind I am going to suggest something a little different before we leave.

 - Jed



A Survival Story: We’re hit, we respond

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



August 6th   We’re hit, we respond…..

Almost didn’t write in the journal but haven’t missed a day through all of this.

We lost 4 people today. A group of 6-8 gang bangers – all wearing blue bandanna’s attacked us. One small group from the North-West corner and another from the West. They came in and immediately started shooting at the towers and patrols that were in sight. Myself, Eric and several others not on patrol responded. Those in the towers were pretty much pinned down. The four we lost included two patrols and an older retired couple – the Robinson’s –  that happened to be tending to their small garden in their backyard.

The two patrols lost were fellows named Henry and Rick. I did not know them at all and I know they were both married. Not sure about kids.

The gang bangers walked right up to the neighborhood and were not seen by those in the tree houses nor the towers. A couple of things were learned from this:

- This could have been worse. As soon as the shooting started on the North-West side all the patrols covering the rest of the neighborhood ran to help. This left those area’s extremely exposed.

- Friendly fire could have been an issue. All the gang members were wearing the same colors which made them easily recognizable. If not for that people may not have been able to distinguish the invaders and the “good guys”.

- We have to expand our patrols to stop them from coming so close before being seen. Possibly some type of alarms.

The end result of the attack is we lost 4 people, they lost 3 and likely injured some others. I am not sure if I killed one of the gangbangers or not. One of them went down when I was shooting at them – but I was not the only one shooting.

Strange….I do not feel guilty. The Robinson’s and the patrols that lost their life today made sure of that.

 - Jed


A Survival Story: Collecting resources

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 31st   Collecting resources….

A group of us finished going through all 32 empty houses. The ones empty prior to The Event had nothing of value. The others provided a lot more than expected.

Like yesterday quite a bit was found. More food, some very valuable antibiotics, more batteries, radios, flashlights. In particular – we found several bags of charcoal, 14 bottles of propane, and almost 30 gallons of gas in gas cans. Also found a few inverters ranging from 350  to 750 watts. I also discovered that Thomas next door still had his 4 wheeler in his shed. I brought it over and stored it in the backyard. We also came across 3 garden tillers.

Going through one of the first homes I came across a car battery sitting in the garage and I realized that there were dozens of batteries all around us that were not being used. Bill and I discussed the need to get the batteries from vacant cars and somehow use them to benefit the neighborhood. We talked to all the other Team Leaders and everyone agreed that tomorrow we would get the car batteries that were available and then work towards a method to charge them. We figured we would end up having extra’s on hand which would be a good thing.

Eric worked on educating people on composting. With an inability to purchase composted cow manure and fertilizer for gardens composting will be important.

M goes on patrol for the first time tomorrow and I don’t like it. She will be working a 4 hour rotation. With having more people involved in the patrols Ryan shortened the time for each patrol to 4 hours. He felt that would keep people on their feet and reduce the chance of them becoming complacent. He is also staggering the rotations so if someone is watching us they will not be able to predict the “changing of the guard” so to speak.

In the past several weeks so much revolves around “that which you have” and “that which you have not”. It is a frustrating feeling knowing that if you had just put “X” back it would make life easier now.

- Jed


A Survival Story: Scouting for supplies…..and news

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 22nd   Scouting for supplies…..and news

Amber is not taking Mark’s death well. Bill told me that she is a wreck and is staying in her room. She blames herself for Mark’s death and said she does not ever want to look at Jessie again. I understand. Her leaving in the middle of the night to find Aaron was a stupid thing to do. I know how she feels as well – I am finding it difficult to walk by Mark and Jessie’s house – thinking of that pour little girl in there without a father.

I should have been smarter about the whole thing. Mark was a good friend and this is tearing me apart. I still can’t believe he is gone.

Many people are getting low on supplies and I don’t want to give away too much. I also do not want everyone to know what I have either. I talked to Ryan about going out and doing some scouting for supplies. Going and getting Amber got me thinking there are likely a lot of houses and businesses out there with supplies in them. No – not a lot of food but other things that the community needs. As I was talking to Ryan Neil walked by on the sidewalk and I saw an opportunity. I called Neil over. He stared at me like I had just eaten the last piece of cake or something. I told him we needed some help making a decision and I wanted his opinion. He looked at me like I had an angle or something and asked me to go on. I filled him in on the idea of scouting for supplies – the risk, the danger, and gave him some idea’s of where we could go.

He actually spoke and said he thought it was a good idea. Neil said he had been thinking the very same thing and figured there were many businesses that may have supplies that the gangs and other low-life’s may not think about. He went on to say many manufacturing facilities have vending machines, walkie-talkies, tools, welding equipment, batteries, construction stuff – even coffee. I told him that was some great thinking.

Neil smiled and his face fell off. OK, just kidding. His face didn’t actually fall off. I asked him if he wanted to go if we put together a scouting party and he said he absolutely did. He went on that he was sick and tired of sitting around and working in his garden. Turned out he grew up on a farm and had a bunch of raised bed gardens in his back yard – which was fenced in like mine. He also served in the Army – was in Vietnam. I told him I was glad to have him on the “team”.

The plan is to head out tomorrow to a couple local places and see what we can find. I hope it goes better than the last time we went out.

Bill came over and said that he got some news on the scanner. Basically, forces overseas are feeling the crunch to get things done due to fuel shortage problems. He said there was also talk of some of the forces breaking off and heading home. “Why?” is the question. Possibly to check on their family?

He said getting stations was difficult and most came in better after dark.

I hope tomorrow brings some positive news for a change.

 - Jed

Thoughts on Survival and Preparedness


The following post was originally published over at ModernSurvivalOnline. It can be seen HERE in its original format. – Rourke

Thoughts on Survival and Preparedness

by Robert


 I was curious to read much of what other people who prepare had to say. My wife seems to think anyone who would look ahead to any of the numerous possible scenarios that require preparation are doomsayers and require anti-depressants. I obviously disagree but will admit that the folks on shows like “Doomsday Preppers” are a bit more into it than I believe necessary. But that is their affair and I wish them well. Many of us fall into the tamer category, that being we realize the importance of a plan and act accordingly while still living our lives.


  “Why prepare?” many people ask me. My answer is usually, “why not?”. What possible harm can come from having a food store sufficient to feed my family in a prolonged crisis? What part of having a plan to get out of the urban area we live in to a place of relative safety makes me paranoid or worthy of ridicule? Why not have a set procedure to get through a hard time that is indeed on the horizon, just as past hard times were once only on the horizon? The answer, when you pose these questions to a person who thinks us foolhardy, is usually a shoulder shrug. Which tells me they realize the logic of preparing yet still don’t want to be bothered. These are the people who will suffer when the time comes. And it will, as it always has.


  Now, as far as having school buses full of food, weapons, ammo and livestock, I believe that’s something many of us will pass on. Again, that’s a personal choice and there’s absolutely nothing weird or wrong about it. The core of preparing for a majority of us is this: have a plan, have a reasonable supply of food and water and ensure you have everyone who you involve with your preparations on the same page.


   Having spent 12 years in the Marine infantry, I’ve learned the importance of a team. You WILL need other people that think like you to help when the time comes. And it’s not hard to get your plan together. Ensure you trust the people you associate with and involve in your planning. Then you simple sit down over a few drinks or dinner and discuss, point by point, what your plan will be and what you need to do to make it work as far as food stores, fuel, power and transportation. You’ll be surprised how fast the night goes and how much planning can get done in a few hours time. This is the key to the Marines success on the battlefield, and it can be your key to surviving a national crisis.


   The most critical part of a plan is a food store. Your first move is to determine how many people you will need to feed, and for how long you will need to feed them. Most health authorities will say an active person needs in the neighborhood of 2,000 calories a day to sustain them and a minimum of a gallon of water. I personally have to cover three people in my own family. Every trip to the market I buy at least twelve cans of food: six of a vegetable and six of a bean. Beans are a great source of protein and other nutrients and can be eaten right out of the can. Check the dates on your cans and log it so you’ll know when you need to replace it, if you so choose. In reality, most canned goods are safe for years. They may not taste great, but they’re safe. Also, shelf stable foods like pastas and rice are great additions to your store. Keep a log of what you have and how long you’ve had it, and store all of it together in the place you plan to go in case of trouble so you don’t have to haul it all with you.


 That brings me to a mobile food supply, which you may need if you have to leave. This should be whatever you will need to feed your party for a reasonable amount of time. I personally keep four days worth of food in my vehicle and in my wife’s vehicle. Much of this is MRE items so as not to take up too much room. Each vehicle also has a small water filtration pump and water treatment pills in the glovebox in case the supply runs out. You can survive for a time on small amounts of food, but you will need water. Learn how to treat it yourself and buy the right equipment to do so.


  Communications are a HUGE part of your plan. In each of my vehicles is a walkie talkie, a Grundel emergency radio, a Garmin GPS receiver and spare batteries. There is also a detailed map with different routes to our destination if we have to leave. It’s impractical to drive EVERY possible route to your destination, but try to cover the main ones you’re most likely to use. Notate gas stations and food stores. Also look for stores that carry items you may need (sporting goods stores or outdoors outlets) so you can resupply if need be. Needless to say, a total breakdown of society will destroy the dollar, but during a lesser incident (hurricane, power outage) these places may still be open so make sure you have money with you.


  Some folks are compelled to carry firearms. I am one of them. You have every right to protect yourself and your family with a firearm, but you also have a responsibility to use your weapons responsibly and only as a last resort. Make sure you choose the right weapon for you. For home defense, I feel a 12 gauge shotgun is your best bet. It’s easier to hit a target with that than a pistol, especially if you’re heart is racing and you’re scared out of your mind, which you most likely will be if you have to use a gun. A pistol is a good weapon to put in a go bag simply because it’s small. Either way, ensure you train with your weapon and know how to use it as safely as possible. And ALWAYS ENSURE CHILDREN CANNOT GET THEIR HANDS ON IT! Lock it away when you’re not using it.


 My last thought is this; RELAX. Hopefully, nothing happens and everybody gets to keep living the way they like. Prep with the hope that NONE of what you’re ready for comes to pass and with the knowledge that if it does, you ARE ready. Then go on with your life. Being ready doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid; it just means you’ve thought ahead and have done what you can to help yourself and your family when there’s nobody else to call. Good luck and God Bless.



A Survival Story: Tree houses aren’t just for kids…….

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 18th   Tree houses aren’t just for kids…….

With the shooting yesterday folks are on edge. Depression has set in for many in the community. Life has changed so much and these people just never….and I mean NEVER thought that anything like this would ever happen. Concerns and frustrations were often limited to which outfit to wear and where to go out to eat this weekend.

Not any more.

Jessie is doing well with the kids. Activities and education are keeping them occupied. I continue to charge these small DVD players every so often and a couple times a week the kids have “Movie Night”. They even pop some pop corn once in a while.

The Security Team met this afternoon and we discussed methods to get a better view around the neighborhood. We have wood from the incomplete housing sites. It was decided to build a few elevated towers throughout the neighborhood. By getting some eyes up in the air it will be easier to monitor what is going on not just in the neighborhood – but around it.

I backed the idea but warned that those in the towers would be working a very high risk assignment, which Ryan agreed. They likely could come under sniper fire from a good distance. Part of the fabrication details was to try to provide some resistance to high power rifles in the main section of the tower. I suggested that there may be a way to add some additional viewing via tree houses. I told them that with the right tree a platform could be built in the middle of the tree and the post could be camouflaged. They agreed and planned to build half as towers and half in trees.

It’s a start.

I caught M crying today. I asked her what was wrong and she said she just was upset about the changes in her life. She is living in a strange place – no friends, no family. She planned her trip to the reunion and everything has been turned upside down. I tried to comfort her and told her that I was there for her. I told her  - and maybe this was harsh – but the fact was that it is what it is. I told her that I am sure she will make friends here but with the world the way it is survival was the #1 priority. She looked at me like I said something wrong and said she thought I would be more compassionate. I asked her if she wanted me to lie and she said no. I hugged her and told her she had me for as long as she wanted. She said she didn’t want me to get the wrong idea and that she was very glad to be with me.

I don’t think I did a very good job.

 - Jed


map-towersClick to Enlarge



A Survival Story: Trip to Ben’s…….

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 15th   Trip to Ben’s…….

Rained today – which was great. My rain barrels filled back up and many in the neighborhood were able to gather some rain via different methods. Some used kiddie pools, some used upside down umbrella’s and soda bottles, buckets, etc.  This will be a big help to all those that have just started their gardens. Rainwater seems to just do the trick for a struggling garden.

I took M over to Ben’s today. Great trip for the community. We drove the Jeep over and it was mostly uneventful. As usual back roads were driven and I did not see very many people. We did see a few houses that were burnt down and also lots of evidence of vandalism – cars with broken windows and graffiti on buildings.  Some of the graffiti consisted of racial words sprayed on the sides of a couple houses. Pathetic.

When we arrived to Ben’s his front gate and property had signs that read “IF YOU CAN READ THIS SIGN YOU ARE ALREADY IN RANGE!” I wondered if I should even attempt to contact him. The front gate was locked so I walked up his driveway while M waited in the Jeep ready to drive off if things went bad. I left my AR in the Jeep with M and walked with my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm on my hip. Ben came out of his single floor cabin-looking house and met me with a handshake.

We were very glad to see each other and he said he had been wondering how I was doing. I filled him in on the community and the challenges we had moving forward (food, water, security). He filled me in on what has been going on around his property:

    • His son Jeff and family had made their way to Ben’s place. Jeff is an excellent metal fabricator and welder.
    • Ben’s nephew Jeremiah also made it to Ben’s place. Jeremiah spent 6 years in the military including 2 tours in Iraq.
    • Ben’s best friend – Matt, and family also took residence on Ben’s farm. Ben and Matt grew up together.

Ben told me that they have had some violent encounters since The Event. On two occasions people have tried to sneak in and steal food out of the gardens or steal eggs from the chicken coupes. The first encounter resulted in the person getting run off – scared. The second did not go so well. Ben had to shoot the trespasser after the man pulled a pistol. He said he felt horrible about it but he had to do it.

We ate a good mid-afternoon meal of fresh eggs and some bread and butter. Talking about how good the fresh eggs were and how the freeze dried eggs and bacon we had been eating just wasn’t a comparison – Ben made us an offer. He offered up some chickens for the community in exchange for some help building a small shelter for storing firewood. I could tell he was really just helping us out – charity.

Of course I accepted. We agreed to come the next day to help and when we were done we would bring the chickens back. When M and I got back to the neighborhood I talked to Eric about the chickens. He is going to get with the Gardening Team and build a chicken coop tomorrow.

I love eggs.

- Jed


A new year…time to plan


Every year millions of people sit down and make New Year Resolutions – only to crash and burn within weeks due to a true lack of planning. Everyone wants to lose weight, save money, pay off some bills, and find true love. This isn’t and I am in no position to give out financial advice – but one category of my yearly planning is….you guessed it….preparedness.

Regardless of what my goals for the year may be I go through the same process – which I will share with you:

1. Get a pen and a pad of paper.

2. Write down your first goal or objective.

3. Take some time to think about all the things that will be required in order to accomplish your goal. This is an important step. Write down everything that you will need to do.

4. Now – consider all of the items listed in #3. Are there any specific challenges to any of those steps that need to be detailed in your planning? If so – jot it down.

A lot more to it than just writing down “Lose 20 pounds“, huh? The key to accomplishing your goals is not just wanting something but actually being able to do it. I mean – if you want to save up $10,000 but can’t afford to save more than $50 a week – not gonna happen.

So – anyone have any goals for 2014? No better time than now to start planning.



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  •  Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution – Excellent book! What an easy read but very informative. The author describes his own experience buying is retreat on a very strict budget – and then equipping it for survival. Highly recommended. 
  • P-51 Can Openers, pack of 2 – I love these can openers. They are inexpensive, lightweight, portable, and they work. I have many scattered between kits and supply boxes – and the kitchen. 
  • LifeStraw Water Filter - Awesome small water filter that is inexpensive but very simple and effective. High recommendation. 


A Survival Story: Getting ready for visitors…….

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 11th   Getting ready for visitors…….

The seeds are spouting in many of the gardens. Everyone is realizing that although there are no typical jobs to drive to each day there is a lot of work to be done. Those working their garden have to pick insects off the plants, weed and water. These gardens are no longer just a hobby but an integral part of their survival. 

I met with Ryan and Bill today and talked about the motorcycle’s that went through the neighborhood yesterday. We discussed that the neighborhood is far too open. Those motorcycle riders were likely feeling us out. The Security Team decided to barricade the entrance-way, including the driveway along with all areas on either side. The goal is to prevent any vehicle from entering. Luckily there had been a couple of partial builds in the neighborhood which afforded us quite a bit of lumber, nails and concrete. Several trash can were filled with dirt and spaced out across the entire entrance. A fence was built with the 2×4′s as well. Security also placed a pair of members patrolling the entrance at all times. 

Great find today – one of the neighbor’s, Ted, brought forward a scanner. He had not thought of it early on because of no power. I took the scanner to Bill’s along with one of my solar panels, inverters, and a charge controller to power it. Bill already had a small set up with AM/FM and a CB. With the solar panel he can run everything more frequently. Hopefully we will have some more news tomorrow due to the scanner. 

I am so tired. I am more physically active than I ever have been. There is constantly something that needs to be done. My body ache’s and my muscles are sore. M gave me a great massage tonight when it cooled down. A small piece of paradise it was!! 


The community is going to be tested soon. I can feel it. We need to be ready and we have a long way to go. 

-   Jed

A Survival Story: Community, concern and more news……

A_Survival_Story_CoverWhat follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.



July 3rd   Community, concern and more news…….

Woke up this morning thinking that I have got to get organized. I suspect the power will be out for a long time, running water may not last, the supplies we have we need to make last.

Sunlight lit most of the house and flashlights were used elsewhere. I got with M and Eric and had a good talk with them. For 15 minutes I talked about how fragile our countries internal supply system is and it is likely stores, once closed, would not be resupplied nor reopen for many months. We also discussed crime and what WROL is (Without Rule of Law).  I explained that life was going to be very different moving forward and we needed to start getting ready. M started crying when she realized her chances of getting home was slim. I told her she had a place to stay as long as she wanted.

I asked Eric and M if they could check the garden and pick what was ready. I also asked if they could start inventorying EVERYTHING in the house and garage so we can see what we have. I am thinking down the road about barter. I wanted to go over to see Mark and Jessie.

Mark and Jessie were OK. I gave them some tips on food storage and rationing as well as talked about trying to stay strong for their 5 year old daughter – Addie. I asked Mark if they had a gun in the house and they didn’t. I asked him to come over around 9:30pm tonight (when it is dark). He did and I gave him a Smith & Wesson 22A .22LR pistol. I went over the controls, explained safety rules, and watched him change the magazine out a couple times and release the slide. I gave him the pistol along with 4 10-rd magazines and 300 rounds of CCI Blazer .22LR. Mark has been a good friend and they are good people. By the way – Jessie is absolutely anti-gun. I suspect her mind will be changing.

I talked to Bill up the road. He was still reporting for work to the Moss Justice Center (jail) daily. He said many of his fellow Correctional Officers were not reporting to work. He was able to refuel his vehicle at the city yard along with the Police. He also has been hearing from city and county officers that crime was getting bad. It’s only been a few days. I have to start putting some better security plans in effect. I need to talk to more people in neighborhood tomorrow.

I am going to stay up until 3:00am keeping an eye on things. Moon is pretty bright…..luckily.

 - Jed


A Survival Story: A date with Diane

What follows is just one part of an ongoing survival fiction series written by John Rourke and has been published on Amazon. It is being made available here for free. A new entry is published every day. The story is written in a daily journal format.


June 20th    A date with Diane…….

Picked up a Kindle Fire today. It’s pretty cool. I bought it on Amazon and downloaded a few books – mostly preparedness stuff. I wonder those that read my journal 20 years from now – what will they say about my interest in preparedness? Hopefully they will say I was crazy. I just think it makes sense to be ready in case of a power outage, some major disaster, or of course if aliens invade! 

Spent some time in the garden after work. Cucumbers looking great and zucchinis are getting HUGE!! Bucket potatoes are almost ready to be harvested anytime. I continue to add to the compost pile with table scraps and a little grass from the lawn mower once in a while. As usual it has been super hot and I water the garden daily at the moment. Hope we get some rain as a couple of my rain barrels are getting low. The gardens like rain much more than city water. 

Had a third date with Diane. She is great, but not sure what the future holds. As usual I am looking too far forward AND too much in the past. Diane has two great kids from her first marriage and not looking to have a second marriage anytime soon. I seem to make her laugh and the chemistry is there – so far. Dating at almost 40 is not easy. Tonight we went to Outback. Great meal and great company. Great kiss as well!

I think she liked my new Jeep!

 - Jed




New website…


Hey folks……

If you love knives like I do you just might be interested in this new website – Started approx 2 weeks ago, it showcases on a daily basis (Monday thru Friday) a variety of knives at the best possible prices. Categories such as survival, utility, EDC, fantasy and even swords and axes are represented.

Like most people I am on a budget and as I increase my preparedness supplies to include more items such as knives I try to stretch the almighty dollar as far as I can. 

Check out and if you know of a good deal please pass it on!


The 5 W’s of Emergency Survival

The 5 W’s of  Emergency Survival


by Wyzyrd, Editor-at-Large


As “codified” by “Survivorman” Les Stroud.


These are really all “common sense” things, and not my original ideas, but an experienced close friend came within a couple feet of dying last weekend, and sometimes, we all forget the basics.



1) Water

 If you don’t have a supply with you, and a way to safely obtain more, you might be dead within 3 days.


2) Weather

Is it hot? Is is cold? Is it raining or snowing? The type of shelter you set up is totally dependent on the weather. A woven hammock with a shower curtain over it will probably OK work in Virginia in August. If you do that in Canada in February, the grizzly bears will complain about frozen food.


3) Wood

You will probably need something to build your shelter, and wood (or other burnable material) lets you add additional heat for warmth, cooking or sterilizing water.


4) Wigglies

Are you in copperhead-country? Stay away from rock-piles. Been walking through grass all day? Check for ticks. Avoid red ant colonies and such things. Do you have mosquito netting or repellent? Can you sleep off the ground?  The little ‘creepy-crawlies’ are more likely to hurt you than “lions and tigers and bears”.


5) Widowmakers

Look up before you set up camp. Do you see a big dead branch? Do you see a crumbling rockface? Look around next. Do you see evidence of flash floods? A leaning dead tree? If yes to any of the above, pick a different spot. (refer back to #2 – Weather – rain, wind and snow make these worse.)  My buddy ignored #5 this past weekend and woke up to a 30 foot dead Sycamore tree between his tent and his firepit.


Stay safe.