Country Living Series

Monday, March 12, 2012

A journey, not a destination

One of the major misconceptions about Preppers (besides how kooky we are) is that prepping is something you can do, then at some future point sit back, fold your hands, and say “There! I’m done.”

You are never done with Prepping. It is not a destination, it is a journey.

Becoming a Prepper literally changes your life, and in ways that range from good to wondrous. I honestly can think of no down side to Prepping. But one thing you’ll quickly realize is how it can take over your thinking, affect your decisions, and impact your future. As I said, I believe these are good things.

No longer will you look at your retirement savings and assume with smug superiority that you’re set. Instead, you’ll consider the likelihood of an economic crash or hyperinflation or currency devaluation (all aspects of the same thing) and realize that perhaps money sitting in a mutual fund may not be the safest place to park your savings. You’ll then diversify your portfolio in sensible ways that puts cold hard assets in your hands, not in some distant bank or Wall Street brokerage house.


No longer will you presume the grocery stores will never run out of food, the gas stations will never run of gas, and your employer will never run out of money to keep you employed. While non-preppers argue such thoughts are frightening and counterproductive, I would argue that such thoughts are realistic and we’d all better start thinking of alternatives. When we begin implementing those alternatives, our concerns ease up and we feel more secure.

See? Good. Wondrous.

This journey – prepping – becomes a way of life. You’ll think in terms of cleaning out the cluttered closet and donating unused and unneeded items – and filling that space with buckets of beans and rice instead. You’ll discover all the places in town where bulk foods are cheapest. You’ll learn new and creative do-it-yourself skills such as canning, sewing, and carpentry. Your mind will expand with all the wonderful wisdom you can acquire along with supplies.


That’s why I always chuckle when non-preppers assume Preppers are a gloomy lot, perpetually obsessed with the end of the world as we know it. (Okay, some probably are. We’re not.) Yes, most Preppers are keenly familiar with non-mainstream-media news sources which often emphasize a dark future… but the trouble is, the darkness is there. We know it’s coming. We've just chosen to face it head-on, rather than denying anything could ever happen to us or to our economy. Therefore we will calm our concerns by stuffing our larders with supplies and our brains with knowledge. It’s a lot of fun, really.

Our journey toward prepping has led to some amazing discoveries. I can now grow, harvest, thresh, and grind wheat. (Last year we purchased some extra scythes from a local antique dealer to harvest wheat. He was honestly astonished that these valuable tools would not be decoratively hung on the wall, but instead would be put to good use harvesting our wheat field.) Of course such knowledge may never be critically necessary – perhaps Wonder Bread will be available in perpetuity – but the fact remains, it’s nice to possess some specialized knowledge that most other Americans lack.

But my journey is by no means over. I still would like to learn soap making, candle making, and try my hand at preserving ice blocks through the summer by packing them in sawdust.


See? It’s a journey. There are endless things to learn out there, and prepping gives us a good excuse to learn them.

16 comments:

  1. When you are ready to learn how to make soap, let me know. judyozmer@yahoo.com Been doing it for 2 years now and I make a pretty good bar if I do say so. It is a whole new way to mess up your kitchen! LOL
    Judy in Idaho

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    1. I've made soap once, under the guidance of my friend Enola Gay, but have been too intimidated to try it on my own. Just gotta muster up the time and courage, I guess. Thank you for the offer!

      - Patrice

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  2. Being newby preppers changed our lives. We are constantly learning as we go. I have also found that we are saving more money prepping. We enjoy this life style, it's more relaxing and we don't feel rushed as in the commercial world. I'm like you,it's a journey that never ends and the learning process is always there. I would love to learn to make soap too. Have a great day!
    Sandy, Oklahomatransient.blogspot.com

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  3. Hi Patrice. I live up here in North Idaho, too, by the lake in CdA. You'll never believe how I got your website: it was sent to me by my sister in Tasmania! She was searching for ways to do things and came up with you, so she forwarded it to me. She's pretty much "prepping" in Tasmania like we all are. I, too, am prepping. When I talk to people about this stuff, they think I'm crazy. I would love to talk with you some more. Trust me, I'm a normal person, but I DO listen to Peter Schiff, Jim Puplava (FinancialSense.com) as well as Rush and Glenn. I pretty much know the storm is coming! - Billie

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    1. Funny how small a world it is!

      - Patrice

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  4. It truly is a journey - love this post!! I have made soap for years but this summer my goal is to try my hand at the next step - making my own lye :-)

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  5. "Of course such knowledge may never be critically necessary – perhaps Wonder Bread will be available in perpetuity – but the fact remains, it’s nice to possess some specialized knowledge that most other Americans lack."

    I grew up in a location that was sometimes down-wind from a large Wonder Bread bakery. When the wind was blowing the right way it smelled great. That said it would take an emergency to get me to eat white bread. Good whole wheat tastes so much better :>)

    In terms of specialized knowledge, absolutely. That is what will make you valuable both to others and to yourself, in both ordinary times and more so in times of emergency.

    "I still would like to learn soap making, candle making"

    Candle making is easy. Back in the early 1970's I learned to do it, and while I have not made them since, think I could still do it if I needed to. Tapers can be made by dipping, and for large long burning candles try using cardboard milk cartons as molds. For color try melting crayons into your wax. For fancy large candles make up different colors of wax, and form sheets of each color. Those sheets can be used in many ways. Roll them up to make candle "logs", with or without "bark" made from whipped brown wax spread on the outside like frosting. Cut or break up colored wax sheets and put the pieces in a milk carton mold. Pour clear wax over the colored pieces. Depending on the temperature of the wax pieces and the clear wax you pour over them, they may partly melt into the clear wax. One of my best candles wound up looking like a block of marble. Think my wife still has that one :>)

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  6. I've experienced the wonder of no bread on the shelves, no eggs, no milk, and it only took a day without a delivery to the grocery store, due to bad weather. I only saw those things though, because I went to check out the bare shelves everyone was talking about. I buy my eggs, 6 dozen at a time, so we were set, and my families bread is most often scratch, and back up milk is in the freezer (not anyones favorite, but it makes hot chocolate!).
    I bought my heat lamp, waterer, feed tray and chick starter yesterday. Tomorrow the first 6 of 12 girls come home. I have to order the others if I stick to my plan. Reading about other varieties of chickens today. At some point, we'll get the chicken tractor built, but for now the ladies are going in my tack room, from which they will graduate to the stall.
    I feel like running, but we're "walking" toward our preparedness lifestyle. Homeschooling began three years ago. I'm gaining proficiency with my dehydrator and have canned in the past. Like you, I have soap and candles on my list of skills to master. The wax is so expensive, even from local beekeepers (as they have big markets for it). We burn pine, so I can't use the ash for soap, but we are gathering some hardwood as a first step. I have the fat all ready, and the milk cartons.
    Thanks, Patrice for all your inspiration.
    sidetracksusie

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    1. Sounds to me like you've made a LOT of progress!

      - Patrice

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  7. I watched an episode of preppers on TV, it was amazing how something that used to be common sence, and that most everyone did but didn't give much thought to ,is now looked at like something extreme and foreign. My grandparents and to a lesser degree my parents shelves in the basement where stocked and full so are mine , they were average everyday folks and I seem to be an extremist or something. Bet no one is teaching the story of the grasshopper and the ants anymore either . Karen

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  8. the preppers life truly is a journey that neverends...there is always something more to think about, learn and do...i have been prepping most of my life or at least as far back as my memory takes me...it is a lifestyle that i am well suited to. and i can do most things on my own and on rare occasion with a little help. what i like about my preppers life is the peace, organization, and simplicity of it.

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  9. I smiled at the antique dealer's reaction to your scythe purchase. It reminds me of an Amish auction we attended, where my husband bought a very nice pitchfork. As the auctioneer handed it to my Docker-dressed husband, he said, "Well, there's one pitchfork that won't see much use." Chuckling from the Amish men...and from my husband, years later, when he finally broke the thing while moving compost! (It had been welded once and wasn't repairable any more.)

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  10. We so enjoy your blog, Patrice, and your WND articles. We, too, want to try our hand at soapmaking this summer. We purchased the Homestead Blessings DVD's on Soapmaking and Candlemaking and they are wonderful. The ladies are so entertaining and they keep things simply. What a blessing!

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  11. I've been following your blog since last summer when I first saw ads for Simplicity Primer on WND. I have truly enjoyed reading your posts; they make me feel like I'm having a conversation (if one-sided) with a wise old friend. I want to thank you in particular for this post. I've been prepping since I read One Second After in 2010 (scared me out of my wits). I read Survivalblog daily, and those articles can be HEAVY. Attempting to prepare for a catastrophe on the scale of an EMP or even economic collapse can be breathtakingly overwhelming. But then I read your posts that are so refreshingly humorous and light-hearted that they temper the fear some of these other articles can induce. Thank you for sharing your well-balanced perspective.

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    1. Aww thanks, Anon 10:30. Is it an appropriate time to admit this is an excerpt from my upcoming book?

      - Patrice

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    2. Well, if this excerpt is any indication of the quality of the rest of your book, your readers are in for a treat. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

      -JoAnne in the Midwest

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