Country Living Series

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The "secret handshake" of Preppers

Don had an interesting experience the other day when he went to buy hay.

The farmer from whom he bought the hay lived waaaay out there (at a location which shall remain undisclosed). This guy was a REAL farmer. Like most real farmers, his house was modest but it was surrounded by silos and giant barns.

Don drove up and met the farmer (I'll call him George) who introduced himself then said, “Great, follow me.”

George jumped in his truck, and Don followed with his truck and trailer. They went about a quarter-mile back to the dirt road and turned onto a beautifully-maintained gravel road, which they traveled for about 1.5 miles. Keep in mind this was a private road. In fact, the road –- all of it –- as well as the land it went through -- belonged to the farmer. I’ll leave you to guess how many thousands of acres that represents.

They dropped down into a swale full of trees, past ponds, up a hill, and approached two barns the size of aircraft hangers. Don said a Boeing 747 could have fit into either barn. The buildings were jammed full of equipment and vehicles, and waaaaay in the back was a teeny tiny pile of hay.

In fact the pile was huge, but it looked small because (a) it was so far away across the width of the building; and (b) it was dwarfed by the sheer size of the inside space.

George soon had two 700-lb. bales of hay loaded onto the trailer. Don paid him and George said he’s have lots more hay if we needed it next fall.

Don commented that we didn’t own anything near as nice as George’s spread. Don told him, “We have twenty acres and we sometimes hay an absentee owner’s 40 acres as well. We have about twelve head of cattle.”

George said, “It’s good to have livestock. You never know what’s coming up.”

Don replied, “Yeah, you never know what’s coming up.”

Don told me later that immediately -- immediately -– he knew George was a Prepper. Don said George’s words were spoken in such a way that Don knew -– and George knew -– where each man stood in that regard. It was almost like the cliché coded language you hear in old detective movie spoofs: “The RAIN appears to be BLUE.” Code reply: “But the TULIPS are growing WELL.” Their short conversation was like the “secret handshake” of Preppers.

Had Don not said something about the uncertainty of the future, their exchange would have ended right there and nothing more would have been hinted at.

But the conversation concluded when Don gave the final verbal “secret statement” of the exchange: “But you know it isn’t gonna be good.”

The farmer replied, “Yeah, it’s good that people are out there getting prepared.”

End of conversation.

We’ll be seeing George a few more times as we pick up the rest of the hay we paid for. I’ll tag along on the next excursion because I’m curious to meet him and see his farm for myself. No photos, though. We owe George that much OpSec.


  1. I'm always reassured by examples like this one.

    I feel like our dog-eater-in-chief has only begun to try and have his way with our beloved republic.

    It will be God and Americans like George and Don (and us)who will bring us through it.

    You know...all them redundant fellers.


  2. It surprises me but I have had the same encounters where I am as well. I even ran into a Sheriff of a county who is a prepper. I would say that 1 out of 6 people that I have run into prep in some way or another.

  3. Yes, sometimes people around here will comment on Katrina or huricanes in general, but you know what they mean.

  4. Operational security (OPSEC) is a huge challenge for Preppers. You need to establish compatibility of mindset and preparedness without revealing any information that might put your plans at risk. Fellow Preppers share the same Catch 22.

    I was never successful finding Preppers back East. Granted there are pockets of Preppers there, but most are just a tank full of gas from major metropolitan areas. This challenge became infinitely easier when I moved to the American Redoubt. Here I found wonderful group of Christian Patriots. Virtually everyone ‘got it’ (politically and religiously). Prepping was just one of their common life choices (self-sufficiency, homeschooling, reverence to God, fellowship etc.). Much the same can be said of the general population. God still rules our valleys. Suddenly I found myself having conversations with strangers that would have brought the ‘deer in the headlights’ look back East. Within one year I was invited to join a group of church member who were planning to build a retreat. OPSEC is still a high priority but it takes on a whole new meaning when it becomes a group task, not falling wholly on one family’s shoulders.
    Montana Guy

  5. I was once asked if I was a friend of James Wesley. Clearly a reference to James Wesley Rawles, the editor of the Survival Blog. I felt like I should reply with "Your father has a long mustache." LOL, It puts a new facet to the idea of prepping.

  6. Yep... I usually throw a "You never know what the future holds" out there every now and then and frequently my bait is picked up.

  7. actually, i am finding a few of those "secret pals" myself in recent months...sure makes me feel a whole lot better knowing that they (preppers of like mind) are indeed out there and nearby too.

  8. Makes me simultaneously happy that these sorts of things happy, and even more scared and sad that I have almost a 0% of it ever happening to me down here in Austin.

  9. Just know you folks are in someones prayers. God bless you and yours. Always remember your never truly alone!

  10. a friend shared this site today and it brought the fresh air I needed to remain sane in an insane world.
    stuck in the d e e p- s o u t h for 4 more years I was about to go crazy for a "fellow prepper" to talk to and yet to find one.

    I lived in the "west" for 12 years among wonderful people before we returned "back east"
    Sooooo Goood to know it is not a lost nation going into the pit for many of the folks I have missed are doing the right things,Thank God.

    1. I know exactly how you feel. What is it about the south? We have found not one other person that shares our concern for the future enough to be actively prepping. There is no support network in our state at all or it so well hidden we can't find it.
      There are also no dedicated sources of supplies, so every thing must be ordered from out west. Wish I could say we were headed back out to the Rocky Mtns. where we lived 14 yrs, but health no longer permits us to live with the altitude.

    2. I just found this site and there are preppers in the South. I have a family member who has prepped for years right in from of me and I just thought they had a lot of stuff. I have been a secret prepper for several months. At first my husband didn't even notice...I will never go "public." I have to care for my family and I have people who would only laugh and make fun of me... until they wanted my food. My husband finally figured it out, and althought he doesn't prep himself, he supports me.

  11. Your Sister in ChristMay 3, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    You know, I have been reading you for about five years. It has just recently occured to me though, the evangelisim of prepping has way taken over the evangelisim of the Gospel.

    People, many who are Christians, are bold about prepping but will not use the same energy and zeal for spreading the Gospel.
    I caught myself doing it just recently. I wanted to do the secret handshake, to help others prep. And I realized something astounding, I was willing to do it for prepping but not for Christ?

    This world is fleeting, some of us will be called to be persecuted and to lay down our lives, flee what we have and give unto death....but our hope is in the eternal.
    So why do we waste time on telling people about this rather then the Gospel, the ultimate prep? Shouldn't that come a far second?

    Also, I have noticed, some of the tone of preppers and commenters on their blogs is getting really nasty. Here too, like on your frugality challenge post. And I am someone who grew up very poor and, to be sure, I can squeeze blood from a penny with the best of them. That I don't have to now, or that it looks like I don't is no one else's business. And I would be a fool to make it theirs.

    I am not callled to live as others do, I am called to live the way God has called me to. What that looks like to other people, I could care less. Just like you and your commenters would not like me making judgements about you, yet it is being done here on people based on where they live or how it is perceived they live.

    With a gleeful arrogance about how they will never make it when the stuff hits the fan like you all will. Really, is that how we are called to live and act as Christians? Since when did prepping overtake that? When did politics overtake that?

    Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world and to be about His Father's business. Everything else is just window dressing.

    As a fellow Christian, I find it horrifying the attitude some people have. It is fine to prepare, but to do so with arrogance, to do so while wishing for others to get theirs or to snip at others style of living is a disservice to anyone who calls themselves a Christian.

    I hope you take this in the manner it was written. By someone who considers herself your Sister in Christ and has just recently realised that I was doing this myself.