Rural bugout farm questionsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The following was a series of questions asked late in the above thread. While they were written to Mr. Walker, they pertain to any of us who are rural, who are planning to join a farm, who are planning to form a commune, etc. I've been told that Intentional Communities have a good governing template, which I have yet to see. Based upon research done when I thought I would be moving to a commune in Arkansas last year, I have serious doubts on community longevity and cohesiveness come y2k; the normal, best of times, failure rate is very high. Since I am in the rural "farm" situation I have vested interest in the following questions, yet have very few answers.
Harold Walker brings in some new thoughts. A few questions arise. Since the working farm you describe, while defenseable, still has a lot of infrastructure to protect, it would seem that during the initial phases of y2k you might have problems. Civil Disorder is usually the top concern on the list, but in my list Civil Disorder ranks further down. (because of my physical location)
Having been ranch and farm raised I know of the physical labor involved and yes, ideally it takes more than just family members, especially in a y2k situation where there will be a lot of untrained labor with everyone under considerable stress. Have you given thought to productivity ramp-up curves over time, and to injury ramp-down curves over time? If you have a farm large enough to warrent the additional labor then, you must need it now, I assume, or are you planning on expanding? Could you describe your program of recruiting for your small village/hamlet? Would you please describe your ideas on training non-farm folk to be productive farm workers? Do you have a program in place for the acquisition of boots and clothing appropriate to farm labor, or do you expect those who join to already have this gear? Do you expect most of those who will be living at your village to join prior to y2k, during the 3-6 month chaos period, or later than that - and does your minimum timeframe of two years hold for each of those periods? During turbulent times how are you going to keep people from just walking away? What are you going to do about slackers? The "shell shocked"?
On the top of my y2k concerns list are Famine and Plague. If you have enough food stashed you can avoid famine. Do you have an optimum number of people you are planning for? How does this affect the farm's stashed food and fuel supply? Avoiding famine, as long as you have sanitary hygene and water, helps you avoid the plague. But plagues come from diverse vectors. Perimeter patrol might keep out predators, but it will not probably be able to keep out many of the epidemic diseases. What are your preparations to deal with the probability of in-village plague illnesses and deaths? Will you tell us about your quarantine set-up? Are you planning to have any sort of "hospital" facilities? Are you recruiting EMT or medical practicioners or dentists (I know a good vet can deal with some of the human traumas)? Would you talk a bit about the prep involved in dealing with bereaving family members and burial, and assurance the victim isn't being buried alive? Are you going to have anyone on site who knows enough about infectious diseases to be able to guide people as to whether or not the ill or dead are contagious and the vector of contagion?
What is your plan for dealing with people who make it to your farm who are two or more weeks into famine? Most likely they are not going to be able to work for a period for their food. Most likely some will be plague carriers or ill. Have you given thought, and could you share with us, a humane method of dealing with and assessing incoming famine and plague victims, without unnecessary exposure to your perimeter patrol to plague?
Civil Unrest and Preditors. I am assuming civil unrest to begin ramping up later this year. I am assuming that that ramp up will be pale in comparison to the probable magnitude of the civil unrest outbreak between the New Year and April 1st. Have you created defensive positions to guard roads and paths? Do you plan on blocking roads? Do you plan to have patrols? Are you assuring that your patrol members have necessary weapon training for effectiveness? If you plan on taking on people during this chaotic timeframe what are your thoughts on a workable ratio of longtime members to newbies in order that your skilled people do not become too diluted? How are you planning to deal with non-violent predators, ie. those who want a handout, but who do not want to work, and, who will not just "go away" when told. How do you plan to deal with violent preditors? Are you planning to, or do you have current outreach into your local EMTs, police, HP, or Fire Departments? Are you planning to use radios for communication? Will the perimeter patrol have motor vehicles? Many are predicting a relatively rapid die-off with the survivors forming bands beginning sometime post heavy chaos. Have you a plan on dealing with survival bands and if so, how many years out are you planning for the need of patrols?
How many years are you planning for in terms of fuel, supplies, food, medical supplies, ammo. Are you getting, or have you the gear necessary to farm "by hand"? What are your cooking methods, and are they sustainable for the long run in feeding the numbers which you see probable as your village population? Have you arranged for back-ups if a major infrastructure piece breaks down, decays, or is destroyed?
Social & Psychological Problems within the Village. How are you planning to deal with scared people, angry people, people in deep shock, people who are coming down from the variety of Dr. prescription drugs? How are you planning to deal with a husband who just lost his wife to birthing problems? What support are you considering for the family survivors when a death occurs with a loved one? What thoughts have you on dealing with angry, possibly deadly, mates when external-to-marriage hanky panky happens? How are you planning to deal with bunking of the different sexes? Teen agers? How are you going to deal with couples who fall in love and wish to be married. How are you going to deal with homosexual matings of either sex - long term established upon arrival, later when homosexual relations, casual or not, arise between adults, and finally if there are children who are homosexual in orientation and manifest this during their teen and early adult years, perhaps after growing up on the farm, or newly arrived as refugee? How are you going to deal with couples of mixed race? Will you allow people of another race besides yours to join your farm? What will be your policy about religion? What will be your policy on alcohol and marijuana use? How are you going to deal with the need for quality individual "alone time" and "spiritual needs"? How will you deal with the need for couples to have quality "alone time"? Are you planning backup training against sooner or later losing key people, & in the process, experiencing group knowledgebase & experience erosion?
Social Organization. Do you have an organization in mind which will provide structure for interpersonal interactions involving the group as a whole, ie. a type of government? If you are the landowner, what will be your reaction to a group decision that runs counter to your wants and desires? If you will not let this happen, what do you suppose are the maximum number of people you will be able to keep on farm and still have all under your control? What thoughts about, or prep have you in place to school the youngsters?
-- Mitchell Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999
On second thought I am going to be a hermit.
I remember someone on a forum about a year ago who said he was rich and was going to be a feudal lord. He was looking for serfs.
Have sharecroppers (furnish them seed and a couple of acres for one-half) and you also own the company store. Don't sell your soul to the company store.
Have a co-op and lots of rules. Lots of committees and lots of meetings.
Read The Prince by Machiavelli
-- x (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
Its your place. You paid for it and took all the risks. Don't give anything up to a communal situation. Get together some trusted friends and/or relatives. You are the BOSS. If they want to eat and be housed and enjoy your efforts and company, then they work. Our neighbors figure their kids and grandkids are all going to end up with them. They are preparing for the whole bunch. But are alreadly laying out the rules such as everyone works, brings all their food, clothes and soap and anything they can carry that will be NEEDED. First item on the list is bring a sharp hoe!! The men will farm and the women will wash clothes in the lake, cook, garden, can, make bread, etc. No worky....no eaty!
-- Taz (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999.
I have just finished an incredible novel (actually a survival manual disguised as a novel), "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" by Rawles, pub 1999. It's available at amazon.com, $16. The author is a real-life long-time "survivalist" who writes about a CHRISTIAN group that bands together to survive the collapse of society. 350+ pgs of very interesting and informative info, plus a great story with lots of action to boot.
The "novel" addresses several of your points, about how to organize, the chain of command, training, what to do when strangers arrive, etc. I'm halfway through my second reading, taking notes and underlining as I go - I plan to apply many of his implied survival "suggestions" to my own Y2K preprations.
-- William (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
William, I read "Triple Ought", d/l'd in late Aug 97. Your outline of "Patriots:" would hold for "T0". I had read that "T0", after some updating and shift of focus to y2k, was going to be released, under a new name, in book form and as a screenplay too.
It was my first foray into that genre. He skillfully interweaves the action story with survival manual stuff.
At this time, if we do not already have in place fairly deep and comprehensive personnel committments, infrastructure investments, stocking, physical site preparation, & at least the beginning of an ironed out contingency plan, we will not be able to begin to match Rawle's descriptions of the myriad details and the amount of time it takes to build a compound able to withstand armored assault. We can do what we can do using Rawles as an example of well thought out bug out. But it is a book, it isn't real, nor are the characters.
You, me, and everyone else are who is real. I don't, & I bet, most of us don't have a chance of setting up our place in such a comprehensive fashion as allowed Rawles' characters to illustrate Rawles' idea of comprehensive well planned gettaways. Very few of us will have been part of a group in an ongoing multi year paramilitary training, so necessary for some of the more flashy plot elements, when in fact, many of us are just buying our first guns.
Triple Ought doesn't answer most of the questions I'm thinking are most important these days. T0 addresses hardware, logistics, basic organization to good effect. The characters have sympathy, but he wrote them in an idealized fashion, resulting in characters interacting predictably, sorta like watching Lawrence Welk.
How does one get rid of, without injury, a person pest who won't really leave your farm area, just hanging around and coming back? This pest might have no weapons, really wants to beg a while, but this person keeps your dogs and geese in uproar, and worse, they are beginning to become desensitized to the pest's arrival.
Easily, we probabily will have 3 extras here at y2k, but by one year from now, possibly 12. Going to be a lot of psychological stress in everyone, and everyone's normal stress reduction routine will be itself highly stressed.
Up to y2k there should be the usual utility services. At y2k outages will range from 0% to 100%, with the areas of outage shifting over time, with the overall direction in course of events becomming apparent as time elapses into weeks, months, or longer. If the direction of outages points to utility stabilization the psychological impact will be considerably different than if it became apparent that utilities were in an ongoing state of increasing destabilization. The first brings, at least, relief, and perhaps, euphoria. The second brings what?
I can't see what my reaction will be, let alone anyone else's.
Devastated. Feeling as if I've been physically assaulted. Hopeless. Numb. These come to mind as possibilities. God willing, I will be in a physically similar state of prep as now, and that will help ground my overwhelm, as with all of us here on the farm, yet I still can't say for sure my reaction. How is that impact of realization that, "yep, looks like we've lost electricity and it ain't gonna be back up this time" going to affect those who didn't prepare?
So I'm looking at being part of 4 to 12 person group and the lightbulb going out in each of our heads will probably not happen at the same time. I'm assuming that the epiphany will happen in differnt ways to each of us. I'm assuming reaction ranging from catatonia to violence or hyperactivity, from anger to depression, perhaps even nothing. I'm assuming at least one will succeed at suicide. Drug use and withdrawl will probably create spot crises. Pay attention to the Dr. prescribed meds with _all_ elderly visiting relatives and with any of the new "serfs" (thank you so much for that one, x!) - paying attention especially to those you know are taking the tricyclic antidepressants, mood alterators, hypnotics, sleeping pills, uppers, or have a known alcohol problem.
Impact of this stress factor to the group. Will vary depending on the impact cluster density. If everyone has it within a 48hr period then I'll bet there will be chores that don't get done for the animals for at least that 48 hour period. If it is spaced out over many days or weeks then the primary impact will remain more personal, the peak stress factor becoming the suicide. I can see that the time frame, full electricity to our personal decision that it is gone for good, length could influence the impact. If electricity were to just fade away in a day or two weeks, that is a quite chaotic scenario, full of very high stress. If electricity were to fade away completely in Aug, the impact would most likely be of a lesser degree.
It would seem that the most cautious contingency plan for this epiphany timeframe would be to discuss with the "serfs" the freakout ahead and someone will be the first one and we will rally round the first and subsequent impacts learning more each time. Daily prayer, meditation - fine, but there should be at least one gathering a day, preferably at each meal of a meditation and group prayer. In high stress situations humans act more reliably and clear in a structure. The structures can range from meditation to chore times to shared meals to recreation times to group bullshit times to group governing matters, and it will be these structures each of us forge in time with our fellows that will be of great import during high stress. Making sure that each person has a good feeling of being in control of their own life and that they are contributing to the group effort will be important to watch for. Structures and personal control create a sense of being effective, all contributing to personal resilance, psychological and physical.
Given the group I think might assemble here by next year I doubt there will be problems with homosexuals or people of race. In the wider redneck-ish community, probably no problem with homosexuals, but there might be racial problems, especially with the Hmong and Vietnamese. Fortunately with this group we won't have that problem. Am not sure what the local Indian tribe people will do toward whites, however since this is a fairly well integrated community and there are presently very few problems, I will assume that will be how it continues till I'm shown different.
Initially, coping between y2k and the "is it/isn't it?" realization will occupy a lot of time. Learning how to use some of the new y2k gear will take some tome time. New cooking ideas and habits and such. During the first 3 months the days will be short up north. Depending up electrical availability or reliability or your rotation block there will be times when many of us will either be in the dark or cold, or using lanterns with a firestove - some of us might even have electricity. But it is the dark time of year and it will probably be depressing. I assume that if juice is out more often than not that people, after learning the lantern tricks and how to cook eatable food, will be in low level depression and many will have to be motivated to get up and move around. I'm hoping, but don't know, that animal chores will help during that time. I'm hoping that the structures outlined above will help.
I'm seeing that there are some infrastructures and supplies, the loss of which, are very difficult to contingency plan for.
Pumps, windmills, solar panel setups, woodstoves, generators are all higher ticket items with little or no means to fully back their loss, the best one can do is to stock obviously needed parts.
Fuel is a problem. Diesel and kerosene are cheapest, via delivery, and easiest to store long term in larger tanks. However this creates a situation where all eggs are in one basket. It becomes a gamble on you calling the right shots as to tank vulnerability assessment against cost of multiple drums stashed in more than one locale. Do you stash part in tanks, the rest in a single stash of 55 gal drums or separate the 55 gal drums? Do you store the diesel and kerosene in the same stash areas or should they be separated? What do you do if all your stash areas are vulnerable to fire, and the ground is not ameniable to burying 55 gal drums? Would it be best to harden the fuel tank site?
Difficult to CP for are the loss of animals. A draft animal, perhaps a mule's or donkey's loss could be felt for several years. Disease in a pigeon flock, chickens, geese, or turkeys can pretty much wipe out your egg, meat, and feather source. A dog(s) can easily wipe out a whole flock in the course of one killing spree.
There is no contingency fall back when the chainsaw bites the dust that will give an individual power rivaling that of the chainsaw. When the diesel is gone, its gone, same with gasoline, same with propane. However since alcohol is easy to make we should still have light when the kerosene is last used up.
People, with their knowledge, wisdom, knowhow, and warmth - what contingency plan for their loss will really work?
Sorry, I've rambled.
-- Mitchell Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 12, 1999.
Mitchell: You raise some important questions if one is to go down that avenue. But most of the people I know plan to be on their own with only close family with them. I would feel more comfortable with my close family than with strangers that I don't know anything about. I don't know of anyone who wants the headache of dealing with communal or community-type living as you describe. You would almost have to place an ad in a newspaper or magazine soliciting your community and then screen and interview all applicants. It's too late for that to happen, and even harder now because no one knows how severe Y2K will be. In your scenario-type situation, you probably would have to be looking for individuals who are free-thinkers, educated in agricultural, animal husbandry, medicine, botanists, dentists, chemists, lawyer, minister, fire arm experts, hunters, etc. Then you would have to make sure that their personality, interests, philosophy, is in tune with everyone else in the group. Since you're the land owner and someone goes against your desires, you certainly aren't going to be the one to leave your property. So how will you deal with that? As far as how long you and a group of people will survive depends on several factors. How well does the community work together? What are your daily goals? What is the general moral philosphy of the group? What is the expectations of each group member? Everyone is an individual and as complex as we all are, will be difficult to find the right combination of community members. Knowing the type of people within our "foothill" community, I would say the chances of it ever coming together is next to nil. Being a landowner, I don't want the burden of being responsible for someone else nor do I want to deal with all the complex personalities and emotional problems of others. It's going to be hard enough just trying to stay alive and watch your back.
-- bardou (email@example.com), March 12, 1999.
Lived this way for 20+ years and it was great until one member got greedy. Ours was a family (and extended family group) which at one time consisted of four generations. We purchased our place and had it almost free and clear when one member decided she wanted to "live like the rest of the world" and made demand that property be sold. When that demand was not met she became angry and refused to sell her share to the others. She sued for a partition of property and reported to the county some building without permit. (Some of which she herself did and some done by deceased parent). It was a nightmare! It still is! Between hiring land planners, paying Attorneys fees and dealing with a county that is relentless in their search for a way to charge us for everything possible and their demands for changes to our basic property, we were left having to declare bankruptsy. She eventually agreed to sell her share and that caused a new mortgage on our almost free and clear 8 acres, beautiful and sustaining property. Our family ties were literally destroyed and split into "sides". Children were hurt by the destructive and never ending tension on the property. What once was beautiful became ugly. I wrote journal after journal (mostly to relieve my own frustration but also to document each happening). It has been seven years and the county is still working to keep their control over us. Would I do it again? Would I invest my time, money and effort into making a community? My answer is YES. But,... I would not take all of my time, all of my money and put all of my effort into it. I would take time for myself, save a portion of my money and put effort into the project and expect others to do the same. I would not sit back and let others do things not allowed by our county ordinances and I would certainly have a carefully (legal) document drawn up to protect myself from the problem that developed because of not being prepared for a change of lifestyle desires of one person. I would be more watchful and a little less trusting. It is amazing what one person can do and what one person can cause to happen. 20+ years of living in an almost perfect environment and with caring family was great....a joy! I would recommend community living ....but do it with caution and don't let yourself become so involved in doing it that you forget to protect yourself from financial and emotional damage. Volumes of journals tell our story and some have said it should become a book. Good times, sad times and those really bad times have left me with many memories and now that I am a "senior citizen", I have lots of time to reflect on them all. I just wish the county would stop causing the monthly stress......it is without mercy. Oh well, enough of my story. It's time to check the new baby chicks and plan y2k garden. If you decide to go "community" good luck! If you want any ideas about how and what to protect yourself from, feel free to e-mail.
-- Wiser now (Dotatrock@webtv.net), March 13, 1999.
Wiser now - Your tale highlights both the good and bad of a small community. I doubt that most of us would even be able to find enough compatible people between now and y2k in order to for a real commune type community.
bardou - I think you miss my point. I'm not setting up a commune. I coming to grips with planning for just the small number of relatives and hangers on who may be here by next year this time. I trying to come to grips with planning for "others" who happen to walk up the road and need assistance - it won't necessarily be just family members by the fall of 2000. I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that, in the advent of failure of electricity, there will probably be sufficient depression to severely enturbulate or possibly harm a small family unit such as you plan for. These questions I'm asking are all directed toward Mr. Walker, since he indicated he had give one hell of a lot of thought toward rural farm survival - as yet we haven't heard from him.
-- Mitchell Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 13, 1999.
All you people are just pissing in the wind. Ain't no place on earth your going to live free and be free. There will always be someone lurking to take advantage of you, you all will soon be living like scared cats on the roam looking for a safe den.
-- JPParks (JPParks@jps.net), March 13, 1999.
Mitchell Barnes posts, "Given the group I think might assemble here by next year I doubt there will be problems with homosexuals or people of race. In the wider redneck-ish community, probably no problem with homosexuals, but there might be racial problems, especially with the Hmong and Vietnamese. Fortunately with this group we won't have that problem. Am not sure what the local Indian tribe people will do toward whites, however since this is a fairly well integrated community and there are presently very few problems, I will assume that will be how it continues till I'm shown different."
-- Seen Deliverance? (BubbaJoe@PeePump.com), March 13, 1999.
There's plenty of Deliverance-type people around, why do you think they hide in them thar hills? No place is free from predators, and there's plenty of hard core survivalist people around that will take advantage of any situation. Survivalists only care how their going to survive and not how someone lives their life. There's a big difference, just don't turn your back on one.
-- JPParks (JPParks@jps.net), March 13, 1999.