A guest post by Karen
[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win - First Prize a 10 Person Deluxe Family Survival Kit, Second Prize an Herb Seed Bank or Third Prize a copy of Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat. For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]
A lot is written about the perfect retreat, that lovely cabin surrounded by the forest serenaded by a babbly creek with fresh cool water. A few chickens roam the securely fenced compound and a fence of screen wire keeps them out of the thriving vegetable patch, so verdant that it’s trying to creep underneath the fence.
For how many of us is that actually reality? If you can’t afford that dream, should you give up on prepping? Should all of your resources go towards getting out of the city? Should you give up a good job and relocate, hoping for the best?
Opinions differ, but I say “No.” Bloom where you’re planted is a phrase that I once cross-stitched on a pillow and it’s a phrase that has stuck in my head as I’ve moved around many times in my adult life. I look at that phrase a lot differently now that I’m a prepper, but it still holds true. Wherever you are, whatever your surroundings, you can still be more prepared that 95% of the sheeple around you.
I live in a medium-sized city. I have an apartment in the downtown residential area. While this is not ideal, it allows me to work at a profitable job and I am a quick walk from my office. My 10-year-old daughter is close enough to walk to school and can be home in 15 minutes if need be. It worries me that my 16-year-old attends a magnet school in another city but that is a risk that we have decided is worthwhile, as it will better prepare her for the future. I’m sure you can see the benefits of being very close to home should disaster strike. I’d much rather be able to jog home, abandoning my car and avoiding the snarl of traffic.
My second floor apartment is ideal for security purposes. There is only one entry on the main floor and that is a door that I have fortified to withstand all but the most determined invader. There are no ground floor windows to climb through, no glass to break – only one way to get in.
Getting out is a lot easier, because each bedroom and the kitchen are equipped with fire escape ladders – one way in, multiple ways out. We only have the stairway to defend if someone was to get in our house and we would have the advantage of being ready at the top of the stairs.
There are some lovely decorative items in the upstairs foyer that would greatly impede the ascent of someone determined to cause trouble. And don’t forget our large protective dog – she is very menacing in appearance and will be an excellent deterrent.
We have many preps set up for our apartment and have covered as many bases as possible. We have a month’s worth of drinking water stored in our attic in case the water was not working. I also have pool shock to purify water if need be. We have a small propane heater that does not have to be vented to the outside and a fire pit in the back yard for cooking. Another cooking option is a tiny little butane powered stove that can be used indoors.
Our pantry is stocked with enough food to last our family for three months without any additional trips to the store. We will NOT be the people out in the melee with the looters. We are also well stocked with candles, propane, crank flashlights and batteries.
In each room I have cut and duct taped heavy black plastic garbage bags to completely cover the windows, allowing no light whatsoever to be seen from the outside. Two people can quickly and easily run duct tape all the way around the perimeter of the window molding and it will look like the lights are out and nobody is home.
A curtain rod hangs at the ready to insulate the kitchen and living room from the rest of the house. I’ve sewn a rod pocket in the back of a heavy quilt so that in the event of a power outage we will only be heating those two rooms.
I have a well stocked medicine cabinet with 2 additional months of regular medications. The cabinet also contains 3 months of multivitamins for all of us, as well as analgesics, cold medicine and some veterinary antibiotics. In addition, I have a huge variety of herbal teas and dried herbs to help with whatever malady may occur.
If the SHTF in a more permanent way, heaven forbid, we have a small but productive garden in our fenced back yard. I am growing some sprouts in a sunny kitchen window and another window is host to fresh herbs. We have a rain barrel to harvest water from the roof and often take long walks with a field guide to help us learn to identify the edible plants in our area.
Is our situation ideal? Maybe not, but it’s the situation the good Lord has given us. We can either bury our heads in the sand or choose to make the best of it. We have chosen to bloom where we are planted and live happily and securely, knowing we are ready for whatever may come.