Survival strategies for middle-aged & single preppers

by M.D. Creekmore on December 20, 2013 · 49 comments

This is a guest post by Dare T and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

First of all, not every survival scenario is going to fit everyone’s needs. There is no “one size fits all” strategy. Much depends on your age, if you are raising a family, your occupation, where you work and your income. Being single means I don’t have immediate help as I grow older; no second income, no helpmate, no children. All of my siblings and close relatives live 1800+ miles away. Although I have long since settled my heart on the fact that the Lord called me to be single, it seems to me that you married preppers have it a little easier.

Being a single middle-aged gal, my needs are different from other preppers. I have been avidly preparing since 2007, but I have always been fascinated by stories my family elders told about how they lived and made do during the Great Depression. Both my Father’s and Mother’s parents were hard-working frugal folks who recycled and re-purposed everything, grew survival gardens and kept a cow (for daily milk), chickens (for eggs and the occasional meat) and would raise at least one pig a year for the ham.

I have incorporated much of the frugality of my elders, and adapted it to my urban surroundings for most of my life. I was never a fashion-plate and did most of my shopping at resale stores. I’m not into jewelry, or fancy purses or perfumes. I like plain soap, bluejeans and sensible shoes. Having been a Girl Scout in the 1960′s, I became familiar with many survival skills, such as identifying animal tracks, fishing, camping and knitting. However, I was not that into sewing and homemaking classes in high school, so I had to acquire those skills along the way.

Since beginning my preps in earnest, I have acquired a Berkey water filter with back-up filter candles, have stockpiled a month’s worth of water, bought a shotgun with 100 rounds of ammo (thus far) and learned to shoot it, purchased several other boxes of ammo in .22, 9mm, and .38 calibers for barter, various other tools and resources including 3 months of food storage, camping equipment, edged weapons, crossbow and arrows, slingshot with ammo, several books on survival topics, sprouting seeds and sprouters, heirloom garden seeds, knitting looms and yarn, sewing notions stockpile, first aid kit stockpile, set up a “store” for non-food items I use frequently and began stockpiling these items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, aluminum foil, toilet paper, paper towels, matches, paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, dog food and pet first aid. I have a bug out bag ready to go if I ever need to leave home and already know my destination. Most of the basics are now covered, which allows me to concentrate on acquiring barter goods and stockpiling more ammunition for my firearms and food and water.

During my working life I have lived in rented apartments in big cities or close-in suburbs of big cities. Long about 2007 I could see the handwriting on the wall and decided I needed to re-position myself in order to have a better retirement and survive an economic collapse. As the economy worsened, and our politicians increased our woes, I decided I had to make some changes and fast, if I was going to survive what’s coming.

The first step was to devise my strategy. I took a look at every aspect of my current life, and what may lie ahead in my retirement.

Regarding my employment and work: I reasoned I needed to stop working for others and create a job I could take with me wherever I live. If I could work from my home, that would be ideal.

Housing:

Since I am near 60 years old, I knew I had to find a safe place to shelter in place. Sheltering in place is the best strategy for me as I am not able to live off the land – at least not for very long.

I also needed to own a home with a yard where I could garden. Apartment managers in the complexes where I rented were not too keen on gardening and had way too many rules about what tenants could and could not do. If you need to rent, and have property management that allows and encourages gardening, you are very fortunate!

Health:

As I grow older I know my health will decline, despite my best efforts taking care of myself. So it became imperative to find a location that had access to good doctors, and a good hospital or clinic.

Location:

Having been raised in a small town in Indiana, I wanted to return to a small town, if one could be found that met my needs. I wanted to live away from the “line of drift” of the inevitable refugees after the collapse, in a low population area, but in a town that had all the amenities I needed for quality of life issues. I wanted to live in a town with a really great library, a Senior Center, and local cultural events. Additionally, it must be near a body of water, have a gun club, be in a politically conservative area/county and have several wonderful churches. I was going to relocate for the last time and I wanted to get it right.

Once I had my needs spelled out, my first priority was to transition into working from home.

As it happens, I work in telephone sales and business development. I decided to find an employer who allowed me to work from home, setting appointments for their sales staff. I was able to find such an employer. However, as the economy worsened in 2008 and 2009, I noticed it was getting harder to meet the quotas my employer needed, so I decided to branch out and start my own business development business and continue to work from home.

This way, I could hire myself clients on a part-time or project basis, and work my own schedule. There are many business professionals who just hate setting appointments for sales, and are willing to pay someone to do this work. Many are quite realistic in their expectations regarding production, so this became ideal. In fact, it turned out to be wonderful, with the exception of steady pay from clients. I had to learn to run a business, pay my own taxes, fire some clients and hire new ones. and find my own inner resources to keep doing the work without direct accountability. Overall, transitioning to work from home was not as hard as I thought, so I was able to have a job I could take with me.

Next I needed to find the location to move to. Knowing that I wanted a smaller community, with amenities for Senior healthcare and like-minded people (with the additional needs for water sources, climate, length of growing season, etc.), and already living in the Pacific NW, I concentrated on looking at smaller cites and towns in the American Redoubt.

Using an Atlas and Google maps, plus several Internet tools such as:

Free Map Tools/Radius Around A Point on a Map (http://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm). I used this tool to determine areas to look deeper for locations to move to, after plotting distances from targets. Example, if you want to be at least 160 miles away from a target city, select the target and enter 160 miles. Do this for every target you can identify in the region where you are looking. Anything that falls outside all the plotted targets is where you look for potential locations. Anywhere within or in overlapping plotted targets are to be avoided.

How Far is It? (http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/calculate-distance.html)

How Far Is It? Is a distance calculator to determine how far a distance is between 2 points “as the crow flies” or in a straight line. This is a good one to use if you are concerned about being downwind of radioactive fallout.

I eliminated any location too close to larger cities (population centers of 250,000+ population); too close to strategic targets of terrorism or war; areas prone to natural disasters of a certain frequency and level of mitigation; and far enough away from other targeted cities/areas to be able to survive. The result of this work helped me to narrow down my list to 3 towns in the Redoubt that met all my criteria.

Next, I took a look at what I could afford insofar as housing and what I could manage to do physically as I grew older. I knew I didn’t have enough money to buy rural land and a house, nor would I be able to handle the work involved in developing and maintaining a rural property. Having rented apartments my whole life, I decided to buy a manufactured home in a low-cost MH community and pay space rent.

I figured the cost of rent must be less than the mortgage and taxes I would pay if I bought a real property home, even as the rent for the mobile home space increases as time goes by. I also decided to concentrate on finding a home in an all-age park. I reasoned that the park setting itself would naturally lend itself to be it’s own community and the elderly living there would be able to make friends among the younger families. There would probably always be a teenager who would mow the lawn for me for a few bucks, and a few handymen who could do the odd jobs I would not be able to do around the house.

To narrow my search I used the Internet to locate family mobile home communities in my selected cities. My primary source of information was Mobile Home Village (http://www.mhvillage.com/). This is an aggregate website that lists all of the MH communities all over the country. The search tool allows you to select for all-age/family parks or age-restricted parks, and those that allow pets, etc. Many listings give current space rents as well. This tool was invaluable.

I made a list of all suitable parks in each three locations, then looked deeper at several other important factors, such as how close water sources were to each location. Was there a source for water I could get to if need be, once my home stores of water run out? If so, how far would I have to walk, bicycle or drive to get to it? Is the area of the MH community prone to flooding?

This turned out to be the most problematic of the all my preparations because the “devil really is in the details.” Not every community turned out to be the best for all my needs. In fact, most were compromised in one or two major categories. And that’s a big lesson for each of us: there is no perfect place. Faced with this development I decided to try to find a town and a MH park that met my primary needs, while meeting most of my secondary needs. At that point a final search tool became very important. I used Google map set on Satellite View to look at wind direction.

Here’s what I did: Airports are set up with runways aimed in the prevailing wind direction, so aircraft during take offs can have a tail wind, and a head wind to help during landings. So I looked up the addresses of each target location’s airport to see which direction the wind generally comes from, keeping in mind that wind direction varies throughout the year. The best you can do with this research is see which direction the wind comes from most of the time. These littlest details can make all the difference. Once I saw which way the wind blew, I got a clearer picture of where I needed to be. If that target location was a nuke target, then I knew I needed to be either upwind of that target or far enough away to mitigate the fallout.

I finally found the town and the MH community within that town, that met all of my primary needs and most of my secondary ones. I ended up buying a very nice one-owner used manufactured home in a small 55+ park in the town, population just over 9,000.

The town is 165 miles away from a large city as the crow flies, with a mountain range in between. It is in an area of High Desert, with 280+ days of sunshine annually, and only 12 inches of rain per year. The town is in a conservative area (more registered Republicans and Independents than Democrats). While there is only 12 inches of rain annually in the region, the park I moved into is 2 ½ blocks away from a river. The river serves the region, and is a tributary of an even greater river.

Although the residents use city water indoors, the park itself has water rights to the river and allow residents to use river water for lawn and garden maintenance. The river water is actually pumped to each home with an outdoor spigot. Upsteam of the river are 2 large reservoirs, which are both easily accessible. There has never been a flood of this town because the creeks and irrigation channel systems were created which utilized and devised a way to minimize such a danger. It also helps that the river is a favorite of locale anglers, abounding with plenty of white fish and rainbow trout.

The town does not have a gun club (sigh), but area ranchers have no problem with using their own ranges. There is a gun club in a neighboring town just 8 miles from my house, and membership is quite inexpensive. While the town itself is a little over 9,000 in population, it is 33 miles away from a city of 80,000 and 17 miles away from a city of 25,000. At a higher elevation from each, the only real threat from population drift on foot would come from the smaller city nearby. In this tri-city location, my town has the reputation of being the most conservative of the three. I can attest to this, having made new friends who are like-minded and friendly. Churches are everywhere in this city, and it is a truly great place to raise a family.

Is it perfect? No. My yard is small, but I have a large deck and driveway, where I can do container gardening. I was lucky that the previous owner put in several fruit trees that produce, so I will have to add canning and possibly wine production as new skills to acquire. My living room windows face south, so I am thinking of putting in a solarium or garden windows on that side of the house, for year-round food production. Deer come into the park on a regular basis, which means they are plentiful in the surrounding foothills. During deer season you can hear shooting from the hunter’s guns echo around the area from a distance.

The town takes pride in its annual rodeos and there are several small ad shopper type newspapers which advertise butchers (for your deer kill) as well as gun/ammo stores, fly fishing outfitters and ranch stores. Trucks outnumber cars here. Crime is low and mostly non-violent. There are many ads for handymen looking for odd jobs.

The MH park has monthly meetings for residents in the Community Center. Although it is a 55+ park and age-restricted, younger folks are allowed to live there as long as they are caretakers for a resident. Dogs are allowed and my chihuahua has made many new dog friends. The county recently built a new library just 2 blocks away, with a small park and nature walk along the river. Information plaques dot the path at intervals, calling attention to the local flora and fauna, including tracks of the critters that live near and along the river.

Financially, my expenses have been cut in half with my total living expenses topping out under $1000 a month. My income has only taken a small drop, but that has given me the opportunity to be more selective in my choice of clients and projects, and freeing up more of my time to pursue learning new skills and beef up my preps.

There is a local hospital and several hearing, vision and veterinary clinics in town. A larger hospital is nearby in the town of 25,000, and a regional Medical Center in the city of 80,000. I don’t miss the endless malls, or the crime and pollution at all. I have more sunshine and friendlier people and much less stress in my life now, after making the move 6 months ago.

As time goes on, I am making a point of learning about the local medicinal and edible plants, learning which varieties of garden vegetables grow best in the area, and making more new friends to form my “core trusted group” of people if TEOTWAWKI happens. I may volunteer to help with the County Sheriff’s office, the library and take a Red Cross training or two.

For those of you who are single and need to move away from the cities, my advice is to find a way to take a job with you first. If you are interested in learning more about what I do for a living, I can advise you on ways to cheaply set up your home office, and how to find clients. Just contact me at my email address: daretuitt@gmail.com

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive – Two (2) Just In Case… Classic Assortment Survival Food Buckets courtesy of LPC Survival, a $150 gift certificate for Remington ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner, aWonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and a Survival Puck courtesy of Innovation Industries, LLC.
  2. Second place winner will receive – One case of Future Essentials Canned Organic Green Costa Rican Monte Crisol Coffee courtesy of Campingsurvival.com and Solo Stove and Solo Pot Courtesy of EmergencyFoodWarehouse.com.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net, a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net and a Wolf Pack Coffee Mug Jumbo Mug courtesy of Horton Design.

Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on January 15 2014

49 comments

Penny Pincher December 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thanks Dare T, I have been thinking about how to make my job portable. I think it’s one of the ones that could be (bookkeeping). It’d sure be nice to coordinate bookkeeping services from anywhere.

I also have to figure out who could manage my rentals. Rental property is not portable, so I would have to hire someone if I was going to separate myself from it. But, it’s done all the time.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Sounds like you already have the beginnings of a plan! Find out who you can hire locally to manage your portfolio of properties and see if their fee(s) would make sense. Having worked in the industry many years ago, I advise you work with one who is BBB rated or who has good local credentials. A plus too are those management companies who offer assessments to help you see areas where you can increase revenues (rental increases; installing and renting storage units in the basement, or small cargo containers in the yard; vending washers and driers, etc.). Any way you can increase your cash flow on your properties before re-locating will help in the long run – especially to offset the cost of hiring out their management.

Penny Pincher December 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

While I do have some contacts I can ask for recommendations, I need to repair quite a few things before I could go and leave it for rent or sell it for more than a lowball offer. That’s the bad news. We’re talking crown molding, cornices and soffits, a little siding and porch repair, half of of the flooring, and painting the exterior. Some I could do myself except the woodwork near the roof, which unfortunately is the expensive part! Hmm, I’ll have to think up a creative answer and do some networking.

Mike December 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

Great post Dare T. You have outlined a very good procedure for locating your desired location. I like the state I live in, enjoying 4 distinct seasons, so my next move will remain in state.
I am fortunate to have a job where I can work from anywhere, as long as I have high-speed internet and telephone access. As my boss put’s it… “I don’t care if you work out of a Port-o-let as long as you have network connectivity and a phone.” I also have a side business providing consulting work for computer networking and computer repair that is not in direct competition with my full time employer; with additional services that can be provided if the full-time situation changes.
When I moved to my current area, back then I used an unlimited 45-day Amtrack Rail Pass and went everywhere the train would take me, coast to coast, north and south. I stopped at the larger cities for a few days, and got maps, read newspapers for rentals and job potentials, rode public transportation to get a feel for the area, then hopped back on the train to go to the next city.
Now the priorities are different, and I like the ideas and your thought process that you have explained and will incorporate some of them in my next move.

RAY AKE December 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

NEVER EVER barter ammo,,food,,water,,1st.aid supplies !!! once they know you have it,,they will COME after it and take it..barter VODKA,,beer,,stuff YOU wont use or need..

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I meant the ammo in calibers for firearms I don’t use to be for barter, not my food, medicine, water – - but you are correct and your insight duly noted. And with the vast majority of Americans not ready for even 3 days without power, ANY kind of preps will be an attractive target. That’s why my preps are stashed in various places and locales.

Rob Crawford December 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

What makes you think an alcoholic won’t use force to get booze?

RedC December 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I was a bit disappointed that there were not more strategies specifically for middle-aged people, but all the sites & resources on moving more than made up for that. Thanks.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thank you for that assessment. I had thought to include more but realized it came down to very subjective criteria. I mean, to begin with, what IS middle age? Everyone seems to define that differently. There are people who are 55 years old and in better physical shape than many 30 year olds. For that person they may decide that buying a real property homestead would make better sense for them because they are able to do the physical work to develop and maintain it. Someone else may have a serious or chronic health condition and need to be near specialists. Their search would be different based on that need. Also, our financial situations are so varied. I do not boast on having much money and needed to find a way to leverage what little I have and turn it into more. For many people that will be buying a manufactured home instead of a real property home. Others may decide to rent a room in someone’s house to lower their expenses and save the difference in order to buy something of their own in the area where they plan to relocate. Moving can be very stressful and for many, they would rather not do too much of it before landing on their final destination. It all comes down to what you feel you can handle physically, financially and emotionally.

axelsteve December 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm

To me middle age is 40 and over. The average person is not going to live much more then 80.I am 53 so I am getting up there.I do not plan on making it to 106.

RedC December 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm

“it seems to me that you married preppers have it a little easier.”
Not true sometimes. Many of us married preppers rec little or NO help prepping from our spouses, while we have to store supplies for 2 (o rmore if counting children) people. & we have to do this despite criticism & rolling-the-eyes responses from our beloved, while they complain about how much money we spend on prepping.

The grass on the other side of the fence always looks greener… until u have to mow it every week.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Thank you for your comment. Having never been married, I have no way to compare. But it certainly brings with it a different set of considerations doesn’t it? My favorite prepping movie “Panic in the Year Zero” actually addresses what you mention about the non-supportive spouse, and one scene in particular says it all when the family patriarch (played by Ray Milland) looks at his wife and says “MAKE UP YOUR MIND!” BTW – if you haven’t seen this movie yet, it’s on You Tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSGEiXO5894

Den December 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I agree. My spouse, while somewhat on board, doesn’t feel the need to prep the way I do. It makes it very difficult to justify the extreme to which I can go sometimes. In addition, I am prepping for 4. . . not just one!

D. Smith December 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm

My prepping activities revolve around the family that would probably return to farm for safety. A majority of middle aged and seniors might very well be facing this scenario which is why we’ve not choosen to downsize our garden or get rid of livestock. We’ll stay on the farm where we can easily expand gardens, do more hunting on thusands of acres state land, harvest nuts/berries from the woods all around us. Many hands will make light work when it comes to gardening,canning, and butchering. If you want to eat your’ll work, plain and simple.

Survivor December 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Medical coding is a work from home job for many…Pays pretty well, too!

Big Bear December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Nice Article Dare T.

We are on the downhill side of 60 and have taken our age, medical status, physical condiition, etc. into consideration. These factors are always considered in every aspect of our planning. I will say that one advantage of being elder preppers is that we can view the current state of affairs with the perspective of time. We have connected with other preppers in our area and have (at present) a somewhat loosely defined mutual support agreement between us. The good thing about that is we can offer our experience and expertise and the younger members of our group have their youthful energies to compensate for any lack of experience. I’m not knocking younger folks at all but simply looking at the strengths of the group. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and, if we’re lucky, they will complement each other. There is strength in numbers.

Fortunately, we bailed out of the city life back in 1983 and found our present location. Back then the term “Prepper” wasn’t being used to describe folks like us so we laughingly referred to ourselves as adherents of “the little house on the prairie” philosophy of life. The fact that you’ve taken positive steps towards being self sufficient and prepared for hard times is a big plus.

Bebe December 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Well thought plan and execution. Many of us in same situation.

Thank you for sharing.

TommyD December 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Dare, your plan was well thought out and written. I need to find the same type of environment.
For me though, the job would have to be a physical, hands on practice as I am a heating/cooling/refrigeration mechanic; for which I’m sure there will be a need.
I also need a place where I can garden, raise livestock, fish and hunt.
It will be a lot easier to find now than before there was such a thing as the internet!

Donna in MN December 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I wonder if you thought if your job could still make you money if shtf. A nuclear bomb attack, an Emp blast, economic meltdown, collapse of the dollar, emergency shut down of communications due to war, etc. That would be food for more thought in case the crisis is longer than 3 months. What would you learn to do that would work in those senarios?

.

R-Me December 20, 2013 at 9:35 pm

In any of those situations none of us would be “going to our jobs” so it wouldn’t matter if you worked from home or traveled an hour like I do to a medium sized city.
When SHTF we need to be in an environment we all feel comfortable in. DH and I are both 58, but we chose the rural-no neighbors living arrangement. Large garden, chickens, solar panels and a hand pump on the well,, this is where we feel safe. Everyone’s situation is different.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

That’s a good point you make. I have thought of what I would do if any of those things happen.

For all but a nuclear attack, I would shelter in place and do what I can do to survive and help others, as much as feasibly possible to help. I do have several skills that would be in demand: I have First Responder First Aid training; can cook from scratch; can bake bread for many people to name a few. I have also thought I might offer to do certain things for neighbors (in order to encourage the community to stick together) such as offer to recharge batteries in my universal recharger, help construct several water filters from my component stockpile for filtering the river water that’s pumped to each of our homes. I can also knit warm hats, scarves and blankets and have a stockpile of yarn. In the last 2 days I made soap cozies as gifts and I could make more of those to help save on the bar soap I have stockpiled. I have some equipment I still need to learn to use, such as canning tools and a CB radio but I have acquired them and will learn how to use them. I am saving for my next big purchase, a hand-powered sewing machine. I try to throw nothing away if there’s another purpose for it. I just bought a case of toilet paper that will last for several months. Each roll comes wrapped in tissue paper. I save the cardboard inner cores because they could be fuel sources for my volcano stove in a pinch and I also save the tissue paper wrap to be – what else – emergency toilet paper. I hope the skills I have can be used to make things to trade with and/or make me valuable to keep in a group. I have enough to provide for myself and a few others for several months and the skills to grow, trap or fish for more food.

If the crisis involved a nuclear attack, I know where the targets in my state are located, the primary direction of the wind in the target areas, how to figure the amount of time before significant fallout would arrive in my town and where I would go to escape that fallout, if need be. I have already planned which highways and roads I would take to get to relative safety and what I would take with me. I am also thinking of ways to have a fallout shelter within my manufactured home. Something along the lines of the improvised shelters advised by the Civil Defense during the Cold War. Just at the planning stages but thinking on it.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

And I also do one more thing to help me travel if I have to bug out, and that is for several years now I join my State’s Sheriff’s Association as an Associate Member. Every state has one. When you join groups like this, they usually give you a Membership Card and stickers for your car identifying you as a Member/Supporter. I was advised to do this by a very savvy prepper, well-known for his expertise on alternative home heating sources, ‘secret gardens’ and raising honey bees. He said it was a good idea in the event of an emergency, as it may help me get past some official or “improvised” roadblocks along the way. Make sure to place the Membership stickers where they can be seen!

Donna in MN December 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

You are a thinker like me. IF you get on an an airplane you figure out the emergency exits, plan of execution and other exits if the closest ones are blocked before you take off flying.

I sew for a PT job now and have lots of material that fills a spare bedroom to use as a skill. I also have used my first aid skills being certified with the Red Cross. I have fishing skills (from being a former fishing guide) that beats out most people in my area, have secret berry patches all over the forest for making preserves and being a “Johnnie Berryseed” to improve production in the wild so I could feed those who can’t find food for themselves. Those are survivor skills for “jobs” to use long term. I was going to list some other examples but you did it for me. A Very well thought out article and response.

worrisome December 20, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Donna I had the same thoughts. Small yard in a mobile home park would probably not feed the neighbors, harder to maintain any security for yourself and not all those neighbors are going to be preppers and they are gonna get hungry, lack of electrical power could mean an inability to continue to heat or if in the desert cool the moble, etc etc. Without power how is the water going to get to the place, and where is the sewage going to go……..

As for regular retirement, not a bad place as it cuts the budget down a lot.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 10:11 pm

In my MH park, hand pumps are available to be used to bring the water, but a backup system would be to use a kid’s red wagon to haul containers of water up from the river. As for sewage, I have the old standby trucker’s trick of a port-o-potty lined with a garbage bag, that you partially fill with kitty litter. Each time you go, you put a handful of litter on top of things until you need to remove the bag. The trick is to not fill it up so much with litter that it becomes too heavy and may break the bag. Full bags can be hauled to nearby empty lots and buried or emptied, or taken to designated fills set up by a re-organized community authority, depending on location.

KDK December 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

Kitty litter is a genius idea! I use the large plastic containers to store water in for emergency use. Rinse first as they have a deoderant smell but could be used for bathing/cleaning,even distill for drinking in tough situation.

Donna in MN December 21, 2013 at 10:21 am

I used to live in moble homes back in the 70′s and early 80′s and it got 100+ degrees inside during the summer. Great for my plants, but without electricity to power airconditioning or a cooler it was hell in a tin can oven. It took a long time to cool down at night and retained the heat. I made myself cool sleeping at night by sleeping outside, on wet towels under a tent of mosquito netting.

Also I discovered to keep my heat costs down is using body heat from people and my dogs in one smaller room in the coldest of winters. Even now I wake up in a sweat in my bedroom with the thermostat on 60 degrees in the living room because 3 large dogs sleep in the bedroom. Coziest room in the house. After we leave the bedroom, it cools 10 degrees.

OhioPrepper December 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Donna,
If your local zoning permits it, you could build an open shelter style roof over the entire mobile home. I just came back from a week in AZ, and many of the parking lots have the equivalent of large car ports under which folks park their vehicles. It provides a shady spot that can be many degrees cooler than sitting in direct sun.

patientmomma December 20, 2013 at 8:31 pm

DareT,
An informative article, thank you. Everyone has their specific needs whether it be a job to work from home, medical needs, or community. I searched for a year to find my “get out of the city” property, which would meet my needs as a widow, but give me the acreage I wanted for my animals and of course a garden. Being in the country, I have abundant wildlife in my woods, septic and well water, so I don’t have to depend on city services. I am still working on being more self-sufficient: still learning about solar power, must learn to do my own ammo, and have to learn to butcher when I can’t get to the processor. Living alone, the work is never done – I have a huge to do list. Reading a book is a luxury.

When everything falls apart, the kids will come home to roost, IF they can get here. They would be extra hands to help get the work done. I am still getting to know my country neighbors, and so far they have been very kind and helpful. It is comforting to know if the SHTF anytime soon, I’ll be ok.

Ron December 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Great article and some things I had not thought about as I search for my retirement location. However there are a few side notes I want to make.
… this statement, “aircraft during take offs can have a tail wind, and a head wind to help during landings”. Aircraft use headwinds for both takeoff and landing. It provides more lift.
Also, surface winds have little effect on where nuclear fallout travels. Winds at different elevations that the fire ball travels thru as well as the fallout travels thru on its way back down will effect it accordingly. .These change constantly. Also consider that nuke weapons used on the US will target strategic rather then tactical targets. Not all military installations will be targeted. Bomber bases and missile sites will be. Armor Divisions not so much as they can not reach out and touch someone halfway around the world.

Dare T December 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Great points you make. I do rely on others assessments of what is or won’t be a likely nuke target. I research this information from several sources including Joel Skousen’s book, ‘Strategic Relocation’, which gives target maps of every state and ranks the targets as Primary, or Secondary. While wind direction at different levels vary, it is still useful information. And now that China is showing the world its new naval capability of delivering such weapons anywhere on the US mainland, it becomes a higher priority to plan what one will do if the unthinkable happens.

Ron December 20, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Picking all the possible targets in all 50 states is easy. Of course the reality is the potential adversary has a limited number of nukes and a limited number of delivery systems. They will have to prioritize. The first question will always be, “what can hurt me from where it is right now”?

Donna in MN December 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

There is a problem with thinking China contaminating/destroying potential useful land areas and bombing us with nukes when they need resources from it, and the reprisals that will come from doing so would destroy their country’s economy and country. They have a lot of investments here as well.

What I am concerned with is China putting them in the hands of Radicals who don’t care if they kill themselves by nuking us just to make a point.

TommyD December 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Sorta makes an underground cargo box sound inviting, don’t it?
A mobile home park is the last place I would want to hold off the desperate hordes.
I was thinking of using the MH (or RV) on property I’d bought out in the boonies, to live in while I was building a pole barn, then a more substantial dwelling.
But now that I think of it, with the equipment to dig a big hole, a buried cargo box might be the best sanctum…

wasp December 21, 2013 at 12:45 am

why dig a hole? prepare your underground lair and then put the dirt on top of it, if possible. then the hole from the dirt can be your new pond as a source of water and fish!
just a thought.

TommyD December 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Good idea, Wasp. I wouldn’t have to worry about water intrusion as much either. It would be an earth sheltered dwelling, easily camoflaged… just let brush or vegetables grow on my roof.

Larry December 21, 2013 at 11:30 am

Tommy,
Watch a few of the youtube videos about burying a cargo box before doing it.. I would hate to see other go down that road.

I dug a bunker under my house a few years ago ,

Real brief, I Jacked up one side of my house, dug it out, raised the concrete block walls, poured the floor and roof and set the house back down on it.. it measures 15 x10.. the entrance is a hidden door in the floor off the back patio and stairs going down 12 feet, the walls were filled and waterproofed on the outside with blackjack before it was backfilled I have recessed florescent lighting and power outlets,painted white for a cleanliness and light reflection. all my stores, weapons and supplies tucked away. I had a humidity problem, but fixed that by painting the interior walls with blockfiller and UGL drylok.. Now the air is nice and dry.

Mary in GA December 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

A mobile home park isn’t ideal, but I still think one in a small town well away from big cities is better than an apartment in a big city.

TommyD December 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

True Mary, but a MH is not the most defensible box to live in. I would like to get at least a tankful away from any large city; say 25,000+ and with today’s cars, a tankful would be about 250-350 miles.
I’ve broken an entry door lock by pulling on it while I slipped on the ice once. A real awakening!
Get a locksmith to install good Yale locks and deadbolts for security and peace of mind. If any shooting starts, I’d get in the bathtub, as MH walls are 2 thin panels and some insulation, maybe…

Stealth Spaniel December 20, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Great article! Many people who think they are squared away with a partner in prepping, should also plan for the time when that partner is no longer part of the plan. It is much harder to be on your own, so connecting with a group of like minded people is a great idea. You did a lot of research that really paid off in getting the lifestyle that YOU wanted and needed!
Never say never-my friend’s 75 yro mom called me with the news that she is getting married to a fellow church member (80yro) this spring. She raised her son as a widow and wasn’t looking-but as usual, the Lord had other plans! Reach out, socialize, and be open to possibilities! Good luck!

davin December 21, 2013 at 1:40 am

dare T,sounds like you really did your home work and it’s paying for you.
good for you and hope that it continues to go the right direction.
take care of yourself.

Dare T December 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Thank you davin – you take care of you, too. May God bless us all.

Mari December 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Ahaa, so I’m not the only one who pokes around with maps and what I’d be downwind from. Whew, what a relief. VERY GOOD ARTICLE!

davin December 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Drae T, i will also be rel0cating [ hopefully ] with in a couple of months
and very much looking forward to it. the place is kind of out in the boonies and that’s what i want. driving time to the nearest city is
about 45 min.
take care.
davin

Old Alaskan December 22, 2013 at 12:46 am

One thing you got WRONG is we don’t take off with a tail wind unless we absolutely have to. We always take off and land into the wind.
that said we plan on retiring in 16 months and are planning on buying a 5th wheel camper and a 1 ton pickup and travel. Except to California. we will probably get a toy hauler and outfit it with what we need to survive for awhile.

spinninghands December 22, 2013 at 9:19 am

I don’t think I’ve posted here before, but I’ve enjoyed this site for years. Just wanted to say that I derived a lot of benefit from Dare’s article, as well as her responses to my emails. She has a lot of other good suggestions for at home jobs, as well as relocation. I hope she’ll write more articles.

Encourager December 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Good article, Dare T. You did good, thinking out all the bugs and planning wisely.

We are 65 now and I have noticed a decline in dh for the past year. He is unable to do a lot of what he used to; we live in the country, have 10 acres to take care of. He is unable to do anything up on a ladder anymore and we have to rely on our oldest ds who lives nearby or hire someone, which doesn’t always work out so well. I know we should get this place in shape, sell it, and move somewhere else to a smaller place. But dh built our home and has invested over 30 years here. Sometimes I feel between a rock and a hard place…

Southern Belle December 23, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Dare T.,

Great article with lots of food for thought. I will finish my teaching degree at the end of this year and will be able to teach grades K-6. I am hoping that teaching will allow me to move to my desired locale. Best wishes to you and your future preps.

SB

OhioPrepper December 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

If the MH park doesn’t have an age restriction, having elderly grandmothers around who might do occasional childcare, could also be a source of some extra income.

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