Oct252011

56 Comments

Survival Survey: How do you prepare for a Greatest Depression?

image by Don Hankins

Let’s face it.  We may say we’re preparing for winter blizzards or freak hurricanes, but down deep, if you’re a prepper, what you’re really preparing for is a collapse of America’s economy.  It may happen within a few days or it may be a continual downward slide over many years.  Its causes may include numerous Katrina-size natural disasters, a toppling federal government, chaos on Main Street, and the odd meteor or two, but regardless of the causes, we want our families to be as secure as possible for the long haul.

So, the question that naturally arises is: How do you prepare for a Greatest Depression?  Is it even possible to prepare for something that may last a decade or much, much longer?  Is it better to be a homeowner, even if someday you’re unable to make your mortgage payments or is it better to have mobility and rent?  Should you leave your life savings and retirement funds where they are or take the tax and penalty hit and invest in land, or gold, or a year’s worth of food?

If we could talk with survivors of the first Great Depression and ask them, “If you could go back to 1925, how would you have prepared for the Great Depression,” I wonder what they would say.  We’re preparing for something on a world-wide scale, so my question to you is, how should we prepare for a Greatest Depression?

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(56) Readers Comments

  1. I would say that most people get into prepping by getting ready for natural disasters and later find that this new "hobby" has turned into a lifestyle that leads to prepping for, well, everything. I would think old timers would say (in regards to the Great Depression) that the signs were somewhat obvious looking back but that it all just seemed to "happen" over time as a course of their life, then one day they realized their life was not what it once was. I would suspect that the same will be said this time around.

  2. Interesting post, and very thought provoking.

    Is it possible to prepare for something that may last decades? Yes, but it's not easy. I think it involves home ownership (not a mortgage, which means the bank pretty much owns your home), enough land for self-sustainability, and the skills to utilize that land. It's my ultimate goal, but unless I win the lottery, home ownership is out of my reach for now.

    As a result, I look at prepping as something that will help me get through lean times. Hopefully we never have to survive totally off our food storage. Instead, our food storage will just help us stretch our budget if things get hard.

    I'm not super prepared. I *think* my family could get by with our job skills, homesteading skills, and stockpiles for a while, if necessary. But if we're faced with riots and mobs, that's another story. No amount of ammo can overcome an angry mob.

    • That's a very good point about food storage helping you stretch your budget. I hope there's never a time when my food storage is, literally, all we have to eat. If that time comes, okay, we'll be ready, but I like to think of using it as more of a supplement to what we can either grow or purchase. We're all going to really miss fresh produce, fresh milk, fresh cheese, etc. Having the ability to grow or produce fresh foods is going to be a big advantage.

  3. Interesting ! Over the last year Ive discussed that (1929-39) time period with my Dad (89). He lived in Ok City during that time. His Dad wass a salesman for insurance. Although he was young he says he doesnt recall much differnt about life itself , I also asked him about the dust storms and he knew of them but that they didnt effect OK City that much. My wife's folks (Dad was yr old then mine, mom was born in "29") Both have passed on but they were living on farms right in the Middle of those dust bowl areas, yet they said never seemed that hard, but they were providing most of all they needed at the time. One time we sat with my wife's "Grandfather" who was born in late1890s and was actually one of the first to "turn sod" , as he put it in SE Colorado (prior to dust bowl times). He just talked about day to day living and nothing really done extra, that period of early to mid 20s (prior to 29) were very prosprous years for wheat farmers. For some intersting read find a copy of "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Worst_Hard_Time )

    • The Worst Hard Time is an excellent book! It astounded me that people were able to survive at all in the worst locations of the Dust Bowl. Women were canning tumbleweed for their families to eat and cattle died with stomachs filled with dirt. Very sad years.

  4. I remember my grandparents and uncles talking about the Great Depression and WWII rationing and honestly, I don't think they really noticed a huge difference in their lives. They lived very simple lives in eastern Kentucky, my grandfather quitting school at 7 to go to work. But they also had skills that most of us preppers can only dream of. Inflated food costs were no big deal if you were growing most all of what you needed. They kept gardens, orchards, chickens, cows. Made their own clothes. Mended their own shoes. Never really strayed too far from home. If we're going to survive something long term, we HAVE to relearn those basic skills and learn to take care of ourselves.

  5. How does one prepare for such a long time, honestly? We're preparing as good as we can and the rest will have to be in God's hands. He cares for the sparrows, so I think we'll be ok, even if it does get rough. I'm not excited about the rough times, but God has His reasons for everything.

    • Emily, I think that\’s the best attitude to have. I posted this question because what we\’re all planning for, ultimately, isn\’t something that\’s going to hit and then move on after a few weeks. I think if we take a long-term look at what might come, it will help us know better how to prepare.

      • I just know I have to leave the future in God's hands, I start worrying A LOT otherwise! :) Then I want to go buy the kids clothes for the next 10 years. When in actuality, I should probably learn how to sew and alter clothes. That would make more sense. :)

        I guess just learning how to survive with skills for fixing and remaking things is what is needed and continue preparing as much as possible.

        • The way I look at it, m food storage and other preps are giving me OPTIONS and increased flexibility at a time when we might all need to be extremely creative in order to thrive. I won't be nearly so dependent on a steady paycheck, so even if I lose my job, I can make it for some amount of time without facing utter hopelessness. If I'm fortunate enough to have a job and steady pay, then I can use my money for needs other than food. All I've stored is insurance, and wealth for bartering. The things I can't control – like roving gangs and looters — will cause me to become more dependent of God's protection. I'm standing on Psalm 91. I believe God means every word and that as long as I truly believe it, I'll be protected.

    • God does take care of the sparrows. But they do still have to get up off their nests and find their food. Do what needs to be done when it needs to be done while understanding that we are NOT in control.

  6. EXCELLENT post. You ask all the right questions. I mean, we know how to can, dehydrate, and we are saving lots of staples, but do we know how to fix and repair? Can we stitch a wound or have an understanding of herbal remedies for when doctors are not in the budget? The preparation we need to do is on every single level of our lives.

    I hope this doesn't sound like shameless self-promotion, because that is never my goal.

    I am working on an online resource center for people who want to learn self-sufficiency skills, such as the ones that got our grandparents through the Depression. I call them Heritage Skills. What I am doing is collecting web links and other information on one place so others can search the site and find information on, say soap making or home repair, etc. I am doing this by my own research, but I rely heavily on reader contributions.

    Again, not wanting to usurp anything here, just offering help if needed.

    My main web site is krissimplyliving.blogspot.com, and the resource center is heritageskills.blogspot.com. Do you have any links to contribute.

  7. I planted 8 dwarf fruit trees. I have purchased and/or cut twice as much firewood as I need. I have dramatically increased my stored food. I have alternative cooking methods. I have expanded my garden and plan on doubling it's size again. I have gotten out of debt and paid off my mortgage. I regularly cook meals using stored foods so I can better utilize them when I need to. I am acquiring junk silver in small amounts. I am selling unneeded and excess items and using the money to buy food and necessities.

  8. I think of food storage as a supplement if things somehow manage to limp along. If things completely collapse, then food storage becomes not a supplement, but a bridge to tide us over while new ways of growing and transporting food are worked out.

    Keep in mind that there are basic differences in types of food. Grain is relatively easy to transport for long distances, and is more likely to be at least somewhat available. Perishable items like meat, eggs, and fresh vegetables are likely to only be available according to what is locally produced or from your own back yard.

    Basic gardening skills can be ramped up fairly quickly, but those basic skills take years to learn. If you anticipate the need to produce your own food, get started now. Even if it is on a very small scale, you need to learn by experience what works and what doesn't for your situation. Once you've got the basics covered, expanding the output is just a matter of doing more of the same. Buying a can of "survival seeds" and thinking that you'll just plant them if the need arises is not a plan – it is almost guaranteed to fail at a time when failure could have very serious consequences.

    Can we prepare for something that will last for generations? That is really the question in a society such as ours where the same systems that make us so efficient and wealthy are, by their very nature, extremely fragile and interconnected. There is no resilience in our system, so if one part collapses, then it can take everything else down with it.

    My own preparations for a multi-generational collapse take a very different approach than the typical prepper. Long term preparations include a home-schooling library for our grandchildren, an extensive library on a wide variety of topics, "obsolete" technology in the form of slide rules (they were used for all the calculations that put man on the moon and built the Boeing 747), and quality basic hand tools and fasteners of various types. The worst thing that could possibly happen in this regard is for our society to lose the basic knowledge that we have built over the past 6,000 years.

    Stephen Clay McGehee
    SouthernAgrarian.com

    • Do you happen to have a written list of the books that you have for your homeschooling? i know there is lots of other places to get these. I just was wondering what you have collected. Thanks

      • We've been using a free online curriculum, <a href="http://www.amblesideonline.com” target=”_blank”>www.amblesideonline.com You have to either buy the books that are part of the curriculum or get them from the library, but many of them are free on Kindle and Gutenberg.org A lot of the books are classics, such as King Arthur, and are in the public domain. My goal for this week is to download whatever I can for the next 3-4 years on Kindle. And, if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free e-reader at Amazon.com and read the books on your computer. Kindles are really coming down in price, though.

      • Here's the list. They were all bought from http://www.keepersofthefaith.com/

        McGuffey Readers Set With Free Teacher Guide
        Reading Series Grades One Through Four Set
        Writing Series Grades One Through Four Set
        Spencerian Pen, Theory Book Plus Five Copy Books
        Practical Arithmetics Three Book Set
        Harvey's Revised English Grammar
        Harvey's Revised English Grammar Answer Key
        The ABC's and All Their Tricks Hardback
        Phonics Made Plain

        I also have a wide selection of books that I got for nothing more than a drive to the local school when they were getting rid of books that the students no longer used. The students even helped me load them – we filled the back of our SUV. This was for a curriculum that had been dropped, so it probably isn't something readily available.

        Digital versions, as TheSurvivalMom said, are readily available and either free or very cheap. In some cases, that would clearly be the best way to go. My thinking though, is that I don't want education to be dependent on having electricity and working electronics. With printed books, all that is needed is sunlight and a place to sit down and read. There is just something comforting about a book sitting on a shelf, just waiting to be explored as the need arises.

        One down side to printed books – many of them are sitting in stacks in my office, waiting for me to build more book cases.

  9. Before the Great Depression the majority of Americans did not live the life of affluence that is the middle class and above standard of today. They were not poor by that era's standard. As a matter of fact, compared to the life their immigrant parents lived in the old world, they were very well off.

    Go look at a middle class house built around the turn of the last century. Rooms are small to conserve heat. Closets are tiny because that's all the room they needed. Few people had more than two or three changes of clothing. My Grandmother rarely owned more than four dresses at any one time. The newest one for church and special occasions. The next older one for going out in public such as visiting and going to town. The next older one for every day wear. (and I mean every day, the same dress.) The very oldest one, oft mended and patched, for doing dirty work.

    The house I live in now, built in 1920, originally had a total of only 4 electric sockets. Nobody thought someone would have enough appliances to need more.

    My point here is, a lot of people like my grandparents didn't feel a lot of difference once the Depression hit because they didn't have a lot to loose. They were accustomed to a life that we consider austerity. Modern Americans are more spoiled than they think. $8 a gallon gas is no big deal when you don't own a car, and never did, and only dreamed you ever would.

    • You are so right, Barbara! My last remaining grandmother passed away in May at 1 week shy of 96 and my aunt couldn't get over how few clothes she had. For the last year of her life she required a 24/7 sitter to help out with a few things, and I was the Sunday night sitter. After she went to bed, I used to sit and marvel at how she raised two kids in that house with only one small bathroom and virtually no closet space! The room she used as a den was my dad's "winter bedroom" and the rest of the time he slept on a sleeping porch that eventually got turned into another bathroom. She was born in 1915 in rural Montana and I asked her how she and my great grandparents handled the depression and her answer was, "We just did." It seems that's how she handled raising a family in that tiny house!

  10. I think it will be a different type of depression that was back in the 30's.People were closer to the earth and didn't count on the government as much.They also "networked" alot and used barter with friends and neighbors even in the good times before the depression.This is one thing I have been working on myself.

  11. Zero DEBT!!! Everything paid off. 25 acres and a house that is virtually off grid if need be. Can raise and can 80% of food needs now and have everything else stored and have an endless supply of water. Only thing I have to worry about will be property taxes and insurance and ha ve ten years worth in cash and gold, stored away in secret locations(and the means to protect it all) just hope if SHTF and or the greatest depression hits hyperinflation does not kill it.

  12. I would consider every purchase NOW in light of how it would be viewed if LATER we were in a Depression. For instance, would your child benefit more from a pocket knife or a new video game? A book or a plastic toy? An emergency radio that doubles as an MP3 player or an iPod? Buy things of quality, too. I would replace things now that you can. For instance, I have had the same coat for the last 20 years. While I love it, it's worn and frayed well past the time I should have replaced it. I am replacing it now because I may not have the money to do so later when it becomes rags.

    • Katy,
      I'm with you. I've been preparing my list of things to buy for Christmas this week. I'd buy everybody dehydrated food packed with oxygen absorbers if they'd let me, but most of the gifts I'm choosing are normal items that do have a survival prep use as well. Camping equipment like portable camp stoves, silver jewelry (can be bartered later, right?), quilts and sheet sets, socks and underwear, board games and books to entertain the children, silver coins for everybody's stockings, and warm winter clothing. I figure if I'm going to spend my hard-earned money, I want to help everybody get ready for the coming economic collapse, whether they believe it's coming or not. Every little bit will help.
      And like with your coat, I'd been putting off going to the optometrist for a new eyeglass prescription FOREVER. Then it hit me one day that I might need to be able to see to shoot straight… so I sucked it up and took care of that business. Now I LOVE being able to see, ha!

      • Yes, we're all about socks and underwear and books here.

        Another idea I've had for Christmas gifts is photo albums. People have all of their photos on their computers nowadays, but what happens if those are no longer able to be accessed. It would be nice to have some print photos.

  13. I think learning skills and teaching those skills to your children is important. My daughter can knit, sew, and crochet better than I can. In fact, my son can sew better than I can. We homeschool, so we have lots of books, including stockpiled curriculum for grades my children have not yet reached (in case we can't afford to buy a math textbook then). Textbooks get low priority compared with food. I guess I am looking at a scenario where life is likely to get much harder and everything but food and shelter is considered a luxury. If we have a true collapse of society, whew, I don't know what we'll do. Pray.

    This spring, we started to have a garden in earnest. Growing food is a LOT harder than it looks. We had some successes (peas, carrots, potatoes), and some failures (squash, pumpkins). We learned a lot. We already barter with lots of people (I teach English, they bring me food; I teach English, they teach my children sign language, woodworking, and marksmanship). I think there will be more of that in the coming years.

  14. All I can say is what we did: we changed countries (Australia to New Zealand) and moved to a food producing area with a strong community, with low housing costs, so we'd be able to afford our own farm (which we now have).

    We're now converting to organic, putting in wood stove, rainwater tank, better insulation etc. On the farm in less than two years we've doubled the orchard size (now we have about 50 fruit trees), switched to permaculture principles and increased the yield while improving soil health and eliminating petrochemical inputs altogether, and are now getting in honeybees.

    There's a huge learning curve, and we've left a lot behind, but we've gained so much more than we had. I can't believe we used to ever live in a big city! How on earth do people cope with that! I love living in the country now, and even if peak oil and everything else weren't coming, now that I know what I know about our new lifestyle, I'd have made the same choice to move to the country. It's a better way to live.

    I don't know what will happen in the times ahead, but the community we live in is strong, and I know we'll support one another and face it together.

    Leanne at Hazeltree Farm http://www.hazeltreefarm.com

  15. You get comfortable with populations shifting around, little or nothing in the way of public services from the government, and being able to survive without a job. You get used to using absolutely every part of everything you have. You "fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. You learn how to plant and harvest and butcher and shoot.

  16. For a large scale long term Depression, I'd continue to store food and basic necessities as there may come a time when we have to completely rely on them. However if there is no telling how long it would last, then money and storage would eventually run out. I have written about coming up with a personal economic crash plan, to fall back on if or when a worse case scenario happens. Not pretty to think about, but it may have to include moving in with family in order to pool resources, selling off belongings, possible bartering etc. The main thing is to survive and start learning to live on less now. Imaging the worse case scenario would help in preparing and not being in a state of shock if it happens.

    • Lately, every time I shop and buy something, I ask myself, "What would I do if I couldn't buy this thing? How would I make do ?" It's really made me think, and has caused me to stockpile some items I hadn'tpreviously thought about, like repair supplies for water hoses and shoes, and iron-on repair patches for clothes. In some cases, I've gone to the internet and printed off recipes for homemade cleaning products, vinegar, fruit pectin, and instructions for darning socks and making paper and homemade ink and glue, etc. I don't have time to learn to do all that stuff right now, but I want that info in my survival notebook for later, just in case.

  17. I am trying to buy some acreage as far away from cities as possible so I can be self sufficient. My granny taught me lots and I am busy learning more!

    • It's all about making progress, a little at a time.

  18. When I start to stress about it all, I stop and try to focus on the Lord's faithful provision for my family thus far. He would not abandon us in our time of greatest need should catastrophe strike. I am careful to "look to the ant and consider her ways" but a seriously tight budget is a reality that makes preparing a challenge, as it does for most of preppers.

    I also try to keep the old saying in the front of my mind:

    Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best.

  19. My mother will soon be 88. She was young during the depression. She said there wasn't a change in the standard of living they had. They lived in a rural area on a working farm. If they didn't raise it or make it, they didn't need it. They never had much to begin with and when the depression began they couldn't tell any difference. I suppose somewhere in that story is our lesson. I am afraid that we may have lost enough of our morals and skills and have grown so used to our creature comforts that perhaps a depression could be much harder on us than the last one . . . much harder. The earlier posters have made the needs very clear.

    • Just tonight I sat next to an old man at a party who told me about his life on a farm in South Dakota. "The only things we bought were sugar and spices." What an amazing example of self-reliance. It would be very difficult to duplicate in this day and age.

  20. I've been reading a blog from a guy in Venezuela and he has a lot of insights into what happens to a country after economic collapse. One thing he mentioned that has stuck with me is that they have trouble getting fruit, so can have trouble getting enough Vitamin C. Also, the need to have a high degree of situational awareness, especially around your home.

  21. This may be off topic, but it amazed me to find out the lady featured in the picture was 37 years old! 37!!!!

    • I have a feeling that a lot of us are going to look a whole lot older when beauty salons shut down or become prohibitively expensive, available only to a very tiny percentage of the population. Which reminds me that I need to stock up on dark brown hair color!

    • Really??? Whew! I suppose worry and starvation ages a person…. I was reading a book called *Clara's War* about 18 Jews hiding in a bunker under a home in Poland (excellent book, by the way), and she tells about how the hair of several of the people in hiding turned white practically overnight, even though they weren't that old.

      • Thanks for the book suggestion. :)

  22. My preparations have been pretty simple because money has been extremely limited. My husband was unemployed for 3 1/2 years straight – he just got a job 3 months ago. We make regular trips to the local Goodwill stores for clothing, sewing/crafting supplies, and general household goods. I’ve put up several shelving units and am filling them with food (store bought and home canned). We stock up on paper products, personal care items, pet food, and medical supplies. I'm usually buy 2 or 4 Sunday papers to get the coupons and then make my grocery list based on what’s on sale at the stores matching coupons to get as much as possible. When sales are “10 for $10” or “buy one get one free” I can easily get twice as much food for half price or less. The money I save means I have more to spend on milk, eggs, and meats. So far we’ve got about a 4 month supply of dry/jarred/canned food put away and we also have another 4 to 8 months worth of personal care products. Things will very likely get much harder in the coming few years, but we will be able to eat and stay clean even if (god forbid) we should be living on just one paycheck again.

  23. I advise stocking up on tools and tools and more tools. Especially consumable tools. A bow saw with a dozen extra blades. Extra drill bits. My cordless 14.4 drill is going on 12 years. I advise a solar panel for recharging.

    If you have the motivation, tools will help you tremendously in building what you need. I'm of the opinion that there will be an abundance of emptied structures to strip for raw materials.

    We will be pulling screws and nails from buildings. Every one will have value. But stocking up on extra boxes now is not a bad idea.

  24. That is exactly what I have been worried about. I have two very young kids. I have done and am doing everything I can to get us ready. I have learned to can, and gotten a seed bank, learned how to tan, jerky meat, and we have a plan for if the SHTF. We unfortunately live in a big city area, so no land, and we would not stay here. But our family has land and we plan on going there. They said we are always welcome. I have prepped and continue to do so putting away some food, but since we would be leaving, I cannot get enough for a year. As I prep I am watching as a slow motion train seems to be racing toward a cliff.

    • Cakesplosion, I'm sure your family with land would appreciate your food and other things like silver coin or medicine if you have room to pack it and take it with you, but more important in the long run is the bank of skills that you're building. In my family, I'm the one with the rural homestead that will shelter any family member who arrives here destitute. One of my big fears is that they'll all act like they're on vacation at my house, with me doing all the cooking, cleaning, gardening, and livestock managing. I don't relish being a disciplinarian, but I will have to lay down some pretty stiff rules at the beginning. It will take EVERYBODY working to produce enough food for all of us to survive. You've made a good start. I'm sure your family will appreciate your skills when the time comes.

  25. Outside of my car payment I now have zero debt. We rent, I dont own any property. Thinking about changing that soon. Have about 3 months of supplies. Have slowly been changing my lifestyle over the last couple of years to simplify. We live in town where I could walk to work if neccessary.

  26. We are concentrating on learning skills. This year we are learning to save seed from our garden produce. I learned to knit this summer and have gotten some yarn on clearance from different places. I just watched videos on how to make tallow candles and pemmican….we have never saved the tallow from the deer and elk that the boys harvest each fall…now we will! Hopefully, as times get harder the skills we learn will help fill in the needs as they arise.

  27. My parents both lived in the great depression. One set of grandparents didn't do much in the 1920's. Their family fell apart and the kids were left to go door-to-door begging for work in their early teens. The other set of grandparents lived very frugal. Got a farm, put in orchards, conserved, conserved, conserved and stared a dairy. When everyone around them started loosing their farms they were able to buy a large portion of them so the family could at least walk away with something. They gave the extra milk from the dairy, that they were going to feed the hogs to anyone who would bring a container.

    They last ones lived a pretty good life for the great depression. Even though my mom can't stand grape juice to this day (It was one of the main staples) and most people only wore one set of clothes. You bought them, wore them till they wore out and then bought another. They worked on conserving, being thrifty and learning skills and so were able to not only thrive but to help their neighbors along the way.

  28. I like the idea of stocking up on tools and spare parts. I plan on raiding my Dad's old hand tools.
    Also – While we're all talking about depression, I think we'll be seeing not only high prices and scarce commodities (if only because fleets will be grounded for lack of fuel or too-high fuel costs), but an actual lack of petroleum-based products like gas, plastics and rubber. So one thing we're doing is stocking up on spare tires for our biodiesel vehicles and bicycles, tire patching kits, plastic bags, etc. – anything made from petroleum that we think we need during a major transition to a different lifestyle.
    Oh – and fabric, thread, needles (besides food & seed).

  29. This is why I'm learning skills: gardening, animal husbandry, repair, crafting (practical things like knitting socks), cob building, and the like. I think if you already know how to do these things, it will be much easier to make the transition. I don't have to say more, Sharon Astyk has already said everything I need to say. :)

  30. My mom lived in a NYC tenement during the depression and it was pretty bad. She said the only time she got enough to eat was when they went to my great-aunt's farm in the summer to work. Sickness was everywhere and you couldn't afford medicines. My grandmother lost her hearing due to ear infections. All my mother's teeth were cracked and broken due to poor nutrition and illness.

  31. My parents both lived through the depression before they married. My father, at times nearly starved and worked at any job he could find. My mother's family owned a farm and always had food. They didn't have extra money and were very frugal but they were able to eat well. I think preparations must include knowledge….how to grow food, both animal and vegetable.

  32. Practical, hands-on knowledge is, by far, the best thing we can do for ourselves. What good is an emergency seed bank if we don’t have the proper soil for it and don’t know what to plant when? How do you can your produce and meat over a campfire? Do you know the medicinal properties of the common herbs we use for cooking? (I didn’t know that Thyme tea is excellent for upper respiratory problems–specifically the ears!) What about hunting without a gun? Butchering what you’ve managed to kill? Get past the squeamishness and learn how while there is time to make the necessary mistakes along that learning curve. We’re starting (again) to do these things, and it has been a learning experience, especially with a 9 and 10 year old who are now trying new things and not so sure about them. Wish I’d been doing this all along–circumstances prevented it, but still…

    • Is there a good book you can recommend about the healing powers of oils, plants, spices etc? We have just begun prepping over the past few months. I feel like I am so far behind the 8 ball it’s incredible. I have a budget of about $360 to 550 per month. I would like to get some books that will be of use in the coming depression. I have a few coming. I have started stocking up on mostly #10 cans of goods and buckets of flour both white and wheat. I have my sun oven and am loving it. Most of you have been at this for so long though… We don’t have the option to move from our suburb but do have a pretty good size garden. In the summer months it is difficult well ok impossible to grow without good water in the summer here in the shinning Valley of the Sun in
      Arizona deserts!

  33. I have started stockpiling can goods, non-perishables, shampoo, soap and things of this sort. We live on a small farm 5 acres, I am learning to garden. This year was a first attempt, I learned more than I produced. Next year will be much better. My goal is to slowly be able to get off the grid. I am ordering solar lights for the house inside. We owe quite a bit on our place, so if things get real bad, we may have to pitch a tent at my brothers hunt camp. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

  34. I have land in a very rural area. I have been acquiring hand tools, especially carpentry, gardening and woodcutting. I garden, though not yet as productive as I want. I raise sheep. Have a source of rabbits if I need to start raising them again.
    know in theory how to make soap, brain tan hides and such like. Has anyone thought of blacksmithing? Back in the day every village had a blacksmith. figure we’d need at least one skilled blacksmith for every few hundred people.
    Am learning foraging.

  35. Interestingly enough I had a grandmother and mother who lived through the Great Depression with lots of info! My grandmother lived on a farm, worked hard, lived frugally, wasted nothing ( even cooking water went back to water the gardens…and amazing gardens she had!). She reused paper towels and foil later on in life, composted, never bought anything without purpose ( big lesson there!). She spoke of hard times but not starvation.
    My mother grew up in New York City and painted quite a different picture: standing in food lines for bread every week, no heat or electricity ( too expensive) , cooking potato soup on a potbelly stove, clothing from the Salvation Army, quitting school at 9 years old to work in a pencil factory for food for her family, getting Christmas presents from the local church ( one gift, a wooden cradle, her father promptly broke up and burned to keep his children warm…heartbreaking).
    While hard times are ahead, I think the standard of living is so different now that we have many ways to downgrade and still live very, very well. It goes back to living intentionally, shopping with purpose and planning ahead. We do need to learn to provide for ourselves and learn long lost skills should our modern conveniences ne’er return. We also truly need to return to forming communities, getting to know our neighbors beyond a wave hello at the mailbox as we hurry inside.
    Living in New England, we saw the ice storm of ’09 take out power for over a month. My husband and I have been helping out in the Rockaways (Long Island, NY) after hurricane Sandy. I can tell you firsthand, people come together to help each other. It would be very wise to start making those connections as part of prepping rather than wait and see what happens.
    One comment I would like to add is a very important prep is basic first aid and CPR. Learn about herbal / holistic medicine but also, try to stockpile some antibiotics if you can.
    Survival Mom, you rock! This is THE BEST site for information and resources. Keep up the wonderful work you do!

  36. Notice a constant truth here? I used to have a class in a large city teaching people skills and urging them to make the move to the country. We had a very interesting large panel discussion on the depression. We invited people who had lived thru the depression and could relate stories of what they went thru. I’m glad we filmed it (quite amateur but a good record). It was fascinating! One consistent thing was that those who had lived in the country, had gardens lived like “kings and queens” compared to those who lived in the cities. They often said that as children, they didn’t know they had it bad. They ate well, played outdoors with siblings, cousins, etc. People in the cities often went hungry, stood in bread lines, and made a meal out of the most meager ingredients.

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