Location Location Location: Away from the city
That started when I bought this property. First of all it is the desert of Arizona, right off the bat Arizona is a good state to live in, it is wide open, Arizona is gun friendly and I already love the desert. The property is in a decent location in comparison to big cities. Phoenix is about 200 miles to the south Los Angles is 300 miles to the West and Albuquerque is about 450 miles to the east. Why is that a concern? Well if something goes wrong in any of those cities or all of them.
There will be a wave of people moving out from the cities, first in vehicles, then later on foot. Looking for resources. Phoenix is the closest to me and has close to 2 million people living there. Now when people start looking for resources if they look my direction all they will see is 200 miles of barren desert and no reason to go that way, but some will come anyway.
Safety & Security: Things that make my home more survivable
My place is 4 miles down a rough old road from the nearest main road. Then when you arrive at my drive way you can see the house but it is built in the center of the 10 acres. So there is more than 100 yards of drive way and the house is surrounded by as much of my private property as possible. Most houses are built very close to the road and very close to the neighbors. My closest neighbor built within 30 feet of my property line but is still 200 yards from my house. This makes my home very defensible, it is also 2 stories which gives me the high ground.
Water Source: I have my own private and deep well
Another reason I chose this place is it has a private well near the house. The property is located in a fairly low and wet portion of Arizona, so the well is likely to produce water in all but the worst droughts. I think it will have to stop raining for several years before I have to worry about digging deeper. Of course if the power goes down You have to have alternate sources of power to get the water out of the ground. Right now I am relying on a back up generator and stored gasoline to keep me in life giving water. I have been actively getting ready for a solar back up system and will be sharing an article about how all that works and how you can do it too.
Growing Your Own Food: Improvements since I moved in a garden
One of the first things I did was start a garden, yes in the middle of the desert you can grow lots of food. It looked like there had been a small garden here before it was flat and the brush was much taller in this flat area. So I cleared all the brush out of the area and started tossing all the rocks to the edge of the fence.
After the area was cleared I went to the local big box store and bought like 70 bags of steer manure and spread them around the garden area. My area is something like 40 x 40 feet. So I decided I wanted a rototiller, went out and found a used one that seemed to be in great shape. Brought it home and went to work, tilling up all the soil and mixing in the steer manure. As I went through the soil I picked out most of the rocks that I could find and tossed them over to the fence line. When I was done I had a nice little spot and the start of my own food supply.
Not only do I produce some of my own food but it is far better tasting and better for my body than the store bought food. I also bought some blood meal and bone meal to add to the soil. I have an old horse coral on the lower end of the property, so I dug out a bunch of that well rotted manure from there and added it into the garden as well. Then since I am in a very dry desert I had to start watering the garden so the soil would break down the manure and the bacteria would get to work as well. Each year I add new material to the garden like leaves, manure, blood and bone meal. Leaves food scraps and compost. Each year the garden gets a little bigger and wider.
I used steel tee posts to make a chicken wire fence all around the garden, mostly to keep small critters and dogs out of the garden. I made it low enough that I can throw my leg over the fence and just walk right in. At the bottom I left some extra chicken wire and laid about 4 to 6 inches along the top of the ground. Then used some stakes and rocks to hold it down. other wise dogs and other critters would just lift the bottom with their nose and walk right under the fence. I have grown with good success, tomatoes, green peppers, Mexican peppers, onions, cucumbers, squash, water melons, potatoes and some herbs. I am sure with a little more effort I can grow almost all that I need. I do not use any pesticides or chemicals in the garden. The only thing I have used is dish soap in a spray bottle. When the bugs show up and they will show up. I spray the leaves with the soapy water and it slows them down. The bugs still eat some of my garden but I just plant some extra so there is enough for me in the end.
Birds eat ripe tomatoes like crazy the only thing I found the will slow them down it to shoot a couple few of the offenders and hang them on a string around the garden, this seems to deter some from eating the tomatoes.
Livestock: Chickens for eggs
Right now I have some chickens for laying eggs, they are in their coop and I do buy their feed. But even at that the eggs I eat are 100% natural real good for me. If I need to I can turn them loose during the day and they will fend for them selves. All I need to do is add a rooster and I will have meat and eggs for as long as I need them. I am considering trying other animals, maybe a couple goats or even a pig.
Dry Goods & Food Supply: Pantry
I do have a pantry it is stocked with all the items that I use daily. Plus sometimes our grocery store has a case sale and I pick up as much as I can use in things like Tomato paste, corn, peanut butter, beans, mushroom soup. Also in my pantry are about 40 quarts of home canned tomatoes, they great for spaghetti, chili, vegetable soup and other recipes. I buy large quantities of things like sugar and rice to store bigger amounts of them. My pantry is not meant to last for years it is phase one for a pantry. Hard core pantries might have hundreds of pounds of freeze dried products especially designed to last for years.
Food Storage: Deep freeze
I have a small deep freeze freezer in my pantry as well, it is full so I will be adding another small one or perhaps a bigger one not sure yet which one is best. I also bought the food sealer and a bunch of extra bags. The food sealer is needed to be sure that the meat you freeze is usable when you eat it 8 or 10 or 12 months from now. Do not try to freeze meat without sealing bags your results will be a disaster. The freezer is a great way to extend you food supply for an extra year or more. It also gives me the ability to hunt large game such as deer elk, and javelina, bear, mountain lion and many other animals, then seal the meat in freezer bags. The meat will be awesome for at least a year and edible for much longer.
Food Preservation: Home canning & preserving
I have been home canning some of the things from the garden for a couple years now. I do a lot of tomatoes because they are great for cooking all year long. I am able to can just about everything that grows in the garden so having the canning equipment is a very important step in being able to survive. When I am shopping I just grab some extra jars and lids to store in my pantry. You never know when I might need extra, or when the store that sells them might be gone.
Protecting my home: Weapons & Ammo
Of course I have the ability to protect my home from invaders, some good rechargeable spot lights go a long way in keeping secure at night. Weapon mounted lights and lasers are something I am a big believer in. I feel the Ar 15 is one of the best all around home defense weapons. When mounted with a good scope a 223 with 55 grain varmint rounds are deadly to 500 yards. The same round is great for close quarters combat as well because it does not over penetrate, it will not exit on any thing larger than a coyote. Most walls will stop the round.
When the AR 15 is fitted with a high quality light and laser combo it is simply deadly inside any home and it is an invasion stopper out to 100 yards at night or in low light. In direct sun the laser in only deadly out to 20 or 30 yards, but then the scope works quite well and I might add that most bad guys operate either at night or in low light conditions. The AR uses standard 30 round clips which are 100 % reliable, that is a lot of fire power and extra clips are about $20. Let me say here do not buy the inexpensive gear, when you purchase a AR 15 expect to pay around $1000 a good laser light combo is around $250 or $300. A good scope is a minimum of $200, if you buy cheap gear it will let you down. Trust me do not trust your families life to cheap guns or gear. The more you spend the better you will like it and the better it will perform. Ammo, reloading is the best way to lower the cost of the ammo and increase the accuracy and quality of your ammo. Who knows how much ammo we will need to survive? More is always better.
My Tribe: My grown children live with me
I have 4 children, when the first 2 were grown they moved out as soon as possible to start their own lives. Then something changed in me and I realized having my kids around my home like a community was a good thing. They work with me in our family business and they can go when they want but we will always find a way for them to return, when they are ready. What better way to survive than with your grown family? Of course they have their own living quarters, away from my house. We gather for big dinners or BBQ times. It is good to have family around, and my hope is we will all be back in one place together again very soon.
Solar Power Backup: Keeping your food and lights
The next thing on my list is a solar back up system which if needed can keep me alive indefinitely. It will keep water pumping and my freezer freezing, my fridge will still be running and the basics will keep going for a long long time. Freeze dried foods are something I need to get in my pantry things that can last for years in case there is not help from the outside.
TO DO LIST: More for me to do to make my home more survivable
Now I still have plenty to do to make my home more survivable. What I have done is for short to mid term emergencies, that tougher more expensive options are geared towards indefinite survival without any help from the outside world.
Next time you are looking for a new home
Maybe next time you are looking for a new home you will think about some of these things to help you and your family survive. Any part of being prepared will help if you are ever faced with a survival situation. You might even choose a better place than mine, maybe your place is flowing with milk and honey. Wild game all over the place, cool rainy weather for growing food. Not a dry a desolate desert like where my home is. But remember the hoards that live in the cities will be heading to the places of plenty because they need plenty for them to survive.
Living in the city means you are in the target zone. Any attack from terrorists or people will always be aimed at our cities. The hardest place to survive is the city simply because there are far to many people for the city to support without constant in bound shipments. You can live in or near a city and still be prepared to survive, it will just take more planning and skills to actually make it though.
Even in your current home you can start some of these preparations they really might be what saves you and your family some day, it might be tomorrow. We do not know what tomorrow brings, but we do know what our needs are for tomorrow. Will your family have what they need to survive? What will they go through if you do not prepare and something does go wrong? Can you imagine the possibilities?
I know I can and I know that is why I prepare.