Six month progress report

A quick check-in on my goals set out six months ago….here were the topics:

  1. Water security. Done. Have 5000 gallons of rainwater harvested. It only took about 10 days of rain to gather. Amazing.
  2. Food security. Done. Regular biointensive gardens + permaculture food forest + backyard chickens installed. Chest freezer + storage closet full of one year’s food as backup.
  3. Personal training. In progress. Unarmed self defense training is well underway; I’ll continue practicing this in perpetuity. Next up is likely medical training via advanced CPR and EMT classes.
  4. Physical security. In progress. We start weapons training at local range this month. Motion-sensitive security lights installed. Safe room planned but not constructed. Dogs discussed but not yet purchased.
  5. Transportation alternatives. Done. The longtail utility bike works well for me, although this might expand to an inexpensive neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) in the future, replacing one of our gas cars.
  6. Wealth management. In progress. Actually, it is just on hold. And I don’t have an excuse for the inaction, other than these are very weird economic times. There is zero consensus among money managers what type of investments to be pursuing right now.
  7. Energy security. In progress. Whole house generator in place. Two cords of wood for fireplace stove in place. Solar hot water tubes scheduled for a March installation. Still have several months left for measuring wind speed for our location to see if wind mills are feasible.

Overall, I’m pleased with our progress. It has spurred many conversations re: emergency preparedness with others in our small town, with both old and new friends.

And I’ve avoided getting cauliflower ear so far in MMA training. Thank goodness for arnica. 🙂


Building relationship networks

While some believe emergency preparedness is best done as a solo effort, far away from “civilization” and prying eyes in a remote location, I believe the opposite to be true. Similair to the conclusion that Neil Strauss reached in his Emergency book, I plan to stay and help when the national emergency hits, not run away from it.

More wisdom from Joel Skousen:

“Possessing a few personal friends you can intrinsically trust at all times is one of the most important contingency preperations you can make.”

Part of my personal training is using some of my natural skill set of marketing and networking (Hey! My current skills are not *completely* useless!) to build a strong network of friends and colleagues who share this same passion for being prepared…and specifically being prepared so that we can help others who did not make preparations to weather the next two week power outage due to us selling our electricity to California, the next local volcanic eruption, or the next national/international economic meltdown. It will take a group of folks who are already prepared and thinking clearly to help our country and cities regain positive momentum.

I’m building three overlapping networks of contacts: local, regional, and national.

The national guys are already in place. It was numerous emails with these lifelong friends (“brothers” would be a more accurate term) that led me to create this blog as a time-saving and information-dispersing vehicle. They are each on their own path – somewhere along this continuum of preparations – from bare minimum (storing two weeks of water and a lot of ammo) to significant (way to go St. Louis!). The general idea is that because we are spread all over the US, if a regional emergency dictates that we need to leave quickly for a short duration (Mt Rainier erupts, chemical spill, whatever) we can go to whichever area is safest. On the to-do list: get Canadian passports in case we have no easy way to reach these friends on the other side of the country during an emergency situation. We can always go north.

The regional network is my least developed at this stage. I suspect it will consist mostly of regional farmers and others concerned with food/water security, but I have not spent alot of thought here yet. If there is a future business idea somewhere in all this thinking/planning/doing, it is likely at the regional level. Something that could be freely shared and replicated in other regions of our country and beyond.

The local network is my current focus. I want to get to know folks that I could reach by walking or bicycling, which limits this network to our small town of 23,000 people who live in a (roughly) 4 mile by 8 mile stretch of land. In a world of very expensive gas, I may still be able to afford to drive a vehicle around, but most folks won’t. Which will lead to something we’ll want to avoid: attention and resentment.

Current local plan:
  1. Connect the various parts of our small town via ham radio to maintain contact even during emergencies when our phone and cell systems have shown they can be easily overwhelmed. Specifically have these ham radios sit at locations where we are connecting food, water, and reliable heavy transportation (horses). These radios are not sitting at city government offices, but in private homes of clued-in people.
  2. Map walking/biking/horse riding paths for non-vehicle transportation around our town.
  3. Create my own personal “Board of Mentors” of those who can train me, help me, and join me in leading our small town in preparedness.
Current local network:
  • A close friend who is clued-in and knows many of our local farmers on a first name basis. He’s a rebel rouser who has proven that he can create positive solutions that fly in the face of traditional wisdom. The one who clued me in to Wendell Barry.
  • An acquaintance who is an expert on ham radio, electric vehicles as alternative transportation, and has significant financial resources.
  • A close friend who has recently become a local micro-farmer / micro-rancher. The one who turned me on to Joel Salatin.
  • Several acquaintances who are skilled craftsmen (wood working, plumbing, etc).
  • An acquaintance who is a permaculture expert.
  • A former student who is an alternative energy expert (solar and wind). We’re setting up a tool next week to measure our wind capabilities for the next year.
  • An acquaintance who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and member of our town’s volunteer fire department. He also trains doing MMA, so he may become a reliable Krav Maga sparring partner as well. Although I’d have to convince him this is not a sport for me, but a way to keep my family and friends safe.

What roles am I missing? You tell me. Either comment below or send me email at optoutenmasse at gmail dot com.