Yes, it’s been a while since any blog posts or new articles on SurvivalRing. Life’s like that sometimes when you have multiple priorities in your life, including a real world job with the state of Wyoming, a home business, caring for grandchildren and helping adult offspring, dealing with multiple vehicular mechanical issues and then doing all the repairs yourself, and then trying to maintain health and household needs to boot.
Unlike hundreds of other survival and self reliance websites, with authors and bloggers who update daily, or even weekly, my website (and blog) is first and foremost a RESOURCE. Gigabytes of downloads of ebooks, government manuals, sheltering plans, fallout planning, and the entire spectrum of all-hazards planning, self reliance content, technical info and data, classic books from the first decades of the 20th century, and so much more.
Obviously, I get a lot of traffic, moving 1.6 terabytes (1,600 gigabytes, or 1,600,000 megabytes) of data this past year. These are ASTOUNDING numbers for any survival or preparedness website. As we enter our 14th year online, I truly expect these numbers to continue to increase every day, every week, and every month.
But, with all this data being downloaded, I get virtually NO feedback from visitors. Maybe one or two emails a week at the MOST. In the early years of my websites coming online in the mid to late 1990s, such as the original Blast Shelter website on AOL, I would get dozens of emails a month, and sometimes a week. I loved looking forward to these incoming suggestions, ideas, thanks, and critiques, and even taunts for some of my crazy ideas.
Something has faded…
I returned to college in 2003, and brought my web development skills up to the cutting edge of technology and web services. This current site design allows for visitor interaction that is second to none…commenting on anything, forums, chat, help desk, and more. They’re not being used. Programming and search functions allow visitors to find content ANYWHERE on site instantaneously, and our Google search engine placement in finding rare content and documents on our site is at the top of the charts.
As technology, social networking, the economy, and a myriad of other variables have adjusted the past few years, I’ve noticed the rise, and fall, of many survival websites. New groups, such as the American Preppers Networks, blog and Facebook groups, many rather large forums, and some well known authors frequently are targeted in the media as “resources” because of what these groups WRITE…which is mostly opinion, editorials, or reposting of news stories, OTHER websites content, and far rarer, actual NEW content and thinking in the realm of self reliance and self sufficiency.
Articles are good for Google and other search tools to keep those site’s rankings up. But, original content is not often enough. The genre of “Survivalist” rantings (always on that bleeding media edge of “good survivalist/bad survivalist” neo-liberalist agendas) are generally a mishmash of myth, potential broken laws, overheated rhetoric, anti-social diatribes, name-calling, misdirection, media bashing, self aggrandizing, gun porn, post-civilization looting ideas, or societal breakdown scenarios and alternative sources for food, water, ammo, bartering, or militaristic tripe.
Boy, do I sound jaded and cynical, or what?
Authors such as James Rawles of SurvivalBlog fame have a large following of loving fans, and covers quite a range of “survivalist” topics. Podcaster Jack Spirko of TheSurvivalPodcast.com has put almost 600 podcasts in the can in the last few years, while spouting quite the range of personal survival ideals and rhetoric on everything from gun choices to herbal actions. Long time author and close friend James Talmage Stevens, creator of Making the Best of Basics, has spent 36 years updating and enhancing his book, now in its 12th edition, and one of the best resources I’ve found for THE BASICS of self reliance.
These and many other up-and-comers are making inroads to the average American everyday, thanks to media coverage of a tanking economy, urban mass murders, illegal immigration, soaring unemployment, and US job opportunities evaporating. Every news story these days appears to have some kind of implication of potential teaching moments for a self reliant mind.
What to do? Personally, as my first paragraph mentions, every day may require you to solve a personal problem with your own hands, instead of using lawyers, banks, or mechanics to solve it for you. Why? Money…income…moolah…dinero. That’s the biggest thing. Personal savings in the last few years have plummeted the last 60 years, with the lowest around 0.8% in 2005 and the highest at 14.6% in 1975.
Many families live today with no savings, and below poverty lifestyle. I know…my family and I lived below poverty levels for several years when we all went back to college at the same time. Full time college, multiple part time jobs EACH.
For decades of each of our families generations, we lived without…did without…learned without. Then, the government stepped in and started taking money from the middle class to give the lower class (read “poor”) a free handout….aka welfare. Now, our current administration has added more to the National Debt of the US, than ALL the debts of previous presidents in our nation’s history ADDED TOGETHER.
There has never been a better time to LIVE a self reliant lifestyle. Low impact, minimal profile, positively sustainable, and frugal as Hell. It’s now a REQUIREMENT to live comfortably.
There are some shining lights of hope across the land, but precious little from our leaders at all levels of government. Welfare and handouts (and tax cuts and rebates) tease us with “free money”, deftly stolen from us by the bureaucrats in recent years through all kinds of fees, tax hikes, budgetary realignments, and absolute corruption.
The absolute minimums of human survival are water, food, and shelter…in that order.
Utility bills are rising everywhere…our main sources of water. Water tables and watershed storage are being fought over by state against state, seeing who will outwit and outlast the other to get the precious surface acreage of clean reservoirs of water and downstream divisions of flow. Some states and municipalities are charging well owners per gallon for using their own well water (because the underground water table is community property, much like a marriage). Others are charging for capture of runoff water from rain and snow events from above, trapped in cisterns and water tanks…again, community property. Laws for these…all evil and wrong.
Solution? Study your community’s water rights, and find ways to reuse what water you do have, through filtering, grey water systems, irrigation, and storage systems.
Food supplies and sources are drying up. Farmers across the US are losing farms at alarming rates. Crops are increasingly using genetically modified seeds that require special pesticide and chemicals for optimal output and growth. Milk, bread, butter, veggies, and every food stock you see in stores today keep having price hikes. Many foods are grown out of the US and imported, using health laws not nearly as tight as the US. Diseases and illness outbreaks from this bad food and these external sources are causing more and more recalls, outbreaks, infections, and deaths.
Solution? Grow your own food. Shop when sales are lowest and value per ounce is highest, and store for those times when the value decreases and costs soar. Look into hydroponics or container gardening for nutritious food that you can grow year round. Barter or trade at farmers markets. Find sources for heritage seeds…those that grow plants in your garden where you can REUSE the seeds to grow NEXT spring’s plants and vegetables. Raise some small livestock, such as chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, even goats and a sheep or two. Find a local farmer who raises beef or swine, and check into purchasing a side of beef, a hog, or similar meat source. The quality will be better, the savings per pound greater, and the taste surprising nice.
Lastly, let’s discuss shelter. Foreclosures of homes in the US have never been higher. Walk-aways are the new trend of ex-homeowners…walking away from mortgages they’re upside down in. Tent cities are appearing in every large metropolitan area. Shanty towns are spreading across America, JUST like the Great Depression. Thousands of people live in cars, under bridges, in tents around parks, squat in vacant homes and boarded up storefronts, or in cardboard boxes near roads and industrial areas. Why? What has REALLY happened to this nation to allow THIS kind of quality of life to become the defacto standard for our nation’s poorest citizens?
Homelessness is the new “American Nomad”. Laws against loitering are being hardened in trying to deal with this housing mess and these afflicted yet proud Americans, who would work their asses off for good honest work…if jobs were available that paid living wages.
Ever worked fast-food to get a paycheck to support your family? I have. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do. Yet, service jobs like this are what most available jobs are. Yes, my family and I even become homeless months before 9/11 (long story short…old friend bilked me out of life savings), and started all over again from scratch, and without a degree or certificate, even with 25 years of working experience, I had to begin all over again with a job making hamburgers. I’m not immune from it…and neither are any of you reading this.
Solution? Find the smallest apartment, home, trailer, or RV you can live in, and afford to keep warm and dry. Sell possessions you JUST don’t have room for. Barter some of them for more useful items, such as tools to make extra money on odd jobs with. Save every penny, reuse every leftover, and share whatever you can with those even less fortunate than you.
Married, with kids? Deal with it, think small, and live frugal. At our restart of our life, my wife, 3 kids and I shared a small 2 bedroom apartment. Our bedroom was the living room. No privacy. Front door opened to our bed. Fun.
Live with the least amount of shelter you can afford, yet which gives you room for food storage, tools, and communications (TV, radio, internet, etc.). Again, save every penny, take every odd job offered, sell your excess, and put away for those rainy days that come everyday now.
What’s left? Lifestyle. Some folks party or entertain. Some drink to excess. Some enjoy the outdoors and supplement their table with their catch or kill (which has been done for thousands of years). Others travel. Everyone has SOMETHING to do with their personal downtime. In this economy, downtime can mean another job, creative things, or business opportunities.
Got room? Rent space to a friend. Barter for storage. Grow tomatoes and trade for protein.
Got time? Teach, mentor, train, or volunteer. Somethings are priceless, such as time helping another person become more self reliant.
Got money? Learn how to invest WISELY.
Got wheels? Get odd jobs, deliver pizza, be a taxi service, do house calls for whatever skills you can offer others.
Got skills? Apply them, fine tune them, use them. Build furniture, repair appliances, change light bulbs, trim trees.
Got something else? Find a way to share it and possibly pull some income from it.
The times we live in…right here, right now…are what we will be known by in our own futures. Our descendants will look back and see their roots…in us. How we deal with this current adversity and turmoil is how WE will be remembered. I’m still here…so are you. The end, while apparently approaching, is not quite at our doorstep…just yet.
To return to the beginning…
…miles to go before I sleep”
~ Robert Frost
I have a lot of catching up to do with SurvivalRing. I want to continue adding the same downloadable content I’ve become known for. I also want to blog news and ideas and stories on a regular basis. I’ve been around on the web a LOT longer than most of these Prepper Whippersnappers have. I ooze ideas and concepts daily. I geek about something hourly.
Oh, and I like to help. That should be obvious by my traffic, longevity, and availability.
I know what all those other guys do, as we’ve discussed above. How can *I* help *you* with what I already have to offer, or can produce, or have ready to share?
COMMENT and tell me. CONTACT and tell me. EMAIL and tell me.
I have years yet to put into this project called SurvivalRing. I know you want it…but give me some direction….