It's too late to wait!TM

What is The Basic Life?

Definition

From Merrium-Webster:

 ba·sic   adj \ˈbā-sik also -zik\
 
 1  : of, relating to, or forming the base or
      essence : fundamental <basic truths>
 2  : constituting or serving as the basis or
      starting point <a basic set of tools> 

The Basic Life website is devoted to sharing the lessons I've learned while I continue the process of getting myself and my family into a lifestyle of preparedness and self-sufficiency. I alone am responsible for my own and my family's well being and am accountable for insuring it. Likewise, you alone are responsible for your and your family's welfare. Ten years ago, for most Americans this simply meant regular contributions to your 401(k) account, a rainy-day savings account and some decent insurance. However, as the current economic and geopolitical conditions continue their downward spiral, it is increasingly apparent that we all face an uncertain future, and the wise among us will prepare for it as best they can. I won't be able to feed you (and I will no try to), but I can teach you in this website how to prepare to provide for yourself in prolonged emergency scenarios. After those instructions, your future is up to you. If you do not plant, you will not sow; if you do not work, you will not eat. This site is about sharing information and ideas about being accountable, being intentional, being prepared. I approach this at four levels: first from a viewpoint of “emergency/disaster preparedness”, second from a viewpoint of being prepared for a long term crisis such as extended unemployment or severe economic downturn, third from a “do it now/live your precepts” mindset in which we practice today living aspects of a sustainable lifestyle we would be forced to live in a longterm crisis, and fourth from a viewpoint of community servant-leadership. My challenge to you is to start today, right now, on simplifying your life and preparing for the unsure future America faces.

The Basic Life is not about pursuing some sort of goofy post-apocalyptic Mad Max gung-ho survivalist expertise, nor a hippie utopian Birkenstock-wearing primitivism involving living in teepees and eating magic mushrooms while the government pays for your college classes on Marxism. It is more a combination of two growing movements in America called homesteading and prepping. The term prepping has some negative or commical “Doomsday Preppers” connotations, but it should not. The Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared”, and that's all I'm encouraging here - simply being prepared for any situation we can reasonably foresee finding ourselves in. These are far from new lifestyles in America, having been practiced since America began, but their reemergence in post-industrial America is certainly significant and driven by the current economic decline and stagflation (stagnent economy + price inflation). These lifestyle practices of prepping and homesteading are often times practiced in tandem with great synergy, but fortunately they don't have to be. That means you can be a “prepper” - putting away food and supplies for emergencies - even in a high-rise appartment where homesteading is harder to do (but you can still grow tomatoes in pots!). Many writers concentrate on either homesteading or prepping - my approach is to encourage you to do both of them to the greatest practical extent that you can given your own unique life situation. In all honesty, getting back to a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle has proven to be quite pleasing and fulfilling for our family. (My eldest child jokingly refers to our family's journey as “going Amish”). It is about about realigning the basis of our life on a firm foundation which serves as a starting point to the other aspects of our lives. For my family this includes constantly nurturing a deeper relationship with God. God is the central core of everything in my life and I will occasionally refer to my beliefs in this writing, for which I make no apologies. The vast majority of this content, however, will be a secular and practical how-to on materially preparing yourself and your family to physically weather any storm. This content is for everyone, regardless of your religious beliefs, and regardless of if you are a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. The only people this is NOT for is those who believe the government should take care of all your needs, so you should have to do nothing. For those people, I am afraid there is nothing I can do to help you.

How To Use This Site

This site is created using Wiki software, much like Wikipedia. There are many different pages to this site; you are currently on the Home Page. Navigation is simple, just click on the hyperlinks. These hyperlinks are found in the Navigation Menu on the left (very important), and are also often times embedded in the text (I'll often link to things as I write about them). A “breadcrumb” trail of the pages you visited will appear in the “Trace:” line at the very bottom of the text area, so you can get back to earlier pages that way or by simply hitting the [BACK] button on your browser.

But wait, there's more! There's a great Blog and Discussion Group for The Basic Life on Freedom Connector! Go check it out! You will have to join Freedom Connector (for free) to join The Basic Life group and take full advantage of all the features, but it's well worth the 90 seconds joining takes! I can praddle on all day long and be of some use to you, but the best bang for your buck is hearing the opinions and directly discussing issues with other like minded people who face many of the same challenges you do! We also now have a Facebook Page! It's brand new and very raw, but I'll try to post notices there whenever I change this main site. Please join & “Like” us there!!

Please note that this site is and will remain a work in progress. Among other things that means it's organization is only borderline to acceptable, a fact for which I apologize and will work to improve (feedback is welcome!). I add to it daily in real time. The “stubbed” pages which do not exist yet will exist soon.

Purpose

This has become a personal interest of mine for a number of reasons. I have spent a fair amount of time and effort to gather together this information, and it seems to me an ethical failure to not share it with anyone who may also be interested. It is my goal to be a blessing to those who might find this information to be beneficial to them and their families. Please understand I am not trying to convince you to agree with me on any given issue. It is offered freely in the event that you do find you agree with me at some level. The emergency scenarios The Basic Life envisions can range from anything such as having to flee your residence due to wildfires to long term unemployment and organized civil unrest (which we are already starting to see with the Tides Foundation and SEIU among others coordinating the “Occupy Wall Street” mobs). Read this great article from a classical economist at the Warsaw Business Journal. I lean more Austrian than Classical in economic theory, but this is a great read - thanks to John White for sharing!

If feces really does hit the oscillating rotors, we are going to need 6 things, the “Six Gs” as someone has termed it: Grub (water, food, means to cook, as well as sanitation & and medical supplies), Gasoline (includes all fuels such as diesel & propane as well as other energy sources such as generators, batteries, etc.), Gold (and silver, and other valuable trade items like toilet paper and whiskey), Ground (home, or at least shelter, clothing and warmth), Guns (and ammo, and lessons, and weekly range practice, and a CCL if your state allows), and God (an abiding faith that there is a God, you will someday answer to him, he has a long history for getting rather testy about that whole sin thing, and serving Him is done by serving others).

There are people I know of in my state of Texas who, in the almost worst case scenario of the electrical grid going down and the government faltering, would scarcely notice it happened. Their gardens and hunting and husbandry would provide most all of their food needs. Their ACs and freezers would continue to run off the batteries trickle charged by their solar panels. Neither you or I are in that situation. We may not be able to get there. But we can start moving in that general direction today.

A Four Level Approach

As I got started in all this (my journey, not the website), I didn't want to look like a radical idiot, especially in my wife's eyes. Friends have expressed the same emotions to me as they began down this path in their own lives. My advice to them and you is to consider what is the best case scenario, and then consider what is the worst case scenario. More difficult, you must read the landscape and consider what is the most likely scenario. You must develop your own view of these scenarios based on rational logic, collaborated facts and knowledge of current events. Now, I can easily follow current events to their logical conclusion and foresee a really ugly worst case, in which those who are fully prepared will fare far, far better than those who are not prepared. This has matured into my approach of preparing for the very worst I can imagine (and I have a vividly creative imagination), and working diligently to bring about the best for my family and neighbors.

But on the flip side, if I stretch my imagination to it's furthest extent, I could possibly hallucinate that the economy will get better and within a few years we'll all be back on track again, everyone who wants one will have a good paying job doing what they most want to do in life, Obama will go down as the greatest President in US history, and the Islamist Jihadis will realize we Americans really aren't that bad and will find a Sura in the Koran somewhere which states “You should just get along with the Christians and the Jews. Love and life please Allah more than hatred and murder.” In that shiny best case scenario, which is far less likely than the really ugly most likely scenario, I will have bought long term food storage I can consume happily over 25 years or donate to food banks, I'll have a nice garden, I will have increased my skills as a baker of fresh ground artisan whole wheat breads, I'll have a few yard birds clucking happily by their hen house, some fruit trees with pretty blooms in the Spring, a new family hobby or two with activities which bring me closer to my kids, and a healthy investment portfolio.

Using the approach I'll share, there really is no downside regardless of which direction things play out… In the worst case scenario, you can not escape the scenario, but you are prepared to get through it as unscathed as possible. In the best case scenario, you have an abundance in your own life which you can share with others. In the mean time, while this all plays out, you will have new hobbies and peace of mind knowing you are doing everything that can be done.

I simply advise being prudent and being prepared, and lay out a path with many options to achieving that goal. I'll tell you what you should consider investing in, why you should consider investing in it, and point you to the vendors offering the best values I can find. While I can lead you to water, I can't make you drink. Almost everything I recommend is truly an investment in something with tangible value which can be resold or consumed. I will state downsides of the investment if I see any, so you can make an informed and thoughtful decision. At the end of the day, you have to make the decision: will I get off the couch and take action, or sit on the idea until it's too late to act? That choice is yours and yours alone. Choose wisely.

Prepare for the worst and work diligently to bring about the best.

Level 1 - Emergency Preparedness

In preparing for the worst, we first need to think about disaster (or emergency) preparedness. Throughout this wiki, I will refer to this level of preparedness as “Level 1 preparedness”, and will also refer to the situations themselves as “Level 1 disasters”. These Level 1 emergencies are the kind of stuff FEMA was created for. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts and floods are emergencies America deals with every year, and yet many Americans remain completely unprepared for it (examples: New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and NY/NJ after Hurricane Sandy).

According to The American Red Cross, “An average of at least one disaster per week occurs somewhere in the world that requires international assistance.” (Red Cross ReadyRN MOD1: Essentials of Disaster Planning). No one should take these lightly; living through Hurricane Ike, I huddled with my terrified children as a tree crashed through the roof of one of our upstairs bedrooms and water rushed in, I can personally attest that these events can be very destructive (we were without electricity for 2 weeks) and murderously dangerous (Ike killed 195 people). These emergencies have something in common: the government still functions and after hours or days or weeks, government help arrives to assist with the recovery and rebuilding. Basic services are temporarily interrupted, and people have to fend for themselves until services are restored. There is nothing weird or bizarre about preparing for recurring natural disasters - in fact to not prepare would be obviously foolish and short-sighted. This then is where we will start, with wise and prudent actions to address obvious risk. We will first prepare our families to be self-sufficient for three days, and then for a week, and then for a month.

Details on exactly what to do and how to do it will be presented later - for now, let's continue with our overview.

Level 2 - Calamity Preparedness

As we prepare for this first level of natural disasters, we will automatically be making beneficial preparations which will apply towards meeting the goals of Level 2 preparedness. To a large extent, the main practical differentiators between Level 1 and Level 2 preparedness is the duration of time you are preparing for. There are some other differences, though. If a common denominator of the Level 1 scenarios is that government aid at some level is reasonably expected soon, Level 2 preparation scenarios are united in the realistic expectation that there will be little or no governmental or societal help forthcoming in the foreseeable future. In Level 1 scenarios, basic services are interrupted; in Level 2 scenarios, basic services are disrupted. FEMA will not be on the way, pulling trailers for temporary housing. There will be no shipments of free cases of water bottles being delivered daily to calm people waiting in orderly lines at predetermined distribution points. Police and Fire Departments and Ambulance services may not respond when you call 911 - at least not in anything resembling a timely manner. It will not be clear when or even if grocery shelves will be restocked or doors will be unbarred. This does not mean that local, state and federal government will cease to exist - just that the support we have come to expect from them may be taxed beyond it's breaking point. For instance, what will happen to the federal Unemployment Benefits coffers if unemployment doubles? We will have to turn to ourselves for our needs long term, and we will have to assist (and perhaps defend against) others who are less prepared then ourselves.

This second level is increasingly called “the end of the world as we know it” or “TEOTWAWKI”. (This is very different from “the end of the world” - if God decides to close up shop in our lifetime the only preparations that matter will be spiritual, not material.) I really hesitated for a long time to use the terms TEOTWAWKI and SHTF as TV shows have sprung up which find extreme preppers and by association make all preppers out to be nut cases. Most preppers are everyday ordinary people who simply agree with the Boy Scout Motto: Always Be Prepared. Prepared for what? Anything.

So what will TEOTWAWKI look like? I have no idea exactly, since by definition all we know will be very different, but certainly long term unemployment fits into this category, don't you think? What would happen to “your little world” if you lost your income and could not replace it? That would shatter your world. The grid does not have to go down for you to have your electricity and gas and water and phone service turned off. A few short years ago, unemployment duration averaged 17 weeks. It now averages over 40, and is climbing. Still, Americans mostly scoff at the idea of calamity occurring, much less preparing for it. It is difficult to prepare against some future calamity that is so outside our normal experience it is almost beyond comprehension. Most German Jews scoffed at the idea of altering their life plans as the post-Wiemar Republic “German Workers Party” changed into the “National Socialist German Workers Party”, which is known to Americans as the Nazi Party. For German Jews, it was the end of the world as they knew it, even if most did not realize it at it's beginning. Most of them went about their daily business, even as they were forced to wear yellow stars and had “Achtung Juden” painted on their store front windows. It is difficult to prepare against some future calamity that by it's definition is beyond comprehension. They suffered from what is called a "normalcy bias".

Given our nation's cancerous economic condition of exponentially expanding national debt thanks to tax-and-spend Progressive politicians in both political parties, it is logical to anticipate that our nations incredible debt bubble MUST burst. Where this to happen in complete isolation (the best case scenario), we would certainly face severe economic repercussions which could drive us into a Second Great Depression. Not the end of the world, just darned hard times - the end of the world as we know it today. Additional stressors such as a collapse of the Euro or globally coordinated civil unrest (Google “occupy protests 2011”, brought to you in part by the Tides Foundation and the Open Society Foundation) would only increase the severity of US economic instability. The world as we have known it for our entire lives will change for the worse. The era of unsustainable worldwide prosperity has ended, and a new era is being born. I do not claim to know what this new era might look like, but honest research and logic points to the following: we will have less real purchasing power (shifts in wages and prices of goods), home foreclosures due to unemployment and underemployment will increase dramatically, and government will be less able to assist citizens due to decreased tax revenues from decreased wages & corporate profits. California and Illinois will look like Greece and Italy; Texas will look like Germany, struggling to support themselves as well as failing Socialist states. More people will clamor for more entitlements from bare coffers and politicians will continue to print money and devalue our fiat currency. Some positives are possible such as embracing the already established technologies of horizontal drilling and fracing to dramatically increase our national oil and natural gas production, and these could greatly benefit our economy - but current political tides are against that. Neither you nor I have the ability to alter this, any more than we can alter the path or speed of a hurricane. We can only alter our own lives, prepare for the coming hurricane and the clean-up work that will be left in it's wake. We will discuss these preparations in more detail later.

Level 3 - A Producers Lifestyle

So, if Level 1 is preparing for surviving disasters, and if Level 2 is preparing for base survival of a larger cataclysmic event in your life, then what is Level 3 preparing for??

In a word, living. Living through any upheaval and living beyond it. I heard that an American Indian commented on the effects of the Great Depression on his tribe. He said they didn't notice it. It didn't affect them. You see, they were already poor, but they were also already living of the land on their reservation. The depression did not affect the ripening of their corn or the laying of their hens.

If this sounds a lot like homesteading - you are absolutely correct. However, Level 3 preparedness encompases more than only homesteading. This approach starts with prepping and now adds homesteading into the mix, as it is the most logical path most people will take. It assumes you have completed Level 1 preparations and are at least actively working on Level 2 preparations. Level 3 is not about getting prepared; it is about living in a mental and spiritual state of preparedness. It's about not just saving up seed stockpiles but also planting a garden. It's about buying Spring chicks instead of more #10 cans of powdered eggs and textured soy protein. It's about planting strawberries and buying a dehydrator instead of buying more dehydrated strawberries. Do you really think enough vegetable seeds to plant a 1 acre garden will feed your children today if your quarter acre lot is still all in grass? Do you have any idea what is involved in getting a productive garden going? What do you do when you realize the garden you've toiled over for the better part of a year is not producing because there are no bees in your area to pollinate the flowers? (Google “Colony Collapse Disorder” - remaining honey bee populations are decreasing at 30% EVERY YEAR!) Yikes!

If it ever does hit the fan, do you think it will be best to start gardening, or to have a productive garden? Is it better to stumble over unanticipated problems during a crisis, or is it better to have already experienced them, discovered their solution and prevented them from occurring before a crisis scenario arises? Just asking…

Please understand, I'm not diminishing the validity of preparing for the Level 2 stuff - it's important and you really should do that. Yes, get seeds, get long-term food storage. But if that's all you do, you are still just being a consumer. Level 1 and 2 consumers eventually have their stockpiles run out. Level 3 is about being a producer.

Here is The Basic Life's mantra: “It is too late to wait!”TM One Austrian economist discussing America's current economic situation said it this way (and I'm paraphrasing): “We have already run off the road. Our car's bumper is already starting to wrap around the tree. There is nothing we can do at this point except scream.” Nice, huh? To clarify, his statement that there is nothing that can be done refers to politicians stopping the momentum or the outcome. It's looking at the big picture macro national/global event, NOT the individual personal micro scenario we can create for ourselves. It is not to late to begin, but it IS too late to wait any longer!

You, my friend, need to get off your butt. Get your finances in order. I'm not a financial adviser, the following is not financial advice or recommendation, I'm just sharing what people with far better investing track records than I have have told me to do. Unless you are a financial wiz, consider converting some portion of your stocks and funds to 50% monetized metals - gold and silver - and 50% cash (USD) and Short Term Treasuries (like SHY). While owning actual physical metals is arguably safer, ETFs like GLD and SLV are options if you don't want to buy physical and don't mind the possible risk that there may be more ETF shares sold than there is gold and silver to back them. Between the dollar and metals, generally if one goes up the other tends to go down (but I have seen both slip simultaneously during market panics). This balance may get you through a market crash with most of those assets relatively intact. While nothing can be considered stable these days, some “less unstable” currencies such as the Swiss Franc are also options worth researching. Find the richest people you know and ask them for advice. I'm not rich and am not giving you advise, just telling you the advice I've been given. Research and decide for yourself.

I certainly recommend preparing a garden. Watch The Back To Eden Film - it's truly amazing. No one will laugh at you for gardening because gardening is a common hobby, and there are viable options if you live in an apartment or townhome (just Google ”apartment gardening”). If you have a lot of acreage you could certainly get some large livestock, but even most suburban homeowners can get a few hens (roosters that crow at 5:30 AM are NOT needed for egg laying - just egg fertilization if you want to breed them, fresh meat, and points of pride for your little 4-H girl) and maybe even a dwarf Nubian goat doe for milk and rabbits for meat. Check your deed restrictions, some areas allow small livestock if your kids are in 4H or FFA. Hey, if your kid is in 4H, there's nothing weird about that. Even if those are not allowed, almost all home owner associations allow rabbits, an efficient meat source. This “Level 3 living” does not happen overnight, and it does not need to be taken to full blown Mother Earth News homesteading (although being “off the grid” would be really nice!). Anything is better than nothing. Even a few tomato plants in pots will produce some food. EVEN A LITTLE IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.

Level 4 - Community Leadership

Level 4 is about selling your neighbor your organic free-range eggs for $3.00 a dozen, which provides them excellent nutrition at a good value and helps pay for your chicken feed, and offering them spring chicks so they can start their own flock. It's taking the C.E.R.T. training in your county and getting involved in your community. It's going to the guy across the street who says “you're really smart, we want to do what you're doing but we're waiting to start until we can find some beautiful cheap land in the country which is right next to my downtown job and build a house on it first”, and taking your hoe and shovel and start digging a garden for them. Tell them to get off their butt and grab a dang rake and come help you - you're not doing this for your health. Tell them you are putting their garden “Here” unless they want you to move it down a few yards. Level 4 is calling your sister in a distant city in a town home with no yard and asking her why she's not further along with her container-garden. Get others started!

Level 4 is about leadership. Servant leadership. Loving your neighbor as yourself. Sacrificing your valuable time. Thinking of others more and thinking about yourself less. Leadership does not come by way of a formal title or social position, although those are nice things to have. Leadership does not come by reading books about management and leadership, although that's a good thing to do. The most fundamental thing I can teach you about leadership is to give you my own personal definition of a leader. It's quite heady and thought provoking. Are you ready?

Here it is: A leader is anyone with followers.

Wait, that's way too simplistic! There must be more to it than that, right? Um, no, that's pretty much it. A leader is anyone with followers. Yep, that about covers it.

So, how does a leader get followers? AH! There's the question you have to ponder! For now let's set aside evil leaders like Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot and Mao Zedong and Benito Mussolini and Che Guevara, as we won't be looking to make followers at the point of a gun. From your own perspective, make a list of everyone you consider a righteous and great and worthy leader, everyone you would happily follow, regardless of if they are/were famous or not (it could a religious figure or past president, or it could be a coworker or a neighbor or someone at your church). Seriously, I want you to do this. Go get paper and pen so you can write them down. This isn't hard. Seriously, do it now. I'll wait for you.

OK, you back with paper & pen? Now, whoever pops in your mind first as someone you purposefully want to follow, write them down first without worrying about if they are the most important. Stop listing leaders after you have 10 names. Next, for each leader you listed, write down what qualities they have that inspire you to want to follow them. Rank those qualities based on how many of the leaders had them.

Now go practice those qualities of morality and ethics and Godliness in your own life daily. If you do so, if you strive to follow in the footsteps of God, one day you will turn around and find people following you.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you, 
but to do justly, and to love mercy, 
and to walk humbly with your God?"  
                         Micah 6:8

Addressing Christian Objections

If you're not Christian, this will be foolishness to you, so please feel free to skip over it.

I want to take a bunny-trail here for just a second for my fellow Christians, and address a common argument I often hear against future-looking preparedness. I've been told “long term food storage is a Mormon thing” - and the LDS church does indeed recommend a year's amount of food to be set aside by all it's families. So, the argument goes, if it's Mormon and not traditional Christian, we should not do it. And after all, Jesus told us to not store up our treasures where they will deteriorate, but to instead store up our treasures in Heaven. He also told us to think of the birds of the field, how even though they do not work or toil, not even King Solomon was robed in the splendor of their plumage. Likewise, Jesus told a parable of a man who took great comfort and security in all his filled grain silos, but who had his life required of him that very night. These verses and others like them are often grossly misinterpreted into an argument against preparedness, self-sufficiency or food storage - that's horrible exegesis! Christ was not telling us to not work, or to not put aside food for the winter. He was telling us to get our priorities straight. It is fine to can peaches and fill our pantry, that's just good stewardship of our God-given resources, but it is not OK to put our trust in the limited contents of our pantry or garden or brokerage account. Our trust is to be focused on God our Provider. Filled pantries are not a bad thing - indeed, they are a gift provided by God! Our faith and trust and hope must rest in the Giver of all good things, not the gift. THAT is Christ's message!

"Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud 
or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. 
Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich
and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life."
                                        1 Timothy 6:17                           

I encourage you to read Genesis 6:13-22 and Genesis 41:25-56. I sincerely believe that Noah and Joseph are great Biblical models of what we are to do when we perceive a large, looming crisis: to prayerfully listen to Gods voice, to obediently prepare as we are called, to provide for our extended families, and to be a blessing to others by sharing our knowledge. In all things we are to bring glory to God's name. We are to look through any coming cataclysm into the future God is using us to create. Remember that when Noah began building the arc, there was no rain. Before the 7 years of famine Joseph prepared for, there were 7 years of bounty. Those who waited for the rain were too late to prepare and perished. Those nations which feasted in the 7 years of plenty had to go to Joseph during the 7 year famine, and purchase at great cost the seven year surplus he hid away.

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."   
                                        Proverbs 22:3
"Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up.
It shall serve as food for you and for [your animals]."
                                        Genesis 6:21
"During the good years that are coming, they should collect all such food
and store the grain under Pharaoh’s control, protecting the food in the cities.
This food will be reserved for the seven years of famine to follow in the land of Egypt
so that the land won’t be ravaged by the famine.” 
                                        Genesis 41:35-36

We are also called upon and held accountable for warning others of any approaching danger which we see. We will each have to answer to God for how well we stood watch on the city's walls, and for how faithful we were in sounding the alarm.

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
                                        I Corinthians 14:8

When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people.
Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die.
They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. 
If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 
But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people,
he is responsible for their captivity.  They will die in their sins, 
but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ 
                                        Ezekiel 33:3-6

Consider this website my sounding of the alarm as clearly as I can. I am doing what I can to warn all those who can hear me. The responsibility for action, now, is on your shoulders alone. I encourage you to not only take action for yourself and your family, but stand in the gap as a watchman for those within your own circle of influence and repeat the alarm to them so that all will hear it. You don't have to write your own website - just direct them to this one or a better one. Just spread the word and hand out a few URLs as resources! If you feel I am a fool and reject the alarm, you may be right. I have prayerfully questioned it myself often, long before putting this electronic shofar to my lips. All I can say is that they laughed at Noah, too. I am either correct, or I am incorrect and will be proven a fool. If I am correct, then the wise will heed the alarm and prepare their own arc. If I am proven to be the fool everyone thought Noah was, then I would rather be a fool with a boat and no flood, than a fool with a flood and no boat.

Additional note on my personal beliefs: I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran, with some very minor disagreements on nuances of nit-picky non-essentials. I don't believe it is logically possible for fallen man to have perfect doctrinal understanding, and I am certainly as fallen as Adam. Calvin and Luther and Armenius were each correct in some areas and were each wrong in some areas; I seek to discern the distinctions. Since the LDS Church (Mormons) are heavily into prepping and homesteading, which this website is all about, let me start with this: I have never met a Mormon I didn't like. Generally amazing people, I'm sure there are exceptions but I have not met them. Based on my limited understanding of the tenants of Mormonism, I don't consider Mormons as trinitarian Christian any more than I consider Christians as being Orthodox Jews, as I won't claim a politically correct concordance of theologies where none exists. I do know that Christ told us that the key to salvation is in accepting his lordship, not in perfect understanding of theology. The thief on the cross was neither baptized nor did he live a life pleasing to God nor was he probably a Jewish scholar based on his profession, but due to his new-found faith alone Jesus said he would be with him in Paradise. A Mormon friend told me with all sincerity that he accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior. The fact that he and I both have incomplete knowledge of God and Heaven is not the factor we will be judged by. I am commanded to speak the truth in love. I respect Jews and Mormons as sharing my core ethical (although not theological) beliefs and would never belittle them. I wish Christians behaved more like Mormons. I ask them about their beliefs when possible and sincerely attempt to learn, I discuss my beliefs with them when asked, and try to always demonstrate my beliefs with my life. I believe that that is a valid and loving Christian way to approach non-Christians with whom we share core ethical values - modeling Paul's reaction to the Roman idol of the unknown god. As my father said, you attract more hummingbirds with sugar water than with vinegar. My way is NOT the only valid way of representing Christ. However, if you are a Christian, I suggest trying to approach such friends of differing faiths in the same way. See how it works for your personality.

Author's Background

As a child I grew up in a suburban San Antonio setting, in a small home on a quarter acre lot. We had at differing times pet chickens, rabbits, fig trees, peach trees, banana trees (which never produced), dew berries, strawberries and a large garden… and those two majestic pecan trees. We ate all the pecans we could from those two mighty trees and sold the rest. (I ate pecans every day. God, I love pecans…) My dad canned peach and fig jam which would last us through the year (of course as a kid I refused to eat the fig jam…) While we certainly could not fully subsist off of the produce of our back-yard micro-farm (which was never the goal), we lived under a different mind set. We were not just consumers but producers. We lived by the work ethics my parents learned from their parents, poor German immigrants and cotton farmers during the First Great Depression.

Now that I'm an adult, I've faced issues I never did as a child. Having dealt with hurricane damage to my house, having extended periods of no electricity or local gasoline, and the threat of evacuating from wildfires (not all at the same time, grant you), I have had to deal with and learn how to weather storms, both literally and figuratively. I've been mugged, and had a bullet that was intended for the lower back of my skull go instead through a less lethal body part when I grabbed the muggers gun. I have gained some level of expertise in dealing with and living through the threats of physical emergencies which effect both individuals and whole communities and regions of these United States.

With the world economy currently going to Hell in a cheaply made hand basket imported from China, it makes sense to be prepared to take more responsibility over our own lives. The Basic Life is documentation of what I am learning while taking responsibility over my family's situation as we live through these trying times and prepare for whatever the future holds. I'm not an expert, and I'm far from being fully prepared myself for complete self-sustaining off the grid living. However, unlike most, I'm working on becoming better prepared with every week that goes by. It's not about being afraid of the future, but about creating a lifestyle in which you have less to fear. Rather than preparing for and concentrating on “the end of the world as we know it”, I prefer to think of it as “the beginning of our life as it can be” - moving towards simplicity, self-sufficiency and self-reliance. I invite you and your family to join me today - because it's not to late to get started, but it is too late to wait!


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