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QuietH3art

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I've been thinking about this awhile and everything in my life has sort of coordinated to actually make it happen. I posted in Alabaster's thread regarding Stories and Experiences that I was going to do this and so I am.
My SO and I are splitting up. It's not really as big a deal as you might think. We've been together and apart a lot over the last nine years and who knows, maybe we'll try together again in a couple of months. The only difference this time is that I will be completely alone. Before I've always had my son with me, but he's ready to move quite far away. He's been living in my house, paying the mortgage this last year. Now it's my turn.
My trial run for SHTF isn't going to be just a weekend getaway. It's going to be for as long as I can do it, which may very well be for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, given where my house is located, it can't be totally off-grid, either. Due to the fact that I do have bills to pay and I do that mainly by selling my quilts now, I will have to leave the electricity on to run my sewing machine and the modem and computer since most of my quilts are sold over the internet. But I am unplugging all of the appliances and taking out all the lightbulbs and will do everything else as though there is no electricity. I planted a significant garden for one last weekend, so it will be about 2 months before I'll have food to can, but I plan on doing it on a "stove" I'm going to build in the backyard. (any ideas will be helpful here) I do have six months worth of food storage for one person and plan to use a portion of that while I wait for my garden to grow. Before I get the outdoor stove completed, I have a propane camp grill I can use but need to get another couple of propane cylinders. The reality is, that most of my food I eat raw anyway, so I won't be cooking that much. It will be kind of weird to eat canned veggies again.
I have several home defense weapons in place - and where this home is located, I'll feel safer with them even though S hasn't really HTF.
I have oil lamps, but do need to stock up a little bit more oil. However, I'll probably be going to bed when it gets dark and waking up at daylight so probably won't need much lighting other than sunlight anyway.
I'll keep the city water turned on but plan to put in a water container within the next week and have a rain barrel set up, as well, for the garden. The water container will be filled with natural water - no chlorine or flouride added. I wish I could turn off the city water, but I don't think I can put a well on this small property (legally, that is).
I have 20 days to prepare and I'm making lists to make sure I can get as close to the real deal as possible.
This post is rather convoluted, I know, but I'm thinking of new things as I type. Like I really need to stock up on Mason jars for canning. And mayonaise and salad dressing packets! Yes, I'm unplugging the refrigerator. And I need to order more seeds.
My home is a half mile from Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, on the outside edge of a not so nice neighborhood. It's a 2 bedroom, 2 bath on 1/8 of an acre, surrounded by privacy fence. I am lucky to have some really good neighbors on 3 sides and 2 heavily wooded lots side by side on the 4th side of my house. There's a shopping center also 1/2 mile from my house, which is within bicycling distance. I do plan to put my truck out of commission for the duration (again with one exception and that is taking quilt orders to the post office because that is 8 miles away.) I am very close to the ocean here, as I've said in other posts, so an underground bunker or even root cellar are not feasible. I hit water if I dig more than a foot down usually. If anyone has any ideas to help me make this as real as possible, I will welcome them.
And last but not least, I have an offer to make: If anyone wants to spend a week, a month or longer at this with me, I have an empty bedroom, for half the actual expenses. This month's mortgage, electric, water and cable/internet bill totalled $600. I hope to reduce them significantly. The cable/internet will be reduced to the minimum they provide. Hopefully, I can get the electric bill down to next to nothing, which would work even better if I could get my hands on an inexpensive generator. And the water bill should be cut in half - we do have a required minimum charge on that if I leave it connected. I can't change the mortgage payment. I am projecting a maximum of $265 rent a month, or $65 a week. This starts July 1 and as I said will last as long as I can, so if you're interested, send me a message - and please be prepared to provide me with references to your character if you're really interested.
 

Roninsensei

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If you don't have one, get a dog. An adult German shepherd would be great for ya... Keep ya safe and give you company.
 

QuietH3art

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I would love to have a German Shepherd, but I have to think of the expense of keeping one. I'm on a very limited income. I grew up with Shepherds and they are one of my favorite breeds. As you can see by my profile picture, I also used to have Great Danes - I bred them, but I recently placed my last one because they eat way too much! I am keeping my son's Corgi for him while he gets settled in Alabama. He's a good little watch dog but sheds like nothing I've ever seen, which is really not good for my health issues. And I have a cat here, too. Not home defense, although she'd tear someone up pretty bad with her teeth and claws if they disturbed her. She's good company for me, but she's pretty neurotic. If I start to feel the need, my oldest daughter breeds Rottweilers and I could borrow one of hers for awhile. I am picking up a couple of chickens this afternoon. Even though my home looks like it's in the city limits, the ETJ (extended township jurisdiction) was moved 2 years ago and I can actually keep livestock on this property with the exception of a horse. I've thought more in depth about the goats, done all the research - I think I'd only get one if I could find a steal on a pregnant nanny.
I'm also still a little bit torn about the electricity thing. I don't want to give them any more of my money than I absolutely have to, especially with the cost of electricity going up the way it's supposed to soon. I can't afford a solar setup but where my house is sitting and the amount of sun that hits my roof, I could probably sell energy to the electric company. But with the price of gas going up I'm not sure a generator is the best alternative. Right now, I'm looking at pretending that electricity is limited (brown-outs) and only turning on the main breaker a couple of hours a day to get my quilting and internet work done. I can keep the internet usage to a minimum by prepping that work using the battery then uploading and recharging when I turn the breaker on. I'm actually going to call the electric company and ask them if there are certain times of the day or night when it would be cheaper for me to run it.
I'm also picking up the water barrels this afternoon and I've decided to cut my hair off - like Carol from Walking Dead, so I won't have to worry about that. There will be no baths or showers, just a touch of soap and a wet washcloth since I'm limiting water usage.
I can't afford to "bug out" to a more rural area so this simulates what could happen if the S really did HTF for me now. In many ways, I am unprepared for it. I have very limited savings to finish my preps. I am putting most of my coin collection up for sale and that's mostly old silver BU coins. In a sense, I will be bartering my coins for products, though. I'll just be doing it over the internet instead of face to face in a real SHTF situation. I have a shotgun, 2 crossbows and plenty of wicked knives here for defense. The dog will bite but he would be easily taken out by a kick, he does move too much and too fast to be shot or maced. My neighbor across the street has a large chihuahua and a 3-legged boxer that were both pepper-sprayed by robbers when they weren't at home and everything they had of value was taken. It was done when no one was home at my house or the neighbor behind me. My house is the only one in this neighborhood that hasn't been broken into because of my Great Danes, so I'm a little bit worried. However, there have been no thefts or break-ins when someone was at home and I'll always be at home so maybe I'll be okay there.
I have food, self-defense, "barter" and some water to start with. The water worries me the most. I'm still trying to figure out the most inexpensive way to filter rain water and hoping we get enough rain this year to keep me going. If I can figure that out, I will have the city water shut off. I have everything I need here to build a greenhouse for the winter if I decide I want to do that. I do need to think about heat for the winter. Fortunately, the only months I really have to worry about that are December through March.
 

QuietH3art

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After a huge amount of research, I have decided to get a pair of Nigerian Dwarf goats. The fat content is high enough in their milk that it will separate on it's own in the refrigerator after a couple of days so I won't have to buy a milk separator. And, my son-in-law really wants a goat to clean the weeds in his backyard so there's my solution to how to separate the billy from the nanny to avoid his odor spoiling the taste of the milk.
Things are moving along. I got my 55 gallon rain water barrels and Saturday I'm getting the goats and some laying hens. I may have also figured out a "root cellar" of sorts. I had to go under the house yesterday to do a quick repair - there's only 2 feet of space to crawl around under there, but even right up against the outer edge, it was nearly 30 degrees cooler than outside. I'm going to put a thermometer under there to verify, but I think I might be able to store some root veggies and other stuff under there safely.
At my SO's house tonight, I very carefully dug up half my veggie garden and put it into containers to move it to my place first thing in the morning. I've already had success with transplanting some of them 2 weeks ago when my granddaughter wanted her own garden, so I'm confident they'll do just fine. Unfortunately, I have to leave the corn and sunflowers behind because their root systems are so deep.
 

QuietH3art

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I have everything transplanted except the cucumbers, squash and watermelon. It was all looking a bit limp when I got here this afternoon, so I turned on the sprinkler and let it water for a good long hour. Everything is looking perky again. And all of the seeds I planted last Saturday are already growing!

I'm trying to be creative with the small bit of space that I have. There's a 4 foot by 8 foot space between the side of my shed and the back fence (which is wood privacy fencing). I had extended the shed roof to the fence to provide a shady area for my dogs while waiting for my trees to grow. So I'm enclosing that and turning it into my chicken coop. I decided to get more than 2 chickens after trying my daughter's spicy pickled eggs. Now cross your fingers that I can teach my son's Corgi to herd them back to the coop each evening. I plan to clip their wings and let them free range my front yard during the day.

I'm not having much luck finding goats at a price I can afford so they may have to wait awhile. I really hate the idea of drinking canned milk, but that may be my only option for awhile.
 

QuietH3art

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If you don't have one, get a dog. An adult German shepherd would be great for ya... Keep ya safe and give you company.
I know you saw the picture in the other thread. My daughter brought me this rottie. She breeds them and this dog is one of her best. She's trained in Schutzhund and obedience. She has an amazing pedigree full of titles. She's mature so I don't have to deal with training a puppy. She's also very quiet and non-demanding. I think I'm going to have to feed her from my hand so she learns I'm the one she needs to protect. I'll enjoy continuing her training. And my daughter has said I can even have a litter with her if I want.
So, now I have an assortment of knives, a crossbow and a crossbow pistol, a yappy dog to alert and a Schutzhund-trained dog to attack if necessary. I was supposed to get a shotgun, but that fell through. I was playing with ideas for setting up tripwires this evening as I was winding up some wire I had to remove from some kennel panels. But I think I've come to the realization that if the SHTF, I'm going to have to be prepared to get out of here fast.
 

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Make sure in the beginning you go through every doorway gate and fence first and make her sit then give her permission to enter. Also all toys are yours and they get picked up and not left with her, this is another subtle way of establishing dominance. Feeding from hand is good as well but, if you take the food bowl place it between your legs and make her wait for it till you step away( wait a minute or two). This is how a pack leader establishes rank and dominance. Also please get her evaluated for protection I've seen too many Schutzhund dogs cut and run in a real situation. Schutzhund is a formula of training so when the formula isn't there this confuses the dog and they wont usually respond the way you need them to. Schutzhund is a good start but anyone in protection dog training considers this a sport and not real defense. But please understand I'm not saying your girl wont. Just make sure she attacks in odd circumstances and not just on the schutzhund training field.
 

QuietH3art

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Make sure in the beginning you go through every doorway gate and fence first and make her sit then give her permission to enter. Also all toys are yours and they get picked up and not left with her, this is another subtle way of establishing dominance. Feeding from hand is good as well but, if you take the food bowl place it between your legs and make her wait for it till you step away( wait a minute or two). This is how a pack leader establishes rank and dominance. Also please get her evaluated for protection I've seen too many Schutzhund dogs cut and run in a real situation. Schutzhund is a formula of training so when the formula isn't there this confuses the dog and they wont usually respond the way you need them to. Schutzhund is a good start but anyone in protection dog training considers this a sport and not real defense. But please understand I'm not saying your girl wont. Just make sure she attacks in odd circumstances and not just on the schutzhund training field.
Mmm, you've missed my posts regarding what my last job was. I was founder of an organization that provided service dogs to disabled veterans. Very large service dogs. Great Danes. I trained every one of them myself. I also trained my daughter how to train her dogs when she started breeding and showing them. I've never trained a dog for Schutzhund but I have studied it and observed many different examples of it, both good and bad. I fired a trainer from the service dog organization who had a "background" in Schutzhund and thought you got a dog to do what you want by hurting it. She destroyed the temperament of a gorgeous Austrian German Shepherd that was donated to us and had so much potential before I realized what she was doing.
I have major issues with people who believe they have to put prong, chain or electric collars on dogs to get them to behave the way they want.
Dogs don't "love" as humans do; they either respect you, accept you as a member of their pack under another alpha and within whatever role that alpha puts you, or they don't respect you. Alphas control 3 things: Food, bedspace and protection.
Yes, I could put her food in a dish at my feet and make her sit until I tell her she can eat. That is a daily accepted practice among those of us who know how to be alpha to a dog and are starting with a puppy. But with an adult dog who is just beginning to become mine, only allowing her to eat the food that I give her with my hand in the beginning will more quickly establish who is in control of the food, especially if I only give it as a reward for accepted behaviors.
Yes, it is acceptable to allow your dog to sleep in the bed with you and I do like having a dog sleeping with me. The key word is "allow." They only get on the bed when you tell them that they can and they get off when you tell them to. I have not yet decided where I want her to sleep, where I will feel most comfortable with her sleeping.
Protection is tough to explain to people. When your dog is in your presence, he or she should look to you as the alpha to instruct them when they need to be protective. This requires that you put them in positions where there is a perceived threat and this is how Schutzhund training done the right way can train a dog how to respond to threat appropriately when alpha is present and when alpha is not present.
Echo (the dog I now have) has always displayed appropriate submissive behavior with me. I've actually traveled with her in the past when it was inconvenient to travel with one of the larger dogs. I've never travelled without a dog. But we've never spent more than 2 or 3 days together. Echo does not bark to alert to danger when she is beside me. She stops and looks up at me for command. But when I'm asleep (we've stayed at a few hotels together), she will come to me with a quiet woof if she thinks I need to be alerted to danger, then goes to stand at the door.
So, yes, I am very content that her training is appropriate for my needs. I won't be able to continue her Schutzhund training because there are none nearby that train humanely to earn a dog's respect and loyalty. The local clubs all use electric collars to force the dog to their will. It's all about the win and not the relationship. We will continue her reward-based obedience training and she will gradually become my loyal companion.
Tonight, by her choice, she is staying on the living room floor by the front door. I've invited her into the bedroom and she visited for a short time. It will take time for her to transfer her loyalty from my daughter to me since we have only had short visits together in the past. Right now, she's probably wondering when I'll take her back home. In a week or two, if no opportunities present themselves before, I'll set up a "break-in" with my neighbor to see if she will protect me and my home.
 

QuietH3art

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Echo came running into the bedroom first thing this morning, jumped on the bed and bounced around as if to tell me she was overjoyed that the sun was awake! I guess there will be no more sleeping late around here.
 

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If the SHTF today, I would be SOL. I haven't had the time yet to even get into position for my trial run. Fortunately, right now, I can say, "Oh wait, I'm not ready yet." I haven't figured out the water situation yet. I may have to rethink my entire situation and prepare for bugout rather than practice for bugin.
 

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My son is still here. I really don't know what his plans are anymore. I have made a lot of changes to live more frugally. Diana the goat is now providing all of my milk and since Dixie had her kids last week, I'll be able to start milking her next week. That will give us plenty of milk for butter and cheese-making. I did order a kit for my first cheese-making attempt. It worked out costing less than buying the citric acid, rennet and other things I'll need to do it. The chickens are laying. I am getting cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers from my garden. I was late planting my garden so I am eating last year's preps while waiting for my harvest.
With a great deal of reflection, I know that there is no way I could "bug in" here if SHTF. I am missing the most important ingredient - water - and there is no way I could store enough here to see us through. In addition, it's a very bad neighborhood and there is just no way I could fortify and stay alive.
So plans have changed and I'm currently working on a bug-out plan. Actually, several bug-out plans contingent upon different scenarios. If there's plenty of time, I will eventually move away from here but for the time being I am stuck. Making the best of it, I will continue to find ways to live frugal, increase my preps in all areas and remain positive.
 

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