Monday, November 9, 2009

Retreat arrangements

*** From RH ,thank you RH for this entry ***

Retreat arrangements

OK, so you don't have 40 acres on a mountain in Idaho, or 20 acres in the swamps of southern Georgia, you live in the suburbs and your convinced that you must stay there. What to do?First and foremost I'd be amiss if I didn't call "bravo sierra" on the fact that you "have" to stay in the suburbs. In case you didn't get the memo, "bravo sierra" stands for BS.

I'm convinced that ANYONE serious enough can make it out of the suburbs/city and move to the country, usually within 6 months IF motivated enough. Some want it bad enough, most don't however. So let's consider some Retreat Arrangements other than living full time at your retreat. First off, let's consider the absentee owner route. This is where you own a retreat property in a safe area as well as maintaining a "normal" residence in suburbia. The high costs involved with keeping up essentially two households usually becomes overwhelming for the average survivalist. Even a modest cabin with 2 acres can set one back $10-20,000. in some areas of the country now a days. We won't even consider the costs of property taxes, mowing, general upkeep, etc. Another disadvantage is the fact that it's highly likely that a lone unoccupied residence will be broken into, sometimes repeatedly. We have some neighbors in our area that purchased a house here but remained in another state. The house was repeatedly broken into. So much so the wife would come up unexpectedly, hide her vehicle and sit in the house with a rifle and the lights off! She was determined to catch whoever was breaking in. For them the theft of items was a nuisance. If you are depending on having key items in place and you arrive at your retreat to find them gone, it may cause you slightly more discomfort. Especially if you only become aware of the loss when the items are truly needed.

With absentee ownership there is also the real possiblity that you will arrive to find your retreat already occupied. Serious thought, planning and preparation should be given to how you would have to re-take it. Some would argue that you could hire a "caretaker" to live on the property and watch over it while you are away. I would argue that there is a 90% chance that your "caretaker" will not take too kindly to being booted out when the time comes for you to occupy the retreat. The mere implications of bringing the proverbial "wrong person" with him to your property could wreck your security for years to come. Probably the biggest factor against this sort of retreat arrangement would be the experience factor. Living at your retreat full time teaches you an immense amount of information that you will not get with monthly or even every weekend trips.

When we left Florida in November of 1999 I honestly felt pretty confident in my ability to raise food. I had raised rabbits and chickens in my backyard in suburbia, had a small garden, etc. I had read, studied and consumed hundreds of books on growing food, raising animals, ponds and orchards. In retrospect, I didn't have a clue!!!I realize now that I was waaaaay behind the learning curve for most subjects dealing with true long term survival. Sure I had plenty of food storage, which could have given me a lot of time to learn, however I likely would not have had specific items I needed, time to develop soil, or even just the correct varieties of fruit trees that would produce in my area. I really do pity the folks that think homesteading will be a "piece of cake." I would highly suggest that if you do not have credible, real life, year to year experience growing 50% or more of what you currently eat yourself, that you absolutely forget the notion of a 1 year supply and work towards a 2 year and preferably a 3 year supply. Having this much food storage will be a "cushion" to allow you time to develop the skills to raise your own food.

The only way I would advise the "absentee" ownership move would be if you have a short time frame- less than a year- until you can and will actually move to your retreat. At the very least your going to have to start thinking outside the box, using a lot of psy-ops techniques and do a good amount of midnight gardening in you choose absentee ownership. One other possible retreat arrangement would be the group retreat. I've spent a lot of time and bandwidth in previous blogs going over how and why this type of thing usually does not work. Suffice to say in my encounters with literally thousands of survivalists over the last 20 years, I've seen a total of 1 of these types of arrangements that worked. The reason it worked? The group was already a "group" before it purchased the land. Common bonds were formed decades before, it was essentially one big family. Meeting JoeBob and Cleetus on the net and making this work with them is pretty much an impossiblity. Getting financially knit together with people you do not know well is never a good idea.

Other arrangements-

Occassionaly in corresponding with and consulting with like minded folks I met survivalists that have already made the move out of the cities. It's not uncommon for them to realize the need for a group of people to depend on- a retreat group or survival group- to up there own chances of survival. It doesn't take much time to figure out that a lone family will not have the manpower to post a 24/7 security, let alone all the skill sets necessary for long term survival.
Many times I had advocated to these rural survivalists that they network and develop a retreat group for the purpose of having extra folks for help and security at their retreat when the time comes. If done correctly, this sort of arrangment can be beneficial to both parties. The city bound survivalist now has a bug out location or run to spot where he can escape to in time of trouble. The country bound survivalist now has extra help around for security, food production efforts, etc. Of all the "group" retreat arrangements I've seen, this type is the one that usually works best and makes it long term.

There are some serious disadvantages to this. First and foremost the country survivalist must be VERY careful in selection of prospects. You are potentially going to be living around- if not directly with- these people for a long period of time. If you can't stand to be around Jimmy for a weekend, guess what, he's going to be impossible to be around for an extended period of time. Herein lies the problem- most people will "fake it" during the first initial meetings. Children will be warned to be on there best behavior. What happens when you committ to them and then find out there is serious family issues? To me, time is the only factor that's going to allow these things to be seen. You may see some warning signals during the first initial meetings. It would be wise to use caution and take your time if and when these signals arise. Be ready to communicate effectively.
I've advocated for years a list of requirements for a group. This doesn't have to have specific information that isn't pertinent or could cause OPSEC problems. A general guideline of "what's expected" should be the general theme. This will likely have to be revised from time to time. If you just talk about these things someone can always claim "I don't remember talking about that." If you have it in written form AND discuss it, there should be none of that. Well at the very least, you can always refer them to the list of guidelines.

Just what sort of things should you lay out?*What's required for group participation- This should include all time requirements (i.e, we meet one weekend ever other month) as well as all monetary requirements (i.e, each group member is required to pay $50.00 per person per year to help cover the costs of materials for training events). Gear and supply requirements should also be laid out succintly (i.e, by the end of the first year with the group a member should have X amount of food, 2,000 rounds of ammuntion and Requirements A through C on the gear list completed). * Unacceptable behavior amongst the group- here's where I'll probably lose most people. Some will say that this is being dictatorial, that you "can't legislate ethics", etc. Both statements are true to an extent. Let me be blunt and painfully honest- some folks just don't know how to act now a days.
Experience with most people now a days clearly is in line with how the apostle Paul described how people would be in the end times. To surmise; selfish, worldly POS's (my description, not Paul's). To think that anyone is better than this without firsthand long term experience with them is simply naive. There was a reason the Lord Himself taught the "golden rule." Basically if you can't stand to be around anyone that spits, then you aren't going to make it in a group of folks that chew. If you can't stand lieing, then you aren't going to make it around a group of liberals :)Again, the reasoning behind laying out what is and isn't acceptable in this realm is the fact that you may very well be living with, near or amongst these people for an extended period of time if TS ever does HTF. Are blowups gonna happen? Yes of course. Are people going to get irritable and upset with one another? Yes of course. It's how this is handled during and after the fact that needs to be addressed. The last thing you want is someone harboring resentment against you for a long period of time for eating the last twinkie in the box. Be slow to speak, quick to listen and ready to forgive. When you are forgiven, be ready to do the same next time.

Really a group situation is no different than any family organization. Like most families, sometimes things "come to a head." Above all it needs to be brought up, dwelt with and forgiveness given. Sweeping it under the rug, accepting bad behavior or just ignoring it is NEVER the answer and will send a wrong signal to the perpetrator. Hope this helps.


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  1. awesome post. keep them coming guys!!!!!!

    RJS( just south of jax)

  2. Realizing what the coming socio-economic failure just around the corner means and the need to be self sufficient and far, far away, I wholeheartedly agree w/ writers like JW Rawles and RH in his recent post (tell it like it really is!). My family has just started the search away from Central Fl to somewhere in the southeast. It's been a real struggle to find a secluded location well away from the larger population centers. Idaho is not feasable for us, but the Ozarks in North-Central Arkansas may hold promise. Any re-location advice anyone?

  3. Where in Florida do you think would be the best general location? I've been thinking about it and it seems Florida just isn't a good place at all to me. No major staple foods can be naturally grown in Florida, which would be corn rice and potatoes. Those are what feeds the world now and in any situation that a survivalist is needed it will still feed us then.
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