Learning About Survivalism
Through the Depression
Do I really think I can do anything with this idea?
Unicorn Rising Literary Services was a viable idea when I developed
it, but given the political situation in this country - is there
even enough time to develop it? Enthusiasm in the face of potential
disaster seems somewhat lacking, too.
Perhaps I should just go ahead and combine preparedness with "doing my own thing" and continue creating potential money-making ideas. (After getting the ideas, put them in action.) Of course, one major problem is the lack of adequate capital. (Isn't it always?)
Let's see: I have to get and keep a full-time job to help us survive. Then there is the problem of getting all of our preparations complete before it gets much further into summer. No capital left (not much time, either!)
Do I have to do it all myself? No! Dragoona and I are both working desperately toward (at the moment) some very important goals. And it will take both of us to get it all done in time. We need to be in a more secure location. Will we have cash enough in time to move from here? Of course we will! Be positive!!!
And so the reasoning goes when you are a survivalist!
As a child of the "Great Depression," I learned about survivalism at my mother's knee. A large flock of chickens, huge gardens, large enough to provide excess produce for four small children to load into a little red wagon. We sold tomatoes, corn and eggs door-to-door. Our milk, butter and cheese came from our cow and goat. (We spent the early years of the Depression on family land in a small town.) Fresh produce was always desired by those not smart enough to dig up their lawns (if need be) and plant their own gardens!
Mom bartered with the local bakery and swapped ONE dozen eggs for a gunny (tow or tote, in the South, I think?) sack full of day old bread and he always threw in some "goodies" for the children. And when our cow was dry, she traded eggs for milk from a neighbor.
Harvest-time was a VERY busy time. The little boys (2 and 3 year olds) weren't much help... They pushed the little red wagon (no wheelbarrow:) while my big brother, Sandy (8 years old), would pull it. I wasn't much help, either. I tried to help Mom and Sandy with the picking, but I'm sure I was a royal pain in the .... you know what:)
One of the secrets of survivalism: teaching children early and giving them real responsibility (and praise for work well done.)
We watched Mom in action when she threatened a would-be housebreaker with my father's handgun, chased a man from the utility department away with a broom when he was going to turn off our water... We didn't even have the power on. (Burning kerosene constantly can get pretty smelly) Bedtime came early!
But I also watched Mom prepare HUGE Sunday dinners for 20 or more family
members - every week!!! And they'd take away a week's worth of food
at a time when they left. One thing, though, Mom and we kids were
left with ALL of the clean-up detail. Mom finally got fed-up and threw
them all out!
However, one uncle was handicapped and couldn't even get work with the WPA. He and his family lived with us. At meal time, my uncle would find a reason not to eat... He really cared that there be enough for the children!!!
Mom finally persuaded him that watching the very active, mischievous kids was a more than adequate compensation for what he might consume!
So there's another secret of surviving: teamwork
* * * * * * *
Mom's words of wisdom on surviving with little or no resources other
than what you have on hand:
Use it up; wear it out...Make it do; or do without!
...And she practiced what she preached. Clothes were made from curtains, flour sacks, sheets and re-worked fabric from larger garments. Shoes were worn with cardboard over the holes in the sole... And if they were beyond wearable (or it was summer) we went barefoot. And, yes, we walked everywhere. Gas was too precious to use. Once my father got out of the hospital (where he had been for several years with a serious spinal injury), he found a job, so he needed the car for transportation to and from work, anyway (Mom never did drive.) For us, the Depression was over in 1935!
But the habit of being prepared was deeply instilled in all of us. Even moving back to San Francisco didn't break the habit.
We always had a year or more's worth of supplies on hand... just in case. When rationing started during World War II, we were glad to have the produce from our little "Victory Garden." We also brought produce home from the farmers' market (that no longer exists), making sure we got there when the farmers were setting up for early morning sales... How do you say "middle-of-the-night" produce shopping? But it all got canned in our teeny-tiny kitchen or dried on the fire-escape.
Okay, enough reminiscing for this edition. Time to get down to the nitty-gritty of today.
That covers so much. It sounds as if we are expected to feed most of the rest of the world... again. And we are having horrendous weather coupled with planting restrictions from the fed/gov. Honestly, between being washed out, dried out, burned out, restricted out and expected to GIVE to the rest of the world, what's supposed to be left for us?
Take a page from our book and prepare, prepare, prepare. That's the only way to survive.
Now for a few words that are not original with me:
THE DRY YEAR
by Nick and Anita Evangelista
May 5, 2000
We walked around our property today, a dry day
in a dry month. Even though it's only late spring,
our once-fish-stocked pond is already a mud
puddle. In the high back field, bare earth shows
though between parched fescue stubble. Web
worm nests festoon wild cherry trees like cotton
candy clumps, and the crawling worms nip any
green leaf growth that has the chutzpah to try to
Our neighbor has pulled his cattle into a restricted
field-letting the unused pasture "stock grass" for
later in the season. That cattleman expects a dry
summer, and this is his way of "storing up" for the
inevitable. We have about two acres that haven't
been used for a couple years-native pasture
more-or-less that will act as an "emergency
backup" for the summer months.
But our winter hay is gone. Our regular hay
supplier is predicting a short year-he'll probably
have enough for his animals, but not much left
over to sell to us... or anyone else. It's only the
first part of May, and we're starting the round of
phone calls-"Hi. Will you be selling hay this year?
No? Do you know anybody who will?" Out of a
dozen calls so far, we've got one "maybe." Bear in
mind, we're looking for first-cutting of anything,
delivery as soon as possible-with the condition of
the fields, we may have to feed the animals
through the summer, plus put back something for
winter as well.
More of this article is at
So, my friends... prepare now! Mr. Murphy and his entire family would
be very happy to move in
with you. Be ready for anything. And I do mean ANYTHING: We can't depend on Mother Nature any more than we can on our fed/gov!
Return to The Alpha Group Web Page
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.