Survivalist Anonymous, A Common but Intriguing Creature from the Humboldt Hills
Though not as rare as their sightings would have you believe, the Humboldt County survivalists are shy birds. They prefer to keep their name out of print. Since I have my own home in the hills stocked with food (less than I should) and amenities, some of the shy creatures will even spend hours explaining how and why they prepare for disastrous times. But, the article I wrote for the North Coast Journal this week required names and thus some of the wonderful interviews I got were unusable. Here are some fascinating tidbits from the Anonymous Survivalists.
First, most are unwilling to give their names for simple privacy reasons. Though many mentioned how foolish it would be to let the possible starving hordes know where a large supply of food could be found in the event of a disaster, there were other concerns. One related the tale of how during the Y2K scare he had mentioned to a neighbor that though he wasn’t that concerned about computers failing, he was going to stock up on food nonetheless. To his chagrin, the neighbor replied, “That wouldn’t be fair.” According to my interviewee, his neighbor felt that the government should be in charge of taking care of people and the survivalist stocking up on food would somehow have an unreasonable advantage over the rest of the community. The survivalist felt that in an atmosphere of “such idiocy,” he didn’t want to let his neighbors know who he was because “there is no tolerance for diversity of opinion” and not much appreciation for independence from the system.
According to this source, “People used to understand that you need a couple weeks worth of food” but now they have no more than a day or two on hand. He feels that everyone should have at minimum a two weeks supply. He suggests people start out by purchasing double of all their basic grocery shop items. “Instead of buying 1 of what you want, buy 2. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”
He suggests for more complete supplies buying large bags of beans and grain.”Eureka Natural Food Store has a nice big sack of Fred’s organic wheat for less than $1 per pound. You can purchase hand grinders at the Mexican Market there on Broadway.” He says that that kind of grain can last up to 5 years.
“Once you see that the Dow Jones can plummet 600 points in minutes… The domino effect. Bank runs.. People run into stores and buy…,” the man pauses before explaining that just the transportation problems in this area indicate some need for having a supply. Several people I spoke to mentioned the ’64 flood and how trucks couldn’t get into this area for weeks. My family fed neighbors off my mother’s food storage.
Many people plan on supplementing supplies by hunting (one sporting goods store told me that firearms are just flying off the shelf right now in response to the economic downturn) but one man I interviewed laughed, “You can’t count on animals surviving–not a week- if everyone starts killing them.”
Gardening offers more long term stability according to almost everyone interviewed. Several people are looking into purchasing seeds to store for future gardens. Tomatoes, potatoes, and kale–were suggested frequently. Fruit and Nut trees were also offered as smart choices.
Beyond food, some suggestions for storage include having an oil lamp and fuel for it, fencing and waterline for gardening and personal care items like shampoo and soap. In fact one person urged asking yourself, “What is the kinds of stuff I’m used to replacing on the fly?” and then making sure you have a stock of it on hand. “Basically, look at everything you’re using and then you create a queue.” Every time you buy something you need that is non perishable, add a little bit more for your storage.
Though not everyone is willing or able to create a homestead like some of the people I spoke to, nonetheless, I came away from my conversations with a renewed desire to keep my cupboards stocked with food and emergency items.
Here is another post on being prepared.