What Are The Potential Mistakes A Prepper Could Make?

Prepper mistakes to avoid.

Preparedness Mistakes To Avoid

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we avoid mistakes by understanding what mistakes NOT to make. It’s no different with preparedness / prepping.

So I’m asking you, “What are some of the mistakes you’ve made with your overall preparedness?” and/or “Even if you haven’t made them, what potential mistakes would you point out for others to avoid?”

Spending Beyond Your Means

One general issue which comes to mind is that of money. There are those who can afford just about everything they might need for preparedness. For others, not so much. Spending too much (relative to one’s threshold of ‘too much’) can bring some remorse afterwards. Prepping on a budget?

Not Practicing

Another mistake is not practicing with whatever gear one might purchase. An example might be acquiring all sorts of fire starters – but not actually trying them out and practicing starting a fire. There are LOTS of examples of not actually learning

Poor Time Management

Time. It’s a valuable commodity. Every minute that goes by, you’ll never get back. Maybe some people have spent too much time focusing on just one thing/project – while letting other things go? Preparedness is wide ranging. Get the ‘general’ stuff done first, before getting caught up in your favorite project.

Ignoring The Basics

What about the mistake of overlooking and really knowing / understanding / practicing basic survival skills before moving on to other areas? I’m not talking about being a expert wilderness survivalist. I’m referring to basic skills like fire making, the ability to acquire and purify water for drinking, the concept of shelter (which goes beyond just building ‘a shelter’), assembling a basic survival kit, knowing some basic First Aid, addressing the issue of security…

Avoiding The Kitchen

There’s the potential mistake of ‘just’ buying extra food storage and forgetting about it – while not bothering to learn how to do things like make your own bread from scratch in the kitchen. The Survival Kitchen is important!

Not Putting In The Hard Work

A mistake might be an unwillingness to put in the hard work that some things require. (But if you do, you’ll be better for it.) An example is putting in a garden. It can be a pain (also a rewarding experience). It does take physical work and upkeep. A mistake would be not learning how to garden. Survival can involve hard physical work.

Letting Your Health Go

The ultimate preparedness is your own health, your body, your condition. Many will forget, or not think about, looking inward at themselves. How many are out of shape? Get your health in order first (or along side your other efforts). It’s important!

Trapped by Normalcy Bias

It’s so easy to get trapped! Everything’s rolling along fine, and therefore it always will. Day in, day out, our routines lull us into a sense of (false) security. The thing is, life can change in an instant. Sometimes with warning, other times with no warning. Plan. Prepare. Get out of the trap.

Overlooking the Local SHTF Situation

The tendency to place too much comparative SHTF preparedness emphasis on global / national circumstances while losing site of ‘local’. If and when anything ‘happens’, it will be all ‘local’. Your world sphere will shrink. Think about that.

Over Emphasis on Foods You Don’t Eat

The initial acquisition of too much ‘long term’ food storage (stuff you won’t typically open unless/until emergency) compared with acquiring more of what you would normally eat. Best to deepen the pantry with ‘normal’ rotatable foods FIRST, then go after specialty long term deep storage foods.

Too Much Doom & Gloom

Getting suckered in to “too much” doom and gloom. While there is a lot of bad stuff out there to consider, it can get depressing to the extent of losing sight of practicality and healthy living. First prepare for the more likely scenarios. Then afterwards consider the worst case scenarios (less likely perhaps, but more devastating) and covertly prepare for them based on your risk tolerance thresholds.

Not Checking Your Preps

Don’t set it and forget it. Especially with deep pantry food storage, you might be losing food and not realize it. Another example from a commenter, flashlight batteries leaking and ruining the device (any electronics). Tip: Batteries That Won’t Leak

Fear of Challenging Yourself

It’s natural to stay in your comfort zone. Being adequately prepared can involve challenges that you haven’t considered. For life’s challenges in general, you will become a better person having overcome it.

Starting Projects and Not Finishing

It sure can be fun to start a project and get it going. But then comes the harder work, sticking with it until the end. Finishing is not always as fun because you may be getting tired of it. It’s best to finish before starting another!

Trying to Convince Others to Prepare

Most people (unfortunately) will think you’re somewhat ‘nuts’ to be into preparedness. Modern societal ‘norms’ look upon preppers unfavorably – which is kind of funny because nearly all of our ancestors were preppers (way of life). So why is it ‘bad’ these days? Anyway, it’s probably not worth your time and effort to ‘convert’ others. Rather, it may be more beneficial to simply discover others who are naturally or purposely preparedness-minded in your locality.

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68 Comments

  1. Good food for thought.
    There are things we have control over, the other side, there are soooo many things we have little to no control over.

    I have been dealing with the stuff i have no control over, everyone is different, everyones situation is different, sort of along the same lines as that generalization thing that we spoke about, a lot of folks lump everybody into the same group,

    But in reality is a little like comparing me to Oprah,
    What works for one may not work for others at all.
    It gets complicated,

  2. The normalcy bias or comfort rut is an area we have gotten lulled into on occasion. We get too comfortable in our daily doings and then there is a wakeup call out of the blue. I don’t think we have to be on high alert but definitely on alert to the world around us.

    Our main focus is on our local area but we are also aware of things that will have an effect on us such as national financial issues, major weather problems and disease issues such as measles outbreaks in our state.

    We also focus on the use of stored foods that we don’t normally eat such as MRE’S. It makes us more aware to inventory levels and do we really want to eat this stuff ! We realize we will screw up from time to time and try to minimize that happening , but it still happens.

  3. Let me expand a little on the normalcy bias. You can drive without due care and attention because you have good insurance. You can live an unhealthy lifestyle because you have good insurance. You can sip your morning coffee in ignorant bliss because you don’t live in Chicago, Baltimore, LA, San Fran, Seattle, Portland, … as the violence and garbage slowly takes over the country. But, because it is not in our own little enclaves, we do not see the danger.

  4. Mistakes that I have made;
    Not enough time to type them all in HAHAHA

    1. Not researching and testing/tasting typical ‘Long Term’ foods, aka Augason Farms, Wise, EE. There is a LOT of differences in the quality and “will I eat this goo”.

    2. Not building a bases of “Trusted” people and allowing some not so trustworthy to get a glimpse as to what I’m doing, aka not tight enough OPSEC.

    3. Getting Old and Fat, both are very hard to correct when you’re both at the same time.

    4. Not being cautious of what “stuff” I was buying, I will admit I have some “not so good” equipment that I wish I would have purchased the “Upgrade”. I am replacing those now, but feel reather stupid buying stuff twice.

    5. Trying to localize what I was preparing for. Concentrating on this particular SHTF and not doing more of a blanket type of preparing. I should have categorized the SHTF that is most likely here, and not worry about the 5% group, but more in the 90% likely group. Meaning is an EMP likely to happen, yes it is, but more likely for a Wild Fire.
    That’s enough; you get the idea, typical Beginner Prepper sort of thing.

    Other mistakes I see and hear about often:

    1. Listening to Dooms Day Preppers, Survivalist types that continually spout off “The World is Ending… TODAY”. No it’s not, or 99.9999% not going to happen in a World Ending Event. Will everyday stuff happen, you bet it will, take a look at current events.

    2. Building a $1,000,000 bunker and stocking it wit 50 tons of Foods. Really, if you want to build a storm shelter for the Weather go for it, but when/if the SHTF and the world ends, you going to live in that Bunker for the next 50 years?

    3. Not learning skills for if/when simple things hit, like the Economy crashing, JIT supply stopping at 2:00AM and the stores are empty in 2 days., Can you find food or have 6 months’ supply on hand?

    4. NOT having the right Mind-Set for outlasting a SHTF, meaning can you Hunker Down in your home for 6 months? How about Bugging Out can you actually leave the home and realize you’ll probably never come back? Can you look at your neighbor and their kids and tell them “no”? That’s a hard one BTW.

    5. Believing that the 50 tons of food you have stored up will keep you alive. Really? Do you have the medical skills to pull an abscessed tooth? How about setting a broken arm/leg? Do you know how to start a fire in the pouring rain? SKILLS do you have the knowledge to survive “Without”.

    6. Thinking you got this down pat. No you don’t, Don’t become cocky thinking you know everything you need to live without any outside input. No you don’t. No I don’t.

    Good article Ken, again, get people thinking.
    PS; is 600 rolls really enough? Maybe, all depends on your Mind-Set.

    1. NRP
      If you only knew about the paper fetish…lol. It is ALL your fault 😆😂
      Just ask acdh…..

      1. Antique Collector;
        Sooooo your over 1k now aren’t you?
        HAHAHA not to worry, i just fit 500 rools of Paper Towles, and 5k of paper plates & plastic silverware, OMG I’m over the edge NUTS

    2. NRP (and Ken, you may want to link this article or at least read it),

      The article is at medium dot com and titled “The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of The Tin-Foil Hat Gun Prepper”.

      This guy applies the same math that insurance companies and mortgage companies use when considering insuring or financing homes based on their locations 100 year flood plan, on figuring the likelihood of a revolution, civil war, or other civilization changing upheaval occurring during the lifespan of an American male.

      Hint: the chances of a revolution= 37% during your lifetime, if you live in the U.S.

      Sound high? That percentage is based on just the U.S. history. When you include the history of the world and the number of societal upheavals, the chances or life altering revolutions, catastrophic events occurring in the average lifespan go up astronomically.

      Not saying I agree with this guy, but he makes a compelling case.

      1. Dennis
        Found the article and pinned it to the task bar. To let others know it is back from 2018, April 20th, if they are searching.

        1. Antique Collector,

          After reading this article one understands why the standard homeowners policy doesn’t cover acts of war. Higher risk than flooding if you live outside a 100 year flood plain.

      2. Dennis;
        Thanks for the suggestion will check it out tomorrow.
        Would be interesting to see if the “chances” are growing or declining.
        Probably increasing I know my insurance rates are.

      3. Dennis I would think it would be higher. Ever since the last presidential election, it seems like the world has gone nuts….

    3. NRP: Hard to add to your list. Covers it pretty good. But I have to ask. Are you talking Mega-rolls of T.P.???

      1. BigBadCat;
        No, I have TB (tender butt) so I need to use the Quilted Northern, I do buy the Jumbo Packs though… HAHAH

    4. Great reply NRP,
      Your second #4 really hit home. “Having mindset to outlast SHTF, leaving home not coming back and saying bye to neighbors”. I think a lot of people look at the big picture of shtf, “BOL, Food, supplies, etc” but don’t think about the little things. Leaving home in a shtf situation, leaving your family photos, photos of kids, parents, grandparents, and having the potential of never seeing those again, leaving that time that granddad gave you. These things I can see bringing down morale of people, seems silly, but I think it will have a bigger impact than some may think.

      Also, I feel some (not saying on this site) think a shtf would be like camping, easy, enjoyable, etc. but you’d have to factor in once rule of law is thrown aside, bad people are going to do bad things. Even people one may think is good, may test and try that little thing that is inside them that they’ve hidden. I could go on but I won’t. Your post sparked a lot of thought for me. Well done sir. (Did I just assume your gender 😂)

  5. Prepping is at times overwhelming. Letting the feelings of it’s too much, time is too short, I can’t get there from here drive us into anger, desperation, and hopelessness is a mistake – an easy one to make. Little by little, step by step, day by day will have us better prepared today than we were yesterday.

    For TEOTWAWKI preppers, a local community of like-committed individuals is critical. Just having someone to talk to lightens the load. One reason I am grateful every day for Ken and MSB.

    Keep Calm and Prep On

  6. Poor health is our biggest difficulty. DW and I both have health issues. This limits the amount of hard work we are able to do which limits the amount of money we can spend on preps. We have made some mistakes on food storage. We got a recipe for water bath canning cabbage and lost half of what we put up one year. Now we always pressure can everything except pickles. We didn’t want to spend the money for a vacuum sealer but lost enough from freezing in zip lock bags that we had to get one. We do live within our means but sometimes you loose more by going cheap.

    1. Car Guy, from what you posted, look what you learned. That’s part of the process.
      I use the local food panty to get food. If I mess up storage or am learning to store some type that I’m unfamiliar with, it doesn’t cost me anything.

      1. I donate to a local food bank when I can. They regularly run out of food for people that actually need food. I would hate to think somebody has taken food to store or experiment on that some elder or truly disadvantaged person needs.

  7. Not checking your preps!! Just checked all my flashlights and about 8 out of the 16 I checked didn’t work and 3 had corroded batteries and are now trash!

    I had also changed jobs so my commute went from 40 miles one way to 8 miles. Finally repacked my GHB and went from 30lbs to 10lbs.

      1. Checking the batteries in all of our critical gear is done twice a year, the same time the smoke detectors are checked.

    1. I class my flashlights as either active (batteries installed) or backups/stored (batteries in a zip bag, rubber banded to the flashlight). All use double A size batteries, except for the “El Ka-Bong” D cell Mag lights. Swap out the zip bag batteries every six months into other equipment. Tedious, but saves the hardware, FWIW. 🔦🔋

      1. ^^^^^^This. Why keep the batteries IN the item to ruin it? Just do it like grey did and save yourself a lot of grief. Think smarter, the best way to save money and your stuff.

        My 2 cents is that concealment and stealth of your assets will trump all else, NO one is going to hold out for a long period of time in a total shtf anyway. Hungry people will overwhelm you unless you are already LONG established in a VERY remote area…

    2. I learned not to store batteries in the devices. I had a nice Mag light that I had to trash because of battery leakage. I also learned to get a battery tester.

  8. I have been prepping–actually a survivalist– for a long time.
    My biggest mistake– not taking advantage of deals when available.
    Do not overthink it—

    1. tango;
      Excellent, if something is not on sale or REALLY cheap dont buy it of ya dont “need” it right now!

      Agreed with the “don’t overthink it”.
      Relax, take a deep breath, be smart about what you spend yar $$$$ on

  9. You do the best you can, as you are able to, with the talents given you.
    Mistakes are a part of the learning process, yet be thank full for wisdom shared by others. Without a learning process we become complacent in our on going ability to store and share knowledge.

  10. If you’re overweight, you can fix that. It is a choice you are making. It’ll be harder for diabetic folks, but everything will be harder for diabetics. Am I in top shape? No, not even close, but I know I could walk several miles. I do so routinely.

    Mistakes,

    Buying cheap Harbor Freight invertors. Don’t do it, they are junk. Although I would still recommend a cheap solar kit, for learning what solar will and won’t do.

    Haven’t really established a “group.” I’m hesitant to disclose much, and ya gotta give to get.

    Wish I was a better gardener. I do it every year and some years are great. This year and last, look mediocre at best.

    Should have done chickens sooner, but I’ve got em’ now. Wish I knew more.

    Should have started with ham radio years ago. I have a lot to learn, but what I know, and do, is fun as well as a prep. Do it people. It is NOT hard. Try to imagine what the anxiety level will/would be, if you couldn’t contact VIP???

    How much is enough. I’m thinking food, supplies, you name it. There really is no answer, but it makes me uncomfortable nonetheless.

    My mistakes are countless, with more to come, I’m sure!

    1. Plainsmedic at least your DOING IT. Doing means Mistakes and then your Learning and trying again. Basics work, chickens are a gardeners best friend, esp. when bug sprays and fertilizer is unable to be purchased. Your well ahead of many with your chicken tunnels.

      Don’t over think starting a Group. A group is simply decent folks you trust. 2 or 3 people you can trust covering your back is far better than a pack of yahoo’s. You don’t need to tell them of your preps unless your interested in getting them to prep. Even then it’s still need to know. Stay away from folks wanting to start something. They may not be a Fed plant but can still get you in unneeded trouble.

      The biggest mistake aside from lone wolfing it is not having a sacrificial set of preps just in case your OPSEC is faulty. One must have back ups well hidden. For example your Harbor Freight Solar could be your sacrificial set, practice set and your show me preps while the better solar kit is faraday caged and hidden. Same with many other tools, Red Flag Laws spring to mind.

      Ask those who suffered through confiscation in the former Soviet Union or Venezuela when Government used “Anti-Hording” laws for the good of the “People”.

      Food is a weapon disarm your problems with a hidden cache.

      1. Me2
        Can agree with that post.
        Just a couple days ago I took back a Harbor Freight, one time use, tool.
        It broke.
        Now you and Plains have me wondering on my HF inverter purchases.
        You have what you have, get by with what you don’t.

        1. Joe c,
          The HF invertors.
          It’s the quality control, that’s the problem. I’ve used a couple HF invertors that worked fine. Remember, they are modified sine wave, NOT the best. Also had a couple of invertors not work at all, right out of the box. Some degrade quickly and don’t put out what they’re supposed to. I don’t think they are worth the risk of failure. Way too many failures. Thankfully, I’ve only bought smaller invertors from HF. I consider them throw-aways. I’ll not buy any more. Lesson learned!

          Good luck!

          1. Plainsmedic
            Yeah I bought two smaller ones, also.
            1500 and 2500.
            Never hooked them up to see if they work and they’re in the Fcage.
            They would come in handy, but I can also get by without, I guess.
            It is, what it is….

      2. me2;
        FYI, the good old USofA has anithording laws also. Read the Patriot Act.
        Just something to think on.

        1. Per the thread a most serious mistake I see way too often. Your life or your stuff.

          NRP, Sadly I agree. The Patriot Act as well as many continuation of Government acts signed by every President for decades is why I am so adamant about having a sacrificial set of preps and the hidden ones. Note plural. Not all eggs in one basket.

          I’ve been given a lot of grief about “Out of my cold dead fingers” and so on. Guess what if they choose to, it will be that. You will never see the Sniper that grants you that wish. What do you think will happen to your family then? You the main Prepper dead or crippled or in prison is a poor choice for your survivors.

          Better to surrender the stuff they know about, *itching and complaining as to be able to get by until they lose interest and you start over.

          Worked for folks in the former Soviet Union. The survivors of the Holodomor survived by sneaking into the woods to eat from their hidden caches of old cabbage, turnips and such. Soldiers and untrustworthy neighbors cannot steal what they know nothing about.

          Too expensive? Maybe you need to shop at the Thrift Store. They have sturdy warm clothing, pots, pans, camping gear and so on. Better for you and your family to be alive with your skills/experiences, second hand stuff and maybe a 22 rifle (with 22 shorts very quiet) to aid. Learn how to ferment foods. Kimchee and small game will keep you going. Seeds, plastic sheeting and yard sale tools may allow you to build a garden, greenhouses and shelter.

          Long winded but way too many folks are so attached to their expensive tacti-cool super toys when for a lot less money spent you can have a lot of cheaper options hidden away.

          1. Me2;
            Excellent replay. I could not agree more.
            Most people need to remember, dead is for a very long time and will do the survivors no good.
            STUFF IS JUST THAT….. stuff

  11. Not challenging one’s own abilities.
    You won’t know if you’re able to achieve X project, if you don’t try.
    I can’t do it,so I won’t bother starting.
    Failures may come, then you learn to overcome those failures or hiccups and try again.

  12. I think not learning to use all that cool gear you just had to have if probably the biggest mistake most people make.

    Also, the normalcy bias creeps in in all of us from time to time…it is very easy to procrastinate…taking a day off is not the same, sometimes we all need a day, or two or three, to just decompress.

    Those are the two biggest pitfalls I see.

    1. One more thing…I think prepping for a specific scenario can be a big mistake. It may not be EMP, or financial collapse, pandemic, CW2 or whatever the latest rage is on your favorite web sites. It could just as easily be a local event. It could be a personal financial event, or a health crisis. All you need do is watch the news and see a large portion of the country has been in SHTF mode for 2-3 weeks, first the tornado outbreaks and now the flooding.

    1. Some of my mistakes:

      One of my faults (which sometimes spills into preparedness activities) has been starting too many projects – having too much on my plate at once (self induced). I’ve been much better lately – forcing myself NOT to start another one until I’m finished with the previous.

      I tend to under estimate how long it will take to do something (e.g. projects). It almost always takes longer! If you’re planning / time management, it’s best to assume it will take longer than you think. OVER estimate.

      Early during my prepping I did purchase a bunch of professionally packaged long term food storage (#10 cans of stuff in a kit). There’s nothing wrong with that! However I wish I had researched a bit more back then prior to hasty decisions. Have tasted some of that batch purchase and not too happy with it. Live and learn I suppose.

      Again, early on, I did fall prey to “too much” doom and gloom preparedness. While there was seemingly good reason back then (and there still is!), it’s easy to go overboard. Just stay cool – practical – sensible…

      I have lost ‘deep pantry’ foods due to not checking on them enough. At one time some of it was stored in a place that was too humid. Can you say ‘rusty cans’?

      Okay, those were a few confessions. I’m sure I’ve not made any other mistakes ;)

      1. Ken;
        Boy-ohhhhhh-Boy can I relate to the “Time” thing, and finishing up projects before starting something new…..

        Good reminder to check the inventory and the Deep Pantry “Best By” dates, may be donating a bunch of stuff to the Food Bank again soon.

  13. In retrospect my underground bunker was not a good idea. First of all I started digging late in the year and late in the day. It got dark early and I did not use any lights. When I was shoulder deep some neighbors spotted me and asked what I was doing and I told them I was digging a grave for my sister’s dead cat. That was probably a mistake.

    It is difficult to keep one’s bearings underground and when I hit a concrete wall I realized I had dug into my neighbor’s yard and into their basement wall. Eventually I got it backfilled and got my 10’x12′ living quarters hollowed out. Sure, that would be cramped for the 4 of us and our aquarium, but it’s more room than a station wagon like Chevy Chase and his family went in on those National Lampoon vacations.

    But my big mistake was not talking this over with the wife. One morning when I crawled out of the big dig she informed me that the house had been put up for sale and the closing was in a few days. Lack of communication can lead to all kinds of problems, so that would’ve been my biggest prepper mistake, ever.

    1. Good one! Laughing, – ‘The Big Dig’ – the aquarium too – can’t forget the fishes – LMAO!

      1. Thought I’d provide a little fodder for lurkers looking for Doomsday Preppers.
        I guess I didn’t fool Ken.

  14. #1: Poor inventory management. I have some stuff I can’t find. And if it is cheap enough I just rebuy it which exacerbates the problem. I think I have enough machetes to clear cut Brazil. Or at least a few dozen new in packages according to Amazon’s purchase history. I have stuff hidden all over.

    #2: Starting projects and not truly finishing them due to time, usually due to season changes.

    #3: Ineffective foodstuff turnover/rotation. I have a lot of stuff stored that I will never eat unless I’m desperate. I should donate it before it is too far past the date but I never get around to it.

    #4: I should stop shrinking the garden.

  15. NRP mentioned this, maybe he and others can advise on freeze dried goods, Augason, EE, etc. Oh geez I spent a lot of money on that stuff, soon after discovering the contents of my 2013 canned stuff. I opened one can of mozzarella, just out of insane curiosity. Not bad…. And I had two EE cans turn into blimps due to a known issue with baking powder. Other than that – I’ve got a LOT of cans – never really tried using them. Has anyone else rotated FD foods into regular use? Or are you like me and convinced the 25 year shelf life is real?

    1. tmcgyver;
      I’m figuring the FD goo will outlast me at 25 years, so it’s that poor sucker that gets all my “Stuff” that’s got the problem HAHAHAHA

  16. OPSEC, OPSEC, and more OPSEC. The bulk of the Amerikan public are the Normalcy Bias-Sheeple types who are wedded to their electronic pacifiers. I do not care if they are your friends and/or family members. All of your preps and planning will be for naught if you, the ant, include these useless grasshoppers in your plans. Think Katrina/Sandy/etc. Plan accordingly.

  17. I’ve got a few words I would like to add to the discussion. Gardening isn’t about raising plants and vegetables. Gardening is about amending your soil to be able to grow plants and vegetables. Raised bed gardening is great because you have to do very little work. You just buy some perfect soil, plant, water, and it grows. I have several raised beds myself. But what happens when you can’t drive over to the store and buy 20 bags of raised bed soil? I’m not saying abandon your raised beds. But I am saying learn to grow things in the ground now or learn to make your own raised bed soil by composting and mixing on your own. Learning to make your own raised bed soil will save you some money. If you grow beans, peas, or corn you need to learn to do it as a row crop. Do you have fruit trees? Do you have nut bearing trees like pecans? If so, you need to learn how to take care of basic diseases these trees can get. If not, I suggest you plant a few. You might not ever get to enjoy them but maybe your family will one day.

    My grandparents and parents told me stories of the Great Depression. They were cotton farmers and had a fair herd of beef. Everyone had pigs, chicken, and rabbits around here back then. Even then they rarely ate meat every day. Cows were too valuable to eat like we do today. Chickens were needed for egg production, and pigs were meant for killing in the fall and winter. Catching fish in the river was a hit or miss thing. So people ate rabbits or goats. Chickens and turkeys were killed on special occasions or if some rooster got too ornery. My great uncle lived further north during the depression. He told me that people were so hungry for meat they just about killed every deer in the Midwest and all the way back over toward the Catskills. Squirrels and wild rabbit were hunted in the same manner. He came home to the farm because it got to hard to make it up there. Here he knew that the gardens would be full of okra if nothing else. Why okra?? Because okra will grow just about anywhere and in any condition.

    Just some ramblings from an old man. I wish that I had done a better job of writing down the stories and lessons learned by my kin during the depression when I was younger. I’ve started writing them down, but I’m far behind. Anyhow, I hope your day is easy and your rest is peaceful.

    1. BG in TX;
      You are so very right about what we have forgotten from the Depression, we are now spoiled and greedy consumers, I’m probably also one.

      I totally agree with the Raised Bed Gardens, all I do anymore, BUT I do “build” my own soil, and don’t buy to replenish the beds.

      A Compost bin is a MUST for a gardened.

      1. NRP, I still do both because I have row crops as well. Down here you can still sell purple hull peas for a goodly profit if the deer or weather don’t get them.

        I learned to compost and mix my own soils a few years ago. And I still don’t know even half of what I need to know, but I can raise a pretty decent amount of food. I eat all I can and give a lot away. My kids take some with them.

        As far as being a “consumer”, that’s all of us to an extent. Folks tend to find the easiest and most efficient way to get things done. Now I’m not saying the modern way is better, I’m just saying it is more efficient for most folks.

        Have you ever read “The Rodale Book of Composting”? That’s my main source when I began making my own compost and soils.

        1. BG in TX;
          No I have not read your suggestion in the book, will look it up, thanks.
          Tis interesting when we all talk Gardening, and such. I’ve started an Article on that subject, and the ‘real’ complexity of a Garden. will be sending to Ken and see if he’ll publish it here on MSB.
          Again thanks for the suggested book

    2. I have a small traditional garden, not raised beds. The spot had sod on it since 1966 until 5 years ago when I tilled it and started raising a garden. It is good soil and most things do very well. I do compost to build the soil. I heat my garage with a wood burner and spread the ashes on the garden. I also get manure for the garden. I have only recently planted fruit trees. I planted an apple tree last year and planted another apple this year. I also planted a plum and a peach tree this year. My folks also lived thru the depression. They tried to teach me all kinds of things about gardening and putting up food for the winter but I was young and dumb and didn’t pay attention. Now that I’m old and gray I am trying to learn all the things they were wanting to teach me. Hind sight is 20/20.

      1. car guy do you have apple trees that can pollinate each other? Apple trees tend to be self sterile. If not a crabapple is an excellent pollinator and grow quickly. Crabapples make good cider and vinegar as well as pectin for jam making.

    3. There is an old saying that great gardeners grow soil not plants. Not hard to grow good plants in good soil

  18. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in preparedness so I’ll speak on me and not others. As long as it’s corrected I don’t think it’s bad because it’s a learning process. This is a very hard thing to negotiate preparedness because you want to be with others like you but if they are like you they aren’t open about it. You crave information and in my case because before internet it was hard learning but now you can learn false information at an astonishing rate. Now that you’ve found some folks it’s still not enough because your “not Patroitc enough”, might be “too hardcore”, “your gear isn’t brand name enough” and so on and so forth much like high school trying to find where you fit in.

    Trying to “fit in” was a mistake. I’m not perfect and change can be good but I don’t need to fit others ideas.

    Not rotating canned food enough. It’s cost me money. Sometimes it was because I didn’t get to choose where I lived being military so I didn’t always have a propper pantry. Usually though it was just me being lazy.

    Not screening group members enough. Druggies, radicals, big talkers, criminal behavior( not to be confused with a criminal record because folks make mistakes), leaches and one uppers have all been an issue in the past.

    Buying too many flashlights and knives (that might not be a mistake it has turned into a bad habit)

    Joining and posting on forums. I’d quit for years and shoulda stayed that way.

    Trying to convince people to prepare. I’ll talk on it then move on now. We want the best for folks which is good but it’s just not gonna happen sometimes. I’ll always be “that guy” the “crazy uncle” to some.

    Buying “long term” food that isn’t sealed in Mylar or canned and is only in buckets. Mylar in buckets or canned is the safe way to go.

    Chasing magic bullets. I’ve learned to stay with the basics and leave the outlandish claims alone.

    Don’t be afraid to make mistakes cause that’s how we learn. You can’t make a mistake unless you are DOING. By doing you will be better. Watching YouTube ain’t doing. That Instagram hero was doing till they got it picture perfect so don’t let it make you feel bad. A mistake isn’t a failure. Thinking it was well was a mistake.

    1. Matt, I quit the internet all together for quite a while. I came back to it for knowledge that I couldn’t get at my local library. That’s how I found this page. I post on here a few times a week. I also like Ol Remus’ weekly commentary. I usually read Mr. Rawles’ site as well. This site sure makes me think about things and how I go about my business. I enjoy reading your take on things as well among many others.

  19. if you can contain your own “normalcy bias ” >>> stay alert – skeptical & wary of just about everything – think wise & independent >>> normalcy bias can be a handy tool initially …

    I think most preppers will be absolutely amazed by the sheeple – blinded into a stupor of inactivity waiting for gooberment salvation …

    sorry to say it – but it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t and can’t allow to pass without cashing in – take advantage of your prepper training & knowledge to increase your stores and reinforce your already pat hand …

  20. The mistake I made was not going all in. When I built my place there were no neighbors around to see what I was building. I should have put in that perfect bunker. Yes, I know most of the opinions against going down that rabbit hole, but here is my reasoning. I can do very well living in quiet isolation. I could protect most of my essential assets that I would need once I was able to come up. I believe that once a real disaster hit, it would only be a matter of three to six months for the probable depopulation to solve many problems. If the worst of the population remained or if the disaster meant near total annihilation, I would perish – but I would not have survived on the surface either. So, if the most common argument against having a bunker is “the world would not be worth living in” after the SHTF, why do we even prep at all? Finally, if there was no disaster, at least I would have had a larger secure storage space for my growing amount of stuff.

    1. I can answer the “why do we even prep at all part ” at least for me. I prep because I’m afraid I will survive or at least some of my family will. In a true SHTF situation such as nukes ect to be honest I would prefer to go in the first blast. As old as myself and my wife are we would just suffer and die in that type of scenario either way. My fear is a slow decline were things just keep getting worse and worse so I store food and water,garden and have tools and skills to make things easier for us during those times.

  21. NRP and BG
    I had two truck loads of virgin top soil (from a meadow never use for agriculture as the owner wanted to get at the gravel below) delivered with a truck load of composed manure from a farmer that uses a little pesticide as possible. Every year I just take my loader out and turn the pile combined with new organic material. The one down side to not having sterilized soil for the beds is the amount of weed growth but each of the 21 raised beds do not take too long to weed each week. The lower non-raised garden is a pain. The robins also follow me around when I spread new soil because of all the worms. So far I have been able to avoid chemical fertilizers for good production.

    1. Top soil like that is hard to come by in these parts. Have you ever added perlite or vermiculite?

      I do admit to being a bit jealous of such good top soil.

  22. A mistake I consistently make is accepting free items. They are the most costly ones I have. I was given some lawn chairs, I have to break them up and pay to get rid of them. The list goes on. I am reminded of an account of a woodworker that was offered free for the taking a gigantic cherry tree. Thousand of board feet of lumber. After cutting, hauling, milling, drying and debris riddance he figured it cost him 1-1/2 to 3x what it would cost him to buy it outright. Look that gift horse over carefully.

  23. Making mistakes is part of learning! We’ve made plenty; from the Simple and Cheap (Flashlight battery corrosion! and Poor Food Rotation) to the Expensive (Drilling for my Water Well and coming up Dry which could have been avoided with a little research prior to; Learning the best way to handle Earth Erosion on my driveway etc).

    But we continue to learn from these mistakes and from that we get better and more confident every year.

    I say Seize The Day and Don’t Let The Bastards Keep You Down! Keep Preparing and realize its a Journey not a Destination…God Speed!

    1. Slippy:
      Tis the journey NOT the destination.
      Is our entire lives not exactly that?
      Well said.

  24. For me this is easy to admit to though it is a bit painful:

    Buying too much of something with not-enough-thought given to where or how I will store the stuff I have just bought. Many reasons for this to include a poor job of inventory on my part.

    This just bothers me because I hate wasting food and most of the waste I speak of in my home is in terms of food. But this has also applied to batteries and other items that have limited shelf life.

    Batteries that leak inside of an expensive item is why I have not purchased expensive of fancy flashlights. batteries leaking inside of a $40 headlamp hurts more than a $20 headlamp.

    Like my hero NRP: I do not skimp on having soft, strong tissue for my backside.

  25. whats NORMAL, there is really is no GOOD explanation For whats NORMAL, i grew up dirt poor, we found ways to reuse EVERYTHING from old pasta sauce bottles to use as big glasses to saving and burning out old cans and keeping a bunch to sell for scrap metal, hell we even used old boxes for kindling to start fires, ive learned how to make fire starters from cotton balls and vaseline i use em all the time for grilling

    1. Back in the 80’s they sold mason jars with handles. They would hold a lot of nice cold ice tea. They were very cheap and we all had one. Saving boxes to use for the fire? We saved pretty much any paper product to use as a fire starter. We grew up pretty poor as well. I would collect cans when on my paper route every day. My bike had several baskets and when one got empty, I would work on filling it up. Back then drinking and driving was fairly common and as a result there was a fresh scattering of cans almost every day.

      Mistakes— the big one for me was underestimating the time it would take to do a project. You know how it is, it always looks fairly simple on paper. Then the execution is a different story. Some “simple” quick jobs usually turned out to be the worst. “Just need to replace this faucet is all.” After a few days and multiple trips to the hardware store and finally I was comfortable with the new faucet and the 15 feet of new piping under the crawl space.

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