How did you become a prepper?

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by goshengirl, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    I ask this because I am trying to figure out how to 'reach' people in my life. In general our culture is not geared towards prepping, so how is it that everyone on this forum came to that way of life? I figure maybe if others share how they came to be preppers, there will be a kernel of an idea that will help me reach folks in my life - most notably my DH.

    For myself, it started when I'd just moved to Colorado and overheard some comment on the news about getting a 'car kit' together with items to survive getting stranded in a snowstorm on a mountain pass. I put a car kit together, and within a couple of years gave everyone in my family car kits for Christmas. That was the beginning of them thinking I was nuts...

    Then more recently - we went without power for a week due to a wind storm, and six months later my DH lost his job and we lived off the bulk food stored in the house (we bought in bulk to save money, not to prep). Then, when we moved into our new home, I've been literally compelled to prep. I didn't just want fruit trees, I HAD to have them, so that we could can/dry food to put away. I planted English walnut trees so that we would have a source of protein in a pinch (when they start producing in about 4 more years) - my DH doesn't understand why I think that way. In the past six months I've learned how to can and dry food, I've started learning about water collection...

    DH is into the self-sufficiency concept - and he's all about saving $ so anything we can learn to do ourselves is great. But when $ is so tight, it's hard for him to understand why I want to build up an even bigger food supply or why I'd want to spend money on #10 cans of freeze-dried food. he thinks I've gone over the top. And I understand that, I really do - because his environment doesn't tell him we need to prepare. We share the same environment/culture, yet I feel the need to prep literally imprinted on my heart. I feel driven. But I can't make him 'feel' that same drive - I have to figure out an experiential way to reach him.

    So how did you all come to be preppers? And is there anyone else out there that 'converted' a spouse to prepping?
  2. Moose33

    Moose33 Well-Known Member

    Hi Goshengirl,
    I grew up on or near farms and ranches. One learns quickly, with once a month trips to town, to be self sufficient or go without. My grandmother had a garden and raised eight kids through the depression by canning and canning and canning. I'll bet she had a quarter mile of shelving in the basement loaded with everything from her garden.

    In high school I lived on a working cattle ranch in eastern Colorado. We also raised a couple of pigs, sheep, chickens and had milk cows. All provided food in one way or another. Once or twice a year we'd take a steer to the butcher and come back with a freezer full of meat. My ex's mother stored at least a years worth of canned food in her basement too. For many years it was just how I lived. It wasn't prepping it was just how it was done. I didn't know any different.

    I fell away from that life and became a "townie" for too many years. Last year I wondered what the heck happened. My daddy used to tell me that the only person that's going to take care of you is you. Recently I've spent more time focused on what I learned as a kid and how I can use it now. I even went so far as to make a list of the things I've done in my life. Silly, maybe, but its a reminder, you did it once, you can do it again. Ok, so I may not need to back loaded cattle trailers down chutes all day but I might have to drive 10 miles home in a nasty snow storm. If I've done one surely I can do the other. I figured out that my daddy taught me a LOT and I'm not going to waste his investment in me. I'm doing what I can for myself and what I can't do I'll figure out eventually.

    Take it easy,
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011

  3. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    My spouse actually converted me. He and I met in December 1999. Had probably known each other casually all of three weeks when Y2K came along. He calls me on New Years Eve and asks me if I am ready for Y2K. I'm told him no ... I needed some mascara and beer (for a New Years Eve party I was going to). He started laughing, then he stopped and in a deadly quiet voice said "No I'm serious ... are you ready for Y2K?" :scratch

    Now I knew his department had gone to 12 on, 12 off, all leave cancelled, no days' off but personally I thought they were just being JBTs ... :p

    At the grocery store (I went to get mascara and beer, mind you) there were people running around all over the place buying everything. I remember thinking to myself "Good Lord, all these folks buying frozen TV Dinners are gonna be pissed if Y2K actually happens and the power goes out cause they won't be able to keep it frozen and they won't be able to cook it." :rolleyes:

    Well, we all know what happened ... nothing ... so the old JBT and I continue on and find ourselves married some time later. :p He is still trying to extoll the virtues of "being prepared" ... I remind him every single time he brings it up 1. that I have lived 40 some-odd years and never been without power more than overnight; and 2. remember Y2K?? :cool:

    Thankfully, he does not give in. He buys extra stuff, trades a rifle for a generator and listens to me complain about all the "stuff we don't need taking up space in the garage".

    In 2007 we had an ice storm here that was a doozy. We were an entire WEEK without power. :gaah: There were no restaurants to eat out or hotels to stay at because they were all without power too ... never mind that I had pets I wouldn't leave anyway. If he hadn't put back what he did (gasoline, generator, food that didn't have to be cooked to be eaten, etc.) we would have been a lot more miserable than we were.

    :surrender: And now ... here we are ... 3 years later ... He is still doing his JBT thing but now my "job" is to take care of all the prepping here. If it needs to be learned I am the one who learns it ... If it needs to be put back, I am the one who puts it back.

    We have gone from being at 2-income, consumer-driven couple who never had time for anything except to write the check for someone else to do it to a 1-income couple who is happier, more self-sufficient and much more satisified overall than we ever were before.

    I have some friends who say it is all my kooky JBT's fault ... others say it is a phase ... others say I have lost my mind completely ... I dunno ... as long as I can take care of me and mine I figure they can say what they want. ;) (And I am not nearly as hard-core as some of you folks!! -- but I'm getting there! LOL)
  4. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

    Hiya Goshengirl -- for me it's learned/cultural. I was raised in the west where there is, in my opinion, a certain level of acceptance it. Everyone had a blanket in the car in the winter, and everyone kept some water in the car in the summer. This was the era before cell phones, so if you broke down somewhere on those miles and miles of miles and miles, you were up a creek if you weren't prepared. My parents were part of the post-Hippie back-to-the-earth movement so we had a small hobby farm with a garden, chickens, goats and rabbits. They built a cellar and kept it full.

    Since moving to the east coast, I've learned to smile and say, "It's a Western thing" whenever someone opens my pantry and nearly faints at the sight of it -- packed full of cans and boxes and bags. "Don't worry! It's a Western thing that comes from living almost 30 miles away from the nearest grocery store. If you can't get to the store that often, then you have to stock up!" There is much more to it than that, of course, but it seems to mollify them while saving my reputation as a sane, intelligent person. ;)

    So while I've always kept a couple months' worth on hand (lifelong habit), I'm making the concerted effort to expand that to a year and expand it to more people. Why? I'm not a news junkie any more (too much stress) so I don't think it was the result of inflation warnings accumulating in my subconscious. Therefore, l call it a prompting. I woke up early on a Saturday morning last fall to an urgent, compelling, and crystal clear thought in my mind: "get ready". It has only been since I started tracking the news once again that I see what I'm getting ready for. Inflation. Social unrest. Tough times. My fervent prayer is that it doesn't progress to flying excrement. (I still have a lot of work to do to handle that one.....)
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    With both my parents working so much, I spent a LOT of time with my grandparents who themselves had lived through the depression in a rural area, thereby giving a me more than a fair modicum of "Missurra Mule Contrariness" I never thought of the stuff we did as 'prepping', until a member of another forum told me "you're a prepper! you might like this site (prep society)!"; but yeah, most of the things we do are many times are just a way to save $$$. I have no idea how most people get by while paying other people (many times, me) to do even the most simple of things... it is just how we live. With the populist onus against 'hoarding' currently; I think that many cannot draw the distinction about preparedness and mental illness... and I think this is intentional, I think that TPTB are conditioning the sheeple to accept an unprecedented age of dependence from 'cradle to grave' :eek: :mad: . So maybe my incliniation towards prepping is just another manifestation of my contrariness. :dunno: :nuts: :sssh:
  6. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    There is another thread somewhere that discusses this but I don't have time to look for it right now. If I think about it, I'll look tonight.

    For us it was seeing the packaging of food shrinking and the price not. That was back in the winter of '07-'08. For whatever reason, walking around the store that day made me think of the hundreds of jars of produce that my grandmother canned from their huge garden. I started looking into canning and preserving food the same way she did which led me to consider expanding our little tomato garden. In my search for info on food storage and preservation, I came across forums such as this one and started reading. I also found and started reading that every day. A lot of folks find JWR a little too radical but I looked beyond all the gun talk and took in what I felt was pertinent articles. As I started reading the archives I realized that a lot of the things written back in '05 and '06 were beginning to transpire. Not everything, but enough to open my eyes to the potential problems that we were facing. All this combined led us to a less consumerism, more self sufficient way of looking at life.
    So now we have a 10,000 sf garden, chickens, goats, canning supplies, food storage and of course the means to protect it all.
  7. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    Perty much grew up doin this. Grandma an grandpa lived in Missouri an out in the woods. Ya better have everthin ya needed out there our ya did with out it.

    Learned how ta smoke meat on my own, from what I remembered granddad doin. Good way ta put aside some tastey food.

    Learned some bout cannin, bakin an cookin from my grandma. My dad was a perty fair cook in his own rite.

    Grew up on the edge a town, more in the country then in town, so the power ain't as reliable as it is everwhere, ya have a lantern, flashlight an candle ready cause ya never know when you'll be sittin in the dark. One a the reasons we have heatin options too. Furnace don't run with out power. Course now, there be things like generators an such, back in grandpa's day they weren't around. They didn't have electricity till in the 40's!

    I guess fer us it was just a learned behaviour. To convert most folks gonna take a life changin event. Usually by the time that happens it gonna be to late.
  8. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    My first years(that I can remember)were in pretty remote ranch country, no grid power, gravel roads . sometimes 3or4 or more days 'til those roads got plowed out with a grader in winter, I learned young that nature is in charge and if you don't have the nessecities when a storm hits you do with out. in prep for Y2k we grew an acre of potatoes (that is a LOT of digging) thru most of them away,but was glad they were there.
  9. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    Laugh all you want, I'm used to it... -but I'm a pretty well known (and proven) psychic on the internet both here and in Europe. (Hey, "the proof is in the pudding" - it was all written in black and white way ahead of time)... Everything I predicted in 2005 on, has since happened to the economy and world events. My last big hit was the BP oil spill in May, which I predicted 6 mos. in advance at Tanksgiving 2009. Been like this since I was 4, and it always amazed my relatives and friends who use me as a kind of "barometer" of what's to come.

    In 1973 and 1975, I had two major visions of the future and I dropped out of society back then, moved to Maine and bought a clearing wayyy deep in the woods because I knew that homesteading and self-sufficiency was the only way to survive what was ahead in the years to come.

    I taught climbing, mountain rescue and wilderness survival for Outward Bound and Vision Quest back then in the early 70's, so I had the right mental attitude, -it was just a different application when I arrived in Maine. I spent the first summer in a big Sioux tipi living off the land here 100% and starting my underground solar house. ==>

    Over that summer, I met my wife (who was the same "Preparedness' mindset) and we got married. She grew up a true country girl, tough as nails but tender and a hard worker like me. We built everything here geared toward homestead self-sufficiency, and I would travel occasionally as an industrial engineer to earn the extra cash we needed. She was a dental hygenist for years and kept all her cash in the bank, which we invested in silver just before it began to skyrocket in 2009 (due to another successful premonition).

    - Basey
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  10. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    I have to ask in all sincerity are you still getting accutate premonitions now, as in the last 6 or so months or does the timeline of things seem skewed??
  11. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    I don't want to tick anyone off by going off-topic here, but there are 2 psychic researchers (Professors) in Europe and one in the US (Neurosurgeon/Psychiatrist) that have studied a group of "psychic" people I belong to.

    They all say that timelines are the most difficult to hit. I agree, although I have had an 85% overall sucess rate, I have missed the dates over 50%, so I don't even give a timeline... just an approximation. The Eyjafjöll volcano in Iceland that shut Europe down last spring was predicted by me in Jan. 2008. The recent N. Korea attack I described in detail for mid-Dec. 2009, but I was exactly one year late to the day. The same thing happened to me back in Jr. High School (1961) when I predicted the Cuban Missle crisis one year before anyone even knew the Russians had brought missiles there.

    This is probably not a good forum to discuss this type of thing in detail.
    PM me instead... thanks ;)

    - Basey
  12. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    My mom was a single mom way back in the 60's and I spent most of my time growing up(well till age 7) with my grandparents at their home on the lake-I heard many tales of the great depression and what they did to survive and when my mom got married( I was 7 then and we moved) we always had a garden and canned the veggies. but both of her sisters(my auntys and their hubbies) had farms and gardens and I spent most of the summer there with my cousins, helping on the farm where ever I could, my cousins thought I was nuts to really enjoy this when they hated "having" to do it!
    But I did live in Florida and on my own for quite a bit before getting married and for the first few years we didn't have the room to garden or the yard either.
    But now I live in the family home as it was too big for just mom and due to mounting allergies to weird food additives and the like I started my own garden and canning etc...
    The last 6 or so years tho have gotten me caught into this frantic "have to learn this now" cycle.. I have this awful feeling that something bad is coming down the pike and I don't want to be ran over.
    So now I have been learning and relearning many things to be self sufficient.
    Breads from scratch, and I mean all kinds of stuff- pita, bagels, croissants , tortillas, rolls and so on.
    Not only growing all my veggies but having heirloom and OP seeds that I have learned how to save properly and to keep the seeds pure.
    Relearning all the canning and freezing and drying of the produce.
    Growing as many permanent berries and fruits as I can cram into the yard and still have garden space. Apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, raspberries (4 different colors) blueberries and this last year I added a few grape vines. Oh I forgot all the wild mulberries that are here!
    I learned how to make just the basic of cheeses in the past few years.
    I even learned how to make lye soap.
    Relearning from when I was younger and a girl scout all the wild foods that are all around us, but most folks just try to kill them off as weeds.
    Relearning all the sewing from when I was in 4-H This is coming in handy is so many ways.
    I have just learned this last year how to make moccasins and just that simple little thing makes me feel much better about what to do about shoes after SHTF. Even using old jeans and making a few moccasins for slippers was worth the learning.
    I have been a camper for years and learned when young how to make and cook over an open fire.
    One of the above uncles was a butcher, so I picked up a few things from him, and the other uncle had 80 acres of sugar maples so I know tons about boiling sap for maple syrup.
    The next thing I really want to learn better is snare traps that will not announce to the whole neighborhood that I've just got some wild game for dinner like a gun shot would.

    I'm sure that I am not the only one to feel this never ending urge to learn, learn, learn some more, not just read but go out and do it to make sure that When SHTF I'll KNOW how to do it hands on, not just something I read about.
    There are so many things that I know that I have forgotten at the moment to list, but I think ya'll got the gist.
  13. 41south

    41south Well-Known Member

    I grew up as a grandchild of the depression. I was taught as part of life, you lay back or stock up enough to get you through the next growing season, and hope the bugs don't eat your next crops. My whole family lived this way.

    One Grandfather told me up till the day before he died, boy sometime in your life you and this country will face something so bad and so hard you can't imagine it being possible. It could be a flu outbreak, depression, big war or a combination of both, I don't know, but you best always lay back enough to take care of you and your family to last you through the next growing season.

    He had lived through the 1918 flu, two world wars, the great depression and had seen a lot pass in his time, good and bad.

    Only rule he had that I have broken is, {always keep your home paid for, your friends will feed you, but they won't put you up}. If the Good Lord lets me live and work just about five more years, I will be back in line with his WISE financial planning.
  14. GoldenBoys

    GoldenBoys Active Member

    I didn't even know I was a prepper until I came across the term on the internet! My parents grew up during the depression, so we always had a big garden, di our own butchering and canned a lot. We also had a lot of fruit trees, bushes and nut trees on the farm. I always thought this was normal? The most often we went to town was once a week, many times not that often, so we always kept a large stock of staples at home.
  15. davjan4

    davjan4 Member

    An unesy feeling

    I started prepping because a year a go I just got an uneasy feeling that I could not shake. So, I started in earnest in November. I don't talk about it to anyone.
  16. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    It seems I have never had the desire to buy pre-packaged foods. I look at the price and read the ingredients and know I can make at least 2 meals for the cost of this one. I have always been frugal, a throw back from a very poor childhood. Waste not want not has always been my moto. I love the challenge and the adventure of growing and canning our own food.
  17. dakada

    dakada dakada

    My husband and I moved to a remote location and built our dream retirement home, 4 years ago, without realizing it I was starting to prep because of the distance it was to get supplies. We also were living in a 3rd world country and when I spotted something I was missing from the states, I would buy as many as possible to stock up. I just thought of it as "comfort food" but soon was stocking up on cleaning and dog & cat goodies, as well.

    My husband had us well stocked, in terms of generators, gasoline, tools and things that I took for granted and thought were silly until a storm would come and we would be all alone on a mountain with no power and the road blocked until we chainsawed the trees and could make it out. Then I would be so grateful and humbled.

    We have moved back to the states and have bought 5 acres and a old farmhouse. I feel the need to prep more than ever. I am so grateful for this site, as it helps me find my way in moving forward with my preps.

    While I am grateful to have the land to start gardening and plant fruit trees and move forward with hopes of a more sufficient life, I feel a sense of panic because I can not get it done right away due to financial restraints.

    Something that I feel strongly about but have not acted on is our personal safety. I read about guns and ammo and knowing how to use them and I realize how important this is, yet have not budgeted for this extremely important part of prepping.

    The weird part of being back in the states is my husband (sweet man) has a false sense of safety. He has no interest in any prepping because he is back in the states. I am working on him slowly but if he doesn't come around, I will continue without him for our future. When we left our home, we needed to leave everything behind. We gave much to lovely local families in the village near us. We simply could not bring back what we had.

    My last thought is about being able to protect ourselves without gun power, like in a parking lot or if some kook goes crazy in the market. We had a home invasion, the reason we are back in the states and I think we should all have the tools or skills to defend ourselves in a bad situation. So at the top of my list this week will be to find a self-defense class. Hopefully like having a full pantry makes sense - knowing the right moves might help in a scary moment!!

    Thanks for all the great info and support you offer to all that seek it.
  18. Ponce

    Ponce Well-Known Member

    I am from Cuba where TSHTF has lasted for over fifty years, in the year 2000 I saw the signs of what was going to happen and the first thing that I did was to get the hell out of CA and into the hills of OR.

    I have been getting ready for the past ten years but no matter what I do there is always something else to do......unless you have food for "AT LEAST" three years you will become dog meat, I for one have food for seven to eight years and done everything that I can think off, but remember..............

    "To be ready is not"... Ponce
  19. Foreverautumn

    Foreverautumn Well-Known Member

    My decision to become a prepper was a pretty gradual one. Shortly after I moved here to Arizona, gun rights became very important to me, because it became clear to me that the police were not likely to going be able to get to me in time to do me any good if I'm in a jam. Then after September 11, it began to occur to me that Gov't was not always going to be able to protect me. A few months after, I got a Glock and some ammo, and joined the NRA.

    Then I saw the aftermath of Katrina, how the very people who were taught to trust the authorities, trust the gov't, and depend on them were the very ones who suffered the most - many of the New Orleans PD had abandoned their posts; the city and state leadership, despite having had a week to prepare, did almost nothing but point fingers at everybody else, and what was their grand plan? The Superdome - we all know how well THAT worked out! And the Sheriff Dept was confiscating guns simply because people had them. And most of these sheeple were complaining all the while "Bush didn't DO ENOUGH FOR US!"

    I came to the conclusion that not only was the Gov't NOT going to be able much for me, but that if I rely on those schmucks for ANYTHING, I'm going to get it right between the eyes every time.

    Soon after that, I started reading up on disaster preparedness. That was all I really COULD do at that point, because I had a fairly substantial credit card debt and I just started paying back a student loan.

    Well, now I've gotten most of my card debt paid off, and I've gotten well over half my student loan paid off. I've acquired about a 2-week supply of food, and enough preps for a very basic EDC bag (just need a convenient bag to put them in). Also, I have enough money saved up so I can pay a month's rent, all utilities, buy a new pair of shoes, and still have some money left over (or I could pay for some substantial car repairs).

    The point is, I've got options now; I may not LIKE all my options, but at least I've got them. I'm not just living paycheck to paycheck like a couple of sheeple I work with.

    Oh, by the way, I OWN my crappy car!
  20. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    :congrat: :congrat: :congrat:
    That's awesome!!! Being debt-free is its own kind of liberty, and it's priceless. :) Way to go!

    What I'm finding is that even though it seems like there's a long way to go, if you keep working at it little by little, one day you realize you've accomplished a whole lot. Then you start liking your options more. ;)