Howdy. I'm Pat McLene. Welcome to my blog. I used to write a weekly column on about prepping - or as I prefer to call it - Self-Dependence. The purpose of this blog is to allow me to go deeper into self-dependence than I did at WND and to help those who are starting the journey along. Check out the About Me link to the right for more info on yours truly. And thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Somewhere a happy prepper...

Search ends for grenade launcher ammo lost in North Dakota

Well...Christmas comes in May.  I seriously doubt that those rounds will be located any time soon. Kind of makes you wonder about the explosive handling skills of the members of the N.D. national guard though. 

Now don't get me wrong. I highly recommend that who ever found those rounds do their patriotic duty and immediately return them forthwith to the proper authorities.  Do not - I say - do not pack them away in a few PVC pipe and cap cache tubes packed with desiccant and bury them at various places in the North Dakota badlands for potential future use.



Monday, May 7, 2018

Prepping versus Self-dependence

Pretty much like anyone who's been walking the path I've been on for many years will use the term prepper. A lot of times, you've got to use it simply because it's such a common means of identification. And while I use it often, that doesn't mean I particularly like it.

The biggest problem with the words prepper or prepping is that they're so poorly defined. Ask a bunch of people what prepping is and you're likely to get as many answers as the number of people that you ask. Some people (and actually given the times that we live in, that number is decreasing) will use words like: crazy, hoarders, survivalists, and nut jobs to describe preppers.  Others, who kind of get the point, will still miss the mark simply because each of them has an end-point with regards to a degree of preparedness. Some might consider a prepper to be someone who has a 72 hour emergency kit while others think in terms of an individual who stocks up for a year's worth of bad times. But no matter who you talk to, those who think prepper's are crazy or those who think preppers are prescient, each and every one of them is thinking in terms of the relationship between a person and the items they possess.

So while I may use the words prepper or prepping, I don't actually think of myself as either a prepper or being involved with prepping. If I forced to define myself at all, I think of myself as being on the never-ending path to self-dependence.  "Self-dependence" as a descriptor has a number of benefits. For one thing, while prepper can be used as a pejorative, only an idiot would find the concept of being ever-more capable of taking care of oneself to be a negative. Additionally, I have to admit that I'm not particularly preparing for anything. The Yellowstone caldera might pop tomorrow. Some terrorist organization or tinpot dictator might find a way to set off a nuclear weapon in New York City. Or maybe we'll just experience another 2008 economic kerfuffle. Sure as the rising sun, something damaging or even catastrophic will occur sooner or later because it always does.

But whatever comes my way, and assuming it doesn't send me to God's judgment, my family and I will weather the storm. Not just because we have a boatload of supplies but also because we've spent many years learning how to make our own. Marching toward self-dependence means being in a position to refill those barrels of wheat with grain that you've grown yourself. It means being able to get water out of that deep well when the power is out. It means having some trade or training that will be valuable to the community no matter what the economic conditions become. It means not simply having large amounts of freeze-dried beef stroganoff, but also having and knowing how to care for beef on the hoof.
Now of course I recognize there are some things - some vital things - that require equipment and skills beyond the abilities of most people. But while I can't manufacture a firearm from iron ore, I can make a crossbow. I may not be able to transplant a heart, but I can set a bone. I can't build an internal combustion engine, but I can melt iron and cast it. And it means having the necessary equipment and the training to be able to do all of that even if the only power that you have is the power of your own muscles.

I don't prep for a day, a month or year. I walk the path of self dependence for life. And every day of my life I become a bit more self-dependent. I hope to see you all on the road.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

When you shouldn't let your light shine

We had a power outage yesterday. We still don't know the reason why: the weather was fairly warm for this time of year and mild. No big windstorms that are the usual culprits in our outages. Sooner or later, someone will find out from someone else the cause of our  power loss. Still, we're prepared for such things, so it wasn't really a big deal.

But the power was out for around five or six hours just at the end of the day as the sun went down. And it remained out till just before midnight. It was a dark night, and it was fascinating to see what our little stretch of hinterlands looks like without the lights of any of our normally visible neighbors.

Except for one. There's a fairly new home that's been built on a mountainside about five or six miles away as the crow flies. It looks like a nice place, and all of the locals are pretty much in agreement that it was constructed to be a live-in bug out. So as I scanned my pretty-close-to-360° view during the power outage it was really interesting to see a bright light - the only light - coming from that new place.

Now anyone who's ever read any of my columns, knows that I am not a fanatic when it comes to the concept of OPSEC. The reality of it for any long-term prepper is that your neighbors (and the hardware store owner, FedEx delivery driver, post office worker, etc.) know that you're a prepper. That's why, in my opinion, the lone-wolf prepping scenario is inferior to developing a community. If people around you know that you're a prepper, then you're far better off if you turn those neighbors into allies rather than potential competitors.

The fellow that built that house up on the hill is a lot more interested in the castle-defense system as opposed to the community defense-in-depth model that I prefer. Well and good, that's his choice and I'm all in favor of people being able to do what they want to do with their own land. But despite the extensive building he's done, the one thing that he hasn't done is to build a relationship with the community around them. So firing up a bright light at night during a power failure simply isn't a good idea - not if you don't want to keep constantly reminding your neighbors that you're there, and apparently have the means to light the night when everyone else is in darkness.

There's a biblical admonition Matthew 5: 15 and 16 that says:

15: Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16:  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

But in this particular case, I think I'd recommend that the owner of that house should invest in a bushel basket or at least some blackout curtains.