The Pendulum – Part Two - Hard Work, Bad Luck and Murphy’s Law

The Pendulum – Part Two

Hard Work, Bad Luck and Murphy’s Law

By High Desert


Missing in the mix of hundreds of bug-out stories is a forthright and candid self appraisal of lessons learned containing practical experience along with deep humility and honest self examination. High Desert expressed a willingness to share his and his wife’s adventure with TwoIceFloes and we eagerly embraced the opportunity to post his story as a three part series. Below is presented Part Two. – Cognitive Dissonance


In Part One of The Pendulum I (editor - High Desert speaking) described our red pill experience which transformed our life of blissful ignorance to one initially of fear and anxiety and later of drive and determination. Our awakening was sudden and shocking, and not something that developed slowly over the course of many years.

It was a rapid and deep immersion, a brutally cold realization what we had always believed in, of why and how the world works as it does, was in fact an externally induced false reality. We will always remember that initial sick-to-the-stomach feeling when we realized we’d been had, followed soon after by a spine tingling fear.

What we had stumbled upon was a coordinated and manipulated illusion intentionally perpetrated by those who do not have our best interest at heart and who benefit from our ignorance. Conditioned from birth to believe untruths, half truths and at times everything but the truth, the impulse to flee immediately was nearly overwhelming.

But we did not.

During the following 12-16 months we carefully and methodically worked through the issues involved with reorganizing our lives in order to leave the big city and embark on a mission to save ourselves from what we were certain at that time was just around the corner. We were on a mission. The truth of imminent economic and social collapse was, from our perspective, glaringly self evident.

In retrospect we had no idea the powers that be would, or even could, utilize extreme measures to keep the illusion going for so long. Nor did we expect nearly everyone else to remain ignorant of their own precarious situation. My hunch is the powers that be intend to extend and pretend for as long as they can, or at least until there is nothing left to steal or profitably control.

Like Beverly Hillbillies in reverse, we packed up the truck and left all the comforts and conveniences of the big city to become off-grid homesteaders. After a year of extensive searching, we bought what we believed was the best survival retreat considering the self imposed limitations we placed upon our search. We wanted to remain relatively close to our teenage son, who did not follow us to the retreat because he was about to graduate from high school, and my wife’s special needs brother.

Our homestead was located nearly three hours from the nearest big city, with acreage bordered on two sides by extensive public lands. The home and outbuildings were modern and well constructed, the five year old drilled well productive and the electrical system completely off-grid utilizing a very expensive full-blown solar (photoelectric) power system.

The downside was the high altitude (7,500 ft) with the homestead and surrounding area situated on a high desert plateau…hence my pen name. These particular conditions are not something you’d normally expect to find in the Rocky Mountains. Our new retreat came complete with rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, cacti, tumbleweeds and a never ending supply of micro-fine dust.

For a couple of near senior citizens, we managed to accomplish a great deal during our time there. I focused on the mechanical components of self sufficient living, including the projects and supplies needed to make the place as self contained as possible. My wife concentrated on doing what everyone else said was impossible, growing food in the high desert. We were both very successful considering we had very little assistance and the learning curve was steep.

In addition to the daily and weekly tasks required of those who live off grid, our first big project was to deer-fence in about half an acre where we built raised planting beds and planted apple trees. Within a few years we had created well-established beds of strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and more. The apple trees would take a few years longer to produce.

As part of our all season self sufficiency plan, we built an 18’ x 40’ commercial grade passive solar greenhouse. Our intention was to make it large enough so neighbors could also utilize the three season growing space. However, with a grocery store an hour away and nearly all still immersed in factory food thinking, our neighbors didn’t wish to be bothered with walking or driving the quarter mile to our place to grow their own food.


Our high desert greenhouse with the sun shade partially deployed.


In addition to the outlying gardens and greenhouse, we built numerous water trough gardens and placed many growing bags on the expansive north and south decks of the house. We soon harvested an abundance of tomatoes, chard, carrots, potatoes, and herbs. You name it and my wife grew it, although it was impossible to do so according to everyone in the area. They had all tried once, failed and given up.

For my part, in addition to the greenhouse I converted a large metal building into a fully insulated and heated work shop. We installed a wood fired boiler in the house along with a large on-demand water heater as a backup to the propane furnace and water heater. I added independent solar electric systems to the shop and the greenhouse, adding a small amount of redundancy to the overall electrical system.

Anyone who has lived the homesteading life knows the to-do lists are endless and ever changing. There was never a dull moment and our lives were full and productive. At the end of each day, along with the physical exhaustion, we both felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. However, along with all the labor intensive successes came more than our fair share of difficulties.

In my experience, unexpected difficulties and disasters usually stem from acts of nature, our own actions or in-actions, the actions or in-actions of others and plain old bad luck along with Murphy’s Law. Sometimes s**t just happens. Our time at the homestead would offer up a multitude of challenges from the above list of causes.

As a prelude, our stay at the homestead included periods without water, without power, broken equipment (again and again) and fighting off a constant onslaught of rodents. From the neighbors we encountered a suicide, a sexual predator, psychosis bordering on clinical insanity and a lawsuit over easements.

Although we made one good friend on the mountain and another in the small town nearby, for the most part the people here were as backwards as they come. Many were openly bigoted, simple-minded and definitely not open to new ideas since their truth was the only truth. Several were ‘preppers’ of one genre or another. If their ideas of how the world should be rebuilt are the only options available after a systemic collapse, I would rather be among the first casualties.

This article would turn into a book if I went into any degree of detail regarding the good, the bad and the ugly we experienced during our four plus years at the homestead. With this in mind I shall only touch on the highlights, since my intention is not to dissuade anyone from following the same path.

This article is not a warning of “don’t try this at home kids.” There may be, and probably are, many who made a similar move and now live a happy and productive life. We were not among them because after moving from one altered state of consciousness to its polar opposite, we found ourselves terribly out of balance with the world and each other. Ultimately this three-part article is not about off-grid homesteading, but about finding balance in a chaotic and at times frightening world.

So let the chaos begin!


Some resident ravens letting us know who's the boss.


The preface of things to come began with an introduction to an adjoining neighbor. He showed up at our place around ten in the morning already thoroughly drunk. Apparently he and his wife drank throughout the day until they fought and passed out at night.

While you can research a physical location pretty thoroughly, discovering the quality and character of the neighbors is darn near impossible without someone already on the ground feeding you this information. The previous owner and realtor certainly won’t inform you there’s a drunk living next door. And while knocking on doors in a town or city might elicit some useful information, doing so in such a remote location might produce only a gun in the face.

At that point you’re not a neighbor, just a nosy and unwanted outsider. At the risk of painting with too broad a brush, somepreppers’ and other remote (off-grid) homesteaders tend to be somewhat suspicious and socially disaffected and do not take kindly to (city) strangers showing up on their doorstep asking all kinds of questions.

While it is strongly advised you make some type of effort to learn the lay of the land, ultimately you take what you get and learn to live with it. Neighbors are like in-laws, they come with the territory. Trust me; they feel the same way about you.

Six months later (and in the dead of winter) our drunken neighbor decided to commit suicide, leaving us and the surrounding neighbors with his widowed wife along with their four horses and four dogs to tend to. The wife went into total breakdown mode. It was basically a full-time job for my wife and I until some of the widow’s household responsibilities could be delegated to others several weeks later. This was a disaster caused by the actions of someone else.

While some might think it wasn’t our responsibility to help the widow out, when disaster of any type hits a (very) small community, everyone steps up and pitches in. It is particularly important for the new kids on the block to participate since this is when your measure is taken by the community. Your absence will be noticed much more than your participation will be acknowledged.

Regardless of whether or not this was true in our situation, the horses and dogs were essentially innocent bystanders and did not deserve to suffer because their owner killed himself in a drunken stupor.

Next up was the well. Humans can only survive a few days without water. As outlined in Part One, my wife created an efficient system for researching potential retreat locations. This included investigating the water well permit, not only for the property in question, but also for the surrounding properties.

Although the new retreat was at high altitude and on the desert side of a valley, it had an awesome well by any measure. Only five years old, it wasn’t terribly deep by mountain standards but still produced twelve gallons a minute. Some of the neighbor’s wells were even better.

What we didn’t take into consideration was the fact our state was on the tail-end of an extended drought. What held true five years ago when the well was drilled was no longer relevant. We should have had the well refresh rate tested before purchasing. But based on the initial well permit, the neighbor’s wells, the remote location and the short time period between our offer and actual purchase, we did not. My bad! A major difficulty was about to manifest due to my own inaction and Mother Nature.

It was mid-summer, only a year after moving to the retreat, when the well went dry. In the now six years since it was drilled, the static water level had dropped from 75 feet down to 180 feet, the level of the submersible pump itself. Fortunately we had already installed a 500 gallon water tank as a backup, but we still had to make several trips into town with another large tank to transport water back home until the well was repaired.


When there's no well, where there's a will there's a way.


Having the well re-drilled to a depth of over 500 feet, then extending the submersible pump down to that depth, took a week and cost over $11,000. The take away lesson from all this is not to make assumptions with something as important as your source of water, regardless of the documentation presented by the seller or researched by you. Assume it is a life and death situation and act accordingly.

The same applies to complex mechanical systems you have little working knowledge of. As previously mentioned, the retreat was originally designed and built to be entirely off-grid. It utilized top-of-the-line solar panels, charge controllers, inverters and specialized storage batteries. When initially inspected during our first walkabout, it all appeared in good shape and functioning well.

While I had a basic understanding of how it all worked, I most certainly was not well-versed in the particulars. I was about to get an expensive education. The more complex a system, the more things can go wrong, especially if such the system is not properly maintained.

In order for a photoelectric system to work, all the components (and more) must be properly operating. If one element fails, the entire system goes down. Naturally, our introductory lesson to this stark reality came in the middle of a Friday night. While only four years old, therefore newer than the entire system, one of the power inverters fried, shutting down the entire household’s electrical system.

Because it was now the weekend, whatever parts we needed to order would not ship out until the following Monday…assuming I could properly diagnose the problem. A new inverter was insanely expensive, but the manufacturer sold rebuild-kits for significantly less. With years of experience building dozens of computers from component parts, I opted to go this route.

The inverter parts arrived later that week. I rebuilt the inverter and we were back online after almost a week of down time. Thankfully we had the whole-house backup generator running as needed during the week, so no perishables were lost. I’m glad I took the time to learn how to rebuild the inverter because before our time at the retreat was over, the inverter would fry again.

Since I mentioned the whole-house backup generator, I might as well bring up the fact we needed to replace it…twice. The original generator was only five years old. But as with all newer generators, it contained an electronic control board and a dozen sensors and safety regulators.

One day the generator started, but then immediately shut down. Repeated efforts to get it to run continuously failed. After replacing the motherboard and several other components to no avail, I gave up and replaced it with an expensive Cummins-Onan generator. At least our back up power source was working again.

About a week after the gutted off-grid use warranty expired, so did the new generator. Most whole house generators have severely reduced warranties when installed in an off grid location, even if it is only used as a backup power source. The new generator sucked a valve and the engine needed to be replaced.

Between the freight and rebuild costs, it was cheaper just to buy a new generator of a different brand. Is it just me, or does it seem like most things today are intentionally designed and manufactured to break down shortly after the warranty period? Since I can’t really blame the generator breakdowns on anyone else directly, I’ll chalk this one up to bad luck and Murphy’s Law.

Among all the challenges we faced (and I’m only covering a few of the more severe events in this article) there were two in particular that could be considered the straws that broke the camel’s back. Both were caused by the actions of others, but in two very different ways.

An off-grid solar electric system is only as good as its solar batteries. The battery storage sub-system provides electrical power at night and on cloudy days. Apparently the previous owner had not only abused the batteries by using an electric clothes dryer and sauna, but the batteries were not properly configured or maintained and began to fail.

My wife and I still assumed things would begin to collapse at any time, so replacing the batteries became a priority. Like re-drilling the well, this wound up being an $11,000 expense. A quality high capacity battery bank is quite expensive. Rebuilding the inverters, replacing the generators and now the batteries; this had turned into a never-ending and very expensive battle to maintain our off grid electrical power system.


Dead soldiers. Such a terrible and expensive waste.


To explain the next situation I needed my wife’s permission to write about it since it directly concerned her. The short version is that upon our move to the retreat, one of our new neighbors had befriended us and would often visit. He was a man of impressive stature; former law enforcement, retired and married, he and his wife had no qualms proclaiming their devotion to Christianity.

About a year or so before we decided to leave the retreat, my wife informed me our neighbor had begun spending a lot of time grooming her to have an affair. He was very good at it and in light of what we came to know about his history, it became clear he was probably a life-long sexual predator.

The only reason I bring this up is because recent headlines and scandals prove this is not an isolated occurrence. Obviously his behavior put a permanent wedge between me and this friend. Worse, it terrified my wife. She no longer felt safe, and I knew I could never count on this individual if things did hit the fan.

Unlike all the other problems we encountered, this was not a fix or repair situation other than to banish him from the house and property. In a town or city, breaking from one neighbor is not as big a deal as when it is done within a small community of neighbors.

They say all politics are local. And this is a perfect example how personal relationships in a small community are often political in nature. Rarely is there ever a win-win situation with these delicate circumstances, especially when there is very little normal about any of the neighbors.

Speaking of rodents and other such pests, the wild rabbits were never much of a problem. We rather enjoyed getting to know the various bunny families. But I most definitely cannot say the same for the mice, chipmunks and packrats. They were everywhere, into everything, and seemed to be unstoppable. I had built the greenhouse to be rodent proof and finally got it right after the third major modification.

After repairing the chewed wires in our vehicles a couple of times and constantly setting traps in the interiors, the thrill was completely gone. At the end, I even started to lose my love for the rabbits after they began to build huge tunnel networks underneath the concrete slab of the shop. I fully expected to see additional cracks develop each time I pulled a vehicle in for maintenance.

The lawsuit never had my love either. It was a rude awakening into how insane the legal system has become. In essence, one of the non-resident property owners had purchased her property without a clearly defined legal ingress and egress. She was ‘told’ what her easements were, but such was not defined in her deed or any of the adjoining neighbor’s deeds. There simply was not any legally defined access to her property.

She should have filed suit against the Realtor and title company. Instead she sued us and two other neighbors whose property allegedly contained her claimed historical easement. Incredibly, she demanded the right to put a thirty foot wide road through all our properties which would run smack dab in front of an existing home.

You would think the fact such an easement did not exist in county records or in anyone’s deed would be the end of it. Not in today’s world. As insane as her claims and demands were, we had no choice but to hire a specialized attorney. The lawsuit dragged on for over a year. It was the last significant and unexpected expense we were willing to deal with.

While we proved our resilience and determination throughout our time at the retreat, it had taken a huge toll on us individually and as a couple. We paid the price physically, emotionally and spiritually. The red pill moment had changed us. The nearly five years of turmoil transformed us into people we no longer recognized.

For us, the pendulum had swung from one side all the way to the opposite. The situation was not sustainable and we were on the verge of collapse long before the world began its own spiraling descent.

Part three of this article describes how our experiences at the homestead once again changed our state of mind, our belief system and threatened our very sanity. Had we not long ago developed the ability to recognize when our emotions, beliefs and mind had become so off balance our very survival as a couple (and as individuals) was at stake, this story would have had a very different ending.

As it always does, Mother Nature demands balance. And ultimately she has the last word on the subject. The only question is, were we willing to listen?



High Desert


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Several of the girls



Cognitive Dissonance Sun, 02/25/2018 - 09:22 Permalink

Part Three will be posted next weekend here on ZeroHedge. You will also find it posted at TwoIceFloes and my Patreon.

In Part Two (above) High Desert outlines several of the problems he and his wife encountered after relocating to high country. Part Three, to be posted next week, encompasses a sober and sincere self assessment of what they did right and where things went wrong.

Just in case you missed it, Part One can be found here.

My role in this series consists solely of editing and image selection. High Desert wrote this series at my request because, quite frankly, there is a lack of this type of reflective overview in the alternative media space.

Radical Marijuana Cognitive Dissonance Tue, 02/27/2018 - 15:14 Permalink

"LOL" for those who have a sufficiently macabre sense of humour, which has not become too worn out from overuse.

"It was a rapid and deep immersion, a brutally cold realization what we had always believed in, of why and how the world works as it does, was in fact an externally induced false reality. We will always remember that initial sick-to-the-stomach feeling when we realized we’d been had, followed soon after by a spine tingling fear. What we had stumbled upon was a coordinated and manipulated illusion intentionally perpetrated by those who do not have our best interest at heart and who benefit from our ignorance. Conditioned from birth to believe untruths, half truths and at times everything but the truth, the impulse to flee immediately was nearly overwhelming."

TOO BAD, SO SAD, that there are no longer any viable frontiers across which to "flee."

"In retrospect we had no idea the powers that be would, or even could, utilize extreme measures to keep the illusion going for so long. Nor did we expect nearly everyone else to remain ignorant of their own precarious situation."

I feel it is a fair estimate that about 99% of the general population is NOT sufficiently "prepared," as well as that most of them could NOT do so, even if they wanted to. Rather, as NoDebt wrote, in the sense that such jokes are both funny because they are true, as well as terrible because they are true:

"When the shit hits the fan I'm just going to gather a posse and take what we want from exhausted and exasperated neophyte preppers."

In general, the younger I was, the more that I attempted to "be prepared," since I can not remember a time when I did not think that the world was dominated by bullies and their bullshit, and believe that was getting worse, faster ... However, the older I got, the more I concluded that it was practically impossible to become effectively "prepared" for Globalized Neolithic Civilization to go through series of psychotic breakdowns and crazy collapses into chaos.

In my view, ALL POLITICS IS ORGANIZED CRIME, which is publicly presented in paradoxical ways, due to the biggest and best organized gangsters dominating societies, such that their bullshit social stories are overwhelmingly dominating the ways that almost everyone thinks and communicates, and hence, there is no publicly significant language to use to discuss the human condition which is not almost totally buried under thousands of years of excessively successful organized crime.

The degree to which "all politics is local" is the degree to which relatively local organized crime would become paramount, in the context of the relative collapse of more centrally coordinated organized crime. As the astronomically amplified successfulness of globalized Civilization, creating exponentially more "money" out of nothing, in order to "pay" for strip-mining a fresh planet as fast as possible, runs into the limits to that growth, in the forms of various diminishing returns from having high-graded everything to hell, by building everything on the basis of pretending that there were no limits to exponential growth, then the most likely scenarios would be what was previously built on exponential growth of strip-mining a fresh planet would go through the phenomena of spectacularly overshooting whatever might otherwise have been relatively more sustainable. In other words, when the exponentially increasing strip-mining of a fresh planet reaches its real limits, then the mass murders of the majority of the human population will most likely be the only feasible outcomes.

For the exponential growth of the strip-mining of a fresh planet to reach limits manifesting as worsening diminishing returns is the underlying meaning of "the powers that be intend to extend and pretend for as long as they can, or at least until there is nothing left to steal or profitably control."

After the slavery systems of Neolithic Civilization have already developed ways to plunder the planet as much as possible, then, to that degree, there will be "nothing left to steal or profitably control." During any such scenarios, those who previously attempted to become "prepared" would become the targets of those who had not otherwise "prepared," and those scenarios would drive the local developments of local governments, as local organized crime gangs. I would expect that it would be "meet the new boss, even worse than the old boss."

My own "pie in the sky" kind of "preparations," which I indulge in these days, are speculations about whether political science could go through sufficient series of intellectual revolutions and profound paradigm shifts. That primarily takes the form of attempting to better understand how and why Civilization became the manifestation of the principles and methods of organized crime on larger and larger scales, and therefore, how and why it might be possible for even better forms of organized crime to emerge in the future, such as when there was no longer enough available centralized power sources to sustain centralized organized crime, which would then fracture into more localized forms of organized crime.

In my view, most "preppers" are not willing and able to fully face the facts that their "political" situation, and therefore, their "governments," would continue to be their overall first priority problems, as well both their greatest threats, and still unavoidably crucial aspects of their coping with about any range of future circumstances which could be coped with.

To repeat:

"Conditioned from birth to believe untruths, half truths and at times everything but the truth ... to remain ignorant of their own precarious situation."

As far as their actual behavior goes, about 99% of the population acts like political idiots. At the present time, and for the foreseeable future, politics will continue to be almost totally dominated by old-fashioned layer after layer of bullshit. The most important political problems are due to the ruling classes becoming increasingly psychotic psychopaths, while they have no genuine opposition, due to the degree that there is no generally understood language or philosophy which can cope with the accumulating apparent anomalies that governments are necessarily the biggest forms of organized crime, dominated by the best organized gangsters. Rather, when it comes to those social facts, one may well repeat:

"Conditioned from birth to believe untruths, half truths and at times everything but the truth ... to remain ignorant of their own precarious situation."

In my opinion, the most important trends were the degree to which there have been series of profound paradigm shifts, and the related prodigious progress in physical science, while political science has not progressed, other than by becoming a worsening Scientific Dictatorship, which was as deliberately unscientific about itself as it could possibly be.

Therefore, what I recommend as the best ways to attempt to become "prepared" are to try to prepare for ways that political science could progress, by going through sufficient series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts. However, it is currently clear that the "pendula" appear to mostly be swinging from one insane extreme to another, since the overall situation which is most overriding is the degree to which the majority continues to operate inside their predicaments that they were:

"Conditioned from birth to believe untruths, half truths and at times everything but the truth ... to remain ignorant of their own precarious situation."

Given that overall situation, it is barely possible to imagine any future political problems not actually manifesting as runaway criminal insanities. Civilization has become almost totally dominated by enforced frauds for a long, long time, while about exponential progress in technology has enabled that Civilization to become about exponentially more fraudulent.

LOL ???

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Bemused Observer NoDebt Tue, 02/27/2018 - 12:21 Permalink

Lol! It does seem exhausting, doesn't it? Well, I think these folks picked a location that made it more work than it had to be. But out West it's like that, a lot of tough country, desert, water issues, etc. I prefer Eastern woodlands myself, but you've got issues there as well, it's damned hard to clear forest for crops, and the trees tend to be greedy feeders, so you can have poor soils. But water is generally in abundance, and there's more organic matter(animal and vegetable) around to utilize.

And western regions tend to be more 'open', 'Big Sky' country...this creates as much anxiety in me as crowds do. It's TOO open, you are exposed from every angle. I get the sense that EVERY living thing for MILES knows EXACTLY where I am...

Nah...give me woods, streams, hills with caves, highlands and lowlands, plenty of places to hide. I like the idea that I can be sitting 5 feet away from you as you pass through, and you'll never know it unless I WANT you too.

In reply to by NoDebt

Lost My Shorts NoDebt Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Seems to me the lesson here is that off-grid living with all the mod-cons is not possible.  You would do better to think Amish.  Don't try to bug out to anywhere people wouldn't have settled in the mid-19th century.  For water, think about a well with a windmill, and for backup, a hand pump.  If you like indoor plumbing, get a roof tank and gravity septic system.  Think about horse power, not solar power, meaning the four-legged kind of horse power.  Don't think about electricity at all.  Even your car or truck will, within a few years, need a part that would no longer be available after the end of the world, and will become a large brick.  But whatever, you won't have fuel anyhow.

Successful off-grid bugging out would be more like preparing to get by for a year or three with 1850s technology, waiting to see how the rest of society sorts itself out.  It's a pain, because no one wants to return to the 1850s right now just in case the world falls apart this month (which it probably won't).

In reply to by NoDebt

NukeChinaNow DownWithYogaPants Sun, 02/25/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

Good for you. I, on the other hand, found it very informative and LIKED all the intricacies he shared.

Great writer.

Only wish his attempt had been successful but perhaps his next one will.

I, for one, have gathered a buttload of previously 'unthunkof' information that will certainly be of value should we muster the courage to live rough, like many of mine did previously...only they did it when good fences make good neighbors and not lawyers make the best liars was the law of the land.

I thank you, Sir!

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

BobEore DownWithYogaPants Mon, 02/26/2018 - 23:53 Permalink

He he heh,

the self proclaimed 'electrical engineer'... 'scientist' ... and general overthetop narcissist of the millennium...

couldn't spare any time or sympathy to read through the real life travails of real folks makin a real effort to

figure stuff out.

What a surprise.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

ConnectingTheDots DownWithYogaPants Tue, 02/27/2018 - 09:59 Permalink

If this article was too long for you, you should probably continue to get all your information from Twitter.

Unfortunately, the 140 character limit is too indicative of most peoples' attention span, and that is why so many fall for the corporate prepared and processed "bite size" headlines presented by the main stream media.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

Puerto Banus NA Cognitive Dissonance Sun, 02/25/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

just skimmed it, CD...but their bug-out sounds quite complicated.

I too bugged out...offshore since the 80s...painless and a thing of beauty...just go...have your stock certs sent to you if need be.

No batteries, wells, or drunk neighbors...just had a champagne brunch at a 4 star hotel here...12 tennis at the club with the pro...  an hour of groundies..covered court..10$...initiation was 1500$..monthly fee 125.


In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

OverTheHedge Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 02/26/2018 - 05:29 Permalink

I rather like his potato cages, but I plant sufficient to harvest over half a ton of spuds, so I don't think they will fit. Another issue is that if potato roots get over 25 degrees, they don't make potatoes - lots of lush green above ground, but nothing underneath. I have tried endlessly the trick of potatoes in a box or bag, and then earthing up, and repeat, never with success. You are supposed to get 15kg (or 35lbs in English money) from each plant, but it is just too hot where I am.

I am still trying to work out where to put a swale, as it looks like a great idea, but once again needs a huge amount of digging up front (all I ever do is dig holes - this year's project is a water tank 200cubic metres).

The art of gardening in my experience - plant twice what you think you need, to harvest half as much as your worst estimates planned for. Feed the excess/success to the animals.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

OverTheHedge pc_babe Mon, 02/26/2018 - 11:52 Permalink

I have sweet potato slips cluttering up the kitchen right now. Ordinary potatoes do really, really well here in spring and autumn - we get 2 crops a year, which is pretty cool. The downside is that it is too warm to hope to store them easily - they start sprouting after 3 months, no matter what you do to them. Have to get them in the ground before the second week of March, and it won't stop raining at the moment - looking to be a problem. That's gardening for you.


In reply to by pc_babe

Bemused Observer platyops Tue, 02/27/2018 - 12:31 Permalink

I'm past the 'go West, young man!' phase just don't have the same energy levels when you get older. Bugging out is a younger person's game. I think, for many of us, prepping at and for home is the best bet. You have the advantage of familiar territory, which in a SHTF scenario will be a big plus. You also have an already established 'home base', which can fit more stuff than you'll ever be able to carry out with you. Sure, you'll have to defend it, but you'd have to defend your position no matter WHERE it is. I think it would be easier in most cases to defend what you have than try and establish and defend a new position in chaotic times.

In reply to by platyops

Buster Cherry Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 02/26/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

This article illustrated to me that I did the right thing by purchasing a very simple single cylinder diesel engine and a generator head and building my own generator with no electrinic parts save the rectifier and spring tension to govern the engine speed.

Anyone wanting to build their own solar panel/battery set up would do good to make friends with guys that work on UPS systems, so they can get used batteries for real cheap or free.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Bemused Observer Buster Cherry Tue, 02/27/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Your post reminds me...we can't all build motors from scratch, but we CAN all make sure we have at least a basic set of good quality hand tools. These would become very valuable over time, even more than the stuff you make with them. Most of the cheap crap would become useless after a few months, leaving only the older Craftsman and German made stuff, which would be like gold. And good quality specialty tools will be in high demand.

Something as obscure as a tap and die set, which fits into a small case, could become invaluable in a future where few new tools are made and you can't just go out and buy a box of ready-made screws in the size you need. One could make a little living by renting such items out.

And any weird specialty tools from the early 20th century, like watchmaker's or jeweler's or dental tools, I grab whenever I can. Clean 'em, oil 'em up, and stash 'em away. They aren't making them anymore NOW, if TSHTF they will become highly desireable artifacts for craftsmen, or anyone fiddling about with electronics. 

Tools...even if you can't build, someone else CAN, and that person will need TOOLS.

In reply to by Buster Cherry

Urban Roman Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 02/26/2018 - 14:29 Permalink

This essay, and the Cogs' blog, touch on the need for community. And the unfortunate lack thereof, in the empire these days. If nothing else, you need someone to kick some dirt in on ya when you're done.

Dmitry Orlov has explored this topic ... sorry I don't have any easy answers. Historically, community frequently revolves around a church and set of religious beliefs... and/or various co-ops, unions, granges, etc. It may actually be harder to find a sane community than sane neighbors out there.

Also worth noting, the doomer space is as rife with charlatans and hucksters as any other area of human endeavor. There was a Guy somebody, can't recall right now, living out in New Mexico, who proved to be a sexual predator himself. Your mileage may vary, caveat emptor, and so forth and so on.

But, good essay, Cog! Thanks for sharing.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

Graph HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Tue, 02/27/2018 - 10:50 Permalink

"No really good answers" is the true statement to this series.

If somebody had told a fellow Bosnian, say in 1989, while clinking a beer glasses somewhere in the provincial waterhole that in three or four years he will be in Helsinki, Oslo, Vancouver, Toronto, LA, Melbourne...?

Life is a journey, and some of the "least prepared" ended up in mentioned cities. On the other hand, ones who heavily invested in their "secure" shell, had found it looted by paramilitary gangs and were happy to be alive, if so.

As long as one does not put much weight on personal project like this as "guarantee", it's all good. Note how all the photos included radiate with surround of peace and calm, and frankly I see it no more than belonging to some D.Y.I. or "weekend warrior"  magazine together with the story.



In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

Cognitive Dissonance VWAndy Sun, 02/25/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

I have great respect for High Desert (and his wife) with regard to their huge effort to create a new life for themselves. If anything, they had a heaping dose of bad luck. He also has lingering health issues as alluded to in Part One.

Despite it all, they created a wonderful self sustainable environment on that plateau. Check out his website, especially the page with the images. Truly amazing, particularly what they were growing.

In reply to by VWAndy

Kidbuck Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 02/26/2018 - 04:57 Permalink

This is an excellent primer on why people live in civilized places (i.e. on the grid.) The concept of comparative advantage is real and powerful and this is an example of what life is like if we ignore it. It seems obvious to me that they spread themselves too thin. This couple could barely take care of themselves. Taking on the burden of relatives and neighbors may be noble in theory but often the best way to help people is to let them manage on their own. It ain't my idea of a wonderful self sustaining environment is you have to keep dumping $11,000 chunks of cash into maintaining it.

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

theprofromdover Kidbuck Mon, 02/26/2018 - 07:05 Permalink

Interestingly, it looks like the failure of the technology was what screwed them (and maybe they wanted more energy than they really needed.

Perhaps also (alluded) is deteriorating health. Most city folks do not have anything like the hardiness of people who have lived their lives off the land. A thousand miles of jogging or bench curls does not make you proper fit. You have over 700 muscles holding you together. A brilliant fitness program will maybe help with 20% of these. Exhaustion can defeat you any day of the week.

I commend their willpower however. They didn't seem to do much wrong.

In reply to by Kidbuck

MK ULTRA Alpha Cognitive Dissonance Mon, 02/26/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

It's an interesting story, I read all I could find on the site. But it was old essays in 2013-2015.

He said he had left the high desert hide out. He said something like, a year before we decided to move. I wanted to know what happened.

Someone mentioned the style of writing was long and drawn out. It's a conversation style, this is normal.

Again I am interested to know what happen to him, where did he move to. Did he try a new area, and it seems as if water is a problem, a place with better water(a new state), but his wife's brother was most likely getting state special education assistance and she had to stay to monitor it.

In rural, real in the bush off grid, that kind of state wouldn't have the same social services, but he would be able to have a legal wood burning stove.

I study the plants of the region I will hide out in, edible plants are everywhere.  I did good recon work in Oregon, camped out in the dead of winter to test my ability, panned for gold, learned everything about it and where, learned about the Salmon, trout, giant clams, crabs, and deer, blackberries, blue berries and all kinds of green plants. I did adventure(survival) training in Oregon during the 2008-2009 financial meltdown. I thought it would meltdown much worse so I made the needed changes to survive. From the lessons learned, I have what I need both in gear and experience to survive.

I met a man, who later died from cold exposure, he slept on the ground and froze. Never sleep on the ground in winter in the north. PERIOD. You must construct some type of cot above the ground. If anything, this an extremely important point, in cold winter don't sleep on the ground, even if you have a barrier, it won't work, build a cot off the ground. A man I met froze to death in his sleeping bag camping, he slept on the ground with a barrier, it didn't work, he died, so what does that mean to you, don't sleep on the ground.

And going over the photos, I saw deer. That's an annual $10,000 in meat for his family, smoked etc. Another thing, drying and canning means less dependence on the green house in winter.

This was kind of like Alaska the Last Frontier which I liked. Not to be critical which I am, I would say this was off grid lite, but considering he did do something and it was a good job and it was a learning curve for the next off grid adventure, we want to know what happened to him. Where is his new hide out?

In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance