The Panhandle Rancher speaks….and responds to questions

 

I would like to begin by thanking the thoughtful people who have commented on my posts. I read your comments whenever I have time and may respond to questions within the comment section of a particular post. Having read the responses to my recent post on leaving Texas, several readers posed questions that require longer answers.
 
The retreat and relocation book I referenced is RAWLES ON RETREATS AND RELOCATION (http://www.amazon.com/Rawles-Retreats-Relocation-James-Wesley/dp/B002A6E7Q0/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390402893&sr=1-1-fkmr1&keywords=jw+rawles%2C+retreats ). This book is not an end all but a starting place. Rawles writes about traffic flow in addition to resources and population pressure. I considered using his relocation search services but ultimately decided that I’d traveled these States enough to go it on my own. Everyone needs a rat hole in addition to primary retreat. My circumstances were such that we ended up with three disparate residences each in different states with bug out locations and cached supplies near each. Look for the poorer rural areas, they tend to have less to fight over in the way of resources, few or no technical jobs, and of course lower income but more survival oriented people. Soon after buying one place in the mountains, the wife and I were our looking for lost livestock and came across a trailer house back in the woods with no electricity and no running water. A teenage boy was skinning a rabbit nearby. One of our dogs made for the rabbit and the boy snatched it up saying no, no, that’s my lunch. Suspect he’d be a real survivor. I do. Deer in these areas tend to be on the small side – due to year around hunting pressure. Look for home gardens, free range chickens, and goats. Places with all of these things probably have low taxes, low regulation, and people who know how to survive. 
 
A primary goal is always to make friends with the sparse neighbors. One does that be being a friend, volunteering to help with a fence or a cow, dropping off some home made cookies and bread or other tasty treat – and commenting that we have some first aid medical skills if someone gets hurt. People in these areas tend to be poor and can’t afford doctors. I’ve seen people cut with slipped chain saw who had no plans of seeking medical care. They get by the same way our ancestors got by. Of course we offer to take them to town in one of our vehicles and really insist, because sometime the price of gasoline is an issue. Seeing a .45 on my hip causes many to show off their gun collection which typically consists of a bolt action .22 rifle, single shot 12 gauge, and a bigger bolt rifle. When I come back around I try to shoot a little with my neighbors, always just having some extra ammo for their rifle. It has often been said and it’s true, one becomes a friend by being a friend. 
 
Over several years, we converted income assets into hard commodities and distributed those commodities around the curtilage of our properties with some hidden at strategic points on both sides of the US northern and southern borders. Most investment brokers (now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one) will advise against gold and silver because they produce no interest. By moving assets into these metals one disposes of reportable income (theoretically until sale at a profit). We keep some paper cash reserves and modest bank accounts locally and have a no interest savings account in an out of state bank so as to not draw local attention. No mail is delivered to our properties (we get our mail at the closest Post Office and at a third party mail service).
 
I was raised in the Depression, that is my parents were, and that experience left an indelible mark on their personalities, frugal as Scotsmen. Never threw anything away. Canned food. Didn’t trust banks. When I was young, my father drove Pontiacs. Just out of diapers, he took me with him when it was time for a new car (he did drive new cars because they were reliable – always commenting that he’d driven his last worn out Model T to the recruiter and then had to drive it after WWII as there were no new cars to be had right after the war). We dressed like the working ranchers we were. He wheeled the old Pontiac into the dealership and looked over the new cars in the showroom. No one hustled up to help him and we waited and waited. So, we drove across the street to the Oldsmobile dealer where someone offered to show us a shiny new car. Dad bought a new Olds with a roll of hundred dollar bills wrapped in a rubber band – and then we drove back to the Pontiac dealer to show off our new ride. Dad always drove Oldsmobiles after that. When older, I learned how to drive with that two tone green 1954 Olds.
 
When cleaning out my parent’s house after they died, I found thousands of coat hangers in the attic, almost a pickup bed load. Over the decades, coat hangers became more flimsy because some of these were made before WWII and were thick. Must have been a shortage of coat hangers during the Depression, I told one of my sons. My parents hid cash so everything had to be closely examined. Dad often remarked, “Son, it’s not what a man makes, it’s what he saves that counts.” That didn’t mean much to a teenager. 
 
You say the middle class can’t relocate because they’re drowning in debt? The only reason for this is because desire exceeds means. This is not the way of the frugal squirrel or the ant. It is the way of the grasshopper who is exists only when times are good and then soon dies. The way to make a man happy is not by adding to his wealth but by taking from his desires. We become preppers because we desire a measure of self-sufficiency. This my friends cannot happen when one is in debt. It is the worst form of bondage. We become nothing but servants to the banker and credit card company. This in not a fit way to live and must change if you desire a modicum of self-sufficiency. 
 
I knew my family was different. We lived poor, but we were secure in our finances and there was never a doubt that there would be food on the table. I didn’t understand that when I was small, but I do now. Mom and Dad were wise, wise, wise. 
 
Sincerely, 
Panhandle Rancher

 


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11 Comments

  1. well said, Sir!! As I was growing up we never had a lot of “stuff”, but we had a room in the basement full of canned goods. . . . I thought everyone ate homemade bread, milk straight from the farm, and home made foods. . . . by High School, I could see that wasn’t the case. I learned to fix things, not just throw them away. . . if a pipe sprung a leak, you fixed it yourself. . . you worked on your own car, at least as much as you could, and painted your own house, and grew a garden. Being a self-employed stone mason, I always saved when the good times happened- cause you never know when things will go bad.Those savings have kept our family going through the reign of “o”. . . . but they are dwindling, and I don’t see a better future coming.I will continue to raise my goats, chickens, pigs , and gardens. I will keep on using my woodstove. i will continue prepping with all available resources, cause it ain’t gonna get better. . . . if you aren’t preparing, folks, you had better get on it real heavy. . .

  2. Wisdom and experiance is more valuable than reading on how to do it, I too grew up with very little, we canned all our own food, put meat on the table from what we found in the fields and the woods, never had a new car till 1966, always drove old third hands, so a hand shake to you Panhandle Rancher, we are all together in this and it is too bad the oher generation has to live in glass houses.

  3. I grew up in the city which were much different then than today and remember my Mothers stories of the Depression era in which she grew up in. We had milk delivery which usually froze in the winter, ice boxes that had to have the drain pan emptied, my job being the oldest of six kids. When I was old enough I moved to the suburbs and from there to the country with a few acres to be more self reliant and here I will stay. Panhandle, my Mothers first car which I usually drove was a 1955 two tone green Olds with a tube radio that kept the radio repairman in business, thanks for making me think about those times.

    • Thanks JohnP for sharing. I remember watching these types of things on TV when I was little and there were 3 channels, no remote controls, and the TV was huge and in black and white. Brings back memories for me as well.

      Thanks – Rourke

  4. Man – what a “blast from the past” ur posts r!! My Mom and Dad came from a large farming families -thru the Depression yrs together – gardening and crop farming with hand tools and a team of horses, milking by hand, hunting (squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, muskrats – u name it – they all were tasty and most welcome morsels) and other basic things poor folks used to survive. They always had food on the table, but the servings were beyond very simple. My upbringing was also simple, but again my brothers and sisters (5 of us) always had clothes and food that was proper and – being hand-me-downs if u were a 2nd, 3rd, etc, child. I applaud ur saying – “it’s not what u make, but what u save that counts,” my Dad’s favorite n’ oft stated expression. Keep up the good work. Ur posts and Roarke’s and many others r my daily breakfast readings. The start of my day. Love em all.

  5. When I was a kid, we were learning about the great depression, my grandmother would tell me they never really noticed a change. They raised food with a garden, had a well for water, and they would hunt or fish for their meat. I was like no way, but now looking back I understand that they had all they needed, and wanted. I think very few would survive another great depression, too easy to run to wally world.

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