From Guns To Gardens

by Stephen H.

I never really thought about preparedness.

Yes, we had some extra batteries, candles and a few cans of food relegated to an often looked over pantry area. That was about the extent of our safety net concerning unforeseen circumstance or calamity. My waking up was slow and methodical. It was a gradual evolution , stepping from one stone to the next.


It all began with the desire to protect my family. To insure the safety of those I love. I asked myself, ‘ what is the most practical and efficient way to protect my family?’


My answer was simple enough. I will buy a gun. I am not impulsive. I am methodical. I enjoy research. I like facts and truth. Critical thinking is such a part of me that I cannot long ignore it. So once the decision was made, I began to delve into models, makes and calibers. I studied articles. Listened and asked questions. I watched many, many You Tube videos. As I researched on You Tube, I began to realize that the firearms community was widespread and varied. In addition to learning about different types of handguns, I began to learn about knives, bush craft, every day carry systems and one popped up from time to time that I chose to ignore because, in all honesty, it sounded boring. The word and title was prepping and prepper.( Beans and rice did not have the same resonance as 1911 or a 308 with an AR platform).


I really had no concept of either. What was SHTF? What was WROL? What was a bug out bag? As I began to plumb the depths of their meanings and applications, I realized that as a husband and father, I was failing on some levels.Specifically in areas of preparedness. We were woefully understocked and ill equipped. SHTF and WROL may be extreme examples but disasters, food shortage, loss of power, economic unrest. These things are not unrealistic or hypothetical. They are eventual certainties to some and reality to others. These things happen and are happening. It is not alarmist or extreme to be prepared for such eventualities. What is prepping? To me it is what it is. Preparing and being in a state of preparedness. The parameters with which one defines these things is up to the individual. If you feel the need to have a bug out plan in place, so be it. Stock up on ammunition. Fine as well. Maybe it means that you should stock up on canned goods, water, batteries, long term food storage,etc.. All of the above can infer a mindset of preparedness in uncertain times.


I do believe that there are extremes. When does it become hoarding? When is it crippling paranoia? Again. It’s up to  the individual. You must decide when enough is enough. I do believe that these mindsets are somewhat consumer driven and encouraged. Of course some folks are making a chunk of change on preparedness. It is not one sided though. There is a symbiotic relationship. That is the way of things.


My father grew up during the Depression. Tell him he is a hoarder or he is paranoid. We live in a culture of goods and services. If someone creates a thing that you might need and cannot create yourself and they charge an affordable rate or price? What do you do? Rather, what would I do? I would buy what I could not make. And purchase only what I would need. Some things are just really cool and we look for reasons to get them. I do. My reasons do not put money in my pocket so I am lacking in cool stuff but I am starting to accumulate, practical , handy items that just might alleviate suffering where my family is concerned. Define prepper and prepping however you choose. Because I decided to purchase a handgun, I now have a garden. Go figure.


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  1. Stephen,

    I really enjoyed your post because it describes your methodical “dipping of the toes” into the world of self-reliance and independence. So many people that are otherwise educated and intelligent think of preppers and survivalists as a bunch of rough and tumble nut cases. As you have found, being a prepper means that you will have put protections in place to insure that you and your family can survive a major crisis or disaster.

    I applaud you for taking the initiative to spread your message to others. As you have found, many preppers are more interested in the helping spread the word than in lining their pocket with dollars.


  2. Stephen,

    I wholeheartedly concur with your evaluations and conclusions concerning all things preparedness and how those same preparedness parameters are measured by each individual’s mindset. For example, there are certain so-called preparedness sites I occasionally visit (that will remain unnamed) where it seems to me that the majority of people who regularly sound-off are actually HOPING for some sort of a cataclysmic event that will set the stage for a New World Order or some type of TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) meltdown! I try not being too judgmental because even my own version of preparedness sometimes seems extreme to people outside of the Prepper community. Still, I swear there are times when I sense a real longing for (thankfully they are in the minority, I think) an apocalypse by some of the more extreme believers.

    As for me, I hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I have no desire to live in a “Mad Max” sort of world gone…well…mad! Preparedness is smart. Obsession, of any sort, is not healthy. Great post! Thanks.

  3. Stephen,

    What a great post! . . . 🙂 . . . . You and I seem to be on exactly the same path, except that my family is gone, and I live alone. And even though the S might not HTF, there are still many things that people can do to prepare themselves for inconvenience, power outtages, storms, blizzards, etc. It took me about a year to gradually aquire extra food, toilet paper, candles, matches, batteries, duct tape, etc. by always buying a little more than I needed each time I went shopping!

    Little by little each of us can be better prepared to protect ourselves and loved ones in case of times of difficulty, by some careful research and planning . . . . and we don’t have to be “crazy” to do it either *lol*

    Thanks again for your post.

    All best, Joe

  4. Stephen…

    I’ve been told I am a “pack rat.” Does that make me a hoarder (hahaha)…Guns to Graden — very good post! Valid points to ponder; and I completely understand your dad’s mindset. My parents lived that era and much more…

    As a single lady (with 3 little ones), with very little knowlegdge of guns and shooting them, I am kinda skidissh in this area. However, I need to get a grip and wrap my mind around this and be proactive in what and howr to protect my family aside from feeding them. You will have to protect what you have in despite times. Unfortunately my short lived marriage to a Marine and limitted self-defense skills aren’t enough to prepare me, in what I sense as ‘there’s not enough time” inn what I am seeing unfold here (gas price now Bin Laden’s death though a big plus. But what new box has this government opened? And what’s a single gal to do to prep for guns?

  5. Thanks much for the comments. It’s all about practicality for me. At some point, I will feel that I have done enough and I will have peace with where we are as a family. I do not want to go overboard or be obsessive. I just want to be a good Husband and Dad. Jedi and former Cub Scout.

  6. Right on Stephen, Probably like most I came to “prepping” completely by accident. My path started with researching a candidate for the 2008 presidential election. After listening to Dr. Paul, I started learning more about our monetary system and the economy. I learned how vulnerable economically we all are and that a collapse of the economic system may not be a TEOTWAWKI event, though the potential for increasing lawlessness and drastic shortages placed my family at risk. How best to mitigate that risk? The more I learned the more vulnerable I learned we are in ALL aspects of our lives. I started accumulating gold guns and groceries. Slowly at first, though it was clear in my mind what I needed to do, I knew that there would be (and are) those that thought I had gone off the deep end. My wife was convinced that I was nuts, then she saw the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami and experienced our tsunami evacuation. She’s a cautious supporter now. And yes as an extension of our awareness, we have a garden and we raise food fish. Still trying to convince her about raising a few chickens….Thanks for the great article and knowing we are not alone.

  7. @MamaLinda55 I am no expert by any stretch. As far as firearms. I can tell you what I would do.
    Research is key. I would ask why and what for. Home protection would be a shotgun or handgun. Shotguns are no brainers. Lethal and aim in confined areas is not as big of an issue. Handguns require more accuracy and training.
    Since you have children. All firearms must be safely stored but easily accessible. I cannot stress enough how important proper training is. Once you have made a decision, find a local range that offers training and become very familiar with your firearm of choice. Explore your conceal carry laws. Perhaps you would like to carry on your person as well? The decision will open many doors of new thought. Be patient. Take your time and utilize as many reputable sources as is possible.
    I hope this helps. God bless.

  8. Again. Thanks to all for the encouragement and comments. I just thought I would send some words to Rourke. But I had no idea that they would resonate with so many good people. When my Mom and Dad grew up, there were no names such as survivalist or prepper. That was just life. Expect the unexpected. Be ready. I grew up canning,hanging tobacco, shucking corn, stringing beans…..etc. That was just life. I drifted from my roots and as I grow older, I realize the logic and embrace the history that comes with such an upbringing. I hope to one day pass these skills and practical ways of living, to my son. It’s part of his history and I do not want that part of his cultural DNA to be lost.
    I wish all of you well and I thank you again for your kind words and Rourke’s graciousness with his blog.
    God bless and stay safe

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