I've been neglecting this blog lately; seems I have had Real Life happening. Not a lot that's been blogworthy, I guess.
Friend Brigid put up a post that's been knocking around in my head since I read it. She's not the first to say these things, but is perhaps one of the more eloquent:
The world is not a safe and happy place, something some people find when they least expect it. [...]
We believe that because we've always been the dominant political and economic power on this planet that it will always be so. [...]
Duty and honor weren't archaic promises, they were words I was raised to live on, no matter how bad things got. [...]
You see it in the eyes at the feed store, you see it in the determined step of those buying supplies and learning the use them. You feel it in the collective murmurings of concern as you chat with people at the gas station, or the grocers. [...]
I hope those hands are strong enough for the tasks that lie ahead.
Click over and read the whole thing. Anything I've got to say can wait.
I've seen the same thing. Eyes are a little narrower. Brows are knit a bit tighter. Our grocery bill has been climbing, yet we're cutting back on the luxuries, or buying in quantity and storing. Gas prices are creeping up again.
People aren't as lighthearted and carefree as they were ten - or even five - years ago. We're all kind of wondering where we're going, and no one seems to have a clear answer. A full eighteen months before the national elections, we're in full-on media frenzy over who's running, who isn't, and the like. It's not going to be a pretty election cycle. Expect a lot of name-calling, party-blaming, and buck-passing.
If you haven't been, tuck away a little bit here and there when you can. Canned food, a bit of cash, maybe some precious metals if that's your thing. (Brass and lead are precious metals, by the by.) I know times are tight, but I've a bad feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. In that light...
There are a handful of books I would unhesitatingly recommend you own in dead-tree form:
Homemade Contrivances (and how to make them)
Handy Farm Devices (and how to make them)
Storey's Basic Country Skills
US Army Survival Manual (FM21-76)
Mountainman Crafts & Skills
Joy of Cooking
Ball Blue Book
If you have the budget and space, add a few more. Reference books, in particular - a solid encyclopedia, a good dictionary and thesaurus set (Webster and Roget's are my preference), and some literature. The Harvard Five-Foot Shelf would be an amazing addition and is on my "someday" list.
Learn to preserve your food. Learn to garden. If you can find a place, learn to hunt.
Learn to communicate. Get a ham ticket and know how to use your equipment. Even a simple 2m set will give you some communications when the rest of the grid is gone. GfZ jokingly calls my ham shack "nerd weather channel" - it gets information faster and more localized than anything the weather service or local media can put out.
Network. Quietly, discreetly, cautiously, but make some friends who are local and might be worth working closely with if things go south.
Be aware. Keep an eye on who's in your neighborhood, try to know names, habits, vehicles... if something is out of place, notice it. A strong community is the best protection many of us can have.
Be ready. There's a storm brewing.