A Report on Life from John Galt’s Gulch

We can stop socialism in its tracks by not sharing our money, our ideas, and our labor with them. Make little or no money, and they can’t tax you. Don’t work for the man, and the system will collapse.

Earlier this week, I realized that I have Gone Galt.

Based on Ayn Rand’s character John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, the phrase “Going Galt” means that I have withdrawn my financial, intellectual, and economic capital from the system and refuse to play by the “work, earn, tax, and repeat” rules imposed by the ever-increasingly socialist government. 

Going Galt was not a conscious decision on my part.  I didn’t sit down and say, “Screw you, I’m not going to play by your rules.”  It all just sort of came together at the end of 2019.  My employer shut down, so I went from earning more than $100,000 annually to collecting unemployment.  (Thanks to COVID-19 stimulus bills, I am still collecting $350 a week.)  I stopped paying more than $20,000 a year for health insurance, getting Obama Care at no cost to me.  As my income disappeared, my income tax bill has dropped so much that the IRS might have to pay me this year. 

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Prepper Diary January 30: It’s Bitterly Cold, Making it the Best Time to Plan our Garden

Garden seeds sold out last year due to COVID-19 and there are hints that it may happen again, especially with heirlooms seeds. Plan your garden now!

I woke up early yesterday morning to alarms blaring.  Not the burglar alarm, but the alarm on three different uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), including the one that runs our modem, WiFi, and home security system.  I stumbled out of bed and, flashlight in hand, shut down the equipment, and silenced all the beeping.  Peeking out the window and noticed that it was snowing.

I took advantage of being awake at the early hour to throw a couple more logs on the fire and then promptly went back to bed.  If the power is out, you might as well sleep in.

As I fell back asleep, I thought to myself, “At least all my batteries are charged.”

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Ammo Price Inflation and Revisiting How Many Rounds You Should Store

Ammunition prices have jumped 300 to 500 percent in the past 18 or 24 months, making it harder to stock up. Here’s the best way for new preppers to proceed.

Basic 9mm ball ammo is currently selling for roughly $1 per round, or $45 to $50 a box on places like ammoman.com.  But at least it’s available (or was at the time of this writing).  What hurts is that I used to buy bulk ammo for about a fourth of that, 28 cents per round, less when it was on sale.

Similarly, basic Winchester white box 5.56 is going for $1.20 a round, up fourfold from what I used to pay.  A couple years ago, it was easy to find a case of 1,000 rounds for about $300, or 30 cents per round.

Today, the tiny .22LR is selling more than that, about 36 cents per round.  I have receipts showing that I purchased the same ammo on sale for 6 cents a round.  In other words, a box of 325 rounds I bought in 2017 on sale for $19.95 is now $120.  That’s a six-fold increase.  And many of us remember when a brick of 500 rounds was $10 or $12, although that was around the turn of the century.

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Prepper Diary January 28: Time to Charge the Batteries

A search through our stock of radios leads to a marathon battery recharging session.

I was going through our boxes to find the FRS radios so that my wife can keep in touch with me while I am hiking around the area, and I decided to inspect all our radio components.  They are each stored in .50 caliber ammo cans lined with corrugated cardboard to provide a poor-man’s Faraday cage.

When I opened the can for our Sony shortwave radio, I was surprised to find 8 regular AA batteries and 10 Eneloop rechargeable batteries and a charger tucked away in there. Not knowing how old they were, I stuck the stored AAs in the “use first” pile, grabbed one of my other Eneloop chargers so I could charge them all in at once, and started charging them.  That took the better part of the day as they were quite dead.

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Prepper Diary January 27: All Roads Lead to Inflation

We hit the road for a brief journey and found gas has risen 36 cents a gallon in the past 4 weeks. That’s about 20 percent.

We took a few days to travel down to the northern portion of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and crossed back and forth from North Carolina into Tennessee a few times.  Wow, what beautiful country.  We got lucky with a burst of unseasonably warm weather and decent sunshine.

There is a road in N.C. called 25 that goes through the Bald Mountains, past Hot Springs, following along the French Broad River and into Tennessee.  Driving along it reminded me of driving in parts of Montana, following broad rivers at the feet of mountains.  OK, so maybe these mountains are not quite as tall and they don’t have glaciers, but it was still beautiful and largely unspoiled.  Tennessee even had lots of signs for “river access,” something we also saw often in Montana.  We may have to go back when it is warmer and we can take advantage of some of the recreational activities the river offers.

Since we were not too far away, we made a side trip and visited Carolina Readiness Supply in Waynesville, N.C., which is worth visiting if you are in the general area.  There are not too many places in the East Coast where you can find a well-rounded prepper store like that.

The purpose of our trip was to visit a dog breeder in our search for a puppy.  On the way home, we stopped in did some shopping.  My wife was pleased to go to a Target.  (Apparently I am a Walmart guy and she is a Target gal.)  We also stopped by Lowes to get some lumber and Tractor supply for some tarps and other supplies.

No Ammo

We did not make as many stops at gun stores as I would have liked, but we saw little or no ammo for sale.  In some places, you need to buy a gun to get ammo.  I was surprised to see a decent amount of long guns on sale.  It seems that pistol are selling more.  Apparently, people are looking for self-defense when they are out and about rather than self-defense at their house.  I would also guess that many people in that area already have at least a deer rifle and a 12 gauge, and probably a .22 as well.

I have been reviewing the reloading powders and other components I have on hand and visiting the manufacture’s web sites to download the latest reloading data.  I’m even downloading data for calibers I don’t have, like the 6x57mm Mauser, just in case.

Growing Concerned

I have to admit that I am growing increasingly concerned about what the future holds in 2021 – just a general unsettled feeling seeing what is going on in Washington and the attempt to make anyone who is not a liberal into a “domestic terrorist.”  The net result is making me want to prep, even though I am pretty well prepared. 

In the past week, I have ordered heirloom vegetable seeds and suggested to my wife that we stock up on top soil and any other bagged soil, soil amendments, or agricultural products we might need. 

I have been doing research and apparently the only way to keep bears out of your apiary (bee hives) is to get a fairly powerful electric fence.  I am drawing up plans for fencing in a portion of our property that will include a chicken coop, a chicken run, and a garden which will have the bee hives in the center.  The interior will be securely fenced to keep out small varmints and an interior fence will keep the chickens out of the garden when we don’t want them in there.  The exterior will be protected by a heavy-duty solar powered electric fence. 

The great thing about an electric fence is that once you have the hardware, it is easy to expand, even if you have to cut new poles yourself.  That will be useful if we have to expand our garden at some future point.

Inflation

As I have written about previously, I think we’ll see inflation raise its ugly head this year.  I may be wrong, but I’m going to prepare for it in any case, and I cannot see a better way to do so than to become more food independent. 

In the past four weeks, I’ve seen gasoline prices jump 36 cents.  It was 10 cents a week for three weeks and then “just” six cents this past week.  Two weeks ago I filled some gas cans we had emptied for our move, using “fuel points” from my wife’s grocery shopping to get the biggest discount possible.  Despite the recent road trip, we definitely aren’t driving much these days.

I am going to be looking into making some more home improvements this spring, before prices for lumber and other building supplies rise even further.  I want to get all the maintenance caught up and I’d rather spend funds now than later when they are worth even less.

The Calm Before the Storm

We may well be in a calm before the storm.  The liberals and socialists are happy because they won the election.  Conservatives are holding their breath to see what happens. The real political battles have yet to start. But when they do, expect it to get ugly.

The COVID-19 cases are dropping and the vaccine seems to be working.  They can’t get them into people’s arms fast enough. Hopefully, things will re-open and the economy will get back on its feet. But what happens if the immunity granted by the vaccine doesn’t last or if new mutations render the vaccine less effective? Right now, everyone is holding their breath that things will improve the the summer, but what if they get worse in the fall?

We are using this period of calm to make sure we are prepped up.  I recommend you do the same.

Introducing the Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report

We can all feel the pinch of inflation in our pocketbooks, but how can we measure it? The Prepper Shopping Basket Inflation Report will track inflation for goods preppers buy.

To track inflation and its impact on preppers, we have developed a price-tracking spreadsheet that we will use to track the cost of a basic shopping cart of goods a prepper might buy to prepare their prepper pantry.  Based on this data, we will produce a report that reflects the changes in item cost and total shopping cart cost over time.  The time period will vary based on the velocity of change.  For example, if prices remain steady, we won’t need to update the report very often.  If prices change frequently, we will produce the report more often.

The products chosen for the basket include traditional grocery items.  These are consumables an include canned goods, dry goods, baking goods, and paper products.  The list is based in part on the Pickled Prepper’s 30-Day Shopping List which is designed to help you buy a 30-day supply of foods with a shelf life of at least 18 months.  Separately, we will be reporting on the average cost of a gallon of gasoline, diesel, propane and heating oil as reported by the EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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COVID-19 Cases Plunge, Hospitalizations Drop

The sudden downturn in U.S. COVID-19 cases we reported on last week continues unabated.  The 7-day moving average dropped from 219,000 to 171,000, a decrease of 33 percent.  The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is also dropping, although more slowly, and deaths slowed slightly before leveling off.

In the past 24 hours, 129,527 new cases were reported with 1,815 deaths and 110,628 hospitalizations.  The New York Times now reports that cases are going down in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.  The country now has a total of 25.1 cases reported.

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Prepper Diary January 24: Trying to Identify the Best Way to Wear a Fixed Blade Knife

Carrying a sheath knife is pretty straight forward, but carrying a pistol and a fixed blade knife on your belt complicates things.

I’ve been practicing different carry methods for my fixed blades when I wear a gun on my strong side.  I should also mention that when you carry a revolver, you usually keep your speed loaders on the strong side since that is the hand you use to reload.  With a semi-auto, your spare magazine is on the opposite side, since you reload using your weak hand.  When carrying a .357 revolver, as I have been doing upon occasion when we head into the woods, you may end up with a fairly heavy steel revolver, two speed loaders and a good sized knife all on one side.  To me, this is less than ideal.

Here are the different methods of knife carry I’ve tried so far:

Knife in Front of Gun

Strong side carry is the method of carry for which most sheaths are designed.  Having my knife in front of the gun works well as the knife goes straight down the side of the leg and doesn’t get in the way much when I work or sit, however it makes accessing my strong-side pants pocked difficult.  This carry method works best with a holster where your firearm draw stroke is straight up and down.  If the holster is canted forward, then the handle of the knife can get in the way and mess up your draw.   

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Prepper Diary January 23: It’s like Christmas all Over Again

The snow has cleared enough that we can make our way into town and finds good news waiting for us at the post office.

We finally went to town, dropped off our trash, and stopped by the post office.  It had been so long since we’d picked up mail that we actually had five packages waiting for us, including a book I bought on eBay and two very delayed Christmas presents that had been forwarded from our old address.  One of them had shipped on the 22nd, the other the week before, so it basically took a month for Priority Mail to get to our old post office and be forwarded to our new one. 

Happily, we received two refund checks from our old insurance company.  One for canceling the policy on the  truck that was totaled and the other for cancelling the policy on the house we sold.  Now we’ve paid for insurance on our new house and my new truck, but it still felt great getting money in the mail, even though we were being refunded our own money. You might ask why the policies didn’t transfer from the old car to the new one, but it is because we moved.  Our old insurance company doesn’t write policies in this state so we now have a new company.

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Book “Patriots” Holds Up Well More than Two Decades Later

I started re-reading Patriots yesterday and I am impressed at how well it holds decades later. Its predictions of an economic collapse seem like they could happen this year.

After writing about books preppers should to read yesterday, I had pulled out my copies of Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles and started re-reading it for something like the fifth time.  I could not help but notice that the neat summary of the financial and economic collapse of the United States, written more than 20 years ago, is eerily accurate today.

I encourage you to buy Patriots and other books by Rawles, and have linked to his web page where they are for sale. Below I have taken brief excerpts from his description of the rolling collapse of the country’s economy (written 20 or 25 years ago) and added my comments looking at his predictions from the perspective of today.  These predictions were spread over six or so pages. To be clear, I have used an ellipses (…) to note where content was edited out.  This could be a few words, a sentence, or in some cases multiple paragraphs.  Again, to see the full details, read the book.

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