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Lessons I learned while visiting the Ozarks

The truth sometimes bites!

My son's raised garden (left) and cedar logs he felled (right) for building his cabin.

I have been trying for days to decide where to start in writing about my adventures in the Ozark Mountains that I experienced this past month. There are so many things to talk about and share. One of the biggest things that spoke to me was that us city folk are in no way fully prepared for survival if S* Hits The Fan. I'm not talking about being prepared for a 72 hour emergency. I'm talking about if, for whatever reason, the power grid goes down for an extended period of time. Or any other long term event that would cause us to be without power or that would drastically change our every day normal activities. But, I've already discussed the "what ifs" that could happen in other blog posts, so today I want to focus on the things other than water and food that we should be preparing for. I'm not really offering solutions here, I just want to give you some things to think about; and share some things that I realized I'm not exactly prepared for when I was at my son's homestead.


WEATHER


Have you thought about what you will do to keep your house or campsite warm in the cold/winter months? Most of us who live in harsh winter weather regions have probably already thought about this. But, if you haven't, it is something to seriously consider. How would you heat your house? You can't just build a fire inside. Those who have real fireplaces, not the gas burning kind, already have an advantage here. Something to consider is maybe buying and installing a wood burner stove. While I was at my son's, he purchased a used wood burner stove for right around $100. It is in excellent shape. While it doesn't get below freezing very often where he lives, it still gets cold enough to need a little heat once in a while.


Summer heat and humidity. That is one of the problems that bothered me the most during my visit. I had to cave in several times and sit inside the air conditioned RV. I would have rather been outside, but the humidity was so high that it affected my breathing. Instead of toughing it out, I had the AC to fall back on. Most of us are used to working and living in air conditioned buildings. We drive cars with air conditioning and we go shopping in air conditioned stores. But, what if there was no electricity? What could be done to make the heat and humidity more bearable? One thing that would help is to plan on getting any work done in the morning and evening hours; and leaving the afternoons for resting. At least that's what I discovered. But, that's not really enough for some people. I know our ancestors survived it, but they were not used to having air conditioning like most of us are. So, maybe we should be getting outside more and help our bodies to get used to it? I'm not sure what the answer is; but if you have any ideas on this please share them in the comment section below because I truly need help with this one!


SNAKES AND CRITTERS


Have you thought about how you would protect yourself and your family from snakes and other dangerous critters? If you live in the city and are planning on hunkering down in your home, you probably won't have to deal with such. At least not as much as some. But what about those who are planning to bug out either to a hideaway location in a rural area or choose/have to go out into the woods/wilderness to try and survive? For me, we don't have a bug out location, so we would have to wander out into the woods.


My son had a few encounters with some snakes before I arrived at his place. Some were poisonous. In fact, while I was there one day I was sitting outside while he was building a fire to burn some things and he was pulling some brush out of a brush pile to put on the fire. All of a sudden, he froze in place and slowly reached his arm to his side to draw his side arm (hand gun). Then he fired off a couple of shots down at the ground. I'm thankful I had been looking his way and noticed what he was doing. It would have scared me to death to just all of a sudden hear those shots go off! Then, he came walking over to where I was with a snake dangling in his hand!! It was a pygmy rattle snake!! He had blown it's head off!! It was only about a foot long, but it was still a poisonous snake! And, I've heard that those little rattlers don't just strike once, but several times. What would you do if you encountered a poisonous snake? How would you protect yourself or a family member? By the way, he had also used his gun to kill a copper head snake that he came upon just a couple of weeks before I got there. That kind of shooting takes precision, and lots of practice!


Don't worry, my son is a retired law enforcement officer so he has had a lot of practice and knows how to use firearms. However, I know there are some who are against civilians owning guns and protecting themselves and their loved ones. But, in a SHTF situation those who have guns and have learned how to use them are going to be better off and have a higher chance of survival than those who haven't. Something to think about. But, don't just go out and buy a gun. Know the gun laws in your state and buy it legally. Learn how to use it, and use it responsibly.


Snakes aren't the only wild things my son has encountered at his homestead. There's also a wild boar that runs around that part of the woods. If I had encountered that wild boar while there, I think I would have freaked out!! The neighbors all want to be the one to get that boar! They've even agreed that whoever gets it will have the other neighbors over and they'll cook it over a fire and share it.


Some areas are also prone to bears, cougars, tigers, etc. We need to learn and know what wild animals are known to be in the regions where we live (or bug out location) and make the proper preparations to know that we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from them.


INSECTS AND OTHER YUCKY THINGS


If you've been keeping up with my Ozark Mountains adventure you've probably read my article, Life on the homestead; among other things, where I talk about the ticks and chiggers. Those little pests aren't just privy to the Ozark Mountains, they're everywhere! I guess the locals down there don't mind the constant itching. I was told that eventually you get used to it. But, it's not something I'm sure I could get used to, lol. However, it is definitely something we should be prepared for. So make sure you have lots of anti-itch cream in your storage provisions. Again, not something most of us encounter in our every day lives. Heck, I never even thought about needing to take anti-itch cream with me!


The mosquitoes weren't too bad while I was there, but they are another thing we need to be aware of during a SHTF situation. Especially if you live in an area now where they do aerial spraying to get rid of them, or at least to cut down on the population. I'm not sure I could store enough bug spray to ward them off for a year or more. But, I have invested in a couple of mosquito nets that fit under my hat and I intend on getting a few larger nets to use for sleeping. Trust me, if mosquitoes are out, they are going to seek me out and find me!


Oh, and spiders. My son found a tarantula nest near his shed. He thought it was kind of cute. I can't even imagine thinking such a thing! Anyway, one day while I was there he went to check on his "pet" tarantula and discovered there were dozens, if not hundreds, of baby tarantulas crawling all over and hanging onto mom tarantula. Suddenly, that poor huge tarantula was no longer his pet! He took some wasp spray (or something like that) and doused those babies with it. I'm not sure if they died or if mom lived; I didn't ask him. I didn't want to know.


Wasps and bees. They are everywhere, not just in the Ozarks! There is no running or hiding from them! And, they are one of the few things that I am allergic to. A few days before I had arrived my son had an encounter with some wasps in his shed. He was stung by one. He texted me a picture of it. He knows I'm allergic to them and am terrified of them. I think he texted me the pic just to rile me up over it. Anyway, the sting area was quite swollen and the sting bulls eye area (the actual sting) was way too easy to see. He told me he sprayed wasp spray to get rid of them. We went to town the day after I arrived and bought more wasp spray. Two cans more. That is definitely something I need to stock up on. Anyway, I had to go into that very same shed to do my laundry! I was scared every time I even went near that shed! Needless to say, I did not do my laundry while there quite as often as I normally do it at home.


PROPER CLOTHING


Speaking of doing laundry. After about my second day down there I realized that I need to make sure I have shorts, capris, jeans, etc. that are light in color the next time I head down there. As well as some neutral colored shirts. The only capris I had were black, and I had a pair of black jeans and dark blue jeans. My shirts were bright and colorful, or black; I did have one light gray shirt. I hadn't really thought about how the dark colors draw in the sun and are hotter, and that the bright colorful shirts would attract bees and other flying insects. In other words, I took my every day clothes. Clothes that I wear in an air conditioned house and go from there to an air conditioned car. I realized that I need to buy some light colored cotton shorts or capris and some light colored cotton tops. I've heard cotton is best for summer as it is more breathable and thus would be cooler. Not only do I need the cotton clothing for being down south during the hot months, but also for my bug out bag. Actually, had I realized this ahead of time it may have helped me to not be quite so hot while I was there.


IN CONCLUSION


I learned some other things as well that I will be sharing with you in the future. But, I think I've rambled on enough for now. I basically just wanted to cover some of the things that I hadn't truly considered before heading out to my son's homestead. It is my hope that by sharing some of my experiences it will in some way help you to be more aware of things you might need to be prepared for.


All in all, I had a wonderful time visiting with my son and his family! I can't wait to go back!! It was really hard for me to leave and return home. It was very hard for me to leave my son and his family, but also having spent 30 days there, it actually became a part of me and felt like it had become my way of life. I know my kids won't want to hear this, but I truly feel like that was where I belong. I just need to be able to acclimate to the heat and humidity, lol. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I will go back there as often as I can; preferably in the cooler months.


It is my prayer that we will not procrastinate in our endeavors to be prepared. Both physically and spiritually. Jesus is coming back soon, but the world has to get to a really ugly state before that happens. It is my belief that we are very close to that ugliness now. All you have to do is take a look around to see it. It could be days, weeks, months, or years before it happens. We don't know for sure when it will. But we do know it's going to happen and we need to be fully prepared for when it does.


Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!


Matthew 24:13, But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (KJV)

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