Posts Tagged ‘homestead’

Doomsday Preppers: The Coy Family

After a week off, Doomsday Preppers is back with a Pacific Northwest-centered episode entitled “Fortress at Sea”, which is really only relevant to the second profile.
However, we start out in eastern Washington for a look at the homestead of Kevin & Annissa Coy.
kevincoySince they live in an area with at least four active volcanoes, it’s only reasonable that they’d be at least a little concerned about one of them blowing its top.

With four kids, everybody has their designated role—their daughter runs the weather station (for predicting approaching volcanic ash speeds and such); son is in charge of food; son-in-law (former Army, of course) is in charge of defense, &c.

Naturally, if you’re worried about a giant cloud of ash and poison gases rushing down the valley to Pompeii-ify your home, you’re not going to focus on hunkering down bunker-style, so the Coys are planning to bug-out at a moment’s notice. Or at least, the moment they get word of an eruption, they’ll start loading up their caravan of bugout vehicles: an RV, a pickup truck and livestock trailer, an ex-charter bus, and a sailboat. Yeah, wow. You can imagine with an array like that, bugging out isn’t going to be as simple as grabbing bags and leaving.

Now, we’re reminded that they’ve been living in this house for a quarter-century, and so the big dramatic question becomes: can Annissa leave their home behind should the time come? Remember the Professor’s words: “One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.” And in this case, pretty much everybody in this culture is in fetters to all the STUFF we acquire.
As Kevin says, “It’s not going to be easy to be mobile and jumping around all the time.” Complete the thought: “…after being sedentary for so long.” (In his lectures, Max Brooks has often suggested that the biggest stumbling block to long-term survival among Americans is our opposition (instilled by our ambient culture) to “going native”. After all, Our way is the One Right Way to Live, so why should we care that the indig locals’ way was totally sustainable and survivable? (As Eddie Vedder sang, “Those ignorant indians got nothin’ on me”)
In a kind of compromise for his civilized wife (unwilling as she is to live without square shelters and pictures on the walls), Kevin builds her a Tiny House they can potentially take with them on a bugout. Which is cool, because I’m a big fan of microhousing (hey, any downsizing is better than none). And what’s even better is Kevin’s solution to the sanitation solution: the microhouse features a bonafide Jenkins model HUMANURE setup! Praise Jeebus, finally! (Of course, like Permaculture, we’ll never hear the H word uttered on the show, but that’s what it is). They even let Kevin go over the basics and benefits of such a system!

Now, I said earlier their son is in charge of their food supply, much of which is “on the hoof”—they have a large menagerie of chickens, pigs, rabbits, and a goat. Kevin also reminds us that they also have a poodle and a Chihuahua, if they’re ever really hard-up for some protein. “I’m kidding”, he says, to Annissa’s if-looks-could-kill glare. He shouldn’t be kidding. While he should definitely keep the poodle around for hunting small game (my old poodle was a first-rate rabbit tracker), the shivering bighead pooch is coyote bait and should probably be eaten ASAP. Hell, that’s what they were bred for in the first place!

Because there hasn’t been nearly enough drama coming from Mrs. Coy yet, we head out to the homestead’s hog lot, where the plan is to butcher one of the not-nearly-big-enough piggies. Of course, she can’t bring herself to pop Brother Pig in the head, so apparently Kevin just dispatches it with a knife. (He is a former butcher, so I’m pretty confident it was done as humanely as possible, but still.) Yeesh.

With that fun out of the way, they proceed to attempt a practice bugout. To make it more interesting, they impose a timecrunch on themselves: the volcano has erupted, and the ash-cloud will be here in an hour. Can they make it in time??? NO. And how.

So why does it take them twice the time needed, and still not go as planned? What do you expect, trying to bugout with multiple vehicles, a bunch of meteorological junk, live animals, and a 3,500-pound microhouse?

For starters, although we’ve been told their one year’s supply of food has been dispersed throughout all their vehicles, we still see Annissa making trips to the basement to retrieve more food. For what it’s worth, if your plan is to Get Outta Dodge in a hurry, keep the stuff you plan to grab on the ground floor.
That said,—I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it—if you have to pack, it’s not a bugout.

Then they try to round up the animals into a livestock trailer and hitch it up to a truck. It looks like there’s an issue with the truck’s hitch-ball being too low for the trailer, so that’s a no-go; they wind up filling the charter bus’s luggage compartments—in which they had planned on sleeping—with some of the livestock (thumbs-up for flexibility, and adaptability at least).

Then the guys try to slide the 1.75-ton tinyhouse onto a flatbed truck. It doesn’t work; the chains and straps break, and they wind up leaving it behind.
In the end, after all that they throw up their hands after two hours and call it a day.

From what I’ve seen, here’s what I would do. The microhouse is only eight by twelve feet, so it’d be totally feasible to lighten the load and integrate a trailer into the design—hell, that’s how most of the tiny houses I’ve seen work anyway.:
tiny-house-on-trailerUse the pickup truck to pull it, freeing the flatbed to carry the livestock—modular walls are easy to come by, they could make a frame to hold everybody’s cages, and you could still hose it off every now and then. This saves the charter bus for hauling cargo, gear, and food; use the RV for hauling people. Bam, problems solved.
However, it all comes down to the importance of testing and practicing a plan before lives depend on it. You wouldn’t go camping in the wilderness without knowing how to start a fire or make shelter (at least I hope you wouldn’t), so save these pre-disaster times for getting familiar with your plans. In the Coy’s post-filming update, it sounds like they’ve done just that, and have had successful bugout drills.
The experts give them 67 points for eleven months’ initial survival time, which Kevin graciously accepts as a pretty fair assessment.

Of course, what they don’t mention (thanks to the show’s one-issue-only format) is how Kevin and Annissa’s little farmstead is—like the Taylors from a few weeks back—all about self-sufficiency and simple living without reliance on the Grid. If the volcanoes don’t erupt but the dollar goes bust, I have a feeling these guys would still be doing just fine.

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Doomsday Preppers: Kelly & John Taylor

After taking a week off, the show returns with ‘Hit the Ground Running’, which begins with a visit to the Virginia homestead of John & Kelly Taylor.
John&Kelly_TaylorThese two have years of experience as emergency responders and firefighter medics, including dealing with a rioting, looting, panicked populace in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the years since that storm, they cashed in their pensions and moved from Florida to 41 acres of rolling land in the hills of Virginia. Apparently they paid for the land and house in cash, which means no mortgage, no debt, no bank constantly threatening to take back their property.
This is appropriate, because John and Kelly are “preparing for a total economic collapse” in probably the best way imaginable. If you’re worried about a world in which all your green paper is worthless, it’s only logical to intentionally create a way of life that doesn’t rely on that green paper, and that’s just what the Taylors have done: they’ve decided to live without money as if an economic doomsday is already here.  With no debts, and an ‘almost non-existent’ cost of living (their only bills are for phones and TV, and it sounds like they wouldn’t mind letting go of those, too), their plan to survive economic collapse by living without money looks pretty sweet.
And just in time, too. John explains his view that “you don’t have to be a genius or rocket scientist to see that our financial system is probably in its death throes.” Of course, it probably looked that way when this was filmed some months ago, but at the moment it seems that people believe what they’re being told (it’s getting better all the time!), and so consumer confidence is pushing the stock market to its highest levels in 5 years.
But don’t worry, it can’t last forever: remember, “growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

With little money left, the Taylors have focused on growing just about everything they eat, or as the narrator describes it, “turning their property into a giant self-sustaining supermarket”. In other words, they’ve created yet another permaculture food-forest, but we should know by now we’ll never hear that phrase uttered on American TV.
Because they’re focused on things that have actual, intrinsic value (as opposed to arbitrary value like precious metals and paper money), their self-sustaining homestead includes 40 chickens (with that many, they could easily go Barrelhaven and just start using eggs as currency), at least six goats (milk!), and best of all, a basic apiary setup! That’s right, they keep bees! Kelly and John get some assistance from local beekeeper Sharon Hall, who does some post-money bartering with them: she helps them out with their hives, and they recharge a car battery for her, using their awesome $99,000 solar panel setup.
Of course, with all that real wealth, the Taylors are worried in the event of an actual economic downturn their crops, honey, and solar will make them seem rich to the unprepared. And y’know what? They’re right: they are rich! They have no money (how our culture defines wealth), but they’re off the grid, they eat real food they raise themselves, the power company pays them, and they don’t owe anybody anything. Throw in some nearby neighbors doing the same thing and you’d have the makings of a community of true survivors. It’s the civilized, postindustrial, willful wage-slave folks with the green paper who are truly poor.
Anyway, they’re afraid their real wealth will make them targets to the zombie hordes, so they go to the co-op and buy a conibear  trap. I guess we’re supposed to believe they eventually intend to encircle their house with them? Honestly, I think these folks have more sense than that, and probably will just put traps around the chicken coop, but the producers spun it as if they intend to defend the whole homestead with leg traps.
Should their property be compromised, they have multiple caches hidden up in the hills to which they can fall back. Of course, the cache we see is simply a big white plastic cooler, covered in camo netting, visible from the house. Unfortunately, a white dot up on a hillside makes a nice target, so I’d invest in a few cans of earth-tone spray paint and truly camouflage the stash. From these hillside retreats, John and Kelly do some practice spotting and sniping at night. While I’m not sure about shooting towards one’s home in the dark, it’s nice to see them getting familiar with their weapons’ capabilities in the circumstances they’re preparing for. Too often we see guys practice at the gun range, who then assume it will automatically carry over to a homestead-defense scenario or whatever.

In their assessment, the experts tell them to start hoarding a year’s worth of food; Kelly thinks that’s ridiculous. The experts give them 71 points, for thirteen months’ survival time. Knowing how the scoring algorithm is skewed, I’d say that barring a planet-killing, extinction-level event (rogue asteroid, nuclear war, &c), these folks are well on their way to being able to deal with anything thrown at them.
In the update, we see that the Taylors have added some draft power to their menagerie and bought a donkey! Hey, it’s better than a mule. Now they just need to find a neighbor who also has a donkey and they’ll be set.

Doomsday Preppers: Lindsay & Ray

Our next episode, ‘Prepper’s Paradise’, begins with some excellent footage of amber waves of monoculture grain. This is appropriate, as the first profile looks at Lindsay and her husband Ray, of Boise, Idaho.
© NatGeo/Sharp EntertainmentThese ‘urban homesteaders’ run the North End Organic Nursery, ‘Idaho’s only all-organic nursery and garden center’. Lindsay also has a local radio show (called ‘Talk Dirt to Me’, haha!) that deals with organic gardening, self-reliance, sustainability and all that goes along with it.

With all this talk about food, it’s only natural that their concern is for a “collapse of the world’s agricultural system”, which is a fairly reasonable fear; one only needs to take a big-picture view to see the tenuousness of our present situation. Of course, speaking of a ‘collapse’ implies a certain abruptness which I don’t think is very likely. Personally, I’d articulate it as a ‘degradation of our culture’s system of totalitarian agriculture’, but that’s just me.

As Lindsay explains, “back in the day, everybody was prepared, because they weren’t so reliant on other people to make sure their lives worked.” She goes on to say that the vast majority of folks today are “severely detached from their food supply” (in other words, they have no connection to how or where their food is grown); this means that our largely-urban population is left to rely on a tiny number of farms to keep them alive. And those farms—though tiny in number—are quite large in size, because the crops they are growing are massive tracts of vulnerable monoculture grains—mostly maize, soya, and wheat—with the backing of multinationals like Monsanto, Syngenta, &c. Like the rest of our culture, these industrial farms operate under a paradigm which places human lives above all others, and views farmland as useful only for producing food for people, or none at all; any non-human lifeforms (or any that do not directly benefit humans) who occupy the land are viewed as vermin and generally systematically exterminated.
Factor in the just-in-time nature of our food-distribution system (witness the oft-repeated mantra of “three days of food on the supermarket shelf”), the fact that—as our helpful caption reminds us—food often travels 1,000 miles or more to reach the supermarket, and the fact that 2012 was declared the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, and it’s easy to see how the degradation (via loss of productivity, interruption of distribution, &c.) of this system would leave a lot of people hungry. That’s not to mention the economic side of things, in which rising ‘unemployment’ would leave people with no green paper to exchange for supermarket groceries in the first place.
As I’ve said before, our culture’s civilizational experiment has formed itself into any number of shatterpoints, and should any of them break down, the consequences would be wide-reaching: nothing happens in a vacuum.

To combat this uncertainty, Lindsay and Ray have stored four years’ worth of food, which—compared to some on this show—isn’t too impressive. However, they’ve taken food security to the next level, by making it (and education about related issues) the focus of everything they do (or pretty close to it). In addition to running an organic nursery, they have an incredible garden; although they never say it outright, their backyard is totally what the permaculture folks call an ‘edible forest’, or at least, it definitely has the makings of one. In addition, they build and sell the most solid-looking rocket stoves I think I’ve ever seen. There’s a shot or two of Ray welding one together, but the footage of him showing it off wound up on the cutting room floor (as the best material seems to do, in favor of more ‘dramatic’ scenes). Blerg.

Speaking of Ray (who kind of scares me, former Marine that he is), what’s his motivating fear in all of this?
All together now!: “rioting and looting!” Maybe if our system wasn’t designed to rob people of their self-reliance (in exchange for reliance on the fragile system), an interruption of the industrial food system wouldn’t have such dramatic consequences? So to deal with this possibility, they have built a nice little bug-out location up in the mountains of Idaho. This includes at least one cordwood cabin, as well as a greenhouse and huge root cellar (which, sadly, we also don’t get to see).

They’re always looking for new folks to join their bug-out team, so Ray and the group interviews two new candidates. It seems these potentials are active-duty in the military, which somehow means we can’t see their faces or hear their real voices. So, to test their mettle, they do a mock bug-out to the rural retreat with the new guys. This involves loading up the trailer (which apparently has solar panels to run all their radios and power tools, but we don’t get to see any of that) with everything they would possibly need, which doesn’t seem much like a bug-out to me. As I’ve said before, if you have to load up, it’s not a bug-out. Bugging-out is when you believe the time has come to go, and so you grab your bag and high-tail it outta there, either on foot or with your vehicle of choice. While they’re loading up the trailer, Ray says that he “[doesn’t] want anybody to see this.” So, do it ahead of time? I’d have no problem calling it a bug-out if your trailer is already packed, ready to go in the driveway, and all you have to do is hop in and drive off.
So their convoy reaches the gravel road that leads to their bug-out location, at which point Ray sends the two recruits on ahead to scout it out (he’s prepared a surprise for them, but of course they don’t know it). This ‘surprise’ turns out to be just a guy standing around inside the cabin. They shout some army stuff, he gets down on the ground, and they zip-tie his hands. Not terribly exciting; dude didn’t even have a weapon drawn or anything. After their stellar performance in the whole scenario, the group welcomes their two new members.
I also want to mention that throughout most of the segment, Ray and his team members (but never Lindsay) are all dressed like the Seven Trumpeters from last week’s show—clad in an assortment of coyote-brown ‘tactical’ Velcro contraptions and woodland digital camouflage, with tricked-out black guns – in other words, doing their best to look like modern imperial soldiers. It just seems like a weird juxtaposition to me, considering their public front is an organic gardening center.

After the ‘expert’ assessment, Lindsay and Ray get 78 points (I understand it was originally 84 points, which would be the highest score yet), for fifteen months’ survival time.
In the end, let’s close with Lindsay’s final words which give a good summation of the state of The Mess. As she calmly and rationally explains, “People are under the illusion that we have so much food all around us, and that we live in this wonderful modern age, and all I can say is that you’re wrong. There is so much fragility in our system, and it can collapse at any time. These things are just time-bombs waiting to happen, and they will happen.” WORD.

Doomsday Preppers: Franco & Allen

And now for something completely different, it’s a double-header prep-off!
This segment looks at a pair of prepper buddies in southwest Missouri, Franco and Allen:franco-allenThese guys have similar professions (Franco is an electrician; Allen an electrical engineer), but their prepping style is really unique.
Allen, like most of the folks this season, is worried about an economic decline of the US economy. Franco fears backlash against GMOs, resulting in rising food costs, shortages, and “corruption of food supply through big business.Ever hear of Monsanto?

Franco wisely predicts that “people will riot with food shortages in this country”. Which is funny, because there’s plenty of it out there—I’d say about 80% of the food I eat is liberated from urban trash receptacles—recent studies I’ve read estimate 25 to 50% of all food grown in this country gets thrown out!

Each of these guys has an acre-and-a-half of property, and they’re not content stockpiling freeze-dried and dehydrated astronaut food—they’ve each put together an impressive greenhouse/aquaponics setup, raising tilapia, duckweed algae, &c. The big downside I can see is their reliance on electricity to run their pumps and such, but I’d guess handy guys like these could easily rig up some solar cells to power it.
Dunno if such a thing would be possible, but what I’d really like to see would be an electricity-free aqua system (gravity-fed?), floating plots of filter plants and such.

The guys have a good-natured competition to see who has the best setup; they supplement their fish-and-algae protein with Allen’s fly larvae versus Franco’s red wriggler worms (he eats one, to his daughter’s disgust).

Allen’s daughter (in a candy-apple-red convertible) doesn’t seem to get the point of dad’s preparations—exhibiting an exemplary civilized, domesticated attitude when she declares that “unless he’s making money at it, it’s kind of pointless” (I’m sure she’ll be the first one to knock on dad’s door when something bad happens).

The experts give Franco 49 points (for four months’ survival), and Allen 77 (15 months). Seems kind of lopsided, and maybe skewed: Franco’s mechanical skills only get him 7 points, but Allen’s barter-able fish net him 17 points? I dunno, I think the guys have a good thing going between them, now they just need to recruit some of their neighbors to get a network going.

Doomsday Preppers: Robert Earl

Season two’s second episode finishes up with a look at  Robert Earl & his wife Debbie.

Like Kevin O’Brien from last season, they’ve fled from Florida to escape rising sea levels, but they attribute it to the “collapse of the Greenland ice sheet” which is pretty specific. However, while O’Brien bought land in the green hills of Tennessee, the Earls move to the high desert of Texas. So, going from too much water to not enough. I’m not sure that an especially arid-looking part of TX is the best place, but we’ll see.

Robert describes himself as a combination of Mad Max (desert remoteness), Rube Goldberg (whimsical building solutions), and Al Gore (climate warnings!). This really comes across when he starts showing off his construction project: using glass bottles, tires, and plastic boxes, Robert is building some kind of earthship, which is smart: sunny, arid locations are ideal locations for earthships and similar alternative-type buildings (see noted barefoot survival teacher Cody Lundin’s sweet offgrid, passive-solar setup in Arizona:
Bottle walls are a pillar of permaculture building practices, making use of what would normally be trash to make funky houses with lots of thermal mass for carbon-free heating. As Robert says (displaying a healthy and necessary forward-thinking attitude), when things go south, “garbage won’t be garbage, it’ll be opportunity.”

Of course, Robert has decided to put off building their actual house until he finishes the smokehouse, so he can at least make jerky…out of any invading marauders! Haha. As for other things to eat, he proudly shows off his…wait for it…“poop garden”. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m a big subscriber to the idea of ‘humanure’ (you can download a copy of the Humanure Handbook in my Reading Materials page ^). But the way he does it is just unhealthy: it seems he just pours a slurry of raw sewage into an underground pipe, and then plants his garden above it. Without balancing all that pure nitrogen with some carbon, he’s eventually going to cook his soil’s fertility, not to mention the fact he’s not doing anything about pathogens.
In a proper humanure setup, after each visit to the head, a scoop of cheap carbon-rich material (sawdust, peat moss, rice hulls &c.) is sprinkled onto the nitrogen-rich ‘human waste’ just like in a proper food-waste composting setup; the balanced carbon and nitrogen heat up—killing any microorganisms—and after six months or so break down into rich, crumbly garden food. Super easy to diy, and uses no water—an important consideration in the desert.
In fact, this couple’s water-gathering routine looks pretty unreliable—they’re shown sucking up water from what looks like an overgrown puddle. Robert needs to hook up some rain barrels to collect what little water is going to fall throughout the year. Where’s the moisture vaporator when you need it?

Because it looks like he’s relying solely on their little garden for food, Robert gets a visit from Kat Stevens, rattlesnake hunter, to teach him to catch and eat rattlers. I’m a fan of wild game, but I swear I heard the narrator say something about the Earls having 21 dogs. Robert shouldn’t worry about risking life and limb to find some scaly meat-tubes when they have that many four-legged protein sources running around. Hell, certain breeds—Chihuahuas come to mind—were designed to be eaten! They’re like, double-duty pets!

The experts give them 63 points, for 9 months’ initial survival time. Unfortunately there’s no after-filming update, which is too bad, because I would’ve liked to see how their bottle house was coming along.

Doomsday Preppers: Bryant Family

We continue with a visit to the Bryant family’s 24 acre homestead in Southern Missouri.
Wilma and Gary live with their son Tony and daughter Heather, and a grandchild, and are concerned with being able to survive EF5 (formerly just F5) tornadoes. Which is not unreasonable, seeing as how they live smack dab in the middle of Tornado Alley. Even less unreasonable is Wilma’s wise observation that “You can’t control nature…and we’re destroying it, so it’s kinda fighting back in a sense.” Correct on all counts. Personally, if I was worried about what seems like an increase in number and intensity of severe storms in recent years, my first order of business would be to hand-build an off-grid house that wasn’t all boxes and flat surfaces  (y’know, because they catch the wind like sails, which are great if you want your house to fly).

Because they seem to be into plain living and self-sufficiency (they live 30 miles from the nearest town), they have about six months of food on hand, mostly in the form of home-canned jars; their pantry is really impressive. However, for someone whose chief worry is violent tornadoes, their pantry is just waiting to be smashed by the first twister that comes through: the jars on the shelves were not protected in any way, whether by something soft to keep jars from knocking against each other, or anything to keep the jars from crashing to the floor. A simple one-by piece of lumber tacked a few inches up across the front of the shelf  would probably do fine.

So, all this talk of self-sufficiency is rather painfully ironic, because Wilma and her daughter Heather are…wait for it…diabetic. Which means that after their six-month supply of insulin runs out, they die. Yeouch. And naturally, because medical supplies are not only unnecessarily expensive but also disposable, the ladies stretch their stores by saving needles to reuse. They also hoard insulin, which leads to their next dilemma.
Insulin apparently needs to be kept cool, and in a long term grid-down situation, a refrigerator is going to be next-to-useless. What is one to do? First, remember: fossil-fueled electricity is a momentary blip on the overall timeline, and people did just fine without it for thousands of years. And how did those people keep things cold? By keeping their things in places that were always cold!—let’s call it ‘ambient temperature refrigeration’. In rural Missouri, the local spring-fed creek does just fine. But do y’know where else stays 50 degrees year-round? Underground! And because this is a prepper show, you know what that means. Bunker time!
So the family decides that they should bury a shipping container where they can keep their insulin cool, and where they (and their livestock (?!?)) can shelter during a big storm. So they get a demolition crew to come in and blow up a section of their front yard, and then they set about removing all the loose soil by hand with shovels and wheelbarrows.

The experts give them 64 points and ten months survival time, which isn’t bad considering they only have six months of insulin and no running water (they have to drive down the road to the creek to fill up their big tank). The experts also suggest getting ‘tactical training’ and building a root cellar – which I’m surprised they didn’t have already, being all homestead-y and such; I’d take a root cellar over a buried-shipping-container-bunker any day.

In the post-filming update, Wilma reveals that she and Gary have gone through a messy divorce, and that while she has been awarded “all the preps”, “they’re out there with guns.” The End.

Doomsday Preppers: Doug Huffman

In this latest episode we finally get to meet Doug Huffman and the ‘spider-hole’ they’ve been playing up in the promos for weeks now. From northern California, he’s a retired ‘defense contractor’, whatever that means, as Max Brooks explains: “…‘contractor’ sounds like I should be laying drywall and smearin’ plaster. ‘Private security’ sounds like some dumbass mall guard. ‘Mercenary’ is the closest, I guess” (WWZ, 105).
Semantics aside, this northern Californian seems to have his shit together—although there’s no sign of a significant other? —but it’s nice to finally see a solid example of a ‘Type 3’ survivalist.

His claim—which initially sounds fanatical—of prepping seven days a week for upwards of fourteen hours a day isn’t really that bad…because he is a survival instructor!
Likewise, his estimate of having invested $30 to 40,000 in his preparations is downright stingy, at least compared to some of the others this show has featured.

His compulsory single-issue concern is a second worldwide great depression. Based on the inherent instability of civilized life (my words, not his), he expects that “at some point, all this will collapse, and we’ll have a massive reset”. I don’t care about the collapse (it’s been all-but-inevitable for 5,000 years), but it’s the reset that worries me.

He rightly thinks that “if something should happen, you are only going to survive in a communal group.” Damn right, Doug. I’m all about the lone-wolf-thing once the dust has settled and we’re in a longterm, Mad Max/Postman/Road/Book of Eli-type PAW, but for the short term we should all be solidifying our affinity groups and getting ourselves reacquainted with tribal living—it’s how we evolved to live.

Finally, we get to see the ‘spider-hole’ we’ve been hearing about. Weeks of previews have led me to expect this is his hidden underground bunker…but nope, it’s a coffin-sized hole in the ground. It’d be nice to see how he built it; I thought I saw some wood framing in there, so I don’t think it’s just a hole in the ground.

While he’s creeping back up to his house, there’s a shot of his feet. He’s wearing heavy boots, and surprise!, his feet are striking heel-first. Doug needs to hang out with Lundin and learn some barefoot injun sneaking skills to complement his serious camo discipline.

The show describes his creation of a team “to help him rebuild from the ashes”. *eye twitch*…there’s that R-word again. Anyway, they spend some time with the ‘Junior Rangers’ group he leads of kids ages 10-to-19. After checking out his survival school’s website, it’s obvious that the kids program is just one course among many that he teaches. But the way the show depicts it, I had to ask, ‘how is this not a militia or cult?’ To me, it looks like tacticool skool—too many camo BDUs, tight t-shirts, wraparound sunglasses, and accessorized black guns on three-point slings. Where’s the guy in the linen trousers and wool shirt with the WW2 gun on a homemade sling? Once again, I’m not on this show.

In the end, while he might be a touch overconfident, he seems like an alright dude. With the lack of fences and motion detectors, a big greenhouse, and the homestead-y root cellar, stocked pond, and meat animals, he’s got the best of the low-tech ‘Type 2’ survivalists, plus the militarism/defense foundation of the ‘Type 1’, while advocating skills-based education, and group living over individuals. It’s a pretty solid mix.