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Author Topic: Town or Country Retreat?  (Read 5397 times)


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Town or Country Retreat?
« on: November 17, 2009, 11:51:20 am »

If you visit ferfal's [url]Surviving in Argentina website[/url] you will see that he recommends against living in the country where the most violent crimes take place because criminals have all day and no one around.  Instead he says staying closer to town where there are more jobs, community, and markets is better.  His advice is based upon real experience whereas JWR recommends a remote retreat group based upon traditional survivalist mindset.

Here is how I see things.  I cannot (am not willing to) move "out west" for family/financial reasons. 

I currently live 45 minutes from a city with a population of 90,000 and 20 minutes from a town with a population of 16K and 30 minutes from a town of 30K where I work.  I am "out in the boonies" in a county of 14K people beyond range of any pizza delivery, 25 minutes from the nearest Walmart.  I am 20 minutes from a major interstate but separated by mountains.   My nearest neighbor is .3 miles, next closest is 1 mile.

I bought this place because of "defendable terrain", clear fields of fire, thick brush w/ thorns blocking most approaches.   

The problem I see is that despite being the "closest thing to remote" that I can get while keeping my current job, I am worried that if I am unable to meeting JWR's demanding recommendations, the strategy leaves me very exposed.

  1) I would need around-the clock security combined with a hidden LP/OP post outside the house.   
  2) If I wanted to "rob my place" and had a rifle, I would hide in the woods and pick people off any time they left the house. (see need for #1)
  3) I would need a much larger "retreat group" than my family.
  4) Constant need to be cutting wood for winter/cooking
  5) After initial collapse and die off, society would "re group" and trading would likely take place in town, being so far away makes transportation expensive and DANGEROUS.
  6) A few down bridges would really isolate my area from most vehicular traffic (good and bad). 
  7) House is brick, but an energy hog with too many windows.

After about 2 years of planning / prepping I am starting to doubt my initial approach and seriously considering changing plans. 

Consider plan B:

1) Build a ICF house, with security windows / doors and a metal roof.
      - air tight with HEPA air exchanger/filter, doubles a fallout shelter, bullet proof (bullet resistant windows), practically fireproof.
      - solar hot water / home heating and power (practically off grid, panels placed on roof facing solar south to the back of the house (not visible) by neighbors or from the road.
2) Build equal distant (8 minutes, 5 miles) between two towns of 16,000 population, each with rail road and manufacturing.
3) 2 acres instead of large acreage of land.  In a subdivision without HOA (local community/shared security). 
4) Rain water collection instead of well, city water + filter as backup.
5) Large hidden storage area with goal of surviving any "government raids/inspections" looking for hoarders
6) Build house to look like a modest 1950's style brick ranch (don't stand out from the crowd).

As I see it you either build a fort and plan to fight off determined people who have good reason to suspect that you are well stocked OR blend in, look poor, and deal with more frequent, but less planned break in attempts.   Small crime is more easily deterred by solid houses, doors, and locks.   

Let someone else risk life an limb to "work in the fields" while you take a short trip to the market and buy their produce (the gold/silver savings and what ever small income you can manage).   If you store enough food to survive a multi-year famine and have a "self sufficient home (heat/energy/water)" then all you need to find is enough money to buy food after a few years.     If you build your house right, no one should be able to break in or burn you out and you have neighbors near by to "back you up" so crooks cannot "surround you" and "wait you out".  2 cleared acres is still plenty of land to grow a good sized garden, raise chickens, and possibly even a dairy goat or small milk cow.   More intensive walled gardening vs large "open fields". 



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Re: Town or Country Retreat?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2009, 02:27:37 pm »

Well the first thing that crosses my mind is that the most likely criminals you will face are going to wear uniforms and answer to washington.   Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about that as no matter where or how well you build they have something in the arsenal that can destroy it.

So keeping that in mind you must try to plan for the worst that you can actually defend yourself against. 

If I could have my wish list I would want to be close to a small town off the beaten path so any groups fleeing the city would be less likely to come my way.

A subdivision that was from the beginning designed for survival/self sustainability.  You would need to control who bought homes there, as in only people with like mindset and skills that would benefit the community.
WITH an HOA that would benefit the aim of surviving SHTF such as:
Only homes that were of fire/bullet resistant construction.
Must have an off grid power system.
Placement of homes would have to benefit the overall security/defensive layout of the community.
Must have a cistern/pool/pond or a well that would not need grid power to draw water.
Must be tied to the community security net.
And others.

The problem with the "I will just buy food from others" mindset is:
You will have to leave your security to go get it.
People talk and will comment on you having gold or silver to pay for stuff...could make you a target.
If there is a shortage the first thing to dry up is the "extra" folks were selling to others.  So you may not be able to get it from outside sources.


"If you are in a fair fight, Your tactics suck"

"The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic." - H. L. Mencken


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Re: Town or Country Retreat?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 02:38:49 pm »

The plan would be to have enough stored goods to not need to go to the store for a year or more.  Thus you emerge AFTER things have settled down. 

The mindset that things will crash and be "hide in your retreat" for the rest of your life is unrealistic.  Russia and Argentina collapsed, but within a few years business and grey markets formed.  You could buy things.  If you go out in the day, take precautions, etc life can go on.   Ferfal's main point is that life goes on and that is some much needed perspective in the surrealist community.

My goal for government goons is to "blend in" and not stand out as someone with resources to tax or confiscate for the "community". 

Starting your own subdivision is a nice idea, too bad advertising and OPSEC are in conflict with each other.  You would be sure to have a mob at the gates as everyone would know that "them be survivalists".  Government would likely take interest too. 


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Re: Town or Country Retreat?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 03:27:50 pm »


Rawles' plan requires a retreat group, Ferfal was living in a family sized group.
These are not the same, so their solutions should not be expected to look the
same either.

In your situation, I would see if the neighbors can be counted on to work
together to provide mutual security. If so, what can you make work with
the people and resources available?

In my neighborhood, none of us can really defend our homes by ourselves.
However, working together we could control the access points to the neighborhood.
If we were to set up check points staffed on rotation, and had a CB communications
net, we would be a helluva lot safer than we would without working together and
covering each others backs.

Is it perfect? Far from it, but it might be enough to convince opportunistic thieves
to go somewhere else to find a softer target.

"There is no good idea so perfect, so pure,
that Government can't do it badly."
-- Bear


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Re: Town or Country Retreat?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2010, 12:59:39 pm »


Just read Ragnar Benson's "The Survival Retreat, a Total Plan for Retreat Defense", yesterday.   His advice was to make your retreat wherever you are, at home or at least on home turf.  Don't expect to run from the city to the country, or visa versa, and expect to survive where you know neither the people or the terrain.  And getting to a far-flung retreat may be impossible during hard times.

One other bit of advice, among others, was, camouflage.  Like Macman said, "a 50's style ranch" and "blend in".  Don't have clothes hanging out to dry.  Hide your garden.  Look uninhabited.  Don't give anyone a reason to come sniffing around.

And "never, under any circumstances, ever become a refugee".  He said that repeatedly, and gave good (horrible) examples. 

I chose to build my retreat in the country.  No way I was going to bug in in a city of 1 million people.  I've moved now, before the collapse, so I will know the people and terrain when the time comes.  And, I like self sufficiency, anyway.   Greeeen Acres is the place for me...
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