Saturday, December 14, 2019

Developing a Self-Reliant Mindset: What, Why, and How

By Timothy Gamble

In a dystopian world that is and will be experiencing an unknown amount of economic hardships, political chaos, social upheaval, and imminent danger, we will not have the luxury to depend on "good times," the government, our parents, or society at large to help us have good, stable and successful lives. We are going to have to do that for ourselves. We have to be as self-reliant as possible.

To be self-reliant, we must gain knowledge, learn skills, and take responsibility for ourselves and our families. The single most important thing you can do to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.

First and foremost, you must develop a self-reliance mindset. This means taking responsibility for your own life, not waiting for others to do it for you. Remember New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? Remember all those people standing around in knee-deep water waiting for the government or someone else to help them? That is called "learned helplessness." Don't be like them. Instead, develop "learned self-reliance."

What exactly is self-reliance, you ask?  I've identified seven foundational points of self-reliance:
  1. Assume responsibility for your own life. 
  2. Take the blame for your own life. 
  3. Be informed. 
  4. Know where your going. 
  5. Make your own decisions. 
  6. Learn skills. 
  7. Gain experience.  
I go into each of these points in more detail in my article What Exactly is Self-Reliance?.

Developing Self-Reliance (1951)



Take responsibility for your own life and success. Your company isn’t going to protect you. The government is going to take care of you. And your family and friends have enough problems of their own.

Taking responsibility means doing what needs to be done, not just what is fun or what you want to do. Taking responsibility means not waiting around for others to do it for you. Taking responsibility means not assuming if you don’t do it then someone else will. Be proactive.

If you know your company or industry is struggling, don’t wait for them to “downsize” you before you start looking for work. Get moving - polish up your resume now, start networking and making contacts & inquires, before you lose your job (see my article What To Do Before Losing Your Job).

If your entire industry is struggling, don’t wait for it to implode. Start thinking about what new industry you might want to move to, and start learning the new skills you will need and making contacts in that industry. Consider developing a side-business now, so that you will at least have that to fall back on. You may even be able to turn it into a full-time career.

On the job, the more knowledge and skills you have the less likely you are to be let go in “cost saving” efforts. And if you are let go, the more knowledge and skills you have the quicker you will be able to find new work. Don’t just limit yourself to the skills needed for your current job. Learn other skills as well. Learn bookkeeping/accounting. Develop computer skills. Learn a foreign language (particularly if your company/industry does a lot of business with non-English speakers). Learn how to sell, even if that's not your current job.

In your personal life, learn how to manage your finances. Learn how to live on a budget. Develop the skills of a smart consumer. This means reducing your expenses, and living within your means (a budget or spending plan is an excellent tool for achieving this goal). Setting aside an ample emergency fund is also very important. Pay off your credit cards and consumer loan debt. Avoid new debt. (My recent article, Financial Preparedness: Back to the Basics , may be of interest.)

Learn how to raise and preserve some of your own food. Get into homesteading. Learn how to do the routine maintenance on your car. Learn the basics of home maintenance. Develop Do-It-Yourself skills. Accumulate a good tool kit. Learn to sew. Learn how to eat healthy and how to take care of your health. Learn first aid & CPR. There is a multitude of everyday skills that you can learn in order to be more self-reliant.

Stay informed of current affairs. Pay attention to the news. News aggregation websites, like Whatfinger News, Liberty Mill, and Prepper Website, are worth checking out at least daily. Reading your state or local newspaper (or  at least visiting their websites) will help you keep up with news and events closer to you. News websites I trust include Breitbart News, The Washington Times, Voice of Europe, and American Military News. The only decent cable news network is now FOX Business.

Understand how the world really works. Learn real history and economics, not the biased indoctrination they feed you in public schools. For a list of good history books, see my Real History Book list. Also, check out the #HistoryHub portion of My news and politics website, TimGamble.com.

Difference Between Self-Reliance and Self-Sufficiency

John McCann, in his book, Practical Self-Reliance, gives a great definition of self-reliance, and how it differs from self-sufficiency:
In my opinion, self-reliance is being able to do as much as we can without outside assistance.... On the other hand, self-sufficiency is the ability to maintain oneself without outside aid, being able to provide for all of one's needs. Unfortunately, in today's world, we must live with a dependence or inter-dependence on others. In the pioneer days people could not produce everything they needed and had to rely on others for supplies they could not furnish. Even mountain men went to rendezvous in order to sell their furs and purchase needed supplies. They were both very self-reliant, but not self-sufficient.
Is Self-Reliance Selfish?

Self-reliance is not anti-social or selfish. It does not mean shutting yourself off from your friends or community. It certainly doesn't mean heading for the hills and hiding, heavily armed, in a secret compound until after some dread doomsday comes to pass.

If you have ever listened to a flight attendant give emergency instructions, you may have noticed that they tell parents traveling with a child to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, before putting one on their child. The airlines don't say that because they hate children. Instead, they say that because if a parent is to help their child, they must first be able to do so. A parent unconscious from the lack of oxygen will be of absolutely no help to their child.

Likewise, we will be of little help to our family, friends and neighbors, if we are the ones in need of help ourselves. In fact, our own helplessness may make matters much worse for our community. Far from being selfish, building self-reliance may be one of the most generous things you can do. 


Remember:  The single most important thing you can do now to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now.

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https://amzn.to/34hksS1
Practical Self-Reliance - Reducing Your Dependency On Others, by John McCann. Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, you can practice self-reliant methods of living. This book is an in depth look at practical ways you can reduce your dependency on others, and work towards a life of self-reliance. It includes sections on obtaining, preserving, storing, and preparing food, recycling and repurposing, skills and tools of the trade for self-reliance, getting out of debt, the importance of water, lighting and alternative power, sanitation and hygiene, staying warm and cool, transportation options, and more. For anyone who wants to work towards being self-reliant, this book, with over 250 photos and diagrams, offers many helpful suggestions and ideas.

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On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.   


The Brown Rice Experiment

By Timothy Gamble (June 10, 2015) 

How long does brown rice really keep?

It is common knowledge among folks in the preparedness community that brown rice doesn't store as long as white rice, due to small amounts of oils in the bran layer. Stored properly, white rice can last up to 30 or longer, making it a wonderful food for long-term storage. But, how long does down rice store before it goes bad?

Turns out, that is not an easy answer to get. The "best by" dates on the bags I checked at the store were all about one year out. Looking at a variety of other sources, I found suggestions of as little as three months, to as long as "2+ years if properly stored." But, I also have some LDS literature from the 1970s that says "10 years or more." So, how long does brown rice store before going bad? I recently had a chance to do a brown rice experiment...

The Brown Rice Experiment

A few weeks ago, I found in my kitchen cabinet a two-pound bag of brown rice that had fallen behind some can goods and was forgotten. Since I always mark my groceries with the month & year purchased (so I can keep my food rotated), I could tell that I bought the bag two years and four months ago. It was time for an experiment.

The brown rice was still in the same bag in which it was originally packaged. I had done nothing special to preserve it, other than sticking it unopened in a kitchen cabinet. When I took it out of the cabinet 2 years and 4 months later, it looked okay - no mold, no insects, no noticeable discoloration. Upon opening the bag, there was no unusual odor. A closer examination of the brown rice grains again showed no signs of mold or insects, and the rice seemed to have the same texture and "feel" as fresh brown rice (in other words, it was not unusually oily).

After that examination, I decided to cook the brown rice for supper. It looked and smelled okay as I was cooking it, and it tasted okay as I was eating it. Two other people also ate full servings of the brown rice. All three of us agreed it tasted just like regular brown rice, and none of us died, got sick, or suffered any ill effects. Two of us even had the left over rice for lunch the next day - again, without any ill effect.

Based on my Brown Rice Experiment, I think that brown rice may be stored safely for longer than those estimates of only a few months. I seriously doubt it could last as long as white rice does, but since the experiment revealed no ill effects after 2 years, 4 months, I think a estimate of at least 2½ years is reasonable.

How To Know When Rice Has Gone Bad


Rice Weevils - image by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
Signs of mold or insects is an obvious give away that the rice (brown or white) should not be consumed. A very small, reddish-brown beetle called the Rice Weevil, is a major rice pest to watch out for (see picture).

Other signs that brown rice may have gone bad can be found by examining its texture and odor. Brown rice that has gone bad will be very oily to the touch, and have a strong, rancid odor.

There are legitimate safety concerns with long term food storage. You do not want to eat spoiled food. The real answer to "How long will brown rice (or any food) store?" is "until it goes bad." Do not eat spoiled food, even if it has not yet reached its expected storage life span. How can you tell if food has gone bad? Here are some clues:
  • The can, bag, or container is leaking, cracked, or bulging.
  • The can has a considerable amount of rust (may have small holes allowing germs to enter).
  • There are signs of insects or mold.
  • The food is badly discolored or "smells funny".
  • The texture of the food is wrong.
  • The food tastes bad, wrong, or odd.
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.   

Friday, December 13, 2019

Tool Tip: Lending Tools

By Timothy Gamble


Ever had someone borrow tools from you, then forget to return them? Or, if they did return the tools, they were rusty or otherwise damaged? It has happened to me several times. I once had a socket set returned with two missing sockets. A hammer was returned with one of its claws broken (no explanation, apology or offer to buy me a new one). And a very nice set of precision screwdrivers was never returned (a co-worker kept promising to remember to return them, up until the day he quit and I never saw him again). It seems people, even well-intentioned ones, have trouble taking care of something if its not actually their own personal property. Its enough to make me want to quit lending my tools, especially my high-quality, costly ones.

On the other hand, I want to be friendly and helpful towards others. And building goodwill with our family, friends, and neighbors is a good thing. So, what to do?

My solution to this quandary was to create a set of "lending tools." This is a box full of cheap, no-name hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, saws, and other tools. Some of the tools in the box are old or low-quality tools culled from my good tools. Others are no-name, made in 3rd world sweat-shops, bargain basement tools purchased at Wal-Mart or the dollar stores. Many were bought super cheaply at yard sales. They may be low-quality, but they are good enough to get the job done. And if they get lost or broken, so what? My good tools are safe and sound, right where I can find them when I need them.

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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.   

Tool Tip: Mini Sledge Hammer

By Timothy Gamble (June 9, 2015)


Here is a quick tip for homesteaders, preppers, and other folks striving for self-reliance: Get yourself a 2.5 lb mini sledge hammer. For me, as a prepper and suburban homesteader, the mini sledge hammer has proven a number of times to be an extremely useful tool.

I was reminded this past weekend about the usefulness of this particular tool, as I used it to quickly and easily drive 18 tomato stakes and 24 pepper stakes into my garden. The mini sledge hammer was heavy and solid enough to do the job, while being small enough and light enough to be wielded with some agility and without too much effort. In the past I've used both regular hammers (too light to do the job well) and full-sized sledge hammers (so heavy and big as to be difficult to use) to drive stakes into my gardens. The mini sledge hammer is perfect for the job.


I've also used my mini sledge hammer for tearing apart pallets and wood boxes, with lots of success. And, I suppose it could also be pressed into use as an improvised weapon if needed!
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.    

Tool Tip: 4-Way Sillcock Key (aka Water Key)

By Timothy Gamble

Here is a quick tool tip: Get yourself one or two 4-Way Sillcock Keys (they are only about $6 each). Put one in your bug-out or survival bag, and toss the other into the glove box of your vehicle. These  could prove invaluable in an emergency situation.

http://amzn.to/1QsJ7uB
Most preppers and survivalists may already know about sillcock keys, but many of those new to preparedness may not. Sillcock keys are used to open those recessed handleless water spigots often found on the outside of commercial buildings, at golf courses, and on some farms. These outside faucets don't have handles in order to prevent vandals from causing mischief by turning on the spigot and wasting the water. Having a sillcock key will give you access to these water sources.

Please note that the design of these spigots prevents using adjustable wrenches or needle-nose pliers to open them. You MUST have a sillcock key to access the water. Here is the Amazon link to the one I own (good quality):  http://amzn.to/1QsJ7uB

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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Gardening Video Suggestion: Back to Eden

By Timothy Gamble

Paul Gautschi in Back To Eden
I recently watched, and was quite impressed by, the Back to Eden documentary of Paul Gautschi. Here's the blurb about it from the website: "Back to Eden Film shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive organic gardening methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The food growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. Never, until now, have Paul’s organic gardening methods been documented and shared like this!

The video is about 1 hour 43 minutes long. It is loaded with both information and philosophy, and is quite well done. The Back to Eden method is a natural and productive method of permaculture. You can watch it for free on their website (you may need to give them your email address). It is also available on You Tube. You can also buy a copy of it from their website (I am not affiliated with them - just a fan of the video). Definately worth watching.
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.   

Survival Movie Suggestion: Heatstroke (2014)

By Timothy Gamble


https://amzn.to/2skRtj1
Maisie Williams in Heatstroke (2014)
If you are into movies with a survival-type theme, let me suggest Heatstroke (2014). I watched it recently because one of the stars is Maisie Williams, who you might know from Game of Thrones or her appearances on Doctor Who. It was surprisingly good once the action started. 

The story, without giving away any spoilers, is two women are lost in the desert grasslands of southern Africa, battling nature (predators, snakes, scorpions, brutal heat, lack of water), while trying to avoid, and later escape from, some real bad guys. The movie does start off a bit slow with family drama (teenage girl angry with her divorced parents and her dad's girlfriend), which is used to set up why they are in Africa. But after about 15 minutes or so, it finally gets to the action and gets much, much better. If you are into survival movies, check this one out. 
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.

On Social Media:

Twitter: @DystopianSurv - My account specifically for this website. 99% prepping, survivalist, and homesteading tweets. Few, if any, posts on politics.

Twitter: @TimGamble - My main account. Survivalist information, plus heavy on news, politics and economics.

GAB: @TimGamble - Mainly a back-up account for when Twitter bans me for being not being a leftist.