Monday, October 13, 2008

preparedness - are you an ant or a grasshopper?

From our federal government to huge lending corporations to small town employers like Archway Cookies right here in Ashland County, it looks like greed and mismanagement continue to cause the downfall of America. A week ago employees of our local Archway Cookie plant went to work and found themselves locked out. Not only that but my understanding is that many worked overtime for the past seven days and now will have to fight for their final paycheck. Way to go Archway. The company simply packed up and moved out, leaving full timers and temporaries all in the lurch.

More and more jobs are being lost daily with few if any available jobs to get these people back into the workforce. The rich get richer and get bailed out while the middle to lower income families grow poorer by the day. Goodbye Middle America, it’s sad to see this (predictable) outcome which brings me to the subject of survival. It’s becoming quite clear that we need to prepare in whatever ways we can, not tomorrow but right now.

Just the other day I was wondering why more people are not actively taking measures to secure, in the very least, somewhat of a food supply and alternate plans in the event they, too suffer a job loss or some other catastrophic event that leaves them up the creek. I mean why wouldn’t anyone, when it’s within their means to do so, prepare somewhat? I could only think of a few possibilities…a) they honestly believe nothing bad will happen to them or b) if it does God will provide or c) someone else will take care of them/their needs or d) they simply have nothing extra to spend on surplus. Regarding B thinking, faith is often beneficial but I can’t help but be reminded of the story of the man who drowned waiting for God to save him…

There was a man whose farm was located on the banks of a flood-swollen river. As the water rose, a neighbor drove up urging him to leave before the farm was flooded.

"Oh, no," said the man confidently, "God will save me."

The water rose higher, and the man was forced to move into the second story of the farmhouse. A police boat soon came and the officers called for the man to hurry and get into their boat.

"Oh, no, that won't be necessary," the man insisted. "God will save me."

Finally the house was completely engulfed in water, and a helicopter swooped in to rescue the man, now perched on the roof. Again he refused. Just then, a huge wave of water swept over the house, and the man drowned.

When he got to heaven, he stormed at the Lord, asking WHY God had let him die when his faith had been so strong.

"What do you mean?" asked the heavenly Father. "I sent a neighbor, a boat, and a helicopter ... and you wouldn't budge!"

In regard to possibility C, I can’t help but find it incredulous that there are those who turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the world, living for the day as if there’s no possibility that hard times could befall them tomorrow. Some of them may even think our government will save them (ask Katrina victims how well that worked) or maybe they’re thinking if SHTF they’ll be showing up at your door expecting you to house and feed them.

My niece Jenni at Princess on a Soapbox blogged the following the other day and I thought it worth posting here.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Æsop's Fables (sixth century B.C.)

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:


Jenni goes on to echo my thoughts well…

“If you haven't already developed a support network and a plan for the worst-case scenario, please do so soon. Discuss options that would take care of everyone in your 'tribe', which may not necessarily be family. Different situations may require different plans. Don't assume that you'll be able to pile everything in the minivan and drive to one location or that you'll be able to even know what's going on with some of your loved ones. Remember when the phone networks were overloaded on 9/11? Remember the chaos after Hurricane Katrina? Remember the traffic from the evacuation for Hurricane Ike? Start with the people (and animals) who live with you, and then widen the circle for circumstances that may allow or require more travel. By planning ahead and working together, big expenses may be more manageable.

Don't assume that you will be welcomed with open arms and fed from a limited supply that was stored with a certain number of people in mind. "Ants" who have a year's supply of food and water for 4 will not last long if 6 "grasshoppers" are invited in…”

And then she asks, “Are you an Ant or a Grasshopper? As Frank Sinatra sang, everyone knows that ant can't move a rubber tree plant, but he's got high hopes!”

With the dollar value declining, institutions collapsing and the future unsure, it makes sense right now to put what money you may have available into life sustaining consumables. Believe me, that pair of pretty shoes you may have just bought won’t keep you warm or fill your belly. Nor will they be worth anything for barter. It’s very doubtful that the dollar will suddenly increase in value so food, fuel, tools, knowledge, land, seeds…these things that are of great value now will likely become more so tomorrow. Those not willing to help themselves now may very well find themselves like the grasshopper…mighty hungry.

Will you be prepared at least somewhat if tomorrow when you go into work you find yourself locked out? Will you be able to feed your family if the store shelves are empty or the store is closed up or you’re completely broke? Are you adequately prepared for keeping warm if your utilities are shut off or power goes out? Do you know people you could barter with and if so, what do you have to offer in goods or work experience? These questions and this post are not meant to create panic in anyone. In fact the main thing is to not panic but stay calm, keep your wits and plan. And if the S--- doesn’t hit the fan, it’s far better to be prepared and have excess than to not be prepared and be hungry or homeless or both.

I don’t mean to come across as all doom and gloom at all… in fact despite what I see happening I’m fairly confidant and even hopefully optimistic. Even though I think what is happening on national and international levels was to be expected and unfortunately people will suffer, in fact are suffering now and despite that I think it will get worse before it gets better, when all is said and done I truly hope and expect there will be some positive results with lessons in corporate and individual responsibility and sustainability learned. Perhaps in the long run humanity will evolve to a higher level of humaneness. That's my biggest hope. High hopes you say? Perhaps so, but after all, I am an ant.


  1. I totally agree!

    I hate when people have the C attitude!!!!


  2. I think people simple don't know. Before I started learning about homesteading, the concept of preparedness had never crossed my path. Being in an odd position (living in the city and preparing for the country), I see both worlds up close, and honestly, it just doesn't occur to people. They don't realize there is any kind of choice.

  3. CM - I get what you're saying and that's understandable, in the past. I guess I was just raised to think that way, having grown up in a "make do" way with parents who grew up during the first great depression and knew firsthand what it was like to do without. But today, when the media coverage is everywhere and we have history as an example, I sincerely have a hard time understanding how people cannot take notice and in the least, consider the slight possibility it may impact them. But, the hardest thing for me to understand are those who see it, have the means to help themselves and still do nothing to become more self reliant. I can't help it, that really blows my mind.

  4. Excellent post!! Also, I didn't realize you were so close..we are practically neighbors!


I sure appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. I may not always have time to respond or acknowledge them but I do read them all and highly value your presence here.