Coping: Pre-Crash Checklist Time

Guess we know what the disturbance in “the force” was Monday, huh?  On to Prepping:  It’s easy to say but much harder to do.

Here lately, seems like the whole prepping movement has sort of run out of steam, but there are plenty of good reasons why.

For one, when we read the latest books on point, we find that “forgotten secrets” to prepping are largely irrelevant today.  The tools our grandparents used to raise their families in the aftermath of the Great Depression just don’t apply, anymore.

(Continues below)


The Ure family, I suppose, was typical.  My grandfather, which for my kinds would be the great-grandfather, had come out west in the early 1920’s to drive a Dodge PowerWagon around the hills of the Pacific Northwest for what used to be Puget Power and what’s now Puget Sound Energy, if memory serves.

The first thing the family did on arriving in Seattle was to buy a house at the bottom of 3rd West on the north side of Queen Anne Hill in Seattle.  The house was paid off as quickly as possible.  There was a sense the boom wouldn’t last.

Still, grandpa drove his truck and was a Teamster.  He’d leaned up on them from uncle Bill, who drove mule trains up the Fraser River Canyon in British Columbia.  When you talk about family heritage things, the Alaska Gold Rush, wasn’t really that long ago.

Grandpa’s wife worked hard.  She had an amazing garden which was still feeding not only the family, but the grandchildren as well in the 1950’s.  She’d become expert on rhubarb, for one, and there’s few things in life as good as a still-warm rhubarb pie and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Vegetables were not real plentiful in the Depression, so neighbors traded this or that – depending on the season.

Grandma also raised cats.  Siamese purebreds, to be exact.  Seems like in every mania on the financial side, there is a “pet mania” of some sort.  If Siamese were the Depression animal last time, seems to me the pit bulls will be the breed this time.  But that’s not really the case.

And article over here (2017) says the Rottweiler’s, German Shepard’s, and the Labradors are tops.  Unless you need someone eaten, of course.

People in the Depression worked, too.  My dad would get up and deliver about 100 newspapers before school.  At high school, he was working part time in odd jobs, and once 18, he started working at a cigar store in downtown Seattle.

Everyone worked in the family – long and hard, but work wasn’t always plentiful.

The economy kept itself together, prices came way down, and as they fell, so did wages.  That’s how a viscous economic cycle works:  Bad begets worse.  Worse begets terrible.  Terrible begets democrats, technocrats, communists, socialists, and anyone else who can jingo their way to the public’s attention.

Und, zo?

If you’re asking yourself “How does any of this mean anything to ME?” there’s a real lack of caffeine in your life.  My family lived through the Great Depression and we learned about it when we were young.  Most people alive today either never dug into their family’s history – and learned coping skills – or they never took the time to generalize and update to reflect the current conditions in the world.

Read any good history of “hard times” though, and you will see there are signposts everywhere.  You just need to be able to read them.

Housing and Food.  

These were key in the Ure family making it through OK.  The house payments were small, but that was largely because people didn’t have big mortgages at the time.

There are some simple calculations we can “back of the envelope” on this matter.  In the West (Seattle is), the average value of a home in 1920 was about $4,277.  And the average mortgage debt owed was on the order of $1,769 and the typical rate was 6.8% interest.

Please note that while this sounds tall by today’s rates, you are living in a classic economic long wave bottom.  In 1890, 30-years earlier, the average interest rate was 8.6%. (Comprehensive source data.) And one other historical note: When I bought my first new home (1973) the interest rate was 7-1/4%.

So we look at the debt to equity ratio of that $4,277, we see that with a $1,769 mortgage,, the equity position was $2,508, or 58.64 percent.

Now let’s consider someone in Seattle.  This is one of the hottest markets in the country,  According to Zillow (source) the median home price in Seattle is presently $718,700. In order to have the same kind of equity position enjoyed by people in 1920, Seattle homeowners have a median equity of $421,445.

I’m pretty sure almost no one does.

The reasons are manifold: The homes have been flipped as Seattle became a “hot market” and who among the young wave could avoid the temptation to re-fi and pull out “free” home equity?

The point to be made here is to have a back-up housing plan that you can run with minimal (or no) income.  Almost no one has that.  But, with the possibility of hard times ahead, we look at the data and say “What would we do IF….” And then you work out options now, while there are the luxuries of time and money on your side.

Once you figure out where to live if jobs go away in large numbers, then  the next question is how to fix the food picture.

While laying back and rotating a supply of canned goods is logical, when it comes to fresh foods and veggies, there’s not much sharing down inside city limits of most towns.

If you are lucky enough to live in a city that allows a few family chickens, I would be all over that one.  Aged and worked with compost chicken poo is dandy fertilizer for gardens.  But it’s “hot” and tends to burn, so it needs to be mixed in with other things.  Still, in a solid depression,  a few eggs and high quality fertilizer isn’t a bad thing to have.  Also with a protein source at the end of it all.

Other Income

The point of grandma’s Siamese is still there:  Dogs and large pets make sense when times are good.  Vet bills will come down, as people won’t have as much disposable income.

Cat interest may rebound, or people (especially in apartments) may decide to become “pet free” for economic reasons.  People (like my children) don’t like it when I say “You want money?  Do you have a pet?  There’s $50-$100 per month you could be saving.

Look for a massive increase in abandoned pets and overflowing shelters.

Oppressive Regulations

In the Depression, where there were pop-up vegetable stands, they operated mostly unhindered.

It won’t be like that this time around.  Government, you understand, has become an “unworking class” in the sense that they are collecting more than ever as their “take” for “managing” We the People.

Consider JUST FEDERAL workers:

At first blush, it SEEMS like the growth of government has been somewhat contained, at least in the period since 2002.  But that is a lie – a carefully constructed lie, but lie, nevertheless.

The way this has been pulled off is by job shifting and that accompanied revenue sharing.  So money get’s collected by the FedGov, their vig is taken off, and then some goes back to cities, states, and counties.  First thing you know, when you look at ALL government, the growth of bureaucracy has been unimpeded in the long-run:

Now let’s have some fun:  The US population in 1940 was 132.1 million people.  4.1 million government workers.  That’s ONE government worker for every 32,22 citizens.

326.767 million people in America today.  And about 22-million working in government.  That’s one government employee for each 14.86 citizens.

Put another way:  in the Great Depression, it took ONE government worker to serve and protect 33 people.  Hardest times we’ve ever seen, war domestically (Prohibition) and building up for the Second World War.  One government, 33 people.

Now?  It’s already One government worker for 14.86, but since government like nothing better than more government, we’re confident that there will be massive government hiring – just as there was before.

I don’t need to remind you of the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corp from the Great Depression, of course, but most people are too dumb to see that AmeriCorp of today is the pre-packaged reworked concept ready to be press-button expanded on demand.

The statistical fact is that government  has not become more efficient in serving its country.  The data says its productivity is less than half of what it was in 1940.


Political correctness police, a welfare catastrophe that STILL doesn’t work and keep families together, and a swamp that keeps moving forth a socialist agenda so that maybe at the end of the next World War, the global meltdown will result  in global governance.

Because that is the agenda.  First, multinational corporations.  They, in turn buy up regional governments.  And secondly, the real definition of fascism (corporate-government merger) is rolled out and the Totalitarian Ever-After is here.

Orwell called it in 1984.  Yet here we are: 34-years later and it’s more real than Orwell could have imagined.

Even Soylent Meal Replacement Drink is here, although we’re assured it’s not the same as in Soylent Green.

No, of course not.  But, Depressions, droughts, and famines do change everything.  Just wait.

Write when you get rich,

23 thoughts on “Coping: Pre-Crash Checklist Time”

  1. Hell George we do have Fascism where government and corporations sleep in the same bed, and no I don’t want one of the pups….

  2. Re pet ownership – depends (like everything else) on what or who you value. It’s sad when a person can’t handle having ‘a friend’ who is non-judgmental, and thinks you are great . . . True, if you can’t afford a pet, it’s important to consider the situation – but some food banks have food for people’s pets too . . .

    (As someone who’s had a couple Siamese cat ‘friends’, though – while humans are more intelligent – they were tops in being ‘single-minded’.)

    • Our dog population went down 50% yesterday as the oldest member of our back yard (16 years a member of the family) finally bought the farm. What really gets me, though, is that the real owners of the dogs, my wife and daughter, have relegated the dogs to the back yard and I’m the only one they interact with. All I have time to do is feed them and it pains me to not have the time to play or train them for any useful purpose. The remaining dog is not the type I can use on the ranch. Even though she has the size for it she doesn’t have the genetic background.

      This is the case for many, if not most, pet owners as they choose animals like they choose plush toys and the animals just don’t fit the mold after a while. I’ve had too many dogs come up to me at the entrance of the ranch with no tags or collars that I know have been dumped – and in hard times this number will increase I know. As a real dog lover myself I hate doing what I know will have to be done – and what the original owners should have done rather than kicking them out of the car and driving off. Believe me, all you out there who think some loving person will adopt them – nope. Ain’t happinin’. We’ve lost cattle to two upper-medium sized dogs in the past and now we’re raising goats which means small dogs are even a potential problem. One dog is manageable – two dogs make a pack. It’s in their DNA.

      • Personally I believe that if you can’t handle having whatever pet you have actually in the same ‘living space’ as yourself, it isn’t a pet (save size constraints . . .)

        Domestication of animals in the past often involved even ‘barn yard types’ – now regarded as a primitive practice – living with their owners. Smelly, sh**ty – but so were people! – yet helped keep everyone warm and well-fed.

  3. “…there are signposts everywhere. You just need to be able to read them.”

    LOL. If they’re written in that secret code old folks have called “cursive” it’ll be a steep learning curve for anyone under 40. Between me and my two brothers, I’m the oldest, I’m also the only one that takes this form of writing seriously. I had some teachers whose hand writing I really admired over the 10 school districts I traveled through as a kid.

    On the subject of what happens when jobs go away in droves one of the real problems is how do you come up with the “hard” cash to pay the taxes every year? I don’t see how people are paying their taxes in the “big city” 20 miles North but ours, while still comparatively cheap, on all of our land has jumped 50% in the past 15 years and is scheduled to go higher as the local school system’s ambitions are being presented, again, in the next bond election. All the “newbie” land owners moving out to the developments resulting from old ranchers selling off in the school district who are pushing for incorporation, sadly, want the same things they had in town which ticks off us old timers to no end. As a result I, personally, can’t wait till the big crash comes and ends this stream of money buying up all the land around us. While the needs of the school are real, building up a 2A school to look like “something all the new comers could be proud of” flies in the face of where we came from. Just too danged many people in the world now days. Too many spoiled people.

    • Never keep land that will not sell at 2 thirds its tax assessed can after enough time need to sell at a third of its tax assessed value and find out yearly you paid 18 percent of its true value in tax, or then, perhaps lawyers lie cheat and steal…while bliwing off inquirys…

    • Bartering…

      If your a carpenter youll still be a carpenter.
      That’s why I push my kids to get an education in real world trades.
      To have a career where you carry a clipboard.. Well you can’t really trade that..

      • As a kid I always had a passion to know how things work. I took most of my toys apart and was pretty good about getting them back together and still having them work if not actually fixing them. Tools, tools, tools is what I lusted after in my 20s. Now I have a garage and barn full of them. … And I’m just about the only one that knows how to use them. I guess when I’m gone it won’t be my problem any more. I just hope I live long enough to see the stupefied looks on everyone’s faces when TS really HTF and they all sit around saying “what do we do now?”

  4. Eat the neighborhood pets. Most are fed reasonably well though the consistency of taste may be off do to varied diet.

    Stray Cat Soup.

    And don’t forget to use every part of your quarry. The fur can be used to line boots. Bones as wind chimes – after soup of course. You get the idea.

    Here’s another thing I’ve noticed. If I put peanuts out in my yard the first animal that finds them are Blue Jays. After a few hours to a day or two – squirrels are sure to follow.

    All that to say is you can easily attract the larger animals but offering irresistible treats to the smaller animals.

    • Yeah, and there will be Steve F. mulch and bone meal, if ‘some’ pet owners catch him ‘offing’ their pets . . . we are, of course, all just animals . . .

    • Why not raise rabbits in your back yard. It would be an unending food supply already caged and easy to catch, & they taste like chicken. Also, there fur is preferable to cat fur. Over time, add some chickens & turkey.

      • ECS,

        Good point. It’s because I live with my feet in two worlds as most people do.

        I would only resort to neighbor pets as protein in full blown economic collapse, but before all my canned goods are used.

        But MDS makes a good point as well. In a full dissolution of the United States, cannibalism will become an option for many.

        In a certain sense, America wouldn’t be here without cannibalism:

        In colonial Jamestown, colonists resorted to cannibalism during a period from 1609 to 1610 known as the Starving Time.[18]

        After food supplies had diminished, some colonists began to dig up corpses for food. During this period, one man was tortured until he confessed to having killed, salted, and eaten his pregnant wife; he was burned alive as punishment.[19][20]

  5. “we find that “forgotten secrets” to prepping are largely irrelevant today. The tools our grandparents used to raise their families in the aftermath of the Great Depression just don’t apply, anymore.”

    I am very fortunate.. I have had times in my life where the daily meal was not available.. car broke down and I had to walk twelve miles to work every morning no winter coat so I would layer.. stuff newspapers between multiple layers of food.. having to scrape grain up off the ground beat it with a rock till I made some sort of gruel. No jobs.. you couldn’t buy one.. so I worked many many day labor jobs from shoveling Hot dirt to steam cleaning blood tanks to washing the dead and incinerating surgical waste.. so many that even today I cannot recall how many places I worked day labor to provide for my family.. even selling blood.. in a pinch you will do anything.. the same thing if your in pain. you will take anything that might help.
    These experiences although drastic and severe I wouldn’t trade for anything. I built character and resilience to adversity.
    The church I belong to has a deep history of being able to overcome the drastic times in life. this was learned from past history of the founders of the church.
    the problem is today. the people that went through these times have all passed on. todays youth move forward in a manner that screams.. I have never seen any adversity. they have the expectations that there will always be a blue sky. Many including my own family members wouldn’t even consider walking ten blocks or two blocks much less twelve miles to get to a job. they haven’t experienced not having a meal. when I went through that it was called commodities.. and you didnt’ run to the store and get something.. the lady would come around once a month and maybe give you a can of beans or peanut butter.. the problem back then was if you were a man.. then you could not get assistance. women could single women.. but not if you were a man..the church I belong to has a welfare department that is there to offer assistance there wasn’t any offer.. and during the down times like a few years ago when medicare cuts caused the let go of senior nurses. my wife had never experienced anything like it. we went a year living on what I had set aside.. what was so surprising is we all have friends and family that in the event of a dramatic situation like that we feel we could count on if for nothing else just someone to listen. but reality is when something like that happens. everyone leaves.. they vanish into the woodwork like cockroaches not to be seen.. that was probably the hardest. Luckily I was an urban survival reader. George listened even if he thought I was nuts.. I felt the comfort of being able to just vent..
    My wife she held it in only in the middle of the night would you catch her broken down in tears when she thought no one was watching. Now she helps me gather the things I think we will need.
    what is surprising is you don’t get unemployment and if you are between fifty and sixty five there aren’t any jobs available. my wife is a professional and the other thing she heard was that they were afraid she would go looking for another position that paid more and they wanted someone younger that didn’t need benefits. ( I think part of it to was the fact that she had had a minor stroke and I have a lot of health issues that for over a year they were trying to get me off of the insurance policy. even today for the wife to get an inurance policy the cost is 1842.00 a month for a ten thousand dollar deductible and sixty forty after I don’t know about myself that was just for her)
    the other good thing is I remember where I have been.. so I go out of my way to help others that are experiencing similar situations. companies that fire those that have children because the kids are sick. one guy the only thing they could get was a jar of peanut butter three kids he delivered himself on the kitchen table.. they ate what the cat brought in from the field.. he kept the fur’s of them to remember..
    one of my favorites was the can man.. he lived in a dumpster didn’t like to talk about it but if he seen the kids making some of the mistakes he made in his life he was the first one to give them a lecture.. those that hit the bottom are usually the most generous and offer the most. even from the street people you give them money or food they share it among others in their situation.
    what got me was in the middle of our dramma.. there was two people that came to our rescue. they didn’t give a lot but they listened.. one had a dream that he needed to come see me.. he offered us a little financial assistance enough to get us just till the wife could find a job..
    Now reflecting back on my grand parents.. my one grandfather lost his wife..buried himself in a hole of depression and a bottle. my father had to raise his sister on the streets of chicago the food they got was given in exchange for sorting out the over ripe produce from the produce wagon. my mother her parents grandfather was an engineer they let them all go he couldn’t find any employment so he hunted everywhere. I found their budget they had two hundred dollars for the year.. raised a few vegetables and a few chickens traded doing laundry for a half gallon of goats milk.
    when my parents finally moved out of the old homestead I seen how much they had tucked away for a situation like that again.. it was amazing. I lived there my whole life.. knew they had a stock just didn’t know how much. this trait was pretty much the same with everyone that went through the dark days of the depression. they traded services for food..
    todays kids maybe has a months worth of food in the cupboards. the drama of having nothing hasn’t really ever happened. Jobs have been plentiful money has been loose. then you have plastic.. if you don’t have it plastic will get it for you. most have over ten grand on plastic.
    when this depression hits we are not prepared no one has given much thought to just how severe it is.. we can read books on surviving hell but until you really have to deal with it.. I can guarantee you you haven’t experienced anything like steam cleaning a blood tank.. the feeling of the desperation when you look in the eyes of loved ones knowing they need a meal.
    what is funny is I can see it.. I see it in the faces many hide it well.. but you see it.. the next time your in a restaurant and that single mom comes up to wait on you child at home no diapers. she depends on the tips to survive. good lord knows I give the oh sh!t tips.. and make sure I tip the them out tell them how much i appreciated the clean dishes..I walked in couldn’t hardly move.. everyone went around got me all my favorite foods.. my friend that was with me said what in the heck did you do to get that kind of treatment. I told him.. they are just being nice.

    • I am scared.. people have put all their faith in an electronic number a piece of paper a hunk of metal. when you cannot eat metal you would get sick from chocking down the paper..
      during the depresson of the early 1800’s a cup of water was worth several ounces of gold.. a pound of coffee.. beer..

  6. ‘If you’re asking yourself “How does any of this mean anything to ME?” there’s a real lack of caffeine in your life‘.
    OMG. Giggling. Needed that today. Thanks

  7. Totalitarian “Ever-After” will come in due time, because there’s just too little global intelligence for Democracy to work. We are fooling ourselves by not admitting that the majority doesn’t have the know-how to be independent. I should be happy to ‘leave town’ before all this is going to happen.

  8. Read you everyday for years. Former subscriber. Found my way back from a link in your forward to Gaye’s Kindle book about food storage.

    I’m not just starting, I’m just continuing to learn.

    Great to read your work again

Comments are closed.