The following excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on Survival Life
Preppers moving can cause big problems. Preppers are not transient types who look forward to moving, but sometimes it has to be done. Unfortunately not every prepper is born on a glorious piece of land already set-up for survival and homesteading purposes. Finding the right piece of land and getting a loan to purchase the property is only part of the process.
My husband and I spent two and a half years searching for the perfect survival retreat and homesteading property. We finally found it and moved two weeks before Christmas. I now firmly believe only crazy people move at Christmas!
After unpacking 11 loads from the largest Uhaul trucks the company makes, we were finally able to begin putting away our everyday belongings, livestock, and our preps – hence the need for 11 Uhauls loads in addition to multiple trips with filled pickup trucks and SUVs.
As both a licensed real estate agent and prepper, I had some pretty specific ideas about the type of property which would best suit the survival needs of our tribe – my favorite term for our prepping friends and family. Having written many fact-filled reports about how to find a prepper-friendly real estate agent and best utilize his/her services, identifying the geographic attributes every prepper should make a priority when buying their retreat, and the best type of home to construct, I discovered I had neglected to cover one very important aspect of any prepper relocation endeavor – when to move!
Honestly, if we had not lucked into this incredible land at a bargain basement price, we probably would have made the same moving mistake many preppers probably realized they had made only after it was too late. If you luck into an already established prepper retreat and price is not an issue, move whenever you want and read no further. But, if you are like most everyone, finding a ready-made prepper retreat is not going to happen – and price will be a factor in any patch of dirt you buy, continue reading.
Moving in the winter turned out to be a great blessing in disguise. In Ohio, the weather changes about every 15 minutes, so winter could mean a massive blizzard one day and 71 degrees the next – like it was here this year the day after Christmas, allowing us to spend the day working on the land.
Where you are moving will of course make a difference. Moving in the winter would not work for Alaskan preppers or even for folks moving to places like South Dakota, but in the Midwest, the South, or along either coast, it is absolutely the BEST time of year for a prepper relocation.
Top 5 Reasons Preppers Should Move In The Winter
The weather will not be unbearably hot during all the box loading and unloading. Preppers are the ultimate pack rats, fighting the heat is far more of an issue than one might think BEORE loading and unloading up all the boxes, survival gear, weapons, long term food storage, etc.
We wanted to build an ice house on our prepper retreat, moving in the winter made this food storage structure very easy to accomplish. Our property came complete with a fully functional butcher shop attached – the home used to be a hunting lodge. The butcher shop has a massive cooler and a deep freeze, but those valuable items will only function as long as we have fuel for the generators.
Sure, we have a healthy stockpile of fuel, a solar generator, and are working on a steam engine to supply power for various needs – after all, redundancy is the key to successful prepping. But, creating an entirely off grid source or preserving milk and other perishables on a short-term basis, is still a very worthy project. Making an ice house is quite simple when using a metal or wood shed lined with Styrofoam. In our ice house we will be utilizing plastic buckets with lids filled with water that will quickly freeze, since it is winter. We will then use sawdust – the property also had a sawmill, so there is ample free supply of sawdust, to layer between the rows of buckets stacked up on shelving units.
When you move during the winter you are not wasting one valuable minute of garden sowing time. Come spring, summer, and even into the fall, prepper families will be extremely busy planting the garden, tending to the garden, harvesting the garden, canning and preserving food from the garden, fishing, and hunting for food which also will need preserved after it is garnered.
The perfect prepper retreat might not have a home, barn, or fencing already on it. Building those necessary structures and additions might be far more pleasant during the spring, summer, or fall, but actually getting them done without a lot of extra hands not busy with food production and livestock chores, could prove immensely difficult. Blazing and marking trails throughout the property and hiding caches of emergency supplies can also be worked into the winter prepping schedule.
Toughing it out in a camper over the winter on your dream retreat so you can prep the rest of the property to become a survival or homesteading retreat is worth it – and could be a great pre-SHT living conditions learning experience.
The long cold winter nights are proving to be great date night/work sessions for enhancing our preps now that we have more space and are set up to actually begin putting into practice all the skills we have learned over the past six years. Exhaustion from doing manual labor in the hot sun all day is not a factor when scheduling evenings to work on ammo reloading, making forms for tools and weapons to forge, building the blacksmith shop, making herbal remedies to store, etc. We will bundle up against the cold and get all of our auxiliary buildings finished before the early days of spring.
We got our dream land, 56 acres, for a bargain basement price, which made moving while I should have been wrapping presents and putting up my tree definitely worth it. The older couple who owned the property were not able to keep it up, so a lot of work to the ½ mile uphill road which completely conceals the home and barns, needed a LOT of work. The entire acreage was fenced with five strands of barbed wire, but about 30 percent of it needed repaired – which made for some long but fun work details for my tribe – my favorite term for our prepping friends and family.
We knew the “to do” list was going to be a long one, but we embraced that early on and are now exceedingly thankful we have the time to work on improving the home, structures, and typical farm items at a pace which can’t really be described as leisurely, but at a reasonable pace without the added stress of working so many other warm-weather daily chores into the schedule at the same time.
Had we moved in the spring, we would have been swamped with typical farm and homesteading tasks and had little to no time for repair work. Time is money, as the old saying goes. Hiring help to complete work you could have done yourself, if only there was enough time in the day, can be a real budget-buster.
This is the most important reason we found to be thankful we moved in the winter. My prepper husband loves lists, I think he even possesses lists of lists – planning is a big deal in our household, as it is in the homes of all good preppers. If we had moved during any other season we would have been far too busy trying to do the everyday homesteading chores and enhancements on the property to turn it into a supreme survival retreat, to focus the necessary amount of time on proper planning.
We knew the items we wanted to create on our retreat long ago, but until you actually buy and get on the land, it would be impossible to figure out the best place for them to go and build them. Plotting the perfect location for the greenhouse, smokehouse, additional garage, reloading shed, forge shed, and a plethora of other items, began as soon as the last box of household items was unpacked. During any other season we would have been making these decisions at a frantic pace and could have made some potentially devastating mistakes with placement and construction do to the rushed nature of the projects.
We have plenty of time to plan our garden, multiple gardens, actually, and the fruit grove. There is a stream which flows throughout the property that stays full even during the dry season, but we want to dig out a natural spring and make a pond. Deciding how we want to stock it and laying out the formation of the massive pond can be done with great precision because we are not distracted with a myriad of other demanding outdoor chores at the same time.
Knowledge is power! My wonderful husband got me a home medicinal capsule-making kit I have been excited to put to good use. Learning even more about herbal medicines, tinctures, and salves will be a valuable use of my winter time. I will have an enormous stockpile of home remedies before it is time to turn my full attention to planting and livestock birthing in the spring and summer.
The lists of ways to expand your knowledge and skills during the winter evenings and on days when the weather is too bad to work outdoors, is essentially endless. It will also a great time to cross-train members of our tribe so they can also work effectively in the reloading, blacksmith, smokehouse, and butcher shop that we will soon have completed and up and running.
Learn your land. The importance of knowing your new property like the back of your hand cannot be emphasized enough. We found the perfect spot for our LP/OP early on, but that does not always happen. Being able to find your way around the property in the dark or during adverse weather conditions could mean the difference between life and death. Understanding exactly where you are on the property and being able to describe your surroundings to a tribe member over a handheld radio is equally important.
We turned learning our land into a fun game or prepper hide-and-seek to play on wintertime Sunday afternoons. One person hides and takes photos of their surroundings and sends them to the others in the group – the searchers. Just one photo at a time every five minutes. Each searcher starts from a different location on the property. The hiding person can whistle when they hear someone close – which also helps everyone learn how the sound in the hills travels and track it accordingly.
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