A Great Summer Read

Here is a great summer read.  My subscribers know that the book that really started me down this path is William Forstchen’s “One Second After” (about which I’ve written elsewhere).  As I meet others from around the country, many of them tell me that that is the book that started them as well.  Another book I’ve considered to be a must read is James Wesley Rawles “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It“.  Forstchen’s book is fiction based on a possible scenario, whereas Rawles’ book is an exhaustive “how to” book with great technical detail.  Well, here’s my next pick which I consider equal to the other two, and one that every homesteader or prepper should own:  The “Complete Guide to Disaster Preparedness” by Scott Hunt of Practical Preppers.

Some of you already know of Scott.  He is known as Engineer775 on YouTube that has tens of thousands of subscribers.  Scott is a jack of all trades, but mostly an engineer by trade, prepper by desire and a Godly family man.  One of his claims to fame is that of being a consultant/judge to the National Geographic Channel’s show Doomsday Preppers.  He and I got to know each other while we were both exhibiting at the recent Heritage Life Skills event in Waynesville.  I had already seen many of his videos and even purchased some of his recommended items.  Be warned; if you go to his channel, you can get hooked on it and spend days watching everything from how to produce hot water for bathing from a rocket stove to getting drinking water from slimy pond water to running your truck off fuel created by burning wood (yes, burning wood).  I picked up a copy of his book and have found it a great compliment to others in my library.

Compared to Rawles’ book, Scott’s is a little easier read.  Its well laid out in various subject matters with each section going from the most basic concept of the topic to more involved plans.  There isn’t a topic that’s not covered and one thing I especially like is how well balanced the content.  So many prepper books are heavy on firearms and security.  Scott has a chapter on it, but again its just one of many and its very balanced and easy for the beginner to grasp.  He recognizes that most of us aren’t engineers or have unlimited resources, but has offered up affordable and simple methods the rest of us can understand.  I would not call it a “Prepping for Dummies”.  Its much better than that, and even a seasoned homesteader or prepper will learn a lot from it, but its an easy read.  After all, what good is it to have a book of knowledge if its not easy to read?  Most all of the systems and ideas about which he writes, he has tested and utilized.  Though I’ve never been to his farm, I can only imagine that it would be like going to an amusement park for the first time for those of us who are into this sort of thing.

So visit Scott’s YouTube channel, then pick up a copy of the book.  Whether you’re looking to live off the grid, a sustainable lifestyle or build a survival retreat in the mountains, you’ll be glad you did.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack

Companies and governments are still reeling from Friday’s WannaCry Ransomware Attack.  We’re all now well familiar with computer viruses and such, but many folks had still never heard of ransomware until this weekend.  That’s a program a hacker slips into a computer system which shuts it down, only allowing it to be reopened upon payment of ransom.  Its been in practice now for a couple of years, but only recently has it gained more notice.  Friday’s breakout however, was the largest single event by far.

Imagine for a moment, you turn on your personal computer or that of your business, only to get a message that unless you pay up, all your data will be removed.  Not a good way to start the day.  Sad thing is, it can happen to any of us.  The best defense is to keep your computer updated with all the various patches that come out through the year.  Also use a good anti-virus and firewall software suite.  They aren’t expensive, and they provide good insurance.  Also, be smart.  Don’t open an email that looks suspicious, even if it comes from a trusted email address.  If the body of the email simply contains a link with no other commentary, and especially if you see dozens of other names in the address bar, think twice before clicking on the link.

The Wannacry ransomware attack is just one more example of how quickly our information systems can be brought down.  There is still a lot of talk about another wave coming behind this one.  The world economy runs on information moved about via the internet, and if servers and companies using it get held hostage, it could set off a chain of events that lead to a downward spiral.  It wouldn’t take much.  All the more reason to have a plan in place.  Keep some cash on hand (in a safe hidden place and not just in a bank safe deposit box), some precious metals as well as other commodities that could be used for bartering if the financial system should find itself held hostage.  What kind of commodities?  Things like long term food items, diapers, ammunition, cigarettes, batteries, seeds, matches, or candles are just a few items that others could consider very valuable.  If you have a skill such as working a garden, growing and harvesting chickens or rabbits, or small engine repair those skills could be traded for other goods.  I know it sounds crazy when all we have to do is order take out from Pizza Hut or purchase whatever we want from Amazon, but the experts agree that ransomware and cyber attacks are here to stay and are only going to get more serious.  So be prepared.

Off The Grid Wonder

Creative design using straw slip walls

This Off The Grid Wonder is a prime example of all that one can do to live off the grid and sustainably from the land, yet in comfort.  Living off the grid doesn’t have to mean living in a yurt or teepee, drinking water from  creek.  This homestead is comfortable, extremely energy efficient, solidly built with solar water heating, solar power, wood fired stove and propane stove.  Check out the full details and photos here.  The house sits on 24 acres which themselves back up to national forest and have been improved with an exceptionally productive garden area featuring fruit trees, 30+ blueberry bushes, etc.  A sizable stream flows through and feeds a small decorative pond.  Located south of Burnsville (NW of Asheville) at the foot of Mt. Mitchell, its in a wonderful community of like minded neighbors.  So if you’re looking for an excellent, move in ready bugout property, survival property or homestead, look no further.

Weekend of Learning

The recent Heritage Life Skills in Waynesville provided a weekend of learning.  HLS is by far the best event of which I know wherein one can gain a lifetime of knowledge in three days.  You’ve read in previous posts that with over 40 classes on nearly every subject there is something for everyone from food preparation, first aid, metal working, knot tying, edible plant identification and so on.  If you missed it this year, I encourage you to plan for next year’s event.

Several hundred folks attended the weekend sponsored by our good friends a Carolina Readiness Supply of Waynesville.  In addition to the classes, more than 30 vendors exhibited their goods and services to the crowd.  One of my “neighbors” across the aisle was Jonathan Glauser of Mountain Well Being, maker of the highest quality Colloidal Silver, Colloidal Gold and other supplements.  In a grid down situation, obtaining medical care could be iffy, so the first step is to stay healthy, and that’s what Mountain Well Being provides.

Another neighbor was Forest Garvin, founder of the Carolina Prepper’s Network.  In the year that I’ve known Forest, CPN has grown from around 900 members to more than 4,000 with chapters meeting in a dozen cities throughout the Carolinas.  Forest’s mantra is that “If you’re not part of a community, and the grid goes down, you’re not going to make it.”  Being part of a well connected and like-minded community is vital.  CPN has its own communication app that is used to broadcast events and even serve as an alert system in the event of a catastrophic event.  Retreat Realty is proud to be one of the four corporate sponsors of CPN.

I appreciate all the kind folks who stopped by to speak and share their stories and real estate wish lists.  While at the event we were giving away a $50 Gift Certificate to Carolina Readiness Supply, and the winner is……….Suzanne Upton!  Congratulations Suzanne!  Retreat Realty is pleased to serve such a community.  Please let us know how we can be of service in hunting for that ideal bugout property, prepper property or off the grid property.  With all that’s going on in the world, wouldn’t it be nice to have your own hideaway when the time comes?




Another New Listing

Beautiful 4 acres of pasture

We are pleased to announce another new listing.  This time, its a 131 acre tract located 25 minutes north of Asheville just outside the college town of Mars Hill.  Off the beaten path, but actually being very convenient to a four lane highway and shopping, dining and such in Mars hill less than ten minutes away.  This property has pasture, garden, two large creeks, excellent paved road access on two roads, numerous good building sites, and an old residence.

Check out the complete listing and photos by clicking here.  The last time we listed a 131 acre tract (late February) it was under contract in eleven days and closed in less than thirty.  Could this one go that fast?

Many Happy Returns

Many happy returns (to Uncle Sam).  Now that the 2016 tax season is officially over, my mind wondered over to thinking of where does all that money go.  Its practically impossible to tell these days, but another thought came to mind, and that is the national debt.

If you’ve never seen the U.S. National Debt Clock, then you simply must visit the site by clicking here.

Its mind boggling.  Utterly mind boggling.  This site shows you the running totals of more than 50 financial metrics concerning our nation’s finances: and it ain’t pretty.  The running total at the top left of the site is usually the most foreboding for viewers.  Its the running tally of our U.S. National Debt.  When I started writing this post, it stood at $19,880,075,148,000.  That’s nearly $20 TRILLION dollars.  I’ll include the updated tally when I am ready to post this article.

Down at the bottom right you will see our U.S. Unfunded Liabilities which at present is more than $105 Trillion.  What are “unfunded liabilities”?  This the total of federal worker’s pensions, V.A. benefits, Social Security including Medicare Parts A, B & D, all of which are unfunded.  That means there is not enough money to pay these obligations in the future.  But that isn’t the figure that gives me greatest pause.  Its near the dead center of the screen and titled “Currency and Credit Derivatives 2017“.

What’s that?  Remember what brought down the economy in 2007 and 2008?  Yes it had a lot to do with the housing bubble, but that was just a part of it.  It all stemmed from something called “Credit Default Swaps”, which are basically financial bets on stocks placed by big investment firms, banks and insurance companies for which they expect a hefty payout when the bets they’ve placed are called in.  Trouble is, the figure is presently over $625 Trillion.  Back in 2007, the total was a tenth of this figure.  Back then we learned the phrase “too big to fail”.  If the banks were so big back then and so critical that they should be bailed out, where do they stand today?  They’re far bigger and more in debt and more exposed in Credit Default Swaps.  The fact is, when the stocks underlying these bets tumble (and they will), the investment banks don’t have nearly the assets to cover their obligations.  None of them.  Not one.   What happens then?

Whatever happens then, it will be too late to be buying a bugout or off the grid property to run to.  Better to get prepared today while the sun is still shining.  At Retreat Realty, we are here to help forward looking people find a safe, stable place to call home in the midst of economic and societal unrest.  Call us today to get started looking for the perfect western North Carolina mountain retreat.  Oh, by the way, in the time its taken me to write this post, the national debt climbed another $21,198,000.  Make that $21,209,000.  Nope, $21,214,000……..

Heritage Life Skills

Sustainable gardening class

Its time again for the sixth annual Heritage Life Skills in Waynesville.  If you’ve not attended one of these before, I highly encourage you to do so.  This is the most complete event of its kind anywhere of which I know.

Over the course of three days this week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) you can participate in nearly fifty classes on practical skills necessary for living close to the land or off the grid.  These classes include metal smithing, foraging for food, soap making, medical/first aid, communications, land navigation, canning, power generation, etc.  We’ll be exhibiting in the vendor’s area, so please stop by to say hello.

Our friends at Carolina Readiness Supply are the organizers of the event and I encourage you to visit their store in downtown Waynesville.  Its the most complete store of its kind I’ve found anywhere in North Carolina.

Outsider Club

I recently had the good fortune of having Jimmy Mengel, Managing Editor of the Outsider Club interview me and now publish the interview on their website here.  For those who don’t know, the Outsider Club is an alternative news outlet that is well written and focuses on the importance of protecting one’s personal freedoms when it comes to way of life, financing, travel, protection, etc.  The general point is that government continues growing and gaining more power over our daily lives, while those who stand up to that overreaching end up being marginalized at best and criminalized at worst.  Their tag line is “….Because you’ll never be on the inside.”

The Outsider Club provides a voice of reason and is the trumpeter of news that you wouldn’t normally see on the major networks.  No, they aren’t “fake news”.  Their writing is spot on and can be verified through various original source documents and individuals.  I’ve written before about unreliable media outlets in a previous blog post, but The Outsider Club is not one of them.

Jimmy and I connected some time ago and he thought his readers might take an interest in my line of work: helping concerned citizens prepare for natural or manmade disasters.  I thoroughly enjoyed our back and forth conversation and appreciate being featured on their website.  You can read the article by clicking here.  While you’re there, make sure you subscribe to their news feed.

Biggest Listing Yet

Own an entire east/west valley

Morris Glen Farm is our biggest listing yet.  At 761 acres, Morris Glen Farm located in McDowell County (Marion, NC) is the largest listing in the MLS within seven counties.  We’re honored to have been selected to represent the family in the sale of this historic property.

The farm has been in the same family since July 8, 1788, and is available for sale to the public for first time.  From pastures, to creeks, to mountaintops, to a three bedroom cabin overlooking a three acre pond, this property has it all for an outstanding family recreational compound, corporate retreat, hunting preserve or bugout property.  Read all about it here.

A Safer Smarter Grid

The current issue of Time Magazine has an article titled A Safer Smarter Grid as part of its cover story of America’s aging infrastructure.  I’ve written several times in previous posts about the vulnerability of our nation’s power grid from natural events (ice storms, hurricanes, solar flares) to manmade events (terrorism, mistakes and age).  This article does a good job of explaining the need for a more robust system as we become a more and more wired society.

Power outages from bad weather tend not to last terribly long; usually no more than a week in bad cases such as the 1977 blackout in NYC.  However, the author points to the more scary scenario of a cyber attack on the system and how it could disrupt every day life for months on end.  Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA states that a smarter grid helps utilities restore power faster during outages, yet at the same time creates more opportunities for hackers to access the system.  Industry officials are referenced in the article stating that the power grid comes under some sort of cyber attack every four days, and their concern is a concentrated attack could leave the entire nation in the dark for weeks or months.  Imagine for a moment what life would be like without power for four weeks on the eastern seaboard.  Its not a pretty thought.  Gas tanks would run dry.  Cell service would go out.  Grocery shelves would be cleaned out.  Electronic banking would freeze up.  And perhaps most worrisome of all, people’s normal civility would go out the window.  In the aforementioned 1977 NYC blackout, looters were burning city blocks within 24 hours.  Imagine how bad it would get in four weeks.

However, the forward thinking homesteader or prepper is ready for these kind of disruptions by having alternate power sources, long term food storage on hand and ways to protect life and property.  We here at Retreat Realty aim to help individuals find resource rich properties in these western North Carolina mountains where they can live without having to be tied to the grid such as the Upper Rock Creek Hideout.  If you’ve contemplated having a bugout property or off the grid property, call us today to discuss how we can help you get started.  You aren’t crazy for thinking about it, and its not hard to get started.