SOS How to Survive

The other night, I watched my first episode of the Weather Channel’s new show, “SOS How to Survive“.  Unlike so many of the staged prepper shows such as Doomsday Preppers and such, this one offers more practical situations and solutions when facing an emergency.  This particular episode focused on tips one could use when facing a hurricane.  How appropriate seeing how all that has been in the news of late is about hurricanes.

The show interjects real life stories of survivors who faced the situations, while the host goes through a series of steps and preparedness items those individuals could have used or did use to make it through.  Everything in the solutions was practical and very useful.  As much prepping as I have done, even I learned a couple of things, while at the same time, having the satisfaction of knowing I am better prepared than most.

So I encourage you to tune in to the new show.  Its entertaining and educational at the same time.  We can all stand to keep learning.

 

Lots Going On

Hard to believe it has been more than a month since my last post.  Have had a lot going on.  No, I wasn’t impacted much by the hurricane(s), just been busy with the showing and listing of properties and conducting due diligence for those that are under contract.  Its a good problem to have.

What is interesting is that more and more folks are looking for property here in the western North Carolina mountains as a getaway place, bugout property, or family compound.  As Hurricane Irma approached Florida, I had multiple last minute appointments with prospects from Florida fleeing the storm saying they want an escape place.  Its a trend I’ve seen over the past several years.  I had one closing recently in which the buyer had closed on the sale of her home in Houston the Tuesday before Hurricane Harvey hit.  She moved out Saturday morning as the storm approached and she’s now the proud owner of 131 acres here in our mountains.

Given the recent spat of hurricanes, it should remind us to always be prepared.  As Irma approached, we weren’t caught up in the rush to the grocery or hardware stores because we were already prepared.  Yet at the same time, it allowed us to review our preparations and make notes of ways to improve.

That’s it for now.  Thank you for the calls and emails, and stay ready!  Let us know how we can assist you in your search or sale.

 

 

Round Knob Lodge

The historic Round Knob Lodge is now available for sale.  Click here for the full information page including a 3D walkthrough tour and video.  Its an exceptional property on 29 acres with large stream and two large, stocked ponds.  Located just 15 minutes east of Black Mountain, its very convenient and an ideal spot for a family compound, event venue, corporate retreat, etc.  Has successful history as a vacation rental and now the trend is for events such as weddings.

EVERYTHING in the six bedroom lodge conveys with the property. Everything: linens, artwork, memorabilia, furniture, bedding, cookware, lamps, rugs, electronics, etc.  Its as turn-key as it gets.  Just bring your toothbrush.  Call us today for a private showing of this one-of-a-kind railroad centric property.

Keep Out!

Keep Out!  That was the message from a property owner I came across, although not necessarily directed at me.  In my line of work, I often come across some amazing properties and interesting people.  One of the things about a retreat property or bugout property is to have a certain level of privacy and security.  There are many ways to do so, but the first step is often with a “No Trespassing” sign.

The owner of the property in these photos has taken it a step further.  More than the “Keep Out” sign, she’s added several homemade signs, such as (with what I assume is intentional misspelling), “NODIS No trespasin or stealin guarded by 2 mungrl honds who hate strangers and a double barrol shot gun loaded for trouble.  Also a hillbilly owner packing a smith & Wesson who ain’t friendly.”  I especially like the sign and artistic expression in the photo below at right.  In this one, you see the sign on the tree stating “I’m a bitter gun owner clinging to my religion“, but in the background on a plastic chair, look carefully and you’ll notice a human skull.  In addition to this display, there several other items with the obvious intent to scare away passersby such as a hoodie jacket hanging from a tree with a rope around the neck.  Interestingly, there is no dwelling on this property, just vacant land.

I understand this stems from a property line dispute between two adjoining owners.  One wishes to sell, so the other is doing everything in her power (yes a lady has posted these signs) to ruin her neighbor’s chances of selling.  This property happens to be within a rural platted subdivision that has covenants and restrictions explicitly prohibiting anything other than a “for sale” sign on property in the subdivision, so I’d like to see the POA’s board of directors attempt to enforce that rule!  I must say, this is the only time I’ve come across such a display.  Most folks in these western North Carolina mountains are welcoming and friendly, so don’t think this is how we treat newcomers looking for that ideal off-the-grid survival property.  Regardless, I couldn’t help but get a laugh out of the creative signage, although I didn’t hang around long enough to get shot, just in case!

The Helical Outpost

I thank my friend and fellow broker, Billy May for introducing me to the Helical Outpost from Helical Holdings.  While the main purpose of its creation is to promote goodwill and low impact sustainability in poorly developed areas, it is a system that fits well into the prepper and homesteading demographic.  So what is it?  Click here for the full story.

Helical Holdings was founded by former MSNBC host and best selling author Dylan Ratigan and former Marine recon veteran Michael Hanes.  Ratigan reported from combat zones and together they realized the need for clean water, food and power in war torn areas.  They determined that there can be no lasting peace in these areas unless the local population has these basic necessities.  Most of these arid regions have no reliable power.  So they devised a self-contained system that is transported in a shipping container and once uncrated and set up, provides a large hydroponic based greenhouse and solar generator that is connected via satellite to the world wide web.

A Helical Outpost can produce up to 2,000 gallons of clean water per day and 10.8 kilowatt hours of electricity.  The hydroponic system uses only 20% of the water of a conventional farm, yet produces 10 times the equivalent of a three acre farm, all within a 6,000 s.f. greenhouse.  Imagine having one of these systems at your bugout property? But even if you can’t afford one, or stand to wait, you can still employ hydroponics at the 14 acre organic farm we presently have listed for sale.  Click here for details on this farm which just recently came back on the market.

Hydroponics are definitely the wave of the future for maximizing food production while requiring minimal resources to do so.  Its an ideal fit for homesteading, off-the-grid living and prepping.

What’s yours is mine

In a “What’s yours is mine” move, police and sheriff departments across the country have been seizing assets from drug dealers and other malcontents for years by using what is known as “civil forfeiture laws”.  Who could object?  Such crooks shouldn’t be allowed to keep their ill gotten gain.  Right?  But what about when they come for yours?

Sadly over the past several years, innocent citizens have been stripped of cash, cars and other assets in their possession during otherwise routine traffic stops.  Under these laws, law enforcement officers can immediately seize cash, silver and gold coins, firearms and even the car WITHOUT charging the driver with a crime or there being any indication the driver is involved in any crime.  Unfortunately, these laws are ripe for abuse as police departments have been using them as a revenue stream.

If this all sounds very draconian, or like fake news, do some research.  Just this week Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed an order expanding the ability of agencies to circumvent state laws intended to curb the abuse.  You don’t have to be charged with a crime, much less convicted in order to have your possessions taken.  To rub further salt in the wound, because this involves a civil case, the accused are not given legal counsel as in criminal cases with a public defender.  The result is that often times, the legal fees necessary to recover one’s possessions often exceed the value of the items.

On February 27th, 2016 in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, the manager of a Taiwanese Christian band was pulled over for a broken tail light.  He was carrying $53,000 cash from concerts and donations to a Thai orphanage and school in Burma.  With no criminal record and no drug paraphernalia or illegal drugs in the vehicle, the sheriff’s department questioned him for six hours before releasing him, but kept the cash citing it was obviously drug money and then charged him with a felony.  Click here to watch the video and read a full report from the nonprofit Institute for Justice.  The cases run from $500 to tens of thousands, and don’t think it can’t happen to you.

So why include this topic on a real estate web site?  Because most folks involved in prepping, homesteading or disaster preparedness keep large amounts of cash and coinage, and also own firearms.  On more than one occasion, I’ve been a little nervous driving to my shooting range with various firearms and ammunition in the back (all legally owned) as a highway patrolman passed by.  Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do if a corrupt lawman wants the goods.  As Jeff Sessions has signaled, this well intended practice is likely to only become more and more abusive.  So be careful out on the road as you drive up to our beautiful mountains to find the perfect bugout property (such as this off the grid homestead or this one with two homes on 8 acres) where you can bury all that hard earned cash and gold!

Active Prepping Community

One of the benefits of living where I do is that there is a very supportive and active prepping community.  One of the gems of this area is Carolina Readiness Supply in Waynesville.  If you’ve been a subscriber for a while, you know I’ve mentioned them before.  Well, I just got an email announcement from Jan over at the store about the upcoming seminar titled “Threats and Solutions“.

Its an all day event held at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center’s Shackford Hall on July 22nd there in Waynesville (45 minutes west of Asheville).  This seminar features six different speakers including Dr. Bill Forstchen, author of “One Second After”; Scott Hunt, founder of Practical Preppers and youtube favorite Engineer775; Alan Kay, winner of the History Channel’s hit show “Alone”; and others.

Tickets are $20.  This is a great one day event that I highly recommend.

 

New Prepper Homestead

This new prepper homestead is an excellent option for those looking for a property with two residences, lots of water, privacy and good gardening area.  Located between Fontana Lake and Bryson City, about an hour and a half southeast of Asheville, this property features a very comfortable log home and a well cared for doublewide manufactured home on 8+ acres with a approximately two acres of pasture and garden area.  One of the nicest features is a very large creek that flows through the property, providing irrigation, drinking water (after filtering) and possibly power generation, not to mention a defensible barrier.

For full details click here to read all about it and see photos.  Note:  more photos coming soon.

Without Power

Yesterday afternoon, a brief but violent storm blew through our town and suddenly we were without power.  It was a sobering reminder of how dependent we are on the power grid.  Your whole mindset has to shift.  You go to turn on a light, only to realize it won’t work.  You go to the fridge to get something, but stop to think, “Do I really need to let that cool air out just for some left over lasagna?”  “How long will the water stay hot in the water heater?”  “Where are the flashlights?”  Everything changes.

It was relatively benign during the daylight hours, but once darkness set it, it took on a more surreal feeling.  While we knew the outage was limited to a small area and the power would likely return in a relatively short time (obviously), it nonetheless was a sobering reminder of how quickly the world can be flipped upside down.

We went to a friend’s house that had power so we could charge up phones and laptops.  On the way home after sundown, the most striking thing was the sudden darkness as we approached the area in which we live.  We noticed was how easily we could see who had candles or flashlights inside their homes.  They stood out like sore thumbs.  It was a good reminder that in a grid down situation, we need to maintain “light control”, meaning, if we are using our lights inside while everyone else is out of power, we must black out the windows.  Getting out of the vehicle, my first thought was to shine our flashlights around the area because I realized just how easily it would be for someone to surprise us in the darkness.  We live in a safe area and since the power outage was only a few hours old, I felt there was little risk of crime.  But if the power had been out for weeks, criminal elements would be looking for just this kind of opportunity.

But this situation also provided the opportunity to test out my Goal Zero Solar Generator and associated lighting.  I took it out of my EMP container, plugged in a couple of lights and suddenly we had all the interior lighting we needed (see above photo).  Again, we knew we weren’t in a serious situation, but the relief and comfort of having lighting has an incredible psychological impact.  Candles are fine, but they are a fire hazard.  Flashlights are fine, but they are limited in area of effect.  But the Goal Zero lights and generator can make a darkened home feel like home again.  I highly recommend it or you should get something similar.  You can read my previous product review here.

So although it was certainly an inconvenience, I’m grateful to have had the experiential reminder to always be prepared.  This was just a short lived event, but had it been a regional outage due to a cyber attack or natural disaster, the whole feeling would be different.  We presently have several excellent properties listed that can be totally off the grid, and know of other properties that can provide what you need to survive without electricity.  So contact us today to set up a time to see some of these mountain bugout properties, and get prepared.

 

 

Celebrating Your Liberty

On this July 4th, I hope you are celebrating your liberty.  After all, its been paid for by the blood and sacrifice of countless Americans so that you can enjoy more than hot dogs, fireworks and a day at the beach.  One of the things our forefathers and others purchased with that blood was our guarantee of personal privacy via the Fourth Amendment.  Sadly, we find ourselves in a country under constant surveillance with our privacy and freedoms being gradually eroded away either in the name of security (as in protecting us against terrorism) or in the name of convenience (as in electronic transactions rather than cash purchases).

I recently read the book “Shadow Government” by Grant Jeffery and was stunned with what I discovered; and the book was written in 2009, so who knows how much further things have progressed.  It sounds like science fiction, but its backed up with footnotes and references to source documents, so its accurate.  In a nutshell, go ahead and assume that every one of your phone calls, text messages, emails and electronic purchases or banking transactions are recorded and filtered for key words the various agencies consider “markers” of unsavory activity.  Yes, that amounts to billions of electronic records every day.  Think these agencies don’t have enough memory storage or capacity to track them all?  Think again.  The very technology that provides you more computing power in your three year old iPhone than that which powered the entire Apollo space missions is the same technology on steroids in the hands of these various agencies.  How many agencies?

There are over 17 documented federal level intelligence agencies that all want to know your business.  Everyone knows the biggies such as the CIA, NSA and FBI or Homeland Security.  But how about the Treasury’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis or the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, or the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, not to mention the intelligence arms of each branch of the armed services?  Months ago I read “Top Secret America”, written by Washington Post reporter Dana Priest which goes into great depth about all these various agencies and their unchecked growth over the past ten years and the hundreds of thousands they employ.  She reveals there are over 1,200 sub-agencies and private corporations collaborating with the government in the accumulation of your data.  But one of the most disturbing aspects was that although they are all supposed to be working toward the same goal, they don’t communicate or share information as you’d think they would.  So here we have this enormous bureaucracy with all this power and all this technology and untold billions to spend with little oversight gathering every bit of possible information on you.  Its crazy and it doesn’t bode well for you if you should get somebody mad at you.  Think about it.

So what’s the point of all this?  Basically, there’s little you or I can do to keep prying eyes away, so I’ve just accepted it and live with it.  After all, I already assume I’m on “the list” of these agencies.  But having a totally off the grid bugout property could be a real asset in helping protect your privacy, at least locally.  So call us today and let us help you find that ideal North Carolina mountain property that will help you bugout from the rest of the world.  (and we promise not to share your location with any of these seventeen, or 1,200)  In the meantime, put on the sunscreen and don’t O.D. on the hot dogs and ice cream this Fourth of July!  Happy Birthday America!