What did we eat?

Not too many types of food, most popular was some kind of local pancakes, to prepare them you needed water, hand full of flour and local herbs, i don t know type of herb, but i am pretty sure it was cow food.It did not require cooking oil, and it needed few minutes on fire to be ready, feeling was like you are eating dusty carpet 🙂

To explain it simply, it was grass, we just use small amounts of flour and water to keep that grass together.
We eat that when we did not anything else.

Speaking about herbs, people used a lot garlic and  lavender as substitute for antibiotics, pine was popular as a antiseptic and of course camomile.

Mre s and cans were luxuries, we acquired cans mostly trough trade. Rice was popular to had, i ques one reason was because it easy to prepare it.
Who owned some kind of garden was in advance, i remember green salads mostly from gardens, to protect that gardens was another problem, but that is theme for another post i quess.

It was matter of whole new thinking, for example if you manage to get somewhere tomatoes, and happened to had some sugar in house, than probably you gonna make kind of marmalade from that, or sauce, call it as you like, and put it in jars.
Most popular kind of can was corned beef because few reasons, it was meat to eat of course, it had a lot of fat in that can, when we eat meat, we used that fat and can as a lamp (add a lace and bottle cap, melt fat)
As i said mostly it was a matter of improvisation,like to make small portable stove from pressure cooker, simply with hammer nails and saw we made two openings, one for smoke and one for wood, we attached some pipe on smoke opening, so basically we had small portable stove, we could carry that in bag, or backpack, if we going somewhere on day, we could quickly cook something on that, and warm our self.
Of course it looked funny, we cough because smoke all the time, but it worked, and it was portable.
We also made stove from the bigger cans, also portable.

A Way Out

Yes, there were few possible ways out of the town. First let mi notice if i had recognize what is coming, i would run away from town for sure, no matter where. Some signs were there, i did not notice them. From this point of view i was fool because i did not figure what is going to happen.
During the SHTF one way out from the town was that you pay to local gang leader huge amount in foreign currency (i guess now something like 15 000- 20 000 $, for us here it is fortune) to get you out of the city.I ve heard for agreements that people gave everything what they had, , jewelery, guns, everything.; They had power and connections to do that, to smuggle you through enemy lines, but; as i remember probability that they ll take your money and just shoot you was very high, i think chance for success; was something like 50%. Not good number if we talking about life 🙂

But yes there were cases of success that i heard later. Other way was to use another smuggling route to get out of the city, that other way was through mountain, it was used sometimes to take some wounded defenders out , on the horses, also it was one of the ways to get things from the other city, some 50 miles long trip, depends from the weather and enemy movements it usually takes 5-10 days.

It was not any kind of road or path, just big mountain standing between two cities, there is narrow “passage” between enemy lines, maybe 1 mile or something like that. So it was a real art to get there and back, with all hard environment , mines, hostilities and absence of any order.
Situation in other town was slightly better, so you could bring some useful things home, maybe.

But it was so hard and dangerous that probably worth only to mention here as way out. I took that trip once, in January, i think it was something like -15 C , freezing wind, blizzards, it was like swimming through snow, not to mention that nobody had clue where exactly mines and other traps were.

I was a city guy, i liked to watch snow from warm room, or on idyllic postcards for new year 🙂 But to walk many miles in deep snow at freezing temperatures, in military boots made probably for dry weather only, and to eat snow ( yes, i made that mistake ) it was nightmare. Local myth was that if you going to take that trip, you need to have sugar and few liters of alcohol, during the trip we mixed alcohol and sugar and drink that, it suppose to gave us energy for long walk on freezing temperature. To be honest, sounds ridiculous, i finished that trip, not sure is it because that mix, i know that most of the time on that trip i was half drunk and walked like zombie.

Sometimes people took that trip only to try to get some specific medicine. I remember also few times some of international aid workers, or some foreign news reporters tried to sneak into the town, or be smuggled in to the town, because help or interesting story i guess.

Also i met two foreign soldiers, mercenaries,(i think from UK) i did not have clue how they came in city, but i know that they “worked” with sniper weapon for those who payed more. Urban legend about them was that when they take position to shoot, they did not move several hours, and that the eat only chocolate bars when they are “on job” I don t know is this make any sense 🙂

In one occasion i spoke with them, nice guys, i think for them it was a job like any other job, they did not even look like “tough guys”
International red cross tried few times to get in to the town with food, but mostly unsuccessful, even when they get in it was in such small amounts, it did not mean anything.

Again rumors raged, there was a stories that some folks go through the sewage systems, and manage to get out, do not know for sure is it a true, it was a system about 100 years old, combined with newer sections, so it looked like labyrinth to me. I think now i would be great idea to have map, blueprints of that 🙂

An Ordinary Day

Actually it is more correct to say ordinary night, because if we had some business to do outside house , we did it during the night, like trade, collecting wood, waiting for mre,s etc.

During the day we usually sleep, or doing the things inside house, yard. We waited for every rain to collect rain water from roofs in barrels,try to filter it trough gauze, boil it, then used that water for everything, other solution was to go to close river and take water, but mostly it was dangerous, at the beginning there were some effort from authority to supply streets with water with tankers, but soon that fall apart like everything else.

So another precious item became water container, plastic canister, to carry water. We did not have any water filters, or water purifying tablets, so i guess lot of diseases occurred as a result of dirty water. Connected with carrying things like water canisters or firewood people started do make all kinds of carts, most basic was cart made from plastic crate (originally used to transport bottles, beer for example) on that crate people attached small wheels from rollers, or toys, and that s it. Nothing fancy. Funny actually.

Hardest thing was to collect fire wood for cooking and heating during cold days, very soon city lost all trees, so we started to use every wood, i burned almost all my furniture, my books. We started with trips trough ruins to collect wood like door and window frames, furniture, wooden floors, parquetry.

During cold days it was a constant problem, to keep the fire. Just to mention all of my windows were broken, we just plug the holes with anything, and when you add ruined roof, holes, then you get the picture how cold can be.

You know in some of the movies of SHTF you ll see guy who is operating from his perfect house while world outside falling apart.Well everything, is falling apart, including your house, especially if you don t have knowledge to fix things in your house, or you don t have tools, so another advice, learn how things work in your house, and learn how to fix things, and especially- have tools for that.
There is nobody to call when your door lock is blown up, or to fix roof tile.

I spent few nights trying to make some system with tarps and drain pipes to collect water, i just did not have any experience with that.

Same was with almost every aspect of life, skills, it all comes to your skills how to make something, we were not prepare for that situation, so i guess when system failed to provide us with goods like food, water, medicine and any other kind of support, we just used skills to made them or acquire them.

Same is today i think,in the case of SHTF, even if we are prepared very good, sooner or later we going to exhaust our supplies, and then we gonna use our skills to made them.

I think good example is to have a big supply of food, but still know how to work in small garden. Great fortune was if somebody knew how to fix things, guns, locks, shoes, people…

Gangs & Staying Hidden

To go out during the night and to do things was dangerous. There was no rule about anything and you did not know what to expect.We needed to go out to get things.Gangs and complete absence of any law was problem.

Constant shelling and snipers from enemy army was minor problem comparing to gangs. I think every city have criminals, people who live on edge of law,murderers, drug dealers and that kind of people.

In SHTF worst kind of people are mostly in charge, they formed very fast some kind of their own private army, in some cases their number was in hundreds, they were drunk from feeling of endless power, because of them you needed to be uninteresting, small, invisible.

They had everything, food, guns, luxuries, they owned black market. If they wanted something from you, eventually they get that from you, your food, house, wife, does not matter what. Only chance for you was that they did not notice you, or your other chance was that they see you have enough men and firepower so that what they want is going to cost them too much.

If you expecting some kind of fair fight or honor in SHTF, forget it right now. We just stay away from them, there was not Superman or Batman in city who saved good people from bad, if we met them it was shoot and run.Most of that folks did not vanished after SHTF ended, most of them still alive, some of them trough that power still have power today, some in private companies, some in politics.

Anyway to go out you needed to prepare some things, rifle,pistol,ammo,backpack,dark clothes, boots or shoes-kind of boots good for running, good for walk on broken stuff and trough ruins ( kind like adidas sport shoes ) in backpack i usually had more ammo, food for a day, candle or lamp, water for a day,sometimes some tool, key was to have some things in case that you need to stay somewhere hidden for a day, outside your house, but in the same time you needed to stay very light and mobile and not to attract anyone. So to had big backpack full of good thins during that trips(even if i had good things) was not good idea.

We took that trips never alone, always 2-3 men. About clothes, no specific rules, as long as it stay in dark color and does not catch too much attention, i used old overall (German army-something similar to US flight suit) and jacket similar to American jacket from Vietnam war. It did not looked fancy, but it worked. Small axe was nice thing to have , for fight and as a tool.

Some folks used small military shovel (folding) with sharpened edge, again as a weapon and as a tool. Every trip was mix of scouting and running,for example if you needed to cross over open space, like street first we spent some time checking for possible problems.If you seen other group of people, always hide until find out who they are and what they want. In short it was always like moving on enemy ground.

To add more about gangs: Yes they even had their own prisons, houses for fun, sometimes they abducted people for ransom, sometimes just for fun, there was no rule.

Urban vs Rural in Case of SHTF

Now, if anything like SHTF gonna happen again, i am choosing countryside for sure.

From my experience it is better there, i am trying to learn something about wilderness just in case i am gonna need that, mostly to get me trough from city to countryside. I must mention again i am speaking from my experience, maybe it is not gonna work in some different situation.
So first period of SHTF is worst for moving somewhere, like leaving your apartment to go to countryside.

If you going to live city be sure that you are gonna see some warning signs so you can live before everything starts. That s best thing to do. But probably you are going to be caught in the city, most of us.

When starts, that is worst period in terms of chaos and panic, that first period i guess is coming from he fact that people can not accept new reality.

Sound funny but after that acceptance, comes short period of some kind of peace,people are shocked, terrified, in that short period of peace you must leave the city. Because after that real hell is coming.

Real hell is coming after people accept fact that old world and old rules are dead, and in new world and new reality everybody making the rules.
I think good description is- good people turn to bad, bad people turn to worst.

So i think good thing is to be stocked and prepared, but best thing is to prepare your mind and recognize signs of coming SHTF.And recognize your chance, because it is not going to be better.

Talk with your family members about your plans and prepare with them, good thing is to have friends, real good friends and to plan together with them.

I think best place to be during the SHTF is small rural community. Village with all resources.

I have house in village,land to farm, and some plans to go there with my family, few very good friends and their families when everything gonna be close to SHTF. We all have skills in fighting (we all survived war) but also we all have some specific skills, like medical, defense, farming, mechanical-technical etc.

You just can not have everything what you going to need for SHTF, you need people.


OK, i wanna share with you my own experience. (be patient with my English, i am from far away )

I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year i lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water,real food distribution, or distribution of any goods, or any kind of organized law or government.The city was surrounded for 1 year and in that city actually it was SHTF situation.

We did not have organized army or police force, there was groups of defenders, actually anybody who had a gun, fight for his own house and his own family.

Some of us was better prepared, but most of families had food for couple of days, some of us had pistol, few owned AK-47 when all started.

Anyway, after one month or two, gangs started with their nasty job,hospital looked like butchery, police force vanished, 80 percent of hospital staff gone home. I was lucky, my family was big in that time (15 members in one big house, 5-6 pistols, 3 Kalashnikov s) so we lived and survived, most of us.

I remember US Air force dropped MRE every 10 days (god bless USA for that) as help for surrounded city, it just was not enough.Some of houses had little gardens with some vegetables, most did not.

After three months rumors started abouth first deaths from starvation,deaths from low temperatures, we stripped every door , window frame from abandoned houses for heating, i burned all my own furniture for heating, lot of people died from diseases, mostly from bad water (two of my family members), we used rain water for drink, several times i ate pigeons, once i ate rat.
Money did not worth sh..

we traded things, black market worked, few examples: for 1 corned beef can you could have woman for couple of hours(sounds bad, but it was reality) i remember, most of that womans were just desperate mothers, candles, lighters,antibiotics,fuel,batteries, rifle ammo and of course food, we fight like animals for that.

In situation like that lot of things change, most of people turned to monsters, it was ugly.
Strength was in the numbers, if you were alone in the house, you ve been probably robbed and killed, no matter how well armed.

Anyway, war ended, again thanks to America (and again god bless USA for that)
It is not important witch side had right in that war.

It was almost 20 years ago, but believe me, for me it was just like yesterday, i remember everything, and i think i learned a lot.
Me and my family are prepared now,i am well armed, stocked and educated.

It is not important what going to happen, earthquake,war, tsunami,aliens terrorists, important thing is that something gonna be.
And from my expirience, you can not survive alone, strength is in the numbers, be close with your family, prepare with them, choose your friends wisely and prepare with them too.