New Category Added-Monasticism

I’ve just added a new Category named Monasticism. This one is something of a niche category and may not be of any interest to many of you.

It was engendered by my wife asking me to find her books on early Monasteries. She wanted to research them for hints and mentions of how early Monasteries remained self sufficient while remaining a small self contained community.

There are Monasteries in parts of the world that have existed virtually unchanged throughout hundreds of years some of them for over a millenium. Which means they have had hundreds of years of experience maintaining a self sufficient community and have learned lessons that would be of value to anyone seeking to build a self sufficient life for themselves.

Certainly many monasteries and religious orders, particularly in more prosperous regions of the world, have depending on tithes from communities and donations from wealthy patrons. In many areas nobles would outright gift portions of the land’s production or even acreage itself to a monastic order to provide for their support. It is not secret that such practices were subject to abuse and corruption.

But then in Three Months in an English Monastery 1864 – Charles Walker wrote:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That individuals are prone to corruption and vice does not change the ideals to which we aspire.

Some may object to the overtly religious nature of many of these books. To those who do my response is simple.. “Get a life.” No one guaranteed that you will never be offended.

If they did and you believed them then I’m not sure which is worse… them for lying or you for being foolish enough to believe them though I’m inclined to think the latter.

If you are offended by the religious beliefs of others when their actions do not directly threaten you then I suggest the problem lies in you and not in them. If someone tries to kill me then I don’t care what their religious beliefs are I will respond accordingly. If they don’t threaten me then I also don’t care how they worship God.

Many of the books are histories of specific orders or compilations of history or anecdotes about specific monasteries in particular locations. Thus much of the material in each book is focused on the religious, political or social aspects of that order or Monastery. But here and there in them are references to the daily lives of the monks or friars and what they are doing to survive and maintain. Those nuggets of information will be of interest to those attempting to do the same thing.

On a more abstract level some of the books detail the social interactions of clerics in the local community, how they deal with disputes, social ills, disagreements, and so on. In most cases these are rural areas, villages and towns and not major cities.

Should any of us find ourselves trying to rebuild a world from scratch that’s exactly the environment in which we will eventually find ourselves… as part of small villages, towns and communities struggling with exactly the same kind of problems that a village in rural England did a hundred or two hundred years ago.

Technology may have changed but despite what you hear in the media and from politicians people haven’t.

To repeat what Charles Walker wrote in the above quotation:

“There is danger of abuse in everything in which poor human nature is concerned, and there always will be. All we can hope to do is reduce it to the minimum.”

That will be just as true in a world rebuilding from scratch as it is today and was when he wrote it.

The Librarian


I’ve switched to using Lexar Flash Drives for the library.

The PNY drives are good drives but the supply chain for them has been getting very inconsistent recently. That has led to the prices on them fluctuating almost daily sometimes reaching truly absurd levels and on occasion simply being unavailable from anyone.

At work and at home I had already switched over to using Lexar drives because the quality is excellent and the supply has been steady and reliable.

I gave up on the PNYs because anytime I needed a specific size I’d have to hunt through multiple sites to find one at a decent price since the prices were fluctuating so much. A few weeks ago I ordered three of them, each one from a different site because each site only had one in stock.

I have always been able to find Lexars at stable prices and readily available and I started buying those for home and work use a couple months ago.

When I made the last Library copy for someone this week and looked in the drawer to see if I needed to order one or two more I realized that I had a dozen or so Lexars at home, in my bag and at least that many at work and no more PNYs anywhere. So I figured it was time to make the switch for the Library as well.

The Librarian


Knowing as much as I do about the 1800s I would certainly not want to live there.

Having lived my early years without it I truly appreciate air conditioning.

Having spent time dealing with mules when younger I truly appreciate my diesel tractor.

Having read many of the medical books from the 1800s I truly appreciate modern medicine and the advances made there.

Yet I wonder if perhaps some of the practices we left behind in the 1800s are practices we should have kept. Perhaps our lives are a little poorer for having left them behind.

The Librarian


It seems to me that someone out there is missing the point. This story is about some of the Tech m(b)illionaires buying up land in remote locations like New Zealand in order to build expensive and elaborate survival complexes, compounds, bug-out locations or more simply places to which to flee with everything goes down the tubes.

While we’d all enjoy having unlimited funds to pursue prepping along with everything else in life it seems to me that these folks are missing the whole point.

Do you know what the real difference is between them and the rest of the prepper community? Nothing.

They may have a little more ammo stockpiled. Their weapons may be more expensive and more tricked out. They may have larger food stockpiles but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

They will still eventually run out of ammo. They will run out of food and have to start growing and raising their own. The clothes they have will wear out and eventually will have to be replaced.

Even worse for them they are fleeing to remote locations which do not have significant viable communities of which to become part and to rebuild.

Places like New Zealand are beautiful no question. The weather is wonderful. The scenery world class. But it has little in the way of natural resources. It has little industry. It depends on the industrial and technological infrastructure of the rest of the world to maintain it modern lifestyle. On its own, cut off from that modern supply line, it has little chance of rebuilding a modern infrastructure.

The thinking of these folks is like some preppers who imagines that it’s simply a matter of waiting out some temporary instability, some riots, perhaps a civil war here or there, some public unrest but eventually everything will return to normal and their adventure/vacation will end and they can fly back to the U.S. or Europe (First Class or on their private jet) and be driven back to their offices and pick up where they left off but with great stories to tell.

They don’t seem to grasp that if the world economy or social structure collapses, if an EMP event occurs there will be no going back. A totally different world will exist afterwards and being isolated on an island in the South Pacific thousands of miles from any possible rebuilding will be the last place in the world you’d want to strand your children and grandchildren.

Still it’s a nice fantasy to imagine at least in the short term. Standing on your balcony in your 200 acre New Zealand mountain home with your Stoner 63 rifle ($120,000), sipping Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee ($50/lb) waiting for breakfast to be served while waiting for the refugees to die off so you can drive into town…

The worst downside to that fantasy is imagining that the local folks… the ones who issued your building permits, who built your retreat, who delivered and unloaded your supplies, who installed the weapons safe, etc… don’t know that you have many years of food and other supplies in your place and that eventually they or worse the closest government body won’t be dropping by to discuss you “sharing” your bounty with them.

So while these folks all have the luxury of spending as much as they want to create safety for themselves and their families I suspect most of them are being taken for a ride by builders and sellers more interested in their money than in their long term safety.

The Librarian


As I think most folks understand there are real differences in what needs to be done and what skills you need depending on where you live.

Skills developed to survive in Northern Idaho or Northern Minnesota are a bit different from the skills required to survive in Southern Louisiana or even Coastal North Carolina.

The climate is the most obvious difference but there are a lot of other factors such as indigenous wildlife, edible plants, games animals and predators, snakes, insect pests, potential parasites and even things as simple as the type of trees.

Natural materials which are readily available in some areas simply do not exist in others. Flint which is common in some regions is almost impossible to find in Coastal North Carolina to my knowledge. Please correct me if I’m wrong. That’s just one of hundreds of small but potentially meaningful issues.

Growing techniques are very different in the sandy soil here from the loamy soils in other regions.

Drilling a well in this area is as simple as driving a pipe or digging a hole 20-25 feet into the ground. In other areas even on the Western side of the state it requires deep wells of several hundred feet which are not something most individuals will be able to do without rock drilling equipment.

So it’s nice to see regional survival websites which focus on the skills and information needed by folks in a more specific area.

So if you live in the Deep South and scratch your head at those things called Snow Caves or videos on how to make snow shoes this might be a useful site.

The Librarian


Ran across these folks youtube channel the other day. While they center on a period of history a bit earlier than I would prefer to experience it does have a lot of useful and interesting videos showing how to actually do various tasks.

They tend to concentrate on food preservation techniques but there’s nothing wrong with that. Have to be able to feed yourself before you can do most of the other tasks involved in long term planning.

Thought folks would find some interesting information there.

The Librarian


Nice article in the UK Daily Mail about a couple old books from the 1800s providing what are now called “Life Hacks” or in more traditional terminology… practical advice for daily life.

Both of the books mentioned are in the New Additions Category on the Survivor Library site.

There’s a minor error in the article in that the The United States Practical Receipt Book was actually published in 1844 and not 1884. Perhaps there is a later edition than the one one we have but the link they have posted in their article is also to the 1844 edition so I suspect it is a simply typo…. not that I have EVER committed such a typorgaphical error myself.

Always interesting it have such an insight into the lives of our forebears and to realize that their day to day concerns were not really that much different from ours.

The Librarian


A few pictures of the food section of a Walmart stores in the Charlotte, NC area just prior to the winter storm a couple of weeks ago.

That was just a storm… a temporary phenomenon that everyone knew would pass in a few days. Just as everyone knew those shelves would be restocked within in a day or two.

Try to imagine the aftermath of an EMP event that would NOT PASS IN A DAY OR TWO because the recovery time would be measured in years, decades or in the event of a Solar EMP more likely in generations.

Look at those shelves and think about them NOT BEING RESTOCKED because the transportation network is broken and would not be fixed for a long, long time.

Then finally look at your family and ask yourself how you will care for them, feed them and shelter them what those pictures are the reality you face.

The Librarian


The Commission that’s been in existence for 8 years and has repeatedly pointed out the vulnerability of the U.S. to EMP from both Solar and Nuclear sources will be releasing a ruling on standards to protect the grid from an EMP.

But in typical D.C. fashion (i.e. incompetent and purely political at our expense) the ruling will ONLY address Solar EMP protection and will be released on Jan 19… one day before the inauguration of the incoming president.

The Commission has been in existence since 2008 and could have issued the ruling at any point during those 8 years since we’re not talking about rocket science.

The effects of an EMP are well known, much studied and well documented. The steps to protect the grid are also well known, much studied and well documented.

That they would wait until the day before a Presidential inauguration and only do half the job by ignoring Nuclear EMP, which in the current state of the world is becoming more and more possible, is a sad travesty.

Issuing the standards on the last day of an outgoing administration makes the act so blatantly political that it will taint the act in the eyes of the incoming administration and virtually guarantee that it will be simply ignored.

If there ever is an EMP event I hope and pray that the political figures who have played games with the issue survive to face the rest of the survivors and have to explain their negligence.

The Librarian

p.s. Despite the article I don’t actually blame Obama. This type of action has become the norm in D.C. for both parties and all politicians as a breed. It could just as easily have occurred under a Republican as a Democratic administration. Only politics matter. Lives are irrelevant.