Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Scavenger Skill Set





Seems to me one of the most valuable talents/skill sets one can have in a post collapse situation maybe the scavenger. Perhaps not right at first and then of course the value of that skill set may diminish over time as resources that can be scavenged become more scarce, but for a certain period scavengers may perhaps be more important to the overall survival of a group than food producers or defensive personnel. Yet overall the scavenger is probably the least mentioned of the survivor skills sets.

My thoughts on this bend towards the fact that for a while at least it may not be possible for scavengers to operate without truly knowing if they are stealing or simply scavenging. Many a moral issue could develop as the ability to truly determine ownership of property enters a gray area. Simple security would dictate that one cannot just leave their calling card whenever they scavenge something just in case it happens to be owned but if no one is around who knows if it is owned or not?

In my mind the scavenger would also overlap strongly into the hunter, warrior and defensive skill sets as well as specializing in whatever form of scavenging predominates the area your group inhabits. Any group small or large would do well to have the services of a scavenger or two (Or more) at their disposal.

One of my neighbors happens to be tearing down an old fence very much like the one I have been working on the last few days. It had been patched in some areas with a panel here and there new boards had been added to replace older ones and many small vines and trees had been allowed to grow into it. In one afternoon my neighbor was finished clearing his fence line out while after three days I am less than halfway done with mine even though they are about the same length.

The difference?

Well my neighbor got out his big John Deere and yanked the entire fence row out and then had a bobcat push it all together into a big pile of boards, panels, wire and posts and set it alight. Once it had burned down he gathered up the remaining wire and loaded it up to take to the dump.

Myself I am cutting each section of wire, woven and strands of barbed wire, and folding them carefully up and stacked out of the way to be recycled next time I take some scrap metal in. Cattle panels that are maybe destroyed on one side get cut in half to use the undamaged section elsewhere. In fact I used half a panel just the other day when I repaired a barn division and needed to close up the lower part so lambs wouldn't slip through. Each top board and post is evaluated and inspected. If one half is rotted or cracked I cut that part off and save the good section for something else. Even boards most would call useless I use to put down under my stacked firewood.

You get the idea. I am practicing scavenging even if it is my own property I am doing it on.

Is my way the best way right now? Maybe not if I could make more money with the extra time than I am saving by recycling the stuff. Depends on your outlook and the ideals you hold plus the value you place on things. But I can tell you this: in a grid down collapse situation being able to make these assessments and willing to take the extra time to save scavenged material will be invaluable when you can't just replace it down at the farm supply store using money from the federal ag subsidy you got.

Running a Small-Hold requires many more materials and items than any family can reasonably even think about stocking and storing. As long as the stores and the economy are functioning you can get what you need but it never hurts to practice a little scavenging and recycling techniques either.

How long you wait after the stores are closed or looted and the sub-division down the road is empty before you scavenge what ya need from those empty houses. Well that's a question for another post I reckin.....

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!




19 comments:

  1. That is the way I was raised as a boy. There were buckets of old rusty bent nails in our supplies and you would take them out and straighten them to reuse. I once joked to a friend of my Dad's that I was grown before I saw a new shiny straight nail, I thought they were manufactured bent and rusty. I still save and reuse nails, screws and bolts.

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  2. We all know several bloggers who are good scavengers. Too bad you could get the fence pieces from your neighbor. It would have helped you a lot.

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  3. I never thought about it but I am a scavenger, it's true. My favorite character on the great escape was the scrounger which is very similar. I search in the woods for abandoned metal posts and wood post insulators. I enjoy making new stuff out of old stuff. I used to even make mouse traps out of tin cans, the world is my junk pile!

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  4. i don't want to brag - but one of the reasons i married jambaloney...well, besides that he is a very strong, able-bodied, capable man who moves into a community that should hate him but they all end up loving him...is because he is a scavenger extraordinnaire. he is always pulling things out of the junkyard...also known as our backyard...and finding ways to use things that people have thrown away. i haven't worried about the zombie apocalypse, SHTF, or TEOTWAWKI since i met him. plus he washes dishes, laundry and puts things back in place. i know that he might sound perfect...oh but trust me - he is still a man! bahahahahahah! much love to you and Mrs. PP - i know that you and jam are cut from the same cloth buddy!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. I heard you two originally hooked up after you caught him dumpster diving. You inadvertently hit him with a bag of trash and he came up to see who had hit him and it was love at first smell.

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    2. Matt - you and i have that big sister/little brother relationship and i love it. but that being so, sometimes in a big sister/little brother relationship, the big sister wants to cuff the little brother off the side of the head for being a smart-ass. this would be one of those time. doesn't matter how much the big sister loves the little brother - when he's a smartass - you cuff him! bahahhahah! love ya buddy!

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    3. You rock, girl. And J is pretty cool himself.

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  5. It's funny but three of the main bloggers I thought about when writing this post were Jamby, SF and Swampdog because they are each top notch scavengers in their own right. SD is able to find stuff all over he has the scavenger eagle eye while Jamby and Sf can make such nice stuff from recycled and scavenged materials.

    So this is my reply to each of you guys...

    Rob - You were thinking what I was thinking about the bloggers. As for the fence stuff I don't think he wanted to take the time to let me pick through it. From his perspective time is worth more actual money than it does to me right now.

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  6. Have you ever read "The Long Emergency." ? Your thoughts on scavenging are very similar to the author's view point. If you haven't , you would probably enjoy it.

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    1. Harry - I don't think I have read that one. I am currently reading "without Warning" and I just finished "World made by hand" I will look for that title next.

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  7. Scavenging is actually a pretty useful skill right now. I imagine any sort of long term emergency would make it priceless.

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    1. TB - I would think so especially after things have calmed down and it was safer to roam a bit.

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  8. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." -Thomas Edison

    Best,
    Dan

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    1. Dan - Heh... I think there is also an inventor type I may cover later too that goes hand in hand with the scavenger.

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  9. When and if, you're hired. BYOB.

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    1. Stephen - With the high winds we been getting up here Florida is sounding kinda nice.

      Those snakes though :(

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  10. Your post made me think of my husband's grandmother. She raised a family through the Great Depression. Whenever she and grandpa went to take a load of stuff to the dump, they ALWAYS came home with a load of "good" stuff. ;-)
    I scavenge also, sometimes it's like the way you referred to, but sometimes it's in my house. For instance, if there is an article of clothing that isn't good enough for anyone to wear anymore, I strip it of all buttons, zippers, anything that could be useful. Then it is either cut into rags, or if it's the right fabric, cut into strips for rugs.
    Miss Violet

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    1. MV - Too bad so many places won't let ya do any honest scavenging these days. Yes reusing the old is the perfect way to scavenge.

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  11. It's the rural version of being tight with your money. Used to see it all the time with people who grew up in the Great Depression.

    Some of the early survivalist fiction (Robinson Crusoe foe example) involving castaways featured it pretty regularly, and it seems like Wolf and Iron had some of it as well. But it tends to lead to a slower pace without enough gunfire.

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