Down Time ... And What To Do About It

Discussion in 'Mental Preparedness' started by uvisavargr, Aug 6, 2017.

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  1. uvisavargr

    uvisavargr New Member

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    this will be about what to do during "downtime" and also comments about how to handle children

    I am making this post in this section because I think this is closest to where it should be, even though it will touch on other ideas as well ... so if one of the mods thinks it should be in another section I will not be insulted if you move it to a different area.

    I am also going to break up this line of thoughts into a few posts in one thread ... as I started putting my thoughts down I realized that to try and do it all in one post would be very impractical.

    This post will also tie in with comments I have seen on other threads about what to do about/with children in a survival/disaster situation.

    part 1

    What I am going to go into in this thread ... is something that I have not seen any of the so called "survival experts" discuss ... possibly because all those so called experts are only getting paid by various survivalist magazines to just write little, limited scope articles, to support the advertising of whatever manufacturer is currently paying the most to get their product(s) over hyped in order to sell them ... and many of those articles are written in the form of "OMG, if you are in this situation, you will most likely DIE if you dont have at least one of the absolutely incredible "X's" made/sold by such-and-such company".

    As I said in my intro post .. I am ex-military, 15 years active duty including service in Desert Storm ... during my life I have also lived in plenty of areas that get severe weather, the type of weather that will knock out power and communications for up to a week or more at a time ... I have been through hurricanes in Florida, the Tidewater area of Virginia, and the eastern shore area of Maryland ... I have also been through blizzards and ice storms in the north-eastern US (in states like Pennsylvania and Maine) ... so I grew up being no stranger to " disaster survival" type situations ... the military then improved and broadened my survival skill set. During my life I have also spent time homeless living on the streets ... so that also has given me some insight into long term survival living.
    Do I claim to be an "expert" ... no ... I am just like anyone else in here ... an ordinary person who happens to have been through some reasonably severe crap at various times during his life.

    One of the things that I have yet to ever see in any survivalist magazine ... is a discussion of what to do during all the "down time" you will in fact experience in any survival situation.
    Oh I know ... the self professed experts would have you believe that "OMG you will be spending soooooooo much time foraging for food, and/or fighting off hostile humans/animals/aliens/zombies/etc, that only ocasionally will you have the opportunity to collapse from sheer exhaustion and get some sleep".
    That is a sock load of wet crap ... even in a WAR, you do not spend all of your time fighting ... even non-combat soldiers do not spend 20 hours a day every single day doing their jobs or standing guard duty.
    There is an old saying about what it is REALLY like being in a war ... "long periods of boredom punctuated by brief periods of terror chaos and confusion" ... and the same can be applied to just about any "survival" situation.
    In any survival situation, there will in fact be large amounts of time when you will be unable to forage for food, and lots of time when you are not engaged in battling aliens/zombies/animals or just hostile humans who want to kill or capture you for your supplies and/or for their own entertainment/pleasure.
    So what do you DO when it is pouring down rain outside, and just about all the animals are hiding, and pretty much all other humans are also staying put in whatever shelter they have ... because unless you happen to be carrying a large supply of dry clothing with you ... the smart thing to do when it is pouring down rain, snowing heavily, or any other severe weather like a hurricane or ice storm, is to stay as dry and warm as you can in whatever shelter you are in.

    The problem then becomes, what do you do to kill time ... sleep is good, but after a while you get enough sleep, and then you are wide awake ... you can only clean your weapon(s) so many times before it becomes meaningless ... and you CAN spend too much time sharpening a knife, to the point where you are just wearing away the blade for no good reason.
    GS AutoTech and TexDanm like this.
  2. uvisavargr

    uvisavargr New Member

    Blog Posts:
    part 2

    One of the things I learned in the military ... was the importance of entertainment ... and while that sounds completely insane to even be talking about it in the same sentence with "survival" ... it IS in fact very important. Because boredom can be a soul killer.
    Boredom gives you too much of an opportunity to over think just about everything ... over thinking things can run your stress levels sky high and drive you crazy trying to think of every possible thing that could ever happen and what to do if it does happen ... and if you happen to have a stash of alcohol in your shelter, boredom can push you to consuming a large amount of that alcohol, which is generally not helpful in a survival environment

    One of the things that our modern society is known for, is the ease with which we can find entertainment ... either with an ordinary AM/FM radio ... or listening to music on some type of music player ... or by going to a theater to watch a movie ... or to go see a concert of a favorite musical group ... or sitting down with a good book or magazine ... or vegging out in front of the TV ... or playing any number of table top or online games ... the availability of entertainment in our modern world is pretty much endless.

    And if you use a little bit of thinking ... a lot of that entertainment can become part of your survival equipment ... and what might surprise most people is how little space and weight it takes up.
    If you are like me, a bit older than most ... you can remember back when music came on large disks called records and you had to play them on big cumbersome record players ... well those records slowly evolved into 8-track tapes, then into cassettes, then into CD's ... and now much of it can be found in digital format that you can listen to on an iPod or an mp3 player.
    As an example ... I have two SONY mp3 players ... one is a 16GB, the other a 64GB ...on the 64GB I have over 7000 songs loaded on to it. By any standard you want to use that is a of a LOT of music ... on something that is small and easy to store ... and with a set of earbuds, it gives me countless hours of entertainment ... and since there are companies that make light weight very portable solar chargers for
    standard USB devices ... keeping an mp3 player charged is not a problem.

    While I mentioned both mp3 players and Apple's iPod ... personally I would not recommend an iPod ... Apple LOVES to charge you for everything ... Steve Jobs did figure out that there are enough gullible humans that can be convinced that "only 99 cents per song" is such a reasonable price for the music YOU want to listen to ... that he was pretty much able to save Apple Computer from going bankrupt with that idea, which is one of the reasons why Apple brought him back after getting rid of him as CEO some years earlier.
    Apple anything ... computers, iPod's, iPad's iPhone's ... anything Apple requires proprietary software to operate/load it ... and that is the problem ... anything that requires special proprietary software means that you can be charged through the nose for the privilege of even using it ...AND ... it also means that in a SHTF survival situation, if all the major communications and financial networks go down ... you might just be sitting there with a completely useless iPod or iPad if you can not keep paying whatever fees you have been paying so that you can use the apps and software on it.

    A good old standard mp3 player does not have that problem :) All of the mp3 players I have ever seen, use standard software that comes free on all Windows type computers ... and in the case of SONY mp3 players, if the player does have special software for it it ... SONY gives it to you free and already installed on the mp3 player.
    A standard mp3player also does not require you to pay 99 cents for every single song you put on it.
    There are millions of songs/albums that can be found and gotten for free on the internet.
    And if you have any sort of Windows based computer or laptop that has some type of CD/DVD drive, then you can convert (for free) any of your own music CD's into a digital mp3 format and load those onto your mp3 player.
    While I do not recommend popping in your earbuds and using your mp3 player while you are in a potentially hostile situation, like out foraging for food and needing to be fully alert to avoid hostile animals or hostile humans ... using that mp3 player when you are hunkered down in your shelter after a long day, or on a rainy/snowy day ... yes :) ... the pleasure you will get from being able to listen to your favorite music will do wonders for helping to keep you sane in an otherwise insane situation/world. Something about the old saying that "music hath charms to soothe the savage beast" ... the right type of music CAN in fact be very relaxing to listen to, and after a frustrating, or harrowing day, being able to relax can be very good for your physical and mental health.
    As a follow-up thought ... there are also easy to find little external speakers (some USB charged) that you could get if you do not wish to have to use earphones or earbuds to listen to your mp3 player ... like if you have family or friends with you in your shelter. You do NOT have to go to some specialty music magazine or website and pay way too much for their "expert" recommended top of the line audiophile quality speakers ... all you need to do is cruise around to places like Wal-Mart, or any local music store, they carry wide selections of them, and most at very reasonable prices.

    Now ... I can hear those of you who have smartphones, looking at this post, and maybe laughing at me for my not even discussing those incredibly wonderful expensive devices that sooooooooo many people are addicted to.
    There is a reason I ignored them ... partly it is the same reason I did not recommend an iPod ... monthly service fees.
    While your smartphone might be perfectly ok during a communications outage that only lasts a few days, maybe a week or two (like because of a hurricane) ... what is going to happen if that communications outage lasts for months, or years ... and you are no longer able to pay those monthly service fees so that your smartphone keeps working the way you have been used to it working.
    Or, just as bad ...what happens if something like our completely brain-dead idiotic federal government finally collapses and there are no more "federal" regulations to govern how much communications/phone companies can charge for their service ... all of a sudden you could find yourself with a device that costs WAY more per month than you can afford, especially if because of the scenario you no longer have a job that pays you any money ... and the service provider simply cuts off your service because you are not paying. How much of your OMG wonderful, expensive, smartphone will still be useable then?
    My very ordinary mp3 player will still be fully functional :)

    As for children and a music player ... I will save my comments on that until later in this thread ... I still have some more posts to make on this topic.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
    TexDanm likes this.
  3. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member

    Blog Posts:
    don't waste any so called "down time" in post SHTF, use it wisely, repair tools, mend clothing, make new clothing, wood working, even read a book if its one that can help you survive by giving more knowledge than you had before.
  4. uvisavargr

    uvisavargr New Member

    Blog Posts:
    hmmmm ... so doing things to maintain your mental health is a waste of time ... I guess your words also apply to things that can be done to help keep children calm in a post-SHTF environment, that those things would also be a waste of time

    I see by your title that you are one of the staff in here ... so it is probably safe for me to assume that the things you post carry the weight of the entire staff behind them

    sadly that means that you just showed me how completely worthless this forum is with that comment ... so this will be my last post before I delete my membership (if that function is available) ... otherwise consider this my saying to go ahead and delete this account ... I have no further reason to want to remain a member of this forum
    1. lonewolf
      I merely state that in a post SHTF landscape ALL time should be used wisely.
      sadly you seem to state by your post the only opinion that counts is your own, this is a DISCUSSION forum and will remain so.
      lonewolf, Aug 7, 2017
  5. TexDanm

    TexDanm Expert Member

    Blog Posts:
    Another long winded wandering missive from Danm

    I'm with you uvisavargr (???). People just don't understand that surviving takes very little work. The average savage spend less than 4 hours a day tending to their daily needs. Most of the many hours of work that people do now is to PAY for things that won't exist in a post apocalyptic world. The amount of work you would need to do to just feed your family, put a roof over their heads and clothe them is minuscule.

    People don't understand that there won't be any distractions. No TV, Radio, Music that you don't make yourself or much else if you don't provide for it. We live in a world, especially in the US where we live with our noses to the grind stone almost constantly. People THINK that without all of their labor saving devices and STUFF that life is going to be even harder! What they can't understand is that they are working constantly mostly to pay for those devices and for things to enjoy if they ever have the time to use them!! It is called "The Rat Race" for a reason!

    The down time is going to just eat most people up. They have no idea what it is like to sit in a dark cabin for hours and hours while it storms outside with nothing to do. They will go stir crazy in no time. So sad to survive the tough part of the crisis then die from boredom and cabin fever later.

    Now, what can you do? LOTS and most of it you need to start now because you will need some tools and such. People used to spend hours making their clothes. You have to understand they started with fluf and went from that to clothes. First you have to spin the fluf whether it is cotton, wool or whatever. This will give you thread or yard depending on how fine you spin it. You then take that and weave it into a cloth with a loom or if you made yarn by knitting or crochet. The cloth that you weave then has to be sewn into clothing. People made blankets and quilts. This was not done as a task of grueling labor but as something to keep you busy.

    You will need to cure the hides of all animals that you kill and tan that into leather. Then that leather and those furs will need to be made into coats, hats shirts and especially shoes! You will also be making leather for all sorts of things that now is made from plastic. That all will eat up a lot of your down time.

    Eventually you will need bowls and plates and spoons. These will be made of wood and that takes time and skill. Wood working is going to be a constant thing as you will get good at it.

    Now, I know that what I am saying also goes well with what Lone Wolf said and he is right too to some extent. The thing is that even with all of this and more peole still had lots of time on their hands. That is easy to see in the beautiful crafts that they made. They didn't just make bare bones clothes and stuff. Most of it was carefully made almost ART.

    You are going to have lots of hours with nothing urgent to do. You will learn to greatly enjoy a lot of different crafty things not just for their usefulness but for the beauty and pleasure of doing it. You had better find things for all of your people to do. In the winter months, depending where you live, you will have to deal with 12 or more hours of darkness every day. If you are very far north that can be as much as 20 hours in some occupied areas. No TV, No RADIO and not much light. Too dark to sew. You can't sleep 12 hours a day. What are you going to do?? You had better have a plan of you are going to go crazy and start fighting and that will be the end.

    What did people in the past do? Well for one thing they talked. Most cultures had huge oral traditions that were mostly totally committed to memory. They told stories and tales. Before their were books there were story tellers. They made poetry. In the dim light the kids played cats cradle with string. There were hundreds of word games like hangman that you could play in the dark with just you mind and voice. They played memory games because memory is really important with there is very little paper to waste on simple things like recipients and formulas for every day things.

    I think dice were probably one of the first game toys. They can be made as cubes or as multi-sided spinning tops that fall over when they stop leaving a number up. People sang and the songs were ballads that told stories. All sorts of instruments were made and learned.

    In all of my bug out packs I have at least 6 dice and one deck of plastic cards. In my big bag I also have dominoes, chess, checkers, and backgammon. These are all small but later I can made larger ones as far as the chess checkers and backgammon. I also have at least three books. All in pocket size I have a Bible, the SAS survival manual and a pocket reference that has a little of EVERYTHING in it. Unless I am just running for my life there will be at least one thick fiction book. My book will probably be Time enough for love by Robert Heinlein. I decided that years ago when I first read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Scifi fans will understand.

    You need to get a book on memory now and read it. Memory is not a random thing and nearly anyone with a little training can have an almost photographic memory of the things that they want to remember. I would give anything if I could go back in time and tell myself this when I was a kid and do it then. It would have made school so easy. In line of what we are talking about memory is a wonderful game and can be played alone or in groups of any size. People used to quote all manner of things from the plays of Shakespeare to the Bible. Your mind is a fascinating thing or tremendous depth and complexity and very few people take the time to explore it. This also was something that our ancestors did. They were much more cerebral that we are now. They had the time and had to do something.

    People also spent a lot of time writing and that is why we know so much about many people that lived a long time ago. Journals, diaries, Logs and endless letters. It is sad to me that the generations after me will leave behind almost nothing that will still be there for our great grand kids to read and get to know a little about us. I doubt there is a single person under the age of 40 that has ever written a letter. I have letters from my wife when we met, from my mother to my father Grand parents on both sides This makes them alive for me. My Mama and my fraternal grandmother both had the most beautiful hand writing. People now days just don't understand how plain writing is. The old REAL pens had split nibs and that allowed you to vary the width of your lines when you wrote. Back then people took pride in their writing and today you would call it calligraphy but for my Mama it was just writing. That was something else that people had time for...
  6. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    Well actually a good part of the time is spent doing the normal chores. Tending the fire, having breakfast, checking the trap line & foraging along the way. If there is not much on the trap line then I hunt on my return. I may have to field dress game in the field, that will take a little time depending on the kill. When I get back to camp I have to finish dressing the meat & then it has to be cut into strips & dried. This will take me to at least midday.
    There may be kindling & other firewood to collect. Water to collect. Gun to clean. Blades to touch up or sharpen. I may or may not get myself something to eat.
    Resting or sleeping is good, time to think of projects that need doing. There will be a garden to tend if I am not on the move. Even if I am on the move I may still be planting here & there ready for my return. Repairs to clothing, washing. Reading. Writing. I don't have a problem filling in my days.
    lonewolf and TexDanm like this.
  7. TexDanm

    TexDanm Expert Member

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    I have a lot of pastimes and never run out of projects. I like to whittle and make little knickknacks out of whatever wood comes to hand. All you really need is a good pocket knife but I have several specialty pocketknives for this sort of thing. I also like to do paracord projects am learning different knotting and braiding type things. My Mother in law used to make incredible things with jute and my Grandmother made table clothes out of tatted string. I used to crochet some and in general like things that will occupy my hands.

    Kieth is right about lots of time spent processing everything that you harvest or kill. I learned young that it is easier to not waste anything than have to do things several times. Every animal has a hide and a brain big enough to process that hide to make it useful. Working a hide into usable leather takes time.

    Another big time important thing that you can be doing is sharing your knowledge with others in your group and them with you. Everyone will have things that they are good at and you will want to learn from them and they from you. If you have kids or untrained adults in your group this sort of thing is especially important. Everyone will have their guns and gear and needs to know how to repair and maintain it. There is a reason you spend so much time tearing down and reassembling your weapon in the military.

    I love to read and also love to write. Paper is something that I have a lot of along with all sorts of writing tools. LOL unlike you young whipper snappers I actually know how to take a pen knife and a pen feather and make and use a feather pen. When I was learning how to write as a kid our ink pens were fountain pens with a split nib that was based on the old school pens made from pen feathers LOL with a pen knife. Now you know why a pen is called a pen and why a pen knife is called a pen knife. My Grandmother used to actually use quill pens. She even cooked up some poor folks ink made from mulberries.

    We have lost so much. After the fall most of it is going to have to be reinvented from scratch. Things that were passed down father to son and mother to daughter just passed into nothing as we stopped caring about that old timy stuff. I am 64 years old and even in my generation I am very much an anomaly in that I was taught a lot of this stuff and that I actually was interested in it and spent a lot of time with older people learning and listening. In the past your "elders" were a resourse of information and knowledge now we are just old.
  8. Ystranc

    Ystranc Well-Known Member

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    I'm of the opinion that all of you are right to some extent but for instance..Keith's down time cannot be compared to that of a soldier in a combat zone because a soldiers job is defined, he has a specialism whereas Keith has do do everything, he self sufficient (read Adam Smith on this subject) jumping from task to task always takes longer and causes short periods of downtime between tasks instead of the long periods of boredom a combat soldier experiences.
    Lone wolf is of the opinion that time should not be wasted but Uvisavargr knows that recreation isn't a waste of time, it does help your state of mind. The question I need to answer for myself is what recreation is acceptable and where does it become wasteful. This is a personal choice. I'm just as happy darning a sock or making a fishing net while I'm sat inside waiting for rain to pass. I will sharpen a knife for the pleasure of a job well done or mend something as my O/H sews.
    While at home we work at a sustainable pace but don't experience much actual downtime until after dark and even then I'm often out trapping before dawn or after dusk.
    We respect mealtimes as a way of making sure we have time to ourselves and structure in our day.
  9. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

    Blog Posts:
    Any free time I have out bush is usually spent just sitting, listening & observing, or I might read a book or write in my journal. I also enjoy tomahawk throwing, which is a skill worth learning & practicing whenever you can.
  10. TexDanm

    TexDanm Expert Member

    Blog Posts:
    I love to sit and whittle while I watch the birds, squirrels and the grass grow. I am a fidgeter and am seldom totally still. I usually have something in my hands to do. LOL, I have the sharpest knives in the world!
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