Dan & Sheila Gendron
Hello to our new friends at ONERADIONETWORK.COM! We are Dan & Sheila Gendron the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock and hosts of the podcast, Still Surviving with Dan & Sheilaand the Surviving Survivalism Blog. We’re very pleased to join the great writers here.
After 20 years of searching and trial and error – and error – and error, we finally found the place we were looking for to set up our survival homestead on a ranch in New Mexico. And here we have lived, unfettered by the static of an electrical grid, the ring of telephones, or a proximity to “normal society” for the past several years – and we’ve never looked back. On this ranch we have created an intentional survivalist community with the intention of making it through the coming “disruption between societies”, to help usher in a new paradigm based more on helping others than on greed.
What we offer in our book, podcasts and articles is the view of the reality of survivalism. We’re not just talking the talk, we’re walking the walk and so we’ve been through quite a few – hmmmm, let’s call them “learning opportunities”. How do you get through the rough patches (oh, yes – self-sufficiency has its own stresses!), like 1)when you run out of baking soda and can’t get to town or; 2) the flue is blocked and the house fills with smoke? (Ans. – 1) You make flat pancakes and; 2) you open all the doors and windows, even if the chickens fly into the kitchen!)
This is not a fairy-tale life. It takes a lot of hard work and by the end of the day, you are physically ready to rest. But the lift you get from enjoying the simplest of pleasures – smiles on your family’s faces upon biting into bread you just baked, discovering how easy and efficient a two-man saw is for cutting wood – is a far better way to go than staying sleepless at night wondering how you will meet next month’s bills.
But the true success of survivalism is in being able to understand that it is not about how much “survivalism stuff” you can buy, it’s about allowing your mindset to change from its currently programmed state of “I can’t do that” to one of “I am capable of living a self-sufficient life.”
We also have had quite a bit of practical experience in things like building houses, storage foods and wood stove cooking, inexpensive solar energy systems and much more. Here are a couple of tips to get us started:
Tip #1 – When calculating how much solar power you will need, first determine what electrical devices you really must have in your survivalist homestead. We have 1 or 2 laptops, a satellite Internet modem and a couple of fluorescent RV lights. That’s it. Then look for UL Tags to determine the wattage used by each device. The UL tag (usually on the bottom or behind the device) will tell you 1) the input voltage (e.g., 110 volts AC), 2) output voltage (a typical laptop is 19.8 volts DC at 60 to 70 watts) and 3) wattage or amperage. If it says wattage, you have your number. If it says amperage, the output voltage times the amperage is the wattage (Ohm’s Law – 12 volts times 1 amp would be 12 watts). So add up the wattage of all the devices that you may run at the same time, say for example that is 2 laptops at 60 watts each and a Satellite Internet modem at 200 watts, that will be a 320 watt drain on your batteries at maximum.
Tip #2 – Many of the electronics you use now on AC power can easily be converted to Direct Current (DC). Living off the grid means having to generate your own AC (110 house current) through artificial means such as inverters or a gas powered generator, neither of which is very efficient. It is much better to use a DC to DC converter, that is, a device that takes the current from the batteries (12 volt DC) and converts it into a different voltage suitable for whatever device you are using it on. For example, our podcasts, books, articles and connection to the Internet are all powered through Direct Current using DC converters. We use a Dell 1505E Laptop with a DC to DC converter we bought on ebay that came with several different plugs for different laptop applications for only $15. Also available are adjustable DC to DC converters, that is, you can dial whatever output voltage you need for each device you use with it. The reason DC to DC conversion is preferable to DC to AC inversion is that it is much more power efficient. To strip away the technical jargon, it can mean the difference between having enough power to watch TV for an hour after dark, or to have the TV on all night.
So if you have any survivalist-related questions, we are more than happy to personally answer emails sent to us at [email protected]. As with all our podcasts and articles, we are audience directed, that is, we answer YOUR questions as they come in, personally on email as well as sharing your questions with thousands of others who have the same question as you.
Most importantly, we hope that we can serve as an example that you can remove yourself from society, you can re-learn those skills that have been “schooled” out of us and you do have the intuition and the power to choose to live a better life than one based on consumerism slavery. To those of you who “wish” you could live the self-sufficient/off-grid/survivalist lifestyle like we do, we have nothing you don’t have – other than knowing that the choice was ours to make and then making it, and to be willing to do what was required to make it a reality.
Dan & Sheila
Dan and Sheila are the authors of Surviving Survivalism – How to Avoid Survivalism Culture Shock and hosts of the free podcast, Still Surviving with Dan and Sheila, both available at http://survivingsurvivalism.com. For information about their survival community, or for other questions, they can be reached at [email protected] .