Category Archives: Barter Economy

Gettin’ Down On The Mountain

A good friend of mine introduced me to Canadian alt country singer Corb Lund recently and my life was changed forever.  Why has it taken this long for someone to sing about prepping?  And Corb does it with a brilliant flair for black humor and a clear dedication to practical skills.  I like it.

This has not been a good week for the status quo.  Perhaps now would be a good time to can all that produce you grew this summer, split and stack that firewood, and buy a bit of silver.  If you were thinking about running to that cabin in the hills, it might be too late.  If you’ve already left, good luck to you!  I wish I could join you.


“Gettin’ Down On The Mountain” – Corb Lund, from “Cabin Fever” (2012, New West Records)

When the oil stops, everything stops, nothin’ left in the fountain
Nobody wants paper money, son, so you just as well stop countin’
Can you break the horse, can you light the fire?
What’s that, I beg your pardon?
You’d best start thinkin’ where your food comes from and I hope you tend a good garden

Gettin’ down on the mountain, gettin’ down on the mountain
Don’t wanna be around when the shit goes down
I’ll be gettin’ down on the mountain, goin’ to ground on the mountain

When the trucks don’t run, the bread won’t come, have a hard time findin’ petrol
Water ain’t runnin’ in the city no more, do you hold any precious metal?
Can you gut the fish, can you read the sky?
What’s that about overcrowdin’?
You ever seen a man who’s kids ain’t ate for seventeen days and countin’?

There ain’t no heat and the power’s gone out, it’s kerosene lamps and candles
The roads are blocked, it’s all gridlocked, you got a shortwave handle?
Can you track the deer, can you dig the well?
I couldn’t quite hear your answer
I think I see a rip in the social fabric, Brother can you pass the ammo?
I think I see a rip in the social fabric, Brother can you spare some ammo?


Brother can you spare some ammo?” indeed.


I’m A Chicken Farmer!


Today is the one week anniversary of my first attempt at raising actual livestock. In this case, chickens. Laying hens (aka “yardbirds”) are the most numerous domesticated animals on the planet. I love eggs. Getting them for free every day from your own back yard is one of the truly sublime satisfactions in life.


Once upon a time, keeping chickens was considered a civic duty. Times have changed and now we go to a store to buy the things we eat. The sad part is that we have no idea where those things come from or what’s in them. Me? I’d prefer to see what my chickens are eating and it had better be 100% organic.


In fact, I’m so picky about my eggs that I refuse to eat store-bought eggs. They are less fresh, less healthy, and more expensive. They don’t taste nearly as good either!

three birds

So, if it’s legal where you live, and you have a quarter acre yard (or bigger); seriously consider getting a few chickens. And don’t be fool and think you can eat them! Each of my hens will lay upwards of 320 eggs per year. Compare that to one meager chicken dinner and you’ll quickly understand that keeping chickens alive is the smart move. Even if you can’t eat them all, your eggs will make great food for your dogs and cats and have a surprisingly high barter value.

The Collapse Will Set You Free

(Author’s note: Thanks for being patient while I got those first few experimental posts out of my system. Now it is time to get on with my original promise of pointing out the upside of the coming collapse.)

Let’s start with an examination of debt slavery. Assuming you are a typical middle-class American consumer, your standard of living is totally dependent on debt. Personal after-taxes income has actually decreased slightly over the past 30 years for all but the top 20% of wage earners. That means, in order to have a better life than our parents, we must borrow. Life as we know it simply would not exist without mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit cards. The problem is that these “tools” have been forced on us by our economic overlords to the point that we have become their slaves.

In fact, doing anything that defies this mandatory program of debt-based consumerism will likely get you labeled a terrorist. You think I’m joking? Try making a major purchase with cash (or even a check). If you were to walk into a car dealership with $25k in small bills, the sales staff would alert law enforcement and you would have a few questions to answer down at the station.

I would advise anyone reading this to pay off their debt as soon as possible. Of course, getting completely out of debt is impractical and highly unlikely for most of us but that’s no reason to not make an effort. Paying off debt will put you in the correct frame of mind: “I must now pay for the stuff I thought I needed last week/month/year.” It’s responsible and it’s emancipating.

Better yet, use cash whenever feasible. This has two hugely emancipating effects: you “steal” the banksters’ cut of the action for yourself which, in turn, increases your buying power.

After the collapse, we will proceed to the final step in our emancipation: we will barter for goods and services. Federal Reserve Notes (aka FRN’s, often mistakenly referred to as “money”) will lose their last remaining scraps of value with the collapse. Then, only small portable objects with real value such as gold and silver coins, ammunition, batteries, cigarettes, coffee, etc. will serve as “money”.

Being a slave of modest means, I have chosen to stockpile ammunition as an investment “hedge” against a post-collapse barter economy. The reasons are simple: 1) gold and silver are far too inflated right now for the average peasant to get into; 2) everybody will need bullets; and 3) coins are really hard to fire out of a gun. Also, all those other high value barterables like tobacco, coffee, and sugar have a limited shelf life. Modern ammunition, when stored correctly, will last as long as you or I.

So cheer up, those crushing payments on your debt will soon be a thing of the past! The collapse might not be a trip to Disneyland for everybody involved but it will erase the shackles of debt. Plan now for a fresh new world where a credit card is just a piece of colored plastic imprinted with the name of a dead financial institution and a dollar is just a piece of paper covered in funny masonic images.

I can hardly wait!