Day 30 – Thursday

My toes are still sore but looking way better. I am enjoying just laying around eating and sleeping. I think I’ve slept more in the last few days that the prior three weeks. And it is solid sleep. I love it!

There are so many cool things to talk about here at the ranch. It is a pretty amazing place when you think about it. During the “old days” it would be a great place to live, work, vacation, or just visit. During this end-of-the-world crap it is an oasis!

Remembering back to AH Trimble’s priority list of threats/risks is probably the best way to talk about some of the stuff happening here. AH’s threat/risk list was:
1. Violence
2. Injury or sickness
3. Communications
4. Organization
5. Dehydration
6. Exposure
7. Starvation

Violence –
The security around here is pretty tight, much of it unseen. Everyone over the age of about 13 or 14 carries a pistol at all times. I am really impressed that the teenagers are not all into a thug gun culture, they don’t flash their guns or brag about it. They just wear them like it is part of who they are.

There are guards as well but they are low-profile. If you didn’t know they were here, or know where to look, you would think there wasn’t any security at all. While the two clowns that ambushed me are not the best example of their security, the rest of it is pretty tight. And in their defense they weren’t supposed to engage me, they were an intelligence gathering patrol. They send out medium-range patrols to around their property to see what is happening in areas that they don’t normally observe.

I don’t think the place would be easy to overrun by itself, there are two other compounds like this one and they support each other. So all these folks would have to do is fall back defensively and wait for help from the other compounds to flank the attackers. Good way to have mutually supportive defenses.

The main security forces are pretty squared away. They all have matching tactical vests, all have AR-15’s, they standardized on Magpul PMags, and it appears that they carry Glocks. And what I find fascinating is they have Baofeng handheld radios. Yeah, radios. They told me that they had EMP-proofed a lot of stuff long ago. They also chose Baofengs due to cost, availability, ease of use, and dependability.

So far as I can tell all of their structures are “hardened” against attack. Some of it is obvious, some not so much. They have these plastic 55gal drums full of sand stacked around one smallish building that they call their “Alamo”…a last ditch defensive location. If they are attacked all of the children and their guards hole-up there. All of the buildings have sandbags to some degree to protect at least the lower 3’ of each structure. There is also a log cabin with 12” thick log walls. It is an older structure but well maintained. The door appears to be heavy, maybe oak, and it is locked. There are also two other buildings that are pretty much underground kind of root cellars. Again, both are locked and I didn’t ask what is/was behind any locked doors. I don’t want them to think I am trying to acquire intelligence about their set-up.

Injury or sickness –
They appear to have three primary first aid and mid-level medical care givers. The older woman, a 40ish woman, and the teenage girl. It is an interesting mix of regular medicine and more homespun homeopathic medicine like essential oils. While they are prudent with it, they appear to have a decent supply of basic medical stuff. I noticed first aid kits located in each building. But not a standard first aid kit. They appear to be larger more mass casualty trauma aid kind of kits. The kind you would find and need in a gunfight. I also noticed that anyone wearing a tactical vest has a personal first aid kit on it. When I asked about it they said they are called IFAK (individual First Aid Kit) and they got the idea from medical kit descriptions.

Communications –
I already mentioned the Baofeng handheld radios earlier but they also have an HF Ham rig that they evidently can really reach out pretty far with. There is also a shortwave rig in their “Commo Shack” that appears pretty small but can pick up a lot with its large antenna.

I tried to look in their commo shack once but was quickly and sternly told that I had no business trying to look in there. The quick glance I did get looked as if there was a black phone handset sitting on top of a green canvas box. I could have sworn I heard it chirp or kind of buzz while I was walking by one time. Could they actually have a phone of some kind out here?

I did recognize a couple of antennas around the compound, well disguised to be sure. One was a “guy wire” to an old windmill. To the average person it looks like a wire to help hold the windmill steady when the wind blows hard. But, one wire was slightly different that the other three. I saw what looked like a Ham radio connection it but I didn’t ask about it.

Organization –
Their organization is obvious in one regard, not so much in the other. Everyone has a job. Even the young children are out every morning weeding their gardens. The only thing that doesn’t have a fixed and organized schedule to it is their security. So far I haven’t been able to figure out any kind of schedule that their security keeps. But, I guess that is a good thing since you don’t want your security to be predictable. Unpredictable security makes it tougher on any potential enemy to attack and have a successful outcome.

I talked to talk to a couple of people but Andy was the most forthcoming about their organization. No wonder I recognized it. It is a modified version of the Incident Command System. Everything is centered around four basic needs; 1) operations, 2) logistics, 3) planning, 4) administrative. It appears to work well for them. But that is only the half of it, the part I would call the “temporal” side of their little community. The other side is a “spiritual” side.

Everyone here is just like Ashley…Mormon. Or, more correctly stated…members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve been reminded of the correct term more than once. The religious side of things is pretty clear; they have a spiritual leader (the patriarch), but it also seems as if everyone has an assignment with the religion thing as well. And they are definitely a religious bunch. They pray at every meal, and they pray as families in the morning and at night. Every single prayer that I heard they were are always thankful about a long list of stuff. Man, with everything happening in the world and this bunch is thankful? Weird!

Sunday there were church services. Yeah, an actual service. The patriarch’s wife invited me but I politely declined. I don’t need religion shoved down my throat by a bunch of holy rollers. But that dang-gum Ashley, she shows up at my room all dressed in Sunday best. She gave me three minutes to get ready. She waited right outside my door counting down the minutes. She dragged me off to their service and then sat with me. I think it was a set-up, when I walked into the room the patriarch’s wife just grinned at me. I think it is some kind of religious conspiracy thing…I am getting sucked into a cult. Well, that might be just a little melodramatic, they are really a great group of folks!

But, I will give them credit…the service wasn’t too bad. Some nice singing, a kid gave a nice short talk…that surprised me, a kid talking in church as part of the service? Then a woman got up and talked for a couple of minutes about faith in Jesus Christ. Then her husband spoke for a few minutes about families. It was a pretty cool message. Part of it he said came from their “Proclamation” about families or something like that. It was a good message.

Dehydration –
These folks have it together! I saw three wells just in the immediately area of the compound. One is a windmill only, two are solar powered. Yes, solar powered…and running. How? I have no clue. I would have thought that they would have been knocked out with everything else. But I know they are pumping just fine. If they have working radios, why not solar?

I also noticed that every roof of every kind has gutters and downspouts. That means they are set-up to catch every drop of rain possible. It may not be much in the grand scheme of things but even if it just fills cisterns for the gardens that helps.

One other thing I noticed…everyone has a water bottle. A nice stainless steel water bottle on a lanyard with them at all times. And it is not a nice shinny stainless steel bottle, they are all painted a dull neutral color. These people are really paying attention to their health and well-being.

Exposure –
Every structure here is in good condition. Plenty of windows for air movement with screens to keep bugs out. But, each window has an outside and inside shutter. I haven’t looked real close at them, but I am willing to bet that each is heavy enough to keep out lead, or at least reduce the velocity enough to negate some of its deadly impact.

Each person is dressed appropriately for desert SW conditions, especially long sleeves to protect from sunburn. All but the youngest of the children wear long pants, cargo pants. The security folks are all wearing tactical clothing of one form or another. From what I can tell their patrol folks are wearing Mossy Oak Desert cammo pattern. Plenty of boonie hats to go around. Sunglasses as well.

Starvation –
They aren’t sharing much information about their food situation but each meal is a full table. Nothing overly fancy but plenty of the basics, especially beans and rice at every meal.

They have plenty of gardens and they are all well maintained. They all have UV netting over them to reduce the effect of the harsh New Mexico sun during summer. I noticed that about half of all the food harvested is going in sun drying contraptions. A natural dehydrator in effect.

I talked to one of the adult garden tenders and she said that they use only heirloom seeds. That way their plants can produce their own replacement seeds. Actually, they can grow more each year because they end up with more seeds than they started the year with. That is because a single plant or two can produce enough seed to start out all the plants for the next year.

The other interesting thing I noticed…vitamins. At breakfast each morning everyone takes a multi-vitamin. Some folks take other vitamins as well. Not sure about those, I figure that would be a little too intrusive of me so I didn’t ask.

Bottom Line –
These folks are rocking it!

But, they won’t give me any information about the other two compounds at all…nothing. But, if they are anything like this then these folks are a force to be reckoned with.

And you know…they are all nice…just really nice people. I like them, it will be kind of hard to leave in a way. But, I have to leave, I have to get home.



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