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Interview with a Prepper: The Greatest Prepper

Today we are interviewing Troy S. Smith Sr. of Prepping To Survive


How long have you been prepping?

I was born into this lifestyle. I will be 50 this year…so 50 years.

Was there a specific event or reason that lead you to realize that you should begin prepping?

My parents and grandparents were “homesteaders.” They were self-sufficient, living off of the land…hunting, fishing, gardening, raising rabbits, canning/preserving food, storing water, etc…the original “green” recyclers, as they repurposed and recycled EVERYTHING…wasted nothing. It is how I was raised. I do it because it is second nature…but I see it is also necessary in today’s world. Landfills are full. The economy is over-flowing. People do not have a clue where their food comes from…which (on average) has traveled 2,000 miles or more to get to them. People have NO clue how to live off the land anymore.

Are you located in an Urban or country setting? Are you planning on bugging out or bugging in?

My wife and I live in the country on a small homestead. We lived on a larger one when our 8 children were home, but have moved to a smaller location that actually has more natural resources available. The lake we fish is public, but only 1/4 of a mile away. We have 50 deer each night that parade through our yard. It is a beautiful area. Tons of timber all around us…which provides our wood to burn year round. We live within a stones throw of TWO hog confinements… which house thousands of hogs and grain/feed. As for bugging in or out…We will never leave our home so long as it still stands. We have enough food to sustain the small community of 200 that is just a few miles away. We are very active in the community…teaching canning, hunting, survival, security, etc. The children come here often to learn from us and all know if the SHTF, this is where they should come with their families. We are very involved with the other Preppers of the community who are as active and involved with our community and all have a place and plan in event that a disaster or event occurs. We all know our roles.

How did prepping change your lifestyle?

Prepping and homesteading didn’t change MY life one bit…but I will tell you, it did change my wife’s! She was a “city-girl” when we met, LOL. She can cut and stack wood as well as any man, shoot a shotgun, hunt, butcher rabbits and chickens, garden and can food, and do ANYTHING I can do now…but it was a process to get her there. I still laugh about our first date. I had to haul goats that I had just purchased to my home. She allowed me to put them in her little car and never complained once. I knew it was love. <3

Do you have a bunker or underground shelter?

We do not have an underground shelter, save for our basement. Our basement has everything you could hope for, including a hand-pump that provides fresh water as needed. It is accessible from the inside of our home, and built as well as I anticipate ever needing. We have talked many times about buying shipping containers and putting them into place underground, but haven’t done so at this time.

In a SHTF situation do you plan on working with a group or independently?

As I stated before, we are very active in the community of 200 that is very nearby. (Just a few miles away from our home.) There are several homesteaders within the community that we work together with. ALL of the parents and children that are not preppers are very aware of what to do in event of a disaster. They are to gather with the designated prepper that is closest to them, and then we will all “meet” and decide where the safest place to gather is from there. ALL of the prepper’s in our area carry weapons/handguns 24/7. I am a NRA certified instructor and teach the CCW Permit class. I am adamant about security and protection. My wife and I teach survival skills, homesteading skills, prepping skills, etc. .

What are some of the biggest mistakes you made that beginner preppers should avoid?

I don’t know that I can pinpoint any “mistakes” we have made…but I do see so many young and new preppers thinking they need to spend a ton of money to begin prepping. We teach them to use their surroundings and resources. For example, we teach them to save each and every milk jug and bleach jug when it is empty…rinse them out and store water. Look for free pallets, bring home and stack wood, to “go fishing”…and save grocery money by fishing that can be reinvested in buying beans/rice/grains/flour/sugar each week. Buy a few rabbits…my favorite for sustaining a family. Rabbits are cheap, quiet/silent/undetectable, and each doe can produce 60 pounds of meat per year! Our advice to beginners is to start small, do a little EACH day, and keep your eyes WIDE open to all things around you! Learn a skill every day! Knowledge is free…it weighs nothing…and knowledge is power!

Are you married? If so please have your spouse answer this next question
What was your reaction when your spouse stated that they wanted to start prepping? Do you support his/her decision? How do you participate?

Hello…This is Norma Jeane. I am blessed enough to be married to Troy…the greatest prepper I’ve ever known. I was born and raised in the city, so when I moved to the Midwest and met Troy…this bearded, handsome, wonderful, gun-carrying man…I was SO impressed with how he lived off the land! He taught me everything I know today. How to make butter; how to can and dehydrate food; how to hunt; how to butcher our livestock; how to fish; how to start a fire without a lighter; how to garden…the list IS truly endless. I was overwhelmed with his knowledge and skills. It is now a way of life for me. I pride myself in hanging laundry outside to dry and using God’s solar power and wind power rather than the (nearly brand-new) dryer I own. I can not tell you how many times I use the knowledge Troy has taught me to share with others. We are very blessed to have his skills…and my own (I am a nurse)…to fall back on DAILY! There is SUCH a peace of mind in knowing that if ANYTHING ever happened…natural disaster, EMP, economic collapse…ANYTHING!…that WE (and our local community) will be just fine! I love our way of simple living that Troy has taught me and continues to teach others every day!

Do you have children? How do they feel about your preps? Do they participate? If so how? If they were hesitant at first how did you get them to come on-board?

Our eight children were raised in this lifestyle, and are all grown now. They have families of their own and are living in far away areas…but are all still in the Midwest. They continue to prep for their own families…and also enjoy “supermarket” meat/produce. We take comfort in knowing that if the SHTF, they all have a plan of getting here to us AND a plan for bugging in…depending on the situation at hand. They all know how to forage for edibles, how to hunt, how to survive…how to purify water and how to make fire.

Do you tell your friends and family that you are a ‘prepper’? How do they usually react?

EVERYONE that knows us, knows we prep. It is not only something we tell everyone, but something we share and teach. Again, we believe knowledge is power.

What if nothing happens? Would you consider all your prepping a waste of time and money?

Prepping/Homesteading is what we do…what we are. It is never a waste. Better to know how to start a fire and never have to. Better to have food on our shelves and never need it. Better to know “how” and NEVER have to use it in a horrible scenario. BUT, we have already had to rely on our knowledge and stores SO many times that it has already been “worth it.” We have survived weeks without electricity due to a regional ice storm. We have survived a few lay-offs and chronic illnesses that have left us unemployed. We have survived EIGHT children…that never once went without…in fact, had an abundance. We have survived floods that devastated our area, leaving NO food at the grocery stores. We use our stores and skills DAILY!

What advice would you give a newbie prepper?

Start somewhere! Whether you start small or big, whether you begin with food stores, water storage, rabbits/chickens…START SOMEWHERE! I can’t say enough about learning…learning skills, learning HOW…but LEARNING daily should always be a goal. I am as much a Prepper as anyone can be, and my daily goal when I get out of bed is to learn something and to teach someone something.

What is one item that you believe most other preppers overlook?

Water. The rule of 3′s…You can live 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. Clean drinking water is KEY to your survival. Store fresh water. buy bleach tablets (in your laundry section) or iodine to purify water. Know how to boil water. Buy a LifeStraw. WATER, WATER, WATER!

Knowledge. You can learn daily for FREE! A full bug-out-bag means nothing without survival kills and knowledge! I’d rather walk out of my house with an empty bag than an empty head!

Is there anything else you want to share with everyone?

We are grateful to be asked to share our story with others and would love to welcome you to our page. Thank you all, Troy (and Norma Jeane) Smith https://www.facebook.com/Prepping2SurviveByTroy

I want to thank Troy for coming on over and doing this interview for our community. Make sure you go to his Facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/Prepping2SurviveByTroy Like it and thank him for sharing his story with us!

Article Categories:
Prepping for Beginners

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