Sunday, September 18, 2022

When Vikings come a-raiding

One of the factors that led to the Vikings being such efficient raiders is the fact that they appeared on the horizon without warning. One day is just like every day that came before it. The next morning dawned with boats filled with Vikings with the village unprepared for defense.

Another shortcoming was the lack of mutual-aid agreements. The Vikings cracked each village individually and sucked out the wealth. Then they moved on to the next village.

But the primary enabler for Vikings was the fact that their transportation out-ran the communication system of potential defenders.

If a person knew when the thief was coming, he would make preparations. He would move livestock to a secure location. He could prepare a warm reception. If the thief passed over his domicile, the responsible home-owner would come to the aid of his neighbor who was not so lucky. 

This need not be something that involves huge amounts of bravery, physical prowess or personal risk. It could be as simple as firing up the chainsaw and dropping a tree across the road to close-off that avenue of retreat to motor-vehicles. Thieves are not going to steal if they cannot get their loot back to a safe-haven. Furthermore, the economics of looting tips significantly if they experience significant attrition on the round-trip.


You cannot beat a dog or two. Learn their barks. Unlike electric systems, dogs are self-replicating. Small-holders in Europe favored small terriers while rural Americans favored "curs".

Geese are another great choice. The girls lay eggs. They eat fresh grass and make meat. Unlike dogs, they are much less likely to be preemptively poisoned or shot by raiders. Of course, the two types of animals compliment each other. Most people do not want to bring geese inside of their house.


Communication systems can be simple

Mutual aid

If nothing else, the old granny can keep her eyes peeled and neighbors can keep their eyes open for your stolen property. It is highly likely that raiders are getting some aid from one or two of your neighbors. Identifying those moles and dealing with them will go a long way toward securing your entire neighborhood.

Secure storage

Thieves look for easy-pickings. This is a good time to do some maintenance on your outbuildings. Grease the track for sliding doors. Trim brush away from doors to provide clear lines of sight. Keep your fences hot...check grounds to ensure your weed trimmer did not pull the wire out of the clamp...yes, multiple grounds.

Consider how you would brace your house doors with a length of 2-by-4 so it cannot be forced in. It can be as simple as a cleat attached to the floor with deck-screws and 36" of 2-by that drops into place to catch the bottom corner of the door or it can be fancy.

Ability to rapidly move assets to secure storage

I love management intensive grazing AND I feed some grain because it makes the cattle far easier to handle. Shake that bucket and they come running.

One possible trajectory for a dystopian future involves a vast increase in the amount of physical work we will have to do. That means that animals will have to shift for themselves...grazing or more free-range foraging. That exposes them to more risk.

Some people keep roosters because they can be protective of their hens and provide warning with regard to hawks. Time is distance and distance is time.


  1. For 2 years we had pullets free ranging. 2-3 a year would disapper, sometimes without a trace (sometimes there were puddles of feathers in the pasture). We got a little batam roo for free from the 4H kids at the co-op one Saturday (my wife can't say no), and we haven't lost one since. He earns his rations, and is good at tending the girls.

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  3. I remember reading a post- apocalyptic novel. One of the bad guys was remembering, back in the 80's - everyone robbed rural gas stations. All you had to do was cut their phone line, and rob. By the time they drove to another phone, you'd be long gone. With the death of cell phones after the EMT - he could return to his old profession.

  4. Many of us are forming invisible little groups for that coming time of societal upheaval and perhaps even famine if the new world order has there way . Preppernetdotnet is booming in this area and I have met many friends and kindred spirits there . We have always had German dogs , 2 or 3 but the very best watchdog I ever had was a Tennessee Walker coon hound I rescued . Sadly I fed her her last steak this summer and buried her beside my house , The dog had some senses that I did not even understand and she would start her warning growl before you could see the threat . We all on this road are getting the shortwave and cb radios ready for that day when Barry pulls the plug on the internet and cell phones . You know it's coming don't you ? Remember 911 ? No cell or ground based phone service . It's getting late !

    1. will walkie talkies work in that situation?

    2. They will, though they tend to be very short range; CBs have a range measured in miles, plus they are cheap and widely available.

  5. I checked Sarahs link to the above money making scheme on my Plume App and it is loaded with bad juju . Don't even try it unless you are protected . Badddd JUJU !

  6. I keep a rooster because he keeps the flock from fighting amongst themselves. No beak trimming necessary and if two hens start to squabble he pushes in between them and settles the problem. And naturally then you have fertile eggs and if you have broody hens you have chicks, As a side note my buddy went to a local retailer a few weeks ago to get some chicks and they wouldn't sell them to him if he was paying cash unless he gave them a name and address which he did. I went to that store last week and asked the manager, who is a friend of mine, what that was about. He said in a rather uncomfortable way that the Michigan Department of Ag requires all retail stores to do that. Allegedly to be able to track disease outbreaks that may arise at the nursery. Looks suspicious to me. ---ken . .

    1. could you give a false address?
      it is the cooperation of regular people--the store manager--that brings on the tyranny
      either refuse to do wrong or find a workaround
      i suggest subterfuge to stay off the radar
      it is the tall poppy that gets its head lopped off

  7. A lot of daily tasks on the homestead / farm involve moving bulky items from here to there. Two items - a heavy duty hand pulled wagon (with removable walls) on smooth surfaces and a wheelbarrow with steel yoke and a no flat tire for single track paths are highly recommended to help you with these moving. Even if you are no longer able to accomplish these tasks, a younger person would be greatly helped with their presence.

  8. dear erj, such an excellent post!
    i am forwarding it to my small list of friends

    1. Thank-you for the kind words.

      I get great commenters here. They are nearly always worth reading and double the value of what I write.

      Thanks for reading!


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