Even without an Apocalyptic, Dystopian SHTF Scenario, it is still relatively important to protect the Prepper Paradise and the Homestead from vermin and other intruders … of both the four-legged and two-legged varieties. While it is true that there is no perfect defense, and that if you build a better mousetrap, somebody will come along and build a better mouse, it is also true that thinking outside of the proverbial box and being a little creative will generally discourage all but the most determined of intruders. A select few of these measures are introduced in the article here, though feel free to contact the author and share your thoughts and ideas if you have anything to add. The focus of this article will look primarily at establishing a system of “natural” defenses for the Prepper homestead.
Fences are great to some degree, especially if they serve to keep livestock or certain pets within a given area, or just keeping bothersome neighbors out. Unfortunately, they are not generally going to do much to keep wildlife (of any variety) out as a general rule. This is especially true if the intruder is someone who knows what you have and has an earnest desire to relieve you of your stores and wares. The fence however, should be accompanied by some company as it were, and additional means for keeping the homesteader and the Prepper safe.
The fence should be accompanied by a rather deep ditch on one side, preferably outside of the actual property line unless watering is needed. Care should also be taken to know and understand any and all ramifications of the Endangered Species Act and the Wetlands Preservation as these laws can result in guys from the government showing up to steal your land … I mean to confiscate your land for the purpose of protecting the “wetlands” that you have built. The ditch should be wide enough to prevent the common person from jumping across easily, at least six or seven feet or around two meters in width. The sides of the ditch should be steeply angled and covered with flint, shale or other small, generally very sharp rocks in order to prevent anyone from climbing out without at least incurring minimal damage to themselves in the process. This however, in and of itself, will not keep most people out.
Some time will be needed to implement the next obstacle in your natural security barriers for the homestead property as you will need to do a little bit of gardening. The inside of the fence, on the actual homestead site, should be planted thick with hedgerows, bushes and/or small trees that produce an ample number of thorns. Berry bushes are the personal favorite of the author for around the house, but not always well suited for fence lines. Berry patches will have a tendency to attract both four-legged and two-legged varieties of predators, often providing them only with an added incentive to seek a means to get inside your well-constructed homestead defenses. The idea of this initial measure of defense is to dissuade such activities. Fortunately, there are a great many other plant options that produce large numbers of very persuasive … or dissuasive thorn growth as the case may be.
Once the thorn-bearing plants are well rooted and growing relatively well on their own, the ground surrounding them should be well mulched and gravel put into place. Again, this is an ideal location for small, sharp gravel that will not only crunch underfoot, alerting your outdoor dogs, but also serve to aid in the ability of any potential intruders for doing harm to themselves without any action on your part. Legend has it that there are people who can walk across flypaper so softly that the paper will never stick to their feet. While this may be true, I am going to go out on the proverbial limb here and state that it is fairly safe and reasonable to say that people with those levels of skills are not going to be trying to rob the local homestead any time soon. Again, this area of dense thorn growth and gravel should be kept a minimum of eight to ten feet or two and one-half to three meters across, densely grown and dissuasive in both appearance and any means to traverse across. In short, it should look and actually be very intimidating to the more casual intruder.
Obstacle growth similar in nature to the inner fence line can (and should?) be built alongside each and every building within the homestead, including both the thorns and gravel features . However, as I briefly noted previously, for the thorn growth around the homes and other facilities, I much prefer berry bushes. With a little bit of creative grafting a great many different varieties of berries can be grown around the homes, while at the same time maximizing the discomfort and pain of any would be intruders with the excessive numbers of thorns. Windows should be built slightly higher than they are in traditional urban population center construction.
My windows were generally placed at about shoulder height on my homestead, but this is only in part because of security. My bedroom also faced my thousand meter shooting range, (yeah … but my dad built it and liked meters better for some reason, so meters not yards) and such an ideal height had the added benefit of allowing me to plink off some rounds even on rainy days … from the comfort of my bedroom or library. The high windows however, will also prove to be an added barrier to potential intruders, forcing them to not only maneuver through the thorn patches, across more gravel surrounding the house, which will alert every dog, but then to have to climb up through the thorns to reach the base of the window before they can begin trying to get it open. Again, while this is not foolproof, it will keep all but the most dedicated and motivated predators out.
The vast numbers of berries, and likely some roses or other thorn-bearing plants around the house will also tend to draw a substantial number of smaller predators and beneficiaries in the form of flowers, trees, ants and even bees. A funny thing about bees, is that they are relatively easy to raise, almost easy to learn to get along with, and tend to bother a lot of people incredibly considering their limited size and potential for harm. Some people may want to keep a hive next to every structure, some may be more restrictive about where they place their bees, but bees are in fact, incredibly effective as a singular part of a larger security and defense perimeter for the homestead and the facilities on site. All it takes is for an unwary intruder to take a purposeful swipe at one or two of the bees, and they will likely find themselves beating feet back to your ditch if it has any water in it, just to get away from the swarm of bees now purposefully and determinedly focusing all of their attention on the intruder.
Some people tend to believe that the best defense is convincing people that there is nothing there at all to begin with, and this is a theory I tend to agree with decisively. While it may not be possible for every Prepper to build the majority of their homestead underground, there are other options for keeping the house on a homestead and any other buildings relatively obscure and difficult to see with a casual glance. The inclusion of climbing plants or vines at the base of the house can allow for the vines to grow up over the house, leaving doors and windows relatively free of debris, while at the same time providing a fairly decent level of camouflage for the rest of the house. It is not generally a good idea to allow the growth to extend over the roof too much, though a properly constructed house can be built with such a purpose in mind as well.
As more of a side note, the careful and proper selection of the plants should also provide food and other materials to the homestead owner or Prepper. With a little bit of creative grafting, the berry plants can be made to bring forth their bounty in a most colorful … and tasty fashion. Pancakes, cobblers, wines, brandy, dyes for cloth and a host of other benefits can be gained from their presence. Furthermore, some of the climbing plants will also produce fruits or other viable goods, even in the form of fiber that can be used to make cloth or ropes. The actual selection of plant species needs to be carefully considered, and may be best suited with local botanical or ecological experts, though a fair bit of research by the Prepper can also lead to the same conclusions if they are careful.
Dogs are a great means of Homestead and Prepper Defense, though far too many people want to get the Bavs, the Dobies, Staffordshire Terriers (aka Pit Bulls) or other large, “aggressive” breeds and often forget about the primary purpose of the dogs. Dogs are … or should be used for tracking and/or for warning the homestead owner of impending danger. They are not a means of security in and of themselves. Most Preppers and homesteaders are going to have large stores of goods on their property that will actively attract rodents in various forms. Cats will be a necessity and untrained dogs that eat all the cats will not help. Further, dogs are pack animals by nature and will need attention, so even if some dogs remain outside their entire life, they need to have some companionship, human or canine. Finally, there is something that people very often forget when living on the homestead or in their new Prepper Paradise.
Punters, ankle-biters or whatever you want to call those very irritating, small and obnoxious dogs are generally not considered as viable options for the rugged outdoor individual … but they should be. As was previously noted, the dogs should only be a single portion of the overall homestead security for the Prepper. One of the most vulnerable times for anyone is when they are sleeping, and a dog growling outside or even fighting, may not always be sufficient to rouse the heavy slumber of a person who has been working on the homestead all day. A little ankle-biter running around inside each and every house on the homestead however, will generally make enough of a racket when there is an intruder, to roust even the hardiest of sleepers from the deepest and most contented, dream-filled slumber.
I have to admit that it took me a long time to grow accustomed to having these annoying little balls of fur running around under foot, but on nights when the coyotes or wildcats came calling, I was very happy with their presence … and their ability to effectively sound the alarm. Whereas the larger dogs I kept, even the Australian Shepherd, tended to generally go into silent hunting mode with the presence of a large predator, the ankle biters would all go nuts and make so much noise, I do not doubt that there were times the predators left before I could make my way outside. While I do not see the day coming any time soon when there are Prepper gatherings and a bunch of guys sitting around showing off the new hairdo of their miniature poodles, the viability and purpose … not to mention the effective (and sometimes incessant) barking of the ankle-biter should never be overlooked.
Security, like an ecosystem, needs to be established using a systemic approach in order for it to be truly effective. The needs of the Prepper or Homesteader will vary depending on a number of variables that can not all be factored in here. However, with some careful planning and a non-traditional approach, fully safe and legal security measures can often be implemented to a sufficient degree that any intruders are most certainly not on your property by accident. There is no perfect security system, and ultimately, the most powerful security measure and the most powerful tool that any Prepper has is their mind and their ability to put everything together to adequately prepare for any possible scenario.