[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ot just any piece of land can be turned into a survival homesteading retreat – at least not a quality one that will keep your family safe, well fed, and adequately hydrated. Our search for the right piece of land to turn into a prepper retreat took about three years. At times I never thought we were ever going to find right spot – or get it at an affordable price.
We have been turning out bargain basement find into a fully-functional homestead for nearly two years now. We spent the entire first year fixing the fencing that encompassed the 56-acre tract, replacing the well, bringing back pastures and hay fields, and making the windy half-mile uphill road passable.
Now, we can begin tackling the house. We did some routine maintenance to it along the way, but it is time for cosmetics. The dwelling was a hunting lodge with concrete floors when we purchased it, the accommodations were quite spartan, to say the least.
You can fix, decorate, or enlarge a house. What you cannot do it alter the characteristics and location of the land, not to any substantial degree, at least. The land was perfect in nearly every way, the house I could deal with until the time and money became available to pretty it up.
Whether you are starting your search for prepper retreat land or reviewing how your existing space could be used as a survival homestead, make a list of priorities the property must possess followed by a detailed pros and cons list to determine how your own space or listings you are browsing, measure up.
Prepper Retreat Deer Stand – LP/OP And Hunting Areas
A simple stand like this one can be used for hunting now and as a listening post – observation post and sleeping quarters during a long-term disaster. We are blessed to not have any neighbors or road views anywhere but the lower driveway area of the property. But, if you are not quite so lucky, disguising your prepping security posts from prying eyes should be at the top of your priority list.
You do not want to wait until a long-term disaster strikes to build a security post like the one in the photo. You will be far too busy just trying to survive to spend days on construction and securing the boundaries of your property.
Everyone, even the youngest or most infirm members of your family or survival tribe must learn how to get to and from the home and essential areas of the prepper retreat without removing themselves from cover.
A larger homesteading survival retreat like ours is not for everyone – no matter how perfect such a property may seem. If you do not have not only enough people, but enough of the right type of skilled people to protect and work the land at ALL times, it will either be overrun by the marauding hordes or fail to produce food…or both.
It takes a lot of time and hard work to plant, tend, harvest, and preserve crops. Taking care of livestock so they can also be harvested and safely consumed or maintained so they can help work the land, is also a time consuming chore that requires both dedication and knowledge.
If you own or plan to purchase a large tract of land, or even as little as 5 acres of land, ATVs should be worked into your prepping budget. The durable machines can be stored in a Faraday cage made out of a metal wood shed with a wooden floor, to protect them from an EMP.
The all terrain vehicles will allow you to get from point A to point B on your property far more quickly than on foot, can be stored even in suburbia (horses cannot) and be turned into low cost bugout vehicles in case you are forced to rapidly evacuate the survival retreat.
Attaching a hitch and a wench to an ATV turns it into a powerful log and supply hauler – which will save time and tough manual labor when hauling in wood or large wild game killed in the woods.
We have several camping areas already set up on our survival homesteading retreat for members of our tribe – my favorite term for prepping mutual assistance groups.
The camping area featured in this video belonged to our most long-standing and skilled tribe member, Matty. He died unexpectedly recently and leaves a big void to fill both in our tribe and in our hearts.
One of the best features of the hunting lodge we are still turning into a home, was the attached butcher shop. It came complete with all the tools needed to butcher livestock raised on the property.
As you will see in the couple of interior shots below, the butcher shop features a hook and lift system that allows us to hang beef or pork in a covered patio area at the entrance to the butcher shop and transport it inside the butchering area or into the walk-in cooler at the rear of the room.
During a long-term survival situation, a combination of generator and solar power will provide power the the butcher shop and other areas of the home. Our generators run on multiple types of fuel, including biodiesel that we can make ourselves.
The butcher shop can also be used as an extension of our root cellar if we run out of space for preserving food. Like a basement (which was used like a root cellar while we were still town livers) the butcher shop always stays at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the house, even if the walk-in cooler is not running.
Our survival homesteading retreat is far from finished, but it would sustain us if the SHTF tomorrow. Would it be a safer place with concrete and wrought iron tall fencing all the way around it, and a solar powered security system on top of the fence? It sure would, and as soon as we hit the lottery I will get right on that.
Until then, we will protect what we have so our children and grandchildren can survive with a more deadly type of metal.
What do you think are the most important attributes of any survival retreat? Please share your thoughts with the Survival Sullivan community in the comments sections below.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.