Let’s Put Hundreds of Things on Your Front Lawn, O.K.?


The Survivalist Photo Shoot

A view from above of the Douglas family’s stockpile, including solar panels, a vacuum sealer and a year’s supply of a wheat.

By Dwight Eschliman on Publish Date November 16, 2012.

For our article in this Sunday’s magazine about Ron Douglas, a “self-reliance” entrepreneur, we asked him if we could take his huge stash of disaster-preparedness supplies, lay them out on his family’s front lawn and have our photographer Dwight Eschliman shoot them from a 35-foot-high lift. Amazingly, Douglas agreed. (See Eschliman’s time-lapse photography above.)

Eschliman says that it took all day and required 15 people to set up the photo shoot: Douglas, his wife, his six children, two volunteers from his church, two missionaries, Eschliman himself and his two assistants. “Most of the supplies were in his basement,” Eschliman told me in an e-mail. “We created a bucket brigade that started in the crawl space in the back of the basement.” It took almost six hours for the team to transfer the bulk of Douglas’s stockpile to his front lawn.

Of all the stuff Douglas has stored in preparation for the possible collapse of civilization, here are most of the things you can see in our pictures:

Staples in 6-gallon buckets (rice, beans, nuts, sugar, salt, matches, wheat, flour); freeze-dried meals; assorted canned foods (cheese, butter, meat); broth (beef, chicken); salt in 25-pound bags; sunflower seeds; canned turkey; beef jerky; vinegar (white, cider); olive oil in cans; canned staples (rice, dried carrots, dried onions); powdered milk and eggs; pasta; dehydrated mashed potatoes; jars of jarred roasted peppers; honey in buckets; canned sardines; canned apple-pie filling.

Water; fortified water; filtered-water bottles; juice; powdered hot chocolate.

Water-bath canner; vacuum sealer; pressure canner; aluminum foil; portable first-aid kits; lighters; U.V. light sticks; fast-acting glue; candles; cough drops; 72-hour backpacks (one per family member); charcoal chimney; grill; solar oven; wall-mounted first-aid kit; laundry detergent; heirloom seed bank; bleach; generator; propane burner; water filter; hand warmers; surgical masks; empty Mason jars for canning; foldout tent; five-gallon gas canisters; solar panels; plastic hose; hand sanitizer; axes.

Guns (rifle, shotgun, pistol).

Of course, once the sun went down, Eschliman notes, “we had to put everything back.”


Ron Douglas and his family have roughly a year’s worth of supplies in the event of a major disaster.Credit Dwight Eschliman for The New York Times
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