May 2006 Archives

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just a quick response as I expect such responses after the pro .30-30 posts.
1- Outfit with a basic defensive firearm .30-30, SKS, 12 gauge, etc.
2- Take care of other more important survival purchases
3- When your budget allows upgrade to better defensive weapons
4- Don't let ownership of exotic/military utility weapons make you believe you are a SEAL (the point of the .30-30 post)

Unless defense is the most pressing danger, then don't sink your whole survival budget into guns if you can already accomplish that mission with existing arms. Most of us enjoy firearms and we are always tempted to justify a new firearm upgrade instead of the boring grain mill and basic shelter type stuff. - David

Hi Jim,
I was over on and checking on housing prices for the bubble. On the right hand side was books advertisements. The first one listed was Cash in on the Coming Real Estate Crash, the second book was Learn How to Profit from Foreclosures Without Risking Your Savings! the books are from Wiley real estate.
Talk about Wiley Coyote stepping off the cliff on part of the page they are trying to sell houses and the other part they are saying Real Estate is going to crash. Only in America. Here's the link to Wiley

Reading the letter from the gentleman who mentioned on all the western states instruction opportunities compared to the eastern ones, I noticed my all-time favorite instructor was not mentioned: Pat Goodale, of Practical Firearms Training. His primary range is located in West Virginia, and I wholeheartedly recommend his courses.
Last year I decided I was slacking off with my practice and signed up for a full summer of his courses (he also owns a company in Montana, so there are courses offered here as well). I took Defensive Handgun I, II, and III, Precision Rifle, Tactical Rifle, and will be taking Defensive Shotgun this year. His courses run about $150 per day, are limited in class size, and are an incredible value. I've been to Front Sight, and while it was good training, I think it was nowhere near as fantastic as what I've
learned from Pat. In the handgun courses we expended 500 rounds per day - same for tactical rifle. It's fast-paced training, and well worth anyone's time to take the trip to Alderson, WV or Billings, MT for the course. If you can get 8-10 of your friends to pitch in, Pat will even come to your location and customize courses for you.
I have sent half a dozen students to Pat; some driving all the way from Florida and Ohio. Everyone says the same thing - take advantage of this top-notch instruction while you can. I can certainly assure you it's the best training I've received to date. You (or your readers) can check out my class reviews here:

Defensive Handgun I & II.

Defensive Handgun III.

Tactical Rifle I.

Precision Rifle:

Enjoy. :) And if any of your readers go, tell Pat that Kit sent you. - Kit

Trading on the new Russian RTS oil and gold bourse begins June 8th. The transactions will be denominated in Euros. Sound familiar? This does not bode well for the U.S. Dollar.

   o o o

The US DoD Upgrades its Assessment of the Chinese Military Threat.

   o o o

Here in the U.S., the unsold house inventory backlog jumped to 565,000 in April. The housing bubble has popped. There are no more bidding wars for houses. Now its price cut after price cut. In the coastal markets, I anticipate a race to the bottom, most likely starting in September of Aught Six.

   o o o

The CDC is forming a Morgellon skin disease task force.

   o o o

I was just doing a search for some genealogy materials on the Rawles surname on eBay. I had to laugh when I found a current auction for a copy of my novel "Patriots" . The following was included in the description: "THIS COPY IS VERY WELL USED AS IT IS UNDERLINED, BUT STILL VERY READABLE, IT SURVIVED TWO WINTERS IN THE YAAK RIVER AREA OF MONTANA. TURNED CORNERS,WATER, BOOZE OR COFFEE STAINS."

Jake: What's this?
Elwood: What?
Jake: This car. This stupid car. Where's the Cadillac? The Caddy? Where's the Caddy?
Elwood: The what?
Jake: The Cadillac we used to have. The Blues Mobile!
Elwood: I traded it.
Jake: You traded the Blues Mobile for this?
Elwood: No. For a microphone.
Jake: A microphone? Okay I can see that. Well, what the h**l is this?
Elwood: This was a bargain. I picked it up at the Mount Prospect City Police auction last spring. It's an old Mount Prospect Police Car. They were practically giving them away.
Jake: Well, thank you pal. The day I get out of prison, my own brother picks me up in a police car.
Elwood: You don't like it?
Jake: No, I don't like it.
[Elwood floors the gas pedal and jumps over an opening drawbridge]
Jake: Car's got a lot of pickup.
Elwood: It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.
- Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi in The Blues Brothers

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Today we present another article for Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up up to $2,000!) Round 5 of the contest begins on June 1st.

There have been a number of comments on SurvivalBlog about rechargeable batteries. The majority of these expressed the feeling that rechargeable batteries were expensive and ineffective for a long term storage plan. Before anyone gives up on rechargeable batteries I would like to share a plan that has proven effective for my family.
One day I sat down and assessed my family’s state of preparedness. Like many others, we needed more beans, bullets and band-aids. Turns out, we also needed more batteries. Before I started buying batteries, I tried to think of creative ways to minimize the number of batteries I would need. The first thing I decided to do was to go to low drain and no drain devices when possible. For example, I picked up an LED conversion for my Mini Maglite that more than triples the run time of my flashlight. [JWR Adds: Such as one of these.] So now, I get the runtime from two batteries that used to require six batteries. An example of a no drain device is the Swiss windup alarm clock that I purchased to replace my battery powered clock. Obviously these steps only lessened my dependence but I still needed a lot of batteries. The next idea I had was to standardize my equipment so that I only needed one type of battery. This way I would not have the expense of stocking up on a bunch of different types of batteries. This also helped because I would only have to worry about rotating one type of battery in my storage. I ended up choosing to standardize with the AA battery. Not only are they cheap and readily available, I found that almost every type electrical device that I wanted came in a model that used AA batteries. For instance when it came down to an Aimpoint or a HOLOsight, I choose the HOLOsight model that was powered by AA’s. Even after standardizing I still had some devices that I purchased earlier that use other types of batteries. Instead of immediately replacing them, but in keeping with my plan, I purchased some battery adapters (from These sleeve type adapters slide over AA batteries and allow them to be used in place of C and D cell batteries. This completely solved my standardization problem and added flexibility to my plan. Runtimes are obviously much shorter when using the adapters but at least the devices will be useable should I need them.
Standardizing and going with low drain devices was only part of the solution. I was still faced the daunting task of buying a sizable number of batteries. It was at this time that I started looking at the cost of various AA batteries. I went down to the local retail store and came up with the following: 8 alkaline batteries cost $5.18 or $0.65 each, 8 lithium batteries cost $16.84 or $2.11 each and 8 NiMH rechargeable batteries cost $17.87 or $2.24 each. Based on initial cost alone it would seem that alkaline would be the way to go. However if you look at cost per 500 uses, NiMH is $2.24, Alkaline it is $325 and Lithium is $1055. If you can get 1000 charges out of your NiMH battery, it will still only cost you $2.24 while the costs of the alternatives double. Although the initial cost is higher, I would only need to recharge each NiMH battery four times to break even with the cost of alkaline batteries. On paper rechargeable batteries looked good. However, I was still skeptical because my experience with rechargeable batteries has not been all good. I decided to do a little more research to see if they could be a viable long-term option.
My research revealed that rechargeable batteries have several deficiencies. To make a plan that would work I would have to overcome the following problem areas: overcharging, overheating, poor conditioning and deep discharges. The plan I came up with will require more effort to maintain than simply buying lithium batteries. However, if you are up to the challenge of making sure your batteries are properly conditioned and rotated then the monetary savings are worth it. Now let me tell you how I made the plan work for me.
The first step was buying a quality smart charger. The right charger makes all the difference in the world and helps minimize my effort by preventing overcharging, overheating and poor conditioning. The bad press about rechargeable batteries is largely to blame on older chargers sometimes called ‘dumb’ chargers. These dumb chargers are set to charge batteries for a certain time period. This time period is based on the batteries being almost totally discharged. If the batteries are not totally discharged then they can be overcharged and overheated. Smart chargers monitor the batteries charge and stop charging when full capacity has been reached. Overheating is largely prevented by not overcharging but you can also do things to prevent overheating like placing the charger on a platform that allows air to circulate. I like to use old plastic strawberry containers turned upside down. Also if the charger has a cover leave it open while it is charging or remove it completely. Overheating is not a problem limited to the charging cycle, so when the batteries are actually being used keep the device out of the sun when possible.
Poor condition occurs when the battery is used for a short time and then recharged again without being fully discharged. When this repeatedly happens a battery can lose the unused capacity. This is often referred to as memory effect. Look for a charger that comes with a conditioning cycle. The really good chargers will sense when a battery is poorly conditioned and will automatically run it through a few charge/discharge cycles to regain lost capacity. One last thing to consider in a charger is one that can be powered by both 110 volt AC and 12 volt DC. I couldn’t find the right charger locally so I got on the Internet and found a Maha MH-C204F (from Thomas Distributing). This model meets all my needs and is the backbone of my plan.
The last problem I had to solve was deep discharges. If voltage drops too low you can lose performance or even kill a battery due to polarity reversal or anode oxidation. This generally isn’t a problem when using digital devices like GPS, FRS radios and digital cameras as these devices shutdown on their own when power gets too low. You have to watch out for devices that keep pulling a charge when performance drops off. The best example of this is a flashlight that starts to get dim but is still sucking power. The solution is to immediately switch batteries in any device that starts to lose performance. Also, it is a good idea to buy a battery tester so you can check batteries in devices like this so you can be sure they are not being too deeply discharged. Deep discharges can also occur in batteries that are just sitting on the shelf. Rechargeable batteries have a higher self-discharge rate than normal batteries. Normally they lose 1% to 2% of charge each day when stored at room temperature. This means they are only good for use 3-5 weeks from their last charge. If you really procrastinate using or recharging the batteries they can eventually reach a state of deep discharge. To combat this I started storing batteries in my freezer. This slows the discharge and retains about 90% of the charge for a full month. Even if I can’t complete a full cycle of using all the batteries before they lose their charge I can slow their discharge down to the point that I can minimize the number of times the batteries have to be charged. And the fewer times they have to be charged needlessly the more times they can be charged and put to use for a necessary reason. Keep in mind that the batteries work best when they are first returned to room temperature after coming out of the freezer.
How many batteries did I buy? I made an inventory of all the electronic devices that I would conceivably use in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Let’s say I would use 12 AA batteries on my worst day. I then applied the survival rule of three and multiplied the 12 batteries by 3 and came up with 36 batteries. That allows me to have 12 batteries in use, 12 batteries that have been charged, and 12 batteries that are being charged or waiting to be charged. 36 batteries my not seem like a lot but keep in mind that I will be getting between 500 and 1000 uses out of each battery. I decided against buying additional batteries because this would make the rotation between batteries so long that some would not be used before they had to be recharged again. IMHO it would be better to buy an extra smart charger or two and keep them in a sealed ammo can in the basement. This is due to the fact that smart charges are controlled by computer chips and therefore would be vulnerable to EMP. You will also want additional smart chargers if the charger you choose cannot charge the required number of batteries in one work day. In the previous example the charger I picked can charge 12 batteries in less than 9 hours so the one charger has sufficient capacity for the example.
I didn’t run out and buy the batteries right away. First I looked at individual brands of batteries to see if one was better than another. I found an article on the internet titled “The Great Battery Shootout”. It shows the results of a test done with digital cameras and various brands of rechargeable batteries. You can look up the results yourself but let me summarize by saying that Energizer got top marks and since my local retail store carries that brand that is what I buy. To make the plan affordable and to ensure that all my batteries don’t go bad at the same time I bought them over time. I started off with 8 batteries and kept track of how often I charged them. After 4 charges each I broke even with the cost of alkaline batteries and went out and bought 8 more batteries. Again after 4 charges each I went out and bought 8 more batteries and continued the process until I reached the required number of batteries. Once I reached the required number of batteries I actually started saving money as compared to using alkaline batteries. This money is now free to be used for other pressing needs. Eventually I will need to reinvest in some new rechargeable batteries but at my current rate of use that day is years away.
Any rechargeable battery plan is based on having a grid down power source. Ideally this power source would be your existing backup power source. If you don’t have a backup power source then you should consider investing in some portable solar panels. Otherwise, this plan will only work until the lights go out.

Summary of Plan:
-Replace battery operated devices with low drain or no drain models.
-Standardize to AA batteries (Buy battery adapters if an essential device is not AA compatible).
-Buy quality smart [AC/DC] charger(s) with enough capacity to charge your battery needs for one day.
-Buy quality rechargeable batteries (3 times the number you expect to use on your worst day).
-Rotate batteries: Charge, store in freezer, then use them on a rotating basis.
-Replace batteries when they drop below 50% capacity (roughly 500-1000 cycles for NiMH).
Note: Rechargeable batteries may not work for all situations. If you keep some supplies away from home or in your car that can’t be regularly rotated then you should probably buy some lithium batteries.

Dear Jim:
I was wondering if any green thumbs out there have actually grown dwarf fruit trees indoors?
Regards, - Rourke

The Memsahib Replies: Yes, fruit trees can be grown indoors but each flower must be hand pollinated unless you have a house full of bees, butterflies, and/or flies. That means for each piece of fruit that you hope to produce, you must transfer pollen from one flower to another. Fruit will not develop unless the male pollen enters the female ovum. This can be done with the tip of a feather. If you have only room for one tree, be sure it is "self pollinating". Self pollinating means that your tree will bear both male and female flowers. In nature trees are not self pollinating and you need two trees of each. Two cherries, two apples, two lemons and so forth. The crop yield-versus-labor ratio is fairly small for most dwarf varieties. My grandparents have grown dwarf fruit trees, as well as regular fruit trees, for the last thirty years under optimal California weather. And I have to say it seems like grandma and grandpa are always babying and fussing over the dwarf trees. They seem much more susceptible to insect and fungal infestations. Also, dwarf varieties are grafted onto rootstock, not propagated from seeds, so you cannot grow new dwarf trees from the seeds. Since the Rawles Ranch is in a severe winter climate zone, I have considered growing some dwarf citrus in a greenhouse. I would grow each of mine in a big pot (such as a half wine barrel, or possibly a bit larger), set on a low four-wheeled furniture dolly and wheel the trees outside after the danger of frost has long since past. And then bring them back into the greenhouse in early fall. Lemons would be a treat in long term TEOTWAWKI when they would no longer be available at the grocery. My great grandma said that lemonade was a much anticipated once a year 4th of July treat when she homesteaded in North Dakota. And an orange for Christmas was considered a special splurge. Who knows? Perhaps someday oranges and lemons will be a fantastic barter item!

"A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough." - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

Monday, May 29, 2006

The following are some interesting quotes that I found when doing some of genealogy research. (One of my ancestors was a Norseman who died of the plague in Avignon in 1349.)

In Parma, Italy, the poet Petrarch wrote to his brother:
When has any such thing been even heard or seen; in what annals has it ever been read that houses were left vacant, cities deserted, the country neglected, the fields too small for the dead and a fearful and universal solitude over the whole earth?... Oh happy people of the future, who have not known these miseries and perchance will class our testimony with the fables.

An account by Marchionne, written from Florence:

Such was the terror this caused that seeing it take hold in a household, as soon as it started, nobody remained: everybody abandoned the dwelling in fear, and fled to another; some fled into the city and others into the countryside. No doctors were to be found, because they were dying like everybody else... Sons abandoned fathers, husbands wives, wives husbands, one brother the other, one sister the other.

... The foodstuffs suitable for the sick, cakes and sugar, reached outrageous prices. A pound of sugar was sold at between three and eight florins, and the same went for other confectionery. Chickens and other poultry were unbelievably expensive, and eggs were between 12 and 24 denari each: you were lucky to find three in a day, even searching through the whole city. Wax was unbelievable: a pound of wax rose to more than a florin, ... The shroud-cloth apparel which used to cost... three florins, rose in price to thirty florins... No industry was busy in Florence; all the workshops were locked up, all the inns were closed, only chemists and churches were open. .. Those who especially profited from the plague were the chemists, the doctors, the poulterers, the undertakers... And those who made the most were these herb sellers. Woollen merchants and retailers when they came across cloth could sell it for whatever price they asked. Once the plague had finished, anybody who could get hold of whatsoever kind of cloth, or found the raw materials to make it, became rich. (Adapted from: George Deaux, The Black Death 1347. New York: Weybright and Talley, 1969.)

The plague had large scale social and economic effects... People abandoned their friends and family, fled cities, and shut themselves off from the world. Funeral rites became perfunctory or stopped altogether, and work ceased being done. ...The economy underwent abrupt and extreme inflation. Since it was so difficult (and dangerous) to procure goods through trade and to produce them, the prices of both goods produced locally and those imported from afar skyrocketed. Because of illness and death workers became exceedingly scarce, so even peasants felt the effects of the new rise in wages. (Courie, Leonard W. The Black Death and Peasant's Revolt. New York: Wayland Publishers, 1972; Strayer, Joseph R., ed. Dictionary of the Middle Ages. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Vol. 2. pp. 257-267.)

If this isn't an argument for food storage in the event of a flu pandemic, I don't know what is! Because trade had shut down, the price of food and necessities sold for exorbitant prices if they could be found at all. Of course we saw some of this during hurricane Katrina, but this was just a localized event. Imagine truckers refusing to drive to pandemic stricken cities. Imagine store managers refusing to open their stores.

Hi, Jim.
I wanted to reply to the thread about Advice on Dog Breeds. Here is my main point:  Dogs are are like guns, in that there is no one true "all purpose" dog breed.
The very qualities that make a dog a good herding dog will make for a poor protection dog.  Sometimes even, the qualities that make for a good watch dog will make for a poor guard dog.  (A watch dog's purpose is to alert you to a potential intruder.  A guard dog's purpose is to hold, bite and stop and intruder.)
As the former owner of both South Bay K-9 Academy for seven years, which was the #1 dog training company in Los Angeles, and the current editor of, I have a lot of experience in this field and have noted that-- even within the professional sector-- macho attitude often rules over pragmatic trial by fire.  I can go into more detail on how to select a good dog, depending on the job you're looking for him to do, but for now let me just point out that the more realistic and specific you can be about the job you seek your dog to do, the better your chances of success in finding a good dog. 
For example, the Belgian Malinois-- a subset of the Belgian Shepherd breed-- is now widely considered to be the best working police and military dog available, both in America and Europe.  However, these dogs are simply too "high drive" and too "high energy" to be an easy pet for a beginning dog owner.  They usually require several hours a day of strenuous exercise and activity. 
A similar argument can be made for a hunting labrador from good bloodlines.  These are "working" animals and as such do not make good house pets.  Now, there's always the exception to the rule.  Just like you may be able to occasionally find an Italian handgun that doesn't jam.  Or a British sports car that runs reliably.  But when adopting a new dog, I like to go with the odds.
Here is a run-down of my most favorite dog breeds, divided by work type for your average (beginner to intermediate) dog owner:
- Large guard dog breed: Rottweiler.  Very easy to teach to bite.  Tends to have a lower energy level compared to other guard dog breeds.  Runner up:  German Shepherd.  Buy from proven, titled working bloodlines only. 
- Small guard dog breed: Australian Cattle Dog.  Tough.  Tenacious.  Can be very intimidating if you're working with a trained professional.  Downside:  Very high energy.  Can be headstrong.  The very idea of a small guard dog breed is a compromise-- much like carrying a .380.  But can be good for apartment living or other scenarios.  Runner up:  American Pit Bull Terrier.  Beware of individuals that are dog aggressive.  (Dog aggression and aggression toward humans are completely different).  .
- Watch dog breed:  The Miniature Pinscher.  Small,  Requires very little food.  Suspicious by nature.
Runner up: The Chihuahua.
- Herding breed: The Border Collie (although this depends on what type of herding you will be using a dog for). 
Runner up:  Australian Shepherd.
- Hunting breed: Labrador Retriever (again, depends on what type of hunting you will be using the dog for).  But from proven bloodlines only.  (You know if the dogs are from proven bloodlines if they have multi-generational competition winners in the pedigree.)  Always verify the nature of the competition, as breeders are like used car salesmen.  Every breeder will tell you that their bloodline has "champions." 
Runner up: Golden Retriever.  Very easy to train.
- Rodent control: Rat Terrier. 
Runner up: Tie: Jack Russell Terrier and Irish Terrier.
Stay away from the newer exotic breeds.  With the exception of the American Bulldog, none have consistently proven themselves to be performers. Yes, there will always be the exception.  But remember:  Adopting a dog will be an expensive adventure.  Stack the odds in your favor by going with the probability of getting a dog that will fit into your lifestyle.
All the best, - Adam of

“Men can live without air a few minutes, without water for about two weeks, without food for about two months - and without a new thought for years on end.” - Kent Ruth

Sunday, May 28, 2006

One of the greatest areas of risk for many of the regular readers of SurvivalBlog will come about while taking our exfiltration routes from current locations to safe areas/hidey holes following a TEOTWAWKI situation. While this topic has come about to some extent in previous postings, (and covered to great extent in the novel, "Patriots".) I feel that a greater discussion is called for in regard to the seriousness of this event for group travel preparations. The following information is based upon a year-long stint in Afghanistan throughout which my three-man team conducted daily un-armored convoy patrol/recon operations while attached to 3rd and 20th Groups, Special Forces. (And an additional year spent in Kosovo traveling in hostile areas in a single un-armored vehicle on a daily basis also helped point out poor planning/procedure.)

Before the Merde Hits the Ventilator

Convoy, by definition, is a group of two or more vehicles traveling to a particular location with some form of communication, plan and agenda. An ideal goal would be to have like-minded people going to the same area prior to your bug-out in order to practice these vehicle operations before your life depends on the outcome. Of course, along with the previous goal would be the necessary requirement for a successful convoy like having full fuel tanks, spare fuel to reach your destination, communication with all vehicles, load-out plans for the equipment and personnel in each vehicle, and an early enough start out of your particular danger zone so as to avoid the large mass of confused humanity sure to follow.

Possible Dangers/Speed Bumps on the Way Home

One cannot plan for every single incident or situation capable of arising in this type of endeavor, but a few generalized scenarios will be considered as the basis for this discussion. The type of catastrophe from which we will be fleeing will obviously have the greatest impact on the scenarios encountered. Pandemics will have both the federal government attempting to quarantine regions and the local populations’ attempts at clearing the infection zone hindering our movement. Natural disasters will see FEMA trucks (and others) en route into the affected area thereby helping to impede the outgoing traffic (read traffic jams of epic proportions). Federal government assertions of power and/or invitations to United Nations involvement will simplify some things with the majority of the local populace unwilling/unable to flee, but roadblocks and armed encounters will be almost a certainty. Lastly, any type of EMP event might declare the majority of this article null and void. (I’ve seen very few bicycle convoys.)

Load-out Procedures

Assembling all of the vehicles and group members in a particular area prior to moving out will help ensure evenly loaded vehicles, i.e. qualified drivers, shooters and inter-vehicle communications personnel. The best set-up we found in the ‘stan was four people per vehicle with a fast-moving convoy containing a minimum of three but not much more than six vehicles. All members should be armed although a youth can operate the radio and a non-combatant can drive (although they must have a cool head and fast reflexes.) Riflemen (or women) in the front passenger seat and the rear driver-side seat will provide the best vehicle coverage, with the optimum being another rifleman in the truck bed/hatchback if possible. Military Humvees work pretty good for these operations but an even more efficient system involved our renting out a Toyota Hi-Lux four-door pickup (basically the same as a crew cab Tacoma), pulling off all four doors for the best fields of fire and easy egress for reacting to fire, loading sand bags in the bed along with a rifleman for rear security, and packing our necessary/additional gear around the surplus room (thereby retaining our shooters’ personal space for better combat movement).

Vehicle Placement

The lead vehicle should be both capable of providing sufficient fire to the direct front of the convoy or of small enough size and capable speed as to leave any particular trouble area at a moments notice. A pickup truck with one or more riflemen in the bed shooting over the roof is one possibility although a jeep set up to resemble the one in "Patriots" is another viable option. I would probably opt for a single motorcycle with good communications (CB 2-ways or FRS handhelds) and rotating the “recon element” task between adult members of the group with the realization that sustaining one or a few casualties is better than the entire convoy. The lead vehicle should be far enough ahead of the main element that no engine noise can be heard or other elements seen by possible ambushes ahead (roughly a half mile although no communications will mean that following elements only have gun shots to warn of danger ahead).
The second most important element in convoy operations will be the “rear guard” tailing the main convoy body once again with either the ability to fire at rear targets or catch up to the rest of the group for fire support (possibly a motorcycle). The Special Forces type of rig described in the preceding paragraph would be a fine choice with one or more riflemen in the truck bed behind sand bags providing vehicle cover for all members. This rear vehicle should remain roughly a quarter to half mile behind the main convoy body although the loss of communications could necessitate that it be within sight of the second to last vehicle.
Finally, the main convoy will be configured so as to give the best security to all non-combatants in the group, usually keeping women and children in support vehicles with the gear, thereby freeing up at least one reaction-type vehicle with shooters to respond to the front or rear of the convoy as required.


Any type of conflict occurring within the movement of this convoy will be dealt with in one of three ways: the lead element deciding that running the roadblock/ambush is necessary (little incoming fire/only way out of area), backtracking to find another route (bridge out/serious armed forces roadblock), or stopping the convoy to fight it out to a conclusion (well planned and initiated ambush with all vehicles in kill zone). To those of us with previous combat overseas but now without the options of air support, reinforcements or medevac, the first two options would be given the utmost priority if possible. Naturally this is taking into account the luxuries of having like-minded people around all heading in the same general direction with vehicles, weaponry and skill as to make this endeavor work. Personally, come TEOTWAWKI, I will be looking at a roughly 600 mile trip from southern Wyoming north to my families’ eastern Montana cattle ranch in a one or two vehicle convoy with my wife, an old Army buddy (and his family), and a single friend of mine who recently attended an RWVA Appleseed shoot with me in Guerney, Wyoming

My wife just delivered twins--one boy one girl. Blessed is Hashem who is good and does good. They were delivered in our home by a very competent French doctor. (French medical school has a much wider scope in traditional medicine.) Both babies were breach position but were delivered by allowing the baby's to exit in a sitting position from a one leg out position (the assistant described it like a twisting motion), sadly I did not see exactly how this was accomplished and is beyond the scope of my [previous EMT] training.
Childbirth is hopefully the most common major medical "emergency" you will encounter but it requires serious
training to be done safely. For emergencies I suggest everyone attend a weekend PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) course yearly even if your are not a nurse, doctor, or paramedic.
Midwifery is an excellent supplemental or full time profession, there will always be a demand even if it is in a hospital setting.
Fortunately my wife was able to find this second opinion as the Israeli managed care system is very by the book not giving much freedom to doctors. She had been scheduled to have a Caesarean section tomorrow. (I suppose we should now call and cancel.) A C-section leaves a scar on the abdomen and uterus making later pregnancies difficult to deliver naturally. So we were very serious about avoiding this. The 10 kilometers of walking to get to the doctor's office in Jerusalem is likely the final inducement to labor. - David

Hi again Jim,
I felt I must respond to David’s earlier post regarding self defense weapons and Buckshot's suggestion of a .30-30 lever action as being your sole means of self defense. While many of your readers may live in rural areas with ready access to hunting and lower population densities there are many millions more like myself who live in major urban areas and make our living here. Many of us have a dream of some remote survival retreat well stocked and self sufficient with water and food but its not a reality at the moment.  Depending upon the situation, bugging out with just a few possessions and without a well prepared plan is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. Therefore we must make due and create our survival retreat within the cities and try to make it as invisible as possible. A plan for survival in the big cities must include a long term food storage plan, water storage and purification alternatives, self defense preparations, radio monitoring/scanning and communications, mobility and recon, sustainable gardening, energy production or storage, medical preparations, financial preparations and probably the most important is a spiritual preparation for the possibility of some very bad times to come. Plan your urban retreat with a well thought out self defense plan based upon a group or neighborhood watch.
  It is estimated by authorities in Southern California that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 known gang members and thousands of other nefarious characters running around terrorizing our neighborhoods. There is a thin blue  line between civility and anarchy  in our society as evidenced by the many events of the recent past when our cities erupt into a crazed anarchy over things such as court decisions, racial differences, earthquakes or whatever it may be. There is a proliferation of modern high capacity weapons in the hands of many of these characters and/or gangs. If you live within a large urban center and cannot bug out because of many reasons including the possibility of the roads being jammed with cars or closed completely then you must consider staying put and standing your ground. I don’t mean brandishing your weapons in front of your neighbors and being the big man on the block with all the guns ready for the bad guys to come. What I mean is to keep them hidden and ready while carrying your concealed Glock or something similar if the situation erodes to the point of feeling that they may be necessary. Remember, your neighbors may not be your best friend in the worst of times. Regular training in the use of your weapons and tactics is a must. But when it comes down to it and you must use your rifles and shotguns then be prepared to use overwhelming force with surprise and finality. Self loading semi-automatic rifles in .308 cal. with lots of magazines  are my rifle of choice for men and AR or AK series for smaller stature persons or women. We can still purchase Mini-14s , M1As, SKS, and many other California legal semi autos here in California. Research the laws before proceeding with your purchases. Trijicon or other red dot sights make sighting easy for almost anyone to use. Body armor is also a must and should be purchased for anyone carrying a weapon and others in the group if you have the funds.
  Again, I cannot emphasize enough about keeping your weapons hidden but ready. Many authorities do not take kindly to rogue groups with guns and will confiscate them if found and possibly arrest you. Make your plans to hole up and hunker down while listening to the scanner, shortwave, amateur radio, AM/FM  etc. while setting up your LP/OP and  doing some short range recon. Have a communication plan for your family or group and rally point. Try to remain invisible to your neighbors and authorities as long as possible. Stay off the streets and do not go around sightseeing or trying to gather those forgotten items you may feel you need. If you don’t have them now and the situation is not life threatening then just stay at home. There will be thousands of desperate people looting and shooting each other as the situation gets worse. Prepare now. Try to prepare to stay at home for longer and longer periods of time with your stored supplies. And while not possible, work toward self sufficiency in as many areas as possible. Develop and learn a wide range of skills such as shooting, auto mechanics, gardening, sewing, cooking, amateur radio, EMT, motorcycle riding, swimming, home construction, plumbing, accounting/financial planning, camping,etc,etc,.And teach your kids these skills. I also am an urban search and rescue volunteer and carry official ID to assist me with passage through most disaster areas.
There are lots of books and info on the internet about all of these subjects. I am not an expert but I am always learning!
  In the event of a total collapse of our society such as the one you wrote about in "Patriots" I am not sure what we will do. I am considering several options, but more about that later. - Anonymous  in  So. Cal.

"Tis mine to seek for life in death,

Health in disease seek I,

I seek in prison freedom's breath,

In traitors loyalty.

So Fate that ever scorns to grant

Or grace or boon to me,

Since what can never be I want,

Denies me what might be." - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I'm writing in response to a subject that is very of interest to me. And I do understand some of your recommendations (I.e. Poodles are great family dogs and the standard size could be used for bird hunting, if field breed (but very hard to find), and  I was especially impressed by your recommendation of the Airedale Terrier, Which one of the best all around breeds a century ago but sadly is used mostly for show these days. They are very intelligent and can be head strong when this circumstance may require bid ability.
My suggestion to L.P. in Utah would be to look into English Shepard's and American Working Farm Collies, Both of which are all purpose, Land Race Breeds in North America. That watch over the kids, work the livestock and hunt small game. These are the dogs that built our country before the dog shows started standardizing and specializing the Breeds. There is an active community working to reestablish these breeds. And though not AKC (yet), there are serious, responsible breeders out there. And if you Google either breed you will find them. I truly believe that these would be the Ideal Homestead dog. And before you say it, True all of the hunting info that I've seen has been hunting small game (such as rabbits, raccoons and squirrels) and vermin. But I have distinct memories of my father talking about old farm collies out performing high priced modern retrievers bringing back ducks in North Dakota in the 1940s. If that's true I'd bet that some of those genes are around still, If you look hard enough. There once was an all-around breed of dog and there can be again.
As a starting point I would suggest checking out the American Working Farm Collies web site to find out more about the breed and see what you think. And as I'm also very interested in the subject, I'd like to post the question to their form (with your permission of course) to see if any of their lines show any interest in "birding", They do everything else. Thanks for your time. Sincerely, - D.A.

Hi Again Jim,
I live along the coast of Southern California about 20 miles from the core of Los Angeles and have no way of bugging out if TSHTF and have therefore made plans to bug in and hunker down with my survival family and a few very select friends. I have a 1/4 acre place with a small raised bed garden and about 10 fruit trees and have been following this web site for a while now with great interest. You may share with other readers if you feel there is interest. Regards, - DC

Mr. Rawles:

I wanted to say what a great and informative site you have, I just recently found it, and have started reading the archives. I haven't read much but I haven't seen anything on putting out salt or trace mineral blocks to attract deer. I think it would be helpful to have several on hand.Ours is in the pasture behind the house and many mornings we could have shot from the deck. I think it's a good idea to put them out now so the deer will have established a routine of visiting them.

Also concerning firewood, my husband owns a tree service, and is always looking for somewhere to dump wood. He has several people that let him dump wood that is suitable for firewood, so that all they have to do is work it up, and burn any leftover brush. It's a blessing to both. He dumps there when he is in the area to save fuel and time, and they don't have to search for wood. So some of your readers may want to contact a local tree service if they have an area where a dump truck won't get stuck and will have easy access without having to wait on a gate to be unlocked.   Thanks, -   L.F.

JWR Replies: I did indeed bring up the topic of salt blocks for attracting game several months ago, but it bears repeating. In a survival situation, why "hunt" when you can have the protein come to you, and you then can pick and choose the healthiest looking critters? My advice is to buy plenty of salt blocks, including extras for barter and charity.

When on a recent trip into town, my #2 Son recently pointed out a snazzy Hummer 1 (H1) SUV that was driving alongside us. I mentioned their $80K+ price tag and their pitiful fuel mileage. I added "at least they have high ground clearance and a low center of gravity." Always ready with his sharp wit, #2 Son replied,"Yep, low center of gravity, but a high center of poverty."

   o o o

Russia to supply AK-47s and Mi-24 Hind-D attack helicopters to Afghanistan? I think that the Hinds might be a bad idea, they might evoke too many bad memories from the 1980s.

   o o o

The global derivatives market blossoms to $285 Trillion dollars. Not billion, trillion. Talk about a ticking time bomb!

"There is one fact that will bring notable relief to many survivors: the grim problems facing them will at least be completely different from those that they have tormenting them in past years. The problems of an advanced civilization will be replaced by those proper to a primitive civilization and it is probable that the majority of survivors may be made up of people particularly adapted to passing quickly from a sophisticated to a primitive type of existence..." - Roberto Vacca, The Coming Dark Age

Friday, May 26, 2006

Check out this link: It's for a company that manufactures stills for producing ethanol. Ethanol can be used for use as a diesel fuel extender. The downside is that the still must be registered with the BATFE, including the street address and the location [of the still] on the property.

As an aside on diesel fuel: I worked for an earthmoving company in Florida and they maintained diesel fuel tanks on the premises. One of the problems they had with diesel that they didn't have with gasoline was that bacteria would grow in diesel and clog the filters. It wouldn't grow in gasoline. Just something to be aware of. - Mark A.

JWR Replies: There is a commercially-made diesel additive called "PRI-D Diesel and Kerosene Fuel Saver." It acts as both a fuel stabilizer and antibacterial. Diesel treated with PRI-D will store for at least five years. Both PRI-D and PRI-G (for gasoline) are available from Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers), Nitro-Pak (one of our affiliate advertisers), and several other Internet vendors.

Try these sites for raw diets for pets, or you can Google "raw foods diet":

Barf World
Why Feed Raw
Raw Learning

I have several friends who have pets (dogs) who swear by this diet. This is a good regime for trappers and farm folk who can not purchase ready made foods. Less expensive and healthier equals a "win-win" for your pet. Keep up the good work. Sincerely,- C.D.

Mat the Prop Wizard alerted me to an amazing on-line magazine for do-it-yourself projects, called Make Magazine. It is a fantastic resource that everyone who reads SurvivalBlog should bookmark. For example, one recent story was on how to inexpensively convert any digital camera into an infrared night camera.

   o o o

The U.S. National Weather Service Hurricane Center predicts a more severe hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean this year than last year. They predict 8-to-10 named hurricanes, with 4-to-6 of them major, just part of a 10 year crescendo in hurricane activity. Oh boy...

   o o o

The market conditions are said to be in an "eerily similar" to those that precipitated the "Black Monday" October 1987 stock market 508 point one-day drop.

"A political war is one in which everyone shoots from the lip." - Raymond Moley

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Here the reader responses that we have received thusfar on our poll: "The Best Jobs for a Deep Recession or Economic Depression":

"Tenured college or university professor."

"Locksmith. When the economy is good people need to protect their new 'stuff' and when the economy is bad people need to protect their old 'stuff'. Crime does pay if you ar a locksmith. For twenty three years through good economic times and bad I always had work."

"I suggest public accounting. Why? The flurry of bankruptcies that will ensue. Bankruptcy work is very profitable for accountants. Also, if the last depression was any clue, there will likely be a whole new pile of legislation enacted to "Deal" with the depression (pun intended). And hey, accounting is already a lucrative profession because of the Sarbanes Oxley Act. Yes, yes, I know welding is a useful skill, and it would be great to be a self sufficient organic farmer, but in a depression, as the poll describes, companies will still be running, they'll just be doing very badly and somebody will have to count the beans. Somebody will ALWAYS be counting the beans."

"I'd vote for what I do right now - professional handyman, but my emphasis is on "can do" work - I don't do kits. I fix things, and make sure they stay fixed.
Folk musician.
Any kind of mechanic - automotive, Diesel, electronics, machinist, Babbitt bearing specialist, etc, but they have to concentrate on how to do true repairs, not just how to install a kit.
Tinkerers that can build things from junk - tractors, farm equipment, rolling gates, fencing, tools, etc.
Blacksmiths and metalsmiths.
Knifemakers and tool makers.
BioDiesel specialist - vehicle modifications, fuel production ( a sideline business I'm looking at right now)
Any of the construction trades
Large animal veterinarian
Low tech chemistry specialist
Pest control specialist
Septic system specialist
Various forms of security consultants/contractors
Mist specialist :-) [JWR Adds: Actually that last one, given in jest, is a good idea. There will always be a need for someone to pump septic tanks.]"

"Well, if one can stand feeling like a vulture, auctioneers do very well during economic downturns. Let's face it, if someone can't pay their bills, their stuff is going on the auction block. With tougher bankruptcy laws, I can only imagine it would make things better for that occupation. Also a good occupation during a downturn would be furniture movers. In good times, people are moving up. In bad times, people are: moving down, being put out on the street or going where the jobs are. The more dislocation a downturn causes, the more people will have to move around."

"There are probably others but here are a few:
Health Care Specialty/Field; Nurse, Doctor, Pharmacist
Government (Essential Services): Law Enforcement, Firemen, Teachers (K-12), Military
Utilities (Essential Services): People that keep the electric, and gas lines working..."

Upper Corporate Management
Doctor, Nurse, and health care field
Wal-Mart employee"

We want to buy a puppy, partly for our daughter, and partly for the whole family. Is it possible for a single breed of dog to be in charge of watching the house and herding our sheep (we've had 4H sheep in the past, and I plan to build up a flock of about 20 on our 17 acres), and perhaps even doing some pointing/retrieving? (I hunt pheasants, quail, and sometimes grouse.) Or am I expecting too much from just one dog? Am I dreaming? - L.P. in Utah

JWR Replies: There are a few breeds that are quite versatile. But herding and hunting are probably mutually exclusive. Don't laugh, but the breed that I recommend for your family's situation is a Standard Poodle. This breed is very intelligent and can be trained to do just about anything except pull heavy loads. They were originally bred for hunting. If you give them an even trim, they don't even look like a poodle, so they aren't recognized as such by most folks. Another very versatile breed to consider is the Airedale Terrier--the largest of the Terrier family. Both breeds are highly intelligent. The Airedale is more stubborn though. It is a better dog for an assertive family. Regardless of your eventual choice of breeds, buy only from a reputable breeders--preferably from proven hunting lines, and be sure to get a health guarantee.

BTW, intelligent breeds are a mixed blessing. Intelligent breeds tend to be problem solvers. They excel in solving problems such as: "My master has gone somewhere. How can I escape from this yard?"

Plan on investing a lot of time in bonding with your puppy, and thoroughly training it. Get the best references available, and if possible enroll in an obedience course. Both you and your dog will learn a lot.

"An architect's most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site. " - Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The SurvivalBlog benefit Book Auction ends May 31st. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this blog fund raiser! The high bid is currently $120. You can send your bid via e-mail.

A gentleman from Colorado named Leonard recently mailed me a couple of new-in-box of AXIS lock Benchmade pocketknives (Model 940s with green panels), to help raise cash for SurvivalBlog. That was very kind and generous of him. I was tempted to keep one of them for my collection, but The Memsahib insisted that I list both of them in my mail order catalog. She told me that I have too many knives. She didn't go so far as calling me a knifeaholic, but I must admit that its true. I do have a lot of knives--folders, skinners, fighters, and kitchen cutlery. Not to mention bayonets. I have momentary lapses--mainly at gun shows--where I buy an extra knife (or two), justifying the purchase because of our kids. I can safely assume that they'll each need a set of useful knives when they go off to college and start families of their own. As it stands now, they'll each be very well equipped. Let's see: I've set aside for each of them a Swiss Army knife, a Andy Sarcinella skinner, a Leatherman, an L1A1 bayonet, and a Glock field knife, and... Uh oh. I guess that I'd better not enumerate the full list, or else The Memsahib might get in one of those dreaded pouty moods. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it is no fun, believe you me.

My idea of fun is scanning through the knife sections at web sites like and Cheaper Than Dirt. How can I help myself? Like an alcoholic, a knifeaholic tends to rationalize. And those rationalizations make lot of sense. (At least to me.) Why leave my money in U.S. dollars which are gradually being inflated away, when instead I could could put it in tangible, practical, stainless steel? Why not have a Leatherman in each vehicle--just in case? There I go again. I'm so horribly warped that even as I'm writing this, buying just one more knife is starting to sound like a good idea. Oooohhh! I just stumbled across my bookmark for US Cavalry Store. Now, after spending a few therapeutic minutes at that site, I 've changed my mind. I don't have a problem at all.


I have owned and used Dietz and other lanterns and lamps for many years. I enjoyed reading about others care and use of these lanterns. I thought I would let you know what I burn in them. I have found that I prefer to use the High Grade 1-K [water clear] Kerosene that is available in one gallon cans at places like Ace Hardware and Lowe’s. In all my lamps and lanterns it burns without noticeable odor. This is not to be confused with the K-1 Kerosene that you get at the gas station (I burn that in my kerosene heater and Aladdin lamp.)
W.T. Kirkman at has been a good source for me over the years. They have many spare parts and things you would need to keep these lanterns operational. I bought a roll of 7/8ths-inch [width] x 33 foot long wick for about $20 from them years ago and never expect to use it all up even with the 12 or so lanterns I have around here. Thanks for putting you informative blog together! - S.C.

JWR adds: Every family should have an assortment of kerosene lamps and lanterns. For nighttime trips to the barn or woodshed, nothing beats the durability of a trusty old Dietz lantern. But indoors, for reading and other tasks that require bright light, we use Aladdin mantle lamps. (Although some of my readers swear by the Petromax, to fill the same role.) There are a variety of kerosene lamps sold by Ready Made Resources (one of our first and most loyal advertisers), as well as Lehman's and Nitro-Pak (both affiliate advertisers), and several other Internet vendors. Be sure to stock up on plenty of fuel, as well as spare wicking, mantles and chimneys/globes. Traditional wick lamps and lanterns are a no-brainer (aside from wick trimming), but mantle lamps require a bit of experimentation and practice. Become accustomed to using your kerosene lamps and lanterns now, rather than unpacking them for the first time after the power goes out.

Dear Mr Rawles,
I recently bought and read your book, "Patriots, Surviving the Coming Collapse." Can I say congratulations on penning such a great read, great story and heaps of useful info. I have read it twice and my wife has just finished it, she loved it too.

We live in the lower part of the south island of New Zealand, in the countryside about 30 km from the nearest town, reading your book has inspired us to make ourselves more self sufficient, thank you.

As an interesting point, I read an article written by you regarding the L1A1 Rifle, we call them SLRs (Self Loading Rifle). They were used by the New Zealand Army for many years and when the Army adopted the Steyr [AUG] they all went to civilian auction, Myself and a few friends grabbed 10 of them, they are still very common around here, a great rifle as far as I am concerned. The L1A1s here are all Lithgow models, most still in pretty good condition. Anyway thanks for a great book, it will no doubt be read many more times yet. Kind regards, - S.K.

"It looked as if a night of dark intent was coming,
and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage." - Robert Frost

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Because of consistent display problems with the earlier versions of the Internet Explorer browser, we've moved our affiliate ads to a separate page. Please shop with our our paid advertisers first. (See the scrolling ads in the right hand bar.) But if they don't have what you are looking for, then you can use the text or graphic links on our Affiliate Ads page to shop with our affiliate advertisers. (SurvivalBlog will receive a small commission on each purchase.) Please use only these links each time that you order (not bookmarks), or we won't get our commission. In recognition of the international readership of SurvivalBlog, will be adding more affiliate advertisers in the U.K., Germany, France, Australia, and New Zealand in coming weeks. So check our Affiliate Ads page often for updates. Many thanks for patronizing our advertisers and mentioning SurvivalBlog when you do!

A question for your readers: If our possession of firearms in the US is such a fundamental right that we should be closely guarding as a privilege that could be revoked at any time, why do so many of us take it for granted and how many of us are merely owning fine weapons as a 'talisman,' as I once heard Mas Ayoob put it, with no intention of ever using them, hoping that merely possessing weapons will ward off all evil? Why do we own them if we aren't going to figure out how to use them effectively?
I read a few days ago on one of your posts that you were getting in shape to take a four day firearms course at Front Sight. Good for you. I figured you all have had lots of firearms training since you and your family are pretty much ahead of the curve in being prepared for living in a troubled and perhaps difficult future. My family and I live in the east and it would be very difficult for us in our current situation to block out a week or more to head west at this time, as I am sure many may be thinking when they hear of Front Sight, Gunsite, Thunder Ranch and other fine shooting schools, mostly in the western USA. [JWR Adds: See my comments below on other training organizations and training opportunities.] I was glad to hear as busy as you and your family are raising your sons, making a living and serving your church in your local community, you are
taking the time to become familiar with your guns and gear and get the training to keep your skills sharp for when they may be needed.
If I may digress briefly - when I was single and in my late twenties, I would spend my one week vacation from my job driving to Ray Chapman's Chapman Academy learning some fundamentals about pistol shooting, sleeping in my car on the way up and back, coming home tired and with no loaded ammo left. After that I also got to take a couple of Mas Ayoob's LFI pistol classes over a couple of more vacations, learning a bit more each time, including the legal side if one has to shoot someone in the gravest extreme, to borrow a phrase. When my work load got more serious and I advanced in my career, I stopped going to shooting schools and shot locally. Over 20 years passed and I got married and settled down, built a house, started a farm in the rural east still wishing I could go back to classes at a good shooting school. Not much chance of that, until about three years ago when I found out about one well known world-class shooting master who travels the US and even overseas on occasion to bring his expertise to folks who cannot make the yearly trips to Texas, Arizona, or Oregon, among the better known areas for civilian shooter training. I was stunned to know that this shooting master had been coming to my area of the east coast for over 15 years, and teaches yearly at a gun club/range a thirty minute drive from my home. How can one pass such good fortune up? This will be the third year in a row I have been back to classes in tactical carbine, pistol 1 & 2 and this year in shotgun and refresher handgun. After the first year I got my wife to go. After an iffy first day of class she gained confidence in her shooting ability with her Glock, and we are now building on our overlapping skills from there as a team at home. She and I will be taking a shotgun course together (on opposite ends of the line, of course as required by the instructor) later this year and we are looking forward to it.
My roundabout point is that folks should get out there and learn to shoot NOW, looking for shooting instructors that travel to teach if enough folks are interested in having them come there if you cannot go to an established brick and mortar school in the west....also, check for shooting schools that you may not know are within a reasonable driving distance, either on the internet or through one of your local shooting clubs or state organizations. Time is short, as we all know, and shooting is a noisy and sometimes costly business. You all might also keep an eye out for the traveling Appleseed Rifleman shoots that are traveling the USA this year for the second year courtesy of the RWVA (Revolutionary War Veterans Association). I have been to their shoots and they are excellent for getting you into the rifleman category but you have to put out the effort to practice. Just my $.02 to all you folks sitting on a mountain of freeze-dried food and ammunition somewhere.
You are responsible for your own safety and security. Regards, - Redclay

Mr. Rawles,
Regarding firearms, we are all aware of the need for practice. It does little good to have top-of-the-line equipment if one is not skilled and practiced in using it. However, I have heard some in the preparedness-minded community recommending thousands of rounds worth of practice per year. I understand that when it comes to practice, usually more is better. However, firearms and ammunition are not cheap. Practice obviously expends ammunition, which must be replaced, causes wear and tear on the firearms (which must be repaired and eventually replaced just like a car with X miles on the odometer), and there are range fees and even the expense of cleaning supplies to consider. My question is, where is the balance? Is there a “sweet spot” where adequate skill can be maintained, without excessive expenditures in equipment and materiel? The concern is that there is other prepping that must be done – this requires money also. Any dollar not needlessly wasted on excessive firearms usage or maintenance can be invested in other things.

This would especially be a concern in an actual long-term or permanent SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation where the ammo and firearms could not be replaced at ANY cost.

Also, is there much point in practice without prior training? (this does not include basic safe handling and operation, which is a given). The concern is that practice without training may simply reinforce bad habits thru repetition, incurring cost while realizing little (if any) benefit. Thank you for any feedback you can offer. - B.R.

JWR Replies: The amount you shoot will depend on your level of of proficiency, the required intensity of training, and your ammo budget. I'm fairly proficient with guns, so on average I now shoot only about 1,000 rounds a year. (All calibers, combined--of which about half is .22 rimfire) But at an upcoming defensive handgun course at Front Sight, the Memsahib and I will each shoot 800 rounds of .45 ACP in just a four day period. My sons, who are just learning, shoot about 400 to 500 rounds each per month in good weather. (Mostly .22 LR rimfire.) I only expect that figure to increase, since all there of them will soon be in their teenage years. One of my good friends, "Fred the Valmet-meister" regularly shoots more than 1,000 rounds per month. He is absolutely awesome with a pistol, and also a fine shot with a rifle. He did his best to wear out one of his SIG P220 .45s, but he just installed a new set of springs and it is still going strong.

Yes, you need to strike a balance between proficiency and your budget, as well as considering wear and tear on your guns. But I've seen AR-15s that have been fired 20,000 rounds with their original barrels that are still going strong, and still shooting quite accurately. I 've also heard of Glocks that have been shot literally hundreds of thousands of rounds without a failure. There is a lot more to preparedness than just shooting proficiency. I recommend that people dedicate just as much time to leaning first aid, learning how to home can foods, tend a garden, raise small livestock, operate a CB or shortwave, and so forth.

You are also right that practicing without prior training is a bad idea. It does reinforce bad habits. Get the best training that you can afford, and then pass along what you've learned to your family and friends. I mention Front Sight a lot here on the blog, since I can vouch for the quality of their training. However, there are lots of other great facilities out there, such as Gunsite and Thunder Ranch. There are also smaller scale schools and personal trainers all over the country like John Farnam (of DTI), Gabe Suarez, Ken Hackathorn, Jim Crews, Rob Haught, Dave Saffir, Mas Ayoob, Dave Schleicher (of Eagle Personal Protection), and Louis Awerbuck. Also, don't overlook the essentially free or at-cost training that is offered by the NRA and groups like The Appleseed Project. I'm not familiar with many tactical firearms training facilities overseas that cater to civilians, but one that stands out is Condor, in Israel.

One important proviso: Always wear proper eye and ear protection when shooting. I'm a big believer in wearing both earplugs and ear muffs. Hearing loss is progressive and irreversible!


First, I have no interest in either of the following mentioned companies other than that I'm a satisfied user. I recently got a bigger greenhouse for my birthday and have used it for this years garden plants. A little over 200 plants so far. They have two models on sale right now. I do recommend completely caulking every panel with adhesive caulk. The large one took 30 tubes.

I have ordered this stove to heat my greenhouse in cool weather and through the winter. I keep two tons of coal for the house coal stove anyway.

This combo will be much better than my old greenhouse system. With them, it is cheaper to heat and I have more available space. With a lot of stored heirloom seed and canning from three gardens we will have plenty of food. - D.M.

JWR Replies: Those are both good suggestions. I can vouch for Northern Tool & Equipment as a reputable dealer, (as I've done business with them for many years and they are one of our affiliate advertisers), but be forewarned that a fair portion of their merchandise is made in mainland China.

Because both stoves and greenhouse have high shipping weights, I recommend that readers shop around and try to find a good price in their local area before resorting to mail order. My favorite mail order stove dealer is Lehman's, headquartered in Kidron, Ohio. They have a fascinating line of traditional non-electric merchandise, originally developed to service a primarily Old Order Amish clientele.

OBTW, for anyone that wants to place an order with Northern Tool & Equipment, please use our Northern link so that SurvivalBlog will get a modest affiliate commission. Thanks!

Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state sales tax holiday for hurricane preparedness that starts this week. If Bush were a realist, .308 Ball would have been on the tax exempt list.

   o o o

News from England of a possible H5N1 cover-up.

   o o o

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke: 'Pretty Clear' Housing Market Cooling, But Should Land Softly Why am I less confident than Helicopter Ben of a soft landing for the U.S. housing market?

  o o o

When on a drive into town yesterday, a fellow motorist was in such an all-fired hurry that she passed us on a blind curve, across a double yellow line. Fortunately, she survived this feat of stupidity. As the Memsahib is fond of saying: "The nice thing about the gene pool is that it's self-correcting."

"The first law of every creature is that of self-preservation, of staying alive." - Niccolo Machiavelli

Monday, May 22, 2006

Get your entries in soon for Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up up to $2,000!) The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006. Please e-mail your entries before May 31st.

You mentioned using sonobuoy shipping containers for caching. I used to work as an engineer at a company that built sonobuoys. We would routinely reject fairly large numbers of these tubes for either mold defects or physical damage that would result in a leak. At one point, I and another guy in my group went to the plant (after getting the necessary paperwork) and carried off a large truck load of them. All had to be repaired, but they were usable. Just be sure to check them carefully and be prepared to do some patching if needed.

As an aside, if you have a sharp eye, you'll see those same sonobuoy containers used as props in sci-fi movies (they were in one of the Star Trek movies). - Stephen

JWR Replies: You are right. Orion tubes are indeed ubiquitous sci-fi TV "cargo deck" props in the later Star Trek TV shows. Usually painted gold...
The thin spots and other flaws that you mentioned are typical for any blow-molded plastic parts. This is less common with spin-molded pieces, which tend to have more uniform wall thickness.


Dear Jim,
I have a few supplemental ideas on the caching weapons thread.
First, plan to carry all non-weapon gear separately. It's unlikely a government will ban bandages, food, or maps. People should be in revolt long before it gets that far. A smaller cache is a lighter cache.
To improve longevity and preservation, I'd strip any plastic off (such as AR furniture) and vacuum seal it separately to avoid chemical damage. Then dunk the weapon in cosmoline or a home-made equivalent. It lasts literally decades on many military arms stored in damp places. Then, vacuum seal the weapon and ammo separately. Do this inside with the humidifier off or the air conditioner going, to have as little humidity as possible. Give thought to double tubes in case of age or weather cracking.
Before sealing, add dessicant as you suggested, and also a moisture and oxygen displacing gas. If you get with friends, liquid nitrogen isn't that expensive. Be sure it doesn't damage anything as it pours in, and insulate the pouring tube well--that condensation dripping off it is LOX [liquid oxygen]. If liquid nitrogen isn't handy, several chunks of dry ice will work. [JWR Adds: Just be sure that the dry ice is completely sublimated ("melted") before you seal the container--otherwise you'll inadvertently be making a dry ice bomb!] Bottom of the list is a good, non corrosive refrigerant. The goal is to displace oxygen and moisture, and slightly overpressure the container to keep it out.
IMMEDIATELY seal, tightly. Use teflon tape on threads. Then I'd cover the outside of the lid with PVC glue or epoxy. This provides additional airtight sealing, and can be filed or chipped off without destroying the tube, so it can be reused, if one checks the cache periodically, or needs to re cache a weapon after use.
I heard of a gentleman whose cache is now buried under a massive fill pile from a construction company. Pick an area unlikely to be built without notice. I agree that scrap metal in the area is a good idea, to reduce the sensor image.
For storage at home, oil and vac seal weapons, then remove drywall on the house's wet wall--where all the plumbing already is, and reseal. A few blows with a hammer or even a fist will give access in a hurry, and metal detectors expect to find iron near a toilet. The bathroom is also often a good storm shelter and lacks windows, so it's a good emergency retreat, short term. If the plastic bag is notched, one good rip can yield a loaded revolver or pistol. For people fearing crime who live in no-weapon zones, this allows the opportunity to be judged by twelve instead of carried by six, with very low risk of discovery beforehand.
I believe it was where a gentleman showed a beautiful M4gery, with loaded magazines, spare parts and batteries, vacuum sealed in thick poly for the trunk of his car. If you're where weapons are legal to transport, this is a great idea. Should you be on the road during a Katrina-like disaster, stuck in traffic and roving gangs or other threats are present, you can quickly have clean, potent firepower that stops the debate before it starts. It can stay stored for months or years with periodic checks for leakage.
As far as acquiring weapons, I would of course recommend reliable antiques, or weapons purchased from a private party so there is no record.
I've seen mention of defacing numbers. DON'T! Doing so simply makes it obvious that the weapon is contraband, and is prima facie evidence the possessor committed a felony under federal law and most state laws. Also, I've done acid lifts of defaced numbers, even after a complete Dremeling was used to remove it. Without drilling holes through the receiver (Bad idea) or welding over them (also bad, unless you know how to re-heat treat and refinish a receiver), stamped numbers are legible to fairly low tech--PVC etchant, X-ray, or magnaflux. Caching weapons is not illegal yet. However, association with a defaced weapon will legally terminate your right to possess them, end of story.
There are two ways to reduce public awareness of one's weapons before caching. The first is to keep utterly silent and not let anyone know one is armed. The other is to be fairly open, an emissary of RKBA, as it were, and have enough weapons that only close associates really know how many you have. In which case, one or more missing from a dozen or more is not something anyone is likely to be able to document with clarity. - Michael Z. Williamson


If you enter "pet food recipe" into your search engine, you get more free recipes and e-books than you can use. It is a good idea to try them out on your furry friends before TSHTF.- Doc at


Mr. and Mrs. Rawles,
Greetings and hope things are well with you and yours. I felt you that you might might find these threads interesting.
Survival Forum Thread 1
Survival Forum Thread 2

Lord bless you all. - C.K.


Hi Again Jim,
Just my take on the dog food issue. I have a female Rat Terrier about 10 pounds that is a real patrol dog and barker. We live in a urban environment and a large dog is just not practical because of food cost, liability, and sanitation issues. I store her dry kibble in 5 gallon pails in the garage where the cat lives most of the time. I have had no problems with mice or rats for over 8 years. I agree metal cans are superior. I spoke with our veterinarian about rice, potatoes and other vegetables mixed with canned dog food and/or table scraps of meat. No onions for dogs by the way. She told me the dog should have no problems but not to feed the cat so much rice and mashed potatoes leftovers. I think cats require more meat protein in their diet. My wife is Vietnamese and we buy 50 lb. bags of jasmine rice for about 15 dollars at the Asian market and always have about 10 bags in reserve stored in either the bags or in 5gal buckets that we vacuum seal for longer storage. The rice cooker is always going,haha. I mix about two big scoops of rice with a small 6oz. can of dog food and mash it together with a spoon very well for the dog and about one spoon of rice mixed with 1⁄2 can of 6oz cat food for the cat. I think this a very economical and practical way to extend the use of canned food and table scraps while providing a nutritious and tasty meal for my two favorite animals. - DC


  You suggested raising other livestock and using some for your pets. If you use any kind of fowl remember the eggs are also a good supplement. One thing to remember is that sometimes you get eggs that are cracked. I use to crack them out and put them in plastic butter tub, freeze them and give to my dog later. If you can't freeze them then a little treat as they happen. - Merlin

Brett Arends comments on the new Wile E. Coyote ("Falling Off a Cliff") Markets

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The global economic crisis, from the French perspective

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The bad news on H5N1 from North Sumatra. Meanwhile, The Lancet released a sobering opinion piece. A tip of the hat to Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute, who alerted me to these two articles.

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There is a great thread in progress over at the Gold Is Money Forums, inspired by an article by David Andrews at

"The Qualities of a good intelligence officer:
* Be perceptive about people
* Be able to work well with others under difficult conditions
* Be able to distinguish between fact and fiction
* Be able to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials
* Possess inquisitiveness
* Have a large amount of ingenuity
* Pay appropriate attention to detail
* Be able to express ideas clearly, briefly and very important interestingly
* Learn when to keep you mouth shut
* Understanding for other points of view, other ways of thinking and behaving, even if they are quite foreign to his own.
* Rigidity and close-mindedness are qualities that do not spell a good future in Intelligence
* Must not be over ambitious or anxious for personal reward
and the most important quality: What motivates a man to devote himself to the craft of intelligence?
- Allen Dulles, "The Craft of Intelligence"

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dear Jim,
Regarding the metal content of gold bullion tokens: Gold Eagles are 22 karat, as are Krugerrands--the respondent in the old mail you quoted had that point wrong, too. (Where he claimed Eagles were less accepted than "pure gold" kruggerands (sic).)
British Sovereigns are also 22 karat, with four coins equaling not quite one ounce of gold. Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, PAMP and Credit Suisse bars, and hallmarked bars and coins with .999 or .9999 are as close to pure as one can find.
However, since it's the gold content that is being traded, and that content is stated in grams or troy ounces, the alloying metal isn't that significant. What matters is the taker's confidence in the hallmarks on the coin or bar. Even if the US government should collapse tomorrow, a Gold Eagle is a known ounce of gold in coin form, with some copper to alloy it, whereas a Joe's Discount Mint One Ouncer may in fact be .9999 gold, but how can one be sure?
This is why such mundane items as worn out pre-1965 dimes have an intrinsic value. They contain a known quantity of precious metal, that was assayed and certified by a government [that was once] willing to back its exchanges with that metal. - Michael Z. Williamson

JWR Replies: Thanks for that advice. I generally prefer bullion coins rather than fractional gold coins such as Sovereigns and $20 gold pieces. The latter sell for numismatic premiums, which is disadvantageous. And because they have fractional weights, determining their value on any given day is more difficult. For the same reason they will probably be less accepted in post-collapse barter transactions. (Although as I've stated repeatedly, silver is best for barter coinage because gold is too compact a form of wealth!)

Readers are warned: If you buy gold bars or ingots, buy on serialized bars and have them assayed. Beware of faked gold coins. This is typically done with Chinese Pandas that are sans a milled rim. Any coin with a milled edge is hard to fake, since that is where the "mold line" of a cast fake would be. (A mold line can be easily polished off of a coin with a smooth rim, but it is far more difficult to do on a milled edge.) My general advice is to buy widely recognized gold bullion coins such as U.S. Gold Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, South African Krugerrands, or Australian Kookaburras.

Buy whatever variety of gold coin is at present the most widely recognized gold coin in your country. Here in the U.S., that means the U.S. Gold Eagle or the Krugerrand--not $20 Double Eagle gold pieces. (I'm no expert, but I suspect that in England that would mean the gold Sovereign. In France the "Rooster" gold franc. In Switzerland, the "Vrenelli" gold franc.)

The bottom line: Buy only from reputable dealers, never buy gold Pandas, and if it is a bullion coin, only buy coins with milled edges!

I was feeding my dogs last night when it hit me; what am I going to do for them if I were in a situation where I could no longer acquire more dog food? I know they love scraps from our food, but I try to keep that at a minimum for various, obvious reasons to us dog owners. As for a substitute to commercially obtained kibble, what sort of foods are best used to feed man's best friend?
I thought about this a bit, and figured jerked meats mixed with dried grains to cover the basics. As for nutrients, I thought that cooked liver from any animal used for meat would suffice. Are my thoughts going in the right direction? Please advise when convenient.
Thanks in advance, - Steve G.

JWR Replies: Yes, you are on the right track. A few brief points: Dry kibble stores longer that other dry dog food, since it is low in fat. (It is the fat in dog food that causes it to go rancid, shortening its useful shelf life.) Supplementing kibble with table scraps--such as beef trimmings and chicken skin--will compensate for the fat deficiency. Consider raising extra small livestock (such as rabbits or chickens) and setting aside some chest freezer space to provide fodder for your dogs. [The Memsahib adds: We plan to put our traps from Buckshot's Camp to good use, in part to feed our little lap warmers. The plan is to follow the example of some Alaskans that we know and boil carcases in an outdoor cauldron.]

Store commercial dog food in newly-made galvanized steel trash cans. (If you store it in the original paper sacks you will end up feeding mice, rats, and squirrels instead of your dog.) Rotate your stored dog food consistently through use, just like your other storage food, to insure freshness.

Lastly, prepare yourself psychologically for the absolute worst case, when you might end up starving and have to euthanize your dog(s). Turning a dog loose to fend for itself is cruel and will only serve to build the inevitable packs of feral dogs in the event of a worst case collapse.

There has been much talk about Iran's new Euro-denominated oil bourse. Presidente Hugo Chavez now says that he might start pricing oil in Euros, too. And President Putin of Russia wants to trade oil and natural gas in rubles. Are they all trying to tell us something about the once-almighty U.S. Dollar?

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BBC News Economics Editor Steve Schifferes comments on why the dollar is sinking so rapidly.

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The high price of platinum is boosting palladium, as an alternative for jewelry making

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth. For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer." - Patrick Henry

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Every time I see an article by Buckshot [such as "The Basics of Stocking a Retreat For One Year", posted May 19th], I am most impressed that he expresses the distilled wisdom of a true survivor. I don't believe I have ever see him recommend a battle rifle as an primary part of a survivor's arsenal. A military type rifle in the hands of someone without a realistic idea of combat gives a sense of super hero power. Sadly in a generation of video games where the "Hero" is able to take down whole rogue military installations a subtle psychological training shift takes place. I don't so much fear the fake violence as much as the ludicrous expectation that the weapon makes the commando. More than anything what really makes a special team is combat practice several times a week, blitzkrieg tactics which make the opposing force play to your rules, and massive expended firepower giving your adversary sensory overload.
My recommendation is to play the mouse and hide using your .30-30 to bag meat and defend yourself until you have squared yourself away in the more important departments. For most people the heavy arsenal is an strong temptation to be the local super cop, an unpopular and very dangerous decision. The nail that sticks up (in a scary "black rifle" way) is the first to be hammered down by any new regional emergency authorities. Even worse are the temptations to use your heavy weapons to supply your family because you failed to do any other preparations.
Remember in a survival situation you are not the U.S. military expeditionary force. Please adjust your survival plans accordingly. - David

I am getting a Model 1893 Turkish Mauser. I know that these actions are not as strong as the Model 98. However, they are German Mausers made in Oberndorf. What finer pedigree can a rifle have? I have read some posts on forums that these are marginally safe with commercially available ammo. I was warned that the Turkish ammo was dangerous, it is known to be the hottest of the milsurp ammo.
I was also warned against the Yugo [ammo]. One or two guys even said you only should shoot hand loaded mild loads. I am just wondering what your personal experience has been regarding this rifle. Any info you could give me would be appreciated. Thanks, - Scott
P.S: Thanks a lot for your FAQ info [on Pre-1899s] over at Empire Arms.

JWR Replies: Standard velocity 8x57 military surplus ammo is well within the pressure limits of the re-heat treated Turkish contract Model 1893 actions. Even commercial soft nose ammo (which produces slightly higher pressure) is still within limits. So there is no need to handload for these rifles. However, have any surplus rifle checked for proper headspace and below-the-woodline pitting by a competent gunsmith before shooting it.

The problems with the Turkish surplus ammo are that A.) Most of it is corrosively primed, and B.) What you often find when you open the cases is from mixed lots, which means erratic point of impact and worse yet, a few of the lots were made to extra high pressure specs, for machineguns.

Most of the German surplus (including the black tip API) is corrosively primed. And again, a few of the lots were made to extra high pressure specs, for machineguns.

The FN-made ball is mild and non-corrosive primed, but sadly it is getting very scarce.

You might have a gunsmith re-barrel your M1893 to .308 Winchester. That ammo is currently much more common and will continue to be more readily available in the future, since the supplies of 8x57 Mauser ammo are only going to get more scarce as time goes on. BTW, if any big batches on non-corrosive military surplus 8x57 ball or AP do hit the market, buy yourself a lifetime supply. Someday you will be glad that you did. One other interesting option for small game hunting and plinking are the Rhineland .45 ACP conversion kits. These use standard M1911 pistol magazines (Coincidentally, I have one of these kits listed in my mail order catalog.)

I highly recommend getting one or two Turkish contract Model 1893s for your collection. Do so while they are still available at reasonable prices. Every family should have at least one rifle that is Federally "antique" yet chambered for a modern high velocity smokeless cartridge. The time may come when you are forced by legislation to bury nearly everything else! Model 1983 Turkish contract Mausers are available from Sportsman's Guide for $299. The Pre-1899 Specialist (one of our advertisers) currently has a small but very nice hand-picked batch that are selling for just $199 each.

BTW, the foregoing advice does not apply to Model 1893 or Model 1895 Spanish-made Mausers, which are notorious for both deep below-the-woodline pitting and soft actions. Most Spanish Mausers are not suitable for shooting with modern ammo or for re-barreling to cartridges like .308 Winchester.

I'm nearly done reading "The Protector's War"" the second installment in S.M. Stirling's "Dies the Fire" trilogy. If you can suspend disbelief--getting past the basic premise of the series (an inexplicable overnight change in the laws of physics that renders gasoline and gunpowder impotent) then you'll enjoy these books. In this installment, part of the storyline takes place in England. The author uses the books in this series as a bully pulpit to preach preparedness and self-sufficiency. (Or at least I think that is his intent.) He weaves lot of history and practical skills into the storylines. Stirling is one of my favorite science fiction authors. I previously mentioned his parallel universe novel Conquistador, which in my opinion is his best piece to date. (And it also has some practical/tactical tidbits.) Stirling is known too, for having written three novels based on Jim Cameron's Terminator movie franchise, and several other sci-fi novels, all of which have considerable merit. Given the high price of books these days, it is probably best to pick up his books from a bargain Internet book dealer such as or (Or for our readers in the U.K., perhaps Abebooks UK.)

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There is a great thread of discussion on "collapse assessments" underway over at the Survival and Preparedness forum at the FALFiles.

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Ken Timmerman reports: Israel 'Will Not Allow' Iran Nuclear Weapons

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Mirroring the recent cooling in the oil market, Gold and silver have both been pushed down substantially in recent days. Methinks the present dip is a good time to buy.

"It is certain that free societies would have no easy time in a future dark age. The rapid return to universal penury will be accomplished by violence and cruelties of a kind now forgotten. The force of law will be scant or nil., either because of the collapse or disappearance of the machinery of state, or because of difficulties of communications and transport. It may be possible only to delegate authority to local powers who will maintain it by force alone." - Roberto Vacca, The Coming Dark Age

Friday, May 19, 2006

I just ran the numbers. Of the more than 9,500 people that read SurvivalBlog several times a week, only 242 of them have subscribed, sending 10 Cents a day, or more. That represents just 2.5% of readers. Subscriptions to SurvivalBlog are 100% voluntary. Nuff said.

Remember the movie Red Dawn? Think about when Colonel Tanner said: "You think you're tough for eating beans every day? The scarecrows in Denver would give anything for a taste of what you got. They've been under siege for about three months. They live on rats and on sawdust and sometimes... on each other. At night, the pyres for the dead light up the sky. It's medieval." Do you have a plan set up to keep you and your family from become scare crows? I mean a realistic plan that you are working on every payday?

A good friend once told me. My place is going to have one foot thick concrete walls, solar, wind, and a positive air system to filter out all nuclear, biological, chemical attacks. Solid steel doors and steel shutters. That is all fine and good but do you have the $100,000 to build it? Ah no? It is far better to have a 12x12 hunting camp with a hand pump well, kerosene lights, a wood stove, and a propane cookstove than a dream retreat that never got built. Start with the basic stuff first the Five Bs: Building, bullets, beans, bacon, and buckshot.

An apartment size propane cookstove with a small oven is very efficient. Normal everyday usage is from 2 to 5 gallons a month. Five gallons of propane is commonly called a 20 pound cylinder. You can get two 25 gallon cylinders (100 pound) and hook up with automatic switch over when the first tank is empty it switches to the full tank. Hook up to a propane stove and you have one year supply of cooking for a family of four. This is just an estimate--your results may vary. Now this is not a camp stove but a regular looking small apartment size propane kitchen stove.

What about light for a year? If you use a Dietz lantern for light and use it 4 hours each night you will need how many gallons a year? 26 hours per fill up on I believe is 22 ounces, 128 ounces in a gallon, one gallon will give 150.8 hours of light or 37.7 days per gallon. A little less then 10 gallons of lamp oil or kerosene per year. Plus extra wicks and at least one spare globe. You can burn kerosene it is cheaper then lamp oil but it smells. Make sure you test it before depending on it. That means kill the lights for 1 hour and burn it and see if you can handle the smell. Please be careful with a lit flame in your house around children, pets and anything flammable.

The most important thing to have on your property beside owning it free and clear is a drilled well. Hauling water is for the birds. I have advised many people it's better to own five acres with a well than forty acres without one. Water is vital and after the first few days of hauling water more then ten feet it become old, tiring, and a dreaded chore. They say each person uses seventy gallons a day that includes, cooking, drinking, flushing the toilet, and showers. You can get by with ten gallons a day pretty good except when you wash clothes. A solar shower sold in camping supply stores are a great thing to have. Fill it in the morning place where the sun can reach it and you have a hot shower.

A drain field for most states requirement for a drain field for even a small cabin is a ridiculous price ranging from $6,000 to $20,000 to meet new strict codes. Before you buy property make sure you find out the cost. Normal problems are typically found in the blue states with too many bureaucrats. Some states are so strict they will not allow National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approved composting toilets. That is a clear indication it is time to vote with your feet and move to a red state. If you can use a basic composting toilet, a sink, a shower drain hooked to a small drain field. It works great.

If you do have a well on your property there are lots of ways to get water from windmills, hand pumps and solar power pumps. Water is a requirement that you need every single day. So, the first thing you need on any property is a well.

Are you heating with wood? How much wood do you need to get through a winter? Depends on the size of the building, how well insulated, where you live and how efficient your stove is. Cheap $100 wood stoves are for the birds. Get a better airtight stove. Buy the better thicker pipe, buy the cleaning rods and brush, if you have a chimney fire how do you put it out. There is a couple of ways you can set up a chimney cab that slams shuts on the top. This cuts off the vent and air or another way is they sell a item that looks like a road flare you can toss in your wood stove that is suppose to put it out. I have not tested either. But have cleaned my pipes and chimney every year. I don't burn pine or fir or cedar. If you do burn soft resinous wood like pine I recommend you clean your chimney once a month. Another safely precaution is a metal roof it might just save your house from burning to the ground if you ever do have a chimney fire. If you have never had a chimney fire they say it sounds like a tornado shooting up the chimney and flames shooting straight up 4-5 feet or more. Normally they happen in the coldest nasty weather because people really fire up the stove then. Might just ruin your whole winter to watch your retreat burn to the ground. Hopefully you have smoke detectors and everyone made it out safe. Be careful wood stoves can be dangerous.

Get a good chain saw like a Husqvarna 141. They are good on gas not too heavy and very reliable. Extra chains, spare bar, spark plugs, pull cord, sharpening files at least 6, and air filters. Maybe a spare electronic ignition brain. You will need 5 gallons of chain and bar oil, or in an emergency you can use used motor oil. 10 gallons of gas per year and enough 2 cycle mixing oil for the gas. Now how are you going to haul the wood back to the cabin? A 2 wheel cart is one way. Splitting mauls make sure you buy them with fiberglass or steel handles. Axes with fiberglass handles same with rakes and shovels use fiberglass handles. You are going to need safety goggles and plenty of leather work gloves. Cutting down standing trees is dangerous if you never handled a chain saw before it might be a good idea to go out with a trusted friend and have him teach you the safe use of dropping trees and chain saw use.

Okay, so far we have talked about a small hunting camp with a metal roof heated with wood, a propane cooking stove for summer cooking, a well, compost toilet with a small drain field for sink and shower, good tools, etc. Now what else? Just the basics of what you will need. A .22 rifle with a good scope and 1000 rounds of ammo, a 12 gauge pump shotgun--I prefer the Remington 870--with assorted shells: slugs, buckshot and bird shot, a good hunting rifle, at least a .308 with a good Leupold scope and 160 rounds for it.

Now what else? gill nets, four dozen assorted snares , extra matches, good flints, traps, garden seeds, a way to can or dry and store food. Flashlights, in 9 volts like the PAL Light which is great because it is has a always on feature that last two years on one battery. The solar yard lights are fairly cheap come with AA Batteries that can be put in to use in other flashlights. Or remove the batteries at dusk place back in the day and recharge again. Lots to do with that idea. Use your head. Having a working flashlight 6 months into a real emergency is God sent. Worst comes to worst you can use them inside for your night lights.

A year supply of food. A good basic storage assortment with just the essentials and don't forget a wheat grinder so you can grind flour. This is written for a single person or small family that would want to live at their deer camp for one year. I am not even getting into retreat defense or other assorted guns [and the amount f ammo required for that]. As I have stated in another article if I was going to be in a thick wooded area give me a Browning Buckmark .22 [pistol] and a good old reliable .30-30 Winchester.

First aid. Don't forget spare eye glasses, chap stick, Vaseline, prescription medicine, super glue, tweezers, Advil, aspirin, assorted Band-Aids, gauze, wraps, antiseptic, etcetera. Make the kit according to your family needs.

Make sure you cover the basic needs first. What good is 12,000 rounds of ammo, two battle rifles, BDUs, one flashlight, and one case of MREs after the first week? You must have a full plan to survive. Providing for just one year takes some serious dedication to reach that level. A couple of decks of cards, pens, papers, small note books, the list can go on and on and on. You have to be well rounded. Can you skin a buck, run a trap line, drop a tree with a chain saw, plant a garden, protect your garden, preserve your food? Do you have dogs? Do you have enough stored food for them? How about pest control, mice traps, squirrels, rabbits, coons, ground hogs, can sure tear up a garden do you have traps for them? Think it through: Chipmunks, gophers, garden pest, and bug control. Mosquito netting is the best thing you can buy if you plan on being outdoors.

Sit down and try to put a list together for one year of supplies. You know just the basics like where are you going to get water every day. How are you going to cook? How do you heat in the winter? Have you ever tried to chop a years supply of wood? Do you have children? What kind of medicine will you need for them in 1 year? What kind of non power games do you have for them to do? Does you wife sew or crotchet? Do you have some supplies like that put away. A knitted wool hat or mittens sure would be nice if you didn't have them when you left. How about washing clothes? One way that works ok is to take 5-6 gallon buckets and cut a small hole in the center of the lid just big enough for a toilet plunger. Fill 3/4 ways with water add soap (you did remember laundry soap for a year right?) add clothes for about one person pants, shirt t-shirt, under wear and socks, plunged for 1 minute let soak for 5 minutes plunge again for 10 seconds. Dump out water, fill with fresh water again plunge for 1 minute dump out, fill again with clean water plunge for 1 minute dump out. Hand wring the clothes, hang out to dry or hang near wood stove in the winter to dry. Again be careful you don't allow clothes to get to close to the wood stove or you have a fire hazard.

You did put away enough toilet paper for a year, right? You also protected this toilet paper with traps or poison so the mice and chipmunks didn't chew it all, up right? How about feminine products for a year. What about yeast infections? I know not the most pleasant thing to talk about but a must if you are seriously planning to survive. I talked to an old timer once that grew up in the Depression and I asked him what did you use for toilet paper his words "Last year Sears and Roebuck catalog, oh and by the way I sold all my furs to them too." What would be a good catalog today? How about some thick old city telephone books, might be a good choice to store away for back up toilet paper.

I did this the old fashioned way through hard knocks. Trust me, the first time you have to haul water for 100 yards you will wish you spent the money for a well. When your Coleman lantern runs out of fuel or breaks, you will wish you had a Dietz lantern back up. When your splitting maul wooden handle breaks you will wish you had spent the extra money for fiberglass. When your ammunition is damp and unreliable you will wish you'd spent the $5.00 each for used ammo cans. Trust me, I learned these all the hard way and still had the luxury of running to store for replacement supplies. When I say I tested everything that is what I mean and along the way I had several lessons learn the hard way. Having a fully stocked retreat is a comfort. Having tested everything yourself it gives you experience and know how.

Lots to think about. You will be glad that you put up a year supply of food, it sure will make a welcome sight every morning instead of surviving like scare crows eating sawdust and rats, that is brown rats not the good tasting marsh rabbit--what most folks call muskrats. :-). When you have water, heat, a cook stove, and roof over your head life will seem pretty good. Lots to do when you sit down and really look at what it takes to survive with just the basics for one year. Don't waste your time worrying, get to work. After you take care of the basics then you can move forward with more advanced plans. - Buckshot


Mr. Rawles:
I bought a cheapy Chinese plastic model ("Dynamo and Solar Radio" model, in a small black rectangular plastic case), and it worked okay for a couple weeks. Then the flimsy plastic crank handle broke inside the unit. At least the solar cells seem to recharge it okay if left in the sun for a few hours. The Eton/Grundig ones seem to be well constructed I hear, but now perhaps a better one is coming with a Sony model being released in Japan. They are usually pretty good about testing ergonomics and durability much more than most companies.

For our U.S. readers: According to Congressman Ron Paul's office the vote on his NAIS de-funding amendment (H.R. 5384) has been put off until next week. This gives us more time to reach our representatives in congress. E-mail, call, tell friends and family, et cetera. The NAIS scheme would impose costly and time consuming requirements on U.S. animal owners, without compensation. It must be stopped!

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SurvivalBlog reader RBS mentioned these two articles on the fate of the dollar: US dollar weakness likely to crash global stocks and "The Declining Dollar Erodes Personal Savings" (from Ron Paul's congressional newsletter)

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U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions unveils Massive Numerical Impact of Senate Immigration Bill

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IMF Moves to Prevent Meltdown of Stock Markets

"If Calvera comes riding in with no idea of the reception we've prepared for him, I promise you we'll all teach him something about the price of corn!" - Yul Brynner as Chris Adams, The Magnificent Seven

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hi Jim,
I remarried about three years ago to a woman from Vietnam whom I met through a friend I work with. We were introduced by my friend who is also from Vietnam. We became pen pals and conversed via e-mail and chat for almost five months before I went to Vietnam to meet her. She was a school teacher in Saigon and had never been married. She and her family survived the brutal takeover by the communist North Vietnamese after the U.S. government abandoned the South Vietnamese in 1975. My wife and her family made several attempts to escape after the war but were caught and imprisoned until they bought their way out of jail. They finally resigned to staying in Vietnam and moved to the central highlands to become farmers. Years later they moved back into the Saigon area and now maintain several homes and properties they have acquired. Things in Vietnam are much better now that the communists have opened the borders to foreign trade and tourists. Most Vietnamese are free to travel anywhere in the country and around the world if they can afford it. I have been there three times and enjoy it immensely as the people are very friendly and just curious about outsiders. My wife has adjusted to life here in Southern California and now works in a nail salon as many Vietnamese women do because it is easy to do and the money is very good. My wife is very survival oriented because of her former life in Vietnam and she still maintains a garden here. She is very thrifty and resourceful as most Vietnamese are. She understands my survival preparations and is okay with them as long as I don’t “break the bank”. None of her family want to come here to the U.S. because they have successful thriving businesses and family back in Vietnam and things are very expensive here. My wife calls her family almost every week and we travel there to visit every year. It has been a wonderful experience for both of us to have met and married. You may post this if you feel your readers might be interested.
Thanks again for a great site with lots of good info about our ever more dangerous and changing world. I am a 10 cent challenge member and have been into survival prepping for more than 30 years. - DC in So. Cal.

The Memsahib Replies: Your suggestion that foreign women make better "survival" wives is very interesting. Many American women I know from the baby boom generation have had it good all their lives. They were brought up in a time of a booming economy and their parents did very well for themselves. These women do not want to face the reality of the weakening American economy. They want to go on their merry way, believing they will be just as affluent as their parents and that their children ought to be even more materially blessed than they were. Most of the practical women I know are women who are in their eighties! They are old enough to understand the realities of the Great Depression. They saw the shortages of the World War II years. It makes sense to me that foreign-born women who have experienced war, persecution, and economic upheaval would be survival minded. My caution would be though that those women might be so desperate to marry an American that they might pretend to be someone that they are not, just in order marry. I also think certain countries have a "national personality" which is more congenial to meshing with the American personality. Native-born Filipinas that I know seem to have a strong Judeo-Christian underpinning but the Soviet Bloc and Communist Chinese women I have known (raised during 60+ years of atheism) have been brought up to look out only for themselves. Make sure that your faith matches that of your prospective spouse. Also consider the differences between women raised in rural villages versus women raised in big cities. For any SurvivalBlog readers considering marrying someone from abroad, I suggest that you interview many men that are already married to women from the country that you are considering. Are they happily married? If not , why not? Is there a pattern of behavior/attitudes that their wives show? I also counsel a really loooooooong engagement!

Regarding your recent discussion on the disinfectant properties of household chlorine bleach, this article might be of interest: Germ Killing Power of Bleach Increased by Vinegar. Regards, - D.C.

Good Evening JWR:
I want to safely hide guns and ammo at strategic locations on my wooded property without placing them in buildings, in the chance situation I could not get into my home. Do you have any suggestions on safe storage? Thank you, - Rus

I have been thinking, perhaps someone with expertise in this area may want to post on your blog about long term firearms storage. I have stocked up firearms in the spirit of your book "Patriots", to give to a friend who has none, or to group standardize for a group that doesn't exist yet. After stocking many firearms of three different systems, if find there is a hidden liability, all the eggs are in one basket. I find myself wanting to inter them in long term storage in off site locations. (They are all legal firearms, and in legal safe locations, of course.) Any words of wisdom on this topic would be greatly appreciated. In particular, what should I store with them, and how to build waterproof containers, how to choose a cache site that won't be frozen in winter, et cetera. Thanks in advance, - J. Mac

JWR Replies: Caching is a bit of an arcane art form. Rather than going into detail, retracing "trodden ground", here are three links to get you started: First, a thread that appeared at the Free Republic site. Next, an article on some techniques developed out of recent legal necessity, in Australia. And lastly, here is a piece from the Anozira site. Waterproof containers are readily available but often expensive. Large diameter PVC pipe is quite expensive--especially the threaded end cap that you will want for one end. One low cost alternative are U.S. Navy Surplus sonobuoy canisters. These sturdy hexagonal gray plastic canisters have have a threaded end cap. They were originally made for shipping the expendable sonobuoys dropped by P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft and by Navy helicopters. They are commonly called "Orion tubes" or "Gray overpacks." They are only about 7" inches across and have a roughly 6" diameter opening, so some rifles must be disassembled in order to fit inside. They were made in huge numbers. Even though they haven't been used for U.S. navy contracts since the late 1980s, these tubes can still be found at military surplus stores in coastal areas.

One point that I need to emphasize: Regardless of the container you choose, be sure to include at least six ounces of silica gel to dry the air in the container that you are sealing up. Be sure to seal the container very well. A coating of vaseline on a container's rubber seal helps. If you use glue (not recommended for closing the final seal--if you do, you'll be sawing the container open someday. Metal ammo cans have a tendency to rust, but this can be retarded by painting the cans with heavy marine paint or asphalt emulsion. In my experience, the large U.S. Navy surplus 40mm (or larger) anti-aircraft galvanized steel ammunition cans are zinc coated and hold up remarkably well in the elements. Large ammo cans are often available from Cheaper Than Dirt!, Coleman's Surplus, and other military surplus dealers.

If you live in an area with high water table, you might have to get creative to protect cached items from moisture--even if it is in "watertight" tube. Two tried and true methods for getting around this difficulty are placing the plastic container inside a hollowed-out log, or in the middle of a firewood pile. (Of course if someone steals your firewood, they will also get an unexpected bonus.)

Don't miss this "must read" piece from Chris Laird on gold price increases and the imminent collapse of the U.S. dollar.

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Yikes! Human-to-Human Transmissible Avian Flu in Indonesia?

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The high bid is currently $110 in the SurvivalBlog Bandwidth Fund benefit Book Auction. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

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The next big Los Angeles earthquake could be strong and prolonged.

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest." - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Please call your congressman today, encouraging them to support some immportant legislation! A vote is scheduled for tomorrow. Congressman Ron Paul has introduced an amendment (H.R. 5384) to the Agriculture Department appropriation bill that will defund the USDA's proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS). This will effectively block the USDA from implementing NAIS. This vote is crucial because the USDA is giving Federal money to the states to fund the state level Premises ID and NAIS. For details, see the site. The NAIS scheme must be stopped! Make these calls!

Doc at suggested a poll: Which jobs--or forms of self employment--will be the most stable a Deep Recession or Economic Depression? Please e-mail me your poll responses, and I will post them in an aggregated list. Thanks!

Has anyone, including you, ever posted information on your site regarding the application of maggots for treating/cleaning infected wounds and dead tissue? This topic ties in well with the subject of survival in worst case scenario situations. Thank You. - JD

JWR Replies: I actually had that posted as one of my "Best of Readers Letters" and Replies. But so that it can be found via our search window or via search engines that employ Technorati tags, here it is again. (Scroll down to paragraph 22-3):



22-1. GENERAL.
a. This chapter covers a number of primitive treatments using materials that are found worldwide. It does not cover herbal medicines because specific herbs (plants) are difficult to identify and some are found only in specific areas of the world. This does not mean, however that they should not be used. To get information concerning types and uses of herbal medicines in a particular area, talk to the natives. But remember, it is preventive medicine (PM) that must be stressed. Proper hygiene, care in preparation of food and drink, waste disposal, insect and rodent control, and a good immunization program can greatly reduce the causes and number of diseases.
b. All of us---patients and doctors alike----depend upon wonder drugs, fine laboratories, and modern equipment. We have lost sight of the "country Doctor" type of medicine---determination, common sense, and a few primitive treatments that can be lifesaving. Many areas of the world still depend on the practices of the local witch doctor or healer. And many herbs (plants) and treatments that they use are as effective as the most modern medicine available. Herbal medicine has been practiced worldwide since before recorded history, and many modern medications come from refined herbs. for example pectin can be obtained from the rinds (white stringy part) of citrus fruits and from apple pomace (the pulp left after the juice has been pressed out). if either is mixed with ground chalk, the result will be a primitive form of Kaopectate.
c. Although many herbal medicines and exotic treatments are effective, use them with extreme caution and only when faced with limited or non-existent medical supplies. Some are dangerous and, instead of treating the disease or injury, may cause further damage or even death.
22-2 Primitive treatments.
a. Diarrhea is a common, debilitating ailment that can be caused by almost anything. Most cases can be avoided by following good preventative medicine (PM) practices. Treatment in many cases is fluids only for 24 hours. If that does not work and no anti-diarrheal medication is available, grind chalk, charcoal, or dried bones into a powder. Mix one handful of powder with treated water and administer every 2 hours until diarrhea has slowed or stopped. adding equal parts of apple pomace or citrus rinds to this mixture makes it more effective. Tannic acid, which is found in tea , can also help control diarrhea. Prepare a strong solution of tea, if available, and administer 1 cup every 2 hours until diarrhea has slowed or stopped. The inner bark of hardwood trees also contains tannic acid. Boil the inner bark for 2 hours or more to release the tannic acid. The resultant black brew has a vile taste and smell but will stop most cases of diarrhea.
b. Worms and intestinal parasites. Infestations can usually be avoided by maintaining strict preventive medicine measures. For example, never go barefooted. The following home remedies appear to work or at least control the degree of infestation, but they are not without danger. Most work on the principle of changing the environment of the gastrointestinal tract.
(1) Salt water. Four tablespoons of salt in 1 quart of water. This should be taken on a one time basis only.
(2) Tobacco. Eat 1 to 1 1/2 cigarettes. The nicotine in the cigarette kills or stuns the worms long enough for them to be passed. If the infestation is severe, the treatment can be repeated in 24 to 48 hours, BUT NO SOONER
(3) Kerosene. Drink 2 tablespoons. Don't drink more. The treatment can be repeated in 24 to 48 hours but no sooner.
(4) Hot peppers. Put peppers in soups, rice, meat dishes or eat them raw. This treatment is not effective unless peppers are made a steady part of the diet.
c. Sore throats are common and usually can be taken care of by gargling with salt water. If the tongue is coated, scrape it off with a tooth brush, a clean stick, or even a clean fingernail; then gargle with warm salt water.
d. Skin infections.
(1) Fungal infections. Keep the area clean and dry, and expose to sunlight as much as possible.
(2) Heat rash. Keep the area clean, dry, and cool. If powder is available, use it on affected area.
(3) The rule of thumb for all skin diseases is: "if it is wet, dry it, and if it is dry, wet it."
e. Burns. Soak dressings or clean rags that have been boiled for 10 minutes in tannic acid (tea or inner bark of hardwood trees), cool and apply over the burns. this relieves the pain somewhat, seems to help speed healing, and offers some protection against infection.
f. Leeches and Ticks. Apply a lit cigarette or a flaming match to the back of the leach or tick, and it will drop off. Covering it with moistened tobacco, grease or oil will also make it drop off. Do not try to pull it off; part of the head may remain attached to the skin and cause an infection.
g. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings. Inspect the wound carefully and remove stinger if present. Apply baking soda, cold compress, mud or coconut meat to the area. Spider, scorpion, and centipede bites can be treated the same way.
h. Chiggers. Nail polish applied over the red spots will cut off the chigger's air supply and kill it. any variation of this, e.g., tree sap, will work.

a. Introducing maggots into a wound can be hazardous because the wound must be exposed to flies. Flies, because of their filthy habits, are likely to introduce bacteria into the wound, causing additional complications. Maggots will also invade live healthy tissue when the dead tissue is gone or not readily available. Maggot invasion of healthy tissue causes extreme pain and hemorrhage, possibly enough to be fatal.
b. Despite the hazards involved , maggot therapy should be considered a viable alternative when, in the absence of antibiotics, a wound becomes severely infected, does not heal, and ordinary debridement is impossible.
(1) All bandages should be removed so that the wound is exposed to circulating flies. Flies are attracted to foul or fetid odors coming from the infected wound; they will not deposit eggs on fresh clean wounds.
(2) In order to limit further contamination of the wound by disease organisms carried by the flies, those flies attracted to the wound should not be permitted to light directly on the wound surface. Instead, their activity should be restricted to the intact skin surface along the edge of the wound. Live maggots deposited here and/or maggots hatching from eggs deposited here will find their way into the wound with less additional contamination than if the flies were allowed free access to the wound.
(3) One exposure to the flies is usually all that is necessary to ensure more than enough maggots for thorough debridement of a wound. Therefore, after the flies have deposited eggs the wound should be covered with a bandage.
(4) The bandage should be removed daily to check for maggots. If no maggots are observed in the wound within 2 days after exposure to the flies, the bandage should be removed and the wound should be re-exposed. if the wound is found to be teeming with maggots when the bandage is removed as many as possible should be removed using forceps or some other sterilized instrument or by flushing with sterile water. Only 50 - 100 maggots should remain in the wound.
(5) Once the maggots have become established in the wound, it should be covered with a bandage again, but the maggot activity should be monitored closely each day. A frothy fluid produced by the maggots will make it difficult to see them. This fluid should be "sponged out" of the wound with an absorbent cloth so that all of the maggots in the wound can be seen. Care should be taken not to remove the maggots with the fluid.
(6) The period of time necessary for maggot debridement of a wound depends on a number of factors, including the depth and extent of the wound, the part of the body affected, the number of maggots present in the wound, and the fly species involved. In a survival situation an individual will be able to control only one of these factors-- the number, and sometimes not even that; therefore the exact time to remove the maggots cannot be given in specific numbers of hours or days. However it can be said with certainty that the maggots should be removed immediately once they have removed all the dead tissue and before they have become established in healthy tissue. When the maggots begin feeding on normal healthy tissue, the individual will experience an increased level of pain at the site of the wound as the maggots come in contact with "live" nerves. Bright red blood in the wound also indicates that the maggots have reached healthy tissue.
(7) The maggots should be removed by flushing the wound repeatedly with sterile water. When all the maggots have been removed, the wound should be bandaged. To ensure that the wound is free of maggots, check it every four hours or more often for several days. Any remaining maggots should be removed with sterilized forceps or by flushing with sterile water.
(8) Once all of the maggots have been removed, bandage the wound and treat it as any other wound. It should heal normally provided there are no further complications.
The treatments discussed in this chapter are by no means all of the primitive treatments or home remedies available for use. Most people have their own home remedy for various problems. Some work, some don't. The ones presented here have been used and do work, although some can be dangerous. The lack of modern medicine does not rule out medical treatment. Common sense, determination to succeed, and advice from the natives in the area on primitive treatments can provide a solution to a medical problem. Just keep one thing in mind: "First I shall do no harm."

I have been reading SurvivalBlog from the beginning. I have made several contributions early on, and signed up for the 10 Cent Challenge some time ago. The real reason I am sending this email is to publicly ask everyone who is a regular reader of your blog to sign up now for the Ten Cent Challenge, if you have not already done so. I cannot imagine the huge empty hole that would be left if for some reason you discontinued your blog due to lack of support. I sincerely believe our country at some time will face one or more major disasters. For those of us who sense this, It is our God-given duty to both prepare ourselves, and try to influence others who will listen, to prepare themselves. In my opinion, the single best way to keep focused on this is to regularly read your survival blog and act accordingly on the information it contains.
I cringe when I read in some of the articles that are submitted when the writer says he will sign up for the Ten Cent Challenge as soon as he can afford it. Although I am usually slow to offer other people advice, I believe that if a person in the USA at this time cannot afford ten cents a day then they need to either upgrade their present employment, or get a second job. One aspect of being prepared is to also prepare ourselves to be valuable in the job market. This will enable us to earn an adequate amount to prepare and provide for ourselves now, set some aside for the future, and have some flexibility in our budget to contribute to worthy projects.
Actually, I believe that someone who says he cannot afford ten cents a day really means it is not a high enough priority in his life to pay it. If that is the case, I believe those writers should just leave out any reference to not being able to afford the Ten Cent Challenge rather than make up some excuse.
Sorry for the diversion there, and back to the point, I again ask everyone who is a regular reader and has not already signed up, to sign up now for the 10 Cent Challenge. Thank you. - Joe.

Courtesy of SurvivalBlog readers Ben & Melanie, here are updated web links to the text of Where There Is No Doctor and Where There is No Dentist. Since web sites will of course be unavailable in a grid-down situation, be sure to order your own hard copies for your bookshelf, either directly from the publisher of from a discount book seller such as or

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I've again expanded my Links page.

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SurvivalBlog reader P.M. pointed out an error that I made in an old archived piece from 1997 (that I re-posted on May 19, 2006), in which I referred to U.S. Gold Eagle coins as ".900 fine." In actuality, P.M. points out: "U.S. Gold Eagles are 22 karat (22 parts of 24) which is .9167 pure rather than .900. It is the old US coinage such as Double Eagles that were minted .900 fine." I have corrected the post. My apologies for the error.

"One of the first things a family tries to teach its children is the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. One of the first things our schools do is destroy that distinction."- John Taylor Gatto, foreword, "The Art of Education"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hi James,
The [Survivalist Contacts] page is still there, just hidden away in the site. It was attracting some major spamming there for awhile, so I removed any links to it from the main page. You can find it at this unlinked page. Regards, - John (of

I saw a post on Survivalblog today where someone was asking about whether there were any ’survivalist matchmaking’ sites out there. I don’t know of any such site either (I tried and eHarmony before I met Commander Zero, and neither was helpful) but it seems to me that the fastest way to meet people with at least some interest in preparedness ideals is to go where they are. See if anyone catches your eye in preparedness or firearms forums. Join your local Libertarian party (not to say there’s not non-libertarian preparedness folks, but there seem to be more there than most). Join your local ham radio club, shooting sports club, and so on. Admittedly it’s going to be a lot harder to find women in this arena than men, but you’re probably not going to meet the Sarah Connor of your dreams at your local sports bar, either. Depending on your religious views, people in the Mormon faith are probably more open to preparedness ideals, also.
But mainly - you catch a lot of fish when you go where the fish are. You’ll catch a Heinlenesque partner by doing the same thing.
And if you’re not in the market but you have an anti-preparedness spouse already - say you’re already in a relationship with someone who can’t understand why you need yet another #10 can of Mountain House freeze drieds in the basement - try a slow, steady educational effort. I never cared one way or the other about preparedness (aside from the standard three days of supplies everyone had growing up in North Carolina during hurricane season) until I started paying attention to what happened to people who weren’t prepared during disasters. I slowly came around, and one thing that helped was the lack of the word “survival.” To me, “survivalism” was weird Rambo nutcase Unabomber stuff. (Reading Jerry Ahern books only made that impression worse!)
But preparedness - well that’s just plain old-fashioned common sense! I don’t know any woman who doesn’t like having a well-stocked larder. A little “PR” work can probably bring anyone around. - Kitiara (Reposted with permission from


I met my previous wife through the Conservative Matchmaker. To the best of my knowledge, the site no longer exists. I have met several Christian and conservative women through these sites, including my bride to be:

There are plenty of good people out there, but very few are "aware" and preparedness minded. You'll have to ease into that topic with care. Go slowly, and write and call often before you agree to meet. Best Wishes, - Jay in Florida

Chlorine bleach is a great multi-use item to store.  It can be used to treat water, disinfect/clean, deodorize latrines, and probably lots of other things. Here are some quick numbers:
Water purification:
16 drops (1/8tsp) per gallon/4 liters.  Let stand for 15 minutes, retreat if water does not smell of Chlorine.  

CDC recommends a fresh 1:10 to 1:100 solution for cleaning up blood spills

FEMA recommends 8oz of  bleach to 5 gallons of water for killing mold and 4 oz to 5 gallons for disinfecting flood-contaminated articles:
(That's 125ml / 20liters and 250ml / 20 liters for metric folks)

Bleach does have some problems - it has a limited shelf life (6 months to 2 year depending on who you ask).  It's also messy and nasty to clean up if spilled.
Taking a trip to Costco today, I discovered that they have Calcium Hypochlorite pool shock in stock.   This chemical may be used to make your own bleach solution. (See the EPA Web site.)
Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 mg/L, since the calcium hypochlorite has an available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight. To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 oz.) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water to be disinfected. 
To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the water as described above.
In metric, you need to mix in approximately 7.5ml of powder (by volume) for every 8 liters to get a 5% bleach solution.
In short, 1 kilogram of pool shock can be mixed to make almost 1,400 liters of standard bleach solution.  [Which is enough to treat many thousands of gallons of water!] A one-pound box makes just under 165 gallons.
You must be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to get the pool shock that only contains Calcium Chlorite.  The other types of Chlorine, Tri-Chlor and Di-Chlor are not suitable for this. Be advised that this stuff is a powerful oxidizer, and should be stored in dry container, sealed away from moisture.  It can also catch fire violently if put in contact with brake fluid and similar substances, so be careful.  But the increased shelf life and mess-free storage, in my opinion, outweigh any negatives. - JN

JWR Replies: I concur wholeheartedly that bleach is important to store for family preparedness. One important proviso: You want to buy only plain bleach--not bleach with scent or any other additives that could be poisonous. Be sure to check the label before buying liquid bleach. It must have ONE, AND ONLY ONE ingredient: Calcium Hypochlorite!

With all the discussion lately about well pumps, and alternative ways to power them, and all the expense and complications, I just have to shake my head in wonder. There is a better way, but don't tell anybody, it is a big secret. See: and Regards, - Doc at

Memsahib Rawles::
Banking a house for the winter is a fairly common practice where I grew up in Canada. Often the leaves were raked and bagged in the fall and placed along the house for the winter. Other times square bales were stacked against the house to insulate for the cold winter months. The only drawback from this way of insulating was the fact that you would often get a large amount of unwanted house guests (mice and voles) who were attracted to the warm shelter! Keep up the informative writing, - T.S.

One of our major advertisers is auctioning a very hard to find P-10 shelter on eBay, on behalf of an acquaintance. These rarely come up for sale in used condition, so don't miss this chance to buy one for less than half of what it would cost to buy one new. It is being sold "on site", so you would have to pay for hauling.

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As previously mentioned, Microsoft's president Bill Gates has publicly declared that he's Short the U.S. Dollar.  

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From Steve Quayle's Site: Scientists Warn of Immense Solar Storm Threat

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It was recently mentioned over at The Claire Files that the 177-issue compendium CD of The Mother Earth News magazine (1970-2000) is now on sale at a reduced price. It is a great resource for all manner of self-sufficiency topics.

"Probably no'east to sou'west winds, varying to the southard and westard and eastard, and points between; high and low barometer, sweeping round from place to place, probable areas of rain, snow and hail and drought, succeeded or proceeded by earthquakes with thunder and lightning." - Mark Twain

Monday, May 15, 2006

In the event of TEOTWAWKI, fuel will become very important in regions where the winters are severe and long. We can learn some survival ideas from pioneers in on the treeless prairies. Some used alternative fuels such as cow chips, corn cobs, ears of corn, twisted grass, or a mix of straw and manure manure called "mist." (The German word for Schumer.) In 1881 the magazine Warren Sheaf said that three acres of corn would provide the average house of the time with fuel for the year. Straw burner attachments were designed for cook stoves. These were oblong tubes 18 inches in diameter and 28 inches high. The covered tube was placed over the stove holes. If properly packed they had enough fuel to burn an hour. The draft was regulated by shifting the tube off or over the stove hole. Larger ones were available that attached to the rear of the stove. Another innovative idea of the time was "banking.: In the fall the pioneers would start insulating the outside of their houses by banking up straw, leaves, dirt, hay, corn stocks all the way up to the window sills. In a severe winter one pioneer banked his home all the way up to the eaves!

The following is probably more than you want to know about pumps!!
There is a finite limit to how far one can “lift” water with a pump.  It is based on the fact a pump does not really “suck” a fluid but rather creates a vacuum and atmospheric pressure forces the water up the pipe.  On a standard day at sea level that pressure is equal to just under 34 feet of water column.  Therefore a PERFECT vacuum (which does not exist) could “lift” water a shade less than 34 feet.  At higher altitudes, or low atmospheric pressure the distance would be less.  The rule of thumb at 1000 feet elevation is a little less than 25 feet of “lift” with a good pump.
A sump pump is designed as a “flooded suction” or high Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) pump which has almost no practical suction capability.  It will “push” water to it’s head limit (which isn’t all that great either) but that is all.  A submersible pump is also a flooded suction type pump that “pushes” water to it’s head limit.  The distance from the surface of the water to a line equal in elevation to the point of use is the head distance.  Pressure seen on the gauge is in addition to this.  As an example, a well with a water level while being pumped of 100 feet (3 atmospheres) and a pressure gauge reading of 59psi (4 atmospheres) at the tank has a pump that is producing about 230 feet of head (7 atmospheres).  The pump will produce maximum pressure (and minimum power requirement) at zero flow.  As flow increases, pressure decreases and amps go up, as with any centrifugal pump.   Pressure drop in the pipe comes into effect when water is actually flowing and will reduce the available pressure. 
A jet pump is an above ground pump that uses TWO pipes down the well.  The pressure pipe (smaller one) pumps water DOWN the well to a JET.  The water from the JET is forced through a venturie where it creates a vacuum, draws in water from the well and forces the total of the new water + what was pumped DOWN the well back toward the above ground pump via the larger pipe.  In order to work, these have to be primed and ALL air eliminated.  (Some times that can be a challenge!)  Because far more water is recirculated DOWN the well than is delivered for use, the energy consumption of a JET pump is far higher, per gallon delivered, than a submersible pump.  HINT:  I often make use of the fact you can only “draft” or “lift” water about 25 feet with most pumps.  I place the foot valve 30 feet below the jet.  That way, if the water level in the well drops, the pump keeps it’s prime as it can not lower the water level more than 25 feet below the JET and therefore won’t draw air into the system.  The pump will just deliver exactly the amount of water the well can produce up to the maximum capacity of the pump.
With a submersible pump a low capacity well should have a flow restrictor installed that limits delivery to a bit less than well capacity.  That prevents drawing the water below the pump and allowing air into the system.  Far MORE important is the fact submersible pumps are water cooled and will burn up rather quickly if the water level is reduced to pump level.
Ever wonder why most pumps are 240 volt rather than the 120 volt many survivalists might prefer?  Well pumps run from 1/3 to several horsepower in size depending on depth to the water and pressure and flow desired.  Higher horsepower means higher amperage required.  Submersible pumps are often a long way down, particularly out west, so have a LOT of wire.  For best motor performance voltage drop in that long run of wire needs to be minimized and that is most cheaply accomplished by doubling the voltage to 240 volt and cutting the amps in half.  Retrofitting a well to the less desirable 120 volt pump will require twice the breaker size, maybe a change of pressure switch and almost certainly increased wire size.  While the difference is not large, the 120 volt motor WILL use more energy due to I squared R losses. In all of the electrical devices involved.  (Amps X Amps X Ohms)
For those wells where one can pull the pump by hand, a homemade “baler” consisting on 3” PVC pipe, a foot valve and long rope will get you enough water to drink if TSHTF.  More water requires a more complex solution.  A generator has many uses and is my preference but DOES require fuel.  Wind power has been used for the purpose for eons.  Human powered pumps require a fair amount of effort but have certain obvious advantages.  Hand pumps for deep wells are not cheap but they are available from places that cater to the Amish, among others (Lehman's comes to mind.) Hope some find this useful! - Mike G

I recently added a few DVDs and another 19 U.S. Army and USMC manuals from my personal collection to my Mail Order Catalog. Some of the manuals were "restricted distribution" titles and hence quite scarce!

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There is now talk of another increase in the U.S. federal government debt ceiling. My precocious #3 Son asked: "Daddy, why do they call it a ceiling if they can keep raising it?" Hmmm...Why, indeed?

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The recent Robert Kiyosaki article is evidence that silver gaining popularity with mainstream investors. The first silver exchange-traded fund went live in late April.(Symbol SLV on the AMEX). SurvivalBlog reader S.H. suggests that these two factors may combine to make silver the darling of the investment community and lead to a hot summer for silver.

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If you aren't already concealing your trail of web site visits, then you should. Not only will you avoid cookies and the associated marketing gadflies, but you will also avoid leaving attributable lists of search phrases. (Google now keeps them for decades.) This data might come back to haunt you, many years in the future. The service that I recommend using to protect your identity and surf anonymously is Anonymizer. By doing your web surfing through the Anonymizer gateway, you will leave no record of your home domain. Presently, the company is allowing a seven day free trial. Check it out. IMHO, using Anonymizer is cheap insurance.

"Even the most resourceful housewife cannot create miracles from a riceless pantry." - Chinese Proverb

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Our apologies about the page display problem that we experienced from Wednesday afternoon to Friday afternoon. During this time, the blog page displayed fine with Firefox, Safari, and Netscape browsers, but it had problems with some versions of the Internet Explorer browsers. If you still see any problems, please hit your browser's "reload" button. Our profuse apologies!

My secret for hunting deer is to hunt them based on trails and tracks. Learn what a buck track looks like. Get yourself a pick and a shovel. Soften every trail, so that you can really read the tracks. These soft-areas need to be about three feet long by one foot wide. You need about a half of inch of soft dirt. read the tracks, after studying the tracks and movement (direction) you'll begin to see a pattern. Use a broom to wipe out the tracks so that you can see the next set of fresh tracks a day later... Some bucks travel the same trail every X number of days, it's like a circuit that they travel. Log this stuff in a note book. Bring along a tape measure and a ruler. Measure the print size, the stride length and width. A big buck print will spread out and he'll leave his dew claws when he's walking. The longer and wider the spread and the longer the stride the bigger the buck. I saw a buck that left a track so big that I couldn't believe it myself. He was old and gray, even the younger buck that was with him was magnificent... I'm sure big-old-and-gray died of old age.
Tracking is a Lost Art. A lot of what I learned was from an old Indian friend. I was very thankful to meet him and all that he's shared with me over the years. I am hoping to share this Lost Art with my children. Every time I take them out, I try to teach them something. It's amazing how much we overlook!
In the off-season (and I mean off-season) walk all the trails and build yourself a map. The best time is right at the end of deer season and probably a month before. Study the land. Be as low-impact as you can. Based on track directions you can figure out where they're going to bed down and where they're going to feed. For this you'll have to read your track in the early morning. Reading tracks during the late evening has never worked for me. I think Blacktails are just too dang nocturnal. I like to do most of my reading of tracks in the middle of the day in full sun light (I can read tracks better that way). When I'm in a really good spot I'll use survey tape and run it every 40 yards or so, it really gives you a perspective of the right place to hang a stand. Then I'll go there early in the morning and study the wind currents. With three foot strands bright flagging tape you can really see wind currents. I study wind currents from 15 minute before shooting light to eleven and then from 4 PM until dark. Those are my prime times (although my Indian friend swears that the middle of the day is when he's done best on the biggest of all bucks. He says that he believes that they don't really suspect any body to be out hunting them at 1 PM. BTW, I saw the big guy and his friend on a secondary trail at 1 PM in the afternoon. Go figure.) After finding "the place", I take all of the flagging tape off, since I don't want to attract other hunters. I even park my vehicle in an unnoticeable place and walk in so I don't attract any attention. I even try to keep my boot prints hidden.
NEVER forget wind direction. (It must always be right, if it's wrong pack up your bags and hunt some place else!) Work on your setup based on trails, tracks, bedding, feeding, watering areas and wind-direction. Your draw must be undetected. Deer can see 270 degrees, if they see you draw they're gone. If they're traveling in threes then its really difficult because you have at least six set of eyes to fool.
Like I said before, putting it all together is half the fun. I'm looking forward to hearing other peoples input. I have a lot more that I would like to learn and pass on to my children. My Grandfather always said to "learn to walk like an Indian". I have so much respect for both nature (God's creation) and the old-way's and I know so very little. - "C++"


The price of gold appears to have established a new floor at around $675 per ounce, and silver ditto, at around $13.10

"I bought it [silver] very early, [and] I sold it very early. Other than that, it was perfect." - Warren Buffet, May 6, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yowza! We just surpassed the 400,000 unique visits mark. That is a fantastic number. I had only expected 100,000 unique in the first year, and now we've logged four times that in just the first 10 months! Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a rapid success. Please keep spreading the word. A brief e-mail to your friends, and/or adding a linked SurvivalBlog banner on your website would be greatly appreciated!

Can you recommend a place, business, web site, that offers the equivalent of,, etc for preparedness minded folks? There used to be a place called patriotmatchmaker, but no more. Any suggestions? If you cannot find such a place, you might want to consider starting one as a income producing web site. Why not? You have the perfect target audience to do so. Thanks, - Boosters

JWR Replies: Because our society is so litigious, I'm not inclined toward setting up such as service. I formerly directed folks to the Survivalist Contacts page at, but that page doesn't seem to be working at the present time. Hopefully it is just a short term glitch. Perhaps someone out there knows of other similar sites.

Mr. Rawles:

The other day you mentioned some pretty outlandish predictions for gold and silver from the "gold bugs." Just what are they saying, and how credible are their claims? I'd also like to hear your own estimation of gold's potential. Thank You, - Mrs. F.

JWR Replies: Some of the claims are indeed outlandish -- like Roland Watson, who predicted $10,000 per ounce gold. (See below.) But it isn't just die-hard gold bugs that are predicting significantly higher precious metals prices by the end of this decade. There are quite a few Wall Street wonks that are talking about $1,000 per ounce gold within a year or two. My personal prediction is a peak of around $1,400, but that would only be in the event of WWIII or a full scale dollar crisis.

Ponder the broad range of these predictions for gold's potential peak:

$1,000 per oz. (Jim Cramer -

$1,000 per oz. (Jim Rogers, former George Soros partner)

$1,200 per oz. (Mark Thornton)

$1,500 per oz. (Nick Barisheff)

$1,700 per oz. (Dana Sameulson)

$2,000 per oz. (Credit Agricole)

$2.000 per oz. (David Morgan)

$2,000 per oz. (Larry Edelson)

$2,500 per oz. (Stephen Leeb)

$3,000 per oz. (Craig Smith, Swiss America)

$3,500 per oz. (Edgar J. Steele)

$4,000 per oz. (Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital)

$5,000 per oz.(Michael Miller)

$6,000 per oz. (Marc Faber)

$8,000 per oz. (James Turk)

$10,000 per oz. (Roland Watson)

But in the final analysis... nobody has a crystal ball. My current advice is to hedge substantially into precious metals. We live in perilous times, so it is prudent to make your investment portfolio diverse.

I just noticed that Gun Parts Guy is advertising a new batch of U.S.-made metric FAL barrel assemblies. With the BATFE's recent suspension on the importation of complete semi-auto rifle parts kits with (barrels being the parts that they want stopped), this could be a genuine "don't miss" opportunity. If you own a FAL (or clone thereof), buy a spare, and perhaps even a "spare spare."

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The Titan Missile base in eastern Washington that I mentioned a few weeks back has been re-listed on eBay. This time the starting bid is $750,000! Too bad that eBay doesn't consider their real estate auctions binding contracts. Otherwise someone could have had themselves a real bargain at the end of the previous auction.

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A SurvivalBlog reader J.G. in New Zealand found this web site with directions on how to turn a rechargeable electric drill into a hand crank battery charger.

"Long term prices of houses simply cannot rise above people's means to pay for them. That is a simple economic fact. Here is another simple economic fact: Family incomes are falling. The negative savings rate and rising foreclosures are more proof of stress in the system." - Mike "Mish" Shedlock, Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis, April 2006, as quoted at

Friday, May 12, 2006

Greetings Jim,
I read Redclay's letter on his questioning using electronics with generators. Ham (Amateur Radio) operators have been using various electronic devices for years powered by generators. The use of power sensitive devices such as a computer on a generator is fine if you take some precautions. First off the generator is what I called a "spiky" power source. So to smooth out the power supplied to the electronics one wants to use a good spike/surge protector between the generator and electronic devices. Do not skimp on cost and quality here. In my opinion it is preferable to use a battery backup with built in surge protector between the generator and the electronics. Usually the battery backup systems have a more responsive circuit for smoothing out power when it spikes as well as providing protection for a wider range of spikes and electrical anomalies. An additional benefit of using a battery backup is that when you have to turn off the generator for refueling, etc. you can continue using the electronics (radios, computers, etc.) while refueling. The length of time you have on electronics use depends on the rating for the battery backup system and what you have hanging off of it. The average time we had when refueling during Field Day was up to 20 to 30 minutes. We added an additional layer of protection by adding a power strip with surge protection between the battery backup and the electronics. This allowed us to cut power at the strip when shutting down or starting up the generator. I am just paranoid that way because having worked in emergency communications and various computer fields I have seen electricity and lightning do things to equipment that one would not normally expect. An extra layer of protection doesn't hurt anything. Surge and spike protectors are rated in terms of 'joules' of protection. A protector, with or without battery backup, that is rated for 1,000 joules is more protection than one rated at 400 joules. So look at the ratings on the surge protector to give you a benchmark for comparison. Battery backup systems are also rated in terms of wattage also for the maximum amount of load you can place on the battery backup and the subsequent amount of 'up' time you will have for your electronics. Keep in mind that the more load you place on the battery backup the less time you have. And if you use a conventional CRT monitor, you will be pulling more than using say a LCD monitor. The same difference applies between a desktop computer vs. a laptop, generally speaking. I have seen some high-end laptops pull more than a moderate desktop system. So size your battery backup accordingly. If you want to learn alternate ways to power emergency communications equipment off grid, attend a ham radio Field Day. You can find a varied array of methods. And who know you may get the chance to see a real time emergency and how the ham radio community provides an emergency service. One Field Day I was working turned real when there was an earthquake in California. We were contacting a station there when we heard the emergency call. The other operators and myself found ourselves relaying information to emergency services in [Washington] D.C. and at, oddly enough, the UN. We didn't think that the UN participated in the ham activities, but on that day they did. Whatever shortcomings the UN has, on that day they did provide a real service to the U.S.
Naturally a surge protector of any rating will not protect against a direct lightning strike. Lightning will go where ever it wants to. There are lightning arrestors made for antenna line but the operative word here is 'arrestor'. It attenuates the strength of the lightning. And if you are lucky enough, and have unplugged all electronics and associated antennas you may have workable equipment after the strike, but that is no guarantee. I watched a bolt of lightning strike a friend’s house. The bolt of lightning hit his 30 foot tall tower, traveled down the tower and into his house. At every grounding point along the way there was a scorched patch of grass where the bolt was bled off. When he got home the smoke detector was going off and the smell of burned electronics hung heavy in the air. He had unplugged all antennas, and power cords leading to his radios and computer prior to leaving. But (knew that was coming) his independent radio power supply was still plugged into the electrical outlet. The lightning charge jumped the power supply and arced from one piece of equipment to the next and finished at his computer. His computer monitor had caught fire and the plastic case had melted down inside the circuit board and put out the fire! Definitely it was Providence that kept his house from going up in flames. Moral of story: Surges and spikes can be defended against (two different power anomalies) by using a good surge/spike protector. The only defense for electronics from lightning is to unplug everything from any conductor. Then you may have protected your equipment.
lightning protection for homes is something I haven't seen on any modern built homes. I remember my grandmother's farmhouse festooned with three or four lightning rods. Her house sat near the top of a hill. And in those days when it was built (early 1900s) every house on open ground or on a hill had at least two lightning rods. Old Ben Franklin knew his lightning and provided a method for protecting buildings. The lightning rod is simple a device with a metal rod several feet long with a glass ball at the base and a copper or copper clad grounding line going about eight feet into the ground. These were on almost every old farmhouse I have seen. So the lightning rods would either discharge the air surrounding the house, preventing a 'lightning strike' (most lightning is from ground to air, not air to ground). Or if the charge built up too fast and there was a discharge of electrical energy the rod would take the hit thus mitigating or eliminating damage to the structure and the subsequent fire that usually follows. Remember lightning temperature can be hotter than the Sun's surface! If I had a home, modern built or otherwise, in the open or near the top of a hill you can bet there would be lightning rods to help. That is not to say the rods will stop all strikes, but it is the attenuation of the energy is what you are going for. I remember several discharges on the rods at my grandmother's house during violent thunderstorms. It reminded me of Shakespeare's quote, "..the sound and fury that signifies nothing..." It was loud, it was bright, and it scared the 'yee-ha' out of us grandkids. But when we went to look at the damage after the storm, there was none; save the newly fire polished segment of the lightning rod. I am usually befuddled when a home gets 'hit' with lightning and the homeowner wonders 'how this could happen'. Lets see, home on a hill or open area where it is the tallest object plus thunderstorm, the home is not properly grounded...well duh!
Perhaps 'modern day' construction has disregarded the use of a good lightning grounding system because contractors and the like figure it is 'too unsightly'. But a house that is a burned out shell as a result of a lightning strike is more so. And maybe modern science has proved that lightning rods are no longer a viable form of protection. I may have to research this. But for their day they sure seemed to work quite well. Other areas of the country may still favor this protection. But here on the East Coast they have all but disappeared from any building save the occasional 'old time' farm house scattered here and there.
Lightning can be detected before it becomes a direct hazard. Many years ago I took part in a NASA project called Inspire. It was geared toward gathering VLF (Very Low Frequency) radio waves produced by lightning and man made VLF signals from a [Space] Shuttle experiment. The experiment recorded the 'sound' generated by generated VLF 'footprint' as the Shuttle passed over in orbit.
The occurrence of VLF with lightning allows for a method of detecting the electrical charge of an approaching thunderstorm. I wonder if it is not possible to detect an EMP before it hits and area. Logically it would seem so. If an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generates a VLF signal which precedes it as does lightning then there may be a way to give a heads up warning of a few minutes. Whether that would allow time to disconnect any devices would have to be tested. But as lightning travels at or near the speed of light and does give and 'advanced footprint' far ahead of the approaching thunderstorm, and is detectable. So would a 'lightning detector' have the sensitivity range to detect an approaching EMP? The only way to know is to generate an EMP and see if it produces a VLF at all, and if so is it within the range of a 'lightning detector'? And if it is in range or the detector's sensitivity could be adjusted within it's circuit could the detector distinguish between an EMP and approaching thunderstorm's electrical energy? As usual, more questions are created than are resolved.
For info on how surge protectors work, see:
For info on a commercial lightning detector. I have no interest in the company but its one I picked at random: See:
Here is some info and circuit design for 'do-it-yourself' project from a ham operator.
For more information on lightning detectors available do a web search and you will find all kinds of plans, and complete units. - The Rabid One

The Daily Reckoning's Justice Litle comments on the world after the dollar collapses

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It just occurred to me that the recent jump in fuel prices will hurt the mining sector, cutting into their profitability. Just as gold and silver are going into a bull cycle, the cost of production for the miners is going up. Thus, gold and and silver mining stocks will not show quite the magnitude of gains that they otherwise would have. This is just another reason to invest in physical metals rather than in precious metals stocks or mutual funds.

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I've heard that The Pre-1899 Specialist still has a few original Model 1893 Mausers for sale. Two different SurvivalBlog readers have told me that they are having their local gunsmiths turn them into .308 Winchester scoped sporters. That concept appeals to my inherent contrariness: an "antique" rifle, available by mail order with no Federal paperwork required, that ends up in a modern caliber. Tres cool.

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent speak out against illegal immigration.

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Wow! Did you see that gold closed at $720 per ounce, and silver at $14.90 yesterday? It is clear that the precious metals bull is gaining speed. My friend the Chartist Gnome tells me that if the closing number for silver stays above $15 for three consecutive market days in New York, then Phase II of the silver short squeeze will come into play. I am told that this likely means the next stop for silver won't be until it is $18.25 per ounce! (I will reserve his comments on Phase III of the short squeeze until a later date. They are pretty wild.) Buckle your seatbelt. We are in for a roller coaster ride. Look for more stair stepping, punctuated by some sharp sell-offs as this bull market continues. The brief bouts of profit taking might again bring spot silver down under $12 per ounce. Don't let the sell-offs frighten you. Instead, think of them as buying opportunities.

"So, we can say that, yes, the Dow has been in a bull market since October 2002 in dollar terms, but it has been in a bear market in gold terms. This is an important point to understand. In case we should experience continuous monetary inflation, which could lift, over time, all asset prices such as stocks, real estate, and commodities, some asset classes will increase more in value than others. This means that some asset classes while rising in value could deflate against other asset classes, such as happened with the Dow against gold since year 2000. - Marc Faber, writing at, April, 2006, as quoted at

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hi James,
In reviewing the post by "Redclay" I think he brings a point that many people struggle with. Especially those of us who are just starting to prepare, but can easily get overwhelmed financially and mentally with all there is to do to be prepared. I have read SurvivalBlog since the beginning and don't recall any truly affordable options for powering a 220 volt AC well pump. Below are some ideas that I have. See what you think.
A brief journey back through time would shed some valuable lessons for all of us. The western settlers on up through most of our grandparents generation. Water has always been there, it was simply a matter of what you had to do to gather it. A large collection system is right there right above your head, it is your roof. Most of the piping is already there, (called your gutters). In the past, every farm I have visited had one of those "notorious" cisterns to collect water in (from the gutters). It is probably a health department violation to have one in town, as underground storage tanks are regulated, but nothing has been said about an above ground containment. Isn't it a pain that gutters are so low to the ground, (like when you mow around them)? How about a few hundred well spent dollars on a poly-tank that could hold many hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water. It is a above ground cistern that won't throw your back out digging it. Slide that baby close to the house, cut off your downspout high enough that you can divert water into the top of this tank, (maybe even add a splice that makes you ready to go when the time comes, but keeps your gutter down low until then. Throw in the proper amount of bleach or purification tablets, run the drinkable through a filter such as a Katadyn or Berkey, boil the cooking water and you have just utilized what God has provided to you.
Collection is preparation. Large tanks make use of the infrequency of rain. Come time for winter, you better be thinking ahead, but insulation in adequate amounts may get you well into winter without having to melt snow for moisture.
Rain water may never be enough based on your climate to amount to much, so you may think you don't need a large collection basin. But think about how often you would have to run your generator to keep up with your daily needs. Talk about in-efficiency. You not only waste fuel, but you may very well give away your preparedness to some passer-by(by the constant running of your generator). My opinion is that you would be better served pumping 1,000 gallons at a time rather than 5 or 10. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, you would need lookouts to monitor any un welcomed two legged varmint while making the extra noise, but several hours of the generator running once a month is less predictable than 1/2hr every day in my opinion.
Back to the topic of backup well power. Since it is more common to have a 220V pump and the amps needed for startup are fairly large, one may be better off to scrap the pump idea and improvise. My well is about 200 feet deep. The [static] water level in my well is around 60 feet. how about three 20 foot lengths of 1-1/4" PVC glued together and secured (as to not fall down the well) with an adaptor that would fasten to a standard sump pump, or pit pump, (not to be confused with an ejector pump or trash pump). Un-bolt the cap to your well, snap your sump pump on top of your PVC, plug it in to your 1,000 watt portable generator and let it hum away all day while filling your storage tank. If your casing was large enough or your water level shallow enough, you may be able to sub-merge the pump and leave it in place.
The idea may not be of merit as one would likely have to shop around for a unique pump that can either pull or push a greater distance than normal, but,... I am sure they are available. If a 1-1/4" PVC has simply too much volume to pull water that far, consider adapting down to 1/2" as that is all the larger the copper lines in your home are (as a standard anyway) that run to your shower or sink. My unfounded thoughts are that you could greatly increase the depth of your draw if the volume, (i.e.- weight) was considerably less. Someone with a hydraulics background could help shed some light on this for us.
In the latter scenario, I would venture a guess of $200 for a pump, (long lasting cast iron, much cheaper are available): $30 for PVC, $10 fittings, and $10 for an extension cord.
Some pumps actually attach to a garden hose which would make a quick and easy improvised water transfer pump. It may be worth while to soak the pump in bleach until use, or for several hours before use to cut down on contamination. Either way, this is a consideration for times of need, not for times of convenience.
For others in high water table regions, a sand point well, (a mesh formed into a cone attached to pipe driven into the ground by a hand held post driver or sledgehammer and block), you may not need much of anything to get to water.
As I mentioned, these are ideas that I have not tried, but may be an inexpensive way to draw water on a limited budget. Sparking a new thought process in someone before an emergency may save their life. The blog has sure helped me! - The Wanderer

JWR Replies: I think that you find that the practicable lifting limit for most sump type pumps is less than 30 feet. A small jet type pump (such as those used in spas and hot tubs) will lift water much higher, but of course they draw more current than a typical sump pump. OBTW, don't skimp on pipe. Use at least schedule 40 PVC pipe. Both the lighter gauge white PVC pipe and the thin wall black pipe that you see for sale at your local Home Depot is intended for less demanding applications like garden sprinkler systems. A cracked sprinkler pipe is a mere inconvenience, but a cracked pipe inside your house, or for any part of your drinking water supply could have serious consequences.

Mr. Rawles,
Some of your readers may have the BayGen Freeplay [hand crank clock drive] AM/FM/SW radio that they are saving for that “rainy day”, or may be new to the emergency preparedness mindset and looking for a similar wind up radio. I purchased my Bay Gen about six years ago for around $100 and used it about that many (100) hours. A few weeks ago the mechanism that regulates the internal generator speed started to deteriorate, then went completely out. I contacted the manufacturer/distributor and they referred me to Dixie Sales Co., the US distributor. I was informed by them that that radio is no longer made and no parts are available. A repair or replacement was not possible. The lesson learned is to (1) avoid this brand (2) purchase a radio that has multiple power supply abilities. One radio I saw advertised recently had wind up, solar, and battery power options, and cost about $70 before shipping. I’m saving my pennies. Thank you for all the information on your web site. - C.G. in NC

JWR Replies: I think you simply had bad luck with your BayGen. I bought mine is 1998 and it is still going strong after at least 400 hours of hand crank use (mainly outdoors, while the Memsahib and I have been doing gardening and other chores), and well over 1,000 hours of use with an AC adapter. Perhaps some other readers would like to chime in--either to agree or disagree, based on their own experience. Maybe I was just lucky...

You might want to look for a another BayGen on eBay, and save your old one to cannibalize for spare parts. (Such as the whip antenna--which BTW is the only part on mine that I've ever damaged.) OBTW, the last that I heard, Yellowstone River Trading still had some left in inventory, even though they are no longer manufactured.

I should also mention one important proviso: Most of the less expensive hand crank radios that are currently on the market are made in China and are not sturdy enough for daily use. The much larger/heavier BayGen can generally handle heavy use.

I regret the withdrawal of my advertising but I can no longer do it because the housing bubble has burst and this is not a good time to buy any real estate. I would urge your readers to consider renting and investing heavily in precious metals, including FMJ. I am calling the ball and making plans to leave the country possibly in the next 6-to-12 months. The dollar is in a fatal spiral and all dollar-denominated assets are in a freefall. There is no stepping away from the financial ruin the politicians and a willing sheeple have visited upon the Republic. All these years the survival community has asked the question: "Is the end of the world here yet?" We have arrived. Welcome to Depression Two. In case you failed to notice, the storm clouds are now overhead. - Bill Buppert

SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. told us about a great new site that covers Second Amendment issues: Firearms News. They also host a very useful directory of links to firearms-related web site links.

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A reader told me that he saw SurvivalBlog mentioned in the description for a current eBay auction of a CRKT tanto point folding knife.

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The New Euro-denominated Oil Bourse: Iran signs its own death warrant.

o o o has a very good article about NAIS implementation: Mafia Style "Voluntary"

"For the resolute and determined there is time and opportunity." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Get your entries in soon for Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006.

You may have read in recent years that both Microsoft's president Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway (founded and still led by Warren Buffet) acquired large hoards of physical silver when silver prices neared their low ebb in the late 1990s first few years of this decade. Bill Gates purchased at least $10 million worth, with his "personal investment money." Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway bought 129.7 million ounces. According to published accounts, the latter bought their silver at $4.40 per ounce, in 1997. The recent news on Wall Street is that Berkshire Hathaway has quietly sold off their silver position in the past year. One of my favorite economists, Jason Hommel, opined that Warren Buffet sold his silver too soon. Given the timeframe of their sales, we can presume that Berkshire Hathaway sold out when spot silver was between $9 and 12 per ounce. Hommel wrote: "This is very bullish for silver, because it explains why silver's rise took longer than we thought (Warren was selling), and it also means that there is much less silver above ground than we thought. Buffet's hoard of 130 million ounces no longer exists!"

At the same time that Berkshire Hathaway was selling their silver, iShares Silver Trust--the first of two newer silver exchange traded funds--started buying silver. To "fund the fund" they will need at least 100 million ounces. There one more silver ETF in development. And given the early success of iShares Silver Trust (stock symbol SLV) , I wouldn't be surprised if one or two more silver ETFs jump on the band wagon.

As I recently mentioned, economist Jason Hommel presented some great silver market fundamentals, explaining why silver must rise. I think that he is correct in his analysis. With gold approaching $700 per ounce, and silver bouncing around $14.40, it is obvious that the precious metals bull is gaining speed.

Things don't look good for the U.S. dollar--all through the rest of this decade and perhaps beyond. It is noteworthy the U.S. Dollar is again starting to lose ground to many foreign currencies. For example, a Canadian dollar now costs $0.90 USD. (Remember a few years back when they were making "Canadian Peso jokes? Not anymore!) With a progressively weaker dollar expected, I am quite bullish on silver. At anywhere under $16 per ounce, silver is a bargain. And at the current +/-$14.40 per ounce, it is a screaming buy. We may see silver at $20 per ounce by the end of Aught Six. There could be a full scale dollar crisis, precipitated by the out of control U.S. debt spiral. If that happens, then all bets are off for silver, as well as gold. Some economists in the "gold bug" camp have suggested prices as high as $100 per ounce silver and $5,000 per ounce gold!)

The bottom line: The bull market in precious metals is still in its early stages. Buy on the dips.

A site to be mentioned when it comes to slow speed diesels and the like is I agree with the site linked - getting one of these small diesel engines is the hardest part in the process. Both the lister types and the small horizontal diesels (made in mainland China) appear on from anywhere from $375 to $2000. Shipping is also a bit of a bear due to the high weights; [since] lots of cast iron is used on these. - Rick L.

In response to the question about generator sizing, obviously it depends on how much you want to run. This also determines how much fuel you will burn. I don't have the money for a 15KW whole house generator so I did things on the cheap. Hopefully my "system" will help with some ideas or trigger your own I have a 5KW "portable" gas model. Nothing fancy, fixed RPM, with a 5 gallon top tank. After several hurricane related power outages, I live on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, I have developed a good system for me. My house is not pre-wired so I use two heavy gauge extension cords to run the 110 volt outlets into a kitchen window. I use a power strip to plug in the fridge and freezer on one outlet and run the second one for a 5000 BTU window air conditioner that I install after the storms if it gets unbearable. I have an infant so this is a real need. I can also plug in a coffee pot in the a.m. and a fan and a lamp at night. (the air conditioner gets its own cord due to power needs and its safer.) The air conditioner will cool my 400 square foot living room and we can all sleep there if needed.
Fuel consumption: I run the genny about 4-to-5 hours in the am to cool the fridge and freezer and make a pot of Joe. This uses about 1/2 gallon per hour. I pour the brewed coffee into a Thermos and then unplug the pot. If I need to run the air conditioning, my gas usage is about 1-1.25 gallons per hour. I run the genny for 2 4-5 hour shifts, morning and as it is getting dark. This cools the reefers twice a day. I want to get a 2-2.5 KW genny for when I am not using the air conditioner. Only used it once during Katrina in eight days. That should power the fridge/freezer and the coffee pot before I plug in the freezer, and a light and fan. This will decrease my fuel usage and let me run longer on stored fuel. It will also serve as a back-up in case one breaks down. I keep gas in five gallon cans and rotate it by refueling the wife's car. About five cans a month keeps it fresh.
I keep about 45-50 gallons when [my vehicle tanks and cans are] full but I am raising this gradually. We supplement the lighting with battery fluorescent lanterns and have gas water heat but have to cook on the grill or use my brand new propane stove.
This is somewhat simple and not to fancy but it works on the cheap. By rationing my fuel I have avoided the gas lines. This is not the best system but it works for my family and it has been working since hurricane George in 1998. - Nightshift in Mississippi

A few weeks back, you covered the issue of pennies being more costly to produce than they are worth. Here is my Quixotic take on the issue:

Based on historical precedent, currency/coinage reform is overdue. The half-cent was discontinued in 1857, when it was worth ten cents in today’s inflation adjusted dollars! Source: Historical Statistics of the United States. (USGPO, 1975), Statistical Abstracts of the United States. That means that the smallest monetary unit at the time was worth $0.20 in today’s value. And a $100 bill (gold certificate) in 1863 had a value equal to nearly $2,000.

A penny in 1970 was worth the same as today’s nickel. Not only are pennies obsolete, but so are nickels. What earthly reason could there be for monetary increments less than the value of one minute of a minimum wage (~$6/hr) laborer’s time?

Proposal: Simplify currency and coinage to make transactions simpler. Drop the penny decimal place.

Notes: $500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5
Coins: $5, 2, 1, 0.50, and 0.10

Better still, we should make all notes silver or gold certificates, and all coins of $1 and above silver. Best Regards, - Mr. Bravo.

Fuel Bank Offers "Locked In" Price for Gasoline. Meanwhile, Forbes reports,Venezuela Tacks on a New Oil Tax

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Ken Timmerman reports: Iran prepares al Qiyamah ("Judgment Day") Terrorist Vengeance Attack Plan

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Zimbabwe: A Nation of Millionaires--Where $10 USD buys over $1 million in Zimbabwean toilet paper.

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SurvivalBlog reader "John Z." mentioned a recent CNN segment about a survival school that's offered in Virginia. After watching this clip, his conclusion was that Buckshot could offer a better much course that would include survival skills such traps, snares, and skinning game.

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I expect that there will be a lot of conversations around America's office water coolers today regarding the made-for-television movie that aired last night: "Fatal Contact". (It was about the Asian Avian Flu.) If just 5% of the American population puts two and two togther, then there will not be a lot of long term storage food available in the near future. Why? There are just a few companies that produce cans of proper nitrogen-packed dehydrated and freeze dried foods. Mark my words: Someday--perhaps sooner rather than later--those companies will be overwhelmed with orders.

"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic." - Ted Nugent

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

You may have noticed that we now have 27 advertisers. That is gratifying, but it isn't quite enough to keep us afloat. To supplement the income from paid advertising, we have added a number of affiliate advertisers, way down at the bottom of our blog page. (If these aren't visible to you, then click your browser's Reload button.) Please shop with our our paid advertisers, first. (See the scrolling ads in the right hand bar.) But if they don't have exactly what you are looking for, then you can use the links provided to shop with our affiliate advertisers. (SurvivalBlog will receive a small percentage of your purchase price--usually from 2% to 10%, depending on the vendor.) You may already do business with some of them, such as Lehman's and Cheaper Than Dirt. But please be sure to use only our links each time that you place an order with an affiliate (rather than bookmarking the vendor's web page), or we won't get our little piece of the action.


The folks out there have some good information re. electrical considerations, codes and such for installing a hookup for a generator for the home. However, unless I missed a post, no one has mentioned how big a generator one may need to power essentials to get by comfortably in a grid down situation for the short term, at least.
My family and I live in the eastern US and we are prone to power outages from hurricanes, ice storms and to a lesser extent tornados and heavy snowfall. Since moving to a rural area out near the end of our power line service we have had everything from one day to a week long stretch without power to our home.
I knew when we built our home that I wanted a transfer box wired in to our outside box for just such emergencies, but I didn't know how big a generator I needed that would not break the bank, so to speak. If you have enough scratch for a 15KW to 25KW whole house standby generator, fine, but most of us will be getting along with smaller, more portable units to power the essentials. Also, there are pros and cons as to which generator to buy depending on the type of fuel(s) you wish to use that
are available. [JWR Adds: I generally prefer low RPM diesel generators, because of their far greater longevity and the superior storage life of diesel fuel. They can also run on home heating oil in a pinch.] Ours is a convention gasoline powered generator, though I gave consideration to a propane generator, since we have that fuel source handy as well. Others may wish to address the fuel issue. We got a reconditioned factory Coleman 5500 watt generator for a bargain price at one of the local discount retailers in the wake of one of the last big hurricanes, which was a bargain for the price and has not let us down yet. I found that my main concern was having enough wattage capacity in a generator to turn over the well pump so we can provide water for our livestock and family. The minimum required for our 300 ft. well was about 3500 watts initial surge to turn over the well pump which then falls back to just a thousand watts or so for continued use. Fans and lights, added one at a time as you turn them on with the generator running use very little wattage, so they can be added with little load on the generator during runs in the evening or morning, when folks are up and about. Large appliances, however (microwaves, ovens, toasters, etc.) take a lot of wattage that would best be served by a larger standby generator. I have heard that electronic appliances such as computers, charges, radios, televisions etc. might be damaged if run off generator current, but I am not sure of this - we just don't use those items during an outage anyway.
To make a long story short, we settled on a 5000 watt generator that weighs about 225 lbs. We bought it with a wheel kit, cover, and custom 60 ft. 220 volt cord that can be directly linked to our outside power transfer box during an extended outage. This setup will give us water, enable us to flush and shower and run the fans and lights, which, combined with our gas heat and cooking, keeps us comfortable until the power returns. It is kept in our detached garage for safekeeping and for operation by the open garage door to vent the exhaust and keep the noise down. As they say, your mileage may vary, but I draw the line at about 5000 watts for home use in extended circumstances. I consider smaller more portable generators you can run out of the back of your pickup truck or other conveyance as convenient for remote work and for power tools, but not big enough for your home.
By the way - I have found that cranking the generator monthly to check it out and taking it in yearly for a check-up is advisable, so it will be ready when needed. STA-BIL [or similar] gas stabilizer in your generator gas tank can also help preclude gumming up the engine and leading to hard cranking, if it will start at all. Although I have a hand crank generator, I understand that electric start is preferred. Just my $.02 cents. Regards, - Redclay


Regarding the recent posts, I want to make a few posts about folding knives. First, while larger folders are definitely better for larger tasks and of course for self-defense, One needs to take time to learn what is legal to carry in their state. My state, for example, only allows a maximum blade length of 3.5 inches. I follow the law, but carry TWO such folders. It would be a massive hassle to get in trouble with an overly zealous police officer. Better to be sure, and know the law.

As for folders, I like several Spydercos, such as the Endura and Delica, the Para Military and the James Keating model. I have several CRKT [Columbia River Knife and Tool] models, as I am the CRKT Forum moderator at The CRKT Hawk D.O.G. Lock is a sleeper in their line. I've carried one off and on for a few years, and you couldn't kill it if you tried. I didn't see it in Columbia River's latest catalog, but there are a lot of them out there for sale in shops, on line, and on eBay. The CRKT Hammond Cruiser is also a very stout knife. I know of a soldier who has used his in Iraq to open cans, MREs and all kinds of things you shouldn't be able to open with a folder.

As for folder fighting skills, I encourage everyone to buy the Gabe Suarez "Big Folders Fighting Skills" DVD. Gabe shows several drills to teach a student to draw and deploy large Cold Steel Voyager clip point folders. He favors the XL and X2 models, which are fine for woodsy camping carry, but not legal to carry here, because of their six inch blade length. However, his skills transfer to other similarly designed folders. I encourage anyone who carries a folder as a back up to buy this DVD and study it. - Lawrence in West Virginia

I completely agree with both OSOM and yourself; a fixed blade is preferable for many reasons, but the convenience and legalities of a folder make it the one I carry everyday.
Emerson Knives has a middle ground I believe, a feature called the "wave" that catches on the edge of your pocket, causing the blade to come open as you draw it.
A gent who posts under the name "Goshin" on Alpharubicon suggetsed a way to add the same functionality to any tip up carried folder that utilizes a thumb hole. Using a Dremel tool or a hacksaw, you can remove enough steel from the thumbhole to allow a "catch" on your pocket and open as you draw. Another way (and superior, in my opinion) is to attach a cable or zip tie to the thumb hole and cut it short; this provides the same function without destructive modification.
(See: )
I find it performs best to reverse the pocket clip so the knife comes up in a reverse grip. It is truly amazing how quickly a folder can be deployed this way [from a front pants pocket], perhaps even faster that a concealed fixed blade as there is no concealing garment to clear before drawing. As always, thank you for the resource your blog provides. Respectfully, - Pat R.

WorldNetDaily reports a TS/SCI Bush Administration briefing to key congressman: North Korea is attempting to weaponize the Asian Avian Flu

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Oceans in Hurricane Alley Heat Up

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David in Israel recommended this interesting piece on The Solar Storm of 1859

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CNN Reports: Asian Avian Flu Could be Worse than a Terrorist Attack

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"Hurricane Katrina Effect" Blamed for Rise in Houston Murder Rate

"I do not believe there ever was any life more attractive to a vigorous young fellow than life on a cattle ranch in those days. It was a fine, healthy life, too; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision...I enjoyed the life to the full." - Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, May 8, 2006

Dear Mr. Rawles:
I found a site that I thought to be some interesting info on using old fashioned (newly manufactured) Lister engines for generating electricity. And this second generator project. Has some really good pictures. Thought you or some of your readers might be interested. Thanks, - J.O. in Oklahoma

Regarding the question of fish and infection with H5N1 influenza virus: This is not the first time this question has come across my desk. While it is not wise to say "absolutely never" in biology, I find actual infection of fish with influenza viruses to be extremely unlikely. I've never encountered any study to show that fish (or insects, before someone asks) can be infected with or transmit influenza viruses. I am a public health M.D./epidemiologist, not a virologist, so I am prepared to be wrong. But I'd be surprised. The issue is not so much that certain animals are "cold blooded" -- although that perhaps plays a role, since viruses have preferred temperatures for carrying out the molecular steps for infection -- but rather involves the specific molecular biology of the influenza virus. In particular, there are specific proteins (hemagglutinin or "HA") on the outside of each virus that determine what sorts of animal cells the virus can attach to and thereby infect. I don't think any HA molecule subtypes will attach to the cell receptors found in fish or insects. Further, the various other components of the virus are also necessary for an infection cycle to be successful, and these components would probably not be expected to function properly in non-mammal, non-avian cells.
Having said all that, the issue of environmental "contamination" with this virus has indeed been raised with regard to fish farming. Influenza viruses in general are able to remain viable in the environment for extended periods, especially if cold and wet. There have been concerns raised (and refuted, but with little direct evidence one way or another) about chicken manure used as fish food in integrated operations in Asia. The real concern is that transport and spread of untreated manure from infected poultry could contribute to local spread of the virus, not so much that the farmed fish are directly infected. It's worth reminding everyone that cooking easily kills influenza virus and other pathogens. If preparing raw meats, always practice safe kitchen procedures and avoid cross-contamination of cutting boards etc. Then WASH YOUR HANDS. I eat sushi, for what it's worth. - A Public Health Physician


I received the following recommendation from a buddy of mine in Houston:
"I bought one of these bags for the truck. It is well made and works as a "Oh Sh*t" bag. I put a Glock19 with 8 mags, 2 bottled waters, 2 flashlights, spare batteries, a folding knife, two 50 round boxes of spare ammo and still have room for whatever I come up with. It has a shoulder strap and when adjusted properly, hangs well to
the weak-side of body. The pockets are of various sizes and hold well. I take it out of the truck at night and place back [there] in the morning. Highly recommend. Hope that I never need it." - K.T.

SurvivalBlog reader S.C. saw the recent item about 20 liter gas cans and mentioned that there is a great price (just $10 each) on military surplus gas cans at (See their "Surplus" page.) When you consider that the shipping cost to most locations will exceed the cost of the can itself, you can see that they are a very good deal.

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Magma on the Move at Mount St. Helens

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First Silver Exchange Traded Fund Beats Expectations

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Persian Gulf Officials Discuss Nuclear Emergency Plan

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The high bid is currently $110 in the SurvivalBlog Bandwidth Fund benefit Book Auction. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

"Our top focus - protecting our Nation - must go beyond homeland preparedness; America will only be secure if we deal with threats before they happen, not just after they happen." - Senator Dr. Bill Frist

Sunday, May 7, 2006

I'm a strong fan of shotguns. Until recently, I was quite happy with whatever load was around the house stacked in the [shotgun magazine] tube for home defense. However, last year I was referred to The Box of Truth web site.The scary part is the comments on bird shot at the bottom:
"I saw a gunshot victim, about 5' 10" and 200 lbs, taken to the operating room with a shotgun wound to the chest. He was shot at a range of six feet at a distance of just over the pectoralis muscle. He was sitting on his front porch and walked to the ambulance. We explored the chest after x-rays were taken. The ER doc had said 'buckshot' wound, but this was obviously not accurate. It was # 6 [bird] shot. There was a crater in the skin over an inch in diameter. When the shot hit the level of the ribs, it spread out about five inches. There was ONE pellet that had passed between the ribs and entered the pericardium, but not damaged the heart at all..."
There are other comments on the page, and several comparisons of shotguns to other weapons. Quoting an acquaintance of mine, "A 12 gauge pump is basically a Swiss Army Gun."
I keep both slugs (for the truly appalling ballistic energy--3500 to 5000 foot-pounds) and 00 buck on the gun and in it. The arms locker has #7 and #4 [bird] shot for survival hunting, with additional buckshot. Deer can be more easily taken with a rifle, and if SHTF that's what I'll use. - Michael Z. Williamson

In regard to the gentlemen asking about his well pump: There is a product called Generlink that is a lot easier to install than a transfer switch. Most well pumps are 220 volt but there are always exceptions. The web site for the item is and I have heard some electrical coops will install them for free. - Gene in Walla Walla

A single-load transfer switch can be added to the well-pump line. Cost is about $100 from Northern Tools. Depending upon your local regulations, this may require the services of a licensed electrician. And if your well pump is 220 volts, you will need one of the more expensive generators - the small, cheap ones don't put out
220 volts.
If you're going to all that expense, it's probably foolish to limit yourself to powering only the well pump. Might just as well choose a loadside transfer switch ($250 - $500) which will allow you to power the freezer, lights, etc. If you know what you are doing (and local regulations allow) you can install one of these yourself.
If your well is not very deep, you might look into a 12-volt pump with a deep-cycle battery and solar charger.
That's what I have here - but it only has to lift water about 2 feet. A pump such as the Shurflo used in campers and motor homes would work (< $100) - Irv


I saw the letter today asking about back-up power for a well pump. I had the very same issue myself. We are the very last house on the power line and thus our power goes out more than most. I did the illegal/dangerous "run things off a generator with a male to male plug" for a while, but could not power my well pump this way as it is 220 Volt. So, realizing that it is dangerous and illegal to continue with my then current methods, I resolved to install a transfer switch. I am no electrical genius but it really wasn't all that difficult - just time consuming. It all worked out fine and I think (I didn't really keep track) that I spent something between $500 and $600 on the entire set-up. The transfer switch alone was about $200, the new box another $100, as I recall, so the parts are not cheap. However, if you do this right you are practically set up for a battery back-up or other alternate power source as well.

Before I did anything, I contacted the local code enforcement officer and asked for his advice. He was really quite helpful. I also went to a local electrical supply house - not a big box store - as these guys know a lot more about the codes, requirements, etc than they do at Lowes, Home Depot, etc. In any case, I have attached a photo of my project when it was almost done. As I said, it cost a fair amount of money and took me about a month to do off and on (I do have to work you know!), but it was a LOT less than having someone else do it.

I ran a line to my garage for the generator (must be three wires and a ground for code) and ran that into the transfer switch which I mounted next to my main box. Then I installed another smaller electrical box to the other side of that. I ran 60 amp service from the transfer switch to the new box and wired up as much as I could without disrupting the house circuits. Then all in one Saturday morning I ran the wires from the old box to the new for the circuits I wanted to power from my generator - refrigerator, freezer, well pump, kitchen, office and family room - and installed a 60 amp breaker and wired it all up to code as described by the inspector and the guys at the shop. I had no problem with the inspection because I talked with them FIRST and called and asked questions occasionally when something was unclear. However, now when I run my generator I do not have to worry about frying some lineman or one of my children if they go look at the funny male plug that fell out of the wall . . .

Also, it is easy to tell if your well pump is 110 or 220. Just look in your electrical box. If it runs with a circuit breaker it will be a two-pole switch (the kind with a bar across to throw 2 switches at once), not a single pole like the rest of the stuff in your box. The only other two-pole switches you might have would be for an electric dryer, electric stove, electric heat or other special 220 VAC items.In any case, the box should be labeled. Best Regards, - Tim P.

P.S.: I too have done business with The Pre-1899 Specialist and have received excellent information and a couple of fine rifles as a result.


In previous pieces I have written for SurvivalBlog, I have told of ways to prepare Field Kits, and of Shooting Skills, and other preparedness information. In today’s article I will write a little about spiritual preparedness:

The first acting “survivalist” was probably Noah and his family. (Note: I do not take credit for being the first person to come up with this idea). Under God’s direction he built a “Bug out Vehicle” of sorts (Genesis 6:14-16). God gave them a way of escape, and direction to store the things they would need for the coming threat ahead as well as the future of the earth. They gathered and stored food stuffs, grains, water, tools, and raw materials (Genesis 6:21).

They gathered the various types of animals on the earth at that time, and of the animals God gave man for food – He had them gather seven pairs (male and female) instead of just one pair (Genesis 7:2-3). God was their protector through the devastation of the earth, but they had done their part by preparing what would be needed in their future.

Another type of survivor (in a spiritual sense) comes to mind. When Jesus Christ hung on the cross some 2000 years ago, there were two thieves who hung on crosses near Him. One believed that Jesus was the Christ, but the other did not. The one who believed was told by Jesus that “today shalt thou be with me in Paradise” (KJV, Luke 23:40-43). This second thief realized that Jesus was the Son of God. He feared God, and believed that Jesus was His Son. He professed this with his mouth, and being his last day on earth – he repented. Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) reads: “9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

The thief had no time left on earth to “earn” his salvation, but the Bible says that if we believe and we repent - we can be saved. Our best “works” are not able to save us! (see Isaiah 64:6). Fortunately, God loved us enough to send His Son Jesus to die for our sins, taking our place on that cross! (John 3:16)

The believing thief was a “spiritual survivor”. The Bible says he will live eternally. You the reader have probably made plans and preparations for surviving the hard times ahead, but will you be an “eternal survivor” as well? - Christian Souljer

The 'Worst case' bird flu pandemic may have been underestimated. And it is now known that H5N1 can attack other organs -- not just the human respiratory tract.

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Yevgeny Primakov's view of the Iranian situation.

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SurvivalBlog reader RBS mentioned this article about the prospect of an inflation-proof "forever" postage stamp. If these ever get issued, then I'm stocking up!

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By way of Gold-Eagle, Jason Hommel comments on both the rapid expansion of the silver ETF and the threat of Bolivian silver mine expropriation

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.” - Will Rogers

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Thanks for all of the recent 10 Cent Challenge contributions. I'm almost starting to make a living at this!

Hello Jim,
I am hoping that you can verify something for me about the [U.S. circulated} 90% silver [coin] bags. I just received my order of a $1,000 face [value] bag from The Tulving Company of California. I believe that I saw their name [mentioned] on SurvivalBlog a number of months ago. They have great customer service and the product came faster than they had promised. What I received from them came shipped in a plastic paint pail and inside was a flour sack, cloth bag, full of dimes and the weight printed on the UPS sticker showed 57 pounds. Sounds good, I think, but the bag inside has no markings and wasn't sealed or sewn shut. It was just closed with a zip tie plastic fastener. Is this right, or should I be concerned? I am considering purchasing additional bags from them and my wife brought up that maybe I should ask a few questions instead of just accepting this as being appropriate. I really want this to be fine because I don't want to have to count out all these dimes! Your insight would be greatly appreciated by my family! - S.C. in Washington

JWR Replies: Yes, The Tulving Company has been mentioned several times on SurvivalBlog. Tulving is a reputable dealer, from all reports. Don't worry that the bag wasn't sealed. In fact, most $1K bags are NOT sold sealed or sewn. Typically, dealers run any pre-1965 silver coin orders that are large enough to be sold "loose" or bagged (rather than in rolls) through a mechanical coin counter. A quick visual inspection will show you that all of the coins are pre-1965. (Scan for any rims that show a copper streak--which would indicate that any post 1964 clad copper coins got mixed in.) There is certainly no need for you to count 10,000 dimes. As long as the bag weighs at least 52 pounds, then you got your full 715 troy ounces of silver. (BTW, that +/- 715 ounce figure also applies for circulated silver quarters and half dollars. But because of their different specifications, silver dollar $1,000 bags contain around 765 ounces of silver.)

BTW, the quick way to gauge the value of a $1,000 bag versus the spot price of silver on any given day is simply to multiply the spot price by 715. Thus, at yesterday's spot silver price of $13.85 per ounce, your $1,000 bag of dimes is worth $9,902.75. (Or just think of it as 9.9 times face value.)


I came across this .223 rifle made by Kel-Tec that folds down to 25" and would fit into some backpacks. Let me know what you think. - G.C.P.

JWR Replies: The Kel-Tec SU-16s are reportedly fairly reliable and accurate. It is nice that they use standard AR-15/M16 magazines, which have become ubiquitous in the U.S., the Philippines, and several other countries. However, I have heard that SU-16s have three significant detractors, the first two of which concern the stock:

1.) The stock is relatively fragile and hence not suited for vigorous field use. They might suffice for target shooting, but I have my doubts that they would not stand up to the vigors of a worst case survival situation where you might have to repeatedly jump to a prone position or perhaps even use the buttstock as a weapon. ("Buttstroking" an opponent.)

2.) It is difficult to get a consistent "cheek weld" on the stock to allow accurate shooting.

3.) As currently shipped from the factory, SU-16s do not come with a flash hider. Yes, they can be retrofitted, but that is a +/- $100 gunsmithing job.

If you want a compact .223, I would instead recommend a Rock River (or similar) M4 carbine clone with a 16" barrel. (Commonly called an "M4gery.") They are very compact when broken down into upper and lower halves for backpack carry. Re-assembly and loading takes less than 15 seconds. They are also relatively compact once assembled--that is if the stock is in the collapsed position.

If absolute compactness is a must (such as for vehicular defense), and you only expect short range shooting, then you might opt for an Olympic Arms AR-type pistol. (Note: for these pistols to be legal in the U.S., they must be assembled on a special "Pistol" designated AR-15 lower receiver. If you want both a short barrel and a buttstock, then in the U.S. such a gun must be federally registered as a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR). For example, you could register an M4 receiver as an SBR and then re-assemble it with a 11.5 inch barreled upper receiver group. One captivating alternative for those of you that prefer HK designs, is getting one of the new semi-auto Vector V53.223 (HK-53) SBR clones with a collapsing stock. Sadly, these too must be registered as SBRs in the U.S.

Mr. R.:
I read SurvivalBlog regularly - great site - and have been a contributor. It's worth every penny. I would strongly encourage folks to check out Smokey Mountain Knife Works. I've gotten both CRKT and Cold Steel items there at very deep discounts. They've had both Kasper and Steve Ryan folders and fixed blades on sale at less than half their sale pricing elsewhere, both CRKT produced versions of those gentlemens' customs. The Ryan Plan B fixed and the Model 7 folders are knives to have. They've had both full-size and compact Pendleton Hunters from Cold-Steel - not just a great knife but they come with adjustable Concealex sheaths, and once again, at prices almost too good.
Browse at Knives Plus for their Blade Clearinghouse. Spyderco has a new line of outsourced knives - the Byrd Line - and their Raven and Crows are the real deal; all metal folders that are very well-made, tight, and sharp. The Raven and Crow are less than $20, for what is essentially a $40 to $50 knife.
I've been "prepping" since '97, filling in the edges as I go, and for "tools" these two sites are way ahead of the pack in choice and performance for price. Trust me - I'm a doctor, and there are no better prices to be found. - MurrDoc from NM


Dear Jim:
I carried a folder for years, but after taking a partial-contact knife class (with dull training blades) I am convinced that a fixed blade is much preferable Bottom line - have you ever tried to open a folder while being tackled or hit? Having done some well-padded half-contact sparring, I can testify how hard it is to pull off fine motor movements with an adrenaline dump, and under attack.

In a dynamic assault you just pull a fixed blade and go, not, "pull it, lever the folding blade open, and then make darn sure it's locked before fighting, so you don't cut your own fingers off!"

Just like gun fighting, to get a good idea of what really works you must do a realistic combat simulation - Gabe Suarez has some of the best insights here:

It might even be legal in some of the semi-free states to carry a fixed blade!

Granted, a fixed blade is tougher to carry - but there are options. I like inside the waistband, appendix carry, clipped to the top of the pants, behind the belt.

Knife fighting is scary business! The more I learn about Close Quarter Combat, and how the bad guy who initiates has the advantage, the more I want to be well armed and trained. - OSOM - (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

JWR Replies: I agree that fixed blade knives are definitely superior for self defense. The problem is that most people don't have the discipline to carry a sheath knife daily. It is quick and easy to put a clip-back folding knife you trouser pocket every morning. I do just that, every day. (Except of course when I take a commercial airline flight.) But it takes far greater discipline to transfer a sheath knife every time your trousers go in the laundry, or every time that you switch from work jeans to "church" pants. There is the added complicating factor of societal acceptance. A clip-back folding knife elicits hardly more than a second glance--at least outside of big eastern cities. But a sheath knife is a whole 'nother matter in many social situations. They are also banned from carry in many U.S. cities and counties. IMHO, the practical compromise between the two approaches is to carry a fairly large folder with a very positive automatic lock. (Such as found on most "liner" locks.)

BTW, training is crucial. Close quarter training is available from Front Sight and several other qualified training organizations.With the right training, drawing and opening a folder becomes a fluid, almost automatic reflex. Perfect practice makes perfect.

A web search turned up this old article by Grits Gresham about Idaho's famous back country solitary "Buckskin Bill" (Sylvan Hart)

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The high bid is currently $110 in the SurvivalBlog Bandwidth Fund benefit Book Auction. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

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A site that tracks the intrinsic (base metal) value of U.S. circulating coinage and circulated silver coinage.

"There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy." - George Washington

Friday, May 5, 2006

Can you or one of the gang offer some advice? We live in a nicely secluded area, but are all electric. We have a well. Our well man says it is impractical and very costly to install a hand pump on our present well setup.
What would be a practical procedure to utilize a small generator to power the water well when/if the power goes down for a week or so, for short
term use. Do we need an electrician to hook things up, and exactly what? I realize, long-term, greater expense will be needed, and it is in our priorities to so accomplish. However, a viable, practical short-term procedure is what we seek. Any and all input appreciated. - IcePick

JWR Replies: You need to make a couple of inquiries: First, ask your well/pump man if your pump is 120 VAC or 220 VAC. If it is a 220 volt model, then you will need a special generator or you will have to retrofit with a 120 VAC pump. Next, you need to call several local electricians, and get them to put in competitive bids for installing a proper bypass breaker panel and cabling it to your generator. I've seen people describe improvised"Jerry rigged" male-to-male extension cord generator hookups, but these do not meet NEMA code and are potentially hazardous--both for you and the hapless power company linemen attempting to restore power to your community. Perhaps some readers have some recommendations on a particular switch/circuit breaker arrangement that is safe, meets code, and is not overly expensive.

Dear Mr. Rawles:
To amplify on some of your points is a recent reply to a reader letter, here is some data; Number 4 [bird] shot is .13 inch in diameter.
Number 4 buckshot (BK) is .24 inch in diameter and weighs 20.5 grains. (one pound avoirdupois is equal to 7,000 grains, 437.5 grains is equivalent to one ounce.)
OO BK is .33 inch in diameter and weighs 53 grains.
We have several levels of power in buckshot loads. Lets look at 12 gauge 2-3/4 and 3 inch shells.

2-3/4 inch standard OO BK has 9 pellets at 1,325 feet per second (FPS) at the muzzle.
Low Recoil 2-3/4 inch Magnum OO BK has 9 pellets at 1,125 FPS at the muzzle.
2-3/4 inch Magnum OO BK has 12 pellets at 1,290 FPS.
3 inch Magnum OO BK has 15 pellets at 1,210 FPS.

2-3/4 inch number 4 BK has 27 pellets at 1,325 FPS.
3 inch number 4 BK has 41 pellets at 1,210 FPS.

These velocities may very a little from one brand to another.

The 3 inch Magnums offer more pellets per load, but they recoil very heavily and reduce the magazine capacity. If I lived in an apartment, a mobile home or my exterior walls were thin or if I had other people living in my home, I would consider using no. 4 or no. 6 bird shot to reduce over penetration. You could always have the first and second shot to be bird shot and the last two or three shells buckshot. If I lived in a rural area and thought I might need more range and penetration then use OO BK or OOO BK and possibly shotgun slugs. Use the shotgun with buckshot at 30 yards and under, use shotgun slugs at 50 yards and under. There are specially choked and rifled barreled shotguns that will extend these ranges but the usual short barreled and bead front sight riot shotgun will be doing very good to achieve consistent hits at these ranges.

I load my 12 ga. house gun with (5) 2-3/4 inch Magnum OO BK (12 pellets) in the magazine with a empty chamber, and 5 more of the same shells in the buttstock shell holder. Close by I have a ammo belt with 20 shot shells (bird shot,buckshot and slugs).

As a comparison - if fired from a rifle the 22 long rifle with a 40 grain lead round nose has a muzzle velocity of 1,255 to 1,280 FPS.
Each number 4 BK pellet will have a little less energy than a 22 long rifle bullet and each OO BK pellet will have a little more energy than the 22 long rifle bullet at the muzzle. Consider several people with veering levels of skill firing at a target with a 22 long rifle all at the same time, at close range this buckshot ammunition is very effective. Thank you for your work. - Campfire

Mr. Rawles:
Concerning an advertiser on your site. I have done business with George over at The Pre-1899 Specialist and have had outstanding results.
Without getting into specifics I bought from him and the Post Office managed to damage my order severely.
I notified George and as always received a very swift and positive response.
All was made right and I couldn't be more satisfied. All was sent as advertised and in perfect (except for the gorillas at the USPS) working order.
The prices were great too. I am looking forward to doing more business with George in the future.

I also found Don Stott at Colorado Gold in your investment page. Don is very straightforward, professional and his prices were reasonable as of when I placed my order.
He isn't a paid advertiser but maybe with a little encouragement he might consider it.
Keep up the good work.- Bucc.

Mike R. recommended this site about Ancient Turf Homes

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The high bid is currently $98 in the SurvivalBlog Bandwidth Fund benefit Auction. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

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I just added another 30+ U.S. Army manuals to my mail order catalog.

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The Bush administration has released its "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan"

"The three most important things to look for when searching for a church home are doctrine, doctrine, and doctrine. If your main criteria are 'programs' and 'outreach' to this or that niche group, then in my opinion you are starting your search the wrong way." - James Wesley, Rawles

Thursday, May 4, 2006

I have a reply to SurvivalBlog reader John Z.'s comment on Untapped North American Oil Reserves What many non-geoligist/chemist oil commentators forget (likely are fighting a political and economic panic) when they feel safe in our huge North American reserves is the problem of either extraction or processing.
Most of the light sweet crude (easy to extract transport and crack) has already been discovered I do not know of any new light sweets (of any size) in over 10 years.
Heavy sour requires different less efficient chemistry in the refining process (much more sulfur) and the USA only has a few refineries set up for heavy sour such as that which comes from Venezuela.
Oil and tar sands and shales are much more difficult to extract than a nice pressurized well in the desert it requires huge water and natural gas resources (natural gas is exceedingly difficult to liquefy and transport very few new discoveries North America is near peak) as they are extracted with steam.
Other areas may be very difficult to reach. For example, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a long way in, and only accessible in the winter over an ice road.
Much of what you see in the rise of light sweet is just dollar inflation against gold backed oil nations coupled with Chinese/Indian oil demand matching US demand of 10 years ago. America just got used to getting oil for almost free and built an economy with this assumption, name anything else (even bottled water) that you can buy a gallon of for so cheap right now. Even a non-gas (nuclear?) tar/sand/shale refinery would need many mighty rivers to supply the US and Canada's needs at the current level and a minimum of 20 years of crash investment in the needed refining infrastructure, not a free ride like pressurized light sweet crude.
I have done some work for a Canadian iron ore concern and the seasonal nature of transport up north (iced waters and snow) and the price of new rails and dredged bays is massive.
I believe that Divine Providence will provide what is right for individuals, families, and even many communities but I fear for the USA as a nation. - David

Hello Jim,
We now know that cats and dogs can contract the [Asian] bird flu from ingesting contaminated/infected meat. What about fish in open ponds with infected ducks and geese contaminating the water? I have not heard anything about it, but wonder what might happen. Food for thought? - Mike in Michigan

JWR Replies: Answering that goes far beyond my expertise. Perhaps some of our readers who are doctors (preferably with an epidemiology background) would care to comment.

I have read a couple of the posts regarding folding knives. As my grandmother once told me, "A man is never fully dressed without a pocket knife." I own several different knives for several different occasions. Depending on my needs and dress, I can carry a variety of knives from the simple folder dress knife to some big mamba jamba tactical folder that would slice an elephant in half. Right now, I have a Benchmade Mel Pardue folder in my pocket and an Emerson LaGriff around my neck. Some of the other brands I own are Cold Steel, Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), Camillus CUDA, KaBar, Schrade, SOG, Buck, Spyderco and some custom work from Dawson Knives in Colorado and Peter Atwood ( I don't know if these have a place in the folder knife category, but I count my Leatherman tools as well.
As I mentioned, each knife serves its own purpose. Whenever I wear a suit, my Buck penknife goes with. My normal carry is either my Atwood Goblin or Emerson LaGriff on the neck and a Spyderco Delica or Mel Pardue in the pocket. I like to carry my CUDA whenever I work at the pistol range (too bad you can't find them around anymore).
I say all that to say this, I have never been more satisfied with a general pocket folder such as the SPYDERCO brand of knives. I have owned several through the years and currently have about five scattered throughout the house (I've never been able to keep knives in one place!). The Endura and Delica models are the most popular, and they have the half-n-half blade, straight edge and full serration available. Most models are all ambidextrous clip and they have a big thumbhole on the blade for easy opening. That hole makes opening a snap with gloves on in cold weather. The handles are mostly high quality plastic, but there are custom handles of stainless steel and even zytel and Micarta. The handles are ergonomic and fit the hand very well. Spyderco is very popular with Military, Law Enforcement, and Fire/Rescue personnel. They hold an edge and take wear and tear very well.
I also recently discovered Peter Atwood's creations in a gun magazine some time back. Back where they feature new products were a couple of his handmade gadgets. I could not find anything comparable to the tools he made so I bought a few. Needless to say, I am impressed with his craftsmanship, attention to detail, and his friendly personality and warm customer service. He makes a really nifty pocket tool called a PryBaby. It is a sort of Jack-of-all-Trades nail pulling, pry-tool, flathead screwdriver, bottle opener, ear cleaner, whatever all rolled into one. He has other tools in the catalog, too. My other personal favorite is the Bug Out Bar and the Goblin Neck Knife. The B-O-B is a bigger pry tool used for bigger tasks. I recommend checking his web site and drooling over the neat products he carries. These may or may not be the products for you, but if you're a gadget geek like me, then you will want one, too. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to dig through the seat cushions for a missing knife. Peace, - Matt C.

Today is the U.S. National Day of Prayer.

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There have already been some bids in the auction that just started yesterday for last remaining autographed copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" from the inventory at Survival Enterprises. The proceeds of the auction will benefit the SurvivalBlog bandwidth fund. The high bid is currently $50. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

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The silver market remains very volatile. Yesterday, there was a huge $1.20 per ounce mid-day swing in spot silver in New York trading.

I think that silver anywhere below $16 per ounce is still a relative bargain. The short squeeze is on, and the spot silver price will likely zoom up near $20 per ounce before the summer trading doldrums set in. Buy on the dips!

"The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth." - Alan Blinder, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on the PBS Nightly Business Report, in 1994

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Note From JWR: During the month of May, we are auctioning the last remaining new autographed copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" from the inventory at Survival Enterprises. The proceeds of the auction will benefit the SurvivalBlog bandwidth fund. The names of the bidders (including the winning bidder) will be kept anonymous. The opening is bid is just $5. Please e-mail your bids, in $1 increments. The current bidding will be mentioned in our "Odd's 'n Sods" entries. Our special thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this contest. BTW, be sure to visit their web site to see their great line of competitively priced food storage and health supplement products.

I cannot speak higher praise than for the Benchmade line of folding knives, specifically those with the Axis Lock mechanism.
$100 may seem steep to some for a folding pocket knife, but its one of two tools I use every single day, and potentially might have to trust my life to some day. The only folding blade I've found with a lock I trust that much is the axis.
The two specific models I favor are the Ares and the AFCK. I have done things with these knives one should probably never attempt with a folder, but they continue to go strong. As always, thank you for the insight and information you offer through SurvivalBlog. - Pat R.


I've been making and selling knives for 25 years, and you're spot on with folders. They're easy to keep on the person, convenient, generally not seen as weapons, and sturdy enough with modern materials to be quite useful. CRKT is one of the best values for the money. Cold Steel is a little pricier. Benchmade and Emerson are top of the line, since the CUDA line was largely discontinued by Camillus.
I wouldn't rule out all the imports. Even some of the Chinese ones are decent. However, that's the catch--some of them (I'm not thrilled at supporting the Chinese, but price speaks to so many people. I stock them to pay the bills). It takes a moderate amount of experience to know a good one. Check for smooth function. Easy isn't necessarily good if it doesn't lock open or closed with authority, and fit and finish should be near perfect. Look at how the blade is ground and the balance, and
compare to known quality. For people on a budget, there are knives in the $10-30 range that are near as good as name brand. But I'd check with a knowledgeable person to be sure (I'll always answer questions, even in regards to stuff I don't sell, BTW). But if in doubt, save up and go with the name brand. Your life is too important for second rate tools.
On fixed blades, Ontario Spec Plus are US made, no-nonsense (no saw teeth, hollow handles, gimmicks or gadgets. Just honest carbon steel with a solid handle) and very reasonable--most are available under $50 from dealers, no more than $80 on the largest. They have both a Crash Axe which is standard on most aircraft, and exceptional for breaking
through wreckage (on cars, too), and a survival machete with a chisel tip. I like the 14 inch tanto and the "fighting knife" (though I've never fought with one, it's an excellent utility blade) that they offer.
On larger folders or fixed blades, I would avoid stainless steel. Few of the commercially used stainless steels are tough enough to withstand chopping or prying. AUS 8 and ATS 34 hold up decently, and while not completely stainless, are certainly enough so to reduce maintenance. Avoid 440 and 420 stainless steels in anything longer than 4 inches. They were not originally intended for cutlery, and are quite brittle in long sections. (440 C is a marine bearing steel. It can take outrageous
amounts of saltwater and holds a good edge, but will not flex under stress. It shatters.) - Michael Z. Williamson

Regarding US dependence on oil, and all of our concerns about it, I have done a little research on it.  My conclusion is that the liberals inadvertently saved us some reserves by blocking the removal of oil in some of our largest reserves; the US also has 77 percent of the world's oil shale reserve.  This along with the reserves in Canada (the second largest oil reserve in the world) should put the US in good field position for years to come. See:
If there is a collapse it won’t be based on the lack of this natural resource.  I think the Good Lord has provided us His providence in this area. 2 Timothy 2:15 - John Z.

SurvivalBlog reader R.V. mentioned that Hollywood's anxiety piece on the Asian Avian Flu will air on May 9th. Any guesses on its impact on food storage vendors? Hmmmm... If you've been procrastinating, then you'd better get your orders in soon.

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I just noticed that a gent with whom I've corresponded for several years (and also a SurvivalBlog reader) currently has a few nifty items for sale on eBay.

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There is an interesting thread on the FAL Files about heavy duty 20 liter gas cans made by Briggs and Stratton, and stabilizing gas for storage.

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The petroleum supply situation was already bad enough with Columbian and Nigerian instability. Now Bolivia is threatening to nationalize foreign-owned oil operations if they don't sign new contracts within six months. Bolivian president Evo Morales just ordered Bolivian Army units to occupy these natural gas production facilities.

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." - George E. Woodberry

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

We just returned from a weekend trip down to Salt Lake City, where I had a couple or tables at the Crossroads of the West gun show. Meanwhile, the Memsahib and our kids availed themselves of the outstanding LDS Family History Library, just west of Temple Square.

It was great pleasure meeting so many SurvivalBlog readers face to face at the gun show. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement for the blog's success. One thing that struck me was that 2/3s of the people who said that they had read my novel "Patriots"also said that they hadn't yet heard about SurvivalBlog. Please spread the word about SurvivalBlog to everyone you know who has read my novel.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I look forward to reading your blog every day.
One of the nice things about a shotgun is the wide variety of ammo available for them, but that does bring up a question: what type of shells should one stock up on? I currently keep about an even mix of 00 buckshot (primarily for defense)
and #8-bird-shot (for practice, pest control & small-game hunting). I also have a small quantity of slugs, but not many; I figure that a situation that would best be served with a slug would be even better served with a rifle. Do you think my mix is alright? I would appreciate any input you and/or my fellow blog readers would wish to add. Best Wishes, - James K.

JWR Replies: The ratio of shells with various shot sizes will depend on what sort of hunting you plan to do, and whether your shotgun will be your primary defensive long gun.

For two legged predators, I generally prefer #4 buckshot. (Not to be confused with the more commonly available #4 bird shot which is much smaller.) Why? With most commercial 00 buckshot loads, each 2-3/4" shell only contains 9 pellets of roughly .33 caliber. With #4 buck you get around 27 pellets of .24 caliber. Thus, your chances of getting multiple vital organ hits are much better with #4 buckshot.

BTW, the foregoing advice does not apply if you live in bear or wolf country. For large predators, you'll want the better penetration provided by 00 buckshot, 000 buckshot, or slugs.

For those of you that have come to find SurvivalBlog.Com a daily read and would also find the Internet just not as fun a place without it, might I suggest an easy way to generate the requested donation of $36 per year (or just 10 cents a day) to keep it going strong.
Sell something on eBay or other commerce site (there are plenty!) [and take $36.50 of the proceeds] and send it to JWR. It's an easy and effective way of killing several "birds" with one stone. First, you will be supporting your favorite web site. Second, the money you send in will not have to come out of your pocket directly. As an example, let's say you have an older laptop that is just gathering dust and end up selling it for $100.00. You can take a portion of the proceeds minus the listing and selling fees (which are reasonable for the most part) and make the contribution. In this way, it will not cause a major financial disruption if you are following a tight budget. It's a way of generating funds without having to feel it come out of your monthly paycheck. You will have the satisfaction of supporting what you
We all have extra "stuff" lying around our homes and garages, that are just taking up space. Its a great way to clean up the place and get some money out of it at the same time. Another advantage to this is that if you have never sold anything on eBay before it will give you the much needed incentive to do so. EBay is an easy and always growing worldwide market for anything you can imagine that can be bought or sold. For millions of people its the perfect home based business that is easy to start and requires but a few things which as a computer user and reader of this site, you probably already have like a PC and a digital camera, etc.
There are dozens of books and other media that can help you get started and avoid making major mistakes etc doing e-commerce, and without really knowing it, you have just started on your way to creating a way of having a second income. I have recently started back on eBay after an absence. I plan to do this full time as soon as I can get up and running as my "full-time" yet close to minimum wage job is probably now marked for a "downsizing" thanks to the economy and a host of other changes which I have absolutely no control over. Additionally, my education and experience are apparently not in demand. With that in mind, I have decided to start being proactive in the matter.
Although I have a background in communications, advertising and technology, it does not require this kind of knowledge to use the Internet to your advantage. All that is really needed are the THREE "D"'s: DESIRE to change your current situation, DETERMINATION to learn new skills and develop new talents, and DEDICATION to stick with it and learn what is needed. Oh, and there is a fourth "D" that comes in handy as well, The desire to eliminate DEBT!
As readers of this site, I would advise considering doing something like this now so that you can be up and running with an alternative cash flow should a sudden shock come to our economy. Regardless, its time to start supporting this blog. Sincerely, - RBS

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail." - Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 1, 2006

Today we present another entry for Round 4 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best contest entry will win a four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. The deadline for entries for Round 4 is May 31, 2006.

I live in Texas so this is on my mind. But could be relative to anything...

Thoughts On Disaster Survival
1. Have a bug-out kit ready at all times.
2. Renew supplies in your bug-out kit on a regular basis.
3. Plan on needing a LOT more supplies than you think.
4. In a real emergency, forget about last-minute purchases.
5. Make sure your vehicle will carry your essential supplies.
6. A big bug-out vehicle can be a handicap.
7. Make sure you have a bug-out place handy.
8. Provide entertainment for younger children.
9. Pack essentials first, then luxuries.
10. Don't plan on fuel being available en route.
11. Have enough money with you for at least two weeks.
12. Don't be sure that a disaster will be short-term.
13. Don't rely on government-run shelters if at all possible.
14. Warn your friends not to bring others with them!!!
15. Have account numbers, contact addresses and telephone numbers for all important persons and institutions.
16. Have portable weapons and ammo ready (close at hand.)

Update 1
1. Route selection is very, very important.
2. The social implications of a disaster situation. (not ‘politically correct’, but dismiss at your peril)
3. Implications for security.
4. “Too many chiefs, not enough Indians" in New Orleans.
5. Long-term vision.
6. Personal emergency planning.
7. The "bank problem.” If yours is a local bank and all are under water, for example, checks are unverifiable (read: worthless)
8. Helping one's friends is likely to prove expensive.

Update 2
1. People who were prepared were frequently mobbed/threatened by those who weren't.
2. When help gets there, you may get it whether you like it or not.
3. There seems to be a cumulative psychological effect upon survivors.
4. There is widespread frustration over the lack of communication and empathy by rescuers and local/State government.
5. Expect rescuers (including law enforcement) to enforce a distinctly un-Constitutional authority in a disaster situation.
6. Don't believe that rescuers are all knights in shining armor who will respect your property.

Update 3
1. If you choose to help, you may be sucked into a bureaucratic and legal nightmare.
2. Law enforcement problems will often be "glossed over" and/or ignored by authorities.
3. Your personal and/or corporate supplies and facilities may be commandeered without warning, receipt or compensation.
4. If you look like you know what you're doing, you may be a target of those less prepared. (*IMPORTANT!*)
5. Those who thought themselves safe from the disaster were often not safe from refugees.
6. Self-reliance seems to draw suspicion upon you from the authorities.
7. Relief workers from other regions and States often don't know local laws.
8. Relief organizations have their own bureaucratic requirements that may conflict with your needs.

Hello Jim,
There has been a lot of chatter recently about a gut feeling that "Something Wicked This Way Comes." I share that uneasy feeling and note that many of my business associates and I have begun to prepare for hard times.

For myself, I've accelerated a bit on topping off my retreat supplies. Some recent additions include 500 pounds of Buffalo meat (at a cost of $2.09 a pound for yearling grain fed Buffalo heifer, cut, double wrapped and frozen.)

I've had one of my M1A type rifles rebuilt to competition standards, added a case of 12 gauge 00 buckshot to my inventory and procured some peripheral items. Keep the faith, - Dutch in Wyoming

Hey James,
I have been pondering (pun intended) bioponics (AKA aquaponics) for a couple of years now.  A seminal site,, describes bioponics as "A simple and innovative system of food production combining aquaculture and hydroponic growing techniques without expensive equipment" or the use of mineral nutrient salts.
Here's how it works.  Water from the fish tank is pumped to grow beds.  In addition to crops, the grow beds contain naturally produced bacteria.  The bacteria breaks down the fish waste thus cleaning the water.  The plants feed on the nitrogen produced by the bacteria.  Finally, the water is drained back to the fish tank.
There is a reasonable amount of info on the net about bioponics including plans for simplified hobby systems, which would allow you to get your feet wet before taking the plunge (puns likewise intended).  I would suggest, however, searching on aquaponics instead of bioponics. Best Regards, - d'Heat



Dear Jim:
In response to the Pond, Aquaculture, and Pond Predators letter from The Wanderer, I suggest the first thing to read on the subject of fish farming for food for survivalists is this timeless article: and
In response to the questions posed, briefly:
1). What type of fish replenish the most rapidly while offering a genuine nutrition?
The "ugly" fish, meaning types of catfish and carp, tend to be the easier and better to fish farm. Most "game" fish are messy. They eat a lot and create a lot of waste, thus you either must be flushing in fresh water regularly, or you can't expect much density or production.
I'm sure most people think right away of raising trout , and you can do it, just realize the costs and limitations. For those of you on the East US coast, see this site.
Do a search, and find one near you, in your state or region.
2). What types of fish are compatible or necessary to keep a full circle eco-system continuing?
Catfish, carp, koi, goldfish, are the easiest, though I was told goldfish eat Koi eggs. So do some research on which ones cohabitate well. Contact a fish farm supplier in your state and see what other varieties are legal and would work well in your area. You can mail order fish, they ship them in hyper oxygenated water boxes.
IMHO, it's the bottom feeders you want, and they tend to be net-benefit fish, that they make the water cleaner rather than dirtier. Still, you need some new water. Commercially, I believe they try and flush 5% of the water each day, taking from the bottom if possible as the toxins tend to be heavier and settle. It's those nitrates you want out. Ideally, in a closed system, you would want to pump (by windmill or whatever means) water from the pond over a little wetland area with nutrient absorbing plants to help get out the fish wastes. Water hyacinth, a free floating plant, is especially good at this. You should also aerate and agitate it, and most backyard ponds do this by waterfalls. The best system for this, IMHO, which tries to work with nature, instead of against it with chemicals, is Now remember, this is more of a yuppie thing, not raw survivalism, and yes the stuff can get pricy.
Also note – the nitrates you flush out of our fish pond, can make great irrigation fertilizer. Suck gently from the bottom, use a gravity system if possible.
3). How many fish can you support per cubic yard of water?
That depends. There is an expensive mini-commercial system where you can raise 50 pounds of fish in only 400 gallons – but keep in mind the costs involved in doing so. Again, how fresh, and how aerated are you keeping the water, that's the key.
4). Should food be introduced into the water until the young are established?
Food should be introduced all the time if you want any reasonable production in a smaller pond. If fish aren't fed, they don't grow very fast. I like the idea of having a worm farm for garage, and then feed the worms to the fish. Also remember, there is an optimal harvest size for each fish, and it's usually short of "full grown". Fisherman know that it usually isn't the trophy lunker that actually makes the good tasting shore lunch.
5). What predators, (i.e.- ground/air living) would be a potential food source or havoc on your newly established "ecosystem".
Raccoons if your pond is very small. Birds – blue herons in particular. Many of the birds that eat fish of some size are of course protected species, so if you have a real problem, consider a bird net over the pond. - Rourke

"A man has got to know his limitations." - Clint Eastwood

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