August 2006 Archives

Thursday, August 31, 2006

We are pleased to welcome our latest advertiser, They sell long term storage food. Their specialty is the excellent Gourmet Reserves brand. Because they have established distributor level high volume status with the canner, they offer the best pricing in the country on this brand. Be sure to visit their web site and check out their products. BTW, if you mention SurvivalBlog when you contact them, they have promised to provide their very best discounted price as well as a special deal on shipping.


[Regarding A.P.'s letter posted on August 26th] I'm one of those guys who drinks coffee from dawn to dusk, so I was most interested in the thread on coffee storage.

I keep 36 large cans of Maxwell House in my cool-storage pantry (60 degrees in the summer, 40 degrees in the winter). I cycle through the supply on a regular basis, taking about a year to go thru entire stock. In a worst-case scenario, I'd cut back to a can a month and would thus have a 3-year stash.

Yeah, I know... the Starbucks sippers turn their nose up at me and insist that five dollar a pound beans are much better. I suppose they are... just like a T-bone steak is tastier than a can of Tuna... but when your belly is empty and the grocery store shelves are bare... a can of Starkist sure beats staring at an empty plate. - Dutch in Wyoming


Mr Rawles
Quality brand (Maxwell House or equal) canned ground coffee (full metal can only) will store for over 20 years. I was given a very large number of 3 lb cans in 1995 that my Father had bought and stored on a pantry shelf . When opened the coffee was as fresh as the day it was canned and I date it by the expiration date on the discount coupons packed inside the cans, all had expired 20 to 22 years before. I am a heavy coffee drinker and it took me 3 years to drink up this stash and it was good to the last drop. - F.S.

I don't know if you watch much TV, but this new show Jericho is going to spur survivalism interest, I can see right now. I just watched the pilot (downloaded off the Internet - it won't be airing for a few more weeks, and will be on CBS) but it was really well done. Small town deals with the aftermath of a multiple nuclear strike on the US. It covers
radios and TV being down (a hammer is mentioned briefly as the only one able to get out for info), gas runs, panic at grocery stores, and prisoners being cut loose. It was very smartly done and I think it's going to be of interest to your readers. - Kitiara (of Forever Vain fame)

I am about halfway thru the new book by Pat Buchanan --'State of Emergency'-- and its scaring the hell out of me. I've followed the Illegal Alien story for yrs, ever since I landed back in California in 1989 after my hitch in the U.S. Air Force and I thought I had a handle on it. The statistics and figures that Pat puts forth are daunting--and quite depressing. This nation is facing the largest problem in its history with this invasion--I'm not downplaying any of the threats we face with the radical Islamists--that is yet one more frightening scenario--but I truly believe that the U.S. is under siege--I suggest all Americans load up on all essentials as I do not trust the government to resolve the Invasion problem. I would even predict that the government will soon close the door on civilians purchasing many of the things we consider necessary i.e. Guns, cheap surplus ammo from overseas and survival type gear. It would appear the government will not want us to deal with the invasion the old fashion way--and they are not going to either. I have lost ALL faith in our leadership, regardless of party. We are truly at a fork in the road and it appears we are following the road taken by the long deceased Roman Empire. Its hard to contest the facts that Pat has laid out, though some will try. Its is clear as well the southwest is gone. Its just a matter of a few decades (maybe sooner) before this part of the country is no longer under the control of the U.S. government. Again, load up on all gear..and relocate out of the southwest, you don't want to be caught behind enemy lines. Thanks, - Jason (in North Idaho)

Hello James,
Last week you mentioned publishing content in the MobiReader format so that it is accessible to readers using PDAs or cellular phones with text windows. I have not used that software specifically, but would like to bring pRSS Reader to your attention. pRSS Reader is a free RSS reader that runs on Windows Mobile devices, and is the software I use to read SurvivalBlog daily. You may want to suggest this option to your readers who prefer to read the blog on a mobile device. The software will automatically check for updates to the blog at a configurable interval, and even has a handy "Today-Screen" plugin so that you can quickly look at your device's main screen to see if there are any updates to the blogs you've subscribed to. pRSS reader can be downloaded at:
Regards, - DLF

I heard that James at Gun Parts Guy (one of our advertisers) is running a big Labor Day sale on FAL and L1A1 parts and manuals. There are some great items such as complete metric replacement spring sets, bolts and bolt carriers, scope mounts, and stock furniture. The sale ends on September 6th. If you own a FAL or L1A1, or clones thereof, then stock up! OBTW, for owners of other .308 Winchester / 7.62mm NATO rifles: one of the items that James has on sale is .308 ruptured case extractors. You should have one of these for each rifle that might ever be used for self defense. Tell him that Jim Rawles sent you.

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John Adams mentioned: Honda to put focus on diesel, not ethanol

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I just started reading the much-awaited novel "Domestic Enemies", by Matt Bracken. (He was also the author of the speculative novel "Enemies Foreign and Domestic", which I greatly enjoyed.) This one is set slightly farther in the future and describes the "Reconquista." I will post a full review once I've finished reading the book. Nothing but great stuff, thusfar!

"The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. As I have said, it is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality." - George Orwell, 1941

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

If the collective knowledge/wit/wisdom you encounter reading SurvivalBlog is worth ten cents a day or more to you, then please consider becoming a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber. Subscriptions are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

I was wondering if you had any direction to a source for "bulk" medical supplies. Thinking about tape, gauze, non-stick pads, burn dressings, etc – all the items that if you are faced with “any” type of serious wound you will go thru in large quantities For example 4"x4" gauze pads - buying those from your local pharmacy in the 10 to box quantities would bankrupt you - they are available in 100 count sleeves for almost the same cost as a single box of 10. Thanks - MSJ

JWR Replies: Wound dressing items that have essentially unlimited shelf life (such as gauze and splints) can and should be bought in bulk. If you can buy those from surplus outlets for "pennies on the dollar" then don't hesitate to buy a lifetime supply. But keep in mind that items with adhesive (band-aids, bandage tape, butterfly closures, et cetera) have a limited shelf life, so don't go hog wild buying those. Otherwise, some will surely go to waste. Some items can be found on eBay at reasonable prices. A few dealers that I can recommend are: JRH Enterprises, Ready Made Resources, Safe Solutions, Sportsman's Guide, and Nitro-Pak. Other low cost U.S. military surplus sellers include Civil Defense Supplies and Spruce Mountain Surplus. (I haven't done business with either of the latter, so I can't vouch for them.) A vendor with a very wide selection of civilian wound dressings (albeit at slightly higher prices) is Quality Medical Supplies.


Dear Jim:
I am thinking of getting two Glock 17Ls. One for me and one for the wife. I like my G19 but want the longer barrel. My gunsmith suggests a Springfield M1911 with a long barrel. I don't mind paying more for it and like the idea of faster follow up shots. Your thoughts on reliability versus firing speed? - S.F. in Hawaii

JWR Replies: Since you already have training time and muscle memory invested in Glocks, you probably shouldn't switch to 1911s now. (And this comes from a dyed-in-the-wool 1911 fan.) The 17L and the Glock 24 (the Glock long slide in .40 S&W) are essentially target pistols. For typical carry, you are probably better off with a standard length Glock 17 or Glock 22. As concealed carry guns, the longer barrel Model 17L and 24 tend to be pistols that get left at home, due to their bulk and weight. But they make fine as belt holster guns at a fixed site retreat.

IMHO, a more important consideration than the maker and model choice is caliber selection. I consider 9mm Parabellum to be at best a marginal stopper for two legged predators. Before you commit further to the 9mm logistics train by buying your #2 and #3 pistols in that caliber, you might consider trading in your Glock 19 (or setting it aside for barter/charity) and instead getting equivalents to what you had planned, but chambered in .40 S&W. (Namely, a Glock 23 and a couple of Glock 22s or perhaps Glock 24s.) And if you and your wife both have large hands, even better would be the more sure stopping .45 ACP (viz., a Glock Model 30 and a couple of Glock 21s.) Test shoot these models first to see if they are comfortable for you. (You might have to do some hunting on a Glock owners' forum such as Glock Talk to find the owner of a Glock with a grip reduction on your island that you can borrow.)

Selecting a large caliber is a particularly crucial issue there in Hawaii, where you cannot legally possess pistol magazines over 10 round capacity. (A stupid law, but sadly it is unlikely to be repealed.) Since you are limited to 10 round magazines anywhere in the Islands, then you might as well have just 10 rounds of a more adequate stopper: Preferably .45 ACP, but .40 S&W will suffice if you have hands that are too small to comfortably grip the big .45 frame. If those models feel just a bit too big/fat, there is an neat option for you: Both Robar and Arizona Response Systems do very nice machined grip reductions on Glocks. In his excellent book Boston's Gun Bible, our compadre and Glockophile extraordinaire Boston T. Party mentions that a large frame (G20/G21) Glock with a grip reduction feels a lot like holding a Browning Hi-Power. Boston highly recommends frame reductions. I have done business with both Robar and Arizona Response Systems for more than a decade. Both firms are very competent and reputable. But as I recall, Robar tends to have higher gunsmithing rates and a deeper backlog of orders. So you should probably go with T. Mark Graham at Arizona Response Systems. OBTW, if your budget allows it, have tritium sights installed at the same time as the grip reduction job. If nothing else, you will save money on ammo when shooting those pesky mongooses at night, once you have tritiums installed.

One other possible option for you is the slim-framed Glock 36, which is a compact .45 ACP model with a single column magazine. Unfortunately they are limited to 6 round magazines, which is a distinct disadvantage. Buying this model also loses the great advantage of magazine interchangeability between Glock 21s and Glock 30s. You can of course use a Glock 21 magazine in a Glock 30, but not vice versa. (Just buy Glock 21 magazines for nearly all of your spares.) Therefore, I would only consider the G36 model if you are A.) absolutely sold on the Glock design, and B.) you feel the need for the stopping power of .45 ACP, and C.) a Glock 21 or Glock 30 with a grip reduction job completed is still too big for your hands.

I'm not fond of the Glock 10mm models (Model 20 and 29) which have an uncomfortably loud muzzle blast.) Sourcing 10mm ammo is also a potential source of worry. (By comparison, 9mm, 40 S&W and .45ACP ammo is downright ubiquitous, but finding cartridges in less popular calibers like 10mm, .45 GAP, or .357 SIG anytime after TSHTF may be problematic.) For these reasons I don't recommended Glock 10mm pistols at all.

I'm a big believer in getting plenty of spare magazines and spare parts. Used 10 round Glock magazines are often found for very reasonable prices (sometimes under $10 each) at Buddy Hinton's Parts and Accessories Market Board. Since magazines are easily misplaced and are the most fragile part of a pistol, I recommend getting a dozen spare magazines per pistol. (You might not need that many in your lifetime, but your grandkids will thank you for looking ahead.) As previously mentioned here at SurvivalBlog, Glockmeister is a great place to purchase spare parts. Our friend and Glockophile Kitiara at the highly addictive Forever Vain Blog is quick to point out that Glock replacement parts are largely interchangeable and are currently quite inexpensive, so stock up,. She also mentions that with a copy of the PTOOMA Glock Armorer's manual (printable from the CD-ROM) you can be your own armorer with minimal study.

As for holsters and magazine pouches, I like the kydex Blade-Tech brand. (The best buy is their belt/paddle Combo Pak special.) That is what we use here at the Rawles Ranch for nearly all of our autopistols. Since you are limited to 10 round magazines in Hawaii, you should also get a quad magazine pouch for each of your pistols. BTW, Kitiara--who knows far more than I ever will about Glocks--says that she prefers the Comp-Tac brand kydex holsters.

Lastly, I should remind you and all the other SurvivalBlog readers that no matter how nice a pistol you select, it is almost worthless without proper training. Investing in firearms training is better than investing in life insurance. Firearms training can literally save your life and the lives of your loved ones. (And winning a gunfight is much more satisfying than having your heirs collect on your life insurance policy.) I recommend that you take the Four Day Defensive Handgun course at Front Sight, or a comparable course at another qualified school (such as Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, or John Farnham's school.) That will be money well spent!

Richard from KT Ordnance pointed us to this WorldNetDaily article: America's Infrastructure Fire Sale.

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And reader Ben L. mentioned this one from Getting Real About Real Estate. All that I can say is "I told you so."

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Frequent SurvivalBlog content contributor Jim K. told us about a belt drive bicycle motor that uses regular gas and gets 225 m.p.g "Not a bad idea for long bicycle commutes in a Peak Oil scenario."

"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow... For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding." - Jeff Snyder

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

For years, "Abigail" and I have been canning vegetables from the garden along with beef, fish, venison and bear. Friends or ours were wanting to learn how to can themselves. Last week Kathy and Jeff came over and we processed a bushel of Roma tomatoes into spaghetti sauce. The next evening we canned up the sauce. Since then Kathy on her own has canned up 10 lbs (dry weight) of navy beans and is getting ready to do some hamburger noodle soup. She told me that she had no idea how easy it is to use a pressure cooker to preserve food.
In my opinion this is the way to learn, find someone to show you how! Kathy and Jeff had many questions and we answered them through the course of the two evenings. Like handling a gun you have to respect your equipment when you are home canning. However with the proper instruction you can have a safe and enjoyable time as you are putting away stores for the future.
One last thing, look for canning jars at home auctions. You can reuse the jars indefinitely and can often time pick them up for dimes on the dollar at the sales. Stock up on lids too, if the fertilizer strikes the veneration system those lids will come in very handy indeed. They will also be a great barter item. - John & Abigail Adams

Hi Jim,
I don't know if you have seen this or not, but the Rand Corporation has done a study of a hypothetical nuclear attack on the port of Long Beach, California through which about 30% of US shipping passes. The report shows how devastating this would be to the US and the world economy with damage to the shipping infrastructure, refineries, insurance industry, etc. not to mention the human cost, of course.

The outcome of such an attack could very easily be a world wide depression as port activity would come to a halt to prevent any further such attacks and because many people would refuse to work - or even live - in the areas surrounding ports. It is very sobering especially when one considers that Iran is continuing to enrich uranium and the North Koreans are very possibly preparing to conduct a nuclear test. My first thought as I read it was "Suppose it wasn't just Long Beach, but several ports around the US and/or the world at the same time?" You can download the entire study or just the summary. Either one is interesting reading. Regards, - Tim P.

Dear Jim:
Let’s face it, most of our energy shortfalls are completely self-imposed. Gone are the days of the 1950s when generations looked to and planned for the future, built infrastructure and power plants for the grand cities that would one day be. Now we in the US haven’t built a new nuclear power plant since the Three Mile Island incident. We’ve turned against coal even though we have hundreds and hundreds of years worth of the stuff or more. Ted Kennedy won’t let windmills go up any more since they wouldn’t look nice to Ocean front property owners in Massachusetts. We can’t drill in many parts of the Gulf of Mexico because we don’t want to oil on Florida beaches. We can’t build a new pipeline in Alaska because we down in the Continental 48 [states] claim to care about the caribou, who all but a handful of us will ever even see. Perhaps we should ask the good folks who live in Alaska about that, but my guess is, to the environmentalists, they up there just don’t know what is good for them, so why give them the chance to make a decision for themselves.

Since I was in grade school in the 1970s, we always had just 25 years of oil left. I remember vividly I was taught the US would run out of oil and landfill space by the year 2000. I resent that part of my education, or should I say indoctrination. Most of it was wrong and politically motivated then, as it is now. We have a lot of oil in the World, problem is it gets tougher and more expensive to get to. The Middle East oil is cheap to get to – it costs just 29 cents a barrel in overhead costs, whereas in the North Sea, it’s more like $18 a barrel for the rig. The difference between those two numbers is pure profit to the Arab leaders, which is why they are so rich. The laws of economics still serve us, especially with such inelastic demand (as price goes up, supply doesn’t decrease very much). As the price goes up, more and more exploration and new oil will be found, for it is now profitable to do so. Old fields will be “reclaimed” as they squeeze out more. Also, over time, people adjust and find substitutes, and change the way they live, at least to some extent.

For survivalists, the most simple forms of energy are clearly solar and wind. You can get systems for a few thousand dollars which will give you bare bones service for a RV level of electronic existence. You learn in a hurry to cut the waste and get to minimum usage, which is good after all. If you can actually tap into a water source, there are some nice small hydroelectric systems. Here in Wisconsin, wood is of course the common choice for heating, and would power a steam driven generator. Steam is expensive, messy, noisy, smelly, and a pain to watch over IMHO. If you are going to do it, I would opt to have a large system that powered a group of homes. One person can run a big one as surely as a small one. Other sources to be aware of are methane based – some farms use manure to generate power. I would be wise to know where such installations are for later, and these are million dollar operations that are a couple megawatts. A sterling engine would nice, but they are too inefficient, and nobody seems to make a good one the right size. Otherwise, its diesel (with additive) and propane generators for more of us, I suspect, which are both good long term storage fuels.- Rourke


Dear Jim:
It appears we are running out of oil, but how much of a crisis this will be can be debated endlessly. No one can predict the bounds of human ingenuity and future technological advances in power generation. The market's adaptation to oil scarcity will mean higher oil prices, and a huge incentive to conserve and get creative with alternatives. The "Limits to Growth" crowd cried wolf once before in the 1970s, and still has egg on their face.
So, if I had to guess I would bet that the market would handle the transition to nuclear power, shale oil, solar, wind power etc., etc. with possibly some belt tightening, but no catastrophic disruption. Unfortunately we don't have a free market in general, and especially not in building nuclear plants. The government's regulatory delays to go nuclear, or implement other alternatives, may easily put us in a severe crisis. Count on the government to make it worse, as seen in the recent discussion of ethanol - squandering scarce resources on a net energy loser.
One thing I am pretty sure of is that the secondary or ripple effects of a perceived energy crisis will probably be more damaging than the crisis itself. Case in point, the U.S. military is in Iraq and Afghanistan at least partially because of the government's perception of a looming energy crisis. Ripple effect - the hemorrhaging of our finances in the Mideast tarpit will make the economic and financial crisis we have coming even worse. The chewing up of our military equipment in the desert sand, will change the global balance of power with unpredictable effects.
If they subsidize gas prices the free market will not give the right signals to conserve and find alternatives. If they slap price controls on energy, as in the 1970s, then we will really see shortages and disruption. Longer term and more ominous, the conflict between governments to control scarce oil could easily start World War III.
Bottom line, we probably have a crisis in the works. Could the free market handle it, if left alone? Most likely. Will the government turn it into a real crisis? Definitely.
Regards, - OSOM "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

Seeing our hit map each month is gratifying. The SurvivalBlog readership keeps on growing, globally. What I want to know is, who are all these readers that I see scattered across Asia? I had no idea... I get a few e-mails from soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and South Korea. But who are all the others? Mystifying.

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13 Plague Cases Reported in U.S. As long as there are rodents with fleas, the plague will be lurking in the background.

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Reader Joe in Florida mentioned that: has a fine selection of wind-up movement alarm clocks, both new, unissued old stock, and restored, older units. They also have brand new US made units as well. Joe says: "Everyone needs a few wind-up clocks. This site has quite a selection."

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Vic Rantala at Safecastle has put together another Mountain House freeze dried foods special group buy for SurvivalBlog and FALFiles readers! These are packed in #10 cans for maximum storage life. There are three group buy options: 3 cases, 8 cases, and 25 cases. With the big 25 case deal, Vic is offering free shipping! The last time that he did a group buy, it was a huge success, with a huge volume of orders placed. No wonder, because Vic's special prices are phenomenal! Don't miss out on this deal. The Mountain House special ends on September 13th.

"A window of opportunity will not open itself." - Michael Crichton

Monday, August 28, 2006

After years of frustration with the anti-gun PayPal online payment service, we have set up an account with an alternative service, AlertPay. We can now accept AlertPay payments for 10 Cent Challenge subscription donations, advertising fees, consulting fees, and for sales of books and other merchandise. If you are also fed up with PayPal, then I highly recommend that you get an AlertPay account Setting up an account is quick and easy, and their fees are low. .Our AlertPay address is:

Hello Jim -
Fantastic Blog - I am a little late to the party and just discovered SurvivalBlog last week working some survival related searches on Google. I read your novel ["Patriots"] too, years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

My questions: I have searched around and can not find much practical information on Faraday Cages, especially directions for constructing them at home. What design is effective? What is not? Should they be grounded? etc. I know this information is out there, and I'll bet that more than one reader of the Blog can help - and I'll also bet that the topic will interest most readers. Also, there seems to be a renewed interest in radiology survey equipment in general - check out eBay for the recent flurry of activity of sellers with the old 1960s Civil Defense survey meters, dosimeters, and dosimeter chargers...thank you Iran and North Korea! I know that some older transistor-based radios are thought to be very resistant to EMP, I was wondering how these vintage instruments would hold up. Thank you. - Rowland

JWR Replies: I'm not an RF engineer, so don't take the following as gospel, but I did do some research on EMP, as background for a series of EMP hardening and test articles that I wrote for Defense Electronics magazine back in the late 1980s. For that series, I took a trip to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico where I interviewed a half dozen EMP specialist engineers and toured the U.S. Air Force TRESTLE facility.

My general advice for those that suggest making their entire house into a Faraday cage: Don't. It will probably be wasted effort. The biggest problem is that any external linear metallic structure such as a radio or television antenna, a phone line, or a power line that enters the house will act as an EMP conductor and make the cage useless. Second, unless you are quite meticulous about making the cage a completely integral shell without any gaps, then it will allow the passage of the pulse. (I can't imagine the complexity of building an entirely off-grid house with no outside communication, no external antennas, and all power generation done inside of the Faraday cage!) Second, every window screen must be grounded to the rest of the house "cage" and every door must have interlocking "teeth" around its perimeter. Even the floors must include a mesh. Lastly, the often cited but fallacious "one inch mesh chicken wire" approach is insufficient, since EMP waveforms are very broadband, and include some very short wavelengths. Unless the mesh apertures are smaller than the shortest wavelength of a pulse, then the mesh will leak. IMHO, you are much better off storing spare disconnected radios, computers, and automobile electronic ignition components wrapped in aluminum foil and/or stored in steel ammo cans. This approach is essentially foolproof, and less expensive in the long run. A side benefit is that it will also provide spare/redundant electronics for other non-EMP disaster situations.

Any corrections, differing opinions, or suggestions on large scale Faraday cage construction, folks? (I appreciate your counsel. 12,000 heads are better than one!)

As for Civil Defense rate/survey meters: Any meters from the early 1960s (which is when most of them were made) will have have discrete transistor technology that should be immune to all but the most intense and localized EMP. (Read: If they were affected, then you'd be inside the blast radius and would probably killed instantly.) It is only later microcircuit ("chip") technology that is vulnerable to EMP. In general, the smaller the gate size, the more vulnerable a microcircuit is to EMP. (Hence, the latest chips with sub-micron dimension gates are quite vulnerable.) In the event of EMP, you can kiss your Pentium chip PC goodbye.

Great site. Keep up the great work. Here are two interesting links about the market dominance of ethanol in Brazil: CBS News and Washington Post.
Brazil plans to be energy independent by next year, based on conversion of sugar cane to ethanol.
In comparison, the ethanol extracted from corn yields only about 15 to 25 percent more fuel than the fossil fuels that were used to produce it. In Brazil, according to industry studies, the sugar-based ethanol yields about 830 percent more. Sugar cane may not the answer here in the US, but it does show what can happen when an entire country focuses on becoming energy dependent. Cheers, - Rookie in VA


Mr. Rawles
I come from ethanol country. There has not been an increase in corn planting to provide fuel for the ethanol plants that are springing up nearby. The broken farm subsidy system that in years past has had field corn rotting on the ground is also funding the ethanol process. These studies that show the amount of energy used to produce ethanol are not pointing out that we are not using new production corn to produce ethanol. The production energy(most of it anyway) will already be used up as farmers in this country continue to over-produce feed corn. Corn that has been used to produce ethanol can also be used for feed. Assuming Washington is not interested in fixing the subsidy system shouldn't we be doing our best to get the most out of our money? By producing ethanol we are getting more usage out of each bushel of corn.


Hello again,
As I was reading Jim's letter regarding alternative fuels I noticed him discussing biodiesel and its inadequacy for large scale usage. I believe he is mistaken. And Tim P's letter is incorrect in that biodiesel currently sells for about the same price as regular diesel. And, at least for now, you get a tax break for using it.

My father is the Director of Maintenance at a Transit Authority in the Midwestern United States. With the rise in fuel costs, he has done a good deal of research into the matter. During the summer months, every bus they have on the streets runs on 100% biodiesel. During spring and fall they go to 70% and then down to 20-30% during winter because it does tend to cloud up. That's 327 buses and 12,956,000 or so street miles every year. 3,000,000 or so miles on 100 % Biodiesel. Almost 13 million on some sort of mixture. At the very least that could prolong things for a while. That is in no way a little utilization.

As far as biodiesel's petroleum use/output ratio, I don't know for sure. It is worth considering that Proctor and Gamble produces soy biodiesel as a BYPRODUCT of making soap, cosmetics, etc. They use it to produce Olestra (the fat replacement oil for cooking chips etc.) They refine/distil soy to get glycerin for soap (P&G makes a little soap) and other goods and soy biodiesel is left over.

Could we then use biodiesel to distil more soy to get more soap/ biodiesel at an efficient rate? I don't know, but I would think it merits consideration. - DD

Randy in Utah mentioned to me that Dan's Ammo currently has a great deal on brand new, unissued Hensoldt Z24 scopes with STANAG claw mounts, in the original military carry cases. These are $375 each, postage paid. Once this batch of Z24 scopes at Dan's is gone, I'm fairly certain that they will jump back up to the normal market price of around $600 each.

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Cliff C. alerted us to this article: IBM and Tekvet team to remotely track and monitor the health of millions of cattle. One would hope that this doesn't get integrated with the NAIS program or applied to more nefarious purposes...

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Reader "Alfie Omega" reminded us that there are a lot of great articles on photovoltaics, wind power and micro-hydro, all available for free download at the Home Power magazine web site. They also have useful Glossary, and their Renewable Energy Resources Directory is a great way to find alternate energy system supplier that is local to your area. Needless to say, I also recommend subscribing to Home Power magazine.

“Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity and hardihood – the things that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.- Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Prussian Blue ("PB") is a safe treatment for ingested radioactive isotopes that a person may have been exposed to from a dirty bomb or nuclear explosion. It does not protect against radiation, nor treat radiation sickness (there are supplement and drugs that help, see below.) It does not protect against all known radioactive substances (i.e., you would want to take Potassium Iodide (KI) as well to protect against radioactive iodine from a nuclear explosion.) It isn't a substitute for evacuating out of the path of fallout, or for taking shelter from fallout in a protected place. It's just one useful tool in the toolbox should you and your family be exposed to airborne particles of radioactive elements. And it can happen: the number of countries with nuclear programs is growing every year, there are nuclear reactor accidents (check a map for the reactors upwind of your home), and we often hear about terrorists wanting to make "dirty bombs" that spread radioactive material around.

Unfortunately, in spite of the government's encouragement to produce Prussian Blue (PB) pills for the public, it's not available yet in pill form. This means that if anybody wants this protection they're going to have to make the pills themselves - which, as it turns out, isn't hard or expensive to do! Here's the information you'll need:

Prussian Blue from this supplier is chemically pure. (I'm sure you could find other suppliers.)

MSDS showing it's safe:
"Approximately 800 cosmetic products, including 627 deodorants, contain this substance identified as C.I. 77510. In the United States, the use of Ferric Ferrocyanide is permitted to colour externally applied drugs, including those for use in the area of the eye. In addition, Ferric Ferrocyanide is recognized to be a safe and effective internal treatment for thallium poisoning. This recommendation provides further indication of the safety of this compound." - From the Wikipedia.

How to put it in capsules (one sample supplier, your local health food store should have these supplies.)

When you're putting it into capsules just realize that it's a very fine powder. One little puff of wind can leave your kitchen table with a coating of blue! It would probably be best to fill your capsules in the garage, or at least put out newspapers to catch any dust that gets away from you. Wear vinyl gloves or you'll have blue cuticles for a while...

The likelihood that you'll ever need this is pretty small, but if you've ever bought Potassium Iodide tablets you should consider buying this as well - and it's cheap! Be sure to follow the dosing instructions at the aforementioned web sites from!

Here is some good additional information about nuclear reactors and fallout paths courtesy of Nitro-Pak.

As you may notice, the CDC .pdf file on Prussian Blue advises people to not treat themselves with the artist's pigment. [Prussian Blue, a.k.a. Preußisch Blau or Berliner Blau.] So a little observation and disclaimer may be in order:

1. Under ordinary circumstances, if a person were contaminated with radioactive isotopes the prudent thing to do would be to go directly to a hospital emergency room to be treated by a doctor for the problem. (Well, decontaminate first...) Don't treat yourself!

2. In a regional or national disaster, local medical resources will be quickly overwhelmed and persons contaminated with radiation are not going to be able to be treated because there won't be enough to go around, or because access to advanced health care will be impractical or impossible.

3. The information at the links I provided is specific enough for a layman in a disaster to easily administer Prussian Blue in a safe manner.

4. It's possible that the PB that has been packaged for medicinal use is in some fancy enteric coated capsule or otherwise more suitable for treatment. And there's no arguing with the fact that artist's PB was not intended to be used to treat this medical condition. However, after considerable research I'm convinced that it can and will adequately treat certain radioisotope contamination.

5. Safe administration basically boils down to obtaining a pure supply in the first place. Some art supply places will not have pure pigments (note: the treatment is with pure PB powdered pigment - not with paint containing PB!). Shop around if you're not sure.

6. The observant person reading through all of the links will discover that Potassium Iodide and Prussian Blue are only good for treating ingestion of certain radioisotopes. If the contamination included other radioactive elements, then additional treatments with specialized drugs requiring injections or inhalation therapy will be necessary. But those drugs require a prescription and are available only through the medical profession's gateway - KI and PB are readily available and safe for laypersons to use, and will not harm the person even if there is no contamination.

God forbid we'll ever need to actually take Prussian Blue, but if we do, the odds are very good that the government is not going to have enough to go around, or to start you on a treatment right away.

JWR Adds: Pharmaceutically manufactured KI tablets are available from a number of reputable Internet vendors, including JRH Enterprises, Ready Made Resources, Safe Castle, Nitro-Pak, and KI4U. In this post-9/11 era, it is impossible to predict when either a sub-critical radioactive dirty bomb or a low yield fission bomb will be touched off upwind from you--by some terrorist or by a rogue state. Take the time to study nuclear effects protection. At the very minimum buy a dosimeter, a rate meter, and some KI. Make NBC preparedness part of your family's integrated preparedness plan. Following Richard Fleetwood's guidelines, upgrade your retreat basement to fallout shelter specs. Or, if your home lacks a basement, build a root cellar near your house that doubles as a fallout shelter. There are lots of free resources available from The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, and the Surviving The Day After Discussion Forum. Also be sure to get a copy of Nuclear War Survival Skills --a free downloadable book .(Print out a hard copy, or just mail order a bound hard copy.)

I just finished watching a review copy of Larry Wick's DVD: Split Second Survival: First Strike. It teaches some truly no-nonsense practical self defense. Highly recommended! It emphasizes unarmed defense, and devastating defense techniques with always close-at-hand objects such as pocket combs and ballpoint pens. I'll post some detailed comments in a subsequent blog entry.

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SurvivalBlog reader "Flighter" recommends this US Army web site on water filtration. He notes: "It has an analysis of a variety of water purification filters and disinfection methods, all commercially available. It is interesting stuff."

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The eighth case of BSE ("Mad Cow" disease) has been confirmed in Canada.

"Whatever you want to do, do it now.
There are only so many tomorrows." - Michael Landon

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today we present three thought provoking responses to my short article "Some ARM Twisting in the Near Future." The first of these is from David, our correspondent in Israel:

I wanted to help explain some of the upside to general hyper-inflation. This current well managed hyper-inflation that has been rolling strong since about 1995 went first into the financial markets and then after the dot-com-9-11 went into the overheated housing market,. This inflation is a result of the massive infusion of dollars through fractional reserve bank financing creating new money by loaning out non-existent money.
We can likely expect the dollar value of homes to not drop too far if this alleged bubble pops as the fed much like in Australia and the UK central banks try to keep the money supply inflating at the rate of an average home.
This is not yet a general price inflation. Adjustable rate mortgage holders look to see if there is a limit on your interest rate you will not likely be able to keep up with increased payments in any case.
Once the general inflation hits and the dollar (and other currencies at the same time) drop like stones people will be surprised to find themselves paying off [fixed rate] 30 year mortgages with a few months of wages. The trick to this is a person has to find an income to support even these easy payments, a concurrent deflation may also strike the economy forcing wages down versus commodities, real estate, and imported items. In biz school you would learn that an unexpected inflation acts to transfer wealth. While
it is usually a central bank trying to shake off national debt a person with the right debt structure and little or no currency based savings can derive
benefit from this transfer.
Be aware financial conditions have never been as bad as they are in all of world history, [so] plan for the change now. We are about to witness history in a big way. Most nations after a massive inflation lop off a few zeros rename the currency (For example the "NEW" Israeli Shekels.) Be aware that there has been significant amounts of
scholarly work on a near term Euro type currency merger in North America (Amero). Kol Tov. - David in Israel


Mr. Rawles:
One thing often overlooked is whether the mortgage is a recourse, or non-recourse loan. Most first mortgages are “Non-recourse” loans – meaning that if you lose the house and the bank sells it, the foreclosed party is NOT responsible for the difference between the mortgage value and sale price if less.

However, with most loans over 100% of the equity (U.S. Bank was selling 125% home equity lines back in 1999.), or any Home Equity Credit Lines – if the house is foreclosed, and the house sells for less than the amount owed on the note, the bank has full recourse to go after the borrower for the difference between note amount and sale price.

Same as if you have a car loan, and you total the car for instance. Most insurance policies will pay market value for the car – and if you owe the finance company more than the market value, you are on the hook for the difference. That is a recourse loan, and most loans are just that, with the exception of first mortgages up to 100% of equity. State laws differ somewhat, but in general, that is the rule nationally.

A lot of folks may try to walk away, and are going to wish they had read the fine print at closing. The bankers are ALWAYS going to act to cover themselves. My folks were raised during the Depression, and my Mother would reach out from beyond the grave if I had EVER bought a house with an ARM, or didn’t pay off the debt as quickly as possible. Going to be a lot of financial bloodletting in the next 5 years. In the 80s it was commercial property, and now residential. Amazing how quickly we forget. And with the tighter Bankruptcy Code, a lot of folks are going to have much longer relationships with their bankers than they ever thought they would. Love the site! - Sawbuck in Virginia


Dear Jim:
Rather than a balloon [bursting], I think [the housing market collapse] will be more like a series of avalanches, small at first, but growing each time. We are seeing this now with the “inventory” of homes for sale at an all time high. The entire market sector has slowed substantially from the heated years of growth, driven in large part by low interest rates.

Remember, in many of these cases, the bank will be OK with the 1st mortgage, is these insane 2nd and 3rd ones that will be the real problem. Still many banks over-extended I suspect, and the FDIC is too big to save.

Jim check this out - and go to the end to see that bad and the good. Note how TX is so low on the scale, interesting.

CA, FL, NY – are of course the problem areas. - Rourke

Mr. Rawles:

The way to store coffee long-term is by purchasing green beans and roasting them yourself as you need them. Green beans (whole beans) stay "fresh" for up to a year in a normal container, like a tin or glass jar or foil lined bag. If you completely seal them off from light and oxygen and maybe even nitrogen purge them then they should stay "fresh" indefinitely, well for several years anyway. See the Terroir site below for how they store their green beans.
The thing about roasting coffee beans is that they go stale within two weeks after roasting. There really isn't anything you can do about it either. Doing all the normal long term storage things only delays the inevitable for a little while, maybe a month or two beyond the normal
two weeks. And I do mean all things, freezing, nitrogen purging, metal airtight containers, vacuum sealing, none of it works all that well. The roasted beans will go stale faster than you want, guaranteed.
Now for a definition of stale coffee. Most Americans are used to coffee purchased at a grocery store, and most restaurants usually serve the same bad coffee made from stale beans. Any coffee (beans or pre-ground) sold by a grocery store is going to be stale by default. The large coffee companies store their roasted beans for weeks before
they ever see the inside of a retail outlet. Stale, stale, stale.
Most Americans are used to drinking coffee made from stale beans. Another thing about grocery store coffee, it's usually pre-ground. Ground coffee goes stale about twenty minutes after it comes out of the grinder. Storing ground coffee is even more of a losing proposition than storing whole roasted beans. Don't even think about
it. You might as well gather up some sawdust, put some food coloring on it and put it in a tin can.
How can you tell whether the roasted coffee beans are stale or not? Smell them. Stale beans smell different than freshly roasted beans. If you don't believe me please find a local roaster or order some fresh beans over the web. Compare the beans with the known recent roast date to some known stale beans or just wait for the freshly
roasted beans to go stale themselves. You will smell the difference. You will taste the difference.
If you already have a taste for stale beans then don't even worry about long term storage. Just use whatever crosses your path because you won't taste the difference. Store you coffee any way you want because it's stale anyway. Long term, short term, it's all the same to someone that likes stale beans. Don't even worry about it. It's
not worth the time and effort to ensure fresh beans if you like stale beans. How do you tell whether you like stale beans? If you really like any coffee you buy at the grocery store then you like stale beans. If you like coffee that's been sitting out on the hotplate of the coffee maker for more than fifteen minutes then it doesn't matter
whether you use fresh beans or not.
Now about Illy. They are okay as long as you buy the whole beans and grind them yourself. As far as buying roasted beans for long term storage you can't do much better than Illy. Just know that long term for roasted beans is not long term for most other dry consumables. Roasted coffee beans out-gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) , a pretty large
quantity of it too. It is why bags of coffee have check valves in them to let the gas out so the bag won't burst. As the beans out-gas the gas also takes other molecules with it, molecules that make up the flavor of the coffee bean. The heavier oils of the beans also travel to the exterior of the bean. Upon exposure to the air these oils (not really oils but... ) either evaporate or change chemically and detrimentally affect the flavor of the coffee made from those beans. Where do you buy green beans?
Sweet Marias.
There are probably others but Sweet Maria's sell beans to the home roaster in smaller quantities than you would be able to get from wholesale coffee merchants.
There's lots information at Sweet Maria's if you dig for it. All or most of what I've told you here can be confirmed there. You could even send an email to them yourself and I'm sure they would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Some other links you may find useful.
Coffee Geek
Terroir Coffee
Pan Roasting
There's more to good coffee than getting freshly roasted beans but I only wanted to answer your query about long term storage. Hope this has been helpful. - A.P.

Hello Rawles Family,
We have been viewing your site for a few months after reading "Patriots" (loved it!) and have a suggested resource for other families.

We are long term veteran homeschooling family, self sufficiency oriented, husband former military (Viet Nam), ordained ministers who choose to develop house church networks in view of the likely future. We currently reside in upper northwest Montana after being in other regions gaining broad experience.

We wrote a preparedness homeschooling curriculum based on Swiss Family Robinson and a sequel based on Robinson Crusoe. The first year builds academics around family teamwork and the second teaches independent decision making and leadership. It is designed for all ages toddler through adult to learn together. Please view our web site at: for more info. We have spoken at many state homeschool conventions, been published in many homeschool magazines and have an excellent online review posted at

In all our awareness of current world events it is vital that our children be trained NOW while there is still time. Science can be learned by gardening, raising small livestock, using levers and pulleys doing real work, and outdoorsmanship; history can be learned by studying heroes of the faith and seasons of difficulty and triumph; health is learned with first aid and nutrition, plagues, and purity.We waste no time, money, or energy but encourage families to strongly focus for a year or two giving children skills that will last a lifetime and likely save their lives in the future. This is done vicariously through good children's literature to avoid any impartation of fear. We train families to become overcomers, not victims.

In His Service, - Jim and Robin Brashear, Overcomers Books and Supplies

Michael Z. Williamson sent a link for this interesting piece of ordnance. Too bad about that pesky $200 transfer tax. OBTW, you gotta love the picture of that WECSOGed fifth wheel trailer hitch mount. A also BTW, I woudln't be surprised to see one of these Anzio 20mm rifles show up in one of Mike's upcoming novels.

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From NewsTarget: The top ten things food companies don't want you to know.

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Market Watch: The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted" than the 2001 recession.

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SurvivalBlog reader Michael in England mentioned that there is currently an interesting thread over at the FALFiles about automobile "black box" technology.

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning." - Louis L'Amour

Friday, August 25, 2006

I just added some goodies that I imported from Finland to my Mail Order Catalog, including an original Finnish Defense Force Valmet M62 field carrying case, a Valmet M62 brass catcher, and a small batch of original Valmet M62 "green waffle" magazines with lanyard loops. (These will fit other AKs chambered in 7.62x39.)

The mainstream media finally is starting to report on the nascent U.S. real estate collapse. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that perhaps as much as a half trillion dollars worth of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) in the U.S. will be "reset" in the coming year. The article mentions: "To head off potential problems, the largest mortgage originator in the United States, Countrywide Home Loans, has begun sending out letters to thousands of borrowers who have been making only the minimum payments on the company's popular PayOption adjustable-rate mortgages. The letters explain that 'this is an early message to alert you that, based on your current payment trends and potential future interest rate changes, the monthly payment you will be required to pay may increase significantly.'"

Given the huge number of ARM loans that were issued to anyone with little more than a paycheck and a pulse during the past three years, I shudder to think what the mortgage default rate will be in '07 , '08, and '09. Mortgage defaults will mean lot of houses will be coming back on the market. And consider that the unsold house inventory already burgeoning. Houses prices are bound to just plain collapse in overvalued markets like Phoenix and San Diego. Once people are "upside down" in their mortgages (owing more on the principal of the mortgage than the house's new market value), I predict that some of them will turn in their keys to the bank and just walk away from their houses. Mark my words.

Hello Jim:
Thought that this might be important, so am sending you a link to an article from Recombinomics. Read carefully--and between the lines. On the first page, click on the 'alarming' link. Then on that page, click on the 'rapidly growing cluster' link. From there, the next interesting link is 'have failed to match'.
Hopefully this is not the beginning of rapid H2H transfer, but Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) does seem to be mutating rapidly. When the folks at Recombinomics, ProMED, and CIDRAP all seem to be concerned, I get just a bit on edge. Thanks, - Cactus Pete in Oklahoma


Have there been any writings different methods of preserving meats, such as canning, drying, smoking or any other methods? I was going to try canning. Is that what you'd recommend? Any other instructions on safe methods? Thanks, - Greg in Michigan

JWR Replies: The topic has been briefly discussed in SurvivalBlog, but we ought to encourage more extensive discussion. The Memsahib and I have made lots of jerky over the years, but have never tried canning meats. Canning meat makes sense for a fixed location retreat. But for "Get out of Dodge" use, jerky is preferable. (Less weight and bulk, and no risk of breaking containers.) Detailed "do it yourself" instructions (including jerky making, pemmican making, and canning options) can be found in the book "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery. Get a Ninth Edition copy. If you can't find this book locally, I do sell copies via mail order. (See my catalog.) You will notice that we mention this book a lot in the blog. In my opinion it is an absolute must for the bookshelf of every well-prepared family.

Those with an advanced degree (at least a Master's) plus experience in education, business, government may be qualified to teach for the U of Phoenix in their online program. Before I moved to Hawaii, I taught for them for several years, the last two in the online program. The pay is generous (up to and perhaps over $1,200) for a 5-week course.
U of P. is the largest (by student numbers) university in the US--it is a quality program and if you look into it you will be impressed.
Here's the part I thought would intrigue you: you physically meet with the students for the first and last sessions (four hours each time) only. The rest of the interaction is on the internet. You get to stay in your jammies and you interact when the hour suits you--For those not "near" a U of Phoenix facility: I lived in St. George Utah and went to Salt Lake City for the first/last sessions for the classes I taught. Although I stayed overnight at a daughter's, it still would have been profitable if I had to use a motel. This may be relevant for those not near a U. of Phoenix facility.
If U. of P. is not feasible, other schools, public and private, also have distance learning programs which you may qualify for. - R.B.

Please check out the web site for our newest advertiser, Comet Gold, a site dedicated to analysis, commentary, and charts on precious metals and base metals investing. They also host some lively precious metals discussions at the Comet Gold Forum.

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The high bid is now at $100 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a copy "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. The course was kindly donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on September 15th.

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Zimbabwe's new currency (sans three zeroes, versus the old issue) is getting off to shaky start. The old currency has been declared null and void, leaving thousands of citizens with piles of paper now good for nothing but kindling. (The currency exchange period was too brief to allow many people to spend or exchange their old bills. Some tribesmen in remote areas didn't find out about the currency swap until after it was over.) With a 1,000% inflation rate, it is only a matter of time before prices set in the new currency no longer look like "bargains."

"The first panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; a permanent ruin." - Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The high bid is now at $85 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a copy "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. The course was kindly donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on September 15th.

There has been a lot of ink spilled in recent years, debating the Hubbert's Peak ("Peak Oil") theory. FWIW, I am a believer in global oil depletion, but I think that those in the "Peak Oil" crowd are about 20 to 25 years too early in their predictions.

In my estimation we cannot depend on the slow-moving bureaucracies of national governments to rescue us from the coming energy crisis. Even if we were t overcome the problem in the First World, the second World and the Third World--with less money available for massive crash programs and probably with a more short term perspective--will likely be plunged into a second Dark Age. At the minimum that means famines, monumental migrations, huge economic dislocations, and world wars, all likely sometime later in this century. And even if our generation muddles through, we should make preparations on behalf of our children and grandchildren.

Every well-prepared family should have an alternative energy production capability. Buy this I do not mean just buying a backup power generator. I'm talking about the minimum of a six panel photovoltaic (PV) power system with a large capacity battery bank, charge controller, and a sine wave AC inverter. If you need advice on sizing and building a PV system, talk to Bob at Ready Made Resources. He offers free consulting. Take advantage of his consulting offer! Gravity fed spring water is ideal, but if you are on well water, you need to plan ahead to make your own power to operate your well pump.

Parenthetically, since lead acid batteries only have a useful life of about eight years, it is prudent to buy an extra set of dry deep cycle ("golf cart" or "marine") batteries for your PV system. (Even if kept charged and not charge cycled, the plates will still gradually sulfate.) Ask your local auto parts store or golf cart dealership about special ordering a dry set of batteries (with no acid added), and separate "carboys" of acid, through their battery distributor. If they scratch their heads and give you dumb looks, then you might have to talk to a battery distributor (such as Interstate Batteries), directly.

If you are thinking likewise, then you should consider buying a retreat property with its own source of fuel: A natural gas well or a surface coal seam on the property would be fantastic (although of course quite rare), but at least buy land with a good stand of hardwood timber. To supplement your PV system, you might start shopping for a large yet easy to maintain steam engine with a power take off to run a generator and to handle other stationary engine tasks. (One wag recently built a steam power plant to run his iMac.) A third generator option is buying is a steep parcel of land with a fairly large creek running through it, for a Penstock-fed Pelton wheel micro-hydro generator. These are offered by several makers. What about wind power? Because of their high maintenance and the risks associated with tower climbing, I generally don't recommend wind turbines. They just don't make sense for most users, especially since PV panels have come down so far in price per watt in recent years. But if you live in a very windy area with lots of cloud cover, a wind generator might be a viable option.

Petroleum means more than just fuel. It is the petroleum industry that has brought huge population increases, with the advent of inexpensive fertilizers. An end to cheap and plentiful fertilizers will probably mean starvation, war, and perhaps a significant global die-off. Petroleum also means lubricants. Stock up on lubricants of all types. As I previously noted in SurvivalBlog, one of the most important to store is two cycle oil. (For mixing chain saw gasoline.) That will be like gold in the event of TEOTWAWKI -- a barter item second only to common caliber ammunition.

Lastly, think in terms of transportation in an era when gasoline is very scarce and precious and when ethanol and and biodiesel are sporadically available but nearly as expensive as gas. Make every subsequent vehicle that you purchase either a diesel or an E85 "flex fuel" variant. (The latter are capable of running on 85% ethanol.) It takes a bit of extra looking to find them, but someday you will be glad that you did. (BTW, you can locate slightly used flex fuel vehicles via Enter "flex fuel" or "E85" as search variables.) Here at the Rawles Ranch, our primary "goin' in to town" rig is an E85 fleet variant of the 2003 Ford Explorer 4WD. And when our little 32 MPG run-about finally dies, it will be replaced by a flex fuel compact of some sort. For maximum versatility, at least one vehicle at your retreat should be a diesel. Perhaps your next crew cab 4WD pickup, your next tractor, or your next "quad" ATV. (Yes, they do make diesel engine ATVs, but they are harder to find.)

Here is some real gloom 'n doom for you to consider: To plan for an absolute worst case multi-generational whammy, you will need to buy some livestock including horses and/or donkeys. Remember that you will need to feed those critters, so buy a piece of land with both good pasture and hay fields. Build an over-sized hay barn. The day may soon come that grass hay and alfalfa will no longer be just a phone call away and be magically delivered on a truck and stacked for +/- $110 per ton. One nice thing about owning horses/donkeys/mules is that they can harvest their own feed. But that is only if you plan ahead and buy a hay mower and horse collars/tack and you train your horses to pull the mower. Planning for the next Dark Age gets rather complicated...

Regarding ethanol, the amount of fossil fuel or equivalent slave labor wage work make ethanol driving a exclusive privilege of the wealthy. Brazil has the world's highest percentage ethanol from sugar cane for motor fuel. US use of current corn ethanol processes are petroleum negative and only feasible due to massive taxpayer subsidies.

If the readers of SurvivalBlog are expecting to have motor power in the age of ethanol I realistically suggest keeping down to a small displacement engine motorbike and maybe a chainsaw.
Electricity is much higher watt per acre from water solar or wind and bicycle horse or donkey cart is the best mile per acre fuel utilization. Just because a person grew up in the day of (almost) free petroleum does not mean this is a normal situation. Realistic economic study shows that the growth since the industrial revolution was due almost completely to the addition of (almost) free energy (fossil fuel) and using that power in machines that multiplied the possible man hours of work per hour a person could accomplish. Without a rising supply curve of available energy, I can see no realistic way for our 200 year level of progress to continue or to exist again.- David in Israel


Engineer Steven Den Beste dealt with "alternate energy" theme some time ago. See this article. And this one.
Bottom line: Unless we're willing to seriously reconsider reprocessing nuclear fuel and set about building breeder reactors on a monumental scale (as in a project of the magnitude of the '60s "space race" extended for several decades) we're not going to rid ourselves of our need for foreign oil. (I'm aware of the need for liquid fuel for transportation. Given sufficient energy, methanol may be reduced from water and carbon dioxide. But, this requires something on the scale of a nuclear reactor to make the process worthwhile.)
Biodiesel, ethanol, solar, wind, geothermal and other marginal sources of energy are fine for limited, small-scale uses. (If you need to fill a stock tank from a desert well 20 miles from the nearest power line, a windmill's a great idea. Biodiesel is a great way of getting rid of french fry oil.) They are not worth considering as a primary means of powering our civilization. They simply cannot scale to that level. Yet, the problem is not that we are running out of energy. It is that we are deliberately choosing to freeze in the dark in the midst of plenty.
Think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at the nation's most populated State. Regards, - Moriarty


Hi Jim,
I had a big conversation with a local liberal about Ethanol a few months back. She was all gung-ho about how it would save us and the environment until I presented her with the facts below. Now she rarely talks to me. Oh well.

While it is true that ethanol can be made out of the stalks, etc of the crops that have already been harvested, most of the energy of the plant is directed toward making the seeds - which is where most of the sugars, etc. that are needed to ferment into alcohol are. From what I understand, using the "waste" you get an even lower return on investment (ROI) than what I list below.

From my "conversation":

Ethanol has some good points but it has many bad points as well. First, pollution - Ethanol, when burned in an internal combustion (IC) engine, produces less carbon monoxide (CO) but it produces more nitrogen oxide which is the main element of smog and because it has a lower latent heat of vaporization it evaporates more rapidly than gasoline which also leads to more pollution. Second, Gasoline has more energy per gallon than ethanol – about 50% more in fact. So you car that gets 30 mpg on gas can get only 20 mpg on ethanol – IF it can run on ethanol. Very few cars can run on more than 10% ethanol. Third - and worst of all - is that it takes a lot of energy to grow the crops used to brew up the ethanol. In some cases it takes up to 6 (yes six!) times the amount of energy to create the ethanol as it actually provides. In virtually ALL cases it takes more than a 1:1 ratio to produce it so ethanol will actually INCREASE our use of fossil fuels.

See this Energy bulletin article.

This accounting includes every step of the process from shipping the grain to its place of planting, plowing, planting, fertilizing and use of pesticides (both of which require fossil fuels to create), harvesting, transportation to the site of distillation, then the fuels required for that process and finally transportation to its site of final use.

Bio-diesel is better in the ROI department with it returning about 3 times the energy it takes to grow it. However this is appallingly low compared to gasoline which supplies 30 times the amount of energy it takes to produce. If you think gasoline is expensive these days, try bio-diesel which is likely to cost 10 times as much.

Now, if you drive your 30 mpg car 10,000 miles in a year using ethanol (now it is 20 mpg) you would need 500 gallons of ethanol to get you through the year. According to this site: (
that would require 1.84 acres of corn. Since there are about 200 million cars in the US, if even a third of them drive 10k miles per year then we would need 122 million acres of crops just to provide fuel for our vehicles. Since the US has about 360 million acres of farmland and only about 43 million acres of that is considered prime farmland where will we grow all this fuel?
Ethanol sounds wonderful, but it is NOT a reasonable substitute for fossil fuels. Regards, - Tim P.


This link contrasts other reports that ethanol is energy negative. - Bill in Indiana


Dear Jim:
Lately, politicians have been extolling the virtues of ethanol as the cure to our energy woes. For the heck of it, I decided to look into this (energy in vs energy out), after all I am a scientist. Ethanol production makes some interesting assumptions. It assumes that we can produce enough to make it worth our time.
The answer is 'yes and no'.
As long as the crop, fermentation facility, distillation facility (processing) and end user are next to each other (to negate losses in transportation), it looks iffy, but possibly ok. This ignores the COST of production, only the energy surplus from the crop. However, a bad year may wipe out any energy gains, same for long transportation distances, etc. There was a study done some years ago that looks at several bio- fuels and biodiesel looks to be the most promising to me. NOT ethanol. A synopsis of the study can be found here and here.

This tells me we are putting our time and money into a marginal process with ethanol and that biodiesel looks more promising, at least on paper - implementation may be just as bad. But just based on this study, you would need to burn 3 billion barrels of ethanol to produce 4 billion barrels, giving you a net gain of 1 billion for use in the populace in general. What is wrong with that picture?
Another trouble I for see is the Sierra Club, Earth First, Congress, and similar organizations screwing things up, even if it were feasible and cost efficient. Suddenly we will need to put a LOT more farmland into production; and this may mean such sundry items as forests may need to be cleared, water diverted for irrigation, and vast capital invested into big, oily plants. The iron and synthetics to build those plants need to come from somewhere, perhaps where there are spotted owls…..
I work in the chemical industry, supplying specialty chemicals for pharmaceutical research. I am well aware that petroleum is a finite resource and an extremely useful one:
I can see the need to get going on nuclear plant construction and development of these other energy sources. I think ethanol will not be worth it until they can get cellulose ethanol up and running. Even then, depending on costs, it may not be worth it. Right now they have to use expensive sugars (starch), which could be used for something else. Cellulose just gets plowed under each year. And as I stated before, we are just looking at energy surpluses, NOT COSTS. I don’t think anyway wants to burn ethanol if it costs $10/gallon to produce… Then there are other issues, such as the current drought from Texas up into the Mid-west that would also impact your gas tank. And of course you need fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides to farm corn.
The problem has never been a lack of an available solutions, only that politicians are seldom legislating based on common sense, looking at cost/benefits, but instead are usually legislating based on who pays their bills. Regards, - Jim


Mr Rawles:

If you can make sugar from something, you can make ethanol. Cows eat hay, which is for the most part cellulose, which is made up of starch. Enzymes in a cows stomach(s) break down the cellulose into molecules of starch, which are further converted into glucose, which is then used by the cow for energy. All animals which eat hay do this. The enzyme responsible for most of the cellulose breakdown is called "cellulase". See this article for some scientific background on cellulase enzyme research. - H.L.

I have once again updated and expanded the SurvivalBlog Glossary. Let me know if I missed any terms or if you spot any errors. Thanks!

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Reader "The Rabid One " mentioned this article from The Guardian, about search engine privacy. He notes: "The story is of Google's storing of search data and the user's IP address. It also references a couple search engines that do not keep such data." I agree with the advice to stop using Google. They log not only IP addresses but also your search phrases. Taken out of context, in a courtroom someday far in the future, those search phrases might be misconstrued. I also recommend that anyone concerned with their privacy use a secure browser interface such as Anonymizer or  StealthSurfer.

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Don't miss the article "The Secret Price of Gold" by Kevin DeMeritt, posted over at Here are a few quotes from DeMeritt's piece:
"After peaking in 2001, world gold production has been steadily slipping."
"In terms of today's dollars, gold reached $2,176 in 1980."
"Back in 1980, the price of an average new car was $7,609, while, according to Car and Driver magazine, the average cost of a light vehicle today is $27,800."

"I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun,
not just because I see it,
but because by it I can see everything else."
- C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The high bid is still at $75 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a copy "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, (Normally $149, retail.) The course was kindly donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on September 15th.

Here are a couple more thoughts on CONEX containers . . . or shipping containers in general.
If you are using them for storage, be aware that uninsulated containers (more abundant) tend to sweat and cause moisture damage to the items being stored. My solution was to buy only insulated refer trailers, which can sometimes be purchased for even less money than 40 ft. shipping containers. In either case, it's very important to waterproof the roof as much as possible. Sometimes a secondary roof is advisable.
Another method to secure as much as storage space for the dollar is to place two containers parallel to each other about twenty to twenty-five feet apart, then build a roof structure in between. In fact, some of these new metal roof structures that are available can be specially ordered to fit whatever dimensions you may need. - C.B.

I also wanted to send you a comment about the Epi pen. The injection of epinephrine ("Epi") is in large part an informed decision that with a little experience or training is an easy call to make. Epinephrine or adrenaline is only to be used when there is a directly life threatening emergency so most of the concern with cardiac stress is overruled by the overriding need to have a open airway. Children can survive amazing amounts of epi without stressing their hearts so in a life or death airway case give the pen. Benadryl is also on the top of meds to have in your bag, chewed or crushed it absorbs almost as quickly as injected does and is indicated after the epi starts to work (your patient will need water as the epi will stop all saliva flow.)
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride) has almost no bad side effects and (after consulting your doctor) is very safe even for toddlers.
Benadryl is also good for sleep aid and motion sickness.
As always my comments assume that the reader has either years of advanced medical training and field experience or a qualified instructor at hand to consult. - David in Israel


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot, in the wrong hands, but you're still likely to be better off with it than without it:

AAFP on Anaphylaxis on Anaphylaxis

BTW, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) does not "treat the cause" of anaphylaxis. It reduces the effects of histamine release, which is triggered by an immune response. It is a useful adjunct to epinephrine. It will not prevent airway compromise or vascular collapse! In no way is Benadryl alone an adequate treatment for anaphylaxis, nor will it reliably prevent a life-threatening recurrence after initial treatment with epinephrine. (This latter seems to have found its way into the folklore of "bee sting allergies.")

OBTW, if you get an EpiPen, get a "2-Pak." (They're now being packaged that way.) Although epinephrine can be life-saving, more than one dose may be necessary. (Discuss this with your physician.) One pen is not sufficient.

Persons with a history of anaphylaxis should see their doctor and inquire about desensitization treatment. The best way to treat anaphylaxis is to prevent it.

I cannot overemphasize the necessity of obtaining competent medical advice before using epinephrine and the need to obtain competent medical care after using it. Failing to administer epinephrine in a timely manner can be lethal, but using it incorrectly will make you just as dead. Regards, - Moriarty

It is nice to see the prices of both silver and gold bouncing back. I holding by my prediction that after the current summer doldrums the precious metals will see a strong rally this Fall. For those of you that took my advice and sold your spec or vacation house at the top of the market and invested the proceeds in silver: hang on! By late 2007, the dollar will go down versus many foreign currencies, silver will go up substantially, and house prices will go down substantially, especially in the most overheated markets. Those simultaneous moves will be a "win-win." I think that you might be able to buy two comparable houses with the cash generated when you liquidate your silver in late '07 or early '08. I'm not kidding.

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By way of "vlad" from The Claire Files Forums, here is a link to a discussion about Tire Balls. (A product recently mentioned on SurvivalBlog.)

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Pat Buchanan's new book predicts demographic doom--the death of the west.

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Ham operators: Dust off your 6 Meter Rigs and warm them up. You are in for a treat Fred The Valmet-meister reports: "This evening [from the San Francisco Bay Area] I worked Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida!!! This is most incredible [6 Meter propagation] opening I have ever heard of."

"The hour is fast approaching, on which the Honor and Success of this army, and the safety of our bleeding Country depend. Remember officers and Soldiers, that you are Freemen, fighting for the blessings of Liberty - that slavery will be your portion, and that of your posterity, if you do not acquit yourselves like men." - George Washington (General Orders, 23 August, 1776)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We used some CONEXes to build a workshop. We built a wall halfway down the box with a door in it, insulated the front half, and put in power and air conditioning. It works fine, [but] the back half gets really, really hot. I'd recommend painting the container a heat reflecting color, try to put it under some trees out of direct sunlight, build some kind of roof over it or something to cut the heat like trellis planted with vines. We use the Rough Neck RV roof mounted air conditioners. I would recommend cutting a hole in the side and mounting a regular window mount air conditioning unit. - Mosby


The main site for the use of buried ConEX containers for survival purposes is It is also fun to see other this that have done with these such as housing like at this British site or this one in New Zealand or this "" site in the U.S. They are also used warehousing. See "a warehouse on wheels" and this site in New Zealand. Also remember, this idea isn’t completely new, people have been using other means such as culvert (as suggested at Walton Feed) and old school busses. All in all, ConEx containers seem to be a good choice.

Following the teachings of Mike Oehler (also a survivalist at heart) – I think it is important to keep in mind that flat roofs leak, especially if buried. Therefore, keeping in mind the weight limitations (dirt and by 30 to 114 pounds per cubic foot depending upon makeup and moisture), you should put down hard insulation foam board, plastic or rubber roof over it and drape all the way over the edge and down and out, the put down some clean (nothing sharp to puncture) dirt on top, maybe 18 inches in the center and 6 inches on the side creating a pitch – and then plastic over that. Now put the final dirt over that again, leaving at least a slight pitch as ground level for drainage away from the center of the underground structure. Your uppermost plastic sheet (or rubber roof material) should fan out at least 3 feet past the sides of buried structure to get water further away from it. Remember, with a 40’ footer (and get the hi-cube variety if you can) – you may need to brace with the weight at the center as these were not made to be buried, they were made to be stacked – so the strength is in the corners. This is all done presuming the area you put it drains well – and is not in a floodplain or in any danger of flooding. The one thing an underground bunker can not protect you from is a flood.

As for cutting them open and making modifications, joining them, just like with a steel building or pole barns, cut straight, and cover edges with “C” channel, and then secure (probably weld in this case) and seal water and weather tight with silicone or whatever works for you. I have thought about making mobile homes on steroids this way as well. However, there is a lot of steel work involved and I personally lack the skills, equipment, etc. Still – there may be economic opportunity here for someone who has an “in” to make this work. Here’s the idea – since ConEx containers stack – put one down to be your basement or cellar, and put the next one, the ground level mobile home right on top of it. You still move the upper one and put another one in its place (but it might take a crane). Secure the upper one to the lower one with cables, etc., so that extreme forces will not separate the two, no matter what. Maybe even weld them together at the corners. The amount of work to cut in windows, and insulate is substantial though – but look what you would get – a mobile home that would be the last or only one standing after that tornado, or whatever else comes through, with a storage basement. Note that a standard stairwell is a space killer in tight areas – you may want external main entry and a simple latter an hatch in a closet for emergencies. Note, you could even earth berm up to the bottom of the windows of the upper unit, and then put a little insulation and siding over the exposed parts, and still have an earth roof on it. This could make for a great cheap retreat. - Rourke


There are some really architectural and elegant solutions using these containers for homes on this site. There are also many other pre-fab ideas that are fertile ground and food for thought in retreat building throughout this very creative site. Many ideals are very thrifty and unusual architectural uses of common materials. Jim, please keep up the impeccable work and folks, if you are reading this, please sign up for the Ten Cent Challenge! Really… I’m serious! - ANETPROPHET


Here are two good sites with info/photos and ideas for modifications of shipping containers to be used as housing or storage.
Containerbay: Database of various conceptual projects or real world examples.
Global Portable Buildings Inc.: Supplier of pre-modified units, good pics and info on various options...
Regards, - S.H.

Hi Jim
I have gone through the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course twice now and find it to be very good data and will be using it extensively in my preps.

Since I am a coffee drinker, I started thinking about how I could store coffee and where I could purchase whole beans in cans. I then thought of a friend of mine that owns a espresso cafe that I go to daily
and it turns out that for her espresso and espresso drinks, she uses Illy coffee from Italy. Illy is about as good as it gets and it turns out that she buys it in 6.5 lb nitrogen packed cans that come with a
screw-in top. The stuff lasts for years. They also pack it in a much smaller can, around 14 oz, but it is not sealed nearly as well as the large can. I will be placing an order with her for my coffee beans.

I told her about your blog and she said that she would be happy to take orders by e-mail. Her name is Janice Cooper and her e-mail address is Illy is not cheap, but it is one of the
best espresso roasts that you can get. I have no financial connection with this business, other than I patronize it regularly.

I also drink a lot of tea and I have found the best place to get good, cheap tea in cans is Chinese grocery stores. The tins are not airtight, but I imagine that they could be sealed with paraffin or repacked with nitrogen or oxygen absorbers. I have had tea, packed like this, for years and the flavor keeps very well. Thanks, - Kurt

Mark Steyn in Australia comments on global demographics: It's breeding obvious, mate.

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Regarding the recent question on Ethanol blends long term storage--here is part of the answer. SurvivalBlog reader Shawnee contacted the makers of PRI-G gas stabilizer to ask about how it works with ethanol blends. This was their reply: "Our initial experience with ethanol blended gasoline has been very positive. PRI-G not only provides enhanced stability to the blend, but protects on lubricating value as well."

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The USDA has not replied to the query about small farmers and NAIS submitted by Walter Jefferies of It has been four months since he sent it in.

"Goed begonnen, half gewonnen."
("Well begun is half won.") - Dutch proverb

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yah-hoo! More than 600,000 unique visits in just over a year. Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a great success. Please continue to spread the word. Adding a link to SurvivalBlog to your e-mail footer would be greatly appreciated!

Regarding the following snippet in Odds 'n Sods:

As quoted by our friend Bill Bonner at The Daily Reckoning: writing in Fortune magazine, Lester Brown notes that ethanol is not only a waste of money, if taken up widely, it would actually mean starvation for many of the world's poor people. "The grain required to fill a 25-gallon tank (with ethanol) would feed one person for a year," Brown writes.

I was under this impression too. Don't get me wrong I think its a waste of time and resources, but ethanol doesn't have to be [derived from] the grain. Ethanol can be made from the stalks and leavings AFTER grain harvesting. I don't have any resource to direct you to as I can't remember where I read it. Sorry :( I do remember compensate for the oil from ONE refinery, you would need an area a little bigger than Texas committed to growing said ethanol crops. So if you do the math every field in America would be needed almost committed to said
function for [the replacement of the output of] all the oil refineries that we have. - Cruzan


Mr Rawles:
Making ethanol from corn uses the starch of the grain but leaves the oil and the protein, so "starvation" isn't really as much of an issue as some make it out to be. Regards, - Jim K.

#1 Son Replies: There is some interesting research going on, using enzymes produced by microbes living in the digestive system of termites to turn cellulose (wood, straw, etc.) into sugars that could be used for making ethanol. See this article in Wired News.

Dear Jim,
I think this would be a good story to link to on SurvivalBlog. Three fishermen survived on a 25 foot boat for nine months at sea, doing drastic things to ensure their survival. Two of the men on the boat died because they didn't have the will to live (there were originally five on the boat.) As a sea kayaker who takes safety very seriously, it is a sobering story. Take care, - C.R.

Excellent advice on the EpiPen, but its worth mentioning an adequate stock of Benadryl should also be on hand. The EpiPen treats the symptoms of anaphylactic shock but Benadryl or a similar antihistamine will treat the cause. (Which is of particular importance if a doctor is not available.) Bee stings are the most common culprit for anaphylaxis, but it can also be caused by food allergies, latex allergies, and others. Here is a site with some information on Benadryl, side effects and administration instructions Respectfully, - Patrick R



Epi can kill if not used correctly. The key issue is understanding WHEN to administer. Most folks don't understand anaphylaxis, which is what can kill someone who is allergic to bee stings. I hear a lot of people say, "I'm allergic to bee stings!", but when I question them I find that their symptoms are not consistent with anaphylaxis. I.E. they are not really allergic reactions. In these cases use of EpiPen would be contraindicated.

Also, the commercially available EpiPens come in two prescription strengths -- one suited for an adult; one for a small child. Giving the wrong one could be unproductive at best and fatal at worst. Hope this helps. - The Northwest EMT

Reader "Desert T" notes: "I came across this item at the Smith & Wesson web site while researching something else. Rather steep price, but I found the marketing strategy interesting." JWR Adds: Just the ticket for traipsing around Alaska.

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I recently heard about an interesting vendor called Civil Defense Supplies. They stock and eclectic line of storage food, first aid gear, commo gear, night vision gear, 72 Hour Kits, and so forth. I should mention, however, that I have not yet done business with them.

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Reader Sid near Niagara Falls spotted a unique folding--well, actually collapsing--bike. He noted: "I don't know how this one stacks up against the other folding/compact bikes, but here is a link to one I haven't seen 'til now." JWR Adds: You will note that these bikes are being sold by Safecastle (one of our loyal advertisers), a firm with a sterling reputation and great customer service. They sell great products and they stand behind what they sell.

"Some people live in the present, oblivious of the past and blind to the future.
Some dwell in the past.
A very few have the knack of applying the past to the present in ways that show them the future.
Great leaders have this knack." - Richard M. Nixon

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A couple of comments about K.A.D.'s Retreat Locales in Texas. (posted August 17th.) I largely concur with his well thought-out findings, though the recommended counties in the Hill Country such as Gillespie and Kerr have seen a huge increase in population in recent years, along with corresponding increases in land prices. A much better area, in my view, is further north and west, with far lower populations. But water is key in any part of the state west of I-35; with it, the area approaches ideal; without it, you'll find yourself living in a desert. There are springs, but they're fairly rare and often seasonal, especially in a drought like the current one. A good well is essential and much easier to find. Powered by solar or a generator gives you reliable water, and this part of the state has fertile soil in the bottomlands, a relatively mild climate, wild edibles such as pecan and walnut, abundant game and livestock, and self-reliant neighbors who believe in minding their own business (the neighbors also believe in pitching in and solving problems when someone seriously needs help, as witnessed by our local volunteer fire dept with over a hundred members, and this in a county with less than 5000 total population).
But you need to be multi-talented and tough to live here, for you'll largely have to solve your own plumbing/electrical/fencing/livestock/home defense/varmint/vehicle issues on your own, which is as it should be. Those expecting to have quick, inexpensive assistance for every inconvenience need not apply. - J.H.

I have been riding BMW motorcycles for about 10 years. I have seen a few of those Urals around, and every one with first hand knowledge says they are not as dependable as the Beemers. But-- the design is pretty simple, and they are not hard to work on. My Beemer has 86 K miles on it, and I had to replace a starter, and a coil. That's it.
I guess the big question with the Ural is, does it have points ignition, or electronic?
This would be my first concern, now.
I have been entertaining the idea of putting a diesel engine on a Beemer. It would be fairly easy, as they have an automotive style dry clutch. It would be a bit slower, top-end, but it should still get up to 60 or 70 mph. I have seen a few done in my web-
surfing. Depending on the weight of the flywheels, it may accelerate just as well.
My Beemer has electronic ignition, but it is not computerized, so it might survive an EMP. How would I find out? - Sid, near Niagara Falls


Hello Mr. Rawles:
In regarding to your blog posting that someone recommended the Ural motorcycle which gets 31 mpg.
The Ural motorcycles are well known for being unreliable. They are also pricey. A $3,000 Honda Rebel 250cc will get you 70miles per gallon and as a Honda will give you less headaches. Shaft drive motorcycles - like the Ural, while needing less maintenance, are impossible to repair on the road. Its quite easy to change a motorcycle chain or master link and keep the chain lubricated.
While the Ural with the side car and two wheel drive capability offers great mobility, a 1980s diesel Mercedes automobile will get you 35+ mpg and you can find one with broken air conditioning for $1,500. A lot cheaper than the $8-10K they want for a Ural.
Keep up the great work and thanks! - L.B.

Hi Jim,
Our son-in-law was stung by a bee or wasp last night as he was mowing. One time behind the ear. He had a severe reaction to the sting. This is the first time that this has ever happened. Emergency room and three more days of treatments. The doctor gave him a prescription for an EpiPen to self administer in case it happens again. I keep bees (no, mine didn't get him) so I keep one around "just in case".
Now I am of the opinion that several of these should should be a part of every preparanoids medical supplies. - John & Abigail Adams

When I was doing some recent research for a consulting client, I found this interesting land development in the White Mountains of Nevada. The land is being sold near Dyer, Nevada, not too far from Bishop, California. (But safely across the state line, in the tax haven of Nevada.) The unusual thing about this property is that some of the parcels have frontage on a year-round creek. That is a real rarity in Nevada. They are asking $100,000 for a 10 acre chunk with creek frontage. The gent that I talked with (Mike Levin) said that they plan to sell 72 parcels. There are CC&Rs, but not too horribly restrictive. (Hunting and shooting are allowed, and you can keep one horse for each two acres. They have the typical "no mobile homes" language. Homes must either be stick built or top quality modulars.) This is considered "remote" real estate. But hey, a lot of SurvivalBlog readers like remote. (It is definitely well removed from any anticipated "lines of drift" of refugees or looters, WTSHTF.) This development might be a viable choice for Californian preppers that are retiring, or that are self-employed, and that don't want to have to move as far as Idaho, Wyoming, or Montana. (The San Francisco Bay Area would be about a seven hour drive.) OBTW, I have no financial interest in this development. My client decided to pass when I mentioned it. ("Not enough trees.") So now I'm free to mention it in the blog.

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SF in Hawaii asks: "Has anyone mentioned a calculator (solar powered) as a survival tool? While basic arithmetic functions can be done with pen and paper by hand (with danger of a miscalculation) and you can learn to master the abacus, log tables and slide rule, a calculator can make life much easier. Need to calculate a trajectory? work out engineering spec on a house or bridge? design a parabolic mirror for cooking? update the accounting of your survival goods (food/ammo etc)? A calculator can sure make life easier."

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As quoted by our friend Bill Bonner at The Daily Reckoning: writing in Fortune magazine, Lester Brown notes that ethanol is not only a waste of money, if taken up widely, it would actually mean starvation for many of the world's poor people. "The grain required to fill a 25-gallon tank (with ethanol) would feed one person for a year," Brown writes.

   o o o

So much for good NAIS news. Premises ID just became mandatory in Pennsylvania. See this post at Also, they made an exception for this in the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), so you don't even know what they are recording about you! If you own livestock, please write to your congressmen now! By the way, if you don't know how to phrase your letter well, has some sample letters. Another site, has a forum and other resources.

"The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." - Frederick Buechner

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Great news! The Vermont NAIS equivalent program has been stopped. Premises registration is no longer mandatory in Vermont. Keep in mind, however, that the National Animal Identification System is still scheduled to become mandatory. Write your congressmen now! There are frequent updates on NAIS at For general background, see our NAIS page.

You mention using CONEX overseas shipping containers as an improvised house. I have been planning on putting two 40' containers parallel to each other, cut some openings between containers (to "open" up some room) and cutting holes for windows/doors-using the cut outs as shutters over the windows/doors. I bought "one way" containers as they are near perfect, not 7-to-9 year olds being sold cheaper-with holes, dents, rust and doors that won't open. Forest fire and theft were my reasons for using all metal outside. Do you or any of your readers have any suggestions before I light the cutting torch to reality? [Your novel] "Patriots" has given me tons of ideas and encouragement that I can prepare. Thanks, - R.E.

Dear Jim:
Recently several of us were having a discussion about the best .308 ammo available these days. I had recently bought some South African mil-spec stuff, but somebody thought that it might be of questionable quality.

1.) What do you think of South African 7.62 ( or any of the mil-spec) as far as quality ammo vs. other brands?

2.) The South African stuff is 147 grain. What grain .308 / 7.62 bullet do you like for your MBR?

Thanks for you response. B'Shem Moshiach Yahshua (In the Name of Messiah Yahshua) - Dr. Sidney Zweibel

P.S.: I loaned out my copy of "Patriots" about four months ago and still have not got it back. It is really making the rounds!!

JWR Replies: My all time favorite military surplus .308 ball ammo was West German ball, which was imported briefly in the early 1980s. It seemed to shoot as well as U.S. match ammunition! Then in the mid to late 1990s, there was a profusion of Portuguese ball. It was also excellent. Unfortunately, it too has dried up. A couple of years back there was a decent quantity of Australian ball on the market. That didn't last long, either. The South African .308 ball is non-corrosively primed and is of good quality. Its accuracy is comparable to U.S.ball ammo. (Lake City or Winchester/USA commercial white box.) It seem to leave a bit more powder fouling, but it is far from "messy" ammo.

Be advised, however, that some of the South African 140 round battle packs have been received from importers with tears or pin holes, and some of the ammo is tarnished. (Some suspect that at least a few lots have been re-packed. So to prevent any further degradation, my advice is to store your battle packs in large ammo cans (big 20 mm cans work great), and just in case, throw in a bag of silica gel desiccant to absorb any residual moisture before you seal the can.

From what I've heard, the ballistic curve for 147 South African grain ball is not significantly different from U.S. ball ammo . (I have not yet done any extensive tests.) Hence, a rifle scope with a "U.S. ball" ballistic compensating cam should work fine with the South African ammo.

Given the current shortage of surplus ammo--at least some calibers-- I recommend stocking up. The South African ball ammo is a good choice, but again, the battle packs should be stored in large ammo cans with desiccant. I've noticed the price of South African ball is starting to creep up. Buy a bunch while it is still cheap and plentiful!

Dear Jim:
Whether you might need or want to lose some weight, I find the logic behind the "General Motors Diet" (which GM reportedly had a nutritionist develop) absolutely fascinating. I think this understanding could have beneficial survival advantages to your readers. It's the HOW and WHY it works which is so interesting, and I'll tell you, it does work. Here are the two versions of it I am aware of:

Version 1 (With meat)

Version 2 (No meat)

Most readers here have probably heard the adage: "Store what you eat and eat what you store." I think we all need to keep in mind a potential shock to our systems if we suddenly start eating dehydrated foods and other things that we are not used to. A survival situation is no time to have a upset stomach, or worse, other related problems shall we say. Try out some of your storage food with your family in advance so you don't have to flush out any problems later. More good advice, along these lines, like picking what kind of beans your family will eat before you buy large quantities, can be found in the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course of which I am an owner and now a follower. - Rourke

Ain't we high tech? I just heard that Mobitech Reader software (works with Bluetooth compatible laptops, Blackberries, PDAs, and even some cell phones) can now display RSS feeds. So you can read SurvivalBlog on the go. (Yes, we have had our own RSS feed for several months.)

OBTW, I am looking into putting some of my writings out as Mobitech/MobiPocket e-books, but I have some reservations about security that will have to be resolved first.

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Darrel Holland mentioned that he still has just a couple of seats open for his next long range shooting school, September 1-4, in Powers, Oregon. This is a GREAT training opportunity!

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I noticed that a gent on The FALFiles is selling a pair of scarce (discontinued) Cherokee AH-100 SSB-capable handheld 11 Meter/CB transceivers.

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Our #1 Son mentioned that has a new post about the (in)security of RFID tags.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it." - Alan Kay

Friday, August 18, 2006

Do you have a blog of your own? We have had our own RSS feed for several months. Please add a SurvivalBlog RSS syndication link or syndication window to your blog site if you think that it would be apropos. Thanks!

It has been almost 20 years since I had a chemistry class, so you may want to check this with a chemist. Wanderer posted the following comment:

"I stopped at the local Big Box lumber yard and they had Calcium Hypochlorite, (a.k.a. Pool Shock) it was concerning as it states 50% Calcium Hypochlorite and 50% Other Ingredients. Making it a 50% available Chlorine.
In common language, … is this adequate? It does not seem to be of the 70% goal you mentioned on your earlier post."

He was referring to the EPA web site comment:

“… since the calcium hypochlorite has an available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight.”

The Wanderer's comment about his purchase making 50% available chlorine is not quite right. Calcium hypochlorite, Ca(ClO)2 will ‘release’ chlorine and oxygen ions when mixed with water. The EPA comment actually means that pure calcium hypochlorite can release enough chlorine ions equal to 70% of the weight of the amount of the compound used. For instance, if 1 ounce of pure calcium hypochlorite is mixed with water, 0.7 ounces of chlorine ions will be released. If the mixture that Wanderer bought is 50% inert, then using one ounce will only release 0.35 ounces of chlorine ions. Also, I am not sure of the density of calcium hypochlorite, but any measurement like this should be sure to differentiate between mass and weight. If the density is close to one, then using a volume measure for ‘ounce’ is probably good enough. If not, then the amount used should probably be measured on reasonably accurate scale (and not a balance). Please check my work if you can.
Thanks, - M.W.

I have found granular calcium hypochlorite at our local Kinetico (water softener) store. They sell a package of two 8 oz bottles distributed by a company called Better Water Ind., Inc. 209 North Tyler Street, Tyler, MN 56178, phone: 507-247-5929. [At their site] click on their "products" link and scroll down to "BWI Certified Chlorine." I notice that they have [packaging ] available from 3.5 pound jars up to 100 pound drums! The product is sold as a well sanitizer pack called "Well Safe" and comes with one 8 oz bottle of granulated chlorine (73% calcium hypochlorite) and one 8 oz bottle of chlorine pellets that are 73% calcium hypochlorinate.- Opus

Good Evening:
I also went to my pool supply store to obtain calcium hypochlorite. They had Poolife brand "TurboShock." It was $14.85 for 5 pounds. Active ingredient:calcium hypochlorite 78% and other ingredients 22%. No one was aware of the substance of the other ingredient. I called the National Poison Control Hotline to find out. They also stated the ingredient was not known but, was a [inert] filler of sorts and not harmful.
I'm satisfied. I could decontaminate my well and everything else [for a long time] with 20 pounds of Turboshock. - Lauralei

Here in the DC area the gasoline supplies are by law blended with (I think) 15% ethanol. I’m familiar with the requirements for storing standard gasoline, but have no idea if the ethanol blend poses any problems for long term storage. Do you have any advice or knowledge that you can share with your readers on this? - Shawnee

JWR Replies: Sorry, but that goes beyond my expertise. Perhaps some of the blog readers would care to comment.

I saw a great motorcycle here in North Idaho that I thought would be of interest to the readers of SurvivalBlog. I spotted a fellow gassing up a motorcycle with a sidecar and I decided to take a quick look. It looked like an excellent restored WW2 era motorcycle, something that conjured up thoughts of Steve McQueen in the movie 'The Great Escape'. I found out though that this bike was in fact brand new, a Russian copy of the German BMW for lots of info. The paint scheme was Camouflage and the [Ural Patrol model's] very handy sidecar's wheel is attached to the drive shaft to facilitate 2WD. The owner stated that the bike is very dependable, loves the dirt roads in the area and averages around 31 m.p.g. This struck me as a very useful mode of transportation if and when the price of fuel climbs even higher. With the sidecar it would make a great grocery-getter or you use your imagination. Seems the technology, now 70 yrs old, was reverse engineered so it is nearly identical to its German counterpart. This might be something worth looking into. Best Regards - Jason in North Idaho

Petromax Lanterns: This gent on The FALFiles is selling the genuine article--originally from German Bundeswehr surplus.

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SurvivalBlog reader J.E. mentioned: "I ran across this link via a productivity site: Free e-textbooks for a myriad of subjects, at Very useful, with of course the standard disclaimer about not depending on electronic documents being accessible in a 'situation'." #1 Son adds: Our readers that have home-schooled kids may find this useful as well.

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Jim K. forwarded this link to a site with some interesting photos of improvised up-armored civilian "contractor" vehicles in Iraq. As the old Doobie Brothers song goes: "Oh Blackwater, keep on rollin'..." I suspect that some of the contractor vehicles in The Big Sandbox also now carry anti-IED jammers. (Commercial off-the-shelf CREW-2 equivalents.) Or if they don't, they should!

"It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required." - Winston Churchill

Thursday, August 17, 2006

If you find that what you read here is worth ten cents a day or more to you, then please become a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber to SurvivalBlog. Subscriptions are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
In answer to your query, let me share a few observations:
1. Gillespie and Kerr Counties are a paradise. The Guadalupe is a good river, and there is a lot of fertile and secluded canyon-bottom where folk can live their lives in peace. Those secluded canyons are frequently bordered by godless rocky outcrops. The other good thing about that part of the world is that the Germans that populate the area don't tolerate lawlessness. Period. Fredericksburg in Gillespie is so German that municipal politics is still Protestant-Catholic. Kerville is little different. New Braunfels is similar, but is too close to the Interstate.
2. Other than the undesirable proximity to San Antonio, Atascosa county is a good pick. Farmland is exceptionally fertile. Most notable crop is Poteet strawberries.
3. McMullen is pretty country, but you're a touch closer to Mexico than you might want. In the period of the Republic, the original border of Texas was the Nueces river. There was something of a no-man's land between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. I'd be a touch sensitive about moving down there.
4. Van Zandt is a touch too close to Dallas. If I were going to East Texas, which is generally the most fertile part of the state, I'd move further south and East toward Palestine and Rusk. Note that the state prison population is concentrated in East Texas, and this may have an adverse impact on social stability. In Texas, the pre-industrial pattern of settlement was entirely water dependent. Generally speaking, I-35 represents a major (inactive) fault-line, the Balcones Fault. There is a dormant volcano in Austin, about 11 miles from I-35 (pilot knob). Each of the major towns (San Antonio, Austin, Waco, Dallas) along I-35 is located at the point of highest navigation, where planes and forests of East Texas break into rockier and more arid ground. Each was the site of Indian encampment prior to white settlement. The buffalo and the Indian followed the fault line for 5,000 years before we got here.
Generally speaking, there is a lot of incredibly fertile farmland (the blackland prairie and the piney woods in East Texas, and, in the West, the usable land is almost entirely within stream beds. The Hill Country West of I-35 from Lampasas to San Antonio has great aquifers. The land is can be really hard and arid if you are far enough west of 35 to be removed from the major centers of population, but, if you get in a good valley, it's beautiful.
If I had to make this decision from the hip, I would recommend counties where you find a lot of German town names in central Texas. There are still people down there that speak a German accent with a trace of English. [JWR Adds: I agree. Those German immigrants had a good eye for water sources and fertile ground.]
Just so you'll know, I abundantly resented of one of your plot choices in "Patriots". Your decision that Texas would be one of the states pacified by the UN Goon Squad is not in touch with the mentality and level of armament of the people of Texas. To put this in perspective for you, I had lunch today with a member of the state legislature who has a 'Secede' bumper sticker on the back of his truck. Otherwise, I thought the book was quite compelling. Keep up the good work. Best Regards, - K.A.D.

I am looking for a non-FFL Mauser type action in 8mm for conversion to .444 Marlin. I desire [something] similar to 1888 Commission rifle or compatible [as a source] for a complete bolt and receiver. I would consider complete rifle, if shootable. Money is no object, if is the object spelled cheap. I am direct and on fixed income yet desire to do this project. - Pete

JWR Replies: For building a pre-1899 bolt action chambered in .444 Marlin your best starting point (read: strong, yet, inexpensive) is a Model 1893 Oberndorf (Turkish contract) Mauser. The same action is suitable for re-barreling to 7 x57 Mauser, 6.5 x 55 Mauser, 8x57 Mauser .257 Roberts, and even .308 Winchester. (Since these actions were all deeply re-heat treated when they were arsenal converted to 8x57 Mauser in the 1930s.) A great source for complete Model 1893 rifles is The Pre-1899 Specialist. (One of our advertisers.) They sell these rifles for $100 less than Sportsman's Guide. Tell them that Jim Rawles sent you.

"No sheep in the house!" In recent weeks we have been pasturing our small flock of Jacob sheep inside the fenced acre right near our house, to work the grass down. (The goal has been to minimize wiildfire danger.) While here at the house, the sheep have been getting into a little mischief. Yesterday our ram developed a taste for the leaves on our grape vines. So I'll have to put up a small protective fence. They've also decided that our front porch is the safest place to sleep. So every morning we get to sweep the "Rasinets" off the porch. Charming. The latest outrage came when someone left the front sun porch door open. Soon, the porch was crowded with sheep, milling around, no doubt searching for the source of their C-O-B sweet feed. So I had to shoo them out with shouts of "No sheep in the house!" And of course they left a few souvenir Rasinets.

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Survival Blog reader R.O. e-mailed this comment: : "I suggest than everyone read (or re-read) Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged." It was required reading while I was in grad school in the 1960s. Da**ed if most of it isn't coming true today.

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Rourke flagged this article: Home Sales Decline in 28 U.S. States and District of Columbia. Rourke noted: "This is just the beginning of a market that will be be flooded with homes for sale, as people can’t afford to refinance at higher rates, or can’t afford the gas for [a] commute."


"The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.
Favorable conditions never come." - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The high bid is now at $75 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a copy "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, ($149 retail.) The course was donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing.

Hello James,
In reading your post on Tuesday May 16th on Water Purification, I have done some looking into this important topic. The link you provided from the EPA web site states below verbatim:
"Granular Calcium Hypochlorite. 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."
I stopped at the local pool supply store to inquire about what they would recommend for drinking water purification. I was brought to everything but Calcium Hypochlorite. I had to ask the employee if he could verify this because it is important that I not get the wrong item. He continued to say “…this is what you want…” I asked another employee that was not privy to my discussion, and she said,…. “…this here is what you want…” Again, not the product I was looking for. In fact out of four employees, I was shown four different products. The female clerk was very inquisitive and very insistent. I told her that I thought it had calcium in it and she became even more awkward. I felt as if I was to be added to some list just for wanting to purify my water. I left there with the wrong product and was asked for my name on the receipt, (I paid cash). I wanted to bring this up as my guess is that there are those who choose to do something “illegal” with this product and it makes it harder for normal law abiding folk like myself to purchase.
I stopped at the local Big Box lumber yard and they had Calcium Hypochlorite, (a.k.a. Pool Shock) it was concerning as it states 50% Calcium Hypochlorite and 50% Other Ingredients. Making it a 50% available Chlorine.
In common language, … is this adequate? It does not seem to be of the 70% goal you mentioned on your earlier post. I think there is an equation that we need that is missing. The EPA site states there is an available 70% chlorine based on weight. Is this to be constructed as true for ALL Calcium Hypochlorite being equal to this ratio? What about the 50% OTHER INGREDIENTS? To make things more confusing, they offered another brand of this that had 47% Calcium Hypochlorite.
Please help close the gap on this topic as it is such an important one. - The Wanderer

JWR Replies: The problem with most retail store employees these is that they are marginally qualified to run a cash register, but little else. To most of them pool water chemistry is an arcane art--not rational science. Don't ask them chemistry questions!

A granular (dry powder) "pool shock" product that lists only Calcium Hypochlorite as the active ingredient should be safe to use for water purification. The problem with other varieties is that they include other algaecide or fungicide chemicals that are probably not safe for human consumption. Ditto for using liquid bleach for the same purpose.ou want to buy Calcium Hypochlorite bleach. Do NOT buy bleach with fabric softeners, scents, et cetera. Keep in mind that bleach solutions break down and weaken with time (anticipate a 24 month shelf life), but that dry granular bleach stores indefinitely.

Re: > What about the 50% OTHER INGREDIENTS?

Those are most likely inert filler. But that may differ widely, depending on maker/brand. You'll have to look at the label carefully. Be certain that there are no other chemicals, dyes, scents, et cetera before using any chlorine product for water purification!

I have read your blog as well as your book "Patriots" for a long time now, along with other web sites and articles. I find great information, some of which I must print out and save. I started an accordion folder with printouts, sorted by type, such, shelter, skills, firepower, etc. Can't leave these on a computer since retrieval without electricity would be impossible.
I believe the more probable catastrophe will be an economic one, possibly related to terrorist activities and have planned accordingly. I have my small retreat, eight acres in the North Georgia mountains, four acres in woods, the rest in farmable pasture land.One half acre in garden and fruit now, and another acre available prepared with little effort. I have a strong year round creek on one property line and a shallow well that gives plenty of water. I figure that if times get truly bad I can expect family nearby (as many as 15) to want to come stay with me. I cannot refuse them and am planning accordingly. I have drafted letters and e-mails to be sent last minute telling them what to expect. I tell them if they plan to come to proceed in the following manner:

1- Acquire all available cash, (savings, checking, stashed, mad money, etc)
2- Fill up one vehicle with gas. (Purchase, empty other car, lawnmower, etc)
3-Refill as much prescription drugs as they can afford, even using credit cards. Don't worry about insurance, just pay the price.
4- Leaving just enough room for people, pack the car in this order of value:
a-Non perishable foods, spices, etc.
b-Medicines and medical devices
c-Arms and ammo, knives, axes, maintenance items,
d-Clothes, heavy duty everyday wearable, don't forget out
of season clothes
e- Cooking and preserving items, dishes, pots, supplies
f-Any fuels and oils, kerosene, motor oil, charcoal. propane
g-Tools, battery operated items (radios)
h- Mattress (not box springs), linens, towels, etc.
i-Personal items, brushes, books, razor,
5- Have some means of communication, cell phone, C.B. or walkie-talkie for on the road.
Bottom line is: DON'T ARRIVE EMPTY HANDED. They won't be turned away, but let them know something is expected.

I have rated each person as to capability to work and defend the homestead and expect each to do a fair share of any duty assigned. Some will be able to guard homestead, some would be of little use in that capacity, at least at first. Proper motivation and training can happen along the way.

One item that I have thought of that may not occur to others preparing is [purchasing a pair of ] magnetic [vehicle door] signs. I have several of these made up for my vehicle. One says simply--- SOIL SURVEY. I have put this on the side of my truck while out scouting and placing caches and no one questions me walking about with notepad or digging tool. Best not to be seen, but sometimes hiding in plain sight is a good alternative. Other signs could include:


None of these are meant to infer any government or official capacity and if questioned, I intend to state that I am an independent contractor.The proper wording might even come in handy in a bug-out situation getting past a rookie roadblock operation.
Good luck and continued success with your endeavors. - PeacePipe in North Georgia

JWR Replies: Needless to say, folks, but never attempt to impersonate a government agent. The "private contractor" idea might work, especially if it is backed up with some business cards with your name the same job title. But honesty is the best policy. If your retreat is across state lines, then get your next driver's license and vehicle registration in the state where you have your retreat property. There is no more compelling story--especially if it is substantiated by a state-issued driver's license--than a truthful one: that you just want to get home. When the Schumer hits the fan, you will be referring to your second home--that you will doubtless want to make your full time residence.

I recently heard the following sad tale from a reader: "My retreat property in Oregon burned to the ground last year. I had a friend call and tell me he saw [footage of] my chimney on Fox News. Fortunately, I didn't have much [stored] in the house, and my four forty-foot (CONEX) storage trailers came throughout without a scratch, praise God. Regarding our planned rebuilding, we anticipate purchasing a manufactured house, which has concrete board siding and a fiberglass composition tile roof, which is fairly fireproof, but not able to stop anything with any velocity. We anticipate going underground for the disappearance mode, as this location already has an 8'x8'x20' concrete "root cellar" that the previous owner had built."

By coincidence, the same day another SurvivalBlog reader mentioned a link that he saw in the latest Progressive Farmer magazine for They even make metal faux slates and metal faux shakes. My advice: If you have a shake or other combustible roof, replace it with a relatively fireproof roof!

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A reminder that Ready Made Resources is brokering the sale of a very hard to find upgraded P-10 self-contained underground NBC shelter.They are selling it on behalf of an acquaintance. When sold new, these shelters sell for $100,000 with all of the options included in this one, such as the 1,000 gallon water tank and Level 4 protective entry door. (Cutting torch and .308 bullet proof!) These very rarely come up for sale in used condition, so don't miss this chance to buy one for only one-fourth of what it would cost to buy one new. It is being sold "on site", so you would have to pay for hauling. (About $4,000 to the Midwest, or $6,000 to the West Coast.) Please mention that you saw it on SurvivalBlog for a nifty bonus.

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Reader SH mentioned this article from Field and Stream magazine about assembling do-it-yourself outdoor survival kits.

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By way of The Claire Files, comes a link to this Reuters wire article: Containers pile up as imports from China soar. I guess the only good news is that this glut has pushed the price of surplus CONEX containers dow. They have lots of uses around a retreat. I've seen them used as storage sheds, improvised houses, hay barns, wood sheds, and as underground blast shelters (at least in locales with well drained soil.)


"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The bidding in the the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a copy "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, ($149 retail) is currently bid at just $20. The course was donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on September 15th

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Regarding your mention of Swiss mountain bunkers on August 1st, you might be interested to know that the Swiss photographer Christian Schwager published a book on camouflaged Swiss bunkers, and also had several exhibits including one in Zurich at the Swiss Museum of Design (Museum fuer Gestaltung). A lot of bunkers were nearer to the northern borders, so there was also a lot of urban camouflage. Since the bunker designs were [tailored] due to individual units, there is a lot of variation and a range of folk artistry (so to speak). Some photos were of high valleys with half a dozen farm buildings along a road, half of which were camouflaged bunkers and basically impossible to detect. Concrete walls up to a meter or more thick meant that the interior space in smaller bunkers was just about enough for the gun and little else. Some of these bunkers have been sold into private hands, so that is a level of security (if not comfort) that would be impossible to attain on a private budget.
A lot of Swiss regard their mandatory bomb shelters as good wine cellars, there are increasing moves towards gun control, and there is pressure to join the larger EU community - but underneath it all I think that the militia army and spirit of independence continue to maintain Swiss traditions. Just like in the US, there is a split between the large (for Switzerland) cities and the countryside (e.g. the mountain cantons), and the immigration of troublesome minorities is very much an issue. The difference is much stricter government control of immigration (i.e. identity documents required to work or obtain residence), and a policy of integration. Still, a country where citizens in uniform or plainclothes can carry a (real) assault rifle down the train platform without causing a panic is refreshing.
Appreciate your site and all the information you provide, Best Regards, - W.S.

Could you maybe put the word out as to where to find a good reasonably priced solar panel for charging Ni-MH batteries? Thanks. - Gung Ho

JWR Replies: I recommend Ready Made Resources for solar battery chargers, although there are several other Internet vendors that sell comparable products. But I can vouch for RMR's reliability and customer service. If you are on a budget RMR's compact Universal Solar Charger at under $28 is the way to go. But this model charges just two batteries at a time. If you have a bigger budget, any of the Global Solar brand flexible amorphous panels (available in a variety of sizes between 12 and 55 watt output) would be a good choice. For continuous duty and outdoor installations, I would recommend only Monocrystalline panels, but an amorphous panel hung up in a sunny house window or spread out on a car dashboard will give you many years of service for typical battery charging use.

Jim and Memsahib:
I talked with a fellow on 6 meters FM yesterday. He is a military radio collector. I wish that you could have heard this conversation. He collects everything, and has about every military radio. He said that he stopped buying more a few years ago because the prices got too high. After 9-11 prices skyrocketed. He also said the AN/PRC-77 is one of the radios to stay away from. The blow out their finals too easily. The older AN/PRC-25 is much better. Also that the new AN/PRC-168 are superior [in reliability to the AN/PRC-77.] Also, he said to look at the SEM-35. This is the German equivalent of our PRC-25 but made a bit better. Also, he said the government is now purposely pulling parts out of the AN/PRC-75s and AN/PRC-77s before selling them as surplus that they so they won't work.

OBTW, I went to the ham radio flea market at De Anza [College, in Northern California] on Saturday. I saw a AN/PRC-25. Way cool! It will work from 30Mhz to 70Mhz. I love the controls; very
positive. The guy wanted $350, with two Ni-Cd battery packs. - Fred The Valmet-meister

The White House warns: a weak strain of Asian Avian Flu may already be in the U.S.

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SurvivalBlog reader MP dropped me a line and mentioned that Orson Scott Card, the author of the military sci-fi classic "Ender's Game," has posted the first five chapters for his newest book, "Empire." From the description on Card's web page: "The American Empire has grown too fast, and the fault lines at home are stressed to the breaking point. The war of words between Right and Left has collapsed into a shooting war, though most people just want to be left alone. The battle rages between the high-technology weapons on one side and militia foot soldiers on the other, devastating the cities and overrunning the countryside."

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Money and Markets reports: Major Condo Development Company Predicts Collapse

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E-mail me your favorite quotes, and I'll post them.

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." - Beverly Sills

Monday, August 14, 2006

Today we present an article for Round 6 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win a valuable four day "gray" transferable Front Sight course certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, (normally $149) generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If you want a chance to win Round 6, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 6 will end on September 30th. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

In 1976 Ronald Reagan said "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I'm from the government and I'm here to help.”"

Why do so many of us agree with these words?
Is our innate distrust of an organization that's takes our hard earned money and uses it to restrict our rights and freedoms because "we need to be protected from ourselves"? Is it that we have seen how government agencies perform in major disasters like hurricane Katrina and we fear that we would receive the same treatment in a SHTF scenario? Or is it that the government has the power and resources to make us do what they want (or at least they think they do)?

Many of us have prepared for our own and our families survival in the event of man made or natural disasters. If we can agree that we don't want the government and their "helping" agencies taking control of our lives, possessions and freedoms when TSHTF, what can we do to prevent it? Jim Rawles has said on many occasions that we can vote with our feet and leave states or countries whose political leanings don't match our own. On Election Day we have been casting our paper vote but that doesn't seem to be working too well so what other options do we have?

To paraphrase Sun Tzu, you need to know your enemy and the best way to do that is from within his ranks.

Before you switch off, consider this: Who is more likely to be escorted to a refugee camp when stopped at a check point? a) a family in a 4x4 with cartons of food, guns, ammo, medicals supplies and civilian ID or b) a family in a 4x4 with red/blue beacons on the dash board, a Civil Defence/Fire Department/Sheriff Deputy/Search and Rescue/Crisis Management sticker on the doors and a matching ID card. If you act like you are supposed to be there and appear know what you are talking about you will probably be able to get through unmolested.

Being part of the government doesn't necessarily mean being a governor, senator or even a full time employee. Jobs that might suit include:
Armed forces reserves
Emergency services (police, fire, and ambulance)
Local government (mayor, town council member)
Crisis Management teams
Search and Rescue

However: consider that you must be able to leave for your retreat without the additional problem of being recorded as a deserter. If you bugged out and it subsequently turned out to be a false alarm or the disaster ended, you don't want "DESERTER" attached to your permanent record.

Benefits of working for the government include:
Job security
Good pay (or at least regular pay)
Free training (medical, rescue, risk management, emergency planning etc)
Access to various equipment & supplies
Networking with other agencies and government employees (knowing the local Sheriff and deputies by name can't hurt)
More access to restricted areas (using lights & sirens when bugging out or even familiarization with areas the general populace aren't aware of)
More likely to be left alone (attitude, knowledge and an ID to back it up can be a big advantage)
More information (emergency plans, strategies...maybe help develop them to create protected routes for yourself)

Besides these benefits you could corrupt the government by actually helping your fellow citizens. Many of the events we are preparing for are not necessarily instant TEOTWAWKI events and society is unlikely to crash over night. You can work from within the system to maximize freedoms and information sharing until it gets too bad and as a bonus you can be fairly sure that government employees will be paid for longer than private employees (even if the money becomes worthless.) If enough people with a survival mentality are in government jobs they will have the resources to guide the population into that way of thinking, for example, if a local council had five members who were survival oriented, there could conceivably be stores of water, food and medical supplies created instead of new statues; local tax incentives for home solar power and water; Appleseed shooting programs at the local gun club and many more programs that would help the community as a whole while leaving you and your family safer and better prepared.

A final word from Sun Tzu: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."


There's an excellent, very recent Peak Oil multi-part podcast at the Australian ABC site listed below. I found it informative, and also a good way to brake the news to my wife. She's a type A personality that works ALL the time, but she doesn't particularly keep up with world events. (Yes, it's my fault. I should've brought her into the fold long ago.) It brought her to tears. Now I feel bad because I didn't expect that...but, it had to be done. Since she's a survivor, and smarter than I am, it'll be good to have her help in future events! is a great web site too; thank you for all the information there. Regards, - C.M.


Very nice job on the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course! I am enjoying it thoroughly. I feel as you do about Fluoride in toothpaste. It is extremely toxic. I believe a bottle of it ingested will send you to the hospital and possibly cause death. I found a better way; I put some baking soda on a moist tooth brush, and then pour a dab of food grade 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide on it. Makes for a great cleaning! A word of caution though. The hydrogen peroxide you buy in the drug store has nasty stabilizers in it. I get food grade which comes at 36 percent strength rather than the 3.5 percent at the drug store, and then dilute it to the proper 3.5 percent strength. It is very important that family members don't mistake this concentrated bottle for the drug store variety as it will burn skin! Be cautious when performing the dilution. Also, when diluting it the water should be filtered so there is no chlorine in it. Additionally, do not freeze it with thoughts of greater preservation since the hydrogen and oxygen will separate. Store with the caps somewhat loose due to gradual expansion of gas, but keep the bottle in a plastic bag, in a dark cool place. Like anything in life, handling food grade hydrogen peroxide requires personal responsibility. I urge folk to do their own responsible research on this and not accept my view "as gospel". Also, as you research you will find there are also other great uses for hydrogen peroxide which Big Pharma would find to be a risk to their profitability. - B.F.

SurvivalBlog reader Alfie Omega mentioned this news story: Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point. The story begins: "The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years. Rising population, water shortages, climate change, and the growing costs of fossil fuel-based fertilizers point to a calamitous shortfall in the world's grain supplies in the near future, according to Canada's National Farmers Union (NFU)."

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Four interesting pieces of economic analysis/commentary have recently been posted at The Calm Before the Storm, by Aubie Baltin, Money and Power Lining Up at The Gold & Base Metal Window, by Ken Gerbino, The Dollar's Survival Depends On Higher Interest Rate Policy, by Jay Taylor, and The Trend is Your Friend? Hardly, by Randolph Buss. Methinks the economic worm is about to turn. Be prepared. Invest in tangibles. Avoid debt. Pray hard.

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I just started reading a very interesting book on U.S. political demographics, titled "The Great Divide: Retro Versus Metro America", by John Sperling. (2004, PoliPoint Press.) It studies the whole "red state/blue state" divide, in detail. (Economics, religion, gender, ethnic diversity, union membership, environmental issues, et cetera.) The book comes with a nifty CD-ROM. It is written from a liberal/progressive perspective, so I must admit that I am enjoying the raw data and at the maps more than I am the commentary. Parenthetically, a lot of what I'm seeing in the book's data and maps squares nicely with my research for my upcoming "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation" non-fiction book. Sperling's collected demographic data supports my selections for retreat locales.


"A joke not worth explaining is not worth telling." - #2 Son

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hello Jim,

My family and I are fortunate enough to live in a sparsely populated area of the Rocky Mountain West. Seems we are always being "discovered" by someone who wants to move here and get away from it all. Some even sell their homes and set up residences here, but more often than not, they last about 2 years and the "for sale" sign is back up again.

Seems to me that the old adage is true... a Leopard cannot change its spots. You can't take a fellow from the suburbs... drop them in the middle of a Prickly Pear patch and expect them to thrive. Momma starts missing the malls... the kiddies whine that there's nothing to do. Dad is tired of driving 150 miles (each way) to the nearest big box store.

Couple years ago, a family from California moved in down the road. First thing they did was to install a "security light". I did the neighborly thing, I introduced myself and asked them if they'd mind killing that light. They were flabbergasted. "We need that for security!" was their answer. I observed that "If a man is afraid of the dark, then he ought to stay in the city." Eventually, the light went out and we all can enjoy nature again.

Most folks think they'll be just fine without all the conveniences they left behind. But give them a year or so of living with no doctors, grocery stores or night life within 50 miles and reality sets in... especially when gas hits five bucks a gallon.

The climate here seems to be getting hotter and drier. This year, the prairie never turned green in the spring... it just went from winter brown to late summer brown. The days are hotter and the moisture comes more and more infrequently. The silver lining to that of course, is that the pilgrims will find even fewer reasons to migrate here. - Dutch in Wyoming

I just came from a Costco in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. I spotted an interesting item on the end cap near the bread isle, 275 servings of individual food packs in a white plastic bucket. 20 year shelf life. Just boil in water for 20 minute. It has the same packaging that you'd expect from a vendor like Ready Made Resources. This from a food packaging company out of Orem, Utah. The price for 275 servings is $109.99. It is labeled 'Survival Food', item #104893 so you may want to inquire at your Costco.

In each bucket there are 55 individual 5 serving packs--sort of misleading when on the bucket it says 275 servings but each pack is for one day. Here are the specifications and ingredients:
premixed, seasoned
vitamin, mineral fortified
100% vegetarian--(except whey milk and pancakes)soy used in lieu of meat
Barley Vegetable
Blueberry pancakes
Ala King
Country Noodle
Corn Chowder
Rice Lentil
Western Stew
Whey Milk

The weight of the bucket is 25 lb., 2 oz. It looks really well put together. - Jason in Idaho

JWR Replies: The quality of the product is not in question, but Costco's marketing is. A bit of Internet research revealed that this product is currently the target of a class action lawsuit. (Scroll down to Page 5 of the suit papers for details.) The product is advertised as a "3 month food supply for one person." The problem is that if you do the math, it works out to just 455 calories per day! With 2,000 calories as a scant daily minimum per the USDA, they are overstating the period of supply period by a factor of nearly five times. (The LDS Church's informative website contains a suggested food list that provides 2,800 calories per day.) I'm not saying that it is a bad product. Just figure that you will need five times as much as Costco advertises. OBTW, because of this lawsuit, I wouldn't be surprised if the product is dropped by Costco. In case it is, here is the contact info for the food packing company: Food for Health International Phone: 801-765-4663 (In Utah, naturlich, where the majority of the long term storage food canners in the country are located.) Perhaps folks might want to stock up.

Some might conclude that Attorney Pope may just be aiming a suit at "deep pockets." I'll withhold any judgment or editorializing about this, only to say that all that I would have done was to write Costco a polite letter and asked them to re-state their marketing claims and re-label their packaging.

I have read recently on other shooting boards how some guys have stopped by their local Wal-Mart in the US and found selected lots of slow moving ammo with special red sale tags on them in the sporting goods section at reduced prices. I don't know if this is in the wake of Wal-Mart's move to clear most or all of its stores in the future of firearms and ammunition, but there are some good prices on some rifle, pistol and shotgun ammo, different calibers and gauges, apparently at each store.
I know that in a crisis situation, you should have only common calibers, but for those out there who hang on to their Weatherby, Winchester Short Magnum (WSM), Winchester Super Short Magnum (WSSM), and Remington Ultra Magnum (RUM) caliber rifles. For example, $7 a box for Remington brand .300 Weatherby magnums, or $9/box for 7mm Remington Magnum is hard to beat. I checked out our local Wal-Mart that cleared itself of firearms last March and bought several five packs of 20ga. slugs for my wife's farm shotgun for $1 a box.
This is just a note for blog readers to check out their local Wal-Mart (only Wal-Mart) stores in the sporting goods section for the red tag only sale ammo that is periodically cleared. You might find something that will help your ammo stocks or possibly to have on hand to make the sale of an oddball caliber rifle go easier.

After visits to a half dozen stores in our area the general story is that the red tagged ammo, the calibers or gauges that vary from store to store, many at bargain prices, are slow movers for walmart and that most sale items are being discontinued by that particular ammo company. Though some of the stores I visited are slated to lose their firearms, the salespeople said that ammo would still be available, but in reduced choices -not a bad thing. That being said, it seems the best bargain to be had in ammo would be in the rifle calibers - but I was able to snap up 750 rds. of 40S&W ball ammo for .07 cents a round including taxes, which is cheaper than I can buy the brass and bullet for new - go figure. I would advise your blog readers to check out their local Wal-Marts and keep and eye on their clearance ammo for specialty hunting loads. It seems that specialty 20guage loads are also being discontinued (slugs, buckshot). These items would not stock your retreat completely, but might offer opportunities in the future for barter or charity, if not practice shooting sessions for the family. - Regards, Redclay

SurvivalBlog reader S.H. pointed us to a web site that describes an interesting house with an extensive 45 foot deep fallout shelter, currently for sale in Blaine, Washington.

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Cathy Buckle in Zimbabwe reports on the ongoing currency exchange. (Due to the hyperinflation, they are issuing new bills, sans three zeroes.) This one is a must read!

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The Whiskey and Gunpowder e-newsletter mentions: "Lenders see a 10-20% tumble in home prices Yes, you heard right: A 10-20% loss nationwide, according to a poll of American mortgage lenders. And much bigger losses in the hottest markets. How big? In the last housing bust about 15 years ago, prices in the hot Pacific and New England markets tumbled 25-30%. And that bubble was nothing compared with this one..."

"He who dares not offend cannot be honest:" - Thomas Paine

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We are pleased to welcome our latest advertiser, Holland's of Oregon. I have known and done business with Darryl Holland for more than 15 years. As I've previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, we have Holland muzzle brakes on five of our rifles here at the Rawles Ranch. We also have Holland brand nylon cheek rest stock pouches on seven of our rifles. Not only does Darryl make some of the best custom precision rifles and rifle muzzle brakes on the market, but he also teaches perhaps the best long range shooting school in the country. Whether you are a big game hunter, a police SWAT team member, a military designated marksman, or a survivalist in my opinion there is no better long range rifle training available. By taking a course at Holland's you can become the rifle shot that you've always wanted to be. The goal of Darryl's intensive four day courses is to train shooters to be able to confidently, competently, and consistently engage targets with a scoped rifle out to 800 yards, even in windy weather. Darryl and his staff of of skilled instructors teach the use of Mil-radian and MOA correction. Students shoot to ranges of up to 875 yards. Topics covered include: camouflage and concealment, stalking techniques, equipment selection, ballistics, range estimation and corrections, wind speed/direction estimation and corrections, angle (uphill/downhill) estimation and corrections, rifle and optics maintenance, as well as marksmanship principles and their application. Course enrollment is strictly limited. Call (541) 439-5155 to reserve a slot in an upcoming course. The next course runs from September 1st through 4th, in Powers, Oregon. Even if you don't have the opportunity to attend one of the Holland shooting schools, please visit their web site and check out their products, gunsmithing services, and educational DVDs. (For example, in my opinion Darryl's DVD on long range shooting techniques is an absolute "must have.")

Dear Jim:
Glad you are open to suggestions from those of us East of the Mississippi. For those who are unfamiliar, a great starting point of identifying the places to be and not to be in your state is the work of Bruce Beach and, as recently noted of SurvivalBlog, be sure to see some more recent maps by the folks at SurvivalRing and then consider wind patterns in your area, and the jet stream. Just remember to consider: major military targets, state or federal government centers, nuclear power plants, large power plants and electric generating dams, or any key parts of the electrical grid, and large population and industrial centers. After considering targets for nuclear attack or terrorism, you must then identify the natural threats to that local area – floods from rivers, flash flood, dam breaking, hurricane, tornado, earth quake, volcanoes and volcanic fall out (Yellowstone), tsunami, avalanche, mud slide, cave in/sink hole, forest fire, brush fire, whatever. Take Wisconsin for instance, the two best areas to be generally are probably the extreme Southwest corner of the state and extreme Northeast corner. In the Southeast corner, besides tornadoes, one must be concerned of the Mississippi or Wisconsin Rivers backup up/overflowing beyond the 100 year flood plains, thus you do not want to be down low in the valleys. In the Northeast – it is far more forested, so forest fires would be a concern. There are many other spots in the state that are good also, you just need to think through the good and bad points for each.- Rourke



Some views from a UK perspective: A few years ago I and my family used to live on the outskirts of London. Being aware of the need to be out and away from London and other major cities we looked at what other parts of the UK had to offer.
We considered the low population areas like Scotland but decided against this as among other things it has a relatively short growing season and winters can be harsh.
I asked a colleague of mine what he thought of South West England where he lived. This is his reply.
This area usually conjures up images of quaint seaside towns & picture postcard villages and this image has helped to establish the area as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the United Kingdom. I have left out Cornwall on purpose as I believe that if you are looking for a retreat and going to move you may as well consider all problems including things like tsunami and even nuclear power stations that may be in the area you are looking at.
The purpose of this article is to establish the area credentials as a survivalists retreat or permanent location.
While the area is a popular holiday destination, most of the visitors tend to be concentrated in certain areas; away from these “holiday hotspots” there are some very suitable properties, in equally suitable terrain.
The following sections detail reasons for the areas suitability:
The West country ‘s climate is well known for being mild, our winters are not particularly cold and the growing season starts early (the first daffodils & strawberries, produced in the UK, that go on sale, are grown here). You can sometimes even to get in two seasons.
Palm trees growing in gardens is a common sight and with the advent of global warming the marine life is beginning to change, with some Mediterranean species now being encountered off our coastline.
The weather can be very wet at times, the winter is now bringing flooding to some of our rivers quite regularly and this must be remembered when choosing a location. On a positive note, this also keeps our reservoirs full.
European policies have caused a great deal of hardship for the West Country’s farming communities, but still they fight on. The soil that they work is very fertile and produces good volumes of crops and will support good livestock.
We do not have the “industrial farming” landscape, instead we have small farms with small field systems, and lots of them. This means we also have a high concentration of expertise in the more traditional methods of land management.
The proportion of useable agricultural land is fairly high, town sizes are not large in comparison with many other areas and the high moorland areas are not that big, so this leaves a good amount of workable farmland.
Density of population is not that high and compares well with the many areas in the north of the country, but does not have the large amounts of inhospitable mountain/moorland, where the population are concentrated in the lowlands and has a limited amount of useable farmland.
Devon and Somerset have very few “new towns”, the cities and larger towns are expanding, but not massively.
Move away from the larger towns and you will find a lot of small towns, villages and hamlets, tucked away in the network of tiny lanes. Most of these are small, self-reliant communities.
The actual properties are old and have “cobb” built walls. This is a traditional local method of constructing walls, using local stone, clay and straw, often resulting in walls three or four feet thick! This method of building definitely stands the test of time, as four & five hundred-year-old cottages are common place.
Most of these houses are built around a couple of fireplaces, some have wood burning stoves and /or “rayburn” type heating systems.
As most of the villages are old, wells or springs can be found in most of them, which is useful if the mains system fails.
The villages also seem to have a strong community spirit and newcomers seem to fit in quite quickly.
The inhabitants seem to have a wide range of skills, I think in a time of need most would cope well as the trades and experience seems quite broad.
Another advantage of these small communities is Security; outsiders “stand out”.
The area has more miles of roads than any other in Britain, but few of these are major roads. The major roads link the major towns and are the most used. If you choose your location carefully, it is quite easy to find towns and villages that few people “pass through” on their way to somewhere else. Many of the small lanes have grass growing down the middle which shows how little they are used. Many are also enclose by high banking and hedges, similar to Normandy. If read about the D Day landings you will see that in the initial stages the allies were bogged down because of these high bank hedges. This could be a boon to your security in time of need.
The massive network of lanes also means that even if all the major routes are at a “standstill”, in a crisis, you could still move about relatively easily by vehicle.
Recent government statistics show we have the lowest incidence of crime in the country. Like everywhere, it is increasing, but slowly.
Any major “invasion” will come from only one direction – EAST. We are bounded to the North & South by the sea and to the West by Cornwall.
Every year in Devon and Somerset we rehearse the scenario of a large number of displaced persons flooding into the county, clogging all major roads and putting a massive strain on the counties resources, it’s called:
All joking aside, the area is used to these changes in population, but in reality I think many would only make it as far as Dorset or East Somerset before their fuel runs out and petrol stations will have no fuel to sell, so many will try to settle there. In saying that I do realise that you can get from London to the far west of Cornwall on one tank of fuel but I think in the survival situation this would be unlikely. Those who do make it into Devon will head for the places they know, the “holiday hotspots” and these will probably be Exmoor and the southern coast. Areas away from these and not on a road “to anywhere” are relatively unknown and should not face invasion by the desperate and unprepared.
So “what if”. Well if it all goes pear shaped on a national scale, this part of the country seems fairly self-sufficient. The cities and large towns may well have problems with civil unrest, but I think many will find security in staying put at first before moving out into the surrounding countryside. Some of the more informed may well “head for the hills”, and possibly become victims of their climate and baroness.
I’m sure the Government has contingency plans for large-scale civil unrest and no doubt the military will play a major part in controlling the population if events dictate.
This is an important consideration, as the Government will want people to “stay put” and not congest the road networks.
The West Country has a fairly large military presence, which may help in the control of large movements of refugees; those who remain in their communities will pose no threat and as said above the massive network of lanes means that even if all the major routes are at a “standstill”, in a crisis, you could still move about relatively easily by vehicle.
My personal opinion is that this part of the country has a lot going for it and if you choose your location carefully you could well ride out most storms in relative comfort. The quality of life is pretty good too. Devon and Somerset are definitely worth looking at as a long- term survival location, an area of particular interest is:

The Blackdown Hills
The Blackdown Hills are a little-known group of hills lying on the border of Devon and Somerset. Broadly, the area extends from Wellington in the north to Honiton in the south and from Cullompton in the west to Chard in the east.
The Blackdown Hills are best known for the dramatic, steep, wooded scarp face they present to the north. To the south the land dips away gently as a plateau, deeply dissected by valleys. On top of the plateau there are wide open windswept spaces; in the valleys nestle villages and hamlets surrounded by ancient and intricate patterns of small enclosed fields and a maze of winding high-hedged lanes.
The isolated villages and springline farmsteads retain a quiet rustic charm and, using local building material - chertstone, cob and thatch - many of the buildings are of considerable architectural merit with great appeal in their mix of styles. A number of important archaeological sites add richness to the landscape, from high wooded promontories such as the great earthworks of Iron Age Hembury Fort to the recently discovered evidence of Roman iron smelting.
Above all, however, what makes the Blackdown Hills special is the unspoilt rural character of the ‘ordinary’ landscape. Farming, largely dairying, has retained many traditional practices. The area remains sparsely populated and there are no towns within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It is nice to see that SurvivalBlog is gaining ever wider readership. The latest hit map shows readers in North Africa, of all places.

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I recently mentioned canes and walking sticks for self defense. This product looks very well made.

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A reminder that the special Cast Iron Cookware and Soap Combo Pack Offer from PromisedLand Products (Mentioned on July 20th) ends on August 15th. To place your order, send a $300 Postal Money Order with the notation "SurvivalBlog Combo Pack" to:
Promised Land Products
382 Adams Lane
Dillon, Montana 59725
Phone: (406) 834-3611


"To be, or not to be, that is the question.
To be and the effort to continue to be, that is survivalism." - Rourke

Friday, August 11, 2006

Today is the LAST DAY that you can take advantage of the special sale price for the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. The 210+ page course with supplementary audio CD, is being offered at a very special price. If sending payment via mail, be sure to have your order postmarked no later than August 11th to get the special blog anniversary sale price.


Just a note on the popular two-way handheld radios sold in many big box and sporting goods stores in the US. I have been trying to standardize my rechargeable batteries for these little handhelds to the ubiquitous AAs since my scanners and many of our other small lights and some gear run on them. I have four older Motorolas from 3-to-5 years ago for our use around the farm and when traveling with more than one vehicle for any distance.
First, I noticed that there has been a gradual switch for these FRS/GMRS radios that once took AAs you had to purchase separately to radios sold with special rechargeable battery packs and desk chargers for them. This seems a good idea on the surface, but what happens when the issued charge pack reaches the end of its life or is faulty?.....I think you said something about this one time on a post, but I don't recall where or when. Also, when I could find some handhelds by other companies (Audiovox, Uniden, etc.) that use individual
rechargeable batteries, they were all AAA size, which I don't use around our farm.
Should I just keep looking for AA battery handhelds or try to get my old ones repaired? Or perhaps I should start stocking AAA rechargeables? Thanks for any perspective you might give me on this. Regards, - Redclay

JWR Replies: It is a sad sign of the times that manufacturers now intentionally de-standardize batteries, so that they can develop captive markets for their proprietary spares. Eli Whitney is sure rolling in his grave. If nothing else, it makes it more logistically challenging for those of us that are actively preparing for a time of disrupted commerce and infrastructure.

As to puncture-proofing ATV tires, cycle or cart tires, check out Individual cell bladders fill the tire in lieu of a single tube (or tire/wheel seal). These are the hot stuff with the off-road racing crowd, and they pound the **** out of their rigs more in a single race than any sane individual will in two lifetimes!

One other thought on tires for push-pull carts...knobby all-terrain tread patterns may look cool, but unless those tires are being powered, you'll be happier with a much shallower tread pattern. In fact, only enough tread to keep the wheel turning instead of sliding is the goal. Why? Traction = friction, and friction = increased work! It's like dragging a cart up the hill with the brakes on. Just a thought. Keep the faith, - Bonehead

Dear Jim,
Having considerably less sense than most, I'll wade into the discussion. More blood has been spilled over the "Glock vs. 1911" argument than practically any other firearms topic. (Possible exceptions include the Revolver vs. Autopistol Great Debate of the 1970s, the 9mm vs. .45 Screamfest of the early '80s, the .40 S&W vs. Everything Else Howl-O-Rama of the '90s and eruptions of 10mm, .357 SIG and .45 GAP Mania. I'm sure avid readers of the "gun comics" can speak to other examples.)
FWIW, here are my opinions on Glocks, having owned five and having shot thousands of rounds through each.
1) Reliable as a dinner fork. You pick it up, it works. Period. Glocks will tolerate dirt, mud, damage, abuse and neglect better than any handgun, with the possible exception of a Single Action Army.
2) Durable. Your readers are quite correct in their views that Glocks are durable to an almost pathological degree. Aside from the (ecch!) plastic sights, they simply don't wear out. Ever.
3) Simple to operate. The "Safe-Action" is simplicity itself. You press the trigger, the firing pin strikes. End of story.
4) Lightweight. Most Glocks will rival and exceed far less durable alloy-frame pistols in weight and "carryability."
5) Accurate. Glocks tend to be "match accurate" without modification out-of-the-box and after untold thousands of rounds.
1) The ka-Boom! phenomenon. Occasionally, Glocks go "boom" instead of "bang." (Other pistols can, too. The problem is, however, seemingly more common with Glocks.)
2) Questionable suitability for hand loads/substandard ammunition. This is a major concern for use in a "survival" situation. You may have thousands of rounds of fresh, clean (and expensive) factory ammo stored now, but you may end up with scroungy reloads with cast wheel weight bullets someday. I submit you chamber these in your Glock at much greater peril than other designs. So does the manufacturer.
3) Grip/frame dimensions. Most Glocks have grip dimensions that are unsuited for shooters with small hands. And, Glock proponents notwithstanding, their wide slides and magazines make them more difficult to conceal than functionally-comparable designs such as a Colt Commander.
4) Lack of a positive safety. Glocks are carried in "Condition Zero." The only insurance against an accidental (not negligent) discharge is a moderately heavy trigger pull and a plastic "dingus." It's true that accidental discharges with Glocks are rare. But, call it a character fault, I could never quite get comfortable with my Glock 36, in a SmartCarry holster, pointed directly at my femoral artery every time I sat down. (Both Steyr and the Springfield XD line answer this concern, if one is committed to a "Safe-Action" style firearm.)
5) Heavy triggers. Yes, Glock triggers are better than DA auto/revolver triggers, and fine work can be done with all of them. (With practice. Lots of practice.) Improved aftermarket triggers can be had, most of which lighten the pull to a degree that mandates the use of a separate safety mechanism.
Note that nothing about a Glock detracts from its ability to address the need for accuracy, power and speed in a combat handgun.
My take on the matter: If you do not reload and anticipate shooting only copper-jacketed, factory ammunition, get a Glock. If you're a hobbyist who wants to customize or build up a firearm to suit your specific needs and taste, get a 1911. (A friend of mine summed it up succinctly: "Glocks are for people who have to shoot. 1911s are for people who like to shoot.") They are two different firearms, appealing to two different kinds of shooter.
The endless, pointless bickering between the shooting "camps" has done nothing but result in "friendly fire incidents," replete with needless invective, hurt feelings, damaged reputations and ugly grudges. 1911 enthusiasts need to recognize "Tupperware" shooters as brethren. Likewise, Glock fans need to set aside prejudice about "that obsolete old relic." It's long past time to put this sort of thing behind us. Remember that when the chips are down, it will be skill, not equipment, that makes the difference. Regards, - Moriarty


SurvivalBlog reader "Alfie Omega" spotted this article: New, Simple, Make-It-Yourself Water Filter Promises Clean Water for Millions It begins: "A handful of clay, yesterday’s coffee grounds and some cow manure are the simple ingredients that could bring clean drinking water to developing countries around the globe..."

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"Smart Pigs" Don't Lie: The BP Prudhoe Bay pipeline closure may last for months. Stand by for higher gasoline and home heating oil prices.

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Panicky refugees at a shelter in Northern Israel.


"When the SHTF, I'll go down with a cross in one hand, and a Glock in the other." - Eaker

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The topic of striking weapons for street self defense has been brushed on in SurvivalBlog, but has never addressed directly or at length. I highly recommend training to use a cane, walking stick, or a traditional full length umbrella. This is particularly important for our readers that live in gun-unfriendly nations. Ditto for our readers that live in states like California, New York, and New Jersey where is is very difficult for mere mortals to get a carrying concealed weapon (CCW) permit. And even if you are a concealed firearms permit holder, you should learn these valuable skills. Why? You never know when circumstances might dictate that you cannot carry a pistol. (For example, when traveling to a state where your CCW permit is not valid, or when traveling overseas.)

The following is a forward from firearms instructor John Farnam, by way of SurvivalBlog reader Grampa Redd:

"I attended a stick/cane-fighting seminar yesterday, instructed by Peter Donello of Canemasters. Canemasters manufacturers high-quality canes and walking sticks and provides training in their use. However, I used my Cold Steel "City Stick," as did several other students.

I was astonished at the number of effective moves available to the cane/stick fighter, certainly more than I can remember! Peter's knowledge is vast, and I did my best to catalog the few that I thought were most effective and easiest to learn. Range is the big advantage that canes have over blades and other impact weapons.

Striking and jabbing are still the premiere moves, easily done with nearly any style of cane. Some follow-up moves and holds and more comfortably accomplished with a hooked cane than with a straight stick, but either style works just fine. The real question is: What can I have with me most often that attracts the least attention?

This four-hour clinic is something I recommend to everyone. The cane is a wonderful, low-profile, yet extremely effective fighting tool that most people can fit into their lives with a minimum of lifestyle disruption. Most casual observers don't even notice when you have one with you and certainly don't believe them to represent a threat. Time well spent!"

As for walking stick designs: From what I have heard and observed here in the U.S., if you are well dressed and groomed, then law enforcement officers in most jurisdictions will hardly give you a second glance if you are carrying a walking stick. But if you are shabby looking and perceived as "riff-raff", then expect to get plenty of grief. Canes, especially aluminum ones those that look like true walking aids, are far less likely to attract suspicion than walking sticks. I have an acquaintance who lives in Oakland, California who carries a dull silver aluminum cane with a big rubber tip. This cane looks very unobtrusive if not downright innocuous. It is not until you pick it up that you realize that it has been retrofitted with a 1/2"steel rod firmly epoxied into its hollow core. The phrase "the iron fist in the velvet glove" comes to mind!

I have another acquaintance that lives in a very rainy climate, near Seattle, Washington. He makes a habit of carrying a stout full length traditional umbrella whenever he gets out of his car. Aside for misplacing several umbrellas over the years (a fairly costly mistake, since he carries a big sturdy umbrella, which cost around $60 each), he had had no trouble. (And, by God's grace, he has only had need to use it to protect himself from rain showers.) Nearly all of the stick/cane fighting techniques apply to folded umbrellas, and they can also be used quite effectively for jabbing.

My general preference is to use a well-spaced two handed grip grip in most situations, to maintain control and more importantly to assure retention of the stick. This is akin to what has been taught for many years by police academies in the use of long ("riot") batons. The last thing that you want to happen is to have Mr. Bad Guy gain control of your weapon. If that were to happen, you would become he "Owie" recipient instead of the Owie distributor!

Do some research on your local laws. In most jurisdictions, any blow with a striking weapon to the neck or head is considered potentially lethal. Police academies emphasize this in their baton training. ("Never strike above the chest unless you you would in the same circumstances draw your pistol and fire.") So don't escalate to doing so unless you absolutely confident that your life is threatened and you have no other choice. (Essentially it is the same as firing a gun--at least in the eyes of the law.) It may sound sissified and a bit too prim, proper, and "Queensbury Rules", but most courts look at things in terms of equal force and a graduated response, roughly as follows: If Mr. Bad guy uses his fists, then you can use your fists. If he uses a weapon, then you can use a weapon. If he strikes above the chest, then you can strike above the chest. As a practical matter, there are no rules in trying to save your life in a street fight, but apparently there are in court houses, post facto. Yes, I realize that graduated response is not realistic to expect, since street fights are fast and furious. Most victims don't even recognize that their attacker is using a weapon until after the incident is over. (The classic victim's police statement is: "I thought that he was punching me until is saw the blood, and it wasn't until then that I realized he had used a knife on me.") But again, a graduated response is what courts will expect in order to make a ruling of justifiable self defense.

Don't forget that we live in a litigious era, so expect prosecution and/or a civil lawsuit in the event that you are forced to use a weapon in self defense, even if you were entirely in the right. Show restraint, and never deal out punishment. Just reduce the threat with a quick jab or two, disengage, and then engage your Nike-jitsu technique. (Run!)

If you get into an absolutely lethal brawl (a truly "kill or get killed" situation) and you cannot disengage, by all means aim where you can do the most damage: The front or side of the neck. The human neck is soft tissue, a bundle of nerves, veins, arteries, and wind pipe. It is your surest target to end a fight quickly and decisively. (The same goes of hand-to-hand combat. Aim your punches at his throat.) But again, it is also your surest way to find your way to a courtroom. I can't stress this enough: show discretion!

When carrying a striking weapon or an edged weapon of any sort for self defense, be sure to develop the same Condition White/Yellow/Amber/Red situational awareness skills that you would for carrying a concealed firearm. (See Naish Piazza's article "The Color Code of Mental Awareness", available free at the Front Sight web site. (Click on "Special Offers" and then on the link for "15 Gun Training Reports free of charge.") Extensive training on self defense combative techniques is worthless if you don't see an attack coming. Be alert.

If you don't live near a school that teaches cane and stick fighting, there is a 40 minute training DVD produced by the Gunsite academy, titled: "Defensive Techniques: Walking Stick." It is available from Blade-Tech and directly from the Gunsite Internet Pro Shop. (The latter does not accept overseas orders.)

I should also mention that modern self defense with a walking stick ("Bartitsu") was popularized by Edward W. Barton-Wright. His classic 1901 magazine article on walking stick self defense is available for free download. See: Part 1 and Part 2. These techniques are weak on weapon retention, but it otherwise is still fairly valid, even after more than a century.

The 2010 U.S. census will record GPS coordinates of every household's front porch. Charming.

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Reader JB in Nashville mentioned that another mirror site has been established for the e-book of Mel Tappan's Tappan on Survival. It is such a great read, I recommend that you also buy a hard copy. New or used copies can often be found through, or

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Reader JCS suggested this site on battery technology on battery technology. He noted, "For a long term survival scenario I'm starting to think that Ni-Cd would be better than Ni-MH for my two-way radios."

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You have just two days left to buy the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course at the special SurvivalBlog Anniversary sale price. You will be pleasantly surprised at the price when you click through to the shopping cart page.

"Oh... you would not part an old man from his walking stick?" - Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Jake Stafford forwards the following letter from "down under". It came from a reader of the free Special Report "The Desperation Shopping List: the Seven Critical Items That Are Guaranteed to be Stripped From Store Shelves When You Need Them Most in a Crisis." You can get the report free when you visit the Ready For The Worst web site, even if you are not yet ready to buy the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. (Jake has the course on sale at a deeply discounted price, perhaps for the last time, until August 11th.)

Hi Jake,
Thanks for the info. Most of the things described (in your Special Report) were actually on my lists but in a slightly different order. I think this is due to a different focus. Given a total TEOTWAWKI when the supplies run out, they'll be out for good, so I've focused on the required knowledge you need to be able to re-make/replace them.
For example in my basic survival kit (for bushwalking) I have a small high quality water filter but for the long term stuff I am focusing on learning how to 'make' a water filter.
Also my 4WD is kitted out with Solar panels and Chargers for the various Radios, Torches and Night Vision kit, all requiring 'AAA' batteries but I'm also learning how to make Wind & Hydro generators from wood, wire and neodymium magnets. When the fuel is gone and the solar panels quit, that'll be that.
Regarding salt: THAT is definitely relevant but I have added Sugar, Herbs and Spices. Not because you need them physically but to soften the psychological blow in the beginning.
Same for hand sanitizer, I have toiletries in general high on my list for health reasons but again also to soften the psychological blow in the
beginning. Gees, life without dunny paper! What a bear! Figuring out how to replace them is next . . . (I'm working on food at the moment).
You know the strangest part of all this is that I'm finding that what I need to know comes either from the third world or new simplified technologies being developed for them. How ironic is that?
For me this is mostly an intellectual exercise as I don't believe that a collapse is very likely even allowing for the troubled times we live in,
nor do I think it will be that sudden - at least here in Oz. While I do like to 'be prepared' for the unexpected, sadly I can't afford the cost of a fully set up retreat - or even a retreat - so I guess the best I can do is acquire the knowledge and help others out. Thanks again for the info. Kind Regards, - Ross F. in Australia

For those of us stuck in the Northeast due to family and or business reasons, I suggest the the area in New Hampshire north of the White Mountains and east of the Connecticut river. Generally from Woodsville, NH to Lancaster, NH. Including the area around Lisbon, Littleton and Whitefield in the Ammonoosuc River valley. Distance to Boston is approximately 150 miles, and Montreal 170 miles. - Art


Dear Jim,
For retreat sites east of the Mississippi, one of the most uninhabited areas is in West Virginia south of the WV Turnpike down through the eastern corner of Kentucky and the south west corner of Virginia. It’s a hard land and the people living there are probably some of the best survivalists living today because they have to be.
If anyone decides on this area, they must establish themselves before hand because after a national collapse people from “off” will not be welcome and it may well be a fatal error to try to settle there.
Always treat the local people there with the utmost respect. They never forget a kindness or forgive an insult. The feud is still a time honored tradition. - v/r John


I live in western North Carolina. However I am close to Asheville but west and northwest of me is places that are suitable for retreats. Plenty of water, game, fishing, firewood, and lots of prime area for gardens. We are in the mountains and in case I have to bug out I can be in the wilderness within one mile of where I live. Either by vehicle or walking. My plan is to bug in but in the event I have to leave I have several places and routes to take. So they are places in western NC, northeast Georgia, and eastern Tennessee one could live with not many people around. I live about 60 miles from Murphy and extreme wilderness areas. That is the same area that Eric Rudolph evaded the FBI for so long. In my area they are plenty of hiking trails that a person if they wanted to could "get lost" easily. But if someone bugged out in this area you must have excellent survival skills i.e. trapping, use of snares, camping, hunting, fishing, etc or you would not last very long.
Thanks for your web site and for all that you do to help people prepare. - R.H. in Asheville, NC


I would recommend the Southern Central area of Alabama. This area is called the "Black Belt" region. This phrase does not reference martial arts nor does it reference any racial class of people. It references the soil. The soil is a dark rich soil that is from fresh water deposits from many many years past. The soil is great for gardens and wildlife. This is deer country. The deer love the vegetation that grows due to the soil. There are still large tracts of farm land for sale. However, the poverty in this area can be high, depending on which part you choose to live . I was driving through Tuscaloosa last week and saw a sign that stated if someone would build in the Black Belt region, south of Tuscaloosa, either the State, county or city would give you land. This is of course a way to end the poverty in this region.
In north Alabama, the City of Huntsville has Redstone Arsenal, an Army installation. I do not think I would want to live there. In Anniston, Alabama, they have an Army weapons incinerator. The [state] Emergency Management Agency has been giving out [chemical warfare] "survival kits" [to local residents] and they have a warning system in place to tell you when to take cover and shelter. I do not think I would live too close to either of these facilities. However, south of Birmingham in the "Black Belt" region may be good. Respectfully, - Happy Howie


I wish I could tell you that I had extensively researched this particular problem and had a nice tidy answer for you. I have looked into it but the current loose plans of my wife and I have us staying a few more years in one of the worst places outside of a major city on the East Coast. That being Long Island, New York. Close to the South unfortunately as well. As our 'escape' gets closer to becoming a reality I'll be doing further and more extensive research. I have done some preliminary work though and for us personally it's looking like either the mountains of Western North Carolina or somewhere in central to Northern Vermont. Based on population central Maine, West Virginia may be worth looking into and I believe the Shenandoah River Valley area of Virginia holds some promise as well but it's far too close and accessible to the D.C. area for my tastes.
A lot of the issues involved are centered around family, friends and work in regards to staying on the East Coast. I would think some may like upper NY in the Adirondacks but the gun laws here in NY have crossed the entire state off our list.
I like to think the key to pulling off long term survival in the Eastern portion of the country will being able to lay low and completely disappear when needed. The channelized areas are extremely annoying as far as selecting retreat locations. The network of highways is simply too extensive and I would expect something along the lines of a 'Christopher's Response' as in [Niven and Pournelle's novel] Lucifer's Hammer to take care of some of that. Granted I also suspect plenty of traffic will be tied up in car accidents and disabled vehicles. We recently had the displeasure of driving from Long Island (LI), up across the Throgs Neck bridge and across the lower section of the Bronx, through upper Manhattan across the George Washington bridge and finally to I80 in New Jersey. It was roughly 15 or 16 miles from leaving the LI Expressway to getting clear on I80, took us around 3 hours. That was between 2:00 and 5:00, about a half hour for the first four miles to actually get off LI, the rest was sitting in the Bronx because of a minor accident that we never actually saw any sign of. Normal traffic, if the Schumer hits the fan it'll be much, much worse and many people if not most will not escape where ever they're starting from.
One of the reasons I like Vermont is that the hordes fleeing Boston would likely take route 93 to get to Vermont and I suspect some enterprising Free Staters in New Hampshire will use the Christopher Response. Although that is not something that can be counted on. I think Adirondack park would also be a big attraction for vast numbers of the Golden Horde or MZBs, including those from Boston and many will head into the 'wilds' of Maine in the Summer and those that can will do everything in their power to head South in the Winter. I suspect there are plenty of good locations in Vermont that would be bypassed by many trying to get to places they perceive to be better. I also like that areas of Vermont enjoy good prospects for wind and hydro power generation. I feel in many situations hydro power is a superior choice since it is far easier to conceal. Although Vermont gets a big down check for solar. In fact the prospects of colder winters is a plus in my book since being able to lay low for a years time will harshly thin things out. I'm sure things will be difficult but I'm reasonably certain once we start setting up a 'retreat' or rather our home if we choose Vermont we'll be able to make it seem that we are most certainly 'not home' for that first critical year.
North Carolina is on the list more for family reasons than any other. There's a lot about NC I don't care for. One of the biggest being the potential for racial conflict. No matter what your race may be for all practical purposes you simply can't hide your race from people of other races. So even if you have zero desire to be involved in something along those lines and I most certainly do not, simply being there adds one more and in my opinion unneeded additional survival challenge. Oddly enough (or maybe not) another big down check is some of my family already living there.
Another thing to look at when scouting a potential retreat area is how welcoming it is to new people. I'm getting the feeling that time is short on many fronts so being able to become part of a community quickly is likely going to be a necessity. From my visits and talks to friends in Maine it seems that there are vast areas of Maine that would be otherwise promising if it weren't for the vibe that families living in an area for three generations are looked at as 'the new people'. I suspect the areas I've looked at in NC may have something similar but I haven't spent any time in those areas yet. From my limited travels in Vermont, mostly in the Burlington area and talking to friends who moved there from LI, I haven't quite gotten that same vibe that the areas of Maine I've been to (Kennebunkport and Hollis) seem to have. For this reason alone I think it is extremely important for someone to visit their potential retreats before committing to putting money down and moving. This definitely one of those 'the more the merrier' type of things.
We also have a potential bug out location in PA that may work out for us but overall is too close to NYC and a major highway but it's a gathering point for many friends and better yet we would be welcome there.
Anyway, sorry to ramble on and I feel that all of this even though it's sums up my own assessments so far, merely scratches the surface. Thanks for the work you put into the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, it has been some enlightening reading. - T.J.

Hi Jim,
Here's an Eastern US area that you might not be aware of is Floyd County, about a one hour drive west of Roanoke, Virginia. It fits the categories of lightly populated, agricultural, and away from "lines of drift. - G.S.



We picked SW Tennessee. Halfway between Memphis and Nashville and 25 miles north of the Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee border


Two tremendous water sources The Tennessee and Mississippi rivers.

Water tables are close to the surface with many springs and artesian wells. Supplies all of Memphis with water.

Enough rolling hills to dig in.

Plenty of forest to hide in.

Land cost $ 1,000 - $2,500 per acre in outlying areas.

Memphis and Nashville are large, both 120 miles from our home and, Jackson, TN is 50 miles north. Much smaller population 600,000.
Nothing to the South until Birmingham Alabama.

Country folk who very seldom go to Nashville or Memphis except for medical appointment at Vanderbilt or U of Tennessee.
Everything grows here.
Usually only two snow days a year.
Coldest average temp is 10 degrees.
Three planting seasons, Feb - (Spring), May- June (Summer), and August (Fall). Tomato and beans grow up until the time change in Oct. Cabbage and potatoes until November. Zone 7 Tremendous hunting turkey, deer, squirrel and rabbit. Good fishing TN and MS rivers. Perry County boast of NOT having any four lane highways in the whole county. Property taxes on 42 acres is $175 per year. No building or code inspectors. No codes! You can build anything you want. Except, to have electric hookup you have to have a septic tank. Reception is good and poor on cell phone, (good and bad) depending on where you are standing. To work, you go into Jackson, TN, a one hour drive. Takes the same amt of time driving 18 miles in rush hour on the expressway. Yes we are down wind but outside of the yellowstone supervolcano fallout Well this is our motivation. Have a good day. And peace be with you and your family. - Rus

SurvivalBlog reader JCS suggested the Lindsay Books site. It has something for everyone from Aircraft Welding to Hide Tanning. They have lots of books that belong on the survivalist reference bookshelf.

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Blog reader S.H. mentioned that our friend Noah over at the DefenseTech blog ran an article about a dune buggie/powered parafoil combo, for the ultimate in high mobility.

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From the Washington Post: DOE Report Identifies Areas of U.S. Power Grid Congestion Here is a brief excerpt from the story: "This study identifies the most critical areas of congestion," said Kevin Kolevar, director of the Energy Department's office dealing with electricity reliability issues. Kolevar said that while there are congestion problems of varying degree across the country the Northeast metropolitan areas and southern California "face unparalleled problems" meeting electricity demand — as shown in recent weeks when temperatures soared.
While the grid did not fail during the recent hot spells in both California and the Northeast, rolling blackouts were avoided only by utilities and grid managers cutting off some customers and by utilities getting people to conserve temporarily, he said.
The report identifies four other areas where emerging grid congestion problems are of serious concern and new power lines will be needed: New England, the Phoenix-Tucson area in Arizona; the Seattle-Portland area in the Pacific Northwest; and the San Francisco Bay area. These areas are expected to need new electricity transmission corridors, said the report."

"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons." - Alfred E. Newman

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Dear Jim,
Consider getting a copy of Tiger Mckee's The Book of Two Guns. You won't be disappointed. (I happened on it quite by chance and it's been on my what-to-get-for-the-shooter-who-has-everything list since.)
With respect to "injured shooter drills": The slide on a 1911 may be racked using the rear sight and your belt, provided you're not equipped with Novaks. Hook the rear sight on the upper edge of your belt, strong side, and you'll find you can actuate the slide very rapidly and without difficulty.
Novaks are, IMAO, a nice fashion feature, but little else. (Heresy!) If you consider how you draw a pistol, and the manner in which you're likely to snag it, you'll immediately see that Novak sights are designed backwards. If ramping the rear sight is to have utility, it should be inclined from the rear toward the muzzle. As it is, Novaks provide a bit more surface area for slapping the slide shut with the heel of your hand, but contribute little more. Add to this the confusing "3-dot" pattern and you can see why I don't like them.
I much prefer XS Express Sights. They are robust, intuitive and highly visible. If tritium isn't your thing or cash is an issue consider a set of King-Tappan sights. (BTW, the "Tappan" in the name is the survivalist gun writer Mel Tappan.) They have a simple yellow dot front and a white "block" rear (for a "dot the i" sight picture.) They also feature a handy 100-yard index line that aids in long-distance shooting with the 1911.
In sum, it remains as Jeff Cooper pointed out long ago: "...all the 1911 really needs is a trigger that you can manage, sights that you can see and a dehorning job." K.I.S.S.!. Regards, - Moriarty


On the subject of the 1911, I consider it the finest pistol a survivalist can own, as it is accurate, reliable and easy to repair PROVIDED on has the knowledge and parts. Too often however people spend a lot of cash getting custom fitted parts which make it impossible to use replacement parts without hand fitting them. If you use a 1911 you must have one which accepts mil spec parts, even if you have to have the guts replaced. When mil spec parts are used, you can carry just about all the replacement parts you will need in a life time in a medium-sized pill bottle. If your weapon is a custom fitted super gun, then you had better be a gunsmith or all the parts in the world won't do you a bit of good.

As for the Glocks (and the Steyrs, H&Ks, Taurus and a bizillion other polymer pistols), they are fine for what they are, inexpensive, disposable firearms developed for modern military organizations. You have to understand, militaries don't buy one or a dozen handguns, they buy thousands and tens of thousands. Nor do they buy them with the idea that they are to last for (more or less) a lifetime, but for twenty or twenty-five years. The military wants a huge number of bullet-throwers, they don't really care if they are not particularly accurate or if they don't fit the average hand well, or whether they can be easily repaired by the average grunt. A Glock to me is like a Bic lighter, it will start a fire and it's easier to deal with than a Zippo but a Zippo won't explode if it get too hot, nor can you replace the flint in a Bic. I've seen a Glock whose frame was warped by sitting in a car (admittedly in a desert area, and I suspect there was more to the story, like something heavy laying on it), I've seen cracked frames on Glocks, and I've seen more than a few that were damaged in incidents that a 1911 would have shrugged off. Once the polymer frame is damaged it is nearly impossible to repair, while steel can be repaired and is a heck of a lot harder to significantly damage in the first place.

This doesn't mean that I don't see the advantages of polymer weapons, I'm planning to get a Taurus 24/7 soon myself, but I'm willing to bet that 50 years from now my 1911s will be going strong in the hands of my grandkids, will the Taurus (or a Glock)? I'm not willing to bet on it. - Warhawke


Dear Jim:
Beach mentioned the Clint Smith / Thunder Ranch doctrine that you should ALWAYS rack your pistol slide to chamber a round because:
(a) you get an extra .25" of spring energy, to chamber a dirty round or in a dirty gun
(b) it works on all guns, e.g., battlefield pickups , or after disarming an opponent
(c) it is a gross motor movement less likely to degrade under stress
Thunder Ranch is a great school (I have taken a lot of their training) and the 3 points are valid as insofar as they go - but this portion of their doctrine really loses sight of the big picture...
If your pistol is set up that you can easily release the slide lock lever with your thumb, you should train that way because it is significantly faster than racking by hand. Shooting your gun empty in a gunfight is an extremely HIGH probability - and that extra time to rack the slide with the support hand will be one of the longest moments of your life! Don't sacrifice your speed of reloading - that you need almost all the time - for hypothetical what-ifs that are a very low probability.
I wholeheartedly agree that you should also train extensively to "Tap the Mag / Rack the Slide / Trigger - Bang" to clear malfunctions, and ingrain the support hand slide racking motor movement. In fact I even recommend you seed your practice mags with dummy rounds so you get surprise chances to practice, and see if Tap / Rack / Bang really is an automatic reflex for you. If you are really serious, put dummy rounds in your mags for competition, and see what happens under competitive stress and time pressure.
So, in the very low probability event of a dirty gun about to malfunction, or a battlefield pickup, the correct movement to make it work will be ingrained in you. But don't sacrifice your standard reloading speed for low probability what-ifs. (And if your pistol actually needs the extra .25" of spring compression to chamber reliably, well, it's time for a barrel with a looser chamber, as is standard on Glocks.)
What about the theory of your fine motor movements degrading under stress? A great theory - but think about it... To empty the gun you first had to perform 6 to 15 fine motor movements of your trigger finger! Then to get the empty mag out, you had to use the SAME slide release thumb to hit a small button to drop the empty mag! So this theory says you are good to drop the mag with your dominant hand thumb - but then you can't handle hitting the slide release with the same thumb?!?! Yeah, I guess an overwhelming adrenaline dump could hit you, in the second between dropping the mag and hitting the slide release - but what are the odds? ;-)
Funnily enough, the same "fine motor skills" argument is NOT made when it comes to hitting the bolt release button on an AR-15, vs. racking the bolt from the charging handle. Again - the best bet is to practice both ways - but make the SOP method the one that is faster and more reliable for YOU.
To top it off, as you pointed out - what if your support hand is injured? That is a very common place to get hit when you do Force on Force Training. In that what-if scenario, the racking the slide method may not work, but the thumb release of the slide will.
A bigger moral to the story is: always learn from different schools, as no one instructor is right 100% of the time. They all have strengths and weaknesses in what they teach. Furthermore what is taught as "best" is appropriate in some situations, but not in others. Always remain flexible and adaptable, and focus your training so you have SIMPLE tools and procedures that work under pressure, And now we are right back to the previous martial arts discussion! ;-)
I agree with all the writers that you never want to reduce equipment reliability for a speed advantage. And I can't speak for 1911s, but for Glocks the unobtrusive EXTENDED slide lock lever (to release the slide with your thumb) is standard on Glock 34s and 35s, and has caused me no malfunctions in many thousands of rounds of training, tactical schools, and competition. Very inexpensive and simple to install, see: Regards, - OSOM - "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"

Dear Jim,
The point, ( as it was explained to our class by Clint Smith,) in using the non-dominant hand cupped over the rear of the slide to put the weapon back in battery, is to train with a UNIVERSAL method of handgun function. Chances are, in an emergency situation that you will end up with a sidearm other than your favorite “baby” . So… run it dry, or there is a failure to fire or feed……WHAT NOW? Those who have spent many hours training with the universal methods of TAP, RACK, ETC. will be back in the game a lot faster, no matter what weapon is in their hands. A favorite drill that will illustrate this point is one that is standard at many fine shooting schools: With several students at the firing line, have each student set up their weapon with a malfunction (stovepipe, double feed, etc) and then set down on the ground in front of the line. Then announce that all on the line should move two spaces the the right , or one space to the left. On signal , the shooters are expected to pick up the unfamiliar weapon, clear the malfunction and shoot at the target. Once everyone is comfortable with this drill, you can up the ante by replicating it in low light or NO light situations. The simplicity of universal technique will produce both speed AND confidence….and as it has been stated here before, you WILL fight how you train. - Tom M.

P.S.: I love the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. Good Job!

I could spend quite some time discussing the failings of the Glock series of pistols I have seen here at the shop but I won't. The Glock is a fine pistol but it is far from perfect. I have a strong preference for single action autos for a whole host of reasons and I have found the Browning Hi Power fits me better than anything I have ever tried. If someone out there feels that is an antiquated piece then fine, I too intend to have my heirs fight over who gets to keep mine when I have passed. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Now, on to my intent with this letter, one hand drills. I have trained a few people to shoot with one hand, some because they saw the need and some because they only have use of one hand and I too believe it is an important skill to master. If you look at the data of the FBI shooting in Miami on 11 Apr 86, more than one agent was shot in the hand/forearm and one had his pistol struck by fire. In any fight that lasts more than a few rounds it is likely that someone may well be struck in the hand or arm. If a shooter is using a two hand grip he has both hands and arms between his opponent and the center mass of his own body so it makes sense that they are likely to be hit. I will not try to explain the mechanics of one hand drills in a short letter, only to explain the importance of training for it. I will leave with one last thought and that is my hatred, yes absolute hatred, of the Novak style sights and all they have inspired. A rear sight needs to have a vertical front face to allow for many one hand drills. To charge the weapon my preferred one hand drill is to catch the rear sight on my belt and push, works quite well. I simply refuse to own gear that works against me and the Novak style sights do just that.
- Jake at The Armory

Great work on your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course! For folks wanting to keep beer in their long-term storage supply, the "blue" variety of Chimay (a dark ale made by Trappist monks in Belgium) will store nicely for upwards of 15 years. Even better, my local Costco (in Texas) sells the 750 ml bottles with corks. Regards, - MP

"The preacher man says it’s the end of time
And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry
The interest is up and the Stock Markets down
And you only get mugged
If you go down town

I live back in the woods, you see
A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun rifle and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive

I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
We make our own whiskey and our own smoke too
Ain’t too many things these ole boys can’t do
We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive..." - Excerpt from the lyrics to Country Boy Can Survive, by Hank Williams, Jr.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Are you getting your 10 cents worth? If you find that what you read here is worth ten cents a day or more to you, then please become a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber to SurvivalBlog. Subscriptions are entirely voluntary, and gratefully accepted.

I'm in the final stages of writing my upcoming nonfiction book, "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation". In it, I give my recommendations on retreat locales in 19 western states. As you know, I am not a proponent of retreats east of the Mississippi River, due to the higher population density of the eastern states and their downwind location. That would make them vulnerable to a full scale nuclear attack. And I'm the first to admit that I'm biased toward the Western U.S., since I like my "elbow room." But for those of you that do choose to stay in the East, what areas do you think are best suited for retreats? I've heard eastern Tennessee recommended, as well as parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. Surely there must be some lightly populated predominately agricultural counties that are outside of "looter commute distance" from the big cities, or that are situated in terrain that is geographically isolated. (Away from channelized areas or refugee lines of drift.) I value your opinions. Please e-mail me your list of recommended towns and/or counties, and I will both post them to the blog and include them in the book. BTW, if any of our overseas readers would care to do likewise, I will also post their lists. (We have a large readership in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Europe.) Thanks!

Dear Jim,
Here's a link on RFID that you might find interesting. I think the implications for NAIS are obvious.

Here are plans for a low-cost RFID "skimmer" that can read chips surreptitiously. The clear implication is that it would be a simple matter to capture codes and clone fake RFID chips.

Also, an RFID "blocker" chip that floods the interrogating transmitter with garbage.

Of note, current RFID transmitter software is likely to be vulnerable to malicious code ("viruses") transmitted by altered chips. I submit it's only a matter of (a very short) time before we see security disasters due to a lack of understanding and unjustified faith in RFID.
I've long suspected that NAIS has been brain-dead from the moment of conception, at least with respect to its stated purpose. As usual, the people who contrived it appear to have little or no understanding of the technology involved, especially with respect to vulnerabilities and limitations. Regards, - Moriarty

Rourke recommends this great site for NBC preparedness. It has a lot of useful maps, target structure data, and details on how to survive a nuclear attack.

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Jake Stafford mentioned that copies of the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course currently at a special sale price are starting to fly off the shelf. The sale ends August 11th.

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AK in Costa Rica mentioned this article about safety and security for ex-pats living n Panama. AK notes: "This guy may not be a security expert, but his article presents some interesting issues about security and living overseas."

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and redeemer." - Psalm 19:14 (KJV)

Sunday, August 6, 2006

The blog anniversary sale for the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course ends August 11th.

Mr. Rawles,
I've received and read the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course package. It made me think twice about a few things, since I do most of my prepping at Costco. I notice that someone has already mentioned the vitamin thing. Thanks for the tip about bear liver!

I also noticed that you recommended having bleach on hand, and in the storage life section, bleach is listed as having an indefinite shelf life. I'm sure you already know that is not the case. Regular liquid bleach is not stable, it breaks down gradually and eventually becomes just salt water over a period of 2 years, it's still usable at 1 year but you must use twice as much. We think dry swimming pool shock is better than liquid bleach because calcium hypochlorite will store in dry form nearly indefinitely (10 years), whereas liquid chlorine bleach loses half of it's potency after a year (use twice as much for the same effect) and is next to worthless after two years. Using dry swimming pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) you can mix your own liquid bleach on an as-needed basis and have it fresh and fully active. Its very much like the difference in storage life between whole kernel wheat versus ground flour. Dry shock (get the plain variety, with no algaecides or fungicides) is very inexpensive and can be gotten at any pool supply store. Here are some links with details:
The Epicenter
The relevant portion from the second site above: "Dry chlorine, also called calcium hypochlorite has the added benefit of extended shelf life. Providing it is kept dry, cool and in an airtight container, it may be stored up to 10 years with minimal degradation. If you want to keep chlorine in larger quantities, this is the item to store (according to Bingo1). It must be ONLY 65% calcium hypochlorite, no additional anti-fungals or clarifiers. In an EXTREMELY well ventilated area, (Hint: OUTSIDE!) add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately 1/4 ounce) for each two gallons of water. Five pounds of dry pool bleach costs about $10-15, which will make about 92 gallons of bleach, which will sterilize 706,560 gallons of clear water, or 353,280 gallons of cloudy water."

Here are some additional tips on using calcium hypochlorite (swimming pool shock) for water purification:
From the EPA site:
"Granular Calcium Hypochlorite. 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 below.
The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight
chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times"

Okay, a lot of people don't have a 12.5 gallon container laying around, so let's break it down. To make two gallons of the bleach, one heaping teaspoon of the calcium hypochlorite goes into 2 gallons of water. To make drinkable water, 2.5 tablespoons of the bleach goes into 1 gallon of water. Let stand covered 30 minutes, aerate to taste. Thought you would want to know. - J.W.

I'd like to suggest yet another art for you to consider: Arnis. (often referred to as FMA, or Filipino Martial Arts.) It is also referred to as Escrima or Kali.
It is a predominately stick and knife based art, with open hand techniques following.
Most Eastern arts I have been exposed to stress the empty hand and move towards weapons, Arnis is exactly the opposite, the thought being a stick is easier to defend one's self with than bare hands, and it is more logical to begin as such.
Another fundamental difference between Arnis and other arts is the assumption your opponent is armed. I've seen many techniques taught in my study of ju-jitsu that work well against a punch, but would end very badly if used against a knife. As you may not have the luxury of knowing what you're being attacked with before hand, I prefer a technique that will work well against either, rather than having to choose.
As Mr. Williamson astutely noted, a walking stick or cane is very acceptable to carry with you everywhere (even places you cannot carry a knife, much less a gun), and the techniques transfer well to other "weapons" (an umbrella or rolled up newspaper, for example) as well as a knife.
FMA has been criticized as being too "complex" (you do this, then I do that, etc), and perhaps correctly. As with any art, the important thing is your choice of instructor is as important if not more so than your choice of art. An instructor who stresses the basics over increasingly fancy techniques is crucial, in my opinion. I specifically study Modern Arnis and Sayoc Kali, I have been very happy with both.
It may be worth mentioning that these arts evolved from a predominately Christian culture, so the Eastern religion components that were of concern to some of your readers would not apply. Best of luck with your search and your studies. - Patrick R.

SurvivalBlog reader Jim K. sent us a link to this interesting tale from the web: A lucky fellow in New York City has the notebook in his jacket pocket stop a bullet.

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Michael Z. Williamson pointed us to a site that proves that Glocks can take a lot of abuse and still function.

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Zimbabwe's hyperinflated currency follies continue: They are lopping off three zeroes. Now (at least for a few days) a loaf of bread costs only $1,000 instead of $1,000,000. To solve the fundamental problem, some observers in Harare suggest that something else should be lopped off.

"Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!" - Tommy Smothers

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Today is the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog! Thanks for making the blog such a great success.Wow! We've had 566,000+ unique visits in just the first year.

Special Announcement: To celebrate the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog, Jake Stafford is putting the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course on sale for just the next seven days. The course is on sale at a very special price. If sending payment via snail mail, be sure to have your order postmarked no later than August 11th to get the special blog anniversary sale price.

Mr. Rawles,
Again, for your very useful posts, thank you. I have a question if you have the time. It was in regards to your real estate post: "My advice to home owners is pay it off and my advice to prospective home buyers is wait for the crash and pay for it with cash."
This is my current plan: I've sold my home and am renting now. But do you believe (in the hyper-inflation scenario) that there will be a lull to allow for your statement above? Will there be a time in between when recession/depression and when hyper-inflation takes hold and the money we have in savings will be about worthless? - C.K.

JWR Replies: Unless there is a full scale dollar crisis that is coincident with a real estate slump, then you are probably fairly safe from U.S. dollar inflation in the short term. You will have your lull. In fact, there is still the outside chance of a deflationary recession. But I'm fairly confident that America's next deep recession or depression will be inflationary. House prices may eventually again start to increase as inflation kick into high gear, but if the dollar itself is wiped out in hyperinflation, owning a million dollar house won't mean much--at least it won't when an SUV costs six figures! The crucial thing is NOT the dollar value of a piece of real property. As with any other tangible investment, the true value of land or a house is intrinsic. The currency unit de jure is just a way of expressing that intrinsic value.

One key proviso: Timing markets can be tricky. The key is to not get greedy. Once you think that a market is nearing a top or bottom, then make your trade. If try to catch the very tip of a peak or the very bottom of a trough, then you are likely to wait a bit too long, and hence lose out. It is better to be a bit early and safe, than it is to be a little too late, and sorry.

Hi Jim:
Will your book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation" contain any information on blocking roadways/driveways etc?

One of the retreats I plan to use (disaster dependant) has a single roadway access that would easily be block with a landslide. Do you have any suggestions on the best ways to cause landslips to block roads? Regards, - Jeremy in New Zealand

JWR Replies: That was not an issue that I had intended to discuss in my upcoming book, but perhaps I should.

Unless you are facing an absolute-worst-case-mutant-zombie-bikers-are-painting-themselves-and-eating-your-neighbors situation, then I don't recommend anything so drastic as blocking a road with a landslide. Roadblocks work both ways--they also block you in. I generally favor mobile roadblocks. A Caterpillar D4 (or larger) tractor parked crossways with the blade dropped usually works great for blocking a single lane roadway, at least in hilly country. A large truck or car parked similarly works nearly as well. Removing the tire stems makes the roadblock even more effective, but of course takes longer for "friendly forces" to get the vehicle ready to move. One important proviso: If you use a vehicle, be sure to disable the ignition system by removing a key part, since ignition switches can be bypassed.("Hot wired".) With diesel-powered heavy equipment , this is particularly easy, since many Cat keys interchange, or even a screwdriver can be used to engage the starter.

Some situations such as plains and prairie lands--where a locked gate can be easily be bypassed by cutting a fence--present unique challenges. Constructing long stretches of anti-vehicular ditches is very labor intensive if you don't have access to earth moving equipment.

Also don't overlook the advantage of a series of small obstructions on a road, versus one big one. For example, a series four or five locked steel cables stretched across road at 50 to 100 foot intervals may slow down a group of marauders more than just one custom-built extra-heavy pipe gate. You can use just one of the cables in "peacetime", but then put them all up if and when things get unpleasant.

Lastly, as mentioned previously in this blog, no obstruction is truly effective unless it is under the gaze of alert riflemen.

I just got the latest issue of Disaster Recovery Journal in the mail--their special Avian Flu issue. It seems that the Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity community has caught on to some of the bigger issues related to a pandemic--at least things like absenteeism, telecommuting, and crisis communication. For their spin on a possible flu pandemic as well as some useful links to the CDC and other sites, see:

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Richard Celata (of KT Ordnance and Promised Land Products) recommended this vendor site:

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Iran warns of $200 per barrel crude oil if U.S. imposes sanctions

"Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing: - 'Oh, how beautiful!' and sitting in the shade."
- Rudyard Kipling, "The Glory of the Garden"

Friday, August 4, 2006

Tomorrow will be the First Anniversary of SurvivalBlog! Thanks for making the blog such a great success. Please continue to spread the word.

Jake Stafford tells me that he will be making a special announcement tomorrow, regarding the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. Stay tuned.


First, the 1911 was designed to make you take it out of your firing grip to release the slide - this way it won't accidentally be released.

Second, a la the Clint Smith school of gun fighting, if you are using the slide release you are wrong anyway. He teaches that you take your support hand, reach over the top of the pistol and pinch the slide between your four fingers and the bottom of the palm of your hand, then "tear the slide off" by jerking the slide back until it is pulled from your grasp. This way you get an extra 1⁄4" of spring energy to chamber the next round. That may not seem like much, but if you have dropped the pistol into the mud, it has blood on/in it, etc., the extra bit of energy could just be enough to get your gun back into the fight. It also works with ANY slide/semi-auto pistol, so you learn one manual of arms versus where each weapon's unique slide release is located. Great for battlefield pick-up, as you might not fight with your own pistol. Fine motor skills go down the toilet when under stress - this is much easier than finding a little lever. I am surprised at the small number of people that have heard of this approach. - Beach


Extended slide releases are considered a dangerous modification for defensive 1911s. The added weight can and does cause
the slide to lock on a loaded mag. They bounce. Can be life ending situation to have slide locked prematurely. Proper technique is to actuate slide release with support hand thumb, not with grip hand. This technique is taught by 99% of the defensive handgun schools. You insert a magazine, roll support hand up into position while dropping the slide with support thumb. All in one smooth motion. Even IPSC guys that need every little speed advantage they can get, DO NOT use them.
Here are some references. First:

"The Thunder Ranch thumb safety and slide release are of standard size. Now I know that this is not quite as dramatic as some would want, but it makes infinitely more sense. In the defensive handgun classes at Thunder Ranch, Smith teaches that the shooting thumb should ride the safety down and stay on top of it in order to keep the thumb safety from being accidentally flipped up during the frantic shooting of a gunfight. At the same time the thumb of the weak hand holds the slide stop down so that it cannot be accidentally engaged during the fight. This sort of training makes a great deal of sense to my way of thinking. In fact, I find it very rare to see extended slide stops and extended thumb safeties on the guns of real fighting men"

Second: "An extended slide stop is the answer to a non-existent question, and no serious defensive handgunner should use one (slide stop operation should be with the weak hand in a reload situation, not the shooting hand). So if you are tempted to fancy up your pistol with an extended slide stop, don't."

Contact the top ten 1911 smiths in the country and ask them what they think of putting a extended slide release on a 1911. I will bet 100% of them will warn against it. Likewise ask same of top 10 defensive handgun schools. Ditto. Re-read Tappan's "Survival Guns" for more info. Also check out "The Combat Auto" book by Bill Wilson Just trying to save some grief and maybe a life.
Best Regards, - C.W.


I read the post from August 1st on Model 1911 pistol upgrades. IMHO the best way to upgrade your 1911 is to upgrade to a Glock. Simply put they are, for a serious, practical thinking person the best pistol overall. All the parts fit in the palm of your hand, they operate near flawlessly out of box, are less expensive than the majority of over-tuned 1911s and are a breeze to break down. Full parts kits are available from GLOCKMEISTER in Arizona for around $150--my Glock 17 digests all ammo I put through it. I used to frequent a range were they had Gen 1 Glocks that had one million rounds thru them with little more than a pin replacement. Sorry, but the overpriced, finicky and quite frankly antiquated 1911, though a great pistol for the serious collector is not an ideal survival tool--thanks!--Jason in Idaho

JWR Replies: I'm always willing to admit it when I'm wrong, and clearly I must be wrong in this case since the majority of experts favor leaving 1911 slide releases "stock." (Unmodified.) I must admit that using an extended slide release requires specific training on thumb positioning. That is the way I was trained from day one, and it has become ingrained. When I grasp a pistol, my strong side thumb automatically goes into the up-left position, and the weak hand thumb goes right alongside it, forming a "baby's bottom." (It looks comical when I grab a revolver the same way, but that is muscle memory for you!) OBTW, in a separate e-mail, C.W. mentioned a similar technique called "thumb-over-thumb" which is favored by a number of instructors, including Jim Crews.

We now have extended slide releases on all five of our family's Colt M1911s, and we have never had any problems with inadvertent manipulation or slide stop "bounce", but again we consciously train to avoid unintended slide release contact. My only reluctance with giving them up and going back to a "stock" release is that the Clint Smith et al technique requires the use of the weak hand to get the pistol back into action after shooting the pistol dry. That hand might be injured. Or that hand might be holding a steering wheel. Or that hand might be engaged in fending off an opponent that is trying to strike you, stab you, or grapple with you. So in my opinion it is important to learn a one-handed strong side slide release technique to at least supplement the Clint Smith "rack it" technique. An extended slide release makes a one-handed release much faster, and fosters better pistol retention. Two of these reload techniques--both admittedly for "worst case" situations--include a "thigh pinch" and an "armpit pinch." They can be accomplished without any use of the weak side hand.

Combat is incredibly stressful. In combat people can only expect be about half as fast, and half as accurate as they were on their best day in training. People tend to get flustered in combat and do stupid things--something akin to what hunters call "buck fever." It is not realistic to expect that anyone--even someone that is highly trained--is going to be able to count their rounds and hence know when to perform a tactical reload. Even the folks with double stack (high capacity) pistols will find themselves shooting their pistols empty and will be surprised to see their slide locked back. Expect this to happen, folks! Thus, it is important to train how to handle both sorts of reloads, as well as Type 1, Type 2, and even dreaded Type 3 clearance drills, repeatedly, until you find yourself doing them on "auto-pilot."

Parenthetically, I should also add that I'm big believer in carrying plenty of extra loaded magazines--at least four spares for single stack pistols at all times, and perhaps four more stuffed into a front pants pocket if combat looks imminent. Here at the ranch, we use Blade-Tech Quad Kydex magazine pouches. We also like their holsters.

As for Jason's comments on Glocks: I agree that they are great guns, and I highly recommend the Glock Model 21 and the Model 30. (The latter is the two column magazine mini Glock in .45 ACP) for folks with large hands. In my case, I've concluded that I have too many years of training invested in Model 1911s to switch at this stage of my life. Okay, so I'm a dinosaur. Doubtless, they'll find a Model 1911 under my pillow after they wheel me out to the funeral parlor. Also doubtless, there will be contention among my future grandchildren about who will inherit the pistol

SurvivalBlog reader Rourke mentioned in a recent e-mail: “It’s coming” as some Aussie’s say. China is taking concrete steps here, to pardon the pun. We know they won’t try anything until after the 2008 Olympics. We also know they want Taiwan; and the fear is that the day comes when the person in charge of China thinks he can take it."

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The real Federal budget deficit is measured in trillions of dollars.  


“But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.” - John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), “The Contest in America.” Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 143, pp. 683-684. Harper & Bros., New York, April 1862

Thursday, August 3, 2006

I am presently doing some heavy editing, getting my nonfiction Rawles on Retreats and Relocation book ready to go to press. I plan post an ordering announcement sometime in late August. Thanks for your patience!

Hi Jim.
Just a quick one on [photovoltaic] solar panels. My brother and I had to put an order in for three 80 Watt Sharp brand panels that are usually just sitting on the shelf here at a major distributor. A container full arrives in two weeks but it's already sold out! We have to wait a month. I did a little investigation with Google and found that the shortage is worldwide, is due to people, mostly Europeans, gearing up due to energy/oil cost. Silicon [photovoltaic panel] demand is beginning to outstrip supply and the foundries are running at maximum potential anyway. This appears to be a situation that could get a lot worse if demand continues to rise and it might be a good time for anyone thinking of buying to get in before the herd gets wind of it. Do a Google search on the phrase: "solar panel shortage." Take care mate, - Frank

Hello, I've been enjoying reading your blog for several weeks now and wanted to add a bit on truck tire ratings from the perspective of somebody who used to own a small tire shop in truck country (rural Alaska). The whole thing with rating a tire by the number of plies dates back to the days of bias ply tires when the tires actually were load rated according to the number of plies. That system has been obsolete for years with the advent of radial tires, which are not constructed the same way to achieve the same strength. The letter load ranges are usually equated with the old ply ratings by tire salesmen (i.e. "C" equals a "6" ply rating, etc.) in order to explain the load ratings in terms that their customers will be familiar with.
Nearly all radial tires have 4 plies in the tread area, and 2 plies in the sidewall, no matter what their load rating. The heavier duty tires will have thicker and stronger plies in the higher load ratings, although the number of plies will generally remain the same. A few tires specifically designed for off road use will have a 3rd sidewall ply for extra reinforcement against rock cuts; the two that I am aware of are the BF Goodrich Mud Terrain, and the Goodyear Wrangler MT-R. My brother and I run MT-Rs on our Jeeps and have no complaints about them.- Del R.

SurvivalBlog reader R.H. recommended this site with product reviews on flashlights--both traditional and LED type.

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It is nice to see that gold have silver are bouncing back from their summer doldrums, with gold at over $650 per ounce and silver at around $12.10. I believe that this coming fall and winter may show some impressive gains in precious metals prices.

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Front Sight is currently running its own writing contest. The prize is a Front Sight lifetime membership! For any of you that who would like to put your thoughts about Front Sight, the Second Amendment and the Comfort of Skill at Arms into words, here is your chance to get yourself published and in the process you may win a lifetime membership at Front Sight.
The topic of your essay can be any of the following:
* What Front Sight Firearms Training Institute means to me...
* What the Comfort of Skill at Arms means to me...
* What the Second Amendment means to me...
* What a handgun means to me...
You can even combine these topics as you wish. Simply write your essay in e-mail format or in a Microsoft word file and attach it to an e-mail to: with the subject line: Dr. Piazza, here is my essay.
Naish Piazza will personally read every essay submitted. The best essays will be posted on Front Sight's Blog and Naish will select the winner to receive a Lifetime Legacy Membership! If you are already a member you can upgrade your membership to the Legacy or receive the Legacy Membership to be assigned to the person of your choice.
The deadline to receive your essay is midnight, August 10, 2006. The winner will be announced on August 20.

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I just got the latest issue of Disaster Recovery Journal in the mail--their special Avian Flu issue. It seems that the Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity community has caught on to some of the bigger issues related to a pandemic--at least things like absenteeism, telecommuting, and crisis communication. For their spin on a possible flu pandemic as well as some useful links to the CDC and other sites, see:

"God help us that we never have to look back upon the Cold War and reminisce about the good old days when our nuclear adversary was at least rational." - Rourke

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

We just returned from a trip to Yosemite Valley to attend a family wedding and dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel. I can't think of a more beautiful place than Yosemite for a wedding. What a magnificent slice of God's creation!

I've just received another 14 books from the same estate that I previously mentioned. All are survival, preparedness, and practical skills titles. I will also be selling an Original Swedish Contract Oberndorf Mauser Model 1894 carbine, made in 1895, chambered in 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. (Antique, No FFL required!) See my catalog web page for details.

For the reader wanting 8 Ply tires, get a floatation light truck tire with D, (8 ply) E (10ply) or F (12 ply) load rating. Get a BF Goodrich All Terrain KO (that's what I have on my 4WD Xterra) for all around 4WD use. For more rocks and mountains he may go to a BFG Mud Terrain. Mickey Thompsons for bigger budgets. But the BF Goodrich tires are great tires. Go to an off-road shop instead of Wal-Mart for the tires and talk to somebody knowledgeable. - Tim

Mr. Rawles:
The issue of course is better side walls, but it also addresses the load rating. MOST of the SERIOUS tires for trucks hauling loads, are 8 ply or 10 ply, but they are not common.

You generally have to ask for them, they will need to be ordered and ALL of this “information is hidden” in the load rating on the tire. The higher the load rating, the more plies.

My granddad taught me this years ago on the farm with 1 ton trucks… MOST passenger tires are not load rated as farm tires, as they want them to ride good, and they are not subjected to as much abuse as farm or off road tires.

Discount tires is a nationwide chain I buy all mine through, and they can get you 8 or 10 ply tires. But be warned they are stiff and ride bad. - Mel



Greetings Jim & Family,
I don't know what all the hubbub is about 8-ply '93 F-250 Long bed diesel runs 10-ply tires and was OEM. My tire dealer carries a fairly good number of these as well. Are they such an oddity? Thanks for all you do! - SP

I've been experiencing a few "7th round jams" where after the 6th round is fired and the bolt is starting to go forward to pick up the 7th round out of the clip, the entire clip just jumps up part way (like it does after the 8th round) and the bolt stops against it. The only solution is to pull the bolt back, and push the clip and 2 remaining rounds back down and continue firing.

JWR Replies: The same thing happened to me with my DCM Garand. The offending part turned out to be the "follower arm" (the small piece connected to the mainspring) that pushes up the follower, which in turn pushes up the rounds in the clip. It was slightly bent or warped. My attempts to straighten it out were unsuccessful. Eventually, I got a replacement part from Gun Parts Corp for about $6.00 plus postage. The only other hang-ups that I've had with M1s were been due to inadequate lubrication. Always remember to grease the shallow half moon groove on the top of the hammer, the bottom of the bolt, the bolt roller, and the top hump at the rear of the bolt. Also, lightly lubricate every other moving part (preferably with Break Free.) See the U.S. Army M1 Garand field manual for details.

Just wanted to give you a little clarification on vitamins and livers. It's not Vitamin D that has the problem with overdosing by eating livers. It's Vitamin A, which builds up primarily in polar animal livers (not just Polar Bears- there was even a case of people overdosing from eating their sled dogs) because animals in polar regions tend to eat a lot of high fat fish.
Most bear livers won't be a problem. I imagine that if you get a black/brown bear liver at the end of the Salmon run, and eat a lot of the liver that you might have a problem with it, but generally bear liver is safe. It's actually not easy to overdose on Vitamin D from eating. I hope that clears things up. - Marty


I read your blog today, especially the correction about polar bear livers. First of all, congrats for making the correction. The fat soluble vitamins are 'KADE'.
And I was a bit confused at first. I recalled in US Air Force survival training that polar bear livers contained too much Vitamin A.
So, I did a little research. A general web search (Google) shows references to both A and D being the culprits. In researching the medical literature I found (but did not read) a very old article referencing Vitamin A: Toxicon. 1967 Jul;5(1):61-2. Vitamin A content of polar bear liver. Russell FE. PMID: 6036254 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
And this: As a carnivore feeding largely upon fish-eating carnivores, the Polar Bear ingests large amounts of Vitamin A, which is stored in its liver; in the past, humans have been poisoned by eating polar bear liver. Not exactly a very reliable source...
And finally, Air Force Regulation 65-5 (Survival, Training Edition) dated 15 July 1985, para 18-8 (a) (page 247) states:
" All animals in the arctic regions are edible, but the livers of seals and polar bears must not be eaten because of the high levels of vitamin A. Death could result from ingesting the liver."
So, I'll go with Vitamin A as the guilty culprit. Of course, I don't understand why people eat any kind of it's purely an intellectual question to me.
Keep up the good work, and the great blog. - Flighter

Richard Celata (of KT Ordnance and Promised Land Products) recommends: The recent commentary by Franklin Sanders (audio, 45 minutes) titled "Real Versus Fake Money,"

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SurvivalBlog reader S.H. recommends a site with a neat set of photos of Swiss mountain bunkers. He notes: "Many are very clever in their design elements. roofed and painted to look like log homes or even stands of trees. Some great ideas here for the serious retreat.

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U.S. heat wave continues



"You can go out and eat 'em, that's for sure
But there's nothin' a home grown tomato won't cure
You can put 'em in a salad, put 'em in a stew
You can make your own, very own tomato juice
You can eat 'em with eggs, you can eat 'em with gravy
You can eat 'em with beans, pinto or navy
Put em on the side, put em on the middle
Home grown tomatoes on a hot cake griddle.

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What'd life be without home grown tomatoes
There's only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes."

- Excerpt from the lyrics to the song Home Grown Tomatoes, by Guy Clark

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The high bidder in the latest SurvivalBlog benefit auction was David T. in Texas. He has won a RWVA Super Shooter's package, including range time, shooting classes, and two shooting jackets. Our special thanks to the RWVA and Fred's M14 Stocks for sponsoring this fund raiser! OBTW, speaking of the RWVA, they have a Rifle Instructor's Camp coming up at the end of August in Ramseur, North Carolina--a great opportunity for you to learn how to teach others how to shoot like a pro, including your own family members.

A new benefit auction begins today. This one is for a copy of "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, kindly donated by Arbogast Publishing. The course has a retail price of $149. Please submit your bids via e-mail. This auction ends on September 15th


And the winner is...

The first place winner for Round 5 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest is Peter Hardt, for his article "How to Build an Inertial Well Slow Pump for Grid Down Emergencies", which was posted yesterday. (Yes, I was saving the best for last!) P.H. will receive a transferable "gray" (first timer's) Four Day Course Certificate. (Worth up to $1,600.)

The second place winner is Norman Church, for his Peak Oil article titled "Thinking The Unthinkable." This article was posted on Friday, July 21st. Mr. Church wins a free copy of the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course.

Round 6 of the SurvivalBlog writing contest begins today and runs through the end of September.

Mr. Rawles,
I read your post about the rattler and the changes you made to the Colt .45. I'm glad things worked out well and you obviously have a nice touch with your work. I worked for a gunsmith for 5 years and would recommend to your readers that they make one modification at a time, then check for function and reliability. It just saves time if something - this way just one thing - doesn't function properly. It takes more test ammo, but there is no substitute for reliability.- C.G. in North Carolina

Dear Jim,
First let me say that I really enjoy reading your blog and I have given my copy of "Patriots" to everyone I know and it has really opened a lot of eyes. I am eagerly awaiting the expanded edition. I have also purchased your survival course for my parents and the rest of my family.

My main reason for emailing you was that on July 27, 2006, on your blog you stated that you were upgrading your 1911s. There were some things that I took issue with, particularly the extended slide release. I have personally found and I think you may already know, that the extended slide release can lock the slide back prematurely for several reasons but mainly due to the shooters grip under recoil. I like the idea of being able to manipulate all the controls on my 1911 with one hand, but for me and several other members of my family it just isn't a reliable modification. I also had some questions about your target triggers. I have had instances of triggers with adjustable over travel stops working loose and becoming a problem, that may be something you want to keep in mind. Hilton Yam just cam out with a tactical trigger that has a fixed over travel stop that I have on my pistol. Again you probably already have quite a bit of experience in this area but I thought I would add my $.02.

Right know I am building up my own 1911. Here is how my gun specs out.

Springfield Armory Slide and Frame (1980s vintage)
BarSto Barrel
National Match bushing loose enough to field strip easily and be reliable
Standard recoil guide
Wolfe springs
Front slide serrations
Dawson Lightspeed Rail
Hilton Yam 10-8 trigger w/ fixed over travel stop
Cylinder and Slide 24/7/365 tactical trigger (some of the best trigger parts on the market)
Kings ambidextrous safety
Ed Brown Beaver tail with pad
Novak night sights with front sight vial installed after zeroing pistol at 25 yards
Flat mainspring housing with lanyard loop.
Beveled mag well, no feed chute
Pachmayr Grips but I am thinking of changing them
Pistol is completely dehorned and tuned for maximum reliability with ball ammo
Wilson 7 round mags (I have not had good luck with the 8 rounders)

I highly recommend the Dawson Rail. It can be added to any existing 1911 and the Marines have it installed on their ICQB pistols. It does not alter the balance of the pistol if no light is attached and it doesn't affect the ability of he pistol to fit in most standard 1911 holsters. Safariland make a 6004 specifically for 1911's equipped with the Dawson rail and several surefire lights. The Marines use the Military light with system kill switch and the dev group tape switch. I personally use a Nitrolon light with system kill and dev group tape switch. Just in case you are not familiar with ordering a Surefire Pistol light the "on/off switch can be ordered as a constant on (mostly used by cops) or system kill (mostly military to prevent accidental "white light discharges"). For daily carry I do not have the light attached as I have a regular Surefire that I carry, so I use a regular holster with no problems. I do however have the Safariland with my web gear and armor near the bed. I attach the light every night before I go to bed so I can just gear up and be ready to respond.

Thanks for letting me provide my input and for providing a great service to the community. - Dustin in Arizona

JWR Replies: Thanks for your comments. In reference to over travel screws: I recommend using Green LocTite on these screws. I've never had one come loose that was secured by LocTite, after thousands of rounds fired. But I will definitely look into the Hilton Yam trigger. Thanks for making that recommendation.

Regarding extended slide releases: I consider them essential for anyone that needs to shift their hand in order to press a standard slide release. (About 95% of shooters.) God has blessed you if you a have a thumb long enough to hit a standard slide release without shifting your grip.

Proper training can assure that both of the thumbs are resting side by side (looking like a "Baby's bottom" when seen from behind) and in the "up-left" position except for when manipulating the safety, magazine release, or slide release. Proper grip and thumb position will prevent any mis-manipulation of any of the controls. Perfect practice make perfect.

FWIW, I consider extended or "speed' safety levers more of a hazard, since in my experience a wider-than-usual and/or a longer-than-usual safety is more likely to receive inadvertent contact with the side of the thumb during firing than is a longer slide release.

As for magazines, I have never had any problem whatsoever with original Colt factory 8 round magazines. These are actually made for Colt under subcontract, by a company called Metalform, using Shooting Star brand followers. (OBTW, Metalform also sells identical magazines directly, sans the prancing pony, for less money.) The majority of 1911 reliability problems can be traced to magazines. So my advice is to pay a bit more and buy the best. Reserve your after-market magazines for your barter box, or better yet for your range days when you want to practice immediate action drills--since cheapo aftermarket magazines will give you plenty of chances to clear jams! Because magazines are the most fragile part of an autopistol and prone to loss, I consider 6 spare magazines a bare minimum. Getting eight to 12 spares is more like it, especially if you look at life in terms of providing for your kids and grandkids.


Regarding Redmist's suggestion to use closed-cell polyurethane foam tires, those tires add a bit of weight, and often you are trying to keep the weight down on the load, Slime® sealant is cheap light weight insurance inside your tires, just ask any hardcore ATV rider and they will tell you so.

I happen to be in the process of making a hand cart for hauling waterfowl decoys into fields where taking a truck is not allowed, a axle, hubs, wheels and tires from a completely trashed ATV, two pillow block bearings and some serious thought and welding and I'll be in business for the next season. - Some Call Me Tim

My apologies for not catching an error in the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. On page 14, there were references to Vitamin B being fat soluble. Either I mis-spoke, or the transcriber misheard me. Either way, my apologies! To clarify: Vitamin B and Vitamin C are water soluble, so they cannot be over-dosed. The human body just sheds what is not needed, through urination. In contrast, Vitamins A,D, E, and K are fat soluble. The greatest risk of overdosing is with Vitamin D-3. Vitamin D over-dosing happens most often with over-anxious young mothers that mistakenly assume that if one daily dose of liquid vitamins for their toddler is good, then three or four doses is even better. Another risk is to bear hunters: Bear livers have such concentrated Vitamin D, that eating an entire bear liver can be lethal! Never eat more that a 1/2-inch cube of bear liver per week.

For those of you that already own a copy of the course, please pen in the correction. The error will be corrected in future printings.


In a recent e-mail, SurvivalBlog reader SF in Hawaii mentioned an inexpensive and portable intrusion detection system: Get a few Radio Shack 'Portable Motion Detector Alarm/Chime' devices. (Catalog #49-426.) He noted: "You can place them at key entryways to your retreat. They weigh less than a pound each, can fit in your hand,.run off a 9 volt battery, and emit a very loud alarm sound."

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Michael in England recommends this site regarding nutritional supplements and aging.

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SurvivalBlog reader "Bonehead" recommended this site in Australia for the off-road vehicle construction plans. Bonehead notes: "I saw these guys buggies in some of the most wretched places, merrily buzzing along, whilst large, heavier (read: uses much more fuel) rigs were busy getting themselves completely stuck. BTW, I'm building a Bandit--well, my version of it; that's the great thing about DIY, you do it your way!"

"Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do,
Or do without." - Old American Pioneer Saying

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