January 2007 Archives

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

For the entire month of February, I'm having a special "support our troops" sale on copies of the new expanded 33 chapter edition my novel "Patriots". If you place an order directly with me, and you have us mail it to an APO or FPO address, then the price is just $12 per copy, plus $3 postage. (That is $10.99 off of the cover price--right near my wholesale cost.)

OBTW, speaking of supporting our troops, be sure to visit the AnySoldier.com web site, and "do your bit." Some young enlisted troops that are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan get no mail from home, so anything that you can send them--even just a postcard--is appreciated.

I now offer a couple of additional payment options for book orders: both AlertPay and GearPay. (I prefer these because they don't share PayPal's anti-gun political agenda.) In my experience, AlertPay has a frustratingly labyrinthine account set-up procedure, but GearPay seems much quicker and easier to set up.
Our AlertPay address is: rawles@usa.net
Our GearPay address is: rawles@usa.net
Our PayPal address is: rawles@earthlink.net

There is currently a lot of buzz on the Internet about the emerging threat of "lock bumping." This is an old technique used by burglars that can defeat up to 80% of typical household dead-bolt locks. It is catching on with a whole new generation of burglars in the U.S., Canada, and in Europe. (Using an easily obtained specially cut generic "bump" key and a small mallet.) This video clip from Holland (with English subtitles) shows the technique. And here is another video, from here in the States. My advice is to upgrade the locks on your exterior doors with top quality locks made by Medeco or Schlage Primus. These have special cylinders that are engaged by "double cut" or "side-milled" keys. These bump-resistant and pick-resistant locksets cost about $150 each.

Regardless of the locks that you use, it is essential that you never let your keys out of your personal possession, since a large number of burglaries are accomplished by means of illicitly copied keys. Never give a parking valet your entire ring of keys. Never lend your house key to a tradesman. (You should always be there personally to supervise work in your home, regardless.) If you hire a maid, a cleaning service, or a nanny that must have a house key, then do a thorough background check on that individual. And if you have the slightest suspicion that your key might have been compromised, then have your door locks re-keyed immediately. OBTW, the bump technique can also defeat most padlocks. But fear not--ultra high security padlocks with double cut keys are also available. (For example, the $180+ Sargent & Greenleaf #833 or the not quite so expensive Medeco "C" and "E" series padlocks.) I should also mention that the real bargain on the market is the U.S. Army surplus arms room padlock (made by Sargent & Greenleaf), often available via eBay, from Coleman's Surplus, that typically sell for around $60.

Dear Jim and Family,
Bad news from the largest oil field in Mexico. The Canterell field, formerly reported to decline at 2% last August, 6% in October, and 11% in December has been rated at 25% today. Oil production has dropped from 1.99 million barrels per day to 1.5 million barrels per day.

This is a very bad thing. Most of that oil goes to the USA via NAFTA treaties. There are no fields to replace it, and since Mexico has 51% leftist leanings, no oil company will risk investing there (Pemex was formed from seized foreign oil investments, most of which were from the USA). Losing half a million barrels of non-Middle Eastern supply makes us more susceptible to interruptions from hostile nations like Iran and Venezuela, and unstable nations like Nigeria.

This also has secondary effects. Most of the money in Mexico comes from oil wealth. Without the oil, Mexico, the nation with one of the highest birth rates in the world, will be needing to find other sources of income for their 1 million young men turning 18 each year. Without the oil wealth to pay for social services, the collapse there will either cause them to come to the USA seeking jobs (just as the USA is entering a recession due to energy costs and the collapse of the housing bubble), or further fuel revolution in Mexico. Mexico is already unstable since the race for president and ruling party was hotly contended and claims of voting fraud rang very loudly, particularly in the South where leftists openly battle with the Federales.

Let's assume that any internal issues in Mexico stay there, and that conditions in the USA don't cause a higher number of illegal immigrant labor. Even without that, losing 1/2 million barrels per day in 6 months, and possibly another half million by July of this year is going to hurt the USA quite a bit. That's an Iraq worth of oil. If things get more messed up in Mexico, the oil may stop flowing temporarily, thus removing 1.5 million barrels per day from the market and driving the price up until demand for those barrels is removed. This generally means the third world is bid off the market. It also means that you may see $6/gal gasoline, maybe later this year. Who knows? It's too uncertain to invest in crude oil futures.

The thing about predicting gasoline prices is we know the price will rise, but we don't know when, or if $6 will be just a few days before it races past that number for a higher price. Supply and demand rule, and if you paid the same price per volume for gasoline that you do for beer, you'd be looking at around $32/gal. And beer won't push you two dozen miles surrounded by 3,000 pounds of steel, rubber, and plastic. Gasoline is more useful, so will inevitably cost a lot more, eventually to cost what its actually worth for the work it can do. This will leave a lot of cars empty of fuel, sitting in your driveway rusting forlornly with only 30 more payments. My advice is to start offloading your excess vehicles sooner rather than later, and if it comes to a choice of going into debt for a hybrid and someday tossing the guzzler for scrap metal: the math says the guzzler is a better deal. The price of fuel will rise faster than the hybrids can accommodate and debt for a vehicle will make less and less sense when unemployment follows energy scarcity and transportation problems. If you must maintain your personal travel freedom, there's always motorcycles, which get 60 mpg. If you insist on your car and can live with the loss of freedom, you can carpool which effectively doubles or quadruples your fuel efficiency (if you carry three passengers). It's not very macho and it's painful to your freedom, but it's better to have a job than not. And some mobility is better than none. We're all going to have to get used to much more limited mobility in the next few years.

And I shudder in anticipation of "travel papers" and other documents limiting travel in the name of fuel efficiency, homeland security, or whatever other excuse they choose. Sincerely, - InyoKern

JWR Replies: Reading through the SurvivalBlog Retreat Owner Profiles, you will notice that nearly every one of them has a "economy runabout" car listed. I think that is a wise approach. Also, don't overlook mountain bicycles with panniers and/or light cargo trailers, the new generation utility trike-bikes with cargo platforms and/or cargo trailers, and of course horses. These alternatives may not be speedy or convenient, but they require no gasoline.

Unintended consequences: Rise in ethanol demand creates a tortilla crisis.

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S.H. mention an interesting list of 63 field/barracks items posted at Bouhammer's Afghanistan "List of gear for A-stan." S.H. notes: "This may be of interest to those reviewing their G.O.O.D. or Bug-Out bags. It is very enlightening on what our troops use/need in a modern desert war environment."

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There are just 16 days left in the big "Container load sale" at Survival Enterprises. Looking at their running inventories posted on the web page, I can see that several items have sold out. Don't dawdle on this one, folks! All of the storage food items are "first come - first served." As previously mentioned, their prices are less than half of retail.

"You can kid yourself and say I'm only going along because they have all the guns, but day by day, year by year, your integrity erodes. Finally, you become like the tyrants: just one more liar." - Franklin Sanders

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm planning on assembling a "Best of the Blog" hardcopy book in the next few weeks. The prospect of doing this manually is not appealing. Do any of you folks know of an existing "slurp" or "blog to book" software tool that is compatible with Movable Type that will allow me to automagically build RTF or MS-Word files from my blog posts? (My searches thusfar have been unsuccessful.) Thanks!

Reading your excerpt from "Patriots" (I do have my own copy of the prior edition) reminded me of an episode in and around Seattle a few winters ago. Just before the afternoon commute, a rainstorm passed through and with the cold weather, created a black ice condition on the Interstate-5 freeway. Several fender benders clogged up the freeway in both directions and it took some time for tow trucks to make their way through the tie-up. Eventually they had to give up because people, sitting in their cars with heaters, wipers and radios on and engines idling, didn't realize the alternator output at idle wasn't sufficient to keep up with the power drain.
The upshot was that in very short order, the freeway was clogged with stalled, dead cars abandoned by their passengers. It took days to clear out the mess.
Imagine if no one came to clear them out. So, among other episodes in "Patriots", the one you presented on Monday resonates with me! - Bob B.

All this talk on Tetracyclines and their dangers. Show me the research! I have only been able to find one case study of one person who became nephrotoxic on TTC's/Doxy. Speculation is interesting, but research is really important in this circumstance. Thanks, - Russ

JWR Replies: This issue is clearly one that is still not fully settled in medical circles. Part of the problem seems to be that there are so many causes of renal failure, and a precise cause is sometimes difficult to pinpoint. There seems to be different "camps" of opinion regarding tetracycline (and similar antibiotics in the "-mycin" and "-cycline" families) and nephrotoxicity. (Called Fanconi's syndrome, often coincident with "acute fatty liver".) For example, I found the following in a web page on Akamin (Minocycline): "Tetracyclines may aggravate pre-existing renal failure. Nephrotoxicity has also occurred in association with "acute fatty liver" related to the use of tetracycline in high doses. Degraded tetracycline may result in renal tubular damage and a "Fanconi-like" syndrome." (Emphasis added.)

Wardoc provided a link to a fairly concise article on Fanconi's syndrome that specifically talks about antibiotics that are past their expirys. The article includes this: "Environmental assaults that cause Fanconi's syndrome include exposure to heavy metals (like cadmium, lead, mercury, platinum, uranium), certain drugs (like outdated tetracycline and gentamicin), other substances (like Lysol, paraquat, toluene, the amino acid lysine taken as a nutritional supplement), and kidney transplantation." (Emphasis added.) I also found this in a web page on Doxitab--a brand of Doxycycline: "The use of out-of-date or deteriorated tetracyclines has been associated with the development of a reversible Fanconi-type syndrome characterised by polyuria and polydipsia with nausea, glycosuria, aminoaciduria, hypophosphataemia, hypokalaemia, and hyperuricaemia with acidosis, and proteinuria." (Emphasis added.)

Speaking as a layman that is seeing two schools of thought--or perhaps views on two distinct diagnoses--within the medical community on this issue, to be absolutely safe, I recommend that you avoid both over-dosing and out-of-date or otherwise deteriorated antibiotics. (For example, beyond their expiration dates or that are heat-degraded or photo-degraded.) As a prepper that anticipates the possibility of infrastructure breakdown and widespread power failures, the last thing that I want is to see anyone become dependent on scheduled kidney dialysis because they "saved some money" on antibiotics!

Michael Z. Williamson sent us a link to an article on how "gun control" laws are working in the UK. The following is a quote from the article: "A widow who lives alone in a Wiltshire farmhouse has taken to sleeping with a Smith & Wesson Saturday Night Special under her pillow. It belonged to her husband and is more than capable of stopping an intruder, of which she has had three in the last two years.
When she goes shopping in Swindon, she slips a can of Mace into her handbag in case of assault. "Bought it at the ironmongers in Bergerac," she says. "Much more effective than an ASBO."
A senior civil servant, now retired and living in a remote house near Losthwithiel in Cornwall, believes in the efficacy of a small-calibre .22 pistol. It was easy to buy without a licence or proof of identity in rural France, where they are used to kill vermin. The .22 is also an assassin's weapon - once the round has entered the cranium, it will ricochet about as it looks for an exit."
(Mike calls "bull" on that last part)

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Frequent content contributor Hawaiian K. sent us this one: Vehicle that runs on road and rail has trial trip in Shizuoka

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John The Bowhunter sent us a link to a newspaper story from California: Home Losses Loom.This hardly comes as a surprise to us. This is the "ARM-twisting" that I predicted, many months ago.

"'It has never happened!' cannot be construed to mean, 'It can never happen!'– might as well say, 'Because I have never broken my leg, my leg is unbreakable,' or 'Because I’ve never died, I am immortal.' One thinks first of some great plague of insects – locusts or grasshoppers – when the species suddenly increases out of all proportion, and then just as dramatically sinks to a tiny fraction of what it has recently been. The higher animals also fluctuate.

During most of the nineteenth century the African buffalo was a common creature on the veldt. It was a powerful beast with few natural enemies, and if its census could have been taken by decades, it would have proved to be increasing steadily. Then toward the century’s end it reached its climax, and was suddenly struck by a plaque of rinderpest. Afterwards the buffalo was almost a curiosity, extinct in many parts of its range. In the last fifty years it has again slowly built up its numbers.

As for man, there is little reason to think that he can, in the long run, escape the fate of other creatures, and if there is a biological law of flux and reflux, his situation is now a highly perilous one. During ten thousand years his numbers have been on the upgrade in spite of wars, pestilence, and famines. This increase in population has become more and more rapid. Biologically, man has for too long a time been rolling an uninterrupted run of sevens." - George R. Stewart, Earth Abides

Monday, January 29, 2007

Living here in the hinterboonies, our daytime radio reception is pitiful, but our nighttime reception is fantastic. (The Rawles Ranch is in an isolated "electromagnetic quiet zone.") To make up for the lack of daytime reception (since we get less than a half dozen daytime AM stations and no FM stations), I have turned to Internet radio for entertainment during the day, and shortwave radio listening at night. I am particularly fond of a listener-sponsored Internet streaming audio service called Folk Alley. Great stuff, albeit with a perceptible liberal slant. At least they don't shy away from playing gospel bluegrass music in their mix.

In response to a request to Matthew from Indiana, who wanted to know what my novel was like before ordering it, the following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the expanded (33 chapter) edition of my novel "Patriots":

On the last day of October, the Grays found that their phone was still working, but only for local calls. When they tried making long-distance calls, they got an “All circuits are busy now” recording, at all hours of the day or night. The next day, there was message advising that “All circuits will be restored shortly.” Two days later, there was no dial tone.

By early November, there was almost continuous rioting and looting in every major city in the U.S. Due to the financial panic and rioting, the November election was “postponed” to January, but it never took place. Rioting grew so commonplace that riot locations were read off in a list—much like traffic reports—by news broadcasters. The police could not even begin to handle the
situation. The National Guard was called out in most States, but less than half of the Guardsmen reported for duty. With law and order breaking down, most of them were too busy protecting their own families to respond to the call-up. An emergency call up of the Army Reserve three days later had an even smaller response. All over America, entire inner-city areas burned to the ground, block
after block. No one and nothing could stop it. On the few occasions that the National Guard was able to respond to the riots, there were some massacres that made Kent State seem insignificant.

Many factories in proximity to the riots closed “temporarily” in concern for the safety of their workers, but never reopened. Most others carried on with their normal operation for several more days, only to be idled due to lack of transport. Shipping goods in the United States in most cases meant one thing: 18 wheel diesel trucks traveling on the interstate highway system. The trucks stopped rolling for several reasons. First was a fuel shortage. Then came the flood of refugees from the cities that jammed the highways. Then people that ran out of gas disrupted traffic. As cars ran out of gas, they blocked many critical junctions, bridges and overpasses. Some highway corridors in urban areas turned into gridlocked parking lots. Traffic came to a stop, motionless cars began to run out of gas, and the forward movement of traffic was never resumed. In some places, cars were able to back up and turn around. In most others, people were not so lucky. There, the traffic was so densely packed that drivers were forced to just get out of their cars and walk away.

Every major city in the United States was soon gripped in a continual orgy of robbery, murder, looting, rape, and arson. Older inner city areas were among the hardest hit. Unfortunately, the design of the interstate freeway system put most freeways in close proximity to inner city areas. The men who had planned the interstate highway system in the 1940s and 1950s could not be blamed. At that time,
downtown areas were still flourishing. They were the heart of industry, population, commerce, and wealth. Thus, it was only logical that the highways should be routed as close to them as possible, and preferably through them. These planners could not then have predicted that in 50 years the term “inner city” would become synonymous with poverty, squalor, welfare, drugs, disease, and rampant crime.
America’s once proud and efficient railroad system, long the victim of government ineptitude, was unable to make any appreciable difference in the transportation crisis. Most of the factories that had been built in the past 30 years had been positioned near highways, not railroad tracks. Also, like the highways, most rail lines passed through urbanized areas, placing trains at the same risk as trucks. Gangs of looters found that it did not take large obstructions to cause train derailments. Within a few hours of each derailment they stripped the trains of anything of value.

A few factories managed to stay in operation until early November. Most had already closed, however, due to failing markets, failing transportation, failing communications, or the failing dollar. In some instances, workers were paid through barter, rather than cash. They were paid with the company’s product. Chevron Oil paid its workers in gasoline. Winchester-Olin paid its workers in ammunition.
The last straw was the power grid. When the current stopped flowing, the few factories and businesses still in operation closed their doors. Virtually every industry in America was dependent on electric power. The power outages forced even the oil refineries to shut down. Up until then, the refineries had been operating around the clock trying to meet the increased demand for liquid fuels.
Ironically, even though refineries processed fuel containing billions of BTUs of energy, most of them did not have the ability to produce enough electric power to supply all of their own needs. Like so many other industries, oil refiners had made the mistaken assumption that they could always depend on the grid. They needed a stable supply of electricity from the power for their computers and operate the solenoids for their valves.

The power outages caused a few dramatic effects. At a Kaiser Aluminum plant near Spokane, Washington, the power went out during the middle of a production shift. With the plant’s electric heating elements inactive, the molten aluminum running through the hot process end of the plant began to cool. Workers scrambled to clear as much of the system as possible, but the metal hardened in many places, effectively ruining the factory. If the plant were ever to be re-opened, the hardened aluminum would have to be removed with cutting torches or jackhammers. Electricity also proved to be the undoing of prisons all over America. For a while, officials maintained order in the prisons. Then the fuel for the backup generators ran out. Prison officials had never anticipated a power outage
that would last more than two weeks. Without power, security cameras did not function, lights did not operate, and electrically operated doors jammed. As the power went out, prison riots soon followed.
Prison officials hastened to secure their institutions. Under “lock down” conditions, most inmates were confined to their cells, with only a few let out to cook and deliver meals in the cell blocks. At many prisons the guard forces could not gain control of the prison population, and there were mass escapes. At several others, guards realized that the overall situation was not going to improve, and
they took the initiative to do something about it. They walked from cell to cell, shooting convicts. Scores of other prisoners died at the hands of fellow convicts. Many more died in their cells due to other causes; mainly dehydration, starvation, and smoke inhalation.

Despite the best efforts of prison officials, 80 percent of the country’s more than 1,500,000 state and federal prisoners escaped. A small fraction of the escaped prisoners were shot on sight by civilians. Those that survived quickly shed their prison garb and found their way into the vicious wolf packs that soon roamed the countryside...

Seeing the discussion regarding the gentleman who loaned a flashlight and leaf blower to his ungrateful neighbors, I'd thought I'd share my method of loaning out items. First off, never loan out primary tools. I have three sets [that I've designated - mine [primary], for friends, and a lower quality set for loaning. If you've never borrowed from me before and I don't know your "borrowing character", then you get the cheap set of greasy, grimy tools or the flashlight with weak batteries. If you return them in the state that you borrowed them, you get to borrow them again sometime. If the tools come back cleaned and oiled and new batteries in the flashlight, your "borrowing character" had been elevated to trusted borrower and you may soon be ready for the set of tools reserved for friends. (Hint: When you borrow tools, always bring them back in a better state than when you took them.) If you do not return them, you will be reminded over and over of this fact and hopefully you will shamefully remember to return them. If you don't ever gain some character or have no shame, then stay outta my yard!
Also, people forget a couple of simple words: please and thank you. I don't have to loan you my tools. If you ask nicely, I may just think a bit more nicely of you. These words don't cost anything to use yet they reap huge benefits if used sincerely. - Matt B.

Steve P. flagged this "must read" article by Doug Hornig: Climate Change Revisited

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From BlogIdaho: Why Cops Shoot Guys with Knives (Warning: Some graphic photos, not for the squeamish!) BTW, shallow slashing wounds to the torso of the type shown are not often fatal. It is either wounds to the neck or deep penetrating wounds to the abdomen (typically angled upward, from just under the ribcage) followed immediately by lateral motion of the blade tip that are the real killing wounds. (The latter is what one of my Army training NCOs referred to as "massive surgery without benefit of anesthetic.") Unfortunately these are the techniques that career criminals often teach each other in prison. A knife can be an effective weapon in the hands of someone that knows what they are doing. Beware. Do not let an opponent get close enough to employ these techniques.

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Brenda at Mountain Brook Foods mentioned that they are having a huge liquidation sale, with 25-50% off selected items, and 40% off year supply packages from now until Feb 19th. This sale might be of particular interest to SurvivalBlog readers in Northern California. (Mountain Brook Foods is located in Tracy, California. This could be a great opportunity to pick up your order in person to save on shipping.)

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From a 'zine web site devoted to electric and hybrid vehicles: Roscoe Bartlett: Man on a Mission

"Men think in herds, go mad in herds, but recover their senses, one by one." - Charles Mackay

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I read Nuclear War Survival Skills [by Cresson Kearney) several years back and have read and re-read the book on a regular basis. In fact, along with your novel "Patriots" (acquired 5 months back) I have loaned out and gifted copies of each to family. All were 'struck'.

After realizing the need for expedient and planned shelter, but lacking the real buying power that I desired, I set about securing many of the hand tools that I had previously overlooked, i.e. tools that were essential according to Cresson: Picks, Shovels, etc.

Lowes and other stores didn't stock old world quality digging/hand tools to suit me. My late Dad had 'quality' picks on the family farm. Those belong to the farm. Since I live south of Kentucky and north of Alabama, I regularly hit every 'junk' shop around the state. With less than a 10 dollar outlay, I purchased several 8 lb. maul heads and three pick heads. Two of the pick heads were standard size; however one of them was 1/3 the size. The [thickness of ] steel in the picks seems over-built compared to 'new' production types. I purchased duplicate hand turned hickory handles. These are easily found in this part of the country at flea markets. I would urge many of the readers to recognize the real world need for these old world tools. One never knows when 'ground hog day' may arrive. - Matt

Mr. Rawles:
Your "The Next Pandemic" article and he responses to it that you posted really got me thinking. If it all hits the fan, how can I possibly hand out charity to refugees without them just taking it all, by force? Once a bunch of people are in your house, or even in your front yard, they have the advantage. I really want to be generous and charitable, since it is my duty as a Christian. (I have more than 2 tons of wheat, rice. and other stuff stored, for example.) But I don't want to get cleaned out and then have nothing for my own family. How do I solve this dilemma? Should I hide half of my storage food somewhere in a "cache"? Should I just leave what I earmark for charity in big white plastic buckets marked "Take just one" by the side of the road a couple of miles from my house? Thanks, Brother! - L.T.Y. in not-so-rural Minnesota


Dear Jim,
I found Bob in Georgia's letter re: The Next Pandemic both educational and unsettling. It confirms, in many ways, fears I harbor about a post-SHTF environment, and leaves a number of unanswered questions in my mind.
I have read and often thought your admonition to dispense charity, but in the event can't honestly say what I would do. I believe we who "have" are compelled morally and Biblically to voluntarily share with those less fortunate than we, who "have not." I do not, however, believe any government, anywhere has any right to force us to share through coercion and state-mandated giveaways, which is wealth distribution and communism.
That said, what should I do if/when TSHTF? I wish I knew the answer. I am close to some neighbors and would feel no compunctions about sharing with them and helping them to the greatest extent possible. I wouldn't think twice. Others remain largely unknown to me and are question marks. Still others have impaired moral compasses (or none to speak of,) whom I would avoid sharing with altogether, as I am convinced it would only invite a violent attack (repeat visits by our local P.D. to their homes give me that feeling). My family's safety trumps charity in my way of thinking.
Bob in Georgia's letter speaks volumes for the declining moral fiber of our lost society and its values (or the lack thereof), and should serve as a strong reminder to the Patriot to exercise great caution not only in sharing, but in even discussing your preps. Keep up the good work, Jim. Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord, - Scott in California

JWR Replies: In my novel "Patriots" I describe a couple of methods for dispensing charity "at arm's length." One of them is through a local church. The other would be reserved for absolute worst case situation, where you would literally keep refugees off at a distance, at gun point, while you dole out food as charity. That might not sound very Christian, but it might come down to that, in a situation where law and order has completely broken down.

Hi Jim,
Just an FYI, the remaining stock of these units [the Kenwood handheld 2 Watt MURS transceivers] is dwindling fast. I expect the $49 special to be available for only one to two more months. I have not yet found a suitable replacement product that can be sold for less than $100 and are MURS certified.
On another note, I want to pass along that the customers that have been referred from your site have been excellent folks. Its been a pleasure to deal with them and they have all prompt in their payments
and very reasonable to deal with. If you ever need a reference to give a new advertiser, feel free to let me know. Thanks! - Rob at $49 MURS Radios

"OSOM" sent this From Doug Casey's newsletter: a very readable article on the French Revolution's hyperinflation and the corruption and misery it bred. OSOM's comment: "History doesn't repeat exactly - but it sure looks like it's rhyming."

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There are just 19 days left in the big "Container load sale" at Survival Enterprises. All of the storage food items are "first come - first served." The prices are less than half of retail. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. All orders must be phoned in for mail order, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (800) 753-1981 or locally at (208) 704-3935 as late as 8 p.m. Pacific time (5 p.m. Eastern time), or e-mail him at: kwATse1.us (Change the "AT" to an @symbol)

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Joseph in Missouri sent a link to a free online book called "Possum Living" that he says not many people have seen. Joseph describes it: "It is out of print, and fairly rare. It is about living with very little income, and being very self sufficient. The author was an 18 year old girl, living the life she writes about."

"Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death." - Thomas Paine

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The first piece presented today is another article submitted for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary copies of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

It was the summer of 1980. I’d read Robert Ringer and John Pugsley books on surviving coming economic collapses. Both taught how you should prepare yourself for such events. In another year I would finish graduate school and start living the 9 to 5 dream. Ha! So this summer it was time to do a little survival training and think on these things. I decided to hike part of the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains. Being a minimalist anyway and having read much of H. David Thoreau and about a Greek philosopher, Diogenes, I wanted to carry as little as possible on my hike and adventure into the wild.
Thoreau said: "When it is time to die, let us not discover that we never lived.” and “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Diogenes wanted to live simply, thinking too many “things” gets in the way of happiness and causes stress and worry. He got rid of most of his possessions except a cup to drink from. One day he saw an old woman drinking water from a stream with her hands. So Diogenes threw away his cup.
I truly believed that living simply brings some of the happiest times too, and not acquiring a new car and a bigger house than the Jones’s have, can bring this about. Not wanting to go the grave, discovering I’d never lived, I hit the trail with an 18 pound Wilderness Bug Out Bag (BOB). (It is nice to always have one of these in your car or truck)
Included were my Swiss Army Knife and a fixed blade knife. (Today I would opt to include a Tom Brown Jr. Tracker and the Leatherman Wave)
Other items included a 4 pound sleeping bag, water purification tablets, a tarp (to replace a heavy tent), one change of clothes, multivitamins, 1 roll of toilet paper, toothbrush, a few First Aid items, 50 pound fishing line, a two quart wine flask for water, 4 butane lighters (good to share or for trade), some 7 grain cereal (nutrition rich food is vital), peanut butter, raisins, beef jerky (extra beef jerky to share with new friends along the way, which I did), pemmican, a few packs of freeze dried food and an extra pair of running shoes…and a tin Diogenes cup.
Hiking 12 miles the first day, at a speed of 4 mph, there was a lot more day left than what I’d anticipated. Seemed there were only two things to do in the day... eat and hike...ok, three. Find water. It is always good to have your own source of good water. The eating took 30 minutes at the most, including preparation. Water was plentiful, crossing streams or hiking nearby them.
I'd done about 20 fasts in my life. And the biggest thing I'd learned, was that a person can go for many days without food. I'd gone 20 days on only juice and 5 days on water only. So I'd found one doesn't have to panic, in thinking they'll die if they go without food. Most of the hunger leaves after 3 or 4 days and you're left with only an empty feeling in your stomach...slightly different than being hungry. But you can do without food. In a survival situation, this is very important. It depends on how active you are. At times you will feel weak, but at times you will feel like you've got extra lightness and energy. But the knowledge that you can make it and go without food, gives you confidence. The more you practice it, (going without food) the more confident you get. It gives the body a rest from digestion, cleans the body out and you’ll live longer too.
Water of course is another matter. You need water. That's why water and shelter are your two major concerns and sometimes fire. I drank about 6-8 quarts a day. A time or two, I wished I’d had a firearm. There were bears around and who knows what other unforeseen critters out to do harm. “Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.” My personal choice would be a .44 Magnum revolver, with special as well as magnum loads. It’s great for home defense as well as more serious circumstances. If I had to live and defend myself from special situations and long distance threats, it would include a .308 M1A or 30-06 [M1 Garand], with lots of ammo.
In the morning I discovered why they called them the Smoky Mountains. The fog enveloped the mountains. The second day I paced myself better, hiking at three mph and enjoying more of the scenery. And having plenty of time to ponder, realized that one should enjoy the scenery in life. So what if I fell off a cliff or got eaten by a bear. I’d gone out living and enjoying life, not being in constant worry every day about possessions, politicians, other nee'r-do-wells, nor all the bad news on CNN. Being prepared, good friends/companionship, living simply and enjoying the moment. All this made life good and brought happiness.
I finished the 50 mile hike in five days, and gained a lifetime of appreciation and wisdom from it. A several day hike or campout is an absolute priceless way to learn about simple living, preparation and survival. - Albert J.

JWR Adds: Going "ultralight" when backpacking is perhaps viable in warm summer weather and at low elevation, but it is a foolhardy risk at any other time of the year . Even in summer, hypothermia is a risk if you get soaked by a downpour. Always bring a poncho and at least a small lightweight tent. Also, note that Giardia is endemic in streams and ponds throughout North America, so it is essential to carry a top quality water filter (such as a Katadyn pocket filter) or a chemical water treatment such as Polar Pure. Both of these options are compact and lightweight. And both, BTW, are available from Ready Made Resources.

Re: the assertion: “Two weeks after the expiration date, these agents can and frequently do become nephrotoxic” No, they always are nephrotoxic – it is dose related. The above statement is just plain wrong. Mis-dosing causes renal failure – which is an equally valid concern for do it yourselfers using vet abs – but not the d**n expiry date – I thought we had put the tetracycline debate to rest – in the 80’s it composition was unstable – it broke down 6-12 months post-expiry date and became potentially toxic from the degradation products of the binder. Since late-1980s, The new binder has meant less problem. Although vet abs remain potentially dangerous for many reasons – but not due to degradation within two weeks of the expiry dates. - A Doctor in New Zealand

Aaron in Florida noted: "The Official Department of the Army Publications and Forms web site has a tremendous number of manuals and information in PDF format." I should also add that anyone associated with the Army (Active, Reserve, Guard, retired, army civilian employees, and even defense contractors) can get an Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account, which will give you access to even more manuals.

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UN Report on Climate Change "Will Shock the World"

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Airman JB and Joe from Tennessee both forwarded this one: Doctors fear TB strain could cause a global pandemic if it is not controlled

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

Friday, January 26, 2007

Since SurvivalBlog is updated daily, please consider making it your web browser's "home" (start-up) page. Thanks!

The first article today is another articles submitted for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary first edition copies (Huntington House edition) of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

There are many reasons to make open pollinated ["heirloom variety"] seeds an integral part of your gardening experience and food storage. If seeds are collected from F1 hybrids, the plants grown from those seeds will generally not have the characteristics that you desired in the parent plant. Open pollinated seeds allow the gardener the option of saving seed and growing the plants you like, year after year. In the April 1991 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled, “World Food Supply at Risk”, the authors point out past failures of agriculture being based on only a few varieties. Such disasters include the 1970 corn blight that destroyed much of the US crop and the potato famine that killed over 1 million in Ireland. Such disasters are not new. The article also states that there is evidence that a blight destroyed much of the maize crop around 900 AD and probably caused the collapse of the Mayan civilization. I would recommend a trip to the library since the article is a good, sobering and interesting read, as is the October 1998 National Geographic on population and feeding the planet. Several organizations, such as The Seed Savers Exchange, have been established for education and as sources for open-pollinated seed. I find it a bit of a chuckle that many people put such an emphasis of a year’s supply of food, but do not store usable seed, canning supplies and the like. What if, for hypothetical example, a flu pandemic in the US occurred and the duration was more than a few months? What if there was a new disease outbreak in our food crops, for example a new fungus attacked our wheat supply in a wet year? The trouble with genetically identical (hybrid) crops is that they would all be at risk. That is the primary risk one runs with most of your caloric food base being dependent on one or two grain or starch crops.
The US used to be ready for such a crisis, but not anymore.
From WorldNetDaily
From Jeff Rense
When one thinks of the recent ‘mad cow’ concerns here in the United States, one realizes that even today, agricultural disasters can still happen as is illustrated by this short article from the Seeds Trust web site.
The current trend of some large agricultural conglomerates is to develop hybrid/biotech seeds that will not germinate when collected seed is replanted, or have the plant ‘self-destruct’. This technology now has several patents. For a look at the ‘terminator gene’ being developed for use in several crops, such as cotton, see the article from University of Indiana on the Terminator Gene.

It is easy for me to see both sides here. If the company spends millions of dollars to develop a new, higher yielding strain; they will want to protect that research at least until the money is recovered with some as profit. The trouble is illustrated by that oil rapeseed farmer in Canada (Percy Schmeiser) whose fields were planted with his own stuff and then his fields were contaminated with the genetically modified rapeseed. Even though he never planted the stuff, he found himself in court. The company (Monsanto) sued him (successfully!) when their gene was found in his crops, Even though he grew his own seed and his was contaminated. Shows a break down of common sense in the judiciary, which is no big surprise. The other problem is that by having terminator seeds, it allows direct corporate control of farmers by a corporation or government. In other words, they control what you can grow to insure ‘customer loyalty’.
For more on Percy Schmeiser see:
Currently only a handful of companies control most of the US seed and nursery market.
A recent Countryside and Small Stock Journal article titled “Do you know where your seeds come from? You may be surprised…. The Gardening Game”. The article highlights this consolidation [of seed vendors] in the US market place.
Sources of open pollinated/heirloom seeds:
JWR Adds: A wide assortment of heirloom seeds are also available from The Ark Institute

Unique/heirloom plants and nursery stock:
An Internet search for heirloom seed or open-pollinated seed will turn up many more sources.
Basic "how to" instructions for saving seeds:
Several books on saving seeds, including:
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-By-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs (Storey's Gardening Skills Illustrated) -- by Carole B. Turner
Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving -- by Carol Deppe
Saving Seeds: The Gardener's Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds -- by Marc Rogers, et al
Books on gardening and edible landscape design:
“ How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method”, Rodale Press, out of print, but easy to find at used bookstores or e-bay.
How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons (Paperback - Mar 2002)
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison and Slay Reney-Mia
Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway and John Todd
Greenhouse Gardener's Companion: Growing Food and Flowers in Your Greenhouse or Sunspace by Shane Smith and Marjorie C. Leggitt
Designing And Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally by Rosalind Creasy (Foreword), et al.
Also refer to the extension service of your state university.

The some articles on plant disease threats:
Dangerous Wheat Disease Jumps Red Sea.
VOA News

Then you add into the fray the mess politics can make of crops and farm policies. Worst case:
From The Christian Science Monitor
From The Daily Telegraph

Mr. Rawles,
The letter recently posted on your blog about using the rails for bugging out was quite interesting, and your strong admonitions about safety were well founded. There are considerations the author did not include and additional safety items that need to be mentioned as well. I conducted security operations for railroads in the late 70s and also have written about railroad history so I have experience "out on the line."

First, the rails do not necessarily take you to places that you need/want to go. Rail lines, especially here in the west, are located in out-of-the-way places. Road access to the rails in many locations is nonexistent meaning that someone bugging-out could find himself stranded where there is literally nothing and no practical way to get anywhere else. If you roll your vehicle descending or climbing the roadbed, there will be no help available; your best hope is that crews will eventually find your remains.

Navigating the roadbed. Rails do not sit flat on the ground, they sit atop a carefully constructed roadbed of rock ballast that promotes drainage. This ballast effectively raises the rail four to five feet above the surrounding ground and is quite steeply graded. Driving off of the rail will mean pitching your vehicle at an uncomfortable, potentially dangerous, angle to start down the roadbed. Once off the roadbed, there is not always a vehicle road parallel to the rail road. So if you way is blocked by a stalled train, you may not be able to get around it.

Stopping your Hy-Rail. Steel wheels rolling on steel rails do not stop as fast as rubber tires on pavement. Discovering the end of a train just around a curve may not afford the driver sufficient time to stop. Hitting the end of a train with a vehicle is catastrophic. (One of my employees did just that in the late 1970s and it cost me a fortune). Also, trains are incredibly quiet, surprisingly so. The driver could easily find a train running at him just around the next curve and never hear it until he is 100 yards from it.

Wandering the rails. Rail lines invariably head for major cities; that is where the goods they carry need to go. Rail lines, generally, do not go through the best parts of towns. If someone bugging-out has to traverse a city to get to his or her retreat, they will be exposing themselves to unnecessary risks in those parts of town.

If it sounds like I do not think using the rails for a travel route is a good idea, you would be correct. I have spent considerable time driving on the rails and have encountered these problems first hand. The rails are not a hospitable place for vehicles with or without Hy-Rail equipment. - Bruce C.

Hawaiian K. flagged this one: U.S. Navy Test Infrared Voice Communications System

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Reader Bob. B. suggested to taking a look at: The Provident Living (LDS) Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness web page. He suggested; "Especially look at the 'Dry Pack Handouts' label in the right-hand list. Great recipes for basic foods."

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There are just 21 days left in the big "Container load sale" at Survival Enterprises. Some items like dehydrated margarine powder and dehydrated cabbage have already sold out, so don't hesitate to get your order in. Do it soon, before many other items sell out! All of the items in this sale are "first come - first served." Again, the prices are less than half of retail. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. All orders must be phoned in for mail order, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (800) 753-1981 or locally at (208) 704-3935 as late as 8 p.m. Pacific time (5 p.m. Eastern time), or e-mail him at: kwATse1.us (Change the "AT" to an @symbol)

"During the 1980s we were told (by the media) that if a nuclear war broke out, we'd all be dead anyway. The reality is now hitting a few (like me, LOL) that yes some people will die, but most will be alive and suffering if they are not prepared. I will not let my children suffer because I had my head in the sand, so I'm doing what I can to get ready for whatever comes.” - Tarran (A lady who is a member of the Yahoo discussion group "survivalretreat", quoted with Tarran's permission, courtesy of Rourke)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I recently made some minor edits to my non-fiction book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation, and formally released it as the First Edition, through CafePress. I suppose that this change will make the first 100 copies that were sold (the ones marked "Limited Pre-Publication Edition") a bit of a collector's item. The cover price of the new edition is just $28. This book is a "print on demand" item, being sold only through Cafe Press.

Shalom Jim:
I have a quick question for you that is probably not the most profound one you've ever heard. Recently I purchased some 7.62mm NATO Ball from Southern Ohio Gun, and it came in a metal box loaded on stripper clips with five cartridges per clip. Do you recommend keeping the cartridges on the clips or would you remove them and pack them loosely in the metal box? Also, what is the reasoning behind your answer? Thanks, - Dr. Sidney Zweibel, Columbia P&S

JWR Replies: Unless the stripper clips are rusty (which could induce sympathetic corrosion on the cartridge brass), then I recommend leaving the cartridges on the stripper clips. Here is my reasoning:
1.) Wear and tear during transport (e.g. dented cartridges) is essentially the same whether ammo is off or on strippers. (And in fact it is even less for ammo on stripper clips that are packed in cloth bandoleers.)
2.) The ammo will be quicker to load into magazines when needed.
3.) There is no conclusive evidence that stripper clip springs weaken with time.
4.) With the exception of 8 round en bloc M1 Garand clips, in some localities ammo in stripper or en bloc clips does not legally contribute to the definition of a "loaded weapon" in a motor vehicle. (In my personal experience gained when I previously lived in California, many law enforcement officers mistakenly deem a loaded clip or magazine carried in the same vehicle with an unloaded gun as the same as a "loaded gun". Yes, this is a misinterpretation of the California Penal Code, but I know of two individuals that had to hire attorneys to extricate themselves from this bogus charge. (What a Mickey Mouse state!)

So, all in all, in my opinion it is best to store cartridges on the stripper clips.

Mr. Rawles:
Regarding SF in Hawaii's letter about hardtack biscuits posted on January 21st, I have made more than a few of these recently, both for survival purposes, as well as just for getting used to them. If you make them to specification they come out hard, like thick crackers. Be sure to cut them to size before you put them in the oven, as even after the 1-hour of cooking they will be too hard to cut effectively.
The best way I've found to eat them is take a bullion cube, dissolve it in water. Next add the hard tack, then a chunk of salt beef/jerky(or similar) that has been cut up. Throw in about half a sauteed onion and you've got some good eating stew. (A friend of mine also added canned peas and corn)
You can also use Spam instead of salt beef/jerky.
If your hard tack needs are more immediate, cook it at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. It will come out with a thick bread which if you add a little bit of baking soda instead of salt will taste more like a thick sourdough.
It's quite good and I often use it to make sandwiches when going for a hike. For a treat, you can also butter it right out of the oven.


Has anyone ever looked at Scottish shortbread for survival food? Basically butter, flour, salt, and sugar. Tastes good and high in fat. I had some in a plastic Baggie for well over a month. Looked at it and ate it. No problem. - EhB

JWR Replies: Shortbread could be an option, but I'd worry about the storage life of shortbread--particularly in warm weather--given its high butter content. (The butterfat could go rancid.) In contrast, hard tack has long been proven to store very well.

As an emergency room physician in rural East Tennessee and SW Virginia, I've seen a number of "casualties" from human use of animal antibiotics. First, the binders used in vet meds are not tested, usually, for lack of general reactivity in humans; if your genetic haplotypes are extremely different from cows and pigs, you might have an allergic reaction to the binder, not the antibiotic; I've seen this happen three times, once to bovine antibiotics, and twice to pig meds. Solution: test a small amount of the agent (e.g. 1/8th of a tab) and if no reaction in 24 hours, maybe you'll be okay (this is not advice and I don't recommend vet meds for humans or even half humans).
Second: the expirations on vet meds are not as closely monitored as with humans. Usually, an agent can be okay for six months past the stated expiration (and, you sometimes can't trust the stated expiry on vet meds); after that, no effect. Worse problem, with tetracyclic antibiotics (tetracyclines themselves, doxycycline and similar), the expiration is critical. Two weeks after the expiration date, these agents can and frequently do become nephrotoxic. I've seen two patients, now on dialysis, from kidney damage from old tetracycline. So, beware. Best bet is get to know an MD who will prescribe 1-2 courses of commonly used or broad spectrum antibiotics for each member of your family, ask the pharmacy about expiration dates on the source bottles (he may refuse to tell you, if so, forget it), and then rotate every year. good luck and beware. Things are never as easy as they seem. - Wardoctor (a Desert Storm vet)

"The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come.
When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin.
When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come.
Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."
- Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wow! We've surpassed 42 million hits and one million unique visits since SurvivalBlog was launched in August of 2005! We now have readers in more than 75 countries. Thanks for making SurvivalBlog such a huge success. Please keep spreading the word. One of the best ways that you can do this is to paste a SurvivalBlog link logo or link text in your e-mail footer. Many thanks!

Congratulations to our 1,000,000th visitor! (He e-mailed us a screen capture of the visit counter, to prove it.) His prize is two books: an autographed copy of my novel "Patriots" and an autographed copy of my non-fiction book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.

Hi Jim:
Perusing the "blog" the other evening, and, in response to your post of how certain members of our society react when normalcy is interrupted. I would like to relate an experience I had during an extended power outage, with my house being the only house within a two block area having power. As I am the end house on the cul-de-sac, my assumption is I am fed from the next subdivision. None-the-less, quite an eye opening experience.

One Friday afternoon, after some pretty heavy storms, the power goes out. When one of the neighbors sees that I still have power, he walks over and asks if he can run an extension cord across the street so he can use his electric blower to blow the debris off his driveway! I mention how dangerous that is , since he lives diagonally across a fairly heavily traveled feeder road, and offer to let him use my gas blower. He says he will bring it back in 20 minutes. But 20 minutes later, I see him and his wife drive away in one of their Corvettes. (Did I mention that they both have brand new Corvettes?) No blower noise in the meanwhile, and no blower returned to me.

As night falls, and power is still not restored to the rest of the neighborhood: I am in the garage, with the door open and another of my neighbors saunters over, wondering how I have power, and if he can watch the game on the television which is currently on PBS. I try to explain that the cable [television system] is out, and all I have are several local channels, including PBS, but I don't think he understands. He is really irritated that his power is out, and that he is missing the game. His anger is not directed at me, just directed at the situation in general! So, we are sitting around, having a few beers, provided by yours truly, of course, another neighbor saunters over. He too is wondering how I have power and the rest of the folks don't ....again, I try to explain power generation and distribution.....so, after a while, the last neighbor to arrive says his wife, soon to arrive , will know where the candles are, but he needs a flashlight to see to get over to his house. I kindly offer one of my spares , with the admonishment that I would like to have it back the next day. Did I mention this neighbor has garage filled with a fully restored Chevelle, worth about $20K and two new motorcycles? Drives a Caddy SUV, yet he doesn't own a simple flashlight?

Two days later: The blower: I finally see the Corvette neighbor roll in, after being gone for two days. I drive across the street , park behind the Corvette, and knock on the door and wait. They finally come downstairs, and hand me the blower. No explanation, no thanks. I am a wee bit irritated, and give them both a lecture on being prepared. During the course of the lecture, they mention all the firewood that I have stacked in the back, and that they "kiddingly" mention they know where to get firewood if things get tough. I reply, "Don't come looking to me for help, I have a family to take care of and you folks are on your own!" Should have seen the looks on their faces. Because they knew I meant it.

A week later: The flashlight: I finally see my neighbor on the following Friday...he is outside washing one of his bikes. I saunter over and ask "Where is my flashlight"..He replies: "Oh yeah", and brings it out. Again, no thanks offered. I ask whether he found his or has acquired another...he replies, "No". I then proceed to give him the same lecture about about the three day food and water, and emergency supplies that our government recommends as a bare minimum. I think that it went in one ear and out the other. Of course, when I mentioned that "if the S. really HTF", he was on his own, and don't come looking over my way for help", he looked slightly shocked, again, because he knew I meant it.

The moral of the story: These two neighbors have already shown me what they are made of. Am I prepared to say no to them if the "S. really HTF" Katrina style? Most assuredly. They are nothing more than parasites.Both sets of neighbors have nice houses , good jobs, probably 1/4 million dollars in assets in their homes and vehicles alone.....and neither of them seem to own a flashlight. And , unfortunately, I have a feeling that the rest of the neighborhood are exactly like them, unprepared for even the most minor cessation of services.

Disaster aside, your main threat will be the people that surround you. - Bob in Georgia

The following dates back to pre-Y2K, but I still find it applicable to far too many people [that live] around me:

"The Pollyanna Mantra"
I have always relied upon the complex interdependencies of society
They have never failed me in the past.
They will, therefore, never fail me in the future.
I do not need to prepare for any problems.

* Meat comes to me in shrink-wrapped packages.
* Vegetables have no dirt on them. They are always crisp and shiny.
* Fish is a food product that has no bones.
* Bread is neatly sliced and packaged. It Builds Strong Bodies Twelve Ways.
* Potatoes are long, rectangular cubes that have salt sprinkled on them. I drive my car past a window to obtain them.
* Light is provided to me 24 hours a day by glass bulbs. It is never dark.
* Power for my appliances lives in the wall. I plug into it whenever I want to.
* I have books. They are used for filling the empty space on my shelves.
* Entertainment comes to me in a large box. It has many channels.
* Sometimes I see wars in far away places on the box. Wars do not affect me personally. Wars are entertainment. Wars are not waged near where I live.
* Heat comes to me as I turn up a thermostat.
* Cool air comes to me as I turn down a thermostat.
* Clothing comes to me pre-sewn, in my size.
* When the county fair comes, I go to see the horses, cows, pigs and sheep. I do not know where they live after the county fair goes away.
* Factories are far away places. They make things for me. I buy them.
* I get to other places in marvelous vehicles that come to me in showrooms. I do not know how to build them, or to fix them.
* My children are educated by people smarter than me. I have forgotten all I learned in school.
* Peace is maintained in my neighborhood by good men in blue uniforms. They have guns. I do not. If I press 3 buttons on my phone, they will come and help me.
* Medical assistance can also be obtained instantly, ..via the same three buttons.
* My s**t does not stink. It goes down a porcelain hole. It goes away.
* If anything goes wrong, I will look in the Yellow Pages and call someone to fix it.

Chris forwarded this one: Scientists Report Breakthrough in Battle Against Deadly 'Superbug'

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More about Federal Reserve chairman's Benanke's warnings on demographic shifts: Calm before the storm' in federal deficit

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Novelist Michael Z. Williamson sent us a story about a very resourceful nine year old runaway.Mike's comment: "The boy's problems aside, he's very determined, smart, and a sure survivor."

"The immigration 'problem' in America today is not a question of numbers, but of our failure effectively to welcome those who do come by educating them in American principles, and evoking their real commitment of heart to the unique American way of life that represents a hope for the destiny of the world. We have largely abandoned the process of educating newcomers in the special principles of the American way of life. This failure, of course, is the natural result of the even deeper problem of our own retreat from these principles -- for how can we demand of newcomers what we scarcely acknowledge in ourselves? Our own schools have retreated from our commitment to that special understanding of principle, of human dignity, of human justice and of free enterprise that constitute our unique identity and represent a universal appeal for the world." - Alan Keyes

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today we welcome our newest advertiser, Get Ready Industries. Please visit their web site and check out their very broad line of survival gear, which includes: three day kits, food storage packages, first aid/minor surgery kits, hand crank and solar radios/flashlights, first responder kits, wheat grinders, cast iron cookware, stoves, books and DVDs, NBC protection gear, night vision gear, and much more. You name it, they've got it!

Please also visit our other paid advertisers in the scrolling right hand bar, and check out their products and services. One of the best ways that you can support SurvivalBlog is to patronize our advertisers. Please mention that you are a SurvivalBlog reader when you do so. Thanks!

The first article today is another articles submitted for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary first edition copies (Huntington House edition) of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

While sheltering in place has many advantages during an End-of-Civilization-Schumer-Dispersal scenario, there may be good reasons to travel on foot cross country. (In "Patriots" for example, squads and patrols traveled afoot for security, reconnaissance, communication, ambush and assault missions.) The following tips are offered for your consideration should you have to resort to “Shank’s Mare” for transportation.
Land Navigation can be divided into “tactical” or “peacetime” methods. While even in peacetime there are times that it is better to travel undetected, in a tactical scenario, being caught might be fatal. You’ll have to judge the situation yourself, but when in doubt, use the most cautious approach practical.

I’ll begin with normal situations where tactical concerns are secondary. Have a compass and whistle with you any time you are in unfamiliar territory or away from civilization. It is easy to become disoriented (especially at night, in dense vegetation or during periods of bad weather) and a quick look at a compass can often set you straight. If you do become lost or disoriented, stay put, if possible, and blow your whistle or use other comms (radio, cell phone, mirror, personal locator beacon, etc…) until you are found/regrouped.
Learn how to use a map and compass. It is fairly simple to learn, and can be fun too. I’ve made a game out of small-scale compass courses to teach the concepts used in navigating with a map and compass. There are various techniques, just find those you can remember easily and that are practical to use. Army Field Manual FM 3-25.26 Map Reading and Land Navigation is a good place to start, or there are many good civilian books on the subject. The Green Beret’s Compass Course, by Don Paul, Path Finder Publications 2004, is an interesting approach to the subject and a fairly quick read. The Internet also has some great resources on Map and Compass use. Here are a few sites to get you started:

Navigation With Map and Compass , Using the compass in interaction with a map , and Finding Your Way with Map and Compass (USGS)

Don’t forget to count your paces and/or use timing to estimate the distance traveled. This can keep you from overshooting your objective, and wasting time and energy to find your way back. In many cases, you can plan a “hold off” technique to purposely aim slightly right or left of your objective if there is an identifiable feature (ridge, river, road, etc…) that could lead you back to your end point. Once you hit that feature, you can turn in the direction of your objective and follow the feature until you reach your objective (e.g. when you get to the stream, turn left, and follow the stream uphill to camp). A GPS receiver is great help too, and potentially very accurate, but map and compass skills should always be there to supplement those battery-operated gizmos.

In a tactical, hostile environment, you would use similar navigation techniques as mentioned about travel in a non-hostile environment, but there are a few other considerations:

Evasion. If there’s a chance of running into goblins in the woods, navigation becomes more complicated. Moving undetected can be a challenge but can be done. Motion attracts an enemy’s eye more than camouflage can conceal you from him. For example, most deer and squirrels you probably see in the woods are noticed because of a twitch of the ear or a flick of the tail that alerts you to their presence. They are naturally hard to see, but the slightest movement can give them away. Move slowly, stop and look. Patience is a virtue that can save your skin.
Noise can also compromise your location. Be aware of noise and disturbing foliage and animals (birds or deer/elk). Masking your sounds by traveling in damp or windy weather may help.
When crossing “lines of communication” such as rivers or roads, cross at areas with limited visibility such as bends or shaded areas. Don’t follow trails or “lines of communication” or leave tracks on or near them. Avoid open areas where you can be seen from far away. This will reduce your chance of being seen, but will slow you down considerably! Instead of trail hiking at 1.5 to 3 mph, you might be lucky to go a quarter mile an hour in some terrain if you have to do it quietly and without being seen. Off road travel will also require much more effort and most likely be noisier. Plan for this.
Also consider what time of day you will be starting and stopping your movement. To avoid being seen by Night Vision Devices (NVDs), dawn and dusk can provide a light condition that is too dark to be easily seen with the naked eye, yet too light for NVDs to work well. Air Force Pamphlet 64-5 Aircrew Survival is a great resource that gives an overview of evading capture while traveling in a hostile environment.
Conceal your direction of travel in case you are captured (no sense in showing the bad guys where you were going). This includes not writing down headings or making markings on a map, and if you are using a military-type lensatic compass that locks the compass dial when it is closed, turn the compass off course before locking the dial so that your last heading is not revealed. To mark a map temporarily, use sticks, pine needles or string to show lines of position or course direction.
This overview is just a brief and limited summary of things to consider if you need to travel to survive. I hope it has provided food for thought and grounds for further research (FFTAGFFR). I also hope that I've included some tips that can keep you safe. Be Prepared, - GlobalScout

[In reply to Matt's comments on Rolf's original letter:] There are a lot of examples to illustrate why each person needs their own disaster preps, and the "insurance" example ("why should your fire
insurance pay for my house burning down, or vice-versa?") is a good one.
Another is the "personalization" aspect: "Sorry, I'm a single guy; I doubt I'd stock your wife's brand of feminine protection." But people tend to think of "disaster preparations" as special or different in some way, because they are not "normal accidents," and most people have a very hard time thinking outside a fairly narrow range of "normal events."
Because an "emergency" is outside the "normal" range of events, people will tend to react to thoughts about disasters emotionally, not
intellectually, because that is what people do when dealing with things that they have not trained for (which is why you keep hearing "practice, practice, practice!"). By definition, people reacting emotionally are not acting rationally or thoughtfully, even when they by chance do something right.
If someone starts acting in any way belligerent, and says they are coming over in spite of your saying or implying that they may not be welcome, it might not be the best thing you can do to say something that they might interpret as a threat. Saying you also stock up on ammo has several problems: it scares them by being a veiled threat to their lives or security, which will make them even more irrational and reactionary; it puts you into that "loon with guns" category; it turns them off to being prepared themselves for a lot of reasons, including "we don't want to be like that
survivalist nut that threatened us!"; lastly, it's telling them that if they ever do come over, they need to gang up and be sneaky about it (giving them a tactical advantage). You normally want to avoid give a potentially shooting-war enemy any kind of info on how to best take you out. Obviously there might be situations where it would "shut them up," but it may not get them on the path to independence; it may just make them think they are helpless, and vote for more government programs (and we know how great those are....)
A better approach might be to ask "well, what if when you come over you are the fifth in a line of families who also came over, and they don't want to share, or there isn't any left? Or, what if I move away for a new job and the disaster hits the following week? Then what?" You are putting the threat of them starving, or freezing, or whatever into a neutral frame of reference, where you are not the threat, the situation or some unnamed third party is. It is imperative to keep it neutral, so they can think rationally rather than emotionally or defensively, and they don't think of you as the
enemy, but think of the disaster situation as the enemy. Stress that independence is the goal, and anything that makes them dependant on you hurts both if something bad happens to you.
If they say or imply that they would be willing and able to take your preparation supplies by force (saying "I've got guns, you have food. By the end of the day I'll have both" for example), that's a whole different turn of events. They have just declared to the world that they are a sociopath, a looter in waiting, with means and motive to attack you in a disaster situation. If you have stocked up on ammo (of course you have, right?), don't make it a pissing match about who has more or better stuff; a simple "there are likely easier targets you might want to try to take ammo from
than my neighborhood, unless you are really good at detecting booby-traps and dodging lead bumble-bees from multiple directions" puts it terms that they will likely understand. It's vague enough to not get you into trouble, but implies a lot of things they might take to heart, even if you don't currently have any booby-trap plans, and you are the only one in the cul-de-sac with a gun and thorough disaster plans. Then immediately leave or kick them out; don't hang around for them to gather more info about you. Always keep it civil, polite, and neutral. There is no benefit in making enemies; winning friends, expanding your mutual-assistance and mutual-defense circles are the goal, and you cannot do that making threats (direct or veiled), scaring people, insulting people, or making them angry or confused. Once they are onboard with the idea, then you can get into details. - Rolf


I call this the uninvited or self-inviting neighbor/friend problem. "When the SHTF, I'm coming to your house" seems harmless and innocuous, but at the same time, the person who says this is probably testing the waters with you, just to see what your reply is. If you just let it go, he and his family probably will show up, empty handed, at your door one day. I suggest a playful come-back like: “Well, actually I sell tickets for that, $500 a head in advance, renewable each year, same price, or $10,000 per personal at the door, cash only, no-refunds if the World does not end”. This puts the ball playfully back in his court, half jokingly, but makes the cost issue involved clear.

I would like to expand a little on this topic, as to the morality of this highly uncomfortable issue, as I think every survivalist must consider it before TSHTF. Since, the early 1960s in the US, the unprepared neighbor knocking on your bomb shelter door, when nuclear war looks imminent, is a common, and even favorite question for college philosophy and ethics students. Your answer of course depends on several facts, and also the standards you use, or the philosophy/religion you chose (the rules you apply) to find the answer. In real life this can be a delicate and dangerous situation. Television shows such as The Twilight Zone and even The Simpsons have addressed it, in both cases it being a false alarm, and people are left feeling pretty bad as to how they behaved. Keep the false alarm issue (facing your neighbor later after your turned him away), and what can happen in the heat of the moment in mind. Be diplomatic. In decided how you are going to handle this, I would like to offer a few thoughts and standards to consider:

Utilitarianism - is usually the simplest and easiest one to start with, the greatest good for the greatest people, simple concept. This is the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few,
however, if by helping the many, you risk the lives of the few, any everyone, you have to step back and re-adjust your thinking don't you. Often then people then put in the additional rules, help the many if it doesn't kill anyone, or risk killing anyone, or adversely affect the few, etc. Thus this philosophy goes is often added on to with these caveats, and it's really up to your and your beliefs as to where you drawer certain lines and exceptions.

Triage – this a painfully pragmatic concept in healthcare treatment, which basically says you treat the most critically injured first, unless they are unlikely to survive. This commonly accepted philosophy tells healthcare professionals, that in situations of crisis, with limited resources, you are in going to have to ignore the people you probably can’t save, and focus on those you can, only, in order starting with the worst off.

The Law - Legally speaking, in the USA at least, you do not owe a duty to your help you “fellow man”. If you walk by a guy having a heart attack and ignore him, you have broken no actual law. Are you a jerk for not doing something? Most would probably say yes, especially if you are trained or have a cell phone, but this doesn't make you a criminal. (BTW, some medical training, including EMT in some states does obligate you). However, you are legally responsible for your minor children, so legally their health and welfare can be a legal basis for your decision making. This is often called “Best interests of the children” and it almost always trumps everything else in Court. Look at politicians, it's always "for the children" (even when the teachers go on strike, right?)

The Charity Issue
(religiously based or just moral ) – my suggestion here is that 10% is a nice percentage for charity, and is historically supported. So - if you think you must or should provide charity, I suggest you set aside 10% of your supplies and call that Charity. Otherwise, you get on a slippery slope to not having the 90% that is yours after all. Remember that there is also another option to charity: wages. If they are already outside, they might work for food - and do some basic stuff, chores, scouting, etc. to earn food. Remember that option.
Rational discussions with people, especially friends and family who show up after – remember, if days after people knocking on your door the are in bad shape, hungry and thirsty, overtired, sick, suffering, - they are not in a state for a rational discussion of fairness at that point. You might consider giving them a meal, and some basic stuff, maybe get some sleep, and once they have themselves together, you can have a conversation about this.
Not a time for socialism - Here is a fear of mine when it comes to really nice people who are survivalists – they let in a regular used car salesman type neighbor and his family, and the family on the other side. Pretty soon the fast talking neighbor decides that they should form a “democracy” to determine who is in charge in your retreat, and how the food and supplies are split – “fairly”. This is the type that would probably cut a secret deal with the other neighbor too. Never lose sight of the fact that it is your stuff. Your stuff is not up for re-distribution. Remember the new golden rule. Those who have the gold make the rules. Not very Christian? Well , I disagree, you can, and I think should, give charitably, but that most certainly does not mean surrendering to others and becoming an indigent in short time yourself, and more so, putting your family in that situation.
Finally, let us also admit here that letting people you our retreat/home/bunker can be dangerous. We all must sleep, and are vulnerable when we do. The very last thing you want to do is wake up to someone holding your gun on you. Consider security, be charitable, but guarded, especially as to whom you grant your trust. - Rourke

Despite the fact that the price of crude oil has wandered down to around $50 USD per barrel, the spot price of silver is now back up solidly above $12.80 per ounce. This is further evidence that supports my assertion that the price of oil and the prices of precious metals are becoming de-linked. ˆ I expect this price divergence to continue to grow in coming years.

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Commander Zero mentioned that there is another long haul microwave "bunker" and tower site currently for sale in Montana. This one is in open country, near Miles City. (OBTW, my retreat locale preference in Montana is for the western portion of the state--upwind of the missile fields.

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Blazer Jeremy sent us a link about a recent ASAT test by China.

"Which part of no doesn't Congress understand? The First Amendment says: 'Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech ... or the right of the people to peaceably assemble.' I don't see any exceptions there, do you?" - Mark Tapscott

Monday, January 22, 2007

There are now just nine days left for you to enter an article in Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I will again be sending out a few complimentary first edition copies (Huntington House edition) of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

There have been many recent press reports about the base metal value of some small denomination U.S. coins now exceeding their face value. (For example 1.66 cents for a pre-1983 copper penny, and 6.65 cents for a U.S. nickel 5 cent piece. The latter may eventually have to be replaced with an aluminum token.) Fearing that they might disappear from circulation, the U.S. Treasury Department recently issued an edict banning the exportation or melting of pennies and nickels. This is a stopgap measure that ignores a much bigger issue: The U.S. currency has suffered from more than 70 years of fairly consistent currency inflation. We have been slowly robbed of our savings, through this inflation. In effect, inflation is a hidden form of taxation. When I was a kid, a candy bar cost a dime, a gallon of gas was 28 cents, and a trip to the movies cost $2 or $2.50, including popcorn and a soda pop. But nowadays, a candy bar costs 80 cents, a gallon of gas is $2.20, and a trip to the movies is more of a $10 o $12 proposition. .Rather than going to the extreme measure of eliminating pennies from circulation or issuing aluminum "nickels" , wouldn't it make more sense, and be more intellectually honest, to simply knock a zero off of our currency? This was done several times in the last century by countries like Brazil (three zeros, twice within four years), Turkey (six zeros), and Israel (three zeros). It was also done just last year in Zimbabwe (three zeros), but given the continued rate of inflation, who knows the fate of the Zimbabwean dollar?

Here is how it could work here in the U.S.: As of midnight on some pre-arranged night--preferably December 31st--the banks would re-value all accounts, dividing by ten. Hypothetically, say that Mr. Smith has $852 in his checking account, $3,180 in his savings account, and $78,500 in his Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The next morning his accounts would be adjusted to $85.20, $318, and $7,850, respectively. At the same time, everyone's wages would be divided by ten. Meanwhile everyone would be given one month to trade in their old paper currency, in exchange for a new issue, at a 10 for 1 ratio. (The old coinage would not be changed, resulting in a 10-for-1 windfall for every child with a piggy bank.) The end result: A penny would really mean something again. A candy bar would be back to around 8 cents, and gas would be back to 22 cents. This might sound like a lot of trouble to accomplish, but I can see that it would have several advantages: First, it would re-kindle the concept of savings, which seems to have been lost in recent years. Second, it would highlight the real value of both base metals precious metals. Third, it might subconsciously add to the prestige of the Dollar, since it would probably take four or five Euros to buy a U.S. Dollar. Fourth, It should also be a cue for folks to consider investing in inflation-proof tangibles like precious metals. Fifth, and most importantly, it would increase public awareness of the twin evils of inflation and fractional reserve banking. Then, hopefully, Congress would feel obliged to stop its deficit spending and to do something meaningful to control inflation.

The foregoing is not a serious proposition. Rather, it is more of an object lesson. I realize that the chances of the politicians in Washington, D.C. having the will to do something honest and forthright like this are probably nil. We've sent a bunch of spineless worms to Washington. By their inaction, they demonstrate that they are satisfied with the status quo--even if that means the robbery of the American citizenry, in slow motion. Chances are, in 30 or 40 years my grandchildren will probably pay $8 for a candy bar. And then perhaps there will be talk of lopping off two zeros from the once almighty U.S. dollar.

Hello James,
I was doing some thinking over the past discussions of those that will have to travel a great distance given a major event to get to their retreat. I understand that this is a less than "safe" idea, but under the scenario of an EMP attack, may be a viable option. Since main [automobile traffic] arteries will be clogged, if you have the foresight to plan your Bugout Vehicle (BOV) as an EMP resistant 4x4 Truck or Van, why not modify the undercarriage to accept train rail gear, or better yet, search for an old retired Hy-Rail truck? This is obviously given extreme circumstances and proof that nothing is operational on the tracks.
I would surmise that trains will be one of the first up and running vehicles as they offer the most cargo capacity with the least number of vehicles after an EMP event. So, think, look, know.
I would assume that one would stumble upon trains that were inoperable along your journey to your retreat making a nice immoveable road block. Lift the running gear, exit the tracks, drive around the deadlined train, and then back onto the tracks.
In a major event, there will obviously be many threats along the way. Given that, I think the numbers will be far less along the train tracks than on the freeways and major thoroughfares. Unless you live in Nebraska, I think most tracks wander in many different directions so it will not be clear to the average Joe without a map, which tracks to take. Not to mention that without a GPS and 6'x6' signs, most citizens are lost.
With a map in hand, one could bypass major cities or potential problem areas and head cross country, or take a different set of tracks. I am not a train techie, but I think two pairs of manual or hydraulic cylinders, cut out some of the floor boards of the vehicle, and some offset to the inside rims, some sort of homemade track traveler could be had. If the time permits, why not rig up a trailer in the same manner? To clarify, I am not suggesting that the rims of the vehicle become the running gear. My suggestion to offset the rubber tires to the inside is because the centerline of track to track is likely narrower than the centerline of wheel to wheel on your BOV. By setting the wheels to the inside, you could apply ample down pressure on your everyday tires onto the track thus becoming the friction needed to become your drive train.
As a side note I was watching the Military channel a few weeks back and safe and secure vehicles were being highlighted. One manufacturer guaranteed 30 miles on totally flat tires. His device was a two piece doughnut shaped piece that was slipped onto the rim after half of the rubber tire was pressed into place. It almost mirrored a set of drum brake halves except much much larger. Reach in, bolt the halves together, and finish installing the other half of the tire and fill with air. Aside from Loc-Tite [adhesive] and balancing, I can’t think of any drawbacks to such an idea. Width disperses weight. Less weight per square inch and the longevity of the rubber tire is greatly increased. Much more so than the 1/4” wide steel flange of most rims which act as razors to the rubber when a flat happens. [An extra] 30 miles could be the difference between safety and danger. - The Wanderer

JWR Replies: I describe rail car mobility in my "Pulling Through" screenplay. (Which, BTW, is available for free download.) If you opt for this capability, exercise extreme caution and discretion. Get to know the technology, legalities, and customs very well. The best way to do this is to join a "rail motorcar" club. I cannot overemphasize safety in any such endeavor. What you suggest should only be done in extremis on any tracks other than those that you are 100% certain are entirely abandoned. You need to be absolutely certain that the rails that you intend to use are not in use. Failure to do so could be tragic!

A do-it-yourself modification of an existing vehicle for rail use is complicated to do right. You are better off buying either a professionally modified Hy-Rail pickup or a small 100% rail-dedicated motorcar (commonly called a "speeder"), such as the Fairmont speeder that I described in my screenplay. If you get a speeder, be sure to get one that has self-lift/self-turntable capability, as shown in this video. Most railroad companies phased out their little speeders in the 1980s and 1990s and switched to Hy-Rail pickup trucks, for greater versatility. A few might still come up for sale at railroad company surplus auctions, but the prime time for that was more than a decade ago. Prices on the secondary market for speeders is still relatively low, but climbing. Sadly, the days of a $500 speeder" are long gone. Used Hy-Rail pickups that are complete with their rail running gear don't come up for auction as often as you'd think. This is because the Hy-Rail gear is often switched to a new prime mover once a railroad pickup nears the end of its service life.

One inexpensive option that shouldn't be overlooked is converting a mountain bike or a light motorcycle (120cc, or smaller) to ride on rails, by means of fore and aft guide wheels, an "outrigger" wheel (or wheels) to ride on the other rail, and a means of locking the handlebars from pivoting. For stability and safety, about 60% of the weight should be on the outrigger wheel. (Hence, with most designs you will always be leaning slightly in the direction of the outrigger. One way of achieving this balance is to position most of your cargo weight on the outrigger side, or even on a cargo rack above the outrigger wheel itself. One alternative is to link two bicycles side-by side with brackets, each riding a rail. (A side-by-side tandem arrangement.) Because railroad grades are mild, it is remarkably easy to ride a bike on rails. The engineering and mechanical skills required for rail converting a bike is simple compared to converting a motor vehicle. But again, all of the aforementioned safety provisos apply.

Regarding "run-flat" tires. These are available on BMW 3-series cars, as well as the Toyota Sienna. Many tire manufacturers now produce them for after-market installation for a variety of cars and light trucks. These include: Bridgestone RFT (Run Flat Tire), Dunlop DSST (Dunlop Self-Supporting Technology), Firestone RFT (Run Flat Tire), Goodyear EMT (Extended Mobility Technology), Michelin ZP (Zero Pressure), Pirelli RFT (Run Flat Technology), and Yokohama. These are all "self-supporting" designs, meaning that they are supported by special sidewall designs rather than a rim-mounted support insert. (The latter would be preferable. More on this, later.) I have an acquaintance that has some.made by Bridgestone, and he said that with normal inflation they have the "feel" of regular tires. I suspect that run flat tires will become commonplace in the next few years, since car manufacturers would surely prefer to save on the space and weight of carrying a spare tire.

I have a bit of personal experience with military run flat tires. Back when I was lured back to the Dirty Big City to take a technical writing job in the late 1990s, I owned an amphibious British Ferret Mark 4 up-armored scout car, which was my intended BOV. (Sadly, I sold it-- along with its Valkyrie Arms M1919A4 "turret accessory"--just before we moved back to the hinterboonies.) The Ferret had its original British army issue run flat tires with massive rim-mounted hard rubber inserts. This design is preferable to the typical commercial "self supporting" tire designs. The only brand of commercial run flat tires that I know of that has a military style hard rubber insert (an "Auxiliary Supported" design) is the Michelin PAX System. This requires installation of both special tires and wheels. I consider this design superior to the more commonplace "self-supporting" run flat tire designs. For maximum mobility in a "ballistically challenged" environment, the best of all possible worlds would probably be a vehicle with a central tire inflation system (CTIS)--such as that used on the military HMMWV and its commercial Hummer H1 counterpart--used in conjunction with a Michelin PAX-type auxiliary supported tire system.

OBTW, I once skipped checking tire inflation and drove my Ferret on city streets for nearly 20 miles without realizing that one of the tires was flat and I had been riding on the inner hard rubber support. I didn't realize my mistake until I was doing my "after operation" checks. (Given the five ton vehicle's noise, boat-like handling, and top speed of 50 MPH, it would have been hard to have noticed the difference.)

Fed Chief Bernanke warns: Fiscal action needed as America's citizenry ages

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Here is a handy "locator page" for finding an LDS "storage center" (cannery) in your area. The LDS church graciously makes their cannery facilities available to non-Mormons.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Creates Global Warming Committee. Gee, Nancy, could you send some of your hot air up here? (We just had a whole week of overnight lows around 10 below zero.)

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I just heard that Northern Tool & Equipment (one of our Affiliate advertisers) is offering Free Shipping on UPS Ground Orders over $150. This short term promotion ends on Monday, February 5th. You will need to enter keycode 96304 to receive free shipping on your UPS Ground order.

"In one century we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college." - Joseph Sobran

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I just noticed that SurvivalBlog is rapidly approaching the milestone of one million unique visits! To highlight this event, I'm offering a special prize to the one-millionth visitor. If you are fortunate enough to be the visitor that witnesses the SurvivalBlog unique visits counter (at the top of the right hand bar) roll over to exactly 1,000,000 visits then take a screen capture of the page and e-mail it to me. Your prize will be two books: an autographed copy of my novel "Patriots" and an autogrpahed copy of my non-fiction book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.

It warmed up to 30 degrees yesterday, so The Memsahib did some more ice skating down on the slough. (A shallow side channel at the north end of our property, that leads into The Unnamed River (TUR.)) She is becoming quite the skater. In fact, she can skate better backwards that I can forward! The Memsahib looked very fetching in her hand spun, hand-dyed, hand knit sweater. Ooooh! Very Sonja Henne. Sometimes she makes it hard for me to concentrate on my work. We've been married nearly 20 years but we are still madly in love.

I liked Rolf's idea for a reply to the "I'm coming to your house" comments. I like to say: "If you got in a car wreck, you wouldn't expect my car insurance to cover it would you? No, of course not, that's what you have your own car insurance for. If your house burned down, you wouldn't expect my house insurance to cover it would you? No, of course not, that's what you have your own house insurance for. So, how would it be any different in a disaster. Do you think my disaster insurance should cover you in the event of a disaster? No, of course not, that's what you have your own disaster insurance for." If they answer with some kind of belligerent remark about coming over anyway, you can always casually mention that you also stock up on large quantities of ammunition. That usually seems to make them think again about what they just said. - Matt, U.P. of Michigan

The history of biscuits started off in Rome around the 3rd Century BC. The word biscuit comes from the Latin bis coctum which means "twice-baked". Back then, a biscuit was a thin unleavened wafer, quite hard, and with a very low water content - hence the name "twice-baked". The advantage of the low water content was that the biscuit would have a long shelf-life, because it wouldn't get moldy. Adding eggs or meat to the biscuit mix increases protein content but it will not last as long. Mixing a complementary proteins (grains with dairy, grains with beans and beans with seeds) will provide a more complete protein and have a longer shelf life. When properly made, they travel well and are satisfying and nutrient dense. - SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: "Hard tack" biscuits, "ship's biscuits", or "pilot bread" have long been a staple for trappers, explorers, sled team mushers, seamen, and mining prospectors. They are a compact food with decent shelf life, and easy to digest. Modern plastic zip lock bag packaging can keep them dry and fresh--eliminating the "soggy, moldy biscuits" problem cited by 19th Century explorers. I like your idea of mixing in beans to form a more complete protein. Pound for pound, there are few foods--aside for some freeze dried marvels--that can compare with a combination of hardtack, jerky, peanut butter, honey, and dried fruit. Just be sure that your digestive system can cope with this diet before trying to subsist on it for more than a couple of days. You might need to add some natural roughage such as bran flakes, or perhaps even a commercial bulk laxative such as Metamucil. Compact backpacking foods make the best foods to store in your "Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) backpack. Here is a link to a traditional hardtack recipe, but with modern cooking. - SF in Hawaii

Hawaiian K. suggested a link to the article titled: "No Way Out: A 50% Dollar Devaluation", by Robert McHugh, Ph.D. 

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The big "Container load sale" at Survival Enterprises that I mentioned last week is now in high gear. It is all selling fast and strictly "first come - first served." The prices are less than half of retail. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. Survival Enterprises has a web page with a running inventory list with prices. (As they sell out an item, they keep visible track what is left.) All orders must be phoned in for mail order, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. This is a a great opportunity for SurvivalBlog readers in the Inland Northwest to get their storage food with no shipping charges!.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (800) 753-1981 or locally at (208) 704-3935 as late as 8 p.m. Pacific time (5 p.m. Eastern time), or e-mail him at: kwATse1.us (Change the "AT" to an @symbol)

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Glenn Reynolds managed to get this published in the op-ed page of the liberally-biased New York Times: A Rifle in Every Pot

On The Great Plague of London: "And now, after all the breaches on the churches, the ejection of the ministers, and impenitency under all, wars, and plague, and danger of famine began all at once on us. War with the Hollanders, which yet continueth; and the driest winter, and spring, and summer that ever man alive knew, or our forefathers mention of late ages; so that the grounds were burnt like the highways where the cattle should have fed! The meadow grounds, where I lived, bare but four loads of hay, which before bare forty. The plague hath seized on the most famous and most excellent city of Christendom; and, at this time, eight thousand and near three hundred die of all diseases in a week. It hath scattered and consumed the inhabitants, multitudes being dead and fled. The calamities and cries of the diseased and impoverished are not to be conceived by those that are absent from them! Every man is a terror to his neighbour and himself; for God, for our sins, is a terror to us all. Oh! how is London, the place which God hath honoured with his gospel above all the places of the earth, laid low in horrors, and wasted almost to desolation, by the wrath of God, whom England hath contemned; and a God-hating generation are consumed in their sins, and the righteous are also taken away, as from greater evil yet to come.
'The number that died in London, besides all the rest of the land, was about a hundred thousand, reckoning the Quakers, and others that were never put in the bills of morality, with those that were in the bills. The richer sort removing out of the city, the greatest blow fell on the poor. At the first, so few of the most religious sort were taken away, that, according to the mode of too many such, they began to be puffed up, and boast of the great difference which God did make; but quickly after, they all fell alike. Yet not many pious ministers were taken away: I remember but three, who were all of my own acquaintance.
'It is scarce possible for people, that live in a time of health and security, to apprehend the dreadfulness of that pestilence! How fearful people were, thirty or forty, if not a hundred miles from London, of anything that they bought from any mercer's or draper's shop! or of any goods that were brought to them! or of any person that came to their houses! How they would shut their doors against their friends! and, if a man passes over the fields, how one would avoid another, as we did in the time of wares; and how every man was a terror to another! Oh, how sinfully unthankful are we for our quiet societies, habitations, and health!'
Many of the ejected ministers seized the opportunity of preaching in the neglected or deserted pulpits, and in the public places of resort, to the terror-stricken inhabitants of London; and blessed results followed. 'Those heard them one day often, that were sick the next, and quickly died. The face of death did so awaken both the preachers and the hearers, that preachers exceeded themselves in lively, fervent preaching, and the people crowded constantly to hear them; and all was done with such great seriousness, as that, through the blessing of God, abundance were converted from their carelessness, inpenitency, and youthful lusts and vanities; and religion took that hold on the people's hearts, as could never afterward be loosed." - Richard Baxter, from Richard Baxter, The Pastor's Pastor (Baxter was a Reformed pastor in the 17th century, and both a prolific and influential writer.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We now offer a couple of additional payment options for book orders and for 10 Cent Challenge subscriptions: both AlertPay and GearPay. (We prefer AlertPay or GearPay because they don't share PayPal's anti-gun political agenda.) In my experience, AlertPay has a frustratingly labyrinthine account set-up procedure, but GearPay seems much quicker and easier to set up.
Our AlertPay address is: rawles@usa.net
Our GearPay address is: rawles@usa.net
Our PayPal address is: rawles@earthlink.net

I wanted to say thanks so much for the excellent derivatives article. ["Derivatives--The Mystery Man Who'll Break the Global Bank at Monte Carlo."] I speculate in this market and wholly share your opinion about what exists, the ignorance of the implications, and the clear and present danger to the lifestyle of everyone on the planet. Keep up the good work with the blog and with excellent articles such as this. Respectfully, - CMC

Jim H in Co, recently speculated on the dearth of veterinary [antibiotic] supplies. Here is where I get mine and have been happy with them for some time. - Tip, in Lost Wages Nevada

Here is some info on what is presently a freeware application which I can quite-honestly classify as in the "Save Your Bacon" category. (it sure saved my rump, on at least one very significant occasion.) It does its' job, it is small, and it is freeware. My conscience would bother me no end if I kept this gem to myself; perhaps you and/or the blog might benefit from this goody. - Ben L.

Thank you for response on the mobile survival fantasy. I think it is dangerous for the average Joe to believe that he can be a mountain man. Sure, some can, in some climates and locations with lots of training. Even then it's dangerous and unpredictable. A twisted ankle can be the end of you. Remember too, those mountain survival stories were from the days when the wildlife in this country was at much higher levels. For most of us it means being cold, wet, tired, hungry and thirsty in the woods and being targets on the streets. ("Nice pack man, what 'cha got in there? Hey, your wife/daughter sure looks purty...")
Other pet peeves of mine are the twin television fantasies regarding water and guns. First thing you notice on TV 'survival scenes' is the lack of packed water. The heroes mount up with their guns and attitude, but... no water? Yup, it's heavy to pack and takes up space. Nope, there are no water fountains in the woods. The communal fountains that people could drink out of are mostly gone from cities. True, most cities were founded by the water for transportation, but that means you need either a water distiller/desalinator for the oceans or a really good filter for the rivers. Drinking the water from a river in a major city might work months after a TEOTWAWKI when upstream factories shut down and stop using the river as a toilet, but for now it's really nasty.
Just imagine walking through a city with the stores closed/burned/looted and the the water pressure gone. I grew up in NYC and the only place I can think of to get water in that scenario would be the reservoir in Harlem. A dangerous place in the best of times. Also, with a pack, you'll sweat more. I can get by on very little water in my office, but on a trail with a pack in the noon day sun I get dehydrated real fast.
Television peeve #2 is the one shot kill (and one punch knock out). Just shoot the bad guy once and he's down? Unless it is a central nervous system hit (spinal cord or brain) he's not down. Even a heart shot gives him enough time, say 6 seconds, to stab you or shoot back if he's angry or drugged enough. How far can a man run in 6 seconds? Will he close the gap? It's not whether the bad guy dies from the wounds you inflict on him, it's whether you kill him in such a way as to deny him the ability to return the favor.

FWIW, here is a compilation of my top 15 survival fantasies and misconceptions:

1. You can fit everything you need for extended survival in a backpack
2. A single shot not hitting the brain or spinal cord less or than .40/.44/.45 caliber will stop an attacker before he can kill you
3. I don't need to bring that much water
4. The government is here to help
5. I'm in good enough shape right now to hike 20 miles with a 70 pound pack
6. Everything I have stored still works, hasn't expired, I know how to use it and I know where it is
7. I can buy what I need at the first sign of impending crisis
8. My kids can keep up with me on an extended hike
9. Farming/livestock/hunting/fishing/trapping are easy to learn from a book, I don't need practical experience
10. God will help me. I'll be in the right place at the right time if I am a good person
11. I can argue/discuss/bargain with a bad guy(s). I don't have to shoot them.
12. If I shoot them, I can wound them, I don't have to kill.
13. By virtue of my obvious survival knowledge, foresight and preparedness, my family/friends/neighbors will agree that I am the best suited to lead our newly formed fledgling survival group and will listen and carry out my suggestions.
14. Life in TEOTWAWKI will be fun. Since there will be no more taxes/bills/mortgage to pay and I don't have to show up for work it will be hard but rewarding. Add that to the satisfaction of being able to say "I told you so" and given my preparations, I'll be better off then than I am now.
15. My stash of silver pre-1965 coins will let me live like a king

Survival fantasies. We all have them, and we all need to lose them. - SF in Hawaii

Former CIA energy analyst Tom Whipple reports: The Peak Oil Crisis: Congressional Hearings - Round #2

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Cathy Buckle reports from Zimbabwe: Police crackdown on illegal small scale miners leads to deaths. Just more of the same government heavy-handedness in troubled Zimbabwe. The once quite productive and prosperous nation is now chronically racked by hyperinflation. Speaking of inflation, be sure to scroll down to Cathy's January 6th post, which includes this: "Before Christmas a loaf of bread was 295 dollars, now it is 850 dollars - the bakers say its still not enough to cover their costs and more rises are imminent..."

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A tip of the hat to John the Bowhunter for sending this news article on the "cytokine storm" effect:: 1918 flu killed by turning the body against itself

"Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race." - William Howard Taft

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today's installment of SurvivalBlog will exceed your recommended daily dose of Gloom und Doom (GUD).

At the dawn of the 21st century, we are living in an amazing time of prosperity. Our health care is excellent, our grocery store shelves burgeon with a huge assortment of fresh foods, and our telecommunications systems are lightning fast. We have relatively cheap transportation, and our cities are linked by an elaborate and fairly well-maintained system of roads, rails, canals, seaports, and airports. For the first time in human history, the majority of the world's population will soon live in cities rather than in the countryside. But the downside to all this abundance is over-complexity, over-specialization, and lengthy supply chains. In the First World, less than 2% of the population is engaged in agriculture or fishing. Ponder that for a moment: Just 2% are feeding the other 98%. The food on our tables often comes from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Our heating and lighting is provided by power sources typically hundreds of miles away. For many people even their tap water travels hundreds of miles. Our factories produce sophisticated cars and electronics that have subcomponents that are sourced on three continents. It is as if we are all cogs in an enormous invisible machine, each playing our part to make sure that the average Americans comes home from work each day to find: his refrigerator well-stocked with food, his lights reliably come on, his telephone works, his tap gushes pure water, his toilet flushes, his paycheck is automatically deposited to his bank, his garbage is collected, his house is a comfortable 70 degrees, his TV entertainment up and running 24/7, and his DSL connection. We've built our fellow Americans a very big machine that up until now has worked remarkably well, with just a few glitches. But that may not always be the case. As Napoleon found the hard way, long chains of supply and communication are fragile and vulnerable. Someday the big machine may grind to a halt. Let me describe one set of circumstances that could cause that to happen:

Imagine an influenza pandemic, spread by causal contact, that is so virulent that it kills more than half of the people that are infected. And imagine the advance of the disease so rapid that it makes its way around the globe in less than a week. (Isn't modern jet air travel grand?) Consider that we have global news media that is so rabid for "hot" news that they can't resist showing pictures of men in respirators, rubber gloves, and Tyvek coveralls wheeling gurneys out of houses, laden with body bags. They report countless stories like: "Suzie Smith brought the flu bug home from school. Everyone in her family died." and, "Mr. Jones brought the flu home from work. Everyone in his family died." Over and over. Repeated so many times that the majority of citizens decides "I'm not going to go to work tomorrow, or the day after, or in fact until after 'things get better.'" But by not going to work, some important cogs will be missing from the Big Machine. Orders won't get processed at the Wal-Mart distribution center. The 18 Wheel trucks won't make deliveries to groceries stores. Gas stations will run out of fuel. Policemen and firemen won't show up at work. Telephone technicians will call in sick. Power lines will get knocked down in wind storms, and there will be nobody to repair them. Crops will rot in the fields because there will be nobody to pick them, or transport them, or magically bake them into Pop-Tarts, or stock them on your supermarket shelf. The Big Machine will be broken.

Does this sound scary? Sure it does, and it should. The implications are huge. But it gets worse: The average suburbanite only has about a week's worth of food in their pantry. What will they do when it is gone, and there is no reasonably immediate prospect of re-supply? Supermarket shelves will be stripped bare. Faced with the alternative of staying home and starving or going out to meet Mr. Influenza, millions of growling stomachs will force Joe American to go and "forage." The first likely targets will be restaurants, stores, and food distribution warehouses. Not a few "foragers" will soon transition to full scale looting, taking the little that their neighbors have left. Next, they'll move on to farms that are in close proximity to cities. A few looters will form gangs that will be highly mobile and well-armed, ranging deeper and deeper into farmlands, running their vehicles on siphoned or stolen-at-gunpoint gasoline. Eventually their luck will run out and they will all die of the flu, or of instantaneous lead poisoning. But before the looters are all dead they will do a tremendous amount of damage. Be ready to confront them. Your life, and the lives of your loved ones will count on it. You'll need to be able to put a lot of lead down range--at least enough to convince Mr. Looter that he needs to go find some other farm or ranch to loot.

In recent months, the press has shifted its attention, ignoring the continuing threat of Asian Avian Flu mutating into a strain that can be easily transmitted between humans. If and when that mutation occurs--and the epidemiologists tell us that it is more a question of "when" rather than "if"--then things could turn very, very ugly all over the globe. Be prepared. To start getting ready, you should first read the background article on pandemic preparation that I wrote last year, titled "Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic." Next, think through all of the implications of disruption of key portions of our modern technological infrastructure. Plan accordingly. You need to be able to provide water, food, heating, and lighting for your family. Ditto for law enforcement, since odds are that a pandemic will be YOYO ("You're on your own!") time. Get your beans, bullets, and band-aids squared away, pronto. Most importantly, be prepared to hunker down in "self quarantine" for three or four months, with no outside contact. That will take a lot of logistics, as well as plenty of cash on hand to pay your bills in the absence of a continuing income stream.

One closing thought: There are only about 15 large food storage dealers in the country, and even fewer firms that sell non-hybrid ("heirloom") gardening seed. How long do you think that their inventories will last, once there is news that there is an easily transmissible human-to-human flu strain of flu, anywhere on the planet? Prices are currently low and inventories are plentiful. It is better to be a year too early than a day too late. Please consider patronizing one of more of our advertisers. We have half a dozen of them that sell long term storage food and heirloom garden seed. They deserve your business.

Dear Jim:
I am new to survival preparedness but I am learning by reading SurvivalBlog every day and your book Patriots. I do have a question about junk silver. My dad always collected coins when I was a kid and he always told me about saving the ones from before 1965 as they were silver and I have a small stash from those years. But what about the [Eisenhower] "silver dollars" from the 1970's? I always got those as gifts when I was a kid and I have a small stash of those too. Do these "silver dollars" have any real silver in them? Are they worth keeping with my "junk silver" stash? What about the new Liberty "Silver Dollars" that the banks sell each year? Do they contain real silver? Are they worth the $17 per coin the that bank charges for these? And finally, I have some old "Silver Certificate" Dollar bills - any thoughts as to if those will have any worth in a SHTF scenario? Thanks for your help.
- L.C.A. in N.Y.

JWR Replies: Take a look at the rims of those Eisenhower"silver" dollars. If they have a copper color streak, then they have no significant silver contents. (Like the post-1964 quarters, they are a silver-flashed copper-nickel token.) There were a few Eisenhower dollars minted in 90% silver as "mint proofs", struck especially for the collector market. These special silver proof coins will not show any copper on the rim. Nearly al of those will still be in special U.S. Mint holders, but it is conceivable that a few were removed from their holders and are floating around loose. It is worth your time to examine them. But the ones that are clad tokens only have marginal collector's value

The "Liberty Dollars" and other one ounce silver rounds and bars--typically .999 fine (99.9%) silver--have been struck in large numbers by private mints over the years. Like the U.S. Mint American Eagle silver rounds, they are indeed pure silver. Silver one ounce rounds and bars are first sold at a huge premium over the spot price of silver. (At least 50%), but on the secondary market, they sell at just "spot"--the day's current price of silver. I prefer pre-1965 U.S. coinage for barter--since they are more immediately recognized as genuine by the citizenry. But if you ever have the chance to buy some one ounce "rounds" right at or just over the current spot price of silver, then that would be worth purchasing.

Sadly, U.S. Silver Certificates have had no redeemability for silver since 1964. (Yet another broken promise from Uncle Sugar. They are marked "In Silver, Payable to Bearer on Demand", but what they should have had printed is: "In Silver, Payable to Bearer on Demand, until we renege on our promise, then it's tough Schumer for you.") If a silver certificate $1 note is in minty condition, and depending on its issue series, it could be worth several dollars to a currency collector. (To currency collectors, condition is everything. They want notes that look brand new, with no signs of wear, folding, or discoloration.) Unless you intend to be a collector in the long term you are probably better off trading those notes to a coin shop for some circulated "junk" silver dimes or quarters that you could use for barter. Who knows, if you are lucky they might even give you $1 worth (in face value) of well-worn 90% silver coinage for each of those notes.

Dear Jim,
I just picked up a Streamlight Twin Task 3C from Flashlight Outlet. They were set up at the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show near my tables, and are great people to deal with.
This light is solidly machined from aluminum, small enough for use, large enough to make a handy baton, and gets 1 hour at 57 lumens of xenon bulb, 100 hours at 21 lumens of LED, and has a laser pointer. I didn't really need the laser pointer, but it was $1 cheaper with it than the version without. It takes 3 common C cells. I plan to get
Other good Streamlight products are: This product for forensics use (detecting blood/protein stains has some dark but practical uses) and this one which can detect radiator coolant or HVAC gas leaks.
Another thing to consider with flashlights is that a small one, such as a standard Mini MagLite, is about the same size as a kubotan. When traveling or in restrictive locations such as schools where better weapons are not allowed, and as backup, this offers light and a way to apply force to nerve points. My kids are carrying them to school. - Michael Z. Williamson

Reader Ben L. mentioned this one: Bird flu reports spreading in Asia. Ben's comment: "Scary stuff. The S.E. Asians appear (!) to be holding their end in check, but the way these things tend to get out of control, I'd have to say November 2008/February 2009 would be the time to watch out for. Yes, time to stock up on animal-protein goodies from your advertisers such as Freeze Dry Guy and PrepareTV.com. (My my; their Gourmet Supreme Pack looks to be delicious.)"

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Hurricane-force winds and rain lashed northern Europe on Thursday

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I heard from Kurt at Survival Enterprises: "When the driver showed up on Wednesday, we discovered that it was a 53' container [of canned storage foods], not a 40' one as we had expected. And it contained more than 14,000 cans, not the 11,000 that we had originally estimated. I had my wife doing a running inventory, while my son, myself, and five of our friends spent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. unloading thousands of cases of food in the 15 degree weather. Holy cow! That's a lot of food!" Stock up, folks. Prices won't get any better than what Kurt is offering. These cans are all top quality, nitrogen packed, and most were canned within the last year. These are expected to all sell out within the next four weeks, so don't hesitate.

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever." - Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a pair of MURS band handheld transceivers, with extended range flex antennas is now at $150. These radios were kindly donated by Rob at $49 MURS Radios. Check out his products. What Rob sells are a lot of radio for the money. I've heard nothing but rave reviews from the SurvivalBlog readers that have bought these. As previously mentioned in the blog, Kenwood 2 watt MURS handhelds have far better range than FRS radios, they require no license, and can be custom programmed for, MURS, 2 Meter Band frequencies and/or weather warning (WX, receive only) channels, and they are also compatible with alert message frequencies for Dakota Alert intrusion detection systems. (A license is required if using 2 Meter Band frequencies.) I strongly endorse these hand-helds! If you don't already own a pair, look into getting some.

Our first letter today is from "Alphie Omega", a frequent blog content contributor. While many of his neighbors were woefully under-prepared, Alphie pulled through the recent ice storm relatively unscathed. This is a testament to practicing what one preaches. He was well prepared well, and with considerable redundancy. Emulate him, folks! It doesn't take a millionaire's budget. With proper planning, you too can be ready for severe weather conditions or other emergencies. You'll even have surplus available to dispense in charity.

Well, I just got back online. I had to go up to the roof and thaw the wireless [Internet] antenna with a heat gun. It seems the ice grounds out the antenna. It was an easy fix with my heat gun for heat shrink tubing. More precipitation is on the way but colder. It will probably just be snow. We never lost power but were ready anyway. I have friends with no power and they have been without power for days and no idea when it will be back on. The further out you live, the less chance of getting back on line. Power is also out at the feed mill so feed stores are short on feed and they say that they no idea when more will com. We bought extra and can always supplement with more hay or alfalfa. We could butcher the pigs early or sell some cattle if needed but all of our preparation this Fall is paying off. Think ahead! Wall-Mart is out of propane cylinders and no extra tanks around. We have plenty of tanks and are set to fill from the bulk tank here as needed. You always need an alternative means to do everything. Redundancy is the word for survival. I have some friends with no heat. They report 46 degrees in the house. Standard fireplaces put out very little heat. [JWR Adds: Yes, in fact they have been documented to put more heat up the chimney than into a room!] We have electric heat, woodstove, and propane heat. Redundancy means you will always be warm. We lost some branches and the storm knocked down my 160 Meter loop antenna but it works almost as well on the ground. (Thanks to the design and the antenna tuners we can just re-tune and are up and running.) Repair should take about 2 to 3 hours since the antenna is set to go up and down at each pole for maintenance. Hint: the design was well thought out and therefore easy to fix. Think ahead. Of course we have 4 or 5 ways to receive and transmit, plus the mobile radio. Again, redundancy. Our [photovoltaic] solar panels were covered with ice but still function, and we have more in the barn to use that are thawed. We continue to look for weak spots and all I came up with is the need for more batteries and more power. We have tow or three ways to do everything so if one system is down we just go to the next. Sure makes you feel good that instead of driving new vehicles we [instead] have heat, power, water, and food and backups for each. No worries about heat is a big relief. One of my friends has a generator, but no heat. Although he knows the items he needs to provide heat, there is nothing available. It is all sold out. Guess that is why I take those old propane heaters and put them in storage. Backup for the backup. We are looking forward to the snow--better than ice. We have wood to pick up today at the lumber mil. (We get the slabs from the mill, load on the trailer banded together and take them home. We cut it [for fuel] as we need it. More in the woods [hereon my property] but I will leave it for more backup. Keep preparing. Do one thing each day and it will all add up. Anyone got a good milk cow? We need a new one, since even livestock gets worn out and old. God Bless, - Alphie Omega

A lot of folks, myself included, have been buying fish/aquarium grade antibiotics for a while now. Recently my favorite source dried up. I called them to ask why they no longer had the products and they stated that it is becoming difficult to carry them because the FDA is scrutinizing the industry. What was told to me was that the capsules were still available, in packs of 12. I did find other sources, but some publicly searchable web pages can no longer be found via Google - hidden pages that I couldn't navigate to through the web sites search engine - I had to know the page URL. I think this source is going to dry up at some point, once the AMA/FDA/DEA turn their attention to people using these sources as alternatives to 'regular medicine' they will get banned somehow.

But I do have a medical grade freezer, thanks to information gleaned from SurvivalBlog - I found a refurbished one for $70 at an auction. It had been rejected because the housing had some dents in it. I'm stocking up. Again). I wouldn't take my 'the sky is falling' e-mail as gospel, but it might be worth a look into by someone with more time on their hands than me. - Jim H. in Colorado

Chuck sent us this link: Peak Oil Update - January 2007: Production Forecasts and EIA Oil Production Numbers

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I noticed at the RWVA Blog that there are a whole bunch of Appleseed shoots and clinics already scheduled for this year, all over the country. (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.) More locations may be announced later. Check the schedule for a shoot near you.

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The big "Container load sale" at Survival Enterprises that I mentioned last week is now underway. They bought a shipping container of canned nitrogen packed long term storage foods from an east coast cannery that is going out of business. Survival Enterprises just received more than 11,000 cans of storage food, (a full to the gunnels 40 foot shipping container load) These include everything from beef, ham, chicken, and bacon TVP to green beans to corn starch,. The majority is in the large #10 cans, but there are thousands of #3 and #2.5 cans as well. (The smaller cans make more sense when planning meals for one, two or three people.) These cases of long term storage food are being sold only to SurvivalBlog readers at special prices for the next 30 days. All sales are in full case lots only (no breaking cases) and they are all "first come - first served." The prices are less than half of retail. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. Survival Enterprises now has a web page that has the running inventory list with prices. (As they sell out an item, they keep visible track what is left.) All orders must be phoned in, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (800) 753-1981 or locally at (208) 704-3935 as late as 8 p.m. Pacific time (5 p.m. Eastern time), or e-mail him at: kwATse1.us (Change the "AT" to an @symbol) OBTW, Kurt reminded me that he is also blowing out his remaining inventory of Mountain House freeze dried storage foods in conjunction with this sale, at 25% off.

"[A]n act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus." - Dr. Walter E. Williams

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For the many folks that have been asking about how to get an autographed copy of my novel Patriots: The quickest and easiest method for those here in the States is to simply PayPal me $22, directed to my primary PayPal account: rawles@earthlink.net. Be sure to mention your mailing address where you'd like the book(s) sent. For all other ordering methods and pricing on larger quantities, see my mail order catalog. If you prefer to pay by credit card, I also sell some autographed copies through Amazon Shops. And BTW, un-autographed copies of the the novel are now available through Amazon.com, Borders.com, BN.com (Barnes and Noble), Powells.com, and a variety of Internet booksellers in the UK. But, needless to say, you aren't likely to find copy in your local; "bricks and mortar" bookstore.

Hi Jim,
I've been reading Survival Blog for a few months now, and I enjoy it. I really like how there is such a wide variety of topics to read about. I recently graduated from college with a four-year degree in computer science, and I am currently living with my parents until I get a full-time job. My question for you is this: What is a good way to start out in gaining survival/preparedness skills for someone in my situation? I've been doing some basic things such as reading a lot and learning some gardening skills. It does seem that to accomplish a lot of things discussed in your blog I will need to have some money, move out of my parents house, and buy a house and/or land. I plan on doing this, but it may be a few years before I have money to purchase some of those large items. Would you have any advice on how a beginner like me can start out? Since there is such a large variety of topics to research, what areas would you suggest I begin with? - M.F., Twin Cities area, Minnesota

JWR Replies: Given your circumstances, the best way to get better prepared is to network with like-minded people. Either join an existing preparedness group, or form your own group. One good way to make contacts for this is through the "hidden" (unlinked) web page sponsored by survivalistbooks.com. For your own security, if you find a prospective group or a new group member, I recommend having some long conversations by telephone before you ever meet face to face or reveal your address! Proceed with prayer, background checking, and extreme caution.

How many times in the course of a conversation at a meeting, party, event, or whatever, has the subject of emergency preparedness come up, and you make a comment about the having done something (anything) about it in some way, and someone says "the next time [something bad] happens, I'm coming over to your place!" How do you reply? You can't invite everybody in need, you don't want to invite parasites, you don't want to piss off friends and co-workers, and you may not be able to tell if they are joking or serious.
However viscerally satisfying a "I got mine, you socialists are yer on yer own, and I'll shoot you parasites on sight in an emergency" may be in the short run, I think it is generally counter-productive on a number of levels.
I've struggled with how to reply to this comment over the years (at least since the early 1990s), because there are so many variables in each situation (how recently there has been an "event," how close of friends you are with the person making the comment, what sort of mix there is present of good friends-acquaintances-strangers, the tone of how it was said, how much you
know about the background of each one, what the relative wealth and social standing of all parties present are, location, etc.), and many times there are far to many unknowns to give a really good, tailored answer, that will get more people to become preparedness oriented and independent-minded (which is what we really want, right?).
But after reading a very long thread on the topic recently, talking it over with my other half, and in light of this specific comment being directed at me several times in the last month (I am in the Puget Sound area, so the windstorm hit where I'm at pretty good - lots of trees and branches down around here, and I had fun making lots of chain-saw-dust), I think I may have come up with a pretty good "all purpose opening response." Look directly at them, and then quietly and matter-of-factly say: "A long time ago, I made the conscious choice to not be dependant on other people, and I was willing to forgo some of the luxuries of life in order to accumulate the stuff and the skills to prepare me to take care of myself and my immediate family for any likely emergency that may occur in the region where I live. I would be happy to help you figure out how you can do the same thing most efficiently."
There are four very important things about this phrasing: you are saying some things very clearly, some things are obviously implied, a lot is left completely unsaid, and you are not being in any way threatening, arrogant, condescending, judgmental, or patronizing. You are offering them help on how to help themselves now, and you are not saying you will shoot them on sight in the future (you are helpful and non-threatening), and you are not saying you will give them a handout and implying that there are limits to what you are able to do (but don't expect free-bee's). You have stated a basic
philosophy with a fairly limited and hard-to-argue-against scope, you have not given away to much information about what or how much you have, you are alluding to a simple method for others to do the same; you are opening a conversation that puts the ball in their court on how to respond, at which time you'll have a much better idea about what to say, or not say, from there. You are serious but neutral; if you can get them to seriously consider and pursue emergency preparedness, you have expanded your "mutual-defense circle," if they don't and the need arises, you can turn them away with a much clearer conscious. You haven't given them any more reasons to hate you, target you, fear you, or depend on you (which is a good defensive move). All you need to do is ask some pointed questions, like "this area gets snowstorms regularly, why not have chains for your car and just keep them in the trunk all winter?" or "$45 a month for cable TV? That'd put up a lot of extra food in a year." Make observations like "yes, a generator is nice, but not everyone needs one, not everyone can afford a good one, and not everyone has a place for one; you just have to be ready to work without power," or "supplies aren't everything; what if the disaster you are preparing for causes your well-supplied house to burn down and it takes everything with it? Attitude and skills are just as important."
If they say "what sort of luxuries did you give up?" some possible follow-ups might be: "I don't have a new, big screen TV, I have an old 19-inch beast; but I do have a generator."
"I don't have a Rolex or a Hummer, but I am debt-free except for my house mortgage."
The first one might not be the best example to use if they were bragging about their spiffy new 55" HD 1080p wonder-vision unit [HDTV], just after freezing their butts off in an ice storm, but you get the idea. Get across the idea that it is all about making appropriate choices now, using as neutral a tone and wording as possible. Don't say "of course only an idiot would
drive a Lexus when he doesn't have a month's supply of food in snow-storm country" when talking to someone you know has a Lexus parked out front and no food in the fridge. If you have no idea what sort of 'stuff" they have, focus on skills, e.g., "I don't spend money on yoga classes, I take self-defense and home-repair classes." Keep it neutral, informative in a general way, and neither promise anything or sound judgmental for the opening few minutes (even if this requires biting your tongue, hard, for a bit), until they have done a fair bit of talking and you have a much better feel for the lay of the land, whereupon you can teach, share, run, or whatever as needed.
Think through a couple of paths that the conversation could take, and how you would respond in a way that would appeal most to the sort of person who would go down that path. A socialist who is used to depending on the state might say "are you saying you wouldn't feed me if I showed up on your door-step after a major earthquake if you had any extra food?" Saying "of course not" will just piss them off and may make you a target, with them calling you a "greedy hoarder." Saying "I would have a hard time justifying taking food out of my children's mouth tomorrow to feed a casual acquaintance today, especially if we did not know when services were going to be restored and supplies replaced" puts a whole different appearance on it.
Information is your friend; don't start by telling them what you have, what you have planned, how stupid they are for not being equally well prepared, etc. Find out a bit about their mind-set, skill-set, resources, and then go from there in the best direction. Best of luck with your next "conversion" into the mindset of independence and preparedness!

I just had to scan through tons of e-mails to see when I last contributed [to the10 Cent Challenge]. I just wanted to stay current because I sincerely appreciate the information you convey. It would be very helpful if you would just send out a little reminder as my year anniversary approaches so I can stay up to date. Once again, thanks for your wonderful blog! - Andy

JWR Replies: Thank you for your continued support. It is very much appreciated. But as much as I value it, I don't e-mail our 10 Cent Challenge subscribers, bugging/begging them to renew. Our subscriptions are entirely voluntary. If you realize that it has been more than a year since you sent in your last annual subscription payment and you think that what you get out of reading SurvivalBlog is still worth 10 cents a day to you, then please just send another subscription payment via AlertPay, PayPal, check, cash, or money order. I don't do any arm twisting to get a voluntary payment from anyone. In my estimation, sending a "subscription renewal" e-mail is contrary to the spirit of a truly voluntary support network. Please just mark your calendar to remind yourself about your renewal next year. Thank you so very much!

"I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools [in the U.S.] that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school." - Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Congratulations to Chris in the Carolinas, the high bidder in the most recent SurvivalBlog benefit auction, that ended last night. He won a batch of 16 survival/preparedness reference books, most of them courtesy of the fine folks at Ready Made Resources. (They are one of our first and most loyal advertisers. Be sure to visit their site and check out their huge inventory of preparedness-related products.) Today we are starting another auction, which runs until February 15th. This one is for a pair of MURS band handheld transceivers, with extended range flex antennas--at least a $150 retail value.The high bidder will receive: "One pair of Kenwood TK2100 VHF 2 channel, 2 watt portable radios in excellent condition, with installed optional six inch "range extender" antennas, tested batteries, spring loaded belt clips, and drop in chargers. Currently programmed for MURS frequencies but can custom programmed for the auction winner." These radios are being donated by Rob at $49 MURS Radios. Many Thanks, Rob!

Dear Jim,
I am a very recent reader of your blog, and just finished your novel ["Patriots"] (which I thought was fantastic). I plan on taking the 10 Cent Challenge just as soon as I set up a PayPal account. Anyway I thought you might be interested in how I was able to convince my wife that our family needs to be more prepared in case "something happens." My wife thinks that I am a little nuts because I believe that society is extremely fragile and will collapse with just a little prodding. She has always put off my desire to spend the family money on preparedness items. This has recently changed: We took a short vacation to New Orleans, and while there went on a post-Katrina tour. The devastation was frightening. Even now there are neighborhoods where cars are rolled over in the middle of the streets and abandoned houses go on for miles. Even more powerful than that was the stories told by the guide. Months without power, no drinkable water available for weeks, and the rampant looting that went on throughout the city. It was one thing to watch it detached on TV and another to view it up close and be able to talk to people who lived through it.

My wife has done a complete attitude shift. We started discussing preparedness from a "natural disaster" standpoint and are making plans to purchase items to see our family through in case the worst happens. She has also asked me to buy more ammo and guns, and we are looking to make our house livable without city electricity or water. Our biggest drawback is the fact that we live in California and can't leave for about ten years. My boys from a first marriage are still in school here, and I can't abandon them. I would ideally like to buy land in a more rural location in a more "friendly" state, but will consider it a "win" just to have my wife more interested in preparedness than she has ever been in the past!

As an aside, I have been in California law enforcement (we are no longer "peace keepers") for thirteen years, and would be happy to answer any California law questions that come up. I will tell you that most officers I talk with these days believe, just like most citizens, that it is the government's job to take care of us and individuals have little responsibility for their lives.
Keep up the good work and keep your powder dry! - Kevin M.

Hi Jim,
I can't say I see many bunkers for sale on eBay. I personally don't consider New York state ideal for a retreat location, but it is interesting to see this property available nonetheless. I'd be a little concerned about potential HAZMAT issues. BTW - I'm really enjoy reading Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. I'm in between "permanent" dwellings at the moment and it helps to have such a resource when considering my options. Kind Regards, - M. Artixerxes

The following are my brief impressions of things that I got to see at the recent SHOT Show. There was lot of interest in the prototype .308 Bullpup from Kel-Tec, which takes standard metric FAL magazines. It is planned to be produced in various barrel lengths, and should be reasonably priced.It was interesting, with its forward axial cartridge ejection, just above the barrel.
I don't recall pricing but $2K would be my best recall/guess. Mr. Kellegren [the "Kel" in Kel-Tec] personally showed me the patent pending ejector. It ejects the casing on the same forward stroke of the bolt that chambers the next round!
The new domestic AUG clone got a lot of attention, and they told me they took 2,000 orders at the show. (Model STG 556)
LRB Arms, famed for their top-regarded M1A forged receivers, was showing a version [the "M25"] with integrated scope mounting points. Those kludgy scope mounts may be a thing of the past. Military users had been welding the mounts to the receivers to keep them from shaking loose! Wait list for up to a year.
"Assault weapons" are here to stay! One industry insider commented that with everybody and his dog (including Smith and Wesson - what would Clinton think now?!) Selling these black rifles, its tough to see the industry standing for a ban on these profitable items.
And speaking of Smith, its announcement of its friendly acquisition of Thompson Center Arms has optimists speculating that the marriage will be a good one, with TC's esteemed barrel making skills enhancing S&W accuracy. Could this, along with modern machining and MIM (metal injection molding) bring Smith back to the true glory days?
FN's PS90 (the futuristic one with a plastic stock that looks like is was made from giant elbow macaroni) is selling well to civilians (who can afford the special 5.7 x 28 ammo) in new variants that provide a [optics mounting] rail instead of the terrible 1X scope.
Lever gun shooters who have slept through the last year will be pleased to learn of Hornady's soft-pointed "Leverevolution" ammo, which provides modern ballistic performance from venerable cartridges. .30-30 is a true deer-getter, and other cartridges reach effectively much farther than before
Savage introduced a varmint rifle in several popular chamberings. The remarkable trigger, an H-S Precision stock and a solid action promise custom rifle performance for about $1,000. One model displayed had the Savage Accutrigger with a 6 ounce pull that was a pleasing rarity for a production rifle.
That's all from Orlando. OBTW, the word is that the biggest gun industry show will be returning to Las Vegas for the next decade or so.

Regarding Ginger B feeding her dog baked potatoes: Always be certain that potatoes are cut into small pieces before feeding them to dogs. Many of them (large dogs in particular) will simply swallow a baked potato whole, leading to awful problems and potentially, death. Another food that most folks are unaware of any danger from is onion, which is lethal to dogs and cats. Be careful not to feed them table scraps that have onion mixed in with them, not even in flavoring agents. The result of onion toxicity is anemia, which is difficult for the lay-person to diagnose (it can creep up slowly over weeks of time).
There are other foods one needs to be aware of too. Most people know about chocolate [toxicity for dogs] but coffee beans, grapes/raisins and macadamia nuts are also considered to be on the "do not feed" list. For those of the "waste not, want not" school of thought, look very carefully at any table scraps you might be feeding your pets to keep them healthy and happy. Regards, - Hawaiian K.

Les Christie, editor of the British Columbia Housing Blog, penned this prescient article for CNNMoney.com: Housing market pain not revealed by statistics

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Rourke suggested that I highlight this product from Canada, which is one of the best door security peepholes on the market

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Bob B. mentioned this article from The Financial Times Online (by way of Matt Drudge): Euro displaces the U.S. Dollar in bond markets

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Nuclear Blast on TV's '24' Causes Fallout for Fox

"The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security." - Robert Welch

Monday, January 15, 2007

Now that the holidays are over, we are enjoying the quiet season here at the Rawles Ranch. Other than church activities, 4H club meetings, and homeschooling group meetings, there is not a lot that induces us to go into town. This winter we can laugh at the weather. When it is snowing heavily, we just stay home and stoke the woodstove with a couple of extra chunks of red fir. We home school our kids, so there are no worries about school bus schedules. And we are very well provisioned, so we certainly don't have to go into town for groceries! We thank God for his tremendous providence. Hallelujah, Jehovah Jireh!

I'm pleased to announce that with the cost advantage of quantity production, I've just reduced the price of my non-fiction book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation" to $28.

Dear Jim:
See this piece on Survival Preparedness as: "The Ultimate "Contrarian" Investment for 2007 -- Be Prepared" The author knows a lot about economics (excellent web site), but one can certainly critique his "Batman in the Boondocks" or "mobile refugee" survival strategy. Regards, - OSOM

JWR Replies: I'm dismayed to see such strategies proposed again and again, usually by folks who have never actually attempted to fill--much less actually shoulder--their "everything that I'll need" backpack. It is incredibly naive to think that anyone can "head for the hills" with just what you can carry, and survive for an extended period. Note that his overly simplistic "carry heirloom seeds and blue poly tarp" approach does not take into account anything about tools needed to cultivate what he'll grow, containers he'll need to store what he grows or gathers, and tools/pots/pans that he'll need to process/grind and cook what he hunts, gathers, or grows. Nor does it address basics like cages for small livestock, or fencing to protect gardens. How can you expect to carry all that on your back? Unless someone is incredibly fortunate, the odds are that any "mobile" retreating approach will very quickly reduce them to the category of "refugee" at best, or to room temperature, at worst. The history of the previous century --particularly its two world wars and its countless civil wars--taught us that life is, as Hobbes put it, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" for refugees. The last thing that you want to be is a refugee. By definition, going mobile means foregoing the "deep larder" advantage of a fixed retreat. It would be foolish to give that up. Ditto for the often touted "RV land-mobile retreating" approach. As I've stated before: In a full scale WTSHTF situation, mobility for the sake of mobility in essence only gives you the opportunity to wander into ambush after ambush. I go into further detail about the fallacies of mobile retreating strategies (backpack, vehicular, and sailboat) in in my book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation." In the same book I also describe some commonsense fixed location retreat alternatives

All of the preceding is not to say that you shouldn't own a Get Out of Dodge ("GOOD") backpack. You should have one, especially if you don't live year round at your intended retreat. (The pack is only intended for a very short period, to get you to your retreat, in the event that for whatever reason a vehicle is not available.) You should dread ever having to use that pack when forced to abandon your well-stocked retreat and taking off on foot to fend for yourself.

Mr. Rawles:
I live in south Florida. I would like to know your opinion on having a retreat in northwest Florida, Dixie County to be exact, known as the "least populated county in Florida". I can't afford to move out of the state right now and I am concerned about driving through major cities if I had to leave in an emergency from down here.
I would like to be able to do it on one tank of gas which would put me about 5 or 6 hours away from where I am now. I already have a small piece of property up there now with a mobile home on it to use as a base of operation when I buy a larger piece of property and begin my preparations. Traveling two or three days to get to a retreat concerns me.
All of my other preparations are in order: food storage, security, some medical info and books, seeds, and silver/gold, etc. Where I live now is not a defendable place. I have about 8-10 family and friends that will join me. I would like your opinion on this: Is it worth the risk to travel to a farther location like Georgia or North Carolina, where I do have family in the mountains (or even Missouri where land is cheap); or just to prepare up in the Northwest part of Florida. There is a lot of deer, rivers, fishing, and the well water is good.
By the way, I have read [the earlier edition of] your "Patriots" novel and I just got the new [expanded] edition. Thank you for your time and effort into these books. I am looking forward to purchasing the other book about retreats. May God bless you for the wealth of information and knowledge that you share with us and our families. - Patriot Bob

JWR Replies: As previously stated, I encourage moving to selected low population density portions of the western U.S. to increase your chances of survival in the event of a major societal whammy. (See my Recommend Retreat Areas static web page for some pertinent data and recommendations, as well as my recently published book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation for greater detail, including maps.) If you must live in Florida, then the northwest portion of the state is about as good as it gets. It is still in the nation's hurricane belt, but at least the population density is relatively low. If you can live at your retreat in northwest Florida year round, then my advice is to stay put. (Since you have well water, buy a hand pump from Lehmans.com (assuming that it is a shallow well), or better yet, buy a few photovoltaic (PV) panels and a DC well pump. The folks at Ready Made Resources give advice on sizing a designing a PV power system, free of charge.

If for family or business reasons you must continue live in South Florida, then I would recommend that you consider selling your retreat property in northwest Florida and instead buying a retreat in northern Georgia, South Carolina, or perhaps eastern Tennessee. If you can afford to, you might consider keeping your place in northwest Florida as a "refueling stopover" and as a lightly-stocked alternate retreat locale. It is wise to always have a Plan B and a Plan C!

I recently received the updated version of "Patriots" a couple days ago. At first I was just going to read the new chapters, but after seeing that you gave it an overall update, I decided to just read the whole thing. So far I have been very impressed. (The two new chapters alone were worth the price of the book.) Not to mention the way everything else was updated. Way to go! You have done a very good job with this new edition, and I have already ordered a few more copies to have on hand as gifts.

I have also just received the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Both look very good at first glance, and I’m looking forward to delving into them soon. BTW, I’m also looking forward to the release of the "Best of the Blog" book. - Gung Ho


Mr. Rawles:
I read your book in two breathtaking and exciting days, it was impossible to put down. It was as if you took my worst nightmares, and word for word put them into a novel. I had been talking politics with a friend, as is normal for me, when he asked me just what I thought was going to happen in the future of our country. My friend had heard of your book, and when he realized that the vision of my future and your book were one in the same, he told me to go out and pick it up. I couldn't find it at any of my local book stores, so I ordered it on Amazon. Like I said, two days later... I'm sitting here in awe. Being from New Jersey, most people I talk with are totally clueless to the situation, and just refer to me as a "paranoid nut", an "extremist" or an "idiot". Especially if they ever catch wind of the cache I have in my trunk for a "rainy day" as you put it. I just want to say "Thank you!" for such an incredible job of being able to see into the future, and doing your best to help warn people of it in the best way you can. May G-D bless you, - BDB

The RWVA is holding a Rifle Instructor's Camp in Ramseur, North Carolina, February 18th to 25th. Take advantage of this high quality, very inexpensive training!

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Jason in North Idaho mentioned this article: Little-known earthquake is remembered

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From Congressman Ron Paul: The World's Reserve Currency

"Permissiveness is the principle of treating children as if they were adults; and the tactic of making sure they never reach that stage." - Thomas Szasz

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It registered 10 below zero Fahrenheit (-23.3 Celsius) yesterday morning at the Rawles Ranch--chilly enough that I resorted to wearing long underwear. The cold winter weather doesn't bother us much. The great hunting and fishing here in the valley make up for the inconveniences of living in a true "four season" climate.

The SurvivalBlog benefit auction ends tomorrow (midnight EST, on January 15th), so get your bid in soon! The high bid is now at $290. This auction is for a big batch of 16 survival/preparedness reference books, courtesy of the fine folks at Ready Made Resources. (They are one of our first and most loyal advertisers. Be sure to visit their site and check out their huge inventory of preparedness-related products. BTW, they have additional copies of each of the titles listed below, as well as more than a hundred other titles.)

Dear Jim,
I'm an avid SurvivalBlog reader and I want to thank you for your insights and the valuable information you provide on the Blog. I purchased the "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course and have enjoyed reading and studying it. Lately, it occurred to me that, along with all of the necessary planning that accompanies retreat preparation, as well as the recently discussed benefits of physical fitness, proper fiscal fitness is also crucial in completing these vital preparations. Most of us have to work for an income in order to live in our modern society, at least while we prepare for more difficult times. At the same time, we have many "money intensive" demands on that same income - raising children, mortgages, utility bills, paying for educations, and a biggie for many, consumer debt with its attendant costs. These demands likely leave little available money for hobbies or for large scale disaster preparedness.
I have found a very reasonable set of principles that have helped me, together with my wife and our children, to get on the path to systematically walk out of debt. I'm referring to the financial principles set forth by Dave Ramsey. He has a national radio show that is also broadcast on XM. Perhaps best of all for newcomers, he archives the most recent two weeks of his radio show on his web site. Folks new to this program can listen in on the advice he has given to many callers and decide for themselves if they can understand and accept the principles he teaches. Those principles include spending less than you make and using your income as your greatest wealth-building tool. Obviously, most who call in to his radio show are already living beyond their means, so he discusses principles with them to get them walking out of debt. You may have several readers who have become financially hamstrung and could use a simple, straight-forward plan to help them back to financial solvency. The bottom line is that the path to financial peace involves taking responsibility for your past fiscal mistakes, taking a good honest look at what comes in and where it goes, and making a plan (the dreaded budget). Who of us would attempt to prepare a retreat that would shelter us and our loved ones from disaster without a plan? It's no different with finances. Many of us are experiencing a SHTF scenario right now - the weekly money fight with the spouse! It's well-documented that money fights and money problems are major marriage killers. Well, let me tell you, I had a good marriage before I started this plan. Our marriage is so much better now that my wife and I are working together and are in agreement on where the money goes. Yes, I even have "blow money" for my "Preparation hobby" even while we're climbing out of debt - we just put it in the budget!
I won't ramble on much longer. I just know what a difference this has made in my life. I've probably changed my family's future by living these principles and teaching them to my children. I didn't need to become Donald Trump. I just needed to get a fiscal plan in place so that later we would have the money available for Preparation, rather than sending it to a myriad of creditors. Dave Ramsey's program has helped me in my preparations for the future. Dave's not selling any funds, stocks, or mystery programs to beat the Market or buy real estate with no money down. He's just packaged up time-honored principles that have helped us, and many friends, achieve financial peace as well as greater love and harmony in our marriage and family. In my estimation, when we speak and write about disaster preparedness, we're really talking about peace and security through the hardest times. It's pretty tough to do that without including financial peace in the discussion. - Rob in NC

JWR Replies: I agree that getting out of debt should be a priority. In the long term (decades), further inflation in the U.S. seems inevitable. The good news is that continuing inflation means paying off debts with progressively "cheaper" dollars, but the bad news is that our buying power is being eroded. This is particularly painful for fixed income pensioners. In the short term, however, there is the lingering risk of a deflationary depression--much like the Great Depression of the 1930s. If that happens, anyone with any significant debt will be fortunate not to end up homeless by the end of that deflationary cycle.

Once folks have extricated themselves from the debt hole, I recommend an investment portfolio that is heavy on precious metals--primarily bullion rather than numismatic. See the Swiss America web site for some "hard money" investing alternatives.

Most everyone loves a good medical mystery. You know, we watch these shows like "House" and "ER" to see what the medical emergency is and to watch the drama unfold as they solve the crisis of the moment. Shows like "CSI" teach us a lot about the medical community and police work together to solve crimes. You're going to probably see in the television season to come that the subject in this link is going to be played out in various popular drama shows. Understanding the reality behind it to me is as interesting as the drama plays and I think you'll enjoy getting the behind the scenes scoop on it.

I've been following this avian influenza virus for a while. Here is a link to a television show that was done by medical scientists (Director of the CDC, US Secretary of Health, leading medical scientists, etc.) to help explain what this is and why it's being labeled as "the single most lethal thing our society could face in the year 2007." Politicians and governments around the globe are quietly infusing millions of dollars into preparations and training in pandemic preparedness measures.

If you have the time, please watch it. It's really interesting, on multiple levels, not as a hype that "the world is coming to an end" but rather to be involved in medical matters to educate yourself and be self aware of the situation that is going on with this particular issue. It's aim is to educate them on the issue so that folks will understand what this situation is, exactly. I hope you enjoy learning about it. - April

From the New York Times: Rise in Ethanol Raises Concerns About Corn as a Food. The article begins: "Renewing concerns about whether there will be enough corn to support the demand for both fuel and food, a new study has found that ethanol plants could use as much as half of America's corn crop next year."

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Any readers that live in Montana should be aware of an "anti-hoarding/anti-price gouging" bill that is currently in hearings at the state senate. Call your state senators! (A tip of the hat to Phil at the Random Nuclear Strikes blog for publicizing this Nanny State do-gooder meddling.)

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SF in Hawaii sent us a link for "a place (not necessarily the least expensive) to buy Bosun whistles".You might also check the prices at Boaters World. (One of our Affiliate advertisers.) OBTW, they also sell other emergency signaling equipment (including air horns and smoke/flare pyrotechnics) that might be useful ashore, for a survival retreat.

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." - Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

There is still a lot of snow on the ground and more snowfall expected soon, but The Memsahib is already intently studying her seed catalogs! She is irrepressibly optimistic. It is just in her nature. I think that, bank balance willing, this will be the year that I build her a greenhouse so that she can dispense with using our small cold frames and windowsill sprouting and get a serious early start on the vegetable garden.

Today we begin with a letter from David, our correspondent in Israel.

The Olmert government would not do a nuclear strike of any kind even if we were at risk of being completely overrun. The weakness in response can be seen in the
war in Lebanon where only minimal measures were used and only against safe targets after about 8 hours of leaflet warnings. Olmert simply will not upset his liberal European friends even when Washington orders him to act strongly. This is likely part of a wind up similar to what we saw before the Iraq invasion although I am doubtful that there will be an American ground occupation of Iran. My IAF air-force friends have seen no unusual activity. This is likely to be used by the US and Britain to explain their urgent need to hit Iran even if they are out out of missile range. Look how many amphibious strike and carrier battle groups have gathered in the gulf. The surge in Iraq looks to me to be a cover for an Iran hit. Didn't I promise you an interesting year? - David in Israel

Mr. Rawles,
I was also startled at the article in The Times of London, linked to by The Drudge Report. However, the article sounded familiar to me. I Googled "Times of London, Israel nuclear strike on Iran" and found two earlier articles in the Times of London about the same subject:
March 13, 2005
December 11, 2005
There are many other articles about the same topic. The repetition by The Times of London indicates that they cry “wolf” way too much.
Maybe this is just part of Israel's propaganda war to get someone else to do something about Iran. Certainly something must be done about Iran, but the threat of an imminent nuclear attack by Israel shouldn't be used to stampede the rest of the world into taking unwise action. Regards, - GunLaw.

I can definitely say that the XS Sights work as advertised. I've tried them on the Mini-14 and AR-15 carbines, and in both cases they enabled accurate 100 yard plinking at night and fast acquisition with full sights. With a peep-sight equipped rifle, the Tritium front is the most worthwhile upgrade. If you can see the sight through the opening, you're going to hit what you're pointing at. For around $100, this is a very worthwhile upgrade for any gun that gets used at night. - Arclight


While reading earlier today OSOM's posting re "Night Sights for Pistols", I remembered an advert in a recent issue of Shotgun News, which showed two products (named "Diamond XT"; and " Diamond SAS; from a company that calls itself "Nikko-Stirling Optics." The visual, located on the "XT" page, appears to be just what the proverbial doctor ordered, for such CQ and CQ/T (courtesy of IOR - Valdada and Leupold) situations which may pop up. Better than the long in use 3-dot system? Would seem so to me. - Ben L.

"The Werewolf", (our correspondent in Brazil) recommended a 49 cent downloadable Amazon short by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is titled :"Imagining Abrupt Climate Change: Terraforming Earth."

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Michael Z. Williamson reminded us that the Oak Ridge Laboratory treatise on what nuclear weapons actually do, and how to defend your family against their effects is available for free download from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

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"Simple Country Doctor" recommended this "moderately technical discussion of non-nuke EMP device" from Australia.

"There are no victims, only volunteers. You volunteer by looking uncertain and afraid. You volunteer by being, as grass-eaters invariably are, unprepared to confront the hazards of life." - The Late Col. Jeff Cooper

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sorry about the long delay, but I am now ready to start filling orders for autographed copies of the new expanded edition of my novel Patriots, through my mail order catalog. I would prefer payment via AlertPay or PayPal, since our "snail mail" gets forwarded to the ranch just once every two weeks. That could cause an up to three week delay in mailing your book order if you send payment via snail mail. I shipped ten cases of already autographed books to our fulfillment partner in Montana. (The folks that will be handling the actual book mailings.) Because of this, I won't be able to offer any special personalized inscriptions--just books that have a generic inscription. (Just my signature.) OBTW, if you'd like to pay via credit card, I also plan to sell some autographed copies through Amazon Shops.

The following is another article for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If there are a lot of great entries this round of the contest, I will again be sending out a few complimentary first edition copies (Huntington House edition) of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

While I have only been a reader for a year or so, I have not noticed a lot of references to the advantages to livestock. Depending upon your retreat location, the extra logistics of livestock ownership will outweigh the costs. As fossil fuel availability becomes more limited, the conversion of non-protein nitrogen into energy will begin looking more attractive. Today I want to focus on the horse. Let’s look at the four major benefits of the equine:
Transportation –A horse can move you from your residence to your retreat. You can (i) ride, (ii) drive a wagon or buggy, (iii) walk and use the horse as a pack animal (iv) or any combination of the three. While I would recommend that your bug out prior to WTSHTF, should you need to ride your steed as you bug-out transportation, you will be passing those vehicles stuck in gridlock on the highways. A horse with a rider walks at 3 mph, trots at 8 mph, cantors at 12 mph and can gallop @ 30+ mph (Quarter Horses have been clocked at over 50 mph for short distances). A draft horse pulling a load might make 3-5 mph over bad roads. Compare that to a human walking @ 3 mph. In a bug-out scenario riders could possibly cover the 300 miles to their retreat in as little as 6 days. Variables include terrain, horse condition, and “watch-outs” in route. (Watch out, we want to ride around that particular situation as opposed to through). Also, in certain emergency situations, that galloping @ 30 mph, could come in handy. In a different bug-out scenario, a family of four, with one pack horse can significantly increase it’s bug-out supplies. As a general rule, you can load a pack horse up to 20% of its weight including the pack saddle. Dead weight for a pack horse is harder to carry than a rider as the rider helps balance the load. The average quarter horse weights 1,100-1,200 pounds. Draft horses reach the 1,800 pound range or more. That can be a lot of extra supplies.
Let me stress again, I do not recommend that anyone use a horse as their primary mode of transportation from their residence to their retreat. The preferred method is in the trailer behind the truck. (For those of us who do not yet live at their retreat.)
Beyond bug-out transportation, the horse makes excellence retreat transportation. Checking on neighbors, checking on fencing for your other livestock (more on this topic for another post), providing enhanced communication and distribution through networks ("Pony Express"). These are just a few ideas. I am sure that your readers can add to the list.
Work – We talk a lot about raising our own crops. It is a great idea, but how large of an area could you garden if you had to turn the soil by hand. Your garden size will depend upon your location, soil type, rainfall, growing season and number of mouths to feed. Lets assume that you need an acre of garden to feed your family (probable a bit on the large side, but work with me here). How big is an acre? There are 43,560 square feet in an acre. Still no perspective? A football field, including end-zones is 360 feet by 160 feet, or about 1.3 acres. Are you ready to turn that much soil by hand? A well conditioned draft team, using a single bottom plow can plow between 1.5 to 2 acres per day (That would be 10 hours, not your 9 to 5). Add a disc and a planter and you are well on your way to feeding your family.
And please, remember to think outside of the box. Work may include other jobs for animal engines. For example, horses have been used in horse mills, horse wheels and on treadmills for numerous types of jobs, including pumping water and grinding grain. Horses are still used today for some low-impact logging operations. Now I do not expect everybody to go out and build a mill on the back forty, but don’t limit the thought of using your horsepower to just the field.
Barter – This one is easy. There are three basic barter opportunities: Transportation, Work and Breeding. Just as there are material objects to be bartered, what services could you provide that provide value to others. What would it be worth to you to have someone prepare your garden soil for planting? What if a member of someone outside your retreat needs to be transported to a Doctor for medical attention? What would the offspring of a good draft horse bring under extreme conditions? The possibilities are endless.
Food – This one is the hard one. Under the direst circumstances, horsemeat is protein and in a do-or-die situation they can be eaten. Mind you that if you elect this option you are greatly reducing the opportunity to maximize the other benefits that I have listed, but I would rather eat than be eaten. I heard that it tastes like chicken.
Other benefits that are worth mentioning;
Horses are great alarm systems. Not an alarm like a dog, but more silent. Horses go through life knowing that they are prey. As a result they have a keen sense of their surroundings, much more so than humans. If you suspect danger (or even if you do not), watch your horse, odds are he will see it, smell it or hear it before you. Horses also have excellent night vision and they raise their own replacements.
Okay, so we have decided that horse ownership may be a good thing for your retreat, what next?
Space requirements - As you are adding to your “Things To Do” list, remember that if you have horses, you will need to have feed. If they are working horses, they will even need more feed. Just as with the garden, the amount of pasture acreage required per horse varies, but as a rule of thumb, 2 acres of pastureland is generally needed for a mature horse. The pasture should be divided into 2-4 separate pastures (paddocks). This will allow the flexibility to rotate horses among pastures to allow for pasture recovery. It would be wise to pick up a good book on Management Intensive Grazing.
Temperate climates may be able to refuel their horses on pastures year around. Those in the more inclement regions of the country may need to put up some hay. Feed requirements are generally 1-2 pounds of hay per hundred weight. Do the math, 1,500 pound horse, 30 pounds per day, 5 months out of pasture due to weather (in my area), that equates to a little over two tons of hay per horse (and that is without a reserve [for seasonal variations]). In addition to the garden and the pasture you'd better set aside an additional 1-2 acres per horse for growing hay. While you are checking out that antique horse drawn equipment at the next auction don’t forget the sickle mower and the hay loader.
Also remember that just as you are storing food for yourself, starting a little stockpile today for your horse(s) would be prudent. A couple of extra big round bales is cheap insurance. Remember to rotate.
Additional space requirements include a stable and/or turnout shelter. Some people use box stalls for their horses, some use a turnout shelter. I prefer the shelter.
Skills Needed – Some basic animal husbandry skills. Between a good book and a little hands-on experience, you can get the basics covered. If you live in the city and expect to travel to your retreat, leasing a horse from a local stable can provide great value and learning experience without a long-term commitment. Surf the web for some horse related activities. Attend a local Field Day or Horse Pull. Consider signing up for a driving or riding clinic in your area.
Equipment Needed – Depending upon your expected horse’s function, you’ll need to look at halters, saddles, harnesses, farm equipment, farrier tools and the skills to use and repair these items.
And lets not forget the equine. What type? Paint, Quarter, Draft. Don’t limit yourself to just looking at horses. Mules and donkeys can offer some distinct advantages over horses.
Everybody has their own preferences. The important point is to just pick one and get started. There are fewer and fewer people that have experience in some of these skill sets. It is important that someone at your retreat starts to develop some of these skills. Let 'er buck. Respectfully submitted, - S.N.

While portable radios are great for communications, I've had times in noisy environments where I couldn't understand the message. Other weaknesses include the fact that they require batteries, their size, that as electronics they are susceptible to EMP, falls, and weather. Finally, they do not allow for directional finding of the other party. As such, I suggest also equipping every member of your team with a small Bosun's whistle. These small multi-note whistles create a high pitch which can be heard above the din of a crowd. Being multi-note in capability, information can be sent (e.g. high-low for where are you/I'm over here, high-high-high for emergency etc). They are small enough to fit it your pocket, are indestructible and have some direction finding ability to them.
My family has a 'family whistle' we've used for four generations for finding each-other without having to shout but while my kids can hear me whistle to them, they can't respond at their age. They can however operate a Bosun's whistle.
I can think of several scenarios where such whistles could be of use. Can you imagine being separated from your wife and kids in a crowded FEMA camp? Some children remained separated from parents for months after entering the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina. While I have no intention of taking my family into one of those death traps or anywhere else that the "we're from the government and we're here to help" folks suggest, Schumer happens. If you and your family find yourselves caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and somehow separated, a kid turns a wrong corner in an airport, or you just want to call them in from the yard for dinner and don't want to scream, get a Bosun's whistle. - SF in Hawaii

Bush Targets Iran in Speech, Implies Military Action

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I've just been notified by Survival Enterprises that the big blow-out 'truckload sale" that I had mentioned previously is now definitely a "go." They bought a container load of nitrogen packed long term storage foods from a U.S. cannery that is going out of business. Survival Enterprises has well over 11,000 cans of storage food coming, (a full to the gunnels 40 foot shipping container load) and it'll be arriving sometime next week. These will be everything from beef, ham, chicken, and bacon TVP to green beans to corn starch, to who knows what. The majority will be in the large #10 cans, but there's thousands of #3 and #2.5 cans as well. (The smaller cans make more sense when planning meals for one, two or three people.) These cases of long term storage food will be sold only to SurvivalBlog readers at special prices for the next 30 days. This bounty will be sold in full case lots only (no breaking cases) and they are all "first come - first served." The prices that will be offered are so low that they afraid that dealers might buy some of this truckload to re-sell. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. Survival Enterprises will have a link that has the running inventory list in a day or so, with prices (as they sell out an item, they'll keep visible track what is left.) All orders must be called in, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (208) 704-3935 or e-mail him at kwATse1.us (Change the "AT" to an @symbol) OBTW, Kurt tells me that he will also be blowing out his remaining inventory of Mountain House freeze dried storage foods in conjunction with this sale, at 25% off.

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John the Bowhunter mentioned: the "Future Weapons documentary is set for January 15, on the Discovery cable channel: "Search and destroy: Weapons that always find their target." January 15 at 9 p.m. EST/PST (Check your local cable listing for the time in your area.) "Discover weapons that will always find their target, including the AS50 sniper rifle, the Vulcan mine destroyer, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System, and the Super Hornet bomber."

"A poison in a small dose is a medicine, and a medicine in a large dose is a poison." - Alfred Swaine Taylor, a 19th Century toxicologist

"There are no victims, only volunteers. You volunteer by looking uncertain and afraid. You volunteer by being, as grass-eaters invariably are, unprepared to confront the hazards of life." - The Late Col. Jeff Cooper

Thursday, January 11, 2007

We got a rare wildlife viewing treat today, as we were driving back to the Rawles Ranch from town. Just a quarter mile from our south property line, there was a herd of at least 18 Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep standing in the county road. We counted three rams among them. They were so intent with licking salt off of the road that we had to slowly drive within 20 feet before the last of of the ewes moved off of the road. This is the closest that our kids had ever been to Bighorns.

The following is another article for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If there are a lot of great entries this round of the contest, I will again be sending out a few complimentary copies of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

"Bugging in" is the term used for staying at home while waiting for an event to pass you by. [As opposed to "bugging out"--fleeing to a lightly populated region.] Even the largest civil events of the last one hundred years haven’t set society off here in the United States of its normal course for more than two weeks. Double that for a month and you’ll survive, or out survive, any event likely to hit.
After whatever event that has set society on its end has struck the 99 out of one hundred people that haven’t prepared for survival are going to be out looking for supplies. Those people will have some sort of firearm likely and as hunger, dehydration, and panic set in they will become more and more willing to use violence as a means to secure what they want from you. I recommend keeping the lowest possible profile possible as stealth is one of the best weapons available.
1. Starvation.
You need to have enough food on your shelves for at least a month. Stock up on military MREs, canned soups, and canned meats. Foods that do not require cooking are a bonus as they can be quickly eaten without generating a fire and the issues that go along with it. Having the food in one or two central locations close to the center of your house with heavy canvas bags ready will make moving your food stash easier if a bug in situation turns into a bug out situation. Rotate your stocks into your normal meals or donate them to shelters as they approach expiration date. MREs can last ten years or longer stored indoors and kept cool. Beware of rodents and insects; check your emergency pantry often for their infestation.
2. Dehydration.
In some locations around the United States there is almost a constant supply of rain or running water. Under some conditions rain can become contaminated but normally within a week any chemical, biological, or nuclear pollution will have fallen out of the sky. Ground water supplies can become infected for much longer. Wells and pumps should have their outputs filtered. Have a method of gathering rain water if for use only in sanitation. I recommend having enough cases of bottled water for a month. Rationing food is much easier when there is extra water. Water is much cheaper to keep in quantities, a case of 24 liters of water should provide three days of drinking water and costs about $4. Like your food stores these should be rotated into your normal drinking water. Realize that some food containers will rot out fairly quickly – use clean soda bottles rather then milk containers if you’re storing water on the cheap.
3. Exposure to Extreme Weather.
The weather is something that continues even when we’re having problems. Imagine your home without the normal supply of electrical and natural gas energy during the worse spell of weather a typical winter can throw at you. Without a source of energy your home will do little more than supply shelter from the wind and rain or snow. Propane heaters can provide clean burning heat but like any source of combustion they require a supply of fresh air less they burn up all the oxygen in the room. Do not burn charcoal indoors as it not only burns up the oxygen it gives off deadly carbon monoxide. Have plenty of warm clothing available for use indoors and out. Synthetic materials that retain some warming ability even when wet are important. Keep your feet, hands, head and neck warm as they are where most heat is lost from. Mittens are far better at keeping hands warm then gloves. A tiny hole can allow the use of the trigger finger.
4. Sanitation.
Without flushing water toilets will not function. Even low flow toilets require a bit more than a gallon to flush. If the event is going to be a normal short "week or so" civil outage you can manually load the toilet tank with a bucket of water. Liquid waste can be gathered during the day and poured discretely at night into a location distant from any natural source of water you might be gathering. Solid waste can be put into plastic bags which can be sealed and placed into trash cans.
5. Light.
If the source of electricity has been cut off using a flashlight or lantern will draw people like bugs to a street light. People have a natural fear of the dark and there’s nothing like being the only source of light for blocks to draw an unwelcome crowd. If you do use lights after dark use them as little as possible. Red filters will help keep the use of light discrete. Draw your shades or blinds like normal and then nail blankets, cardboard, or better yet, pre-prepared plywood over the insides. This effort will keep in heat, hold down the noise, block light, and add some protection against looters or attackers.
6. Smoke.
Smoke can be seen for a great distance as can the smell of it or cooking food. Sit outside one summer evening with a light breeze and you’ll smell cooking going on from a hundred yards away. Burning trash can raise a great deal of smoke and doesn’t make sense initially unless your neighbors are also doing it. If you have to burn trash gather several days worth together and burn it in a trash can with ventilation holes in the bottom. This will help the fire burn hotter and emit less smoke. Extinguish the fire after use rather then letting it linger. Cigarette smoke can also be smelled from a great distance away.
7. Noise.
It is amazing how far normal conversation or household noise can travel at night in a silent city. Those who have been hunting in the early hours know how far sound travels, you can hear a noisy hunting party clear across a lake when the wind is gentle and the weather cool. During the day sound doesn’t travel as far due to the effect of the sun warming the ground. Gunfire can be heard for miles. The use of a sound suppressor on a firearm would be ideal in a survival situation. Use only enough gun to get the job done, gathering a bunny from the field requires a .22 Long Rifle round, not a .223 [Remington.] Running an electrical generator can create lots of noise, putting the generator in a garage [with proper exhaust venting] will help some. Limit their use as much as possible as things get worse. Try to use [photovoltaic] solar power as much as possible.
8. Activity.
If you’re trying to remain hidden in plain sight motion will certainly give you away. Chores that require you to leave the house should be done only after dark. Wear dark clothing or better camouflage that matches your environment. Resting during the day and patrolling or gathering after dark maintains the lowest profile. If you do have to move about during the day stay off of trails, streets, and ridge lines where you’re likely to be seen first. The use of passive night vision goggles can help greatly when moving around after dark. If the ground is covered with freshly fallen snow limit your upsetting of the blanket until more is falling or the winds pick up to cover your tracks back to your place.
9. Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Weapons.
Whether they are released intentionally or accidentally they can kill you just as dead, just as fast. Nuclear weapons kill by blast and radiation. Dirt is your friend with both forms of energy. Ideally being shielded by massive quantities of dirt is the best protection. Living on the far side of a mountain or having a basement shelter where you can keep below the initial blast of radiation. Fallout is radioactive matter in the dust and debris that follows a blast. Most fallout settles within hours, within days it is almost completely gone. Weather can help with rainfall and high winds. The longer you can stay sheltered the lower your chance of getting radiation sickness is. Filtering the air within your shelter can be done with gas masks. You should become familiar with the fit and feel of a mask prior to needing one. Protecting against some chemical agents is similar to nuclear fallout. Those chemicals that are dust like can be filtered with ease, gas-like agents will dissipate with time and wind. Oily chemicals can spread with contact with contaminated surfaces. Wearing disposable chemical resistant coveralls, gloves, and over-boots can keep contaminates outside when coming back indoors. Biological agents are greatly affected by the weather and can be rendered harmless by sun, rain, cold, and heat. Avoiding them is a matter of keeping buttoned up for a few days or possibly weeks.
10. Communications
It is only natural to desire to communicate with outside loved ones. This will normally require the use of a amateur “ham” radio, CB, or FRS radio. Realize that the ability to track the source of communications isn’t that difficult. Amateur radio clubs do “fox hunts” to practice finding hidden transmitters. If you do use radio communications keep them short and cryptic if the event becomes really serious and to the point where people are getting desperate. One time pads can be used – both parties have a look-up table to decode prearranged phrases. These are changed each patrol. Have a wideband scanner receiver so that you can listen for the authorities or even on other [survival] group's communications. - Paul C.

From Thomas Horn, writing in WorldNetDaily: The good news about imminent disaster

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Four different SurvivalBlog readers sent us the link to this news story: Proposal to send drones over Idaho raises hackles

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The Daily Mail reports: Dead birds rain down on towns half a world apart

"So what's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, 'You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.' Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is a protector of rights." - Dr. Walter Williams

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The high bid is still at $260 in the current SurvivalBlog benefit auction, This one is for a big batch of 16 survival/preparedness reference books, courtesy of the fine folks at Ready Made Resources. (They are one of our first and most loyal advertisers. Be sure to visit their site and check out their huge inventory of preparedness-related products. BTW, they have additional copies of each of the titles listed below, as well as more than a hundred other titles.) The auction ends on January 15th, so get your bid in soon.

Mr Rawles:
Given that it is illegal anywhere that I know to hunt at night, and extremely inadvisable to hunt in low-light conditions - what in the heck are they making night sights for that fit hunting guns? It does seem okay to make them to fit on a rail - as backup, but for a typical battle-outfitted rifle with an ACOG or EOTech you can't use those sights, they would be obstructed by the base. And if you're going to put backup iron/night sights on a hunting rifle - would the money be better spent on a scope with an illuminated reticle? I may be barking up the wrong tree, but could someone correct my logic if I'm wrong in believing that XO has produced a product that is nearly illegal to use, with a limited market? - Jim H. in Colorado

JWR Replies: "Self defense" is a legitimate use to cite as justification for installing night sights. Also, in most states, hunting some species of predators and varmints--most notable raccoons is done almost exclusively at night, and allowable under fish and game regulations.(See you state's "hound hunting" regulations.) I haven't heard of these sights being illegal in any state, but pleas correct me if I'm wrong. I highly recommend getting tritium sights on all of your battle rifles, as a backup to a tritium lit scope, such as an ACOG. Ditto for you hunting rifles if you can afford to do so.

I finally got a gallery for pictures to the microwave relay bunker that I mentioned near Whitehall, Montana. . Most of them are self-explanatory but there may be some captioning later. Note that even the outhouse was galvanized and grounded. Mil-Spec!
I culled through the photos and left mostly the ones that I thought showed the most interesting features - the high ceilings, thick walls, armored shutters,grounding wires, blueprints, commanding view, and of course the tower itself. I also checked my notes and saw that the internal area was approximately 1600'...or about 40'x40'. For those wondering how such a place was found, someone emailed me a link to an auction on eBay. Turns out that once in a while these things and similarly useful facilities turn up there. Throw some interesting terms into the eBay's search function, limit your results to the real estate section and you may be surprised. The asking price, by the way, was $90,000...a very, very optimistic amount in my opinion for what was being offered. If it had water on it, it might have been worth it but since it didn't. OBTW, there are sometimes underground bunkers offered on eBay. They are out there if you know where to look.
Underground bunker on eBay. They are out there if you know where to look. - Commander Zero

Mr. Rawles,
In response to the recent article on Sno-Seal. I have owned several pair of the upper end work boots ( Nicks mostly now, used to wear Whites and even Danners ). I tend to use them a lot through a normal work week and go through a pair about every year and a half (not due to poor workmanship..just rugged work conditions ). Therefore I treat my boots with a lot of love since they cost $350+. I had a gentlemen at a boot store recommend to never use sno-seal, as he claimed it clogs the pores in the leather making it harder to condition the leather. My boot regime is simply this, Pre-warm the boots, apply Obernaufs or Nicks boot wax. Chuck her in the oven on low until it soaks in. Then I use a toilet bowl ring (a cheap source of beeswax) that has been softened and smear it on good. Later in reapplying I tend to reapply the obernaufs as a conditioner and then re-wax. I once had a pair that I just waxed and dried the leather enough to crack it. Also a neat trick I picked up from the folks at Nick's boots is when you have a new pair of boots and are breaking them in: Carry a spritz bottle of 1/2 rubbing alcohol and 1/2 water. Any tight spots or rub points spray some on that spot, rub it in and walk around. It instantly relaxes the leather. Also people in wooded areas should look into calked (spiked) boots. Better any day of the week than Vibram soles, except on rocks and wet snow. Peace and Grace to you from God our Father, - Eric B. in the Northwest


I melt Sno-Seal into the seams and hard to get spots by using a hairdryer, with good results. - Desert T

Alternative news during a crisis could potentially come from unusual sources. There is thriving shortwave "pirate radio" activity in the 6.925-6.955 MHz range even during "normal" times. During weekends and especially on holidays, you can hear many pirate radio broadcasts during the late afternoons and evening. Alternative and sometime simply odd programming abound here. If a crisis occurs, this may be a good source of information as there are quite a few pirate broadcasters located all across the US. (In the UK, the pirates tend to broadcast around 6.200-6.400 MHz.) Some pirates broadcast in upper side band (USB) mode, while others broadcast in AM mode. There is even one that even sends out photos via slow scan television (SSTV)!
More information can be obtained from the Free Radio Network's message board and on BlackCat Systems Pirate Radio Central Owners of shortwave receivers should check out this part of the spectrum to see what they can hear. - 6xddx6

"When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Even though there are more than 12,000 people that read SurvivalBlog every week, just handful of you chime in with your letters or suggested Odds n' Sods tidbits, via e-mail. I suspect that most of you choose to "lurk" because contacting a fairly controversial blog directly would be a security risk. That isn't "tin foil hat" paranoia. Rather, that is just a prudent precaution in our modern age. One great way to contact us is through an Anonymous Remailer. We'd love to hear from some of you Secret Squirrels. Drop us a line--anonymously.

Hello, Jim!
I have been following your blog and every time the subject comes up on retreats in the [U.S.] Northwest, I have the same question. What about the volcano threat from Yellowstone National Park? Would you please comment on this. Thanks, - GCP

JWR Replies: Part of what you are reading in the mainstream media may be sensationalist hype, but there is definitely a long term risk. (An eruption sometime in the next 10,000 years.) The imponderable question is: Is there as significant risk in the short term? Clearly, none of the "experts" really know for certain. Yes, there are signs of increased volcanic activity at Yellowstone, but that could be a short term fluctuation. And yes, Yellowstone blew up at least once before--several thousand years ago--and when it did, it blanketed much of the eastern two-thirds of the North American continent under volcanic ash that was several meters deep, even as far as the east coast. The worst hit area was a swath that extended from Yellowstone through the Great Lakes, to New England, following the prevailing winds. Meanwhile, areas that were upwind (west of Yellowstone) were relatively unscathed.

Even though it was a couple of orders of magnitudes smaller, the eruption of Mount St. Helens more than two decades ago is a good data point. In essence, the lesson learned from St. Helens is: Upwind good, and downwind bad. If you are concerned about Yellowstone erupting anytime in the next couple of generations, then avoid living in the downwind path. Land anywhere at least 100 miles west of Yellowstone should be relatively safe. My personal risk assessment places a new Yellowstone caldera as a very, very low risk within my lifetime, but if it were to happen it would be truly catastrophic. (A classic "low probability, high risk scenario--much like a major asteroid strike or the "sudden pole shift" that alarmists on the Coast to Coast AM radio show talk about.) But, even still, we live west of the Rockies. Yellowstone is just one less risk that we have to worry about.

I agree with you Jim; your own home is not a first time DIY project, but. I would also refer Buddy to the $50 and Up Underground House Book. I have the book, and the author's DVD/Video set. The book covers the construction method pretty well, and the DVD/Video, while not studio quality, is clear, has lots of models to illustrate his points. If I was going to build an underground home myself, this is the route I would take. Also, even though I have a significant amount of experience with construction, I would still spend at least a few weeks in an intern program, before undertaking such a project. Sincerely, - Fanderal

I'd first heard of this product somewhat less than a year ago. Well, if the U.S. production ever starts up (rumor indicated that, because Steyr had supposedly sold some 'things' to Iran, that our President had decided the AUG would not be produced in this country), it'll be a long time coming. Also, all those AUGs on Gunbroker.com selling for $4,000-$7,000 will take a steep nosedive; persistent rumor is saying the U.S.-made MSRP is expected to be around $1,300. (Even "under $2,000" will be a bargain). :-) Ben

Mr. R.:
I read OSOM's letter on fixed versus folder knives and I agree. I'd encourage folks to go take a look at the HideAway Knives. These are semi-custom made: You measure the circumference around your index and ring finger combined, and the knife is finished to that dimension. The resulting knife is a two-finger custom loop with a 2-inch (or longer) blade attached. They are incredibly fast into action, razor-sharp, and you can open the hand up and continue to operate lights, doors, keys, magazines, etc without losing the knife. It stays in place, out of the way and instantly available again when you close the hand. It is a great design. The carry systems for it are just as innovative. It can be rigged anywhere on the person or outfit
They are more expensive than the Ka-Bar TDI, but definitely worth a look. One comment posted at the HAK site accurately describes the user as a "human velociraptor." The knife comes with a standard Kydex sheath, and a Band-Aid for the inevitable cut one incurs before appreciating just how keen the edge and point are. - Murray

Economist Gary North commented in a recent e-newsletter about "inflation fighter" Alan Greenspan's legacy: "Using the inflation calculator, located on the home page of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics
, we find that in 1997, an item that had cost $1,000 in 1987 [when Greenspan took office] cost $1,412 -- a 40% increase in prices."

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Tessy e-mailed us to mention: "One of the greatest and most valuable treasures in my survival library is the book written by the cadre of the United States Rescue and Special Operations Group based in Kansas City: "Six Ways in, Twelve Ways Out." Their web site was a great resource for survival information. but for the last six months, the site has been down for some reason. I checked by clicking on my Favorites link tonight and wow! The USRSOG site is back up and looks great. Lots of great info even if you don't buy the book about building shelters and other neat stuff. Look for the manual link on the right."

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Rourke (moderator of the Jericho Discussion Group) pointed us to this thread: The Day After versus Jericho.

"Does history warrant the conclusion that religion is necessary to morality -- that a natural ethic is too weak to withstand the savagery that lurks under civilization and emerges in our dreams, crimes and wars? There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion." - Will and Ariel Durant

Monday, January 8, 2007

I've received more than 10 e-mails from SurvivalBlog readers in the past 24 hours about the news story that ran in The Times of London headlined: "Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran." (It was featured in The Drudge Report.) I'm checking on the veracity of the article, but it seems incredible to me.

Dear Jim:
Following up on the discussion a few months back on the folders vs. fixed blade knives for defense: To recap - folders are easier to carry and legal in more places, but fixed blades easier and faster and safer to get in to action. Ever tried opening a folder while wrestling or being hit? I've taken a class where you do a low intensity simulation with blunt training knives, and, put it this way, opening a folder under attack is not something I ever want to bet my life - or my fingers on!
If you live in a state that does not prohibit fixed blades, there is now a much easier to carry fixed blade, introduced by Ka-Bar - their TDI Law Enforcement:
The handle comes off the blade at an angle so it is much easier to carry and conceal - see the photos. A big improvement over straight knife concealability. I like the ergonomics as well - very hard for your hand to slip onto the blade.
To check on your state's edged weapons laws, see this site. Regards, - OSOM

Mr. Rawles:
I have owned many types of dogs over the years, from coonhounds when I lived in Idaho, to a horrible little dachshund we currently have, but who may be the best watchdog I've ever owned. Were it not for his addiction to killing chickens and rabbits (which we also raise), he might make a great retreat dog! My current choice is the Komondor. Extremely independent, but in the right hands an absolutely devoted and fearless defender of livestock, home, barn, children. My big male is the constant companion of my daughters as they roam our property, putting himself between them and any threat, real or perceived. Never vicious or prone to attack, but very willing to stand off a stranger until he has been thoroughly investigated and cleared by me as being okay. These are not dogs for everyone; but with proper handling they are great dogs even with children. They do not share the Great Pyrenees penchant for roaming, and have a well-developed sense of property and territory. Their drawback as well as part of their uniqueness is their unusual corded coat, which we shear here in Texas due to the heat and the fact that nearly everything here has burrs or thorns. Even though it is a large breed, their dietary requirements are surprisingly small. Such giant breeds often have slow metabolisms and don't need as much food as you'd think. My big male gets about 4 cups of high protein food a day. And being of rather peasant, Hungarian ancestry, he is happy with the occasional baked potato to supplement his regular diet. He also will consume goat feed if he thinks I am not watching, but seems to suffer no ill effects from it.

So I'll end here, but thanks for your hard work, and we look forward to reading more and learning more. Best wishes to you and your family, - Ginger B

Dear Jim,
I noticed that The Pre-1899 Specialist has some Chilean Mausers in stock. I have one of these that I acquired some time back, in the original 7 x 57 Mauser chambering.
These are a very smooth, reliable, strong bolt action rifle, accurate and easy to handle. They're a reasonably modern style. In either 7mm or 7.62mm they are definitely a good addition to a preparedness arsenal. They will take most North American or European large game, and in extremis will accurately defeat human threats at several hundred yards. You can also get a more modern drop-in stock for the 1895 Mauser. Regards, Michael Z. Williamson

"Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction." - Will Rogers

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Dear Jim and Family,
I wish I could say Happy New Year, but i just learned some terrible news in the oil business. The big fields where most of the USA and world get their oil are declining at much faster rates than expected, and the companies are willing to admit to high numbers.

In summary: Burgan field in Kuwait dropping at 11% per year.
Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia (biggest in the world) dropping at 8%, which is 5.5% higher than expected.
Cantarell field in Mexico (source of most US oil) is dropping at 14% rather than the 6% they thought was a worst case scenario back in September. That's an 8% increase in decline in only 3 months. That's very bad. Cantarell could collapse and abruptly stop producing oil. It almost certainly will later this year.
Venezuela is declining at an unknown rate.
Nigeria is suffering a civil war which reduces its oil production. "Youths?" Call them rebels; its more honest.

And to make matters worse, there's some kind of infighting going on in Saudi Arabia. If this rises to the point of even interrupting production in the oil terminals controlled by Saudi Arabia, a conservative 16% of world oil production will suddenly be shut off. This would immediately result in a bidding war for oil tanker deliveries and drive the price of a barrel past $100, probably a lot more, like $170 or so. Maybe higher in the panic buying stage. Gasoline can be expected to pass $8 per gallon and probably go higher. The entire 3rd world, except oil producers themselves, won't have gasoline or diesel anymore. Expect severe collapse and famine to begin almost immediately.

And the really bad news? Even without a collapse in Saudi Arabia, the decline in production from those big fields will cause this to happen over the duration of 2007. It may be a more "slow motion" collapse than a fast one, but the price of oil will rise to destroy consumption, which will hurt the poorest nations most, those least able to afford modern conveniences. Full expect civil wars to break out there over this collapse. I am sad about this prospect. My medication comes from New Jersey. I really hope they keep shipping it through the coming troubles. Sincerely, - InyoKern

Dear Jim:
After doing some night shooting courses with no night sights on my long gun - ( bad idea :-( ) I found XS Sights for long gun tritium retrofits. Fortunately, I was also introduced to their pistol sights for faster day and night sight shooting - 24/7 Express Sights.
You really need to see the photo to appreciate the design, but basically it make the rear notch a very shallow V with a tritium "I" bar in the low center. The front sight is tritium surrounded by a big white dot - so you get the tritium at night, but also a big white dot for faster day and low light shooting (when [the glow of] tritium is not as noticeable). Typical pistol combat distances of 1 to 15 yards you just put the dot on and shoot. Over 15 yards you focus on the top of the dot for a more precise aiming point, and to avoid shooting slightly high.
Having done some Force on Force courses, I realized how valuable making a "flash" sight picture even quicker could be, so I got a set of the Big Dots to test. (Standard size is a compromise - not worth it, go for the Big Dot.)
Bottom line they are significantly faster for combat shooting. These are not precision target sights, but my IDPA accuracy stayed the same in practice and competition. The big improvement was that sight alignment came I'd say roughly 20% faster. Finally won my division in the area match after putting on the XS Express Sights!
I'm taking off my 3-dot tritium sights and retrofitting all my carry pistols with the Big Dot. Regards, - OSOM

I have experience with both off and on road diesels mechanical and electronic control. Normally off road fuel is ok to run in all mechanically fuel injected engines from a performance standpoint. (But legality is another matter.) However, both Stanidyne and Delphi produce an electromechanical pump for some on road applications that use an electric eye to read timing. These types of fuel systems cannot be run on dyed fuel. I repeat cannot be run on off road fuel.
Second and of primary importance is fuel quality all electronic fuel injection systems are very sensitive to fuel contamination and electromagnetic pulse (EMP). a near miss by lightning could put one out of action for good. Power transfer stations or "transformer farms" can also produce a local EMP[-like waveform] if they are taken off-line suddenly. As far as long term survival use or even in a short term SHTF situation, [traditional mechanical [diesel] engines [without microprocessors] are your best be. Unfortunately this limits you to pre 1989-on road engines and pre-2004 off road/marine engines but if you are good with a wrench most can be rebuilt to like new and run almost forever with proper care and maintenance. I would also recommend filter upgrades to all diesel engines to keep them running. I have a lot of experience with RACOR products. Look them up on the web. I would be willing to help out with any questions you may have on the care and feeding of the diesel engine. "Aim small miss small", - Mike the Mechanic

JWR Replies: Many thanks for making that correction! I will revise my original post with the information that you provided on the Stanidyne and Delphi fuel pumps with optical sensors

"There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy." - John Quincy Adams

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The high bid is still at $260 in the current SurvivalBlog benefit auction, This one is for a big batch of 16 survival/preparedness reference books, courtesy of the fine folks at Ready Made Resources. (They are one of our first and most loyal advertisers. Be sure to visit their site and check out their huge inventory of preparedness-related products. BTW, they have additional copies of each of the titles listed below, as well as more than a hundred other titles.) The auction ends on January 15th, so get your bid in soon!

I have 40+ acres, all wooded. I want to build a shelter. There are plenty of hills that I can dig in to, build the shelter and then cover it up. but I don't know a thing about building a shelter. I need to know everything. From making it water tight to air venting. Where can I go. I do not want to buy a shelter. I want to build it my self. Thank you, - Buddy

JWR Replies: Building an underground house, a retreat, or just a simple below ground cache that doesn't become an underground cistern is not a simple task. In general, I do not recommend underground construction for first time do-it-yourself home builders. The nation's experts on underground residential construction is the firm Davis Caves. They been at it for nearly 30 years and they really have underground construction down to a science. To be done right, even in a dry climate, an underground house needs to be situated in a well-drained area. An unconnected ("freed standing") small hill with southern exposure is ideal. Simply digging into an existing hill without creating a drainage system is an invitation to disaster, especially if you live where there is any significant precipitation. A proper underground house needs to have an extensive drainage system and excellent water barriers. If you are on a very tight budget and you definitely want to do it yourself, then I'd recommend that you look for an unpaid or low wage summer internship with a company like Davis Caves. Working with experts for a few weeks will teach you what you need to know to build an underground house that will be dry and tight and that will last for generations.

Mr R.:
I finished reading "Patriots" and have begun passing it off to others with the admonition to buy it, link to SurvivalBlog, and pay attention. There are hard-info gems throughout. I can certainly tell that you were in communication in your other life. Info noted. Your passage [in Patriots] on the "book code" is superior to the [Vernam] one-time pad generation, sans a book. If security is rigorously maintained, a book code is "break-proof."
We got hit twice on successive weekends with big snowfalls. We went out slogging in the storms and got a chance to check just how waterproof the gear really is.
After treating boots and other gear with silicone sprays, I went back to Sno-Seal for all of our boots ( and would do so for leather gaiters too.) Their recommended application method is actually not the best, if I may humbly disagree. Order cans, place one in a saucepan surrounded by water and gently heat on the stovetop. Then carefully apply with a small 1/2" brush and work it in by hand as you paint it into seams and the entire surface - no better way to feel the process. Split/suede leathers are of course more absorbent - and will darken - so be aware of that cosmetic aspect. I take special care with the tongues and their seams. Finish by letting them bask in the sun for an afternoon.
I shoveled snow off our flat roof yesterday and was working in snow-melt for a few hours - feet dry !
Between that product and SealSkinz [waterproof socks], the feet can be reasonably secured. In a devolved world, that could mean the difference between life and death
Regards for the New Year - MurrDoc. P.S.: I'll be sending in my 10 Cent Challenge contribution again this year, gladly.

JWR Replies: Thanks for the positive feedback on my novel "Patriots". I'm glad that you find it useful. On the topic of Sno-Seal: I also use it on my boots. It is a great product. OBTW, back in 1980, when I attended the U.S. Army's Northern Warfare School at Fort Greeley, Alaska, they were still using Neat's Foot Oil on their mountain climbing boots. To treat the boots, they warmed up a 30 gallon drum of Neat's Foot Oil and the members of our entire training class rapidly "passed in review" and dunked the exterior of the boots, doing our best to avoid getting any inside the boots. This was boot waterproofing in the "expeditious, crude, but effective" mode. I have heard that the Army has since switched to some sort of silicone spray. I wouldn't be surprised if they had some large spray rig to treat large numbers of pairs of boots in rapid succession. (The U.S. Army always seem to tend toward expeditious en masse operations for everything from inductee physical examinations to policing litter at a kasserne.) Like you, I prefer Sno-Seal over Silicone sprays. Just be careful not to get any on the upper portions of cloth boot laces. (The portion that you tie.)

Dear Editor:
In an earlier posting you recommended the book "Small Scale Grain Raising" [by Gene Logsdon], but [I found] that it was out of print. However, I found an Australian library that will provide a free downloadable copy. It only took a few minutes on a high speed connection, but you get the book in a PDF file. - Roger H. in Virginia

T his is the first time that I have put forth any input to your blog. I love the site, and it's a daily read! I heard on the radio news that the cattle ranchers in Colorado and Kansas are panicking because they have no power, and thus they cannot pump water to water their cattle. I had just finished reading this article, when I heard that on the radio. I think the cattle ranchers would have been very happy to have this information as would any of the survival-minded among us that may have to pump water for home, livestock, or both. - P.G. in Utah

"...[W]e live in a great and free country only because our forefathers were willing to wage war rather than accept the peace that spells destruction." - Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, January 5, 2007

I recently helped some elderly cousins move from their two story home of many years into a smaller one story apartment in a retirement community. (They are having "mobility" problems.) Part of this move involved cleaning out a storage space that hadn't been touched in more than 40 years. The accumulation of household goods--mainly books--was not unusual or noteworthy. However, what was indeed notable was that many of the boxes had newspapers used as padding in the top. Pulling out these papers, which were mostly from 1958 was a real eye-opener for our kids. Here are some examples of the advertisement prices that our kids were reading aloud, with much laughter:

Beauty Salon: Ladies stylized haircut $1; Revlon manicure 75 cents; Shampoo and Set $1
Flooring store: Rubber tiles 12 cents each, Inlaid linoleum tile 5-1/2 cents, Vinyl tile 7-1/2 cents
Grocery Store: Leg of Lamb 65 cents/lb., Breast of Lamb 15 cents/lb., Picnic hams 29 cents/lb., Johnnie Walker Scotch $6.38/fifth, Hills Bros. Coffee 49 cents per lb.
Another grocery store: Ice cream 69 cents/half gallon, fresh peaches, 5 pounds for 49 cents; choice tomatoes 2 pounds for 29 cents; Ghirardelli chocolate 53 cents/lb.
Car Dealerships: Current model year Cadillac Convertible $4,395, 1957 Chevy (one year old) $2,195, 1950 Buick Sedan "Real Nice" $165, 1954 Ford Victoria V-8 $875
Classified Ads: 1951 Studebaker V-8 Coupe, new paint $245, 1951 Chevy sedan $145, Olds 1950 "Rocket 88" $140, German Shepard Pups, $25 to $35, Clerk -Typist "Ages 21 to 35" $295 per week, Colt Service .45 Auto [Model 1911] "good cond., with holster" $12.

The prices in these ads illustrate the slow but relentless debasement of our currency. Before 1965, our coinage was 90% silver, and paper money was still redeemable in silver. Granted, wages were proportionately smaller, but any savings held in dollars get relentlessly eaten away by inflation, year after year. It is no wonder that the savings rate in the U.S. recently went below zero. (Americans presently spend $1.06 for each dollar that they earn, piling up debt instead of savings.) The inflation of the money supply is gradual enough that it insidiously goes without raising public alarm. Because inflation is so relentless, I recommend investing in tangibles--things like productive farm land, gold, silver, guns, and common caliber ammunition. The dollar will surely continue to go down and down in value, but for the most part tangibles will hold their value.

Writing recently in The Daily Reckoning (a free e-mail newsletter) editor Bill Bonner (also the co-author of the book "Empire of Debt") summed up the current situation nicely: "We simplify for the benefit of readers with tight schedules or short attention spans: The United States puts out dollars - trillions of them. U.S. consumers use the dollars to overspend, by buying products from overseas, approximately $1.06 worth of buying for every dollar actually earned. Foreign governments want the spending to continue. Instead of sending the dollars back where they came from by buying American goods, they issue local currencies to buy them and put them in their central bank vaults. All this extra money is then magnified...2...3...10 times...as it is lent, re-lent and used as reserves for various financial instruments.
Meanwhile a whole new industry has risen up to help with the lending, mortgaging, gambling that goes along with this explosion of money. Derivatives now equal seven times world GDP and are growing five times as fast. The new 'liquidity' is floating up financial assets all over the world.
Traditionally, more money in the system caused consumer price inflation - which was seen as a threat to the well being of the rich as well as the masses. Central bankers knew they had to get it under control or they would be swamped by it. But this new liquidity is different. People love it. The lumps never get a chance to use it to buy toilet paper. Instead, it sloshes around the hedge funds, banks, financial houses and rich financiers'...in a 'wave of liquidity' upon which so many super-wealthy are now riding. In 1980, the ratio of financial assets to GDP stood at about 1.5 to 1. Now, it is about 4 to 1. Yes, dear reader, upon this ocean of liquidity rides a great Titanic of asset price inflation. It is why Picasso, Klimt and Pollack paintings sell for such absurd prices. It is why houses in Aspen, Greenwich and Kensington have reached such breathtaking prices. It is why Chinese stocks have doubled in the last year. And it is why the Dow is at an all-time high...and why Manhattan real estate is selling for such high prices that even the rats are having to pack up and move to New Jersey."

The debt merry-go-round that Bill Bonner described cannot go on forever. When the average consumer runs out of credit, when the U.S. Treasury itself is no longer considered credit worthy, and when the U.S. dollar itself is recognized for what it really is (nicely printed toilet paper), then things will get ugly. "The Piper must be paid." In this case the Pipers are foreign lending institutions. If you stop making the payments on your car, the banks send a repo man to tow your car away. And when entire nations go into default, it usually signals cataclysmic events. Be prepared.

Dear Jim and Family,
This is in response to the article about microwave sites for survival shelters. As it happens, I spent half my summer just South of Whitehall, a couple years before I met you in [deleted for OPSEC]. I was finishing my geology degree and the geology of the area is very interesting.

This is the new free mapping program through Wikipedia. It allows for annotations and contains good quality aerial photos of the terrain using Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

The region described around Whitehall is curious and deceptive. For one thing, there's an active gold mine north of the interstate, where much of the town's population works (or worked, I'm not sure if its still open.) One of the forks of the Missouri river flows through the area and its geologically complex. If a person were to consider land there, they shouldn't settle for 1.3 acres when they can still buy land by the full section [one square mile] for a reasonable price. Pasture land is worth the most, land that held trees but has been cleared is worth the least. Hilly/mountainous or rocky land is also worth little so sells cheaply. Or did 10 years ago, anyway. Whitehall is on the wrong side of a mountain pass from the nearest city, Butte. Its further, around 60 miles to Bozeman which has the highest crime rate in the state due to the high numbers of Los Angelinos. They have drugs and gangs there, from what the locals told me.

Whitehall is a very close knit community. They are predominantly religious, and their main battle is with losing their kids to the city, the second most war is being fought with alcoholism and unemployment. Everybody in the region knows everybody else. They're all good rifle shots and visibility, when it isn't overcast and raining, is something around 80 miles. In that country, artillery would make you king, not a mere 50 BMG. That said if you're an outsider you may find yourself in a world of hurt. It would be really important to practice the same religion, to suffer the same hardships and attend the same schools as the locals. Its the kind of place where being there 20 years still makes you "the new guy". If you are from California and intend to emigrate to Montana, reconsider. They don't like Californians there. You could say they're in agreement on the issue. Californians are bad, no matter how good you may be. That's why I don't live there.

As with all poor communities with failing employment, everybody has 2-3 jobs besides their main one. With the collapse of the US dollar, if there's still gold in Whitehall it will continue to be mined and some of that money will filter into the local economy.

The local king there is the inventor of the circular irrigation systems, the source of those circles of green on the aerial photo. I've never met him and don't know his politics. He cares enough to stay in his home, which means something. Its cattle country and they grow a lot of hay and alfalfa but it also rains in summer, which means crops like wheat and barley are often ruined. They also get a lot of frost, even in summer mornings, so don't expect veggies to survive without using greenhouses. Most of the population have large metal quonset huts for their barns, and some people live in them. They're all over the landscape.

As for wildlife I saw Elk, Grizzly, eagles, and wolves there, as well as many coyotes and rattlesnakes. Horseback riding is popular and 4WD is mandatory for most roads there, as pavement is optional. Its worth visiting the place to get your own take on it, just don't think you understand them simply because you visited once. There's a lot of hurt in the region. Sincerely, - InyoKern


After reading your blog a few days ago, regarding surplus microwave tower sites, I was a little suspicious that it sounded too good to be true. I did a Google search and discovered any information about it was at least six years old. One of the primary sources was a company called American Tower. This morning, I called the Western states rep to ask if this policy of selling surplus towers was still ongoing, and she replied (1) she hasn't been involved in this surplus tower sales in the past and (2) she was amazed that besides my call, she had received at one email regarding the same issue. (I suspect a fellow blog-reader is pursuing the same trail.) She did say they do sell surplus sites, and if I wanted to make an offer on one, that would be fine. I explained to her I was trying to find out what sites might be available for sale. She suggested I send her an email with my specific question, and she would get the information to me. So apparently they are still available (I suspect maybe for more money than $20K), and I will continue following this trail and share whatever information I can. - Chet

JWR Replies: Anyone that is now looking to buy one of these sites is indeed about five years too late, at least for the American Tower Company auctions. However, many of these sites may now be available on the secondary market, assuming that some of them were bought by speculators that never did anything with them. In my opinion, if you can find one that has water, it would be a bargain at twice the typical "+/- $20K" price from back in 2001. I wouldn't be surprised to find that most of them were bought up by cellular phone companies. In many instances, all that these companies were looking for was a site with good line-of-sight, and they probably didn't use much of the original infrastructure--perhaps not even the original tower. In that case you be able to buy the land and structures and "lease back" or perpetually "grant back" the cellular site rights to the cellular carrier. And for those that were bought by private parties, you can always track down the current owners by way of the County Recorder's Office.

Kara S. told us about this story: Thieves Steal $200K In Copper In Broad Daylight

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Our friend novelist Michael Z. Williamson mentioned this book that might prove useful in extremis: Unmentionable Cuisine by Calvin W. Schwabe

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For our readers in the UK that are wondering about the vaguely survivalist Jericho television series produced in the U.S., Simon in England mentioned: "Jericho is starting the the UK cable / satellite channel Hallmark at 20.00 on Friday 12 January 2007."

"I believe that reaching into one's own pockets to help one's follow man is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket to help fellow man, I think is despicable." - Dr. Walter E. Williams, guest hosting the Rush Limbaugh radio show, Dec. 29, 2006

Simon in England notes that do-it-yourself and garden centers there are presently selling off their 'Christmas candles' at closeout prices. He said that he got ten of the large pillar type candles for just £0.49 (around $1 USD) each that otherwise would have been £3.00 (around $6 USD) each. The nice thing about these candles is that most of them are formulated with extra stearic acid, for longer burning.

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From Yahoo News: 6 of 75 cities get top disaster rating. Jason says: "Yet another reason to 'get out of Dodge"

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Front Sight director Naish Piazza sent this reminder: "Find Your Local VERSUS (VS) network channel, so you can watch Front Sight Challenge starting Fridays at 5:30PM PST and Sundays at 2:00PM PST. (The air time for Front Sight Challenge is based on Eastern Standard Time of 5:30pm on Fridays and 2:00pm on Sundays, and must be adjusted for your time zone. Example: Here on the West Coast, Front Sight Challenge will air at2:30pm Friday and 11:00am on Sunday.) Go to the VERSUS web site and enter your zip code to locate your local VS Network channel so you won't miss a single episode of Front Sight Challenge."

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Dear Editors:
What is the best way to store my extra garden seed? I want to make it last several years, but still germinate properly. Also, what are the best kind of seeds for survival gardening? Thanks, - Liz, near Toledo

The Memsahib Replies: Your seed stocks should be all non-hybrid ("heirloom") varieties, so that the seed that you save from each harvest will breed true and continue to produce, year after year. (Hybrid varieties won't!) Heirloom seed is available from The Ark Institute, the Seed Savers Exchange, and Ready Made Resources. Long term storage of gardening seed is best done by drying and freezing. Ideally, gardening seeds should be "dried down" with an equal weight of silica gel desiccant and stored in sealed Mason-type jars, labeled with both the seed variety and the date of pack. (A Sharpie pen works well.) These jars should be stored in your chest freezer. Remember that seeds are living things, so resist the urge to vacuum pack them!


There is a very good breed of dogs that I haven't seen mentioned (and I did read through all the archives when I first found the SurvivalBlog): the English Shepherd (and their close cousin with no registration papers, the farm collie or farm shepherd). They are in the same family of dogs as the Collie, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, and Sheltie, but with some advantages over all those breeds. Descended from the dogs brought to the United States by Scots escaping the Highland Clearances in the 1700s, the English Shepherd is a medium-sized dog of all work. They herd, hunt, and protect the family and the family livestock. Calmer than most Border Collies, quieter than Shelties, and with an easier-care coat than the Collie (some breeders call it a 'teflon coat'), they are ideal for small diversified farms, especially farms with livestock of all kinds and children. If you go to the American Working Farmcollie Association yahoo group and read through the archives, you will find stories about dogs who have saved small children from drowning or when they wandered out of the yard; dogs who have flattened themselves over newborn lambs in freezing rain to try to save their lives; dogs who have put the livestock back in the fence after they got out while the owners were away from home; dogs who put the neighbor's strays back in his fence without direction; dogs who run predators off the farm; dogs who run trespassers off the farm (in at least one case it was someone the dog knew, who was coming in from the back side of the farm while hunting -- if he'd been coming up the driveway, she would have been fine with it); dogs who have saved their owners from injury or death by rams, bulls, or horses -- I could go on. The stories about these dogs are nearly endless -- they are the real-life "Lassies."

Feeding them isn't much of a problem as long as there is goat milk and the offal from butchering, plus whatever rodents and pests they can catch. (Mine eat mostly dry dog food with goat milk over it, plus whatever offal I can give them, as we don't have all that many animals to butcher each year.) Especially if you have livestock, an English Shepherd or two will more than repay the cost of their keep. For more information, look at this Farm Collies breed site. - Freeholder

Hi Jim,
I just wanted to tell you about the TRUGLO “TFO” (Tritium Fiber Optic) night sights that I recently got from Top Gun Supply and installed on my Glock 17.
These things are amazing! The design combines the best of the Fiber Optic insert’s ability to gather ambient light during the day with the benefit of tritium night sights. Outside during the day, the sights look like three single LED lamp flashlights are switched on. At night they look like regular night sights.
I have Meprolight brand and OEM Glock night sights on two of my other Glocks (a G26 and a G19). However, I have always felt that the “three green” night sight arrangement was less than optimal. I felt as though that color combination slowed me down significantly from quickly acquiring a good sight picture in the dark. It always felt like a version of The Shell Game. I had to think through: “Which one is the Front Sight?” and “Where is it?”.
So, in my quest to find the perfect night sight, I ordered the TRUGLO “TFO” sights in the Green Front/Yellow Rear combination. Unfortunately, this combination is not widely available. However, I found them at Top Gun Supply. He has them for Glocks, SIGs, H&K USP, and Springfield XD. After a trip to the range to see if I had made a good choice, my reaction was “Oh! Wow!"
I am very pleased with the sights in this color combination and the Fiber Optic’s daytime brilliance. In fact, I am now considering retrofitting all my Glocks to the “TFO” night sight with the Green Front/Yellow Rear color combination. I should mention that the pictures at the TRUGLO web site do not do justice to the TFO night sight. Regards, - D.S.

"Democracy is the most vile form of government ... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." - James Madison

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The following is another article for Round 8 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, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. If there are a lot of great entries this round of the contest, I will again be sending out a few complimentary copies of my novel "Patriots" as "honorable mention" awards. If you want a chance to win the contest, start writing and e-mail us your article. Round 8 will end on January 31st. Remember that the articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

The truth of the matter is that most of us with the survival mindset are not rich enough to own all the radios, bunkers, and other fancy stuff we read about. Sure we drool about having the forty acre "gulch" all ready to go when the SHTF, but it’s just not in the reality of the regular working family, just a fantasy.
I’d like to suggest a great survival tool for the rest of us. The very best and the cheapest and the least hyped survival tool is parked right between your ears and can be put to use for your family by education and the little used common sense. Shine up and sharpen up this tool and you can make good progress without much in the way of financial resources.
Let’s use vegetable food as an example;
All the stored seed, fancy heirloom varieties in the world will not feed your people if you’re not educated and experienced in gardening in your area. The spot of your refuge may have a very different microclimate than where you live now.
Use that brain; you must absolutely get “Hands on” experience growing that food in sufficient quality/quantity to do the job now, not later. Later is too late. I promise you that growing beans or tomatoes at sea level here in Olympia, Washington. Is very different than at 3,000 feet of elevation in intermountain Idaho.
Own hardcopy books on this subject stored at the retreat, the Internet will be down and memory may not serve.

Now to the "must know/must have" list for garden food:
Seed; only varieties that your family will eat, that fit your microclimate, degree days, and total growing season. Find out what these terms mean. Opt for open pollinated ["heirloom'], stay away from exotics and hybrids. Learn how to save seed.
Prep; new garden soil will rarely produce well without changing its chemistry, adding organic matter, or adding structure. Gardens need a lot of water. Figure how to gravity feed irrigate unless you can store a lot of fuel for the generator. All this must be done ahead of time before the real need arises. Put back extra Dolomite. Find and store manures and other organic materials. Store extra garden tools.
Start; Many "bug out" areas have climate challenges for gardeners; consider cold frames and other season extenders. Get these in place ahead of time, plastic row covers, fiberglass panels and the like may be hard to find later.
You must get in tune with your local growing season and this takes practice. What would happen to your family if your garden frosted out and you had planted all the seed you had stored? Always hold some seed back. Some areas frost every month so get educated and prepare a defense.
Store; Once you’ve grown it, defended the crop from rabbits, deer, etc. you’re not done yet. Eat all you can yes, process the rest. Family food consumption lists are available or you can estimate what each person will eat per week then add it all up. Add some more for charity or refugees. This represents a lot of quart jars, rings, lids, and other supplies for just a small family for a year. What if the situation lasts longer?
Consider dehydration for some foodstuffs, pickling or salting for others and of course all this needs practice before need too. The root cellar seems to be a forgotten art but works well as does leaving root crops in the ground to be dug when needed. They must be covered to protect against freezing and rot.
Perennials need a mention here also. Berries, rhubarb, sunchokes, and fruit/nut trees can be planted and will just be waiting for you. Plant more than you can use as folk that have been eating groats for the last two months will make amazing trades for fresh fruit.
Food growing augments the bulk grains and beans you own and makes for a better all around diet than all those freeze dried packages in the closet the last 10 years. As with any food program just make sure what you grow and store is what your family will eat.
If all this seems like too much work, it is; what is the plan “B”?
P.S.: We live on the west side of Washington State and just experienced a huge storm, [which resulted in] more than a week without power for many people in the region. Attitudes went downhill fast. Any major disruption would be much worse, so this is a real wake up call. - Bill K.

B.H. in Spokane mentioned that VCI paper desiccant rifle barrel protective tubes are now available commercially, under the brand name "Barrel Guard.". (Any of you that ever bought a M1 Garand from the CMP--or from its DCM predecessor--will remember these, which are inserted in a rifle's bore.) Barrel Guards are ideal to use as an adjunct to (but not a substitute for) Rust Inhibitive Grease (RIG) and silica gel desiccant packets for long term firearms storage or caching.

  o o o

A demographic milestone: City dwellers are poised to take over the world. This adds more credence to my assertion that our modern word--with tremendouse infrastructural and technological complexity, long chains of supply, power grid dependency, and a small percentage of farmers and fishermen feeding the world--will make the next global economic depression far different than the Great Depression of the 1930s. The next time round, the metropolitan regions may very well tip over into Mad Max-ish TEOTWAWKI. Here is a brief snippet from the article: "London, some 200 years ago, became the first city since ancient Rome to reach a million inhabitants: now, there are more than 200 such cities. About 20 of these are"megacities" exceeding 10 million, and one, Tokyo, has become a "metacity", with more than 20 million."

   o o o

I just heard that Kurt Wilson of Survival Enterprises bought an entire 40 foot cargo container load of nitrogen packed long term storage foods from a cannery that is going out of business. (More than 5,000 cans!) These foods were nearly all packaged in the last 18 months, and will be sold in full case lots only. The prices should be fantastic. They will be available for ordering within two weeks. For any of you that live in the greater Spokane/Coeur d' Alene area, these case lots will also be available for pickup at their storefront location. (Please identify yourself as a SurvivalBlog reader when you make your purchase.)

"We had strayed a great distance from our Founding Fathers' vision of America. They regarded the central government's responsibility as that of providing national security, protecting our democratic freedoms, and limiting the government's intrusion in our lives -- in sum, the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They never envisioned vast agencies in Washington telling our farmers what to plant, our teachers what to teach, our industries what to build. The Constitution they wrote established sovereign states, not mere administrative districts for the federal government. They believed in keeping government as close as possible to the people." - Ronald Wilson Reagan

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The first letter presented today is from the enigmatic"Commander Zero." Both he and his bride-to-be are preparedness minded, expert shooters, amateur radio enthusiasts, and dedicated bloggers.

Here is some info from someone who actually did go to look at one of these things with a preparedness mindset. The one that we looked at was near Whitehall, Montana. If you have a copy of Google Earth you can view it at (46.081522°,-112.115643° ... and be sure to change the 3-D angle of view so you can see the terrific commanding view the place has.) The building itself had 8" thick concrete walls. Over these walls was 4" of foam insulation and then a layer of stucco. There were no windows but there were vents covered with steel louvers. Set off about two feet from the vents was a wall as high as the building. I'm guessing this was to break up blast waves before they hit the vents. All metal in the building (frames, jams, etc, etc.) were hot galvanized and grounded. The original blueprints were mounted on the wall, explaining many of the requirements for the building (which I recall had been built about 1960s and upgraded in the 1970s.) The electrical panels were enormous. There were several of them and they were all as tall as me. The building had originally come with a buried 3000 gallon diesel tank but that had been removed for environmental reasons prior to sale. The hole, however, was still there. The interior ceilings were 14' high and although I cant recall the exact square footage it was certainly as much as the average house. There was a 75' tower next to the building with a platform that probably measured 25'x25' at the top. Since the building was on a hill 500' above the road, the tower added to the unbelievable view. We were about 15 miles down a road from the interstate and we could see the entire length of that road all the way to the interchange. A person with a good range finder, spotter, and a .50 BMG rifle would easily have owned anything within a two mile circle. Access to the building was through a pair of steel double doors and 'airlock'. The frames and doors were thick steel and I eyed them from the point of view of someone wanting to get in. Nothing short of power tools was going to get in. Bullet resistance of the building would have been about as good as you can get. The facility was on an 'island' of land about 1.3 acres large and surrounded by a huge ranch and some National Forest. The people who were selling it were making progress in making the site more livable. They had poured a new floor inside, painted, add room dividers and nice lighting. They also installed a kitchen and bathroom but hadn't yet finished the hookups for septic.
Drawbacks: the place was designed as a remote, unmanned facility. There was an outhouse and absolutely no water. A cistern may have been an option for some people but unless there's water on site I felt we'd have to give it a pass. Too bad. The place did give me a newfound respect for all-concrete construction though. There was also no provision for heating/cooling although the incredible thermal mass of the place would have made either task fairly easy. Last I saw the place was being used as a data transmission point for local wireless internet providers due to its commanding view. "K." and I took a zillion pictures of every detail of the place. As soon as I can get her to tell me which gallery she buried them in, I'd be happy to provide hem so you can see what one of these places looks like up close. - Commander Zero

Friday's letter on grains was very good. I have acquired myriad of 19th century farm tools at what are called Threshermen's Shows in Wisconsin. These are shows for Hit and Miss [stationary] engines, Steam engines and the tools from late 19th Century to early 20th Century Farming. There is usually a flea market as well. I have picked up a scythe in reasonable condition for $20.00. I had to spend about an hour carefully sharpening it, but I got it sharp enough to cut my thumb pretty well. After a visit to my first aid station I took it over to mt neighbors barley field and cut about a 4 foot by 100 foot swath in 20 minutes. It is back-breaking, hard work.

I would look for those shows in your home area, stay away from antique stores. I have also found that buying from Lehmans.com. for a new tool is sometimes wiser than buying an antique. I bought an antique jar and paddle type butter churn for $50. It quickly fell apart under a load. The new Amish-made one from Lehman's works great. - Carl R.

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning antique tractor and stationary engine enthusiast meetings. In the western U.S., these are often held in conjunction with annual county fairs. The folks that attend these meets are primarily interested in engine-powered equipment. If they have something in their collections that cannot be powered by their engines, (such hand mills, presses, and agricultural implements) they will often sell them to someone that promises to put them to good use for quite reasonable prices. From my conversations with these gents, they rightfully have deep disdain for people that buy a piece of old equipment simply to use as a decorator item. If you make it clear to them that you are a hobbyist that plans to regularly use a piece of equipment for its originally intended purpose, their eyes will light up. If nothing else, they they gladly share their knowledge with you.

Eric Fry, co-editor of the free e-mail newsletter The Rude Awakening comments: "The [U.S.] dollar fell sharply in 2006 against every major world currency and against most major global commodities. In short, it lost a lot of value against almost everything. A rebound, therefore, should be in order. But fleeting short-term strength would not compensate for the greenback’s inexorable long-term weakness."

   o o o

Colorado and Kansas Digging Out From Blizzard

   o o o

Simon in England e-mailed me to mention that the new 33-chapter expanded edition of my novel "Patriots" is now available through a variety of Internet booksellers in the UK for between £13 GBP and £16 GBP.

"Isn't our choice really not one of left or right, but of up or down? Down through the welfare state to statism, to more and more government largesse accompanied always by more government authority, less individual liberty, and ultimately, totalitarianism, always advanced as for our own good. The alternative is the dream conceived by our Founding Fathers, up to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with an orderly society. We don't celebrate dependence day on the Fourth of July. We celebrate Independence Day." - Ronald Reagan (1984)

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