May 2007 Archives

Thursday, May 31, 2007

When I sell my place in Coeur d' Alene, I will be looking to relocate in the Bonners Ferry area. Is there anything that I should be aware of? Are there any areas to avoid other than property near the railroads?. Thank You and Best Regards, - John

JWR Replies: I highly recommend the Bonner's Ferry area as a retreat locale. Railroad tracks are indeed a key issue in both Bonner County and Boundary County. (It is confusing to first-time visitors to the area, but Bonner's Ferry is in Boundary County.) It seems that most of the private land in both counties with river frontage are either right on the highway, or right on the railroad tracks. (Or both!) If I lived there, I would worry about the railroad tracks as both an additional "line of drift" and a derailment hazard. (And I dislike hearing close-by trains.) Some train traffic "funnel" areas, especially Sandpoint, get a huge volume of rail traffic. Three major rail lines pass through Sandpoint. Bonner's Ferry has similar traffic--up to 40 trains a day.

Another key issue in north Idaho is home siting. Elevation and exposure are crucial to have a viable gardening season. Some properties at 2,500 feet and southern or western exposure only have snow that "sticks" for three month of the year. But if you were to buy a higher elevation property with a northern-facing home site, then you might have snow for 6+ months of the year!

I recommend that you contact Todd Savage, a real estate agent that formerly had an office in Sandpoint, but recently opened a new office in Bonner's Ferry. (He was with Coldwell Banker, but went independent.) Todd specializes in retreat properties. He is one of the few real estate agents that I've met who really "gets it"--both in terms of self-sufficiency and defendable terrain. On a recent consulting trip, I spent some time with Todd and walked a 150+ acre property, near Bonner's Ferry that is presently on the market. It has exceptional privacy, plenty of timber, some decent pastures, and two different creeks running through it. It has US Forest Service land on three sides and already has an off-grid (PV-powered) squared-log house. The house has a really nice exposure. There is plenty of wild game. One nice thing is that this property sits a half mile back from the highway, and it is nowhere near any railroad tracks. It is just about ideal for a semi-remote retreat. You can contact Todd Savage via e-mail: or via cellular phone: 208-946-1151.

Perfect timing on this article by Freeholder, as my wife and I were literally talking that day about getting goats! That alone made me think that I need to hang out here for a while. I've gone through a lot of the posts on here, and I'm very thankful to have found your place!
I'm in Iraq right now, for the 3rd time, this time I'm working in the Embassy. I retire in five years, and the wife and I can't wait to move to our rural home! I'm lucky, I'm married to a woman who is very self sufficiency minded as well, and has a special interest in homeopathic and all natural medicines and remedies.
Again, thanks for the work you put into this site, and I look forward to learning more and contributing in my own small way. Take care. Regards, - S.

In “Raising Goats for Self-Sufficiency,” Freeholder discussed feed requirements and mentioned that a pasture filled with brush and blackberries could considerably reduce hay costs. He also mentioned in passing that Kiko goats are a desirable meat breed. What didn’t get mentioned is that Kikos are unexcelled at thriving on a diet of brush and other rough forage. They developed this ability in the mountains of New Zealand, to which they repaired after escaping from the care of the early English settlers there. Fast forward 300 years, and some NZ farmers realized there must be some very hardy, self-reliant breeding stock out there, went out and captured some, bred them back to Swiss dairy goats to improve their milking ability, established a stable breed, and gave them the name Kiko, which means “meat” in Maori. And indeed, Kikos are primarily known as a meat breed, but their Swiss genes also make them decent milkers. All in all, they may be the very best goat for self-sufficient situations – if you’re in a place with lots of brush around. My kikos thrive on their brush diet, augmented only by a single flake of hay in the morning and twice-daily feedings of a quart of dry culled beans, shared among 12 goats. (And there are Kiko breeders who insist that a brush-only diet is the best way to maintain the hardiness of the breed.) Kikos have fewer hoof problems than other breeds and are very good at giving birth unattended. The does are excellent mothers. (Kikos who didn’t possess these traits didn’t pass on their genes in the NZ outback.)

You can learn a lot about Kikos from the International Kiko Goat Assn. Regards, Charley S.


Dear JWR,
I just completed reading "Raising Goats for Self-Sufficiency" by Freeholder and was laughing almost the whole way through! That is when I wasn't surprised by some of his additional facts. I had been looking at meat goats for my retirement plan over several years prior to actually putting the plan into action and it is really taking a lot longer to get my herd to begin to grow than I would have thought, so his overall advice to not "wait until you need them is" visionary. That's why I would love to assist in casting a vote for him in your contest.

My husband is a "long-time" survivalist and I have happily agreed with his position. Being prepared for what-ever ill fate we have thus far endured and could envision enduring if the SHTF I have found nothing faulty in his thoughts. Simple things like not having to buy coffee during the price spike of a few years ago has done nothing but strengthen our resolve to not be "the 48 hours away from starvation attitude" the rest of the world seems to embrace.

Originally from Long Island, New York we could see nothing but the neck at the end of a noose entrapment from our geographic location. The only way out was through water, air or millions of people. We figured we better be in a better spot before TSHTF! Seeking a more Libertarian location; friendly to gun owners, low taxes, small government, and not half-way around the world, we found New Hampshire. However, the "Live Free or Die" State is slowly becoming the "Roll Over and Comply" State. More and more migrants from the "Socially Conscious - Liberal" surrounding states are invading. Unfortunately, while they bring their love of lower taxes they can't seem to comprehend that the lower taxes cannot co-exist with the social agendas that they bring with them to the State. We find we are at a 50/50 breaking point now and the State could go either way - depending on the next wave of migrants.

A subject that my husband has become increasingly interested in, is hearing first-hand experiences from others with Wood-gasification. He knows that this process was used successfully during World War II by the European citizens as a way of powering their equipment when gasoline and diesel weren't available and believes to this day that it will be the only options for many of us if TEOTWAWKI occurs or should I say "when"? A valuable web site he has found is This report is about the only thing we have found from FEMA that made absolute sense and is well worth the read. Thanks for everything you do, - Wife of NH Jumbo


In response to Freeholder's essay on goats. Very well written. My wife and I are also long-term goat people (for lack of a better title). We?ve kept goats for 30 years plus. For the past 15 years, we specialized in selling breeding stock, and . . . witnessed several bad outcomes with inexperienced people buying goats. We got to a point we?d refuse to sell to certain people in an effort to avoid future calamity. Finally, last year - we gave up selling to the general public all together. It is not worth the hassle to us - considering the new legal difficulties with animal registration requirements - and bad outcomes with inexperienced buyers. A few goat "tips."
Breed matters. If you want goats - try to figure out exactly what you want them for - and work from there. Not all members of one select breed will demonstrate all the traits it is known for - but it?s a good start. Some breeds tend to be excellent milk producers, some breeds are meat producers, some do better on poor feed than others. Some have better natural instincts including birthing and caring for their young. This is very important - unless you want a bunch of dead goat kids - or - don?t mind hand feeding them yourself.
Goats tend to be very intelligent, creative, and adaptive. That usually makes them very hard to fence. This comes back to breed again. I assume - a goat too dumb to escape maybe not be desirable, so is there an alternative? Yes, there are very smart breeds that have physical hindrances that make them easier to keep. We keep Tennessee Fainting Goats - also known as Myotonic Goats, Wooden Leg Goats, Texas Meat Goats, etc.
In our experience, the Tennessee Fainting goats are the easiest keepers of any breed we?ve had, especially the smaller ones. They have a genetic trait that causes them to get muscle lock-up when startled - scared - excited - etc. Subsequently, they don?t tend to take the chances with escapes like many other goat breeds do. After years of keeping Boers, Alpines, Nubians, Spanish Meat, Pygmies, etc., the Tennessee Goats were a pleasure. They tend to have good instincts with birthing and raising their young. They are good for meat. They are poor for milking though, when compared to most other breeds. They can be kept for milk production, but production will be low.
A few things we?ve tried to warn first-time goat buyers about. All goats are social animals, they do not do well if raised alone. Always have at least a pair, unless you plan on keeping the goat with some other farm animal, e.g. a horse, donkey, etc. And, don?t assume any goat will get along with any other animal (goat, horse, etc.). Like many living things, each can have a distinct and unique personality.
Raising your own - means birthing, kid feeding -by you or the mother, and having a buck or two around. Buck goats can be absolutely miserable!. When they get feeling romantic, they emit a grease from various parts of their bodies that can be smelled a mile away on a damp day. It will get on your clothes and make you want to burn them. The bucks will also be somewhat possessive of "their" females during parts of the year when they are dating. With some goat breeds, this can be twice a year - and with some others - once.
The last kid sale we made - before ceasing sales to the public went as follows. A very nice, suburban sophisticated woman from central Maine contacted me. She wanted to buy six buck goats kids. That surprised us - since usually - buck kids are unwanted and get sold for meat at the local animal auction. After speaking to the woman, I learned that she had no goat experience, but . . . had read several books and had a plan. She lived in a suburban area with five acres of land. She wanted goats for keeping brush down on her land - instead of mowing it. Her plan was - to get five bucks - since they are cheaper to buy then does. In fact, at our farm we?d often give buck kids away for free is we thought someone would raise them - instead of them going to slaughter. This Maine woman figured - that since there?d be no female goats in her area to arouse these males - she?d not suffer any of the negative things that horny buck goats are known for. Well - six months later, she called me from Maine. I?m in New York. She was in a panic. Ends up, these "adaptive" young bucks - worked around the absence of females - by getting "aroused" with each other. She told me they all stunk so bad she couldn?t get near them, and they were "mounting" each other, all day, every day, and it had been going on for a week. Since she was in a suburban area, she had many shocked and complaining neighbors. She offered to pay me - to drive to Maine and take them all back. Call me a bad guy, but I did not do it. She was furious with me and my wife - even though we had warned her previously. She even threatened to sue us - for exactly what - I don?t know. Breach of Goat? Anyway, that was it - we quit selling. At that time, the state of New York was getting ready to pass legislation that was going to make selling goats and lambs across state lines very complicated - so the event with the woman from Maine was all it took to put us over the edge.
Goats are amazing and wonderful animals. I had one that rode with me in my pickup truck, along with my dog. They can do an amazing job a brush conversion and will eat scrub that horses and cattle will not. They can also destroy your garden and/or young fruit trees in record time - if they get loose. Just keep these things in mind.
If someone is interested in keeping animals with a retreat mentality, the breed is an important choice - for any animal. Many newer breeds have had the instincts bred out of them. Kind of like some people I know. Even some stock from older breeds has been severely dumbed down. This means that many chickens no longer know how to nest, sit, hatch eggs, brood and protect their young. Also means that certain types of four-legged stock do not do well on scrubby fields, do not birth well, some have bodies too big for their legs, etc.
it is best to do some research - perhaps starting with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
They do a great job with the preservation of historic breeds of animals in North America - and offer a lot of information - animal historic attributes, how and where to buy, etc. Keep in mind, that even if you select a breed known to have certain traits - the ones you buy might not have them. Best is find a breeder that culls their flock or herd and selects for animals showing the desired traits. - JD from New York

Australian Researcher warns about Mass Human Extinction from Global Environmental Collapse

  o o o

Radio ‘Screams’ Forecast Dangerous Solar Storms

   o o o

Reader Michael W. mentioned that he will be running one of the lines at the RWVA Appleseed in Bloomington Illinois this weekend. (June 2-3, 2007.) He said that he'd love to meet any SurvivalBlog readers who can attend. This is a great opportunity to learn to shoot an MBR well, or increase your score on the AQT if you are already a rifleman. The cost is just $70 for the weekend, free camping and genuine camaraderie.

   o o o

From Drudge: Smile, You're on Google Earth--New "Street Views" feature. Yet another reason to live in the hinterboonies.

"Remember; when disaster strikes, the time to prepare has passed." - Steven Cyros

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 $2,000!) 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. Round 10 ends tomorrow, May 31st. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

I'd like to share a couple of things I've learned through the recent hurricane seasons in Florida, being hit directly by one, indirectly by three or four more (I've lost count). The following assumes you’re staying put, not bugging out. Typically my wife will take the kids and bug out, while I stay home for security and damage control if needed. This can also apply to some of the severe storms that other parts of the country experience throughout the year.
1. Water - In Florida, I travel with a case of water in the back of my car. You never know. In the off season, we use up the stored bottled water from the last year, and right about now [--May--], do a replenish. Our typical storage water "in season" is about the size of a pallet, four feet high. Off season we may get down to three or four cases. We also have a “Big Berkey” to filter the water from the lake behind our house if things are down for more than a week or so.
2. Food - Freeze dried long term storage food (Mountain House or equivalent) is absolutely required. The stores will be cleaned out in the two or three days before the storm arrives, and the grocers stop shipping food in at the last minute to cut their losses in case the buildings are knocked down. Immediately after the storm passes you're a fool to go out on the roads with the trees and downed power lines and by the time they are cleared, the stores open on a cash basis because the power is out, and it's dry goods only. All frozen and refrigerated food is discarded so they won't get sued for selling spoiled food. In your house, at the start of the hurricane season it’s prudent to work down your refrigerated foods and fill the space in the freezers with gallon milk jugs full of water. This will keep the remaining food from spoiling if the power is only out for a few days.
3. Cooking – We have several stoves that work when nothing else does. The best one for indoors is a butane stove that I picked up at a gun show for about twenty bucks. Butane cans are available, and they store indefinitely. I’d not use any combustion appliance indoors without ventilation, but after the storm the windows can be opened, and there is plenty of breeze coming in around the corrugated storm shutters, which still provide some measure of security. We also have a couple of Coleman stoves that run on either propane or coleman fuel, but those are strictly outdoor units.
4. Cash - Have a few hundred bucks cash on hand in the beginning of the season, and increase it to a thousand or more if you can once things are in full swing. There is usually a run on the ATMs when the storm is bearing down on the area, and when the power is out, it's done.
5. Fuel - If there is even a hint of a storm, top off all vehicles and keep them full until the threat has passed. It can take two weeks to get gasoline into the area and replenish the empty stations after the run on gas that happens when the storm is bearing down. Also, keep up on maintenance of your vehicles. It would truly suck to blow a radiator hose in traffic while trying to evacuate. (I’ve seen that happen – I think it was [Hurricane] Wilma, a guy from Miami was evacuating through the Fort Myers area and had [his engine] overheated with his small child in the car. I stopped with my work truck and we filled up his radiator with my drinking water supply, and I left him with a half case of bottled water, which was what I had left. His terror at being at the mercy of both the weather and his unwillingness to prepare was obvious).
6. Shelter - You need to buy the stuff to watertight your house before the storm, not after. Buy enough tarps to completely cover your roof - do the math and figure it out. In the off season the tarps are on clearance, pick up a few spares. They don't go bad [if kept out of sunlight] - stick them on a shelf in your garage.
7. Storm shutters - either cut and number plywood to cover the glass or install the mounting tracks and have the corrugated metal panels ready to go. Do this on the off season, not the day before, as you want to do the initial exercise once and be done with it We put our shutters up about a day before the storm is supposed to hit - sometimes at the last minute. Our family can do the job in about 40 minutes in the pouring rain.
8. Tools and batteries - Charge everything at the first indication that your area is targeted, then keep them on trickle charge to maintain full capacity. I've got a battery powered Sawzall, but with two discharged batteries I might as well use a hand saw. The same goes for battery powered drills – a dead battery renders them useless.
9. Lighting – As for wind up lights, check them pre-season. I bought a wind up light a year ago and while it still lights up, the battery is shot - only lights when I crank it. I only paid ten or twelve bucks for it, but it’s junk. April is the month where the battery powered lights are checked to make sure they work, and a fresh supply of batteries are stocked.
10. Security - If you think you might need force to defend yourself, get your concealed carry license (CCL), get your practice in and buy your rifles, handguns and ammunition well before season. The state has been known to declare a state of emergency and suspend the sales of guns and ammo when a storm is coming. Also, the gun dealers will cut a deal in the off season, but "sticker [price] is sticker [price]" when a storm is coming. Not gouging, just no breaks. Gun shows are your friend, as you can really shop and compare.
This will get you through the storm and the immediate aftermath.

Sorry to bug you but I searched your site and couldn't find the info [I was looking for]. In your experience what's the best brand of gasoline stabilizer I can use? Are there any tricks to help the gas last longer like buying a higher octane & doubling up on the amount of stabilizer? Is 1 year of storage about the max the fuel will be at it's best. Thanks, John T. Plumeraye

JWR Replies: I describe the degradation of stored gasoline fairly well in my novel "Patriots". Adding a gas stabilizer does prolong the storage life. The Sta-Bil and Pri-G brands are roughly comparable in effectiveness. (Although I'm sure some fuel storage aficionados will chime in with a more informed opinion than mine about which brand is best.

The main culprits in gasoline storage are: A.) the hygroscopic nature of gasoline (attracting moisture.) B.) The development of tars, gums, and esters, and the gas degrades, C.) and the gradual loss of butane. I have read that buying winter formulated gas--the gas with extra butane to provide better cold weather starting that is sold roughly October to March of each year in the US and Canada--is more important than buying high-octane gasoline. OBTW, for starting engines after the butane dissipates, keep a couple of cans of ether-based starting fluid handy. (This will allow you to start an engine even with gasoline that has had all of its original butane "burned off." )

To maximize storage life of gasoline, be sure to store you gasoline in tightly containers, filled as close to the top as possible. This will minimize water absorption.

A web search yielded this useful video on tactical movement for concealed carry. This gent's foot work suggestions make sense. They certainly beat just blind "back-pedaling."

  o o o

From southwestern Oregon: Pitiful percentages for community-sustained agriculture (CSA) and heavy dependence on petroleum-based fertilizers. This does not bode well for local sustainability in any future disasters.

   o o o

Florida tries to wipe out cat-sized African rats

   o o o

Some implications of the continuing decline of the US Dollar versus foreign currencies

"Both Google and Yahoo have been roundly criticized for signing a “Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry” with the Chinese government, effectively, in the words of Human Rights Watch executive director Ken Roth, going from “an information gateway to an information gatekeeper.” China’s system of Internet censorship and surveillance, popularly known as the “Great Firewall [of China],” Human Rights Watch concluded in a 2006 report, is the most advanced in the world." - Robin Kirk

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The high bid is now at $350 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a selection of 17 survival and preparedness books.

Wow! We're about to surpass 1.5 million unique visits to SurvivalBlog. We've also logged 47.4 million page hits. It is gratifying to see that the popularity of SurvivalBlog is continuing to grow, globally. Thanks for helping to spread the word! If you haven't done so already, please consider adding a SurvivalBlog graphic link to your web site and/or e-mail footer. Many thanks!

Here is the first batch of responses to "OSOM"'s suggested poll: List your top five fiction books and top five fictional movies that help folks learn something useful for survival. OSOM's comment: "Jim's novel Patriots has been called a 'survival manual fairly neatly dressed as a work of fiction.' I believe that reading fictional tales is critical to prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for hard times, and helps intellectually to work out the variables in different situations."

You will note that several reader sent only book recommendations (No movies.) It is noteworthy that several respondents mentioned the e-novel "Lights Out" by David Crawford. It is a 611 page (2.5 MB) PDF file available for free download.

Films & TV Movies
The Postman
Testament - PBS
Threads - BBC
The War Game - BBC
Jericho - TV Series (Has flaws but it is still good)

The Camulod Chronicles - Jack Whyte (A series of books about the Roman retreat from Britain. Very good for the planning and preps for the multi-generational TSHTF situation)
Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank
Lights Out - David Crawford (aka Half Fast)
Warday - Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka
The Postman - David Brin


Fictional Books:
The Road, by Cormack McCarthy
Wolf and Iron
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, by Mr. Rawles
The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern, books One through Ten
Out of the Ashes series, by William W. Johnstone

Fictional Movies:
Threads (BBC TV: UUUGGGLLLYYY!! Can be seen on Google video, in its entirety)
The Road Warrior
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
A Boy and His Dog (A can of peaches [beets] for movie admission)
The Omega Man (Charlton Heston was too cool)


Top Survival Fiction Books
Patriots (I have read it seven times)
Alas Babylon by Pat Frank
Earth Abides by George Stewart
Malevil by Robert Merle
On the Beach by Nevil Shute

Top Five Survival Movies
Panic In Year Zero
Massive Retaliation
In the Year 2889
The Omega Man
Packing It In (Comedy)
The Survivors (Comedy)


Patriots (JWR) - An entertaining primer on survival.
The Road (Cormac McCarthy) - Hard to imagine a situation this bad; great literature and an awesome display of fatherhood.
Enemies series (Matt Bracken) - Primarily a political "agenda", but packed with good info.
Walden (Thoreau) - Basic self-reliant living in the woods; great literature.
Lord of the Flies (William Golding) - Displays the sad truth that, in the absence of an "equalizer" (weapons, tools, alliances, etc.), depraved brute force usually rules and the weak are devoured. This is a great reminder that humans are sinful and naturally take advantage of one another. Thus, don't ever get into a situation where you are a helpless little "Piggy", dependent on the good will of a pack of wolves for survival.


Red Dawn (Corny? Yes, but this turned a generation of 10[-to-16]-year-olds into future survivalists).
First Blood (The best modern fugitive movie).
Terminator 2 (Displays the mindset of preparing for the horrible day that may or may not come).
28 Days Later (A look at surviving in an extreme worst case scenario).
Shawshank Redemption (How to use one's mind to survive when locked up with man's most dangerous threat: other men).


Fiction Books:
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
Lights Out, by David Crawford
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
I need to read more!

Cast Away
The Day After Tomorrow
Behind Enemy Lines
War of the Worlds
Shawn of the Dead


Fiction Books:
Patriots by James Rawles
Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson
Unintended Consequences by John Ross
Earth Abides by George Stewart
Enemies Foreign and Domestic by Matthew Bracken

Outlaw Josey Wales
Empire of the Sun
Red Dawn
Enemy at the Gates
Dersu Uzala


Top Survival Novels:
Alas Babylon by Frank
Lucifer's Hammer by Niven, Pournelle
Malevil by Merle
Tunnel In the Sky by Heinlein
Vandenberg; A Novel by Lange

Top Survival Movies:
Jeremiah Johnson
Southern Comfort
The Naked Prey
Panic In Year Zero
Red Dawn

Lucifer's Hammer
The Stand
Patriots (JWR)

Mad Max
The Road Warrior
The Stand
The Postman
Steel Frontier


Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
King Rat by James Clavell
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane


Favorite Survival Novels:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Some Will Not Die
Fire and Ice
Unintended Consequences

Favorite Survival Movies:
The Seven Samurai
Battle Royale (BR)
The Last Valley

Lucifer's Hammer
Alas, Babylon
Some Will Not Die
Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern

Panic in Year Zero
Day the World Ended
Soylent Green
The Postman
Deep Impact


Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
The Postman by David Brin (not the movie)
Earth by David Brin
The Freeman by Jerry Ahern
The Nantucket Series of 3 books by S.M. Stirling


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Malevil by Robert Merle
Lights Out by David Crawford (aka "Half Fast")

Red Dawn
Night of the Living Dead
The Omega Man

Old Paper & Pen & Miniature RPG games
Twilight 2000
The Morrow Project

Computer Role Playing Games


Last of the Breed, Louis L’Amour
The Grapes of Wrath, J. Steinbeck
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
King Rat, James Clavell
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (just because we read it in 5th grade don’t discount this one)


Conquistador by S.M. Stirling
Patriots by J.W. Rawles
Vandenberg by Lange
Atlas Shrugged by Rand
Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle

Pulling Through (not yet produced script--can be downloaded at JWR's site)
All three Terminator movies (T2 rocks!)
The Quiet Earth
Blast From The Past (Funny)
Tremors (Very funny. The "UZI 4 U" Gummer couple are hilarious.)


Adventures of Conrad Stargard (Series), Leo Frankowski
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
Freehold, Michael Z Williamson
Farnham's Freehold, Robert Heinlein
Dies the Fire, S.M. Stirling
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Patriots, James Wesley, Rawles

Apollo 13
The Road Warrior
V for Vendetta
The Matrix


Fiction Books:
Patriots - James W. Rawles
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton
Wolf and Iron - Gordon Dickson
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Molon Labe! - Boston T. Party

Jeremiah Johnson
Red Dawn
The Seven Samurai
Saving Private Ryan


MILA 18 - Leon Uris
Trinity- Leon Uris
Alas Babylon - Pat Frank
Lucifer's Hammer- Niven & Pournelle
The Stand - Stephen King

The Postman
Red Dawn
Jeremiah Johnson
Mad Max-Beyond Thunderdome
African Queen


The Last Ship William Brinkley
On The Beach Nevil Shute
Earth Abides George Stewart
Patriots James W Rawles
Farnham's Freehold Robert Heinlein

Panic in the Year Zero (awful music)
The War Game British quasi documentary
The Day After


Fiction Books:
Footfall, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Dark December by Alfred Coppel
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Tomorrow by Philip Wylie
The New Madrid Run by Michael Reisig

Panic In Year Zero
The Trigger Effect
The World, The Flesh, & The Devil
The Last Train (British miniseries)
Five (Arch Obelor)

There is an interesting thread over at the Claire Files Forums on plastic versus steel gas cans.

  o o o

Reader Bruce C., recommended some commentary by Victor Davis Hansen: Is The Sky Falling on America? Bruce's comment: "While this article does not present a rock solid case for TEOTWAWKI, it provides an important framework for "survivalists" and "preppers" to maintain as they wonder why the Schumer has yet to hit the fan."

   o o o

Fred the Valmet-meister sent us this link on provisioning, Alabama style: Boy Bags Wild Hog Bigger Than 'Hogzilla'

   o o o

More corn planting might create storage shortage

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, May 28, 2007

Today we observe Memorial Day, when America honors those who have given their lives in defense of the nation. Most Americans are truly thankful for their sacrifice.

As a local volunteer firefighter in Northern Idaho, I would like to offer some advice to current and future retreat owners. Due to response time(s), everyone who can afford it should have the following set up on the property to use during those 15 to 30 minutes until emergency services arrive. You will find that in most retreat areas volunteers are the norm. It may take that long from your call to having equipment on scene. The farther out you are the longer it will be, and in the winter, you may be on your own due to road impassability.
I sometimes suggest to clients that they purchase an old fire truck or water tender that is in decent shape, but only if you have the skills to service those type of units. Prices vary but most of the time you can get a nice working 1960s -1970s vintage truck for $5,000 to $10,000. Those of you that plan on cashing out and moving to your retreat area to pay cash for it, might want to consider having this purchase pre-booked in your ledger as you shop for your property. Sometimes retreats will have such items already on hand that you can negotiate into the deal, seeing that prices in the real estate market are still coming down.
Here is a set-up under $2,500 that would be great. You can find used equipment as well for much less.
Purchase a portable pump along with a portable bladder (if you do not have a pond, swimming pool or year round stream close to your retreat, 100-150 feet maximum) then add some 1.5” hose and a nozzle or two and there you have a fairly economical safeguard against structure fire or a wild land fire on your property.
I have seen several structures recently go up in flames; one that I arrived on scene before the equipment that could have been saved from extensive damage had the owner had fire protection equipment to use before we arrived. It’s very easy to maintain some portable set-ups like the one above. Part of preparedness as we all know is actually doing something about a possible threat so that we can remove any worries while we go about our lives.
Remember, out in the hinter boonies fire will be an everyday threat Pre- and Post-TEOTWAWKI to your structure and surrounding property.
God bless, - Todd Savage

I enjoy your books (have bought two for others as gifts) and blog site. I came across this article [from Canada] describing another unintended consequence of the extreme liquidity the Fed is using to prop up our housing market/economy- high food prices. Aside from the new 'miracle' fuel - ethanol - our government policies are eroding our purchasing power in every sector of our lives. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"After steamrolling through a laundry list of base metals, then oil and gas, the global commodity boom is finally hitting us in the gut: at the supermarket checkout counter.
Canadians paid 3.8% more for food in April compared with a year earlier, including an extra 12.9% for fresh vegetables. The experts have coined a new term to describe the phenomenon. They call it agflation, and they blame the hedge funds.
The examples are everywhere. Global milk prices are rising at the fastest rate ever. Powdered milk, a key benchmark, has jumped 60% in six months to US $1.58 at the beginning of May. Since 2000, beef prices have jumped nearly 30% on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange." The article is pretty enlightening.

Thanks for your vigilance and willingness to educate. - John in Virginia

Just a word of caution, at least here in the People's Republic of Kalifornia (and probably most other locales), mere possession of said tools by somebody not driving around in "Joe's 24 Hour Locksmith" van could lead you to a peck of trouble by a nosy cop and land you in the clink for possession of burglary tools. Same with nice bolt cutters. Of course in TEOTWAWKI all bets are off be cautious and safe. Of course 'intent ' is the key word, but why risk the hassle? Cordially, Tim

JWR Replies: Laws on possession of lock picks vary considerably from state to state. In most states, possession and use of lock picks is equivalent to the possession of a pry bar or similar tools that could be used for burglary. Even in California, mere possession sans intent is deemed legal. Nearly all state statutes require proof of malicious or criminal intent to justify prosecution. This is the case in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and many other states. To the best of my knowledge (but don't take my word for it--consult your state and local laws) the only jurisdiction that makes mere possession illegal with no proof of intent required, is our nation's capitol, Washington, DC. I should also mention that in California, locksmiths must be state licensed. (What a Nanny State mentality!) Granted, carrying a set of lock picks on your person could be considered criminal intent, depending on the circumstances. And who knows how much grief you'd invite by doing so in a state like California. In such states it probably wouldn't be a good idea to carry such items in your car. FWIW, I carry a basic set of "lock out" tools in my primary vehicle at all times, but of course I live in the boonies in a lightly-populated rural state. However, if I lived in California I certainly wouldn't!

Have you seen this YouTube video? It is one of several that describe the ['lock bumping"] problem. This one shows how to make the bump key. You might need several different kinds of keys, but a visit to Home Depot will tell you the most popular kinds of locks/keys for the home market. Amazing. - Bob

JWR Replies: I mentioned the lock bumping threat in SurvivalBlog a few months ago, but it bears repeating. It is worth paying more for dead bolt lock sets that are specifically designed to be "bump resistant."

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rawles,
I came across this story of Jericho [television series] fans that have sent almost 19,000 pounds of nuts to CBS to protest the show's cancellation. Borrowing from Jake's reply of "Nuts" to New Bern['s demand for surrender.]. Here is a link to the story. - T.A. From Indiana.

JWR Replies: In their typically resourceful American way, people are expressing themselves in a creative way to be sure that they'll be heard. If you enjoyed the show, folks might want to at least sign the petition. And if you really love the show, then it might be worth investing $5 in peanuts.

I recently added a link for the Depression2 blog, over at my Links page. The blog aggregates some insightful commentary, mostly on economics and investing. Check it out.

  o o o

Bob at Ready Made Resources mentioned that he is brokering the sale of a used fully self-contained P10 underground blast/fallout/storm shelter. These shelters sell for $100,000 new, but this one is used and selling for just $45,000 plus shipping. It is an upgraded model with a Level 4 ballistic protection entry hatch and an oversize water tank. It has been reconditioned (including fresh paint), but it needs a new set of deep cycle batteries. The P10 shelter is currently located in Texas. Call Bob for details.

   o o o

From The Mother Earth News: The Truth About the Animal ID Plan, by Jack Kittredge

  o o o

Some interesting tidbits on the ethanol mania from Kevin Kerr in a recent issue of the free The Rude Awakening e-newsletter: "Meanwhile, down in the land of Dixie, they're actually trying to grow corn too, in cotton states like Georgia. It sounds crazy, as the climate is completely wrong, but the allure of cashing in on that ethanol bonanza is strong - almost like a new gold rush. How nuts has it gotten? I read early in the year that an old orange juice processing plant in Florida was being converted to an ethanol refinery. Equally crazy, it's actually possible to get government subsidies to grow corn in Nevada - yes, Nevada."

"The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree." - Thomas Campbell

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I have discovered a great mode of backup transportation, the DiBlasi R7 collapsible mo-ped (Also see: This is a 49cc no-license-required scooter that folds to fit a boat, plane, or car trunk and gets 130 mpg. Their top speed is 30 mph, but it beats walking. Retail is about $2,500 but I have found a deal for $2,000 (with carrying bag) at Wings and Things.(You have to call - no online orders). Cheers, - JB in Tennessee

JWR Replies: Safecastle (one of our biggest advertisers) already has a line of folding bicycles. I woudln't be surprised if they add these to their catalog.

I’ve been reading your oil/energy columns. Very informative, thank you. It seems I am getting some less than adequate answers to my question posed to my local motorcycle dealers.
I have two motorcycle’s (both about 45-50 mpg). Buying ‘motorcycle 20W-50 oil’ or “Harley Davidson [brand] 20W-50" motorcycle oil is more expensive versus just 20W-50 oil. If you have time, is all 20W-50 the same or should I pay the extra at the motorcycle shop since motorcycle engines run at higher rpm’s and the oil does need to have whatever makes them more resistant to the heat and stresses associated with motorcycles? Thank you, - Pete

JWR Replies: Oil brand names make very little difference. As long as the oil meets the industry (SAE) specifications, there is little or no advantage in buying a "name" brand. I've read that motorcycles utiilize a wet clutch which has much less surface area than an automotive drivetrain, so you should use a "motorcycle blend" with appropriate additives to prevent clutch slipping. But there is no need to buy the "Harley" brand.
In my opinion, a much more important question is: traditional or synthetic? The price of synthetic motor oils have come down in recent years. I recommend them for many applications.

Mr. Rawles:
In yesterday's blog, you mentioned that bolt cutters are important to have available. This reminds me of something that my father always taught me: There is no such thing as "wasting" money on tools. With maybe a few exceptions, you can never have too many [tools], because you can use the extra ones as barterables or to pass on to your kids. A lot of things can be improvised, but proper tools can't [be improvised]. As a prepper, I have a big assortment of tools, mostly hand type. I do have some power [tools], but I consider those secondary because if there's ever a long term the-end-of-it-all kaflooey, you can't rely on grid power and the number of people with windmill, solar, or waterwheel power will be few and far between. So I mainly buy 19th Century-style tools. Yup, a big Makita battery pack power drill is nice, but my old reliable bit-and-brace runs forever on muscle power.

All SurvivalBlog-oriented families ought to buy a big assortment of hand tools [in all categories]: carpentry, metalsmithing, farrier, gardening, auto-mechanical, pipe threading/plumbing, pipe bending, and so forth. Get the basics first, like hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, pliers, tin snips, files, pipe wrenches (several sizes), open-and closed-ended wrenches, socket wrenches, hand saws, and such. For high-stress tools like your wrenches and socket [set]s, stick with buying just the best [quality] name brand tools: Craftsmen and Snap-on.

After you have the basic tools, move on to getting specialized tools that most of your neighbors won't have. These will make you the "go to" guy in The Big Crunch. These specialized tools are things like big Stilson wrenches, bolt cutters, tubing benders, planes, Surforms, an old-fashioned blow torch, an oxy-ac cutting/welding rig, big 2-man saws, digging bars, pulleys/hoists/snatch blocks, oversize wrecking bars, post hole diggers, and an so-on. In your novel ["Patriots"] you talked about Hi-Lift Jacks and [ratchet cable hoist] come-alongs. I'm glad you did, because those are both "must haves." (They have a gazillion uses.) Buy a pair of each, plus rebuild kits.

For anything that wears out quickly, breaks, or that gets used up, buy lots of spares--like hacksaw blades, linoleum/box cutter knife blades, tubing cutter blades, the smaller-sized drill bits, [welding] gasses, and welding rod. You gotta think things through: What will people run out of in one year? In five years? Any of those things are a "must" to stock up on--both for you, your friends, and for bartering.

Beyond that, you should have a full set of tools for any home business that you are planning to run to earn a living in TEOTWAWKI. So if you plan to be a cabinet maker, you need a full set of carpentry tools. If you plan to do generator repair, you need a full set of those tools. If you plan to be a gunsmith/armorer, you need a full set of those tools, and so forth.

My favorite places to buy tools by mail/online are Northern Tool and Lehman's (the Amish store, in Ohio.) Some auto-mechanics tools that are hard to find locally you can get through JC Whitney or When deployed [overseas], a lot of us bought knives and Leatherman tools from US Cav[alry] Store. I saw on one of your pages you have links to Hechinger Hardware and Boater's World who I've also done some biz with. Oh, and I should warn everybody: watch out for Harbor Freight. Most of their tools are Chinese cr*p. A lot of cheap castings that break, plus mostly they are made with slave labor.

Thanks for the fantastic blog, Jim. I just started reading the blog again after being away for a 14 month deployment in the Sandbox. I was blown away by how much useful stuff you posted while I was gone. The Archives are a-maaaazing! As of last week, I became a 10 Cent Challenge member. What a small price to pay for so much! I encourage others to do same-same. Be Ready, Be Able, and Check Six, - G.T.C.

JWR Adds: I like your "19th Century" approach to tools. That is entirely appropriate for the circumstances that we envision. And your assertion that "there is no such thing as 'wasting' money on tools" is sage advice.

Proper sharpening, oiling, and storage are crucial for giving your tools multi-generational longevity. This is particularly important in damp climates. Keep tools well-oiled. Depending on your climate, you might need tool chests with tight-fitting lids and plenty of silica gel. If you have any tools that are rusty, evaluate their condition. Minor rust can be removed with a wire wheel. But if any tools are badly rusted, consider either paying to get them bead blasted, or if need be, replacing them completely. Why? Because leaving one rusty tool in contact with your other tools that are in good condition will encourage"sympathetic" rusting, and eventually ruin many more.OBTW, bead blasting is good potential part-time home business.If you have a side yard available to dedicate to it. (It is a bit messy.) You could even carry on this business post-Schumer if you have a generator an/or a large alternative power system.

After a brief absence during some unexpected domain name shuffling, Mickey Creekmore has the Survival Strategies blog back up and running. Great stuff. Be sure to take a look.

  o o o

Desperation selling? Home Sales Post Highest Monthly Gain in 14 Years While Prices Plunge

  o o o

Freeze Dry Guy (one of our most loyal advertisers) told us that because of the overwhelming response, they are extending their May Special through the month of June! This special is for a Mountain House Freeze Dried Meat Variety Pack that includes:
3 - #10 Cans of Mountain House Cooked Ground Beef, yield 81 cup servings
3 - #10 Cans of Mountain House Cooked Diced Chicken, yield 63 cup servings
(Total of 144 cup servings.) This package has a retail value of more than $262. Total cost with free shipping within the continental US is $214
All Mountain House foods are nitrogen back flushed with less than 2% residual oxygen and have a proven shelf life in excess of 30 years.
Preferred methods of payment are Cashiers Check, Money Order or PayPal. Contact: or phone.(530) 265-8333. Please tell them that you saw it on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

   o o o

A series of four video clips from a British documentary shows the Royal Marines in their fight to win "hearts and minds" in southern Afghanistan. The documentary provides some interesting insights on weapons and tactics.

"The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man's mind. And no wonder, for genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it; blood, said Jefferson, is its natural manure. Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means the capacity for doing without . . . the average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe." - H.L. Mencken

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 $2,000!) 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 for Round 10, which ends on Thursday, May 31st. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

It seems like more and more people are becoming aware of the need to grow some of their own food. Usually they start with a garden, and maybe some chickens or meat rabbits. But eventually, if the family has room for them and the zoning allows, they decide that they need their own milk supply (with a little home-grown veal or chevon [goat meat] as a bonus). Cows have their place, but in many situations goats are a better choice. They are smaller and easier to handle; less expensive to purchase; require less room; and can eat, and even thrive on, feed that a cow would starve on. And, if you have to keep your own male, buck goats are easier to handle and less expensive to raise (though smellier) than a bull. Goats are, IMO, one of the best choices for survival livestock, because they are so useful for much more than just milk.

But speaking of milk, they are useful small dairy animals. One good doe (a female goat) of the large breeds should produce, per year, on average a gallon of milk a day for about ten months. (This is if she is well-managed, and good management of any livestock, but especially of dairy animals, doesn’t come overnight. It comes from years of experience and continued studying – so if you expect to need dairy animals in the future, now is the time to start.) When times get hard, it may be difficult, at least initially, to supply dairy goats with the kind of feed they need for the best production, so it would be a good idea to look for stock that is already being bred to produce with less grain than is commonly fed to high-producing goats. Now you are looking at smaller amounts of milk being produced, but on a more sustainable feeding program. I have Kinder goats, a cross of Nubians and Pygmies, precisely because of the feed consideration. They are easy keepers, and will continue to produce smaller amounts of their very rich milk even on very small amounts of grain.

If you allow five pounds of hay per goat per day, and a pound or so of grain (they don’t need much if any grain while dry, and will need a little extra during the peak of their lactation, so it averages out), it will take almost a ton of hay to get one milking goat through a whole year, plus about 365 lbs. of grain – allow 400, to make the fifty-pound bags come out even. At current prices, in my area it costs about $150/ton for hay (and I’m sure that’s going to go up this summer, with gas prices so high) and almost $80 for grain (C.O.B.) for one goat for the year. If you have pasture, even one filled with brush and blackberries, you can reduce the hay costs considerably. Just watch their condition, and add feed if they start looking thin or the milk drops off noticeably.

Now, when it becomes impossible to buy hay (as it probably will someday), or just plain too expensive, goats really begin to have the advantage over cows. It’s much easier to take the scythe out in the yard and cut a ton or two of hay by hand for your goats, than it would be to cut by hand the nearly four tons of hay needed by a 1,000 lb. cow. Ditto for growing and harvesting the smaller amounts of grain that a goat would need.

If you don’t have a hay-field, don’t despair. In other countries where many people still keep backyard livestock, they cut hay from their lawns; from their orchards; from the sides of the roads; from ditches and any place else where a little bit of grass, brush, or edible weeds manages to grow. Also, it’s possible to raise a lot of feed in the family garden. I save pea-vines and corn stalks for the goats, for example. You wouldn’t want to feed a steady diet of corn stalks, but they are good for stretching other feeds out. Perennials that you can grow for feed include comfrey and alfalfa. We commonly think of alfalfa as being grown in large fields, but a border around the edge of the garden (where it will get tended and watered) will produce a lot of feed.

Goats don’t need anything fancy for housing. In most climates, they will do fine with a three-sided shelter facing south (or north, if you are in the southern hemisphere). Mainly they need something that will keep the wind and the rain off, and dry bedding to lie down on. It’s advisable to construct their manger in such a way that you can feed from outside the pen, and so that the goats can’t get into the manger. If they are allowed to walk on their feed, they won’t eat it, which is quite a waste, especially if you’ve hand-harvested it. Their water should also be on the outside of their pen, forcing them to put their heads through the fence in order to drink. This will help keep their water cleaner, as they don’t watch to see where their droppings are going, and won’t drink if even one nanny-berry has fallen into the bucket. They do need to have clean water available if you are expecting them to produce milk, so make sure they aren’t shorted on that. If you have to, you can take them out to the water supply for a drink at least twice a day (three times would be better, but they are capable of tanking up and lasting for a while). This is sometimes the best way to go in the winter, when you might otherwise have to carry heavy buckets of water out to them. (They like hot water in winter, by the way, if you can manage giving it to them.)

As you’ve probably heard, the biggest drawback to keeping goats is keeping them in their pens or pastures! They are escape artists extraordinaire, and can open latches, jump over fences, and squeeze through holes that you wouldn’t believe. The key here is to be smarter than they are. Use gate latches that have spring-loaded catches or some mechanism so that livestock can’t pull them open. (Difficult to describe with no pictures – go to a feed store and ask to see their gate latches. They should have something useful, as many horses are also escape artists.) I’m now using pens that are built with cattle panels, the ones called combo panels (they have smaller openings on the bottom, which in theory will keep small animals from going through – young goat kids, however, can still get through). These are 52” high, and none of my Kinder goats have gone over the top of them. The panels are made of heavy enough wire that the goats can’t walk them down, either (goats are notorious for standing on fences with their front feet), though it would be best to have posts in the middle of the panels as well as at each end. If you are fencing a large pasture, woven wire will probably work, but will need some tending. And keep in mind that goats are small enough to be vulnerable to predators (a livestock guardian dog would be a good idea).

I mentioned earlier that goats have other uses besides just producing milk, although that could be their most important use, especially if you have young children. Meat is probably the alternative use that comes first to mind. Purebred dairy goats don’t really make very good meat animals, although they do produce meat. Again, I like my Kinder goats – they aren’t as big as purebred dairy goats, but are fast-growing and meaty, while still being good little milk animals. (And they have the best-flavored milk I’ve ever tasted – it’s almost like drinking half-and-half.) Their carcass cutting percentage runs around 60% or so, and the flavor is great. An alternative is to keep goats that are dairy crossed with Boer (or Kiko, another meat breed). I have a part-Boer doe, and she is a very nice dairy animal, but with more muscling than if she was purebred Oberhasli (she’s 3⁄4 Ober). A little more Boer would make a meatier carcass, but I and others who milk crosses have found that their udders and teats are thicker-skinned than a purebred dairy doe, and thus they are harder to milk. But, with the right parents, they can be very productive milkers and easy keepers, so are not a bad choice as dual-purpose animals. And, for the next use category, they are much more useful than the half-Pygmy Kinders.

Goats can be used as draft animals. They can pull carts and garden cultivators (there is one made especially to be pulled by a goat), and they are also very useful small pack animals. Goats as pack animals are becoming very popular, and with good reason. They can forage most if not all of their feed while out on the trail (while leaving little trace of their passing – most people would mistake goat sign for deer sign); will follow their owner (if bonded to people by being raised as bottle babies) and thus don’t need to be on lead ropes; and can carry useful amounts of gear. A full-grown pack wether (castrated male) can carry up to one-third of his own weight all day long. Since large-breed wethers may weigh anywhere from 180 lbs. up to over 300 lbs., you can see that they can be quite useful on the trail. Something interesting that’s been reported is that a human walking with a herd of goats can get much closer to wildlife such as deer before they spook and run off, so in a survival situation, the goats might even be of assistance in getting meat for the table. Goats that are not milking can go up to three days without water, which could be necessary in a dry region. But since they can only make a sustained pace of around 2 1⁄2 miles per hour, and need at least three hours of browsing time per day, they can’t go as fast or as far as horses can. However, they can go places that horses, or even llamas, can’t go. If you can get there on foot, the goats can get there, too. This could open up potential new bug-out locations!

Pack equipment for goats can be purchased from several vendors, but it’s also relatively simple to make your own. In fact, it is possible to make cross-buck pack saddles out in the field, if necessary. The size is smaller than for a horse, but the rest is pretty much the same, except for the angle of the cross-pieces. Their angle should be slightly less than 90 degrees, unless you have a very fat and wide-backed goat.

There are some other uses for goats that would be considered by-products. Their hides make a thin, fine leather (goatskin was once used for high-quality gloves); their intestines have many uses – catgut is one of them; and some goats produce enough fiber to be useful. Angora goats are too small for pack or draft use, and would be difficult to milk even if they produced enough milk to bother. And while many end up being butchered, they aren’t really good meat animals, either. But most goats of all breeds produce small amounts of cashmere, some more than others. It requires painstaking care to clean the cashmere and separate all of the hair out of it so it can be used, but in a TSHTF situation, someone may have the time and the need for fiber, so it’s worth considering.

Goats do need some basic care. All goats need attention to their hooves – if they are packing and out on rocky trails, they may need very little trimming, but if they are confined to pens all the time, their hooves will need trimmed every few weeks. Or, you can do as one lady I know does and use a Surform rasp on the milkers once a day before taking them off of the milking stand. They also need mineral salt formulated for goats (goats and sheep have diametrically opposed copper requirements – enough to keep a goat healthy will quickly kill a sheep), and they need to be wormed at least two or three times a year. Herbal wormers are available, and it would be a good idea to learn what is in them, and how to formulate them, and begin growing your own. It’s also a good idea to vaccinate for a couple of things – a veterinarian can tell you what is needed in your area, but tetanus is definitely on the list.

I’ve been keeping goats for about 24 years, and still don’t know everything there is to know (far from it). If you are new to goats, it’s a really good idea to get a couple of books about them, and to read as much on-line as you can. The FiasCo Farms web site has a wealth of information (though the site owner is a vegetarian, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for butchering information). Then when you are ready to get your goats, take someone experienced along with you. They will be able to help you avoid making serious mistakes. When you start getting a refrigerator full of milk and are wondering what to do with it, I highly recommend the book Goats Produce Too! [by Mary Jane Toth.] The cheese recipes in it are much better than another popular cheese-making book that has been around for a long time, and it also has recipes for chevon (goat meat).

Our goats are an integral part of our survival plan, whether we stay here (as we hopefully will be able to do), or whether we have to ‘bug out’ to some other location. If you think they ought to be part of your plans, get started now, don’t wait!

An issue with putting in a garden for food security is that your neighbors or passersby know what a tomato or broccoli looks like and may feel inclined to help themselves. While not so much of an issue on a farm, in a subdivision, this could be a problem. Consider putting in a second garden full of what other people would consider weeds. Does your neighbor know what nettles look like and that they are edible? The starving hordes could just pass by your bounty with no need to fight it out . - SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: You've raised a good point. There are lot of edible plants that look like weeds or wildflowers. A few that come immediately to mind are burdock (edible roots), wild dock (edible leaves) camas (edible bulbs), dandelion (edible leaves), chicory (edible roots, leaves and seeds), and arrowroot (edible roots). Of these, only the dandelion is fairly well-known to be edible. You mentioned nettles as one possibility. Nettles don't have have much sustenance value, but they are a good natural source of calcium and iron. They are also a good "barrier" plant to keep intruders away. With any of the aforementioned plants, the trick is: don't plant them in rows. In a mixed jumble planting, they will indeed be overlooked as "just some weeds." Further, most people wouldn't recognize potato plants. Quite a few of those--or perhaps also carrots or turnips --would be overlooked if mixed into your "weed patch."

"If the statists think that they will ever totally disarm our citizenry, then they are dreaming. Even by conservative estimates there is nearly one gun for every man, woman and child in these United States. Now to put that in context, consider the current “decommissioning” process in Northern Ireland. The whole peace process there currently hinges on less than 800 guns. The IRA won't give them up. Now please don't misunderstand me: I don't support the IRA. It is clearly a terrorist group with a leadership that espouses Marxist philosophy. The reason that I mention the Irish situation is to illustrate how absurd it is to think that the gun grabbers will ever get their hands on more than 90% of our guns. And even if they ever do get 90% that will still leave nearly 30 million guns, primarily in the hands of those who will also retain the willingness to use them in the defense of their liberty." - James Wesley, Rawles (2002)

Friday, May 25, 2007

"OSOM" suggested this poll: List your top five fiction books and top five fictional movies that help folks learn something useful for survival. OSOM's comment: "Jim's novel Patriots has been called a 'survival manual fairly neatly dressed as a work of fiction.' I believe that reading fictional tales is critical to prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for hard times, and helps intellectually to work out the variables in different situations."

I'll kick off this new poll with my own list. Please send your lists in the same format via e-mail and I will post them anonymously. Thanks!

Fiction Books:
Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Pulling Through by Dean Ing
Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher

Farewell to the King
Jeremiah Johnson
Open Range
The Pianist
The Postman

(Yes, I know, I mentioned two Kevin Costner movies in my list. But they are worth watching.)

Much of the western U.S. is starting to look dry as the Spring rains are over in many areas and the annual grasses have already gone to seed and turned brown. With major fires burning in several states, it seems timely to discuss the"defensive space" of your property. [JWR Adds: Not to be confused with "ballistic" defensive space, which I recently addressed in SurvivalBlog.] The goal is to prevent a forest fire from reaching your house by reducing the amount of fuel for a fire near your home. When forest fires lack fuel crown fires drop to ground fires. Ground fires burn slower and are easier to contain. The recommended defensive space plan divides the area around your house into three zones.

Zone One is 0-to-15 feet all around your home. It is recommended that you have no trees and no large shrubs in this zone if you live in an area prone to wildfires. If you do have landscaping close to your house, then it should be a plant species that is not readily combustible. Succulent groundcover plants are recommended. Better yet would be decorative rocks! The idea is that there should be no organic fuel within 15 feet of your home.

Zone Two is 15-to-75+ feet area around your home. In this area it is recommended that trees are spaced so that there is a ten feet space between the outermost edges of the branches of each tree. This means large trees might need to be spaced 30 or 40 feet between the trucks of the trees. The purpose is so that a "crown" forest fire would not be able to jump from crown to crown within your defensive space. You do not want to give a ground fire a "ladder" to climb into the crowns of your trees, so it is recommended that you remove all the limbs which are within 10 feet of the ground. You should also not allow thick underbrush to grow around your trees which could feed a fire and also serve as a ladder. Note that if your house is on a hillside, then Zone 2 might be as far as 125 feet downhill.

Zone Three is from the outer edge of Zone Two to the edge of your property. (Zone Three was described by one web page as "an area of traditional forest management and is of no particular size. It extends from the edge of your defensible space to your property boundaries.")

By the time you have created a proper defensive space around your home the landscaping is not going to look too "natural". It will be much more like a town park than a natural habitat. But, that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make in order to defend our home against forest fires.

Mr. Rawles,
first off, let me compliment you on your writings. I just finished Patriots, and was highly impressed with it. I've already loaned it to a friend to read, and I will probably end up ordering another copy so I can use the book as reference. I have also just ordered your books : SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1 and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. One item that I haven't seen on any list of supplies on your site is a set of lock picks. They have many uses, whether around the house or in a G.O.O.D. bag. They also weigh next to nothing, and take up very little space. I would recommend buying just a small set of 5 picks and a tension wrench. The big sets are useful for specific applications, but are overkill for 90% of the tasks the will be used for. A set of shortened lock picks and a tension wrench can be carried on a key ring next to your keys, or in your wallet. I carry a set in the liner of my billfold. There is a myriad of uses for a set of lock picks. Several times I've had to let my friends back into their houses, because the locked themselves out. This could be a catastrophe in a survival situation when the house is especially secure from intruders. A key hidden outside the house is always a good idea, but sometimes people forget to replace them after they let themselves back in. (I've done it myself).
For cars, the most common tool is a set of jiggler keys. These resemble ground down or smoothed car keys. They work by moving the key rapidly up and down in the lock while putting rotational pressure on lock cylinder. These are only effective on older cars, because newer cars have sophisticated systems to prevent theft. While bugging out, losing the keys to car could cost you your supplies, or even your life. My advice is keep an extra key somewhere in or on the vehicle. A set of jiggler keys might allow you to get in without breaking a window.If you don't have a key, many old cars can be started with a piece of wire and a screwdriver. For a more permanent solution the ignition can be bypassed and a starter switch installed.
Lock picking is a skill anyone can learn, and when you get good at it, a standard 5-pin tumbler lock should take less than a minute. These tools allow you to reuse your locks. Instead of drilling a lock out or cutting it off and leaving your property wide open, a lock pick lets you get in, re-lock the door or gate, and replace the lock at your convenience. A more advanced approach would be taking a locksmithing class, and becoming certified. I bet this will be a useful trade to have after TEOTWAWKI. I'm not advocating breaking and entering, and I would only suggest you use lock picks in a legal, and more importantly, ethical manner. But used properly, a set of lock picks is a valuable tool. I hope you find this useful.
Your fan, P.D.

JWR Replies: In addition to lock picks, every well-prepared individual should own a "universal key"--a pair of 36" bolt cutters. They can get you through locked gates in a pinch. (You never know when someone might misplace a key.) They are also useful for cutting re-bar and other metal working tasks. The ones that are priced below $30 are made in China and not very sturdy. Expect to pay between $80 and $140 for an American-made pair of 36" bolt cutters.

S.H. found an article by Brian Tiemann, describing his tour of the InfoBunker--an ex-USAF facility retrofitted for ultra-secure data storage.

  o o o

Todd Savage mentioned an interesting retreat property in northern Idaho that he has toured and found worthy: It is an off-grid (PV-powered) 2,000 square foot 5 bedroom house on 40 acres, in Boundary County. The property has "end of the road privacy" and a large pond. For details, contact Todd at his new office in Bonner's Ferry, at: (208) 946-1151.

   o o o

SF in Hawaii recommended this Red Cross book on emergency surgery, available for free download in PDF.

  o o o

This may seem minor to our Australian readers (where they have far more poisonous snake problems), but Early Trends May Point to Record Snakebite Season in U.S.

"As an Army officer, I learned that in order to be effective, an army must have three key abilities: To move, shoot, and communicate. Take away any one, and you are ineffective. But if you get all three right, you can absolutely devastate an opponent—even one that has vastly superior numbers." - James Wesley, Rawles

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Many thanks to those of you that have recently signed up for the 10 Cent Challenge. Your subscriptions are greatly appreciated. Subscriptions are entirely voluntary, but are an important part of my livelihood. (All those $3 per month PayPal payment do add up!)

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Rawles;
I live in so-called "rural" western Oregon. Last month I sold my home that was in a Homeowner's Association (HOA) and moved to a slightly bigger place (3.5 acres, versus 2 )[that is] a few miles farther out into the country, outside of any HOA. Living there [inside the HOA] was worse than living inside city limits. I was forced to move [because] they had some CC&Rs that made it very diffiicult--if not downright impossible--to prepare for a disaster. Under the [“covenants, conditions, and restrictions"] CC&Rs, my storage space for all my survival goodies was limited because there was a covenant that limited me to just one garden shed measuring no larger than 15' x 15' that "matched the architectural style of the house." I couldn't put up any other storage structure. There were also [restrictive] covenants on RV storage, boats and boat trailers, box [utility] trailers, [house] paint schemes (approved colors only!), antennas, pools, ponds, flags, [political] campaign signs, and on and on. They are so anal about their precious covenants that it gets downright laughable. Committees for this and committees for that. All meetings [run] by [Robert's} Rules of Order. The worst of it all was that even though the HOA development was all outside city limits and we all had lot [size]s of at least one acre, we were limited to two cats, two dogs, and one horse. Period. No other animals. No substitutions and no exceptions--unless somebody was a "grandfathered" resident that had owned a house there before 1985. I tried fighting the system, politely, for a couple of years. But I finally gave up and moved.

So my advice is : Don't ever buy property inside a HOA, and certainly never inside city limits! Sincerely, - Oregon

JWR Replies: I agree, wholeheartedly! Most survivalists don't feel very comfortable inside city limits, or inside a HOA development. Let me reiterate some of my key points from one of my first SurvivalBlog posts:

You will gain several advantages if you live outside of city limits: You will avoid city taxes. You will most likely be on well or spring water instead of city water. In many cities because of zoning laws it is illegal to drill your own water well--since the utility companies want to maintain their monopoly. Operating a home business generally requires a city business license and a visit from the fire marshal. And of course, it is illegal to discharge a firearm inside city limits in most jurisdictions.

It is essential to look ahead to eventual growth. If your new “country” place is on fairly level ground and just a mile outside city limits, odds are that it will be inside city limits in a few years! Do some prognostication on the 'line of march" of the advancing phalanxes of "Ticky Tacky Houses", and plan accordingly.

Avoid states or counties with restrictive zoning laws. Zoning laws and homeowner’s association (HOA) restrictions may restrict the style of home that you build, the number and type of outbuildings, limits on “for profit” agriculture and the size of garden plots, livestock raising, timber harvesting, operation of a home-based businesses, pond and road construction, and hunting or target shooting on your own land.

Those Dreaded CC&Rs
Unless you buy in a pro-gun covenant community, beware of buying a house or land with CC&Rs. As you mentioned, these are contractual agreements that restrict the use of the land. CC&Rs are typically mandated in “planned communities” where the developer or the HOA makes it conditional on owning a home that specific appearance standards be maintained. They can be fairly benign, such as delimiting the colors houses can be painted. But in some cases, like yours, CC&Rs can be outrageously totalitarian. Some do not allow a car that is more than five years old to be parked in view of the street, or do not allow visiting relatives to park an RV in your driveway or on the street in front of your house.

A “private gated community” might outwardly seem like a safe place to buy a house, but there are some serious potential drawbacks. A planned community with typical restrictions can present an uphill battle for preparedness provisions. At the very least, it makes preparedness much more expensive. In spite of all the disadvantages, some readers may be able to afford both preparedness and luxury, and may wish for the professional networking and social environment that attracts others to luxury gated communities. A private, gated community has obvious superficial advantages in security, in that outsiders are conspicuous. Residents tend to be more aware of those who are out of place. Such communities, at their best may function like small towns and enjoy some of their advantages. (But good luck finding a welding shop or plumber in Pinecrest Estates!) Some gated communities can be more social and insular, so that neighbors tend to be better acquainted than in ordinary neighborhoods. At the very least, members will begin with an “us” mentality as any crisis approaches. (In previous posts, I've referred to this as the "We/They Paradigm.") See Mr. & Mrs. Bravo's profile at the Retreat Owners Profiles web page for more on the pros and cons od living inside a "private, gated community."

Mr. Bravo reminded me that there are some advantages to HOA developments. (Although not enough to tip the scales, in my opinion.) He noted the following advantages: Homeowners in typical gated communities often fit the helpless model of urbanites. However, a community in one of the small-government, low-tax, gun-friendly states is more likely to attract conservatives who share the principles held by survivalists. The retired California executive might not seem like the ideal preparedness neighbor, until you learn that he picked Utah because he is a shooting enthusiast, and is already well ahead of you in preparedness provisions. Even the “ranchette” or “dualie pickup” mindset can be a good start, as owners probably have at least some preparedness inclinations, perhaps without even yet realizing it. If you can, imagine the guys at a neighborhood barbecue boasting about who has the largest propane tank or the best-equipped shop. You get the idea.

Gated communities in suitable Western states may have a significant number of part-time residents. These occasional residents may already be thinking of their mountain home as a crisis retreat, and some may be especially receptive to programs that enhance the security of their “retreat” when away, and which keep it secure prior to their arrival in a crisis. Some such homes can be expected to remain unclaimed by their owners, and may at least be a last resort to shelter others in need. (With prior consent, naturally.) The collective mindset and character of an existing community should be evaluated before purchasing, to assess whether there is hope for the community to function in a crisis. Meet people, learn about the community “culture,” and decide for yourself. If you are considering a purchase in a new development, ask yourself if you are prepared to be a leader, to educate others, and to set an example without standing out as an oddball. As times change, association rules can be changed, and this takes a leader. Ideally, one influential individual will eventually convince some neighbors of the importance of preparedness. They too have already selected a good geographic region. To avoid marking yourself as the “neighborhood survivalist” (leading not only to social embarrassment, but also to the hordes at your door in a true crisis) start slowly.

Most who pay the premium for a gated community are already quite security conscious. Initiate seminars in security and crisis communication. Foster the “neighborhood watch” mindset. It can later morph into a neighborhood watch on steroids, if necessary, to meet changing conditions. Your neighbors will probably have invested thousands in security systems, and perhaps much more in “safe rooms” or “panic rooms”. Many may be interested in further enhancing their security. A seminar on earthquake/flood/fire preparedness may be welcome, and the discussions should help identify those receptive to much more diligent preparedness. Others may be interested in an expert guest speaker on firearms selection and tactics for home security. Listen to the questions and discussions to identify those with the best potential. Create a “security” subcommittee packed with the right people, and begin to make palatable recommendations to the community board. (This avoids the “lone crackpot” appearance.) Keep in mind that the best prepared and wisest neighbors will not be quick to talk about their provisions, so take the time to get to know your neighbors, just as if you were in a small rural town.

Some communities may have restrictions that are not onerous to preparations, but which require creativity. Private wells may be prohibited, but rainwater recovery is a viable alternative. Where visible propane tanks are prohibited, buried tanks may be acceptable--and desirable for other reasons. Solar systems may be purchased but left uninstalled until a crisis is imminent. This is not ideal, as anyone who has set up such a system knows. Consider getting a self-contained trailer-mounted system that sits in a spare garage bay. A proviso: If you roll it out in your driveway for use during a crisis be sure to put it up on blocks and remove the wheels to make the trailer more difficult to steal. Outbuildings may not be allowed, but large basement spaces provide a good alternative, although at a significant cost.

While gated communities adjacent to big cities in problematic areas like Chicago and Atlanta will never be viable, there are attractive communities in the Intermountain West that are well removed from these risks. For those who insist on the amenities of a planned community, and who can afford them without compromising on preparedness essentials, these bedroom communities may be found within an hour’s drive of cities like Bend, Oregon, Reno, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah, and others throughout the West. For the rest of us who face real-world financial constraints, we are much better off finding a home where we are not asked to pay extra for preparedness constraints that are difficult or expensive to overcome. The greatest mistake is to overspend on a home, perpetually deferring prepared provisions.

Is living in a gated community right for you? Give it some serious thought, and do your research. Experience has shown that a typical homeowners association tends to be organized and operated by a busybody retiree with a Hitler complex and nothing better to do than make everyone else’s lives miserable. But of course YMMV.

Covenant Communities
The flip side to commercially-developed “gated communities” is the prospect of finding (or forming) a Covenant Community with like-minded survivalists. In the late 1990s, the Mormon survivalist leader and highly decorated war hero Bo Gritz formed one such community. It is called Almost Heaven, near Kamiah, Idaho. It has had mixed results, since a good portion of those buying land there were concerned about the Y2K date rollover computer crisis. When Y2K thankfully turned out to be a non-event, many of those landowners moved on, leaving a much different group of people owning land there.

A note about an article you have posted - by David T. It is absolutely not correct. I realize that SurvivalBlog is not dedicated to diesel technology - but since you posted it, I figured I'd comment. I was a Stanadyne pump technician since the 6.2 diesel engine was invented ca. 1982. That's the engine he's talking about. I am also well versed in the history of that diesel pump, both in civilian use and in the U.S. military. Our military has had a miserable time with early failures - since the 6.2 and 6.5 diesels power many Humvees and trucks overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect David T. knows nothing about the pump himself and is believing garbage that someone else has fed him.

The Stanadyne DB2 pump - (only pump used on the 6.2 diesel - and only pump used on military 6.2s and 6.5s) is available with what is called the "Arctic Thin-fuel" package. Any pump with the "1.2cS " at the end of it's tag has the package installed. For example, the following is military pump number with the kit: DB2829-4879 10149634 19901⁄2 HMMWV (Military) - 1.2 cSt G. When added, the kit only modifies a small portion of the pump and had nothing to do with the major parts that usually wear out. The U.S. military did extensive testing with the kit installed and found that it does not increase pump life.

Also, the kit adds about $40 to the repair cost, certainly not 50% more. Sounds like he's getting ripped off.

I will also add that these pumps do not get rebuilt - although that is the way they are marketed. They are usually only "repaired", and that is different. Major wear parts are just about never renewed because they are too expensive. So, when you buy a "rebuilt" pump, is it already a used pump, not the same as new. A pump, when brought in, is taken apart, resealed, new minor parts installed, and recalibrated. If it needs more than that, it's usually scrapped.- JD in New York.

"The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious." - Ted Levitt (Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm interested in hearing from some more of our overseas readers. (There are lots of you, in more than 70 countries.) I'd really like to expand the Retreat Owners Profiles page, to reflect the wide range of approaches that are used in other regions to increase a family's survivability. I'd particularly like to hear from anyone that lives in a country plagued by economic troubles and/or social upheaval. I'd also appreciate hearing from anyone living in a country with a severe climate--such as an arctic or desert regions. I'm sure that the readers of SurvivalBlog will benefit from reading about your lives. Thanks!

My wife and I are ready to make a purchase of a water purifier. I have taken your advise as a reader of SurvivalBlog and researched the Berkey products and I also looked at Aquarian. I have decided on the Berkey and am leaning toward the Travel Berkey Water Purifier that is listed on Get Ready Industries web site at $199.
This unit appears to be usable on the go and as a purification unit in a retreat situation. I would like you thoughts on this unit when you have time.

For your information we live in eastern Kansas about 50 mile south of the Kansas City area. In the event of an emergency situation we intend to head to southwest Missouri to join with family in a rural area where we all grew up and farmed. My wife and I want to distance ourselves from the general population from the city as they will eventually be on the move depending on the circumstances.
I have noticed that Missouri is not on your list of the top 19 states for retreat [locales]. I was wondering why. Is it the upper air currents in the event of a nuke?

Thank you for what you do! God bless you and your family, - Bill

JWR Replies: The Travel Berky filter is a good choice. It is designed to last many years. British Berkefeld filters are available from a variety of Internet vendors including two that are SurvivalBlog advertisers (You already mentioned Get Ready Industries.) They are also available from Ready Made Resources,

In answer to your question on Missouri's retreat potential: After much consideration, all of the eastern states were intentionally excluded from my retreat potential analysis because they are all either downwind of nuclear targets and/or they are in areas with excessive population density. This wasn't just the result of subjective bias. I try to use the dispassionate mindset of an actuarial accountant. I discussed the following in a SurvivalBlog post on August 5, 2005, but with so many new readers, it bears repeating::

Take a look at The Lights of the U.S. photo map at: This montage of satellite photos makes it clear that most of America's population is east of the Missouri River and is highly urbanized. The population density of the U.S. is dramatically lower west of the Missouri River. In troubled times fewer people means fewer problems. In the event of a social upheaval, rioting, urban looting, et cetera, living on a farm west of the Missouri will mean a statistically much lower chance of coming face to face with lawless rioters or looters When The Schumer Hits The Fan (WTSHTF). Furthermore, the northeastern states depend on nuclear power plants for 47% of their electricity. (South Carolina is similarly dependent.) This is an unacceptable level of high technology systems dependence, particularly in light of the emerging terrorist threat.

You must also consider that virtually all of the eastern states are downwind of major nuclear targets--most notably the USAF missile fields in Montana, the Dakotas, and northern Colorado. (Take a look at the fallout prediction maps hosted at Richard Fleetwood's excellent Survival Ring web site. As you can see, the eastern U.S. would be blanketed in fallout in the event of a major nuclear attack ) If for one reason or another you are stuck in the east, consider New Hampshire or Vermont. They are both gun friendly and have more self-sufficient lifestyle. But unless you have some compelling reason to stay in the East, I most strongly encourage you to Go West!

The other startling thing you will notice when looking at the Lights of the U.S. photo montage is that even in the western states, Americans live in a highly urbanized society. Roughly 90% of the population is crammed into 5% of the land area, mostly within 50 miles of the coast. But there are large patches of the west where there are virtually no lights at all--particularly in the Great Basin region that extends from the back side of the Sierra Nevada mountains to Utah and Eastern Oregon. (It is a desert area with highly localized water sources.) The average population density in this region is less than two people per square mile. While on a tri to visit some consulting clients, I recently took a drive through eastern Oregon on Highway 97. There is a fairly prominent sign just north of Madras., Oregon. It reads: "R2 Ranch, No Hunting or Trespassing, Next 32 miles." The ranch does indeed extend for 30+ miles on both sides of the highway, section after section. (For the benefit of our foreign readers more familiar with hectare land measurements: a section is 640 acres--one mile by one mile square.) This illustrates the grand scale of western ranches. Much of the western U.S. has plenty of "elbow room." The tradeoff is that it takes a lot of acreage to support just a few cattle in an arid region.) Here is another example of the low population density of the west that I often like to cite; Idaho County, Idaho: This one county measures 8,485 square miles--bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. But it has a population of just 15,400. And of those residents, roughly 3,300 people live in Grangeville, the county seat. Who lives in the rest of the County? Nary a soul. There are far more deer and elk than there are people. The population density of the county is 1.8 people per square mile. The county has more than 3 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land, BLM land, and designated Federal wilderness areas. Now that is elbow room!

In case anyone questions the source, the injection pump tip that I mentioned came from a large rebuilder who has seen the interval between rebuilds dropping to as low as six months on pumps with standard parts. Older pumps were designed to be lubed by high sulfur Diesel fuel. Since I was buying a rebuilt injection pump for my veggie oil non-turbo 6.2L Suburban, he strongly recommended the stainless version, which cost 50% more. Lubricity of veggie oil is far higher than any Diesel fuel, but in cold climates we start and stop the engine on straight Diesel. In Mississippi, it wouldn't be an issue, especially in summer months.- David T.

"Much like a muscle that atrophies with disuse, any right that goes unexercised for many years devolves into a privilege, and eventually can even be redefined as a crime." - James Wesley, Rawles

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The high bid is now at $325 in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a selection of 17 survival and preparedness books.

Mr. Rawles:
I was at a gun show last weekend, stocking up on ammo and magazines. A dealer had some original [Ruger] Mini-14 magazines (made at the factory, in white boxes) that were marked "restricted for law enforcement use.." or somesuch, stamped right into the body of the magazine. I also saw some Beretta M92 magazines with a whole bunch of the same kind of "thou shalt not..." small print. I thought that the [Federal] magazine ban had expired. I'm confused here. Could I get in trouble with my local police if I buy magazines with these marks? Thanks, - R.R.

JWR Replies: You aren't the first one to ask me this. The U.S. Federal ban did indeed expire in September of 2004. (It expired because of a 10 year "sunset clause.") A letter from the ATF confirms that you can disregard any ban markings on magazines. The only exception would be state or local laws, that can vary. (The state of New York, for example has its own ban that continues to make ownership of post-9/94 production high capacity magazines illegal.)

OBTW, there are also still some manufacturer's restrictive sales policies to contend with. Ruger is one of the most notorious for this. They started restricting their dealers several years before the 1994 ban was enacted. But thankfully these sales policies do not cary any force of law. There are lots of distributors that flaunt them and sell outside of law enforcement channels. I suppose that the worst that could happen is that the distributor could lose their "factory authorized dealer" status and lose their special distributor pricing incentives.

With all that said, I need to repeat something I've mentioned before. There is a threat on the horizon: Beware of pending congressional bill, H.R. 1022--the worst piece of proposed federal gun legislation introduced since 1968. Paragraph (L) is the dangerous catch-all that would make this new law much, much worse than the 1994-to-2004 "assault weapons" ban. That paragraph leaves the determination of what constitutes an "Assault Weapons" up to the arbitrary whim of the Attorney General (AG)--a political appointee. The real weasel phrase in paragraph (L) is "...and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event." That phrase is the "back door" that they leave open for banning M1As and virtually any other model that the AG deems sufficiently ugly or "evil" looking. The NRA warns us that this law would also "begin backdoor registration of guns, by requiring private sales of banned guns, frames, receivers and parts to be conducted through licensed dealers." In case this law ever morphs into a more draconian mandatory registration or confiscation law, I recommend that all American "black gun" gun owners look seriously at buying a few "sporting" semi-auto models such as a Valmet Hunter, Galil Hadar, HK SL6 (or 660), SL7 (or 770). Also consider FN-49s, which have a fixed 10 round magazine and no pistol grip. Ditto for M1 Garands, which use a 8 round en bloc clip. You should also show foresight and look beyond this particular piece of pending legislation. In the event of eventual "worst case" legislation--e.g. universal registration or confiscation of all modern firearms--you should hedge your bets by buying a few pre-1899 cartridge guns. (Such as those sold by The Pre-1899 Specialist.)

The only saving graces of the proposed ban are that it only affects new manufacture and importation. That still leaves a lot of existing ("grandfathered") guns and full capacity magazines in circulation. If it passes, I predict that this law's effect will be much like the 1986 machinegun freeze. And you've seen what has happened to the prices of Class 3 guns. The law of supply and demand is inescapable. Prices went up a lot during the 1994-to-2004 Federal ban. This time, prices will surely skyrocket even more, since this is a much wider-reaching law and there will be the public perception that the ban will be permanent. My advice: Stock up, especially on magazines. Buy at least a dozen for each of your guns. Buy hundreds, if you have some extra cash to invest. Again, based on the experience of the 1994-2004 ban and the 1986 Federal machinegun "freeze", I expect magazine prices to at least triple. If you can, buy lots of extras, even for models that you don't own, to use for barter. Buy a mix of mostly commonplace magazines (like HK91, FAL, and AR, and M14), and a few exotic ones (like Glock 33 round, Galil, SIG, Valmet, et cetera.) There may come a day when practically no amount of cash will buy you a pre-ban detachable magazine, but trades will still be considered.

Prices are still reasonable, because the full implications of this pending legislation have not yet registered with average American gun owner. For example, the last that I heard, TAPCO was still selling alloy 20 round HK91 magazines (that also fit CETMEs) at 50 pieces for $70. I think that in a couple of years such prices will seem like a dream. BTW, be sure to buy only factory original or original military contract magazines. Avoid all of the after-market junk.

The only other suggestion that I can make is: call, e-mail, and FAX your congressman frequently about this bill or any similar legislation. H.R. 1022 is blatantly unconstitutional legislation! And any of you that are NRA members should also contact the NRA and urge them to "hold the line" on this legislation. There is no "middle ground" or room for compromise.

My other oft-repeated advice, is: stock up on magazines now. Consider buying a lifetime supply for you and your children. Someday you may be glad that you did.

In a recent SurvivalBlog post, you mentioned buying pre-1965 silver coins of the dime, quarter and half dollar type. What about silver dollars? My family and I are buying junk silver and including the silver Peace and Morgan dollars in our purchases. Should we concentrate on the smaller denominations? - Bill in KS

JWR Replies: Unfortunately, the premium on silver dollars is considerably higher than on the smaller denomination coins. When four quarters ($1) would cost you $11 (11 times face value) a 1921 Morgan (the most common date) silver dollar in well-worn condition will cost you at least $13. This is because even rough silver dollars are used for some jewelry. So if your goal is accumulating silver for bartering, then I recommend that you concentrate on buying the smaller denominations.

I just thought I would send you a quick note and tell you about Conservative Match. [Their motto is:] "Sweethearts, not bleeding hearts." My son found himself a wonderful wife there that fits our family like a glove. It was like she came custom made. Maybe he just got lucky, but he managed to find himself a wife, and myself a daughter in law, that I just did not think were being made anymore. She is conservative/libertarian and home schooled. Oh, and did I mention she has the "survivor gene" and likes to hunt, fish, camp, scout and shoot? Not to mention she loves your book ["Patriots"] and has read it twice. (Taking notes the second time, as I did.) - Gung-Ho

RBS sent us this: Utilities brace for worker shortage.OBTW, folks looking for their "ticket" to the boonies might consider this sort of work. America has hundreds or rural utility companies, many of which are co-ops. Utility company employment is steady work, even during deep recessions.

  o o o

Video clip: Just another day in Beirut, Lebanon

   o o o

PJH and Hutch both sent us this article: Solar Flashlight Lets Africa’s Sun Deliver the Luxury of Light to the Poorest Villages. Their "buy one, give one" arrangement sounds like a great way to dispense charity.

   o o o

Jim H. in Colorado told us that he likes this Internet reference on firewood.

"No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." - Ludwig von Mises

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today we begin with the responses for S.F.'s suggested 100 Words and 100 Pounds "Resume" poll.

Some of these stretched the 100 word limit. (I skipped posting one that rambled on far beyond the limit.) The poll's premise in a nutshell: "If someday you went to the gates of a survival community post-TEOTWAWKI and pleaded the case for why you should be let past the barricades and armed guards to become a valuable working member of the group, would you get voted in? Taken objectively, would you vote yourself in?"


I am a shoe maker (not just a repairman) can repair saddles tan leather have done ranch work mechanics weld gardening skills set a broken bone stitch up a bad wound can bake bread etc, shooting skills need work only 5.5 MOA on AQT. Can milk a cow make butter some basic carpentry skills can use a wood lave make one if needed to know how to set up wind / water power to a shop or mill make some one laugh when things are bad can teach can also learn.know how to adapt over come make things work specialization is for insects.
Some limits to work: mild back problems cannot do a lot of over head work.
1 CETME rifle with 12 mags, ALICE pack, compressed MREs, 1 folding shovel camo nylon rope water filtering canteen extra canteen freeze dried canned soup 1 empty
small can rubbing alcohol cotton balls (cheap cook stove) 1 cooking kit 1 med kit 1 multi tool 1 roll toilet paper 1 wash cloth 2 tooth brushes tooth paste 1 belt with bayonet for CETME one pocket knife canteen & pouch cleaning kit for rifle and butt pack 2 mag pouches fishing line and hooks matches 4 Bic lighters 1 Iver Johnson 5 shot .38 S&W revolver 36 rounds of ammo, Flecktarn camo pants and shirt vest 1 light weight sleeping bag wool socks and a spare pair sturdy boots, Carthart coat tan 1 pocket size bible etc,,


Many years' experience in:
Primitive Skills:
*edible and medicinal native plants
*cordage and rope making
*hide tanning
*bow and arrow making
*bow hunting
Contemporary Skills:
*organic gardener
*orchard (fruit and olive)
*firearms use
Mid-50's, good shape for age, 6'4", 225#. Wife, mid 50's, 5'10", 150# (who shares many of the above skills, plus expert at canning/freezing, quilting, tatting, making clothes and moccasins).
Both have a sense of humor and aren't afraid to work.
In packs, besides personal gear:
*heirloom seeds
*one .308 MBR, one .223, with magazines and ammo
*two .45 Governments


Age 25, weight 160, excellent health, single. Engineer, engine mechanic, builder, jack of all trades. Trained and competitive marksman. Skilled teacher. Tolerant, thick skinned, sense of humor. Introvert, not loner. Schooled in college, educated in real life. History buff and cook.
Competent with photovoltaics, backhoes, generators, concrete, gardens, propane systems, AC and DC electricity, firearms, computers, welding.
Most importantly: not a prima donna, armchair commando, or busybody.
Equipment includes rifle, pistol, small amount of ammo, soft body armor and binoculars.


Age: Near 60. Can still see well enough, without glasses, to shoot back.

Old, tired, wore out. Been around the third world several times. (South America, South Seas, East Asia) Can't lift a third my own weight. Don't eat much. Know how to do just about anything.

Will arrive with 30 Lbs water, 30 Lbs freeze dried food, Ruger Mini 14, S&W 659, 100 rds for each, a few old books. and 50+ years usable knowledge. That about 100 pounds? (Worst case here. Actually, I would attempt to bring my entire robotics shop. Attempt, I said! )

Skills: Artificer. If you can picture it, I can make it. Make a windmill from a starter motor. Make my own tools as I need 'em. Bend railroad rail with no more than an axe and 6 young men for the bull work. Machinist, electrician, carpenter, stone layer, robotics engineer .


Age 25. Ex-military.
Trained extensively in: Perimeter reconnaissance,
Instructor of: full-spectrum warfare, defensive fighting positions, combat operations.
Expert marksmen: M16A2, M4A1 (GUU-5/P), M9. Expert in FN-FAL, M1A/M14, AKM, M16/AR-15 Family, 1911-A1, M9, CZ-75. Proficient with many other firearms.
20/15 vision. Reloading/Gunsmith hobbyist.
Physically/Mentally Fit.

Equipped: FAL Carbine (18"bbl). Custom 1911A1. PASGT Kevlar Helmet/Vest. Boots/Socks. Woodland BDUs.
Custom LBE: Seven 30rd FAL Mags(210rds). Eight 8rd 1911-1 Mags( 64rds). Two 1-quart Canteens (Full). Multi-tool.
Medium ALICE pack: Five 20rd FAL mags (empty), Two SA Battlepacks (280rds). Two Boxes .45ACP (100rds). First-Aid Kit. Extra BDUs (1 set). Cans of Soup (5). Mess Kit. Local Map/Compass.


Phd/MBA expert (37) on alternative energy and appropriate technology. Tool maker and builder/manufacturer/processor of useful post-TEOTWAWKI machines, trade goods, and alcohol (own BATF-licensed alcohol fuel still). Russian MBA wife (35) survived fall of Soviet Union and 1998 crisis. 4 yo and 10 mo daughters. Home machine shop, tools, anvil, forge, ethanol still, large printed alternative energy / appropriate technology / engineering / survival library, and inventory of preparation items greatly exceed the 100 lb per person limit but would be worthy of a group salvage/recovery mission. G.O.O.D. bags contain standard items recommended by Rawles, et al. Additional personally carried gear would include M1A w/ Leupold scope, AR-15 with trijicon night sites, Glock 21 (45ACP) with Trijicon night sites, Berkey water filter, laptop with large collection (>500 books) of appropriate energy and appropriate technology books on CD, Robinson curriculum on CDs for home schooling kids, ten 15"x15" fresnel lenses capable of starting fires in 30 seconds, disassembled 2" diameter alcohol still column with supply of vapor locks and 1 lb of ethanol yeast, and a few of my more portable tools (blacksmith hammer, hardy, & gloves; measurement tools; multimeter; temperature measure).


48 y/o 6ft 180lb male – good health
- Can walk 20 mi/day in full gear
- “Rifleman” with .308 MBR
- Doctor (emergency medicine and minor surgery)
- Gunsmith and reloader
- Cook

Backpack (40 lbs)
Sleeping bag/tarp
(2) BDUs & wool socks
Rain gear
Soap/camp towel/toothbrush
Food bars for 1 week
Water filter/bottle
Cookset/Trioxane tabs
Small survival kit (Fishhooks, matches, snares, etc)
AR-7 and 200 rounds

Web gear (35 lbs)
First aid/trauma kit
G23 + 2 mags (51 rounds)
8 mags .308 (150 rounds)

Barter/buy-in: (25 lbs)
Minor surgical set
Local anesthetic/syringes
2000 doses various oral antibiotics and pain meds!


I feel I would be a great asset to your community. I am a seventh degree black belt in American freestyle combatives and I could easily teach your people the skills to handle themselves in this perilous time. I also have an extensive background in firearms handling,gunsmithing and reloading. My real expertise thought is as a meat butcher. I can literally take a beef ( or any wild or domestic animal) from the field to the table. I bring with me a full set of cutlery tools, including saws,steels and several knives. I also carry a AR-15 w/8-20 round, loaded mags. A Glock 19 w/mags, and a Rem 870 tactically modified. I have a full set of ultralight camping gear including, freeze dried food,tent, sleeping bag,etc. My loyalties are to God, Country, and my brothers at arms.


repaired furniture
a little basic farm work(irrigation, pick rock)
assembled some field sprayers
inventory control/purchasing
some hunting
a lot of fishing
a lot of target shooting
cashier(a lot)
lube and oil cars
built 40 wood tables for an assembly line
sorted recycled paper
stock shelves
gas station attendant
a little gardening(corn,peas,onions)
unarmed watch
yard work(mowing, weeding)
sandwich/donut driver
some bow and arrow
some encrima [Philippine stick fighting martial art]
some cooking
printers helper
some CPR


Male, 38, 160 pounds. Reasonable shape.
Suturing, minor surgery, advanced airway management, cautery, fractures, casting, NBC treatment, tooth extraction and making dental fillings. 2 home births. Pistol. Morse code.

Sutures, antibiotics, casting supplies, complete surgery tools and dental extraction set.
.45, scoped M21 sniper rifle plus ammo. Field scope, rangefinder. Level 4 bulletproof vest, helmet, FRS radios.
Water filter, water, food, tent, sleeping pads and bags, heirloom seeds.

Two boys, 7 and 9 and wife. All with level 3a vests. Kids with .22 rifles and ammo. Wife with 9mm, AR-15 and ammo. Knows some gardening. Kids learning morse code.


Have excellent interpersonal/negotiation skills
Have made a sufficient study of military history/combat tactics/military strategy
Maintain a vegetable garden/fruit trees
Have studied/used survival techniques in N.A. and C.A.
Have knowledge of indigenous edible plants/animals in N.A. and C.A.
Have skill-at-arms on US/ComBloc small arms
Am expert in usage of map and compass
Have field grade(ditch) medical skills
Maintain personal combatives skills
Can forage and improvise like nobody’s business
Have seen the elephant

Weaknesses –
No livestock husbandry experience
Not a carpenter
Middle aged
Average driving skills

Probable TEOTWAWKI employment:
Retreat security
Weapons maintenance and training
Strategic Planning and Implementation

Dear Jim,
Looking at the concept of mercenaries post TEOTWAWKI [mentioned in Ron's recently posted letter], I'm not convinced there is a valid threat there.
There are a lot of myths floating around about Blackwater specifically. I have several friends on contract to them in various capacities from maintenance to pilot to executive protection.
The relevant facts are that they are highly trained, highly paid (up to $1000 a day, depending on assignment and location), held to high standards of qualification (must be honorably discharged veterans, no criminal background and with relevant skill sets) and do specifically fall under the UCMJ when contracted to the military or in association with the military (including executive protection details on State Dept missions in Iraq). I keep hearing these stories of beer-bellied yahoos who don't answer to anyone, but I've yet to see anything to substantiate that apart from vague allegations in the press.
Obviously, if a government collapses, it will not be hiring troops in that price range unless it's paying gold or foreign cash. Even if it could, convincing politicians that 20 out of country mercs are better than 100 local recruits is a long shot.
As to low-paid, second rate mercs, history is full of them. They tend to be more hassle to the paymaster than any enemy.
I can't see what they'd be hired to do other than guard government installations or private facilities with the desire and the money. "We're hiring you to go rough up the civilians" doesn't seem either cost effective, worthwhile, or doable, as in small groups they'd be readily defeated by numbers. And if things are that bad, I won't be going anywhere near a government facility.
The condottieri of the Middle Ages were specifically small bands with training and weapons equal to the small local forces they faced--enough to defeat a village or small town. Without lots of supplies, any modern equivalent would just be another gang of armed men. In this case, armed professionals who'd prefer to dig in and take control of an area, rather than be roving bands. It's quite likely a few of them read survivalblog, and they're hardly the enemy. If such groups existed, it would be worth allying with them to build a community. Nor would they be likely to pillage an area, as it means less resources in future.
It is possible, in case of a total collapse, that such would become feudal lords. However, that would last only as long as they maintained the good will of the locals and had ammunition. Modern systems of government are far more effective and efficient. - Michael Z. Williamson

Some interesting economic analysis from Jim Willie's Hat Trick Letter

   o o o

Causes of the recent rally in grain futures. If you haven't done so already, stock you family up on bulk grain storage. Retail prices will likely double soon! See my Links page for a list of recommended food storage vendors.

   o o o

Russia accused of unleashing cyber war to disable Estonia

   o o o

Energy Efficient Desalination Takes A Step Forward

"Courage is fear holding on a minute longer." - Gen. George Patton

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" is back in stock, with autographed copies ready for shipment from our order fulfillment partner up in Montana. I'm sorry that I ran out of inventory for more than two weeks. I'll try not to let that happen again. See ordering details in my mail order catalog web page. I also sell autographed copies through (Once there, scroll down to "Collectible.") BTW, that is a bit quicker way to order, since I don't have to wait for forwarding of a snail mail order. Amazon also takes credit cards.

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a selection of survival and preparedness books is now at $300. There are 17 brand new books included!

I'm searching for a link you posted on your blog to a site that listed people wanting to network with other survivalists in their areas. The only thing I remember about the site is that you described it as little known since the hosts didn't advertise it. I've been unable to find it the the SurvivalBlog archives and would appreciate your help in finding it again. Thanks!

JWR Replies: For liability reasons, I don't post "matchmaking" announcements in SurvivalBlog. The post that you remembered referred to this "hidden"(unlinked) web page, courtesy of the folks at I've heard from several readers that they've used this service successfully. OBTW, if you use this free service, please give some patronage. They have a great selection of books available.

Hi Jim,
I was a reader of Patriots before the [Y2K] rollover. Thank you!. Here in the Northern New England, I made the same calculations, and decided to stockpile off road diesel and kerosene. The other major component is used vegetable oil, usually available free from restaurants, who otherwise pay to have it hauled by a recycling outfit. My 20 h.p. Listeroid diesel runs fine on waste vegetable oil (WVO). So does the 13hp Hatz backup generator, along with an '85 Diesel Suburban and '82 Diesel Rabbit. Filter the big stuff out using more coarse filters like a pillowcase. Filter the remaining fines through a good fuel filter, like a Racor, which should last at least hundreds of hours (2,000-3,000 miles.) I prefer the toilet paper filters available from Gulf Coast Filters or Franz. They absorb and trap water, filter to sub-micron levels, and cost two bits to replace. Remember that older diesel injection pumps were not designed for very low lubricity fuel like the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel which is now mandated country-wide. Put some motor oil or veggie oil into your diesel tank to make your injection pump last. If you have a pump rebuilt, specify stainless (Arctic) components. They wear much better. Finally, if you're relying on your gennie or diesel vehicle in a post SHTF era where lubricants may be scarce and expensive, filter your crankcase oil through a bypass filter. The same toilet paper filters work great. Use soft Charmin for fuel filtering, and 1000 sheet rock-hard Scottissue for crankcase oil. You can also burn used crankcase oil in your diesel engines. Just filter it first. Around here, it's not legit to transport "waste" crankcase oil over the road, since it's an environmental hazard, so I only move "used" crankcase oil. ;-) Be sure to store in quality tankage. You don't want the stuff in your ground water! I drive slow and carefully. Regards, - David T.

JWR Replies: Thanks for sharing your knowledge, particularly on WVO. OBTW, you mentioned burning a mixture containing used crankcase oil in your diesel engines. That will indeed work, but keep in mind that used crankcase oil has been documented to be carcinogenic, because it contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH.) So use great care to not let any of it touch your skin when transporting/handling/filtering/dispensing it.

First of all as a reader of your SurvivalBlog and a purchaser of your "Patriots" novel, your Rawles on Retreats and Relocation book, and a copy of your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. I wanted to offer my thanks for your information and insight.

I am only a few months into the preparedness way of life but was hit hard this last week by an object lesson that I don’t feel gets the priority needed in some preparedness writings. My current physical fitness was tested as I re-shingled my roof and the realization I had at my lack of fitness while carrying shingles around was really shocking. I figured the shingles were easily the weight of carrying my child (if hurt or we are being evasive) or a heavy pack during a long trek during a Get Out of Dodge (GOOD) scenario. I was in the military and know the need for physical preparedness but if you don’t really stress your body periodically through a tough physical challenge you will not know what your fitness really is and how your age has affected it. Sure you can run a few miles a day or hit the gym during the week but when you have to perform under a true SHTF march how will your body really react? In a true SHTF scenario you have both mental stress and physical stress and you better know what your true fitness is or you will die. With a true knowledge of your fitness under stress you will pack a GOOD bag differently, know how to prioritize your transportation needs, and know how far you can really travel to a destination on foot.

You can purchase all the right equipment from surefire flashlights to $300 MOLLE packs but if the weight is to much for your true fitness you will succumb to muscle failure and a dull mind which makes you a much easier target. You will know a bike or trailer is a must to get over 30 miles due to your true fitness. Under a GOOD march to your destination you will not have time for under used muscles to recover or strengthen from the days trek. No matter how much you will yourself to make your destination if your muscles and joints give out you are again the easier prey for the wolves.

My bottom line is getting my family to safety if my vehicle becomes disabled and I have to walk the rest of the way and I sure don’t want my fitness to fail my family. A physical stress test should be a part of everyone’s preparedness. Take Care, - Defensor

I've been thinking about a recent Internet writer who argued that we aren't headed toward the 1890s [technology/infrastructure] (we should be so lucky); we're headed toward 10,000 BC! (Due to oil depletion and resultant social chaos and die-off).
Regardless of "where we land," it seems that among all the technologies at the disposal of humans, sustainable and not, chemistry is ubiquitous. Everything, or most everything we do or use involves use of chemical technology. The survival issues involving chemistry are obvious: soap, diesel fuel, disinfectants, water purification/decontamination, powder for ammo, etc, beer and wine, to name just a few.
The average guy probably doesn't need to know stoichiometric equations to derive amounts of chemicals for reactions (although that is essential if you don't have a "cookbook" telling you 1 unit of this and 2 units of that...), but it is equally obvious that a rudimentary knowledge of chemical reactions and processes will be essential when the Schumer hits, especially for the longer term TEOTWAWKI mode.
I found a couple of "survivalist applicable" books that I would highly recommend: Caveman Chemistry, and Caveman to Chemist, both sold by Also, Principles of Modern Chemistry, by Oxtoby, Gillis, & Campion, is the best general Chemistry book I've seen.
It would be highly valuable to hear other forum members' recommendations of sources of chemicals and chemical engineering information. Surely, there's a lot out there if you can cut through the academic BS. - WarDoc

Our friend Ben sent us: Solar panels find a home with Amish

  o o o

Tim L. flagged this article for us: Off-grid farming in Canada

   o o o

From RBS: Global Mergers and Acquisitions Rise 60% to $2 Trillion, Led by Europe Deals and Leveraged Buyouts. It is clear to me that far too may money managers have deluded themselves into believing that the bull market in equities will go on indefinitely. Today's entrepreneurs will be tomorrow's contrapreneurs.

   o o o

At, Vic is running a one-time "Food Load-up Sale and Membership Free for All." The public gets buyers club pricing for a short time on all their emergency storage foods, including several brand new product lines. Any food purchase of at least $100 today earns you a free lifetime membership in the buyers club, which brings you discounts of at least 20% on everything in the store and free shipping all the time. E-mail Vic at for the coupon codes.

"Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately you occasionally find men disgrace labor." - Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction is at $200. As promised, here is a list of the books included in the current auction lot. There are now 17 brand new books included:

1. Modern Weapons Caching by Ragnar Benson
2. 101 Things To Do 'Til The Revolution by Claire Wolfe
3. Woodstove Cookery by Jane Cooper
4. A Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow
5. The SAS Urban Survival Handbook by John 'Lofty' Wiseman
6. The SAS Personal Trainer by John 'Lofty' Wiseman
7. Breathe No Evil by Stephen Quayle & Duncan Long
8. Guide To Emergency Survival Communications by Dave Ingram
9. Ragnar's Action Encyclopedia Volume One by Ragnar Benson
10. Ragnar's Action Encyclopedia Volume Two by Ragnar Benson
11. Renewables Are Ready by Nancy Cole and PJ Skerrett
12. Plain-Talk Medicine for Uncertain Times and Places by Robert S. Berry, M.D.
13. The AR-15/M16 A Practical Guide by Duncan Long
14. From Seed to Bloom by Eileen Powell

... plus three of my autographed books: SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1 , Rawles on Retreats and Relocation , and a copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse". This book package has a retail value of $397. Postage to the winning bidder is free. All of the proceeds of the auction will benefit SurvivalBlog. The names of the bidders (including the winning bidder) will be kept anonymous.

I am taking the 10 Cent Challenge and have made a contribution. I have been reading SurvivalBlog for about a month and intend to keep making my contribution for the next foreseeable future..This is an awesome site.

I have been wanting a solar array to add to my survival plan, According to the calculations I need to have the capacity to produce about 1KW adjusted to .75 KW. In order to adequately provide for my housing needs, minimal water pumping, lighting, small appliances, computer, phones, network, some TV, battery charging , fans for sleeping.

We are in Mississippi along the coast. Yes we were victims of [Hurricane] Katrina and lost nearly everything. Our house was still standing, though wet and [we had] no electricity for over 6 weeks.

I digress. As part of our plan we have since Katrina installed two diesel powered generators and still have the old gas standby one still running well from pre-Katrina Days. The 4,500 watt gasoline generator burns about a gallon per hour more or less when running to keep the water pumped, and make life reasonably tolerable.

We installed a bank of batteries, rated 990 amps of 12V at full charge, on an inverter/charger, (3KW/6KW 100 amp @12V). Re-charging them is simultaneous when running the generator.

One of the generators is a single cylinder 6HPrated Lister clone diesel ($950) which runs at a very low 650 RPM . It is connected to a 10 HP single phase generator ($689) and produces up to 39 amps of 115 VAC (about 8,900 watts) while only using about a 1⁄4 gallon of diesel per hour. This one runs whenever we need to recharge the batteries or during the summer months during the heat of the day when we need to air condition to make the house habitable. Did I mention we are on the coast in Mississippi? ( 95 degree days with 90% humidity.)

Our other generator is a 28 HP 15KW diesel monster ($2100) and it produces 72 amps of 230V while burning about 3/4 gallon per hour. It is only used when I need to do some heavy duty welding and not disrupt the smiling partner. (Note to all,-- it is extremely important to keep your partner smiling).

While extremely fuel efficient ($ about 0.07 per KWH) the diesels do require to be fed and maintained. Except for the summer months, they run only for about 5 hours per day, doing the washing, pumping, and charging up the batteries for the overnight span. Overnight the only loads are the TV for a couple of hours, the computers and associated networking for a couple of hours, refrigerator, lighting , well pump and the ceiling fans in 3 bedrooms for sleeping. This works very well, and we are able to run most months on less than a barrel of diesel (50 gallons at $2.37 in today’s prices = $118.50). Our electric bill Pre- Katrina averaged over $250 per month. In effect we have achieved survivability and lowered our cost of utilities.

While the cost of our home grown electricity is low, on the down side, there is the noise factor and the constant cost of diesel , Thus I have researched extensively the Holy Grail of energy production, meaning Solar. Once in place the solar system requires no feeding (read $0.00) and very little maintenance. Where, oh where are the low cost solar photovoltaic (PV) panels?

The best I can come up with to generate up to ( note this is not a fixed number but is hopeful peak value) 900 - 1000 watts per hour of sunlight, is a cost of about $3,980 for materials.

Here in Mississippi we get 1,664 hours of PV usable sunlight per year. This sunlight would generate, hopefully 1,497 KWH at 90% efficiency. At current rates, and assuming no battery failures or charge controller failures or inverter failures (quite a few "ifs" in there) it takes a long 22 years and 2 months for break even. (Hopefully the system will last that long).

Sorry , but I am not quite that long-term oriented. I believe the best bang for my dollar is putting the same money into diesel storage (at today’s prices = 1,679 gallons) so that in the event of a TEOTWAWKI I will be able to maintain just as I am for about 38 months, or by stretching and economizing can survive for up to five years on this diesel.

What am I missing here? I know a lot of the puzzle is still missing , but where oh where are the low cost panels so that one could begin generating solar electricity for a reasonable cost of $1.00 per watt which will allow a payback within 5 years, or better still $0.50 per watt that would allow us to recover the cost within 30 months?

As for me, I am purchasing clean used 55 gallon drums without a removable top, for $5.00 each and am in the process of making the run every few days to the fuel depot to get the $2.37 /gallon off road diesel. Cached securely these will provide for our family and give great barter potential in an extended SHTF situation. Thanks, - L.W.

JWR Replies: The best prices that I have found on PV panels and inverters are from Ready Made Resources. They have some brand new panels at around $5.00 per watt. They also offer free consulting on alternative power system design.

I know your a fan of silver, but I noted that Canada is producing 1/20 oz gold bullion coins and it seems to be in .999 fine along with all their other Maple Leaf production this year. These are smaller than a US Dime, the 1/10 oz is about the same size as the US Dime.
I do business (buy and sell) with these guys but also occasionally buy form a place for cash in the Financial District of SF for cash of course with no paper trail, they give me pretty good price over spot. Cordially, - Tim

JWR Replies: The Maple Leafs are pretty coins, and they are indeed .999 fine, which make them desirable for re-use (industrial or jewelry making.) Just ask anyone from India what coins they buy to take home for wedding gifts. They almost universally prefer the Maple Leaf.

Unfortunately, all gold bullion coins come with a premium over the value of their bullion content, and sadly the steepest premium is on the smallest coins. The lowest premium that I have found on 1/20 ounce Maple Leafs is around $5 per coin. If you multiply a $5 per coin premium by 20, then you can see that you are paying $100 per ounce premium for each ounce of gold that you buy. (Presently, that works out to about a 16% premium over spot.) Ouch! In contrast, silver coinage can often be purchased with a premium as low as 3% over spot.

I would much rather buy circulated pre-1965 U.S. silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars. These are 90% silver. Not only is the premium lower, but they will be much more readily recognizable to whomever is on the other side of the barter table from you. If you hand them any gold coin, the first words from their lips will be: "How do I know this is genuine?" But if you hand them pre-1965 silver coins they will accept them with just a passing glance at their rims. (Post-1964 "clad" dimes and quarters show a copper layer at their rims.)

From the CATO Institute: The World’s Greatest Unreported Hyperinflation

  o o o

Australian water crisis could be worse than thought. Australia, one of the world's wheat exporters, will actually be importing wheat this year.

   o o o

Hawaiian K. sent us the link to a:detailed analysis of oilfield depletion, at The Oil Drum web site

  o o o

"Ready Room" sent us an article about a Russian in-wention: A non-nuclear EMP generator

"The streets are safe in Philadelphia. It's only the people who make them unsafe." - Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction is at $175. This auction is for a mixed book lot that includes 15 books: 12 non-fiction survival and preparedness books that were kindly donated by the fine folks at Ready Made Resources plus three of my autographed books: SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1 , Rawles on Retreats and Relocation , and a copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse". I have not yet had confirmation on the list of the 12 books donated by Ready Made Resources, but I can assure you that they will be desirable titles, including a couple of scarce out-of-print books by Ragnar Benson worth $80. I will be posting that list tomorrow evening. Thanks for your patience. This book package has a retail value of $397. Postage to the winning bidder is free. The auction ends on June 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

S.F. in Hawaii suggested another poll topic: "If someday you went to the gates of a survival community post TEOTWAWKI and pleaded the case for why you should be let past the barricades and armed guards to become a valuable working member of the group, would you get voted in? Taken objectively, would you vote yourself in?

I suggest the following poll. Put together your survival resume in 100 words or less. The resume is what you would present to a panel of tough as nails judges who would decide if what you offer is worth what you will consume in resources. You may use in your arguments (1) whatever real skills you possess as of today and (2) whatever you can reasonably carry in a backpack or on your body, as long as you actually own them in real life, not to exceed 100 pounds. If you have children, a significant other, or plan to have anyone else come with you, this must be mentioned. If they possess skills, then they may put in a resume as well and you will be judged singly and as a group. The resume should include your age, weight and general physical condition. Any weaknesses in your case that would be discovered over time that you do not expose (such as a recurring back injury) will be considered grounds for immediate expulsion from the group, so for the purposes of this exercise, you should be up front and honest. If you have children under 12, they can carry their own weight in supplies.
You must take into account that your 100 pound allowance should contain whatever food and camping supplies you would want as a refugee. Since you cannot assume that you will be granted sanctuary in the community, you must take what you will need to survive on the outside if you are refused entry. A backpack full of guns and ammo will do you little good if you have no food and water.
One caveat: While being part of a group increases survival odds, being on the road as a refugee does not. This is meant as a learning tool to help assess what our skills and assets are and which we might want to develop and accumulate."

Please send me your "resumes" in 100 words of less, via e-mail and I will post them anonymously. Thanks!

I appreciate your advice. Here is my situation: I attend college full time in a post-industrial [Eastern United States] city that has had a 50% population decline in 30 years. Most people here are on welfare, and the largest employers are prisons. I am in a bit of a predicament because I only make about $6,000 per year, so I cannot really afford to spend much on supplies. My goal if things go downhill is to do a ruck march (assuming EMP, otherwise I would drive) with my ROTC-issued [TA-50] equipment to my family's summer home in farm country on a lake. The home is located about 40 miles from where I go to school. Going home is not feasible as I live in Massachusetts which would take a full tank of gas, and is entirely highway and there are several choke points, including driving through Albany, Springfield, Worcester, and into the high-density suburbs.
At school, one of my best friends is also into survivalism and he also has experience. We share the same goals and are both Baptist. Additionally, we are both known on campus as people who have everything, tools, water, food, etc. which means that if there was a situation, we would likely be inundated with requests from others to help us. We keep a small, verbal list of people we would accept, and keep it to five people.
What would you recommend I do in this situation? If you need more information, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks, - Sam

JWR Replies: I recommend that you form a survival retreat group. That is exactly what I did 25 years ago, when I was an Army ROTC cadet. Stock your retreat as best as you can, given your limited budget. Prioritize your purchasing. Water purification and food storage should be at the top of your list. Set group standards for communications gear and guns. For short range tactical coordination, I recommend the modestly priced MURS transceivers, since they use a little-used band. This is particularly important in the signal-dense northeastern United States, where using CB frequencies would be almost impossible WTSHTF. For advice on firearms selection, see my Survival Guns web page, and my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse".

Be very selective about who you bring into your group. Unlike building a group based on an extended family, you can be choosy. Be dispassionate in choosing new group members. Evaluate each candidate on their stability, motivation, and their mix of skills. Friendship is a great thing, but the guy or gal who is presently your dormitory buddy may not be your best choice for a survival group member. Look at their weight, health, and physical fitness. Consider their religious background. Are they moral and trustworthy? Are they intelligent and adaptable? Do they have valuable skills? Are they hard working or will they just be "talkers" or "strap hangers"? Avoid people with extremist views or anyone that suggests making any preparations that are illegal. Ask yourself the key question: Am I willing to trust my life to this individual? If any candidates don't pass muster, then keep looking.

In the long term, try to develop a retreat that is in a less densely populated region. When you graduate, direct your job search--assuming that you will be a reserve officer--to a region that is suitable for self-sufficient retreats. (For details, see my Retreat Areas web page and my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.) Odds are the group that you form in college will have a considerably different composition five or six years from now, once your friends change locales to pursue careers. In fact, depending on where you end up, you may be teamed with an entirely different group of people.

If you are destined to go on active duty, then tailor your "dream sheet" of preferred duty assignments (after OBC) to posts that are in the western U.S. (You didn't mention if you had been branch selected yet. That could make a big difference in the locale of your eventual posting.) I suggest that you consider posts like Umatilla Army Depot, Fort Carson, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Tooele Army Depot, Dugway Proving Ground, Fort Lewis (possibly permanent party at Yakima Training Center), Fort Greely, Fort Wainwright, or perhaps Sierra Army Depot. Army PERSCOM branch managers are often willing to accommodate requests from junior officers that state a preference for posts that their peers would consider "backwater" assignments. (Let everyone else ask for a posting in Germany, Fort Meade, or Fort Devens.) Your branch manager may exclaim to his co-workers: "Holy cow! This lieutenant asked to be assigned to Umatilla Army Depot!"

Reader Vlad mentioned: "If you and your family have bicycles, you may wish to buy airfree tires. I've used them for six years and now would use [traditional] pneumatics only in extremis.

  o o o

The Financial Post reports on those wacky Gold Bears.

   o o o

I suppose that it was inevitable that the recently announced cancellation of the Jericho television series would inspire a petition drive. They gathered 27,000 electronic signatures in just the first day!

   o o o

The Housing Tipping Point. 3 Factors That Will Burst the Bubble: The Negative Wealth Effect, Negative Press, and Suffocating Debt Payments.


"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world? You are." - Ayn Rand

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction is at $150. This auction is for a mixed book lot that includes 15 books: 12 non-fiction survival and preparedness books that were kindly donated by the fine folks at Ready Made Resources plus three of my autographed books: SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1 , Rawles on Retreats and Relocation , and a copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" I'll put a full list of the books up on the benefit auction web page on Thursday evening. This book package has a retail value of around $350. The auction ends on June 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

For those of you that have been waiting: My order fulfillment service has received another case of 10 copies of The Encyclopedia of Country Living by the late Carla Emery. I sell these for $27 each (or as little as $25 each, if bought in quantity.). I offer free postage on any order over $50. See ordering details in my mail order catalog web page.

Thanks for your efforts and the structure of your blog. I appreciate the lack of flaming and demeaning commentary. Wanted to get more input on this subject " Hiding retreat versus open fields of fire/visibility". We are leaning towards camouflaging, as much as possible views of our home from the road. However, this conflicts with my Army provided training, where on fire bases, we have open fields of fire and high visibility. I believe we need a compromise. As a less than visible retreat will avoid [confrontation with those who are] the less observant. But open fields of fire/ visibility give us tactical advantage. I would like to see some discussion on this please. I am aware of some fast growing trees, very fast that can help with camouflage. Thanks so very much. - EG

JWR Replies: You've brought up one of the most frequently asked questions from my consulting clients. It is the classic contradiction: concealment versus defendabilty. The most defendable positions are on barren hilltops, but those are also the most visible from a distance.

Ideally, you could pick a retreat parcel that can provide both open fields of fire out to 50 or 60 yards yet not have a house visible from nearby roads. But of course this isn't always possible. So you have to ask yourself: What do I expect to happen in my region in the event of a socioeconomic collapse? Will there just be an increase in burglary, or out-and-out attacks/home invasions by large organized groups of looters?

In my estimation, light discipline will be more important than line of sight issues. I foresee that a post-TEOTWAWKI world will be very dark at night. Just a few weeks into the problem, even the houses owned by people that have backup generators will go dark, as they begin to run out fuel. If you have an alternative power system (PV, wind, micro-hydro) then don't flaunt it. It is essential that you put blackout curtains backed by black sheet plastic inside all of your windows. Be sure to check for light leaks, preferably using night vision goggles. Even heavy wool blankets and drapes tacked up inside your windows will leak light, but backing them with heavy black sheet plastic (not just black trash bags) does the trick. (Tape the sheet plastic in place over the windows, leaving no gap where the sheeting meets the window frame, using opaque duct tape.) Without proper blackout precautions, your house will be a "come loot me" beacon that can be seen for miles at night. But with proper light discipline, at least your house will look anonymously dark--like those of your neighbors, who have no power. Consider getting infrared (IR) floodlights to light the exterior of your house. They can be motion sensor activated. That way, unless your potential attackers have night vision gear, your house will appear dark, but your yard will actually be well-illuminated (as seen through your night vision goggles.)

If you can afford to buy a large parcel, I recommend a layered defense that is adaptable to changing circumstances. (All the way up to the dreaded "worst case" societal collapse.) The outer-most layer is where you should install your seismic intrusion detection sensors. This gives you early warning of approaching malefactors. Any access roads should also have a MURS frequency Dakota Alert (or similar) wireless IR beam motion detector. Then, depending on your situation you might want a screen of trees for concealment. Next, some open ground, then a tall chain link fence. Then more open ground close to your house and outbuildings. This area should be crisscrossed with tanglefoot wire. (Which I will describe later.) Lastly, thorny bushes beneath each window, and beefy steel shutters.

Even well-manned retreats should supplement their guard staff with both dogs and intrusion detection systems. Reliable night vision gear is also a must. But please note that technology by itself is insufficient. Intrusion detection, communications, and night vision technologies are force multipliers, but you still need underlying force. It takes 24/7 manpower to defend a retreat. I describe how to set up and man LP/OPs and a CQ desk in my novel. "Patriots"

Now, getting back to concealment: There are advantages in most situations in adding some "privacy screen" trees to block the view of your house from any regularly-traveled roads. Depending on the lay of the land, leaving 30 yards of open ground (for defense) and then another 10 yards of thickness for the privacy tree screen will probably necessitate a property that is at least 10 acres.

Some fast-growing screening tree varieties include Portuguese laurel (prunus lusitanica) and Leyland Cypress. In cold climates, Lombardy Poplars do well. Parenthetically, a continuous hedge of all the same tree variety will be perceived as an obvious man-made planting, at just a glance. So it is best to plant a mix of tree varieties with semi-random spacing, to make your screening grove look more natural.

Regardless of what you decide to do in terms of concealment, be sure to leave at least 20 yards (60 feet) of open ground for last-ditch "ballistic defense." To slow down intruders, think in terms of gates, cables, and "decorative" berms to stop vehicles. Install a chain link fence. This will keep your dog(s) in and at least slow down the bad guys. Remember the old military axiom: Any obstacle that is not under continuous observation and covered by [rifle] fire is not a true obstacle--it is just a brief delay to the advance of the enemy.

Keep some concertina wire or razor wire handy, but do not install it in pre-Schumer times. This wire should be installed only after it is clear that law and order has completely broken down. At that point appearances and pre-Crunch sensibilities won't be nearly as important as a ready defense. In fact, odds are that when your neighbors see you stringing concertina wire, they will ask if you have any extra that you can spare! You can install concertina wire or razor wire on the top of your fence, and if you have plenty of it available, some more staked-down horizontal rolls, just beyond your fence.

Both inside and outside of your "last ditch" fence, you can crisscross some tanglefoot wire (as described in my novel) This type of wire is designed to slow down attackers--preventing them from charging your house. It should be strung at random heights between 9 inches and 40 inches off the ground. This is just one of the last layers of a layered defense. Every second that your various obstacles slow attackers down represents one more second available to stop them ballistically.

All of the foregoing, of course assumes the unlikely worst case. But by being ready for the worst you can handle any lesser threats with ease.

I read with interest the comment that seed should be dried to 2% instead of 5%. In the PDF article that was referenced to support the 2% claim, the only research that was done was conducted on the small onion seed.

My effort to document this 2% value using the internet was not successful. The only other research data that I found on the internet recommends a moisture range of 6% to 13%, which is pretty close to the research values generated by Dr. James Harrington (the individual mentioned in my original article).

The research I found on the internet was conducted by the Oregon State University and it was based on a variety of grass seeds with comparisons to other seeds such as corn and soybeans (not just onions).

It might be helpful if the individual who indicated that the 5% value was incorrect could support the preferred 2% value with something other than a single research effort on one type of very small seed. I am always willing to update my knowledge base and I would be very pleased to see any additional research that supports this 2% value. I personally do not have any research experience with the precision drying of seeds and my information is therefore second hand. However, the information I have seen suggests that larger seeds (corn, beans, etc.) may crack if the moisture content drops below 5% and the seed will be lost. The above referenced internet article quotes a higher value of 6%, which is even more conservative.

Any information your other source can provide about the 2% moisture content for seeds would be very much appreciated. Respectfully, - Grandpappy

I think this will be the greatest. two-legged physical threat we will face during a TEOTWAWKI situation. Not terrorists. Not UN troops. Not marauding bands of looters. Not even KKK members or Neo-Nazis. It will be Mercenaries. Mercenaries like the Blackwater USA security group hired by our government leaders as "security contractors" in Iraq. Mercenaries that are not held under Congressional or Military review, not held liable for their actions, and have no territorial or family ties like National Guard units. This YouTube clip, and this one [show who I'm talking about.]

Read about the Thirty Years' War in Europe. Unemployed mercenaries roamed the countryside, killing, plundering, burning. The local armies were too weak too stop them--After all, that's why they were hired to fight in the first place! Once they were let loose, they could not be reined in. I strongly believe the mercenary contractors our government hired with our tax dollars will become a Frankenstein someday that will turn on it's own creator. A personal Praetorian guard answerable only to the highest bidder. - Ron S.

In reference to my recent mention of the recently-introduced Arctic Cat diesel ATVs, reader Keith in Texas reminded me that several other makers also produce diesel engine "Utility/Side By Side" ATVs. These include Bobcat (the Toolcat 5600 B-Series), Club Car (the XRT 1500), Kubota (the RTV 900) and John Deere (the Gator HPX 4X4). Many of these models have hydraulic-powered attachments which can add to their versatility. And it is noteworthy that the Kubota three cylinder diesel engine used in several of these models is known for its reliability.

  o o o

Any readers that own a Saiga (AK) 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun may find this product of interest: The Wraithmaker 19+1 shell drum magazine. The Saiga shotgun itself retails for around $499, so at $319, this accessory isn't cheap. (As The Memsahib is fond of saying, "Life is cheap, but the accessories will kill you.") I suppose that if you can afford to buy one of these, you should buy it before they are banned. A hat tip to Ted H. for sending us the web link. I sent a query to the maker to ask a couple of technical questions, and to ask about availability. They replied: "We don't recommend storing the drums loaded. The drum is loaded while out of the weapon. We made the drum open, so you can load it with tension off the spring . We can fully load the drum fully in about thirty or forty seconds. The drum [prototypes] have be tested with over 3,000 rounds of different types and has preformed excellently. It is high quality and we know that all who purchase this drum will love it. We also will be offering a dust cover as well as other items for the Saiga on The Wraithmaker web site in the near future. We will be shipping out the first order by the second week of June [of 2007]. We will be doing a live fire demonstration in southern Indiana, near Evansville, by invitation."

   o o o

Want to help support SurvivalBlog? If you buy any goods through eBay, please use this link: Since we have an affiliate advertising relationship with eBay, we earn a small commission each time you make an eBay purchase through this link. If you have eBay bookmarked in you "favorites" list, then please update the bookmark properties to have this URL: (Not just "" Otherwise we won't get the commission.)

   o o o

CBS cancels `Jericho' television series. Bummer. It isn't a great show, but its the only vaguely survival-oriented show on television. Oh well, this isn't as bad as the Firefly cancellation.

"To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts form the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on the freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than words and to stand outside the totalitarian reach and speech." - Jeff Snyder

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today we welcome our latest affiliate advertiser: Life Gear. They sell a nifty pre-packaged three day kit in a backpack, lanterns, flashlights, and much more.Please give your patronage to our paid banner advertisers first. If they don't have exactly what you are looking for, then consider our Affiliate Advertisers. When you shop with our affiliates via our links, we get a little piece of the action to help support SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

Congrats to Chris D., the high bidder in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction that ended last night. (The auction was for a pre-1899 Mauser rifle.) A new auction begins today. This one is for a mixed book lot that includes 15 books: 12 non-fiction survival and preparedness books that were kindly donated by the fine folks at Ready Made Resources plus three of my autographed books: SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1 , Rawles on Retreats and Relocation , and a copy of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" I'll put a full list of the books up on the benefit auction web page sometime in the next two days. The opening bid is just $50. This book package has a retail value of around $350. The auction ends on June 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

[I recommend an article on seed storage available in PDF. Here is a brief summary:] "Storing seeds by immersion in CALGLY is a simple and cost-effective method for enhancing medium- or long-term longevity of orthodox seeds at ambient temperature." CALGLY is easily made from readily-available chemicals - Calcium Chloride and Glycerol. The article gives instructions on how to prepare it.
Also, note that this study shows that 2 percent moisture content is the optimum for seed viability. (The article by "Grandpappy" on May 11 [incorrectly] stated that below 5% will kill the seed.) Regards, - Stephen M.

This is an unusual bike engine that uses standard gasoline (no oil mixing!) and delivers something in the neighborhood of 250 MPG, with a top speed of about 25 MPH. It might be just the thing to turn one's emergency bike into a viable vehicle, despite hills to climb. Although the tank will only hold about 23 miles worth of fuel, it'd be a simple matter to carry extra fuel to get one 50-to-100 miles. While probably not the perfect way to "bug out", it'd be nice to have motors like this on hand, "just in case". - Hawaiian K.

Mr. Rawles,
I am a new reader of your blog. One of my co-workers recently told me about it and I am hooked. I never knew there was such a large gathering of like minded people. The reason for this e-mail is to ask about gunsmithing courses. Being new to your site I may not be looking in the right direction. If this is a subject that has not been covered can you or any of your readers recommend an online or correspondence course? Thank you. - Randy G.

JWR Replies: I have not yet covered this topic, so here is my input on gunsmithing training opportunities in the U.S.: Gunsmithing is indeed a valuable skill and highly recommended as either a primary or secondary source of income. Assuming that you are looking at gunsmithing as an "at home" business and you want that business to be recession proof or even depression proof, I suggest that you develop a non-decorative specialty. (Not engraving, stock carving, or bolt jeweling,.) America already has plenty of engravers. To be fully employed both before and after TSHTF, you should consider specialties like semi-auto rifle repair/customizing, or combat handgun repair/customizing.

Full length courses are available from a number of colleges including Lassen Community College (Susanville, CA), Montgomery Community College (Troy, NC), Murray State College (Tishomingo, OK), Trinidad State Junior College (Trinidad, CO), and Yavapi College (Prescott, AZ).

Some very useful instructional videos/DVDs are available from AGI. Correspondence courses are available from Modern Gun School. But I have heard that they are no substitute for hands-on instruction. The NRA offers some excellent short term hands-on courses. Also take advantage of the relatively low cost armorer's courses offered by gun makers like Springfield Armory, Colt, SIG and Glock.(For some of these you have to be a FFL dealer and already stocking their brand, or be associated with a police department that has that brand of gun as their issue weapon. One way to do that is to become a reserve police officer, and get involved as a police department armorer.)

You might also ask about apprenticing with a local gunsmith. Or if you are quite serious about gunsmithing as a life-long career, be willing to relocate to apprentice under a master gunsmith in the specialty of your choice. The best ones will want to train only someone that has a few years of basic gunsmithing experience, proven aptitude, and a real burning desire to excel at gunsmithing.

I don't generally recommend military training as an armorer. The U.S. Army formerly had a separate "armorer" specialty, but that is now part of the 92Y (Unit Supply Specialist) military occupational specialty (MOS). Sadly, there is not much a gunsmithing "craft": taught to 92Ys anymore--no offense, but in essence they've been reduced to just parts orderers and parts changers. For anyone that is already in the Army (active duty, reserve, or National Guard) there is a CD training set available from Tobyhanna Army Depot for the small arms portions of the 92Y advanced individual training (AIT) course. The applicable CDs are: CD 101-75 through 101-84. It might be useful to pick up 92Y as a secondary MOS.

As a starting point, I recommend that you start assembling your own gunsmithing library. For example, get every gun assembly/disassembly manual (such as the J.B. Wood's multi-volume series) that you can lay your hands on. Used copies are often available at low prices through eBay or I also recommend that you get a set of Jerry Kuhnhausen's "Shop Manual" gunsmithing books. They are excellent.

You will of course also need to start assembling a set of gunsmithing tools. One of the best sources for tools is Brownell's. The rudimentary basics to start gunsmithing would be: a full set of good quality hollow ground screwdrivers (I especially like the Chapman's brand sets), a set of pin punches, a brass/plastic head hammer, wire cutters, a set of Swiss pattern files, a set of larger files of various profiles, a set of stones, some cold bluing solution, a roll pin assortment, and some coil spring stock.

Hi Jim:
Well a momentous time is upon me. After long conversations and deliberations, my dear wife has herself brought up the idea of relocating to Idaho. We're planning a trip up to check things out. Wondering if you have any recommendations for areas to see, like the sub-20,000 population town with mixed economies. I've just started my information gathering and was hoping to get input from you on good areas to consider housing in. - Eric

JWR Replies: I wish you the best on your upcoming move. First, my congratulations! You represent one of the less than 5% of SurvivalBlog readers that actually make a move across state lines based on their preparedness convictions. (Most remain "stuck" where they are, even though they know better.) If northern Idaho, northwestern Montana, or northeastern Washington interest you, then I recommend that you contact Todd Savage. He is a real estate agent that specializes in retreat properties. His office is in Sandpoint, Idaho. I've mentioned him a couple of times in SurvivalBlog.

Idaho is still my top-ranked state for retreat potential. If you like agricultural areas, then I recommend the Selle Valley. If you like semi-remote areas, then I recommend the Rapid Lightning Creek and Lower Pack River Valley areas. If you like really remote areas, then I recommend the Upper Pack River Valley and the Moyie River Valley, or just across the state line on the Yaak River valley. (In northwestern Montana.) If you like "in town" retreating, then I recommend both the Bonner's Ferry area and the Clark Fork area. For additional detailed recommendations in other parts of Idaho, see my book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.

Countrytek mentioned: More mass fish kills, in the upper Midwestern states. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia is blamed.

  o o o

KT sent us a link to video from Taurus, hyping their "Judge" .45 Colt/.410 shotshell revolver. This revolver might sense for folks in bear country. And bear country is also often grouse or ptarmigan country. So this whompin' big revolver might be practical in several ways. I certainly wouldn't want to make it my primary self-defense handgun (versus two-legged predators), but it does offer some interesting possibilities. As for the Taurus marketeer's suggestion of using The Judge as a counter-carjacking tool, I have some reservations. The Judge is a huge revolver, and therefore it isn't concealable. So that would necessitate a CCW permit holder packing a smaller gun on their belt, and "The Judge" in their vehicle. That opens up the liability and potential theft issues of leaving a loaded revolver unattended in a parked car. I'd much rather spend $800 on training and ammo, rather than on an additional gun--in an additional caliber--that would only be marginally more effective than a .45 auto. (The factory loadings for .45 Colt are mild, but it can be beefed up considerably if you handload.) That is just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. (YMMV.) I should also mention that gun writer Jeff Quinn of field tested The Judge. He suggested that it might be a good choice for folks that live in areas that are heavily infested with poisonous snakes, since you could presumably load the first one or two chambers of the cylinder with #7 bird shot .410 shells

   o o o

By way of reader RBS: Contingencies for nuclear terrorist attack: Government working up plan to prevent chaos in wake of bombing of major city

"All we have to do now is to inform the public that the payment of social security taxes is voluntary and watch the mass exodus". - Dr. Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, January 24, 1996.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mr Rawles-
I've been a reader of your blog for maybe the last nine months or so and I know I need to stop reading and get to doing something. So I was wondering if you could advise me on where I should start my preparations.
I'm a city boy so I don't have many of the skills that I think would be useful in a TEOTWAWKI situation. I don't know how to shoot or farm or fix a diesel engine. While I could start buying equipment in order to be prepared, I think that the first thing I should do is learn skills that will help me stay alive if things start going bad. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help and keep up the good work. - Mike

JWR Replies: Getting started can seem overwhelming. Just make the conscious decision to get prepared, and set aside some time to work at it a little every other day, and of course set a corresponding budget. You are correct that training is just as important as logistics. Also don't overlook physical fitness, which costs essentially nothing. (Push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and running take little or no specialized equipment.) Some low cost training resources were detailed in a recent SurvivalBlog post, with some useful links.

On to logistics: As I describe in my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, you should start by making a "list of lists." Next, draft prioritized lists for each subject, on separate sheets of paper. (Or in a spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me.) Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography, climate, and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different food storage and preparation list than someone living in the Rockies. Your "List of Lists" should include:
Water List
Food Storage List
Food Preparation List
Personal List
First Aid /Minor Surgery List
Nuke Defense List
Biological Warfare Defense List
Gardening List
Hygiene List/Sanitation List
Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List
Power/Lighting/Batteries List
Fuels List
Firefighting List
Tactical Living List
Communications/Monitoring List
Tools List
Sundries List
Survival Bookshelf List
Barter and Charity List

Consider your preparations a form of insurance. But it is much better that traditional life insurance, where if you die, they pay. Lord willing, this type of insurance will keep you and your family alive and well.

Don't dawdle. Even modest preparations will put you miles ahead of your unprepared neighbors. Stock up gradually and consistently. Take you training seriously. Once acquired, share your skills with others. Network with like minded relatives, neighbors, and friends. But of course be circumspect about what you reveal about your preparations to anyone that doesn't have a need to know.

Hello Mr. Rawles,
First, let me preface by saying I am not anyone in the movie industry nor am I anyone in the publishing field. I am simply a citizen who happened upon your movie script - "Pulling Through" - and wanted to give you some feedback on what I thought of it. That said, I read it the other day and was totally hooked from the first scene onward. You began it with such an urgency, that to me, it was like the old Lay's potato chip motto of "ya can't eat just one". What I mean by that is, one cannot stop reading from scene to scene. It has such a dynamic to it that it pulls in the reader from the very first scene. I read it straight through, except for the occasional interruptions [here] of the phone, kids questions, etc.

The characters are very well thought out. They each had a "quality" and "expertise" that helped build the storyline. Roland & Jennifer's growing "relationship" made it a story of not only love and romance, but one of survival and urgency to get back together. And the "trek" that Roland had to make (on foot part way) from California to Idaho was a harrowing experience indeed!

I am a believer that your storyline will actually come true one day and be a true life experience for citizens of our country in the very near future. I have also been conscious of the NWO since the early 1980s. I also have been an avid sportsman (hunter, fisherman, target shooter) since the 1970s and have been aware of the anti-gun "grabbers" (like Brady, Schumer, Kennedy, Feinstein, etc.)
for over two decades now. They are all making great headway with their firearms removal "agenda", to put it politely. Our country is at a precipice (IMHO) and is about to go over the edge of the cliff with respect to totalitarianism/tyranny/dictatorship. By your story, I think you would agree to that. As the old saying goes: "Those that do not learn from history are destined to repeat it!" Sorry, I digress.

Your story, when someone decides to place it up on the silver screen, will be an excellent movie for many a patriot to see. I only have one negative comment about it though. The ending. It was almost
"anti-climactic" in the abrupt way it was closed. While I was delighted that Roland and Jennifer made it down the aisle of matrimony, I was curious as to what happened to the others in the story. Where did they go? What did they do as individuals in the aftermath of the financial system collapse? How did they cope? I must admit, I was a bit "let down" at your ending. I got there and said to myself; "What? That's it?" The story was just getting good (IMO) and then bam, it was over. It left me with a feeling of needing just a bit more for it to be (IMO) a better finale!

Do I have any thoughts as to what that better "finale" might be? Nothing more then I already mentioned above. What did everyone do after the "[barter] 'faire" & wedding? Was there more societal chaos? Did everyone come to grips with what happened and attempt to make a better form of government and monetary system? Were we re-established as a "republic" form of government? Was the "new" government and financial system better than the old one? I think a bit more "vision" and "imagination" on the part of the author would have been welcomed by viewers.

Well, sir, that's about all I have to say. I liked it a lot. I feel privileged to be able to read your script. Thanks a lot for the treat. I cannot wait to see it in the theaters. Kindest Regards & good luck selling it, - P.L., Modesto, California

JWR Replies: Thank you for your kind comments. The reason that the screenplay storyline has some unresolved elements is because I loosely based it on just the first half of my novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse". My intent is to eventually write the script for a sequel film, which shows the latter invasion/resistance warfare/constitutional restoration part of the story. Since you like the screenplay, I think that you will you also enjoy reading my novel. BTW, the "Pulling Through" screenplay is available for free download for anyone interested in reading it. I also sell hard copies of the screenplay at just $1 over my cost, through Cafe Press, with the goal of getting the screenplay into the hands of movie producers.

Hello Jim,
I'd like to chime in with my experience on [sealing ammunition primers--a topic raised by Teddy Jacobson.] If you're looking for a sure fire way to protect your ammo under the worst possible conditions, you can't do better than George and Roy's Primer Sealant. The sealant is nitrocellulose based (the same as military and commercial ammo makers use), rather than lacquer based.

I was a distributor of the sealant for a number of years and part of our sales pitch was that if you sealed your bullets with George and Roy's, you could throw the ammo in a bucket of water for a week and it would emerge unscathed. Well, a customer was the range officer at a Florida police department. He sealed 50 rounds with the product, then dumped them into a bucket full of WD-40 and left them there for a week. When he later tested them, he had 100% go bang. It doesn't get any better than that. Regards, - Hawgtax

The U.S. recession is here: Wal-Mart posts worst sales ever as US retail figures slump

  o o o

Hawaiian K sent us this web link with more on CCD: One beekeeper claims that using smaller comb foundations shows success in fighting Varroa and Tracheal mite infestations.

   o o o

KT found us this article: Council on Foreign Relations on U.S. Dollar: “An Absurdity… Supported Only by Faith”

   o o o

Rob at $49 MURS Radios told us that he has created a page detailing how to use an external antenna to increase the range of both MURS radios and his new $79 VHF Portables. This information can also be used for any other type of MURS or VHF radios.

"Freedom is strangely ephemeral. It is something like breathing; one only becomes acutely aware of its importance when one is choking." - William E. Simon, Secretary of the Treasury (Nixon and Ford administrations) A Time for Truth, 1978

Monday, May 14, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction is still at $575. This auction is for a scarce pre-1899 Mauser that was arsenal converted to 7.62mm NATO. (It was converted by the Chilean national arsenal, using original Mauser tooling.) The auction ends at midnight EST tomorrow (Tuesday, May 15th.) Just e-mail me your bid. Thank

We begin today's posts with the second round of results from our current poll.

Here is the second round of responses to this question: Those who are well educated enough to see a societal collapse of some sort or another in the making fall into two groups, the merrymakers and the preparers. The merrymakers don't see life worth living post-SHTF, so they live it up now. We on SurvivalBlog are the preparers and have chosen to survive, but why? Our children? To rebuild civilization? Because the collapse will only be temporary? Because we can and we're stubborn with a stronger than normal will to survive? The following is the second batch of responses. A few of the following poll responses exceeded the one paragraph limit, but they had substance so I decided to post them, regardless:

The survival seed was planted at when as a young boy I entered our Ohio basement "fruit cellar" and noticed the stock of canned goods, candles and other necessities. My mother explained that we might need the items if the "weather turned bad". We never did need those items in the 1950s but the idea stuck.

For my family [living] in Alaska, it just makes sense to provide yourself with comfort items should the SHTF. We have a self sufficient setup which is accented by a complete, mobile camping outfit and further enhanced with ultralight backpacking gear. We are experienced in the use of this gear.

Silly as it may sound, if hard times come we do not want to be inconvenienced. That is the simple answer. And that includes begging others for help and standing in line to ask that the government do something.

Most important, we have incorporated preparedness into a normal enjoyable lifestyle. And it just plain feels right.


Life is tough. Challenges abound. Success is a drug that there is no anti-dote, only garbage that clouds the “vision” to succeed.
Why prepare? When reading the responses to this poll, I noticed a common reference to a “near term” disaster such as “Katrina”. This truly is a short term disaster. There is no reason that most of us can’t survive any short term disaster. Let’s look back to the late 1920s and early 1930s, or better yet, back to the original settler’s challenges, those were Longer term, affecting several generations. Why do we make reference to the near term problems rather than the historic obstacles? I think it is a protective mechanism that allows us to relate to “recent history” rather than “necessary history”. Imagining a multi-generational collapse I admit is not in my thinking, (to protect my fragile mind). But the labors of my grandparents and their grandparents are not to trivial to be memorialized. History repeats itself.
In the late twenties, a vast percentage of the population was “semi-self sufficient” and lived in the rural area’s trading with neighbors for the items needed that they did not produce themselves. Fast forward 80 years and a scary few minorities produce the knowledge to be productive and have the land to do so. Our forefathers could plan and survive even though difficult at times, they did it. How will we as city dwellers with no productive skills for the basics survive a similar economic tragedy? History repeats itself.
If more of us do not prepare, the likelihood of reverting back to the wagon train era is inevitable. If we can do more now, it is prudent to the survival of this great nation. This Nation is deserving of all of our love, and the things that we don’t agree with can be politely demonstrated against, or we can use the power we wield by voting for change. History repeats itself.
This country feeds the world, yet we squander it away in the pursuit of riches by greed. What a disappointment to our forefathers to have what others want, move it at all costs to further one’s pocket book, and not hold enough back to help our family and friends. If everyone in this nation had a year’s supply of food, then the vulnerability of this nation would greatly lessen, (see the history of the noose that was placed around Russia and the tens of millions that perished because of such starvation) After a “collapse”, our productivity would be multi-generational leaps rather than microscopic advance, if in fact we had the basics squared away. To get this great country back on her feet, we need to first, take care of our needs so if the tragedy of life happens, our focus can be productive, focused, and our return to glory inevitable. History repeats itself.
Am I am optimist? Am I a pessimist? Am I aware of how things really are so delicate? Do I love the country I live in enough to help bring her to her feet?
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem,…. An old saying is: “…problems always work themselves out…” I don’t want to be “worked out”, I want to help re-build, and not stress in the basic needs of my family and friends, I want what I have now, the ability to do much, and hopefully be surrounded by like minded friends no matter what the economic situation of this country is. I love this country, I love my family, I love the teachings of history even though history repeats itself. I love what I have learned, and pray for what I have not. God Bless the USA.


It occurs to me as I read the responses to this question that while I share most of the reasons I am reading, including it is kind of fun, I also fear that I have within myself the capacity to do great evil if the need to provide for my family in times of trouble comes and I am not prepared. In fact this is one of the questions I ask people whom I approach when they tell me something vague about being okay. I ask them if they will really be able to sit by and watch as their children starve? I get interesting looks and statements.

I first became interested in the whole survivalist concept as an ER doctor, early in my career in the late 80's. What I saw is that the government cannot help people prevent problems, it only "cleans up" and tallies data. The police are the best examples of this (call the police when a burglar enters your home and they will gladly come and take a picture of your dead body). Although I had hunted since childhood, I only became interested in concealed carry, etc., after seeing case after case in the ER where people died or were maimed, while hoping/waiting for the cops to come. The cops did come, but always after the bad guys had done their deed. So much for that.
Over the past decade, my lack of faith in government "Helping" has grown more pervasive (in part due to working as a DOD doctor during Desert Storm I) and now focuses on Peak Oil (about which the government will never inform you in any truthful way until its too late) and the US Dollar (which the government and its goons (e.g. Kudlow et al on CNBC) say is just fine, along with the economy as a whole). There will be no functional oil by 2030, and by 2015 (that's just 8 years away), we'll see $10 per gallon at the tank, if we're luck and if China/India do not grow any faster than they already are.
All h*ll will have broken lose by then, as nearly everything we use comes from oil or is related to it (think antibiotics, clothing, food, not to mention our incessant "happy motoring" to go to work and take kids to/from school and other activities). We will not be able to depend upon transport of veggies from 1000's of miles away and may have trouble even getting water, depending upon where you get yours, just for starters. The sheeple, as another writer on this forum pointed out, will become wolves. The goal is to be a better prepared wolf, with stores of food, medicines, farming and mechanical equipment, guns and ammo.
Oh yes, the US Dollar (USD); it has dropped about 30% in the past three years. Yes 30%! China has announced that it will diversify out of the USD, as has most of OPEC, Russia, et al. Only Saudi and Japan continue to support the $USD for oil scheme, and that won't last much longer. When the USD drops below 80 on the USD index, that's it; we'll see 30 or 40 within a year or so, and that will be a 50%+ devaluation from present levels. If you look at every country in the world that has had its currency devalued (always, BTW a sure result of over use of the printing press), social degeneration has followed. Ordinarily, governments become totalitarian when that happens, but I suspect that the Peak Oil situation will prevent our government from doing anything but jawboning. Cops won't be able to enforce anything at $10/gallon gas.
Peak Oil + USD devaluation = total social/economic breakdown. And, BTW, I agree with other writers who have pointed out that its "pie in the sky" to think we'll "simply return to 1890 and live happily ever after." 1890 technology could not support a highly urbanized, work challenged and bloated population like ours. 10,000 BC is more likely, only with pockets of technology, and ammo, and a much smaller population. The only question left is when, not if, and when is likely within a decade.


Because no one with any sense of self respect likes being a loser.


Hi Jim,
My family prepares for bad times because it is inexcusable not to prepare. Bad things happen all the time - job loss, illness, accidents, etc., - as well as all of the possible natural and man-made
disasters that could occur. Preparation is insurance that your family will get through a rough time. Not preparing is a deficiency of character and neglectful to your spouse and kids. Being able to
survive more easily through bad times will greatly improve your physical and mental situation if it happens. In addition, you will be in better shape to help others should you need to. If nothing ever
happens in my lifetime I will be thankful and will enjoy having a bit less stress in my life because I did everything I could to keep my family safe and protected.


Beside the fact that I've read the last chapter in The Book (Revelation), there's peak oil & the coming die-off as petrochemical resources become scarce, population stresses, a government that seems hell-bent on totalitarianism of one flavor or the other (I keep praying that cooler heads will prevail, but the past couple decades' experience doesn't build much hope.), external political & economic turmoil, pollution, terrorism, a resurgent Russia, Chinese war drums, froggy dictators with nukes, a weakening dollar, the list goes on and on. The worst part is each one of these either feeds off or feeds into the others. I'm betting that my children & grandchildren will live in a much different world than the one I grew up in. My prayers are that it will be a better one -- but I also realize (and in some cases, I'm very thankful for the fact) that sometimes God says "No!" So, I prepare -- and I attempt to prepare my sons to live in a world that looks more like their Grandparents' world during the Great Depression than the one I grew up in. Keep a stiff upper lip & watch your Six!


First off, I love your novel "Patriots". Regarding the survey: We prepare because of the core morality we have: that we aren't victims and we don't want to depend upon the government for our welfare since that would make us slaves. I believe every other political view we hold comes out of this core belief, be it regarding the 1st and 2nd Amendments, welfare reform, public education, taxes, business regulation, Federal Reserve policy, etc.


As to your query about why planning and striving to survive. At first I paused and asked myself that same question...Why Survive? For what purpose? What will I do when/if I do,
and when will I know that I have "Survived". I guess that initially it came down to personal and immediate family survival. Our extended family is fairly large and we are, what I consider to be, relatively "close" as a family unit.
Although my immediate family considers me "alarmist" and "extreme" I have still been planning and stockpiling as best that I can (afford) for all of us when the SHTF. (Whether the next "emergency" is natural or man-made.) My personal survival is only to ensure the safety and well-being of my daughter and to stand as a resister/witness against the "Anti-Christ".

National survival (the sovereignty of our Constitutionally-based government) is doomed by the fact that the globalist cabal have already (over the last couple of centuries) put into place people, politico-financial-industrial networks and the military might to enforce their will, that resistance will be short lived and futile. Our best effort will be to resist honestly and honorably being witnesses against the evil that is closing its trap upon the unsuspecting mass of sheeple. Although, conceptually, I can understand their reasoning, I cannot in good conscience support their end result.

Survival, not just being a biological instinct, but in humans - a choice, we are presented with not only mere physical requirements and consequences, but also moral and ethical repercussions as a result of our choices. The faculty of conscience, whether intact or corrupted, is a characteristic of God imbued into mankind to act as a "moral compass" to influence and guide one's actions. Our mind's/personality/character's (the soul's) decisions and consequent actions are the basis upon which we shall be judged. So survival is not just a matter of how we achieved it, but also how well we achieved it.

Survival isn't just to get by, but to be able to provide the basis by which our "way" of living (hopefully by the freedoms outlined in our Constitution) continues into (at least) the next generation. We must do as much as we can and as long as we are able. My personal "religious"/"reality" views are that we all will "survive"; (continue on as beings) and that our further existence will be far greater than that which we experience now.


I prepare because I am responsible for my family. I also realize that even if our government is able to respond, they will not be able to do so immediately. Just look at the response times for police and fire departments. Three to ten minutes is not unusual and that is when the phone system is working and there is no snow storm or other disaster such as [Hurricane] Katrina.


I will survive because I'm too mean to die. Survival is a choice. Many people choose to die rather than suffer the hardships that survival often requires. In the next 10-to-15 years, the world population will almost certainly decrease by 3-5 billion people for various reasons (mainly famine related to Peak Oil). I plan to be one of the people who live. I don't have much interest in religion, and I have no interest in leadership. People want to be sheep: let them follow someone else to their doom. I will do what is necessary to survive and hopefully enjoy the process as much as possible while I quietly duck away from trouble others feel compelled to fight head on (and die in place). If you die for a cause, you have failed at survival. Always remember that.


Because when I first heard the story of "The Three Little Pigs" I got it. Make you house strong so the wolf can't blow it down. Do it right from the beginning and the wolves wont get you. I have had a Survivalist mentality since as early as I can remember. I think people have to be blind and deaf to all around them not to catch on to the obvious, our lifestyle in America is not stable. And no culture/society has ever been stable. All the great ancient cities failed, USA is no different. 1 year or 1,000, USA will end. I am 30 years old and have seen many Third World countries. I do not want to end up like that! I wish I could get everyone to see what the real world is like and what we stand to lose. Incidentally, my wife is from one of those Third World countries. So in the end, a hand dug well, no toilet paper and a dead 42 inch plasma TV suits us just fine because we know we can take care of ourselves. Being a Survivalist is the closest thing to being stable, a Survivalist community is the closest thing to a stable society.


I was in the Coast Guard during Hurricane Hugo and I saw how few people were prepared, it made a huge impact on me. People were driving one hour for ice! I also know that is my God given responsibility. Reading your book only reinforced these thoughts. Thanks for all you do to wake up the sheeple.


In response to why I am planning to survive. Is there any other rational choice? I am preparing from a personal sense of mortality. Selfish as it is it is my survival and hat of my immediate downline that I am concerned about.
Being the victim of a massive Stroke several years ago that left me partially paralyzed on my left side, and disabled from my corporate America job. My earning capacity went from $100K per year to less than $36K, in a stroke, yes pun intended. With more time on my hands I see many many ways to do things differently. Our nation is an anchor to world events and I see that we are on a downward spiral. We feel that we as Americans have in our scant 250 years of existence gained the knowledge and expertise to control the whole world, by debt. I see the collapse coming, and am in survival mode right now as to go from $100K per year to less than $36K per year requires retooling. I think that much more retooling will be required in several years when we mostly all go from Dollars to Skills and actual work. The one who owns a shovel can get some one to operate it for him, If you don’t own the shovel, then you will be the one shoveling for me! Shovel long enough and I will let you shovel it a while for yourself.. That is the way it is supposed to work.Real work for real value. This is the legacy I am intending to leave for my kids.


Because the prophets have said to. Because [LDS] President Gordon B. Hinkley and the 12 have said to. Because I know it is the right thing to do. Because the Spirit tells me it is the right thing to do. To protect my family and loved ones from the storms that will rage and be poured out without measure. And because I want myself, my family, and others to hopefully make it through all the tribulations in order to see the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior!


Like one of the previous writers – I grew up in the 1950s when Nuclear Was and bomb shelters were the norm. My dad made sure we prepared ourselves for survival back then and I took over that responsibility after he died in 1967, as the sole surviving son in our family. It was ingrained in me and taught as a responsibility – and it’s one that I take seriously. I am now an ordained minister and believe that God has called us to prepare ourselves spiritually, mentally, and physically for whatever comes our way in the future.

As I prepare my family for TEOTWAWKI or whatever else may come, I am also preparing to share with others in need. As I buy, make, grow or otherwise acquire I put aside extra for charity and barter. I hope each and every survivalist, preparer, and/or provider will do the same. Preparing to survive is not just so we can live while others suffer or die; it is a duty and responsibility we have been called to by our Creator. And, besides, it’s so much fun!


I choose to prepare so my children will have a chance to live a full life. By "full life" I do not mean a materialistic, consumption driven competition to amass "more". I do not wish to ever have to look at them and say there is no more food, I do not wish their lives cut short because I chose not to prepare for what I know is coming. Many may think I am "strange", but ever since I was a child I have always been drawn to acquiring knowledge of natural food sources, survival skills, etc, and I have always known a time would come when you can't just go to the grocery store when you need something. I believe things will get very bad, I don't know for how long, I also believe that "we" shall emerge at the end of that time, (after what I'm sure will be an enormous "die-off"), and begin to put together a new society. I prepare so that my children will have the chance to make it through the worst times, become self sufficient, strong, and capable of building a new future for themselves.


There are a myriad of reasons why my family prepares, and most of them have been mentioned (Religious leaders instruction, Boy Scout motto, seeing the writing on the wall, American self-reliance) and all of them have a great deal of merit. Although I don't think any of us can totally prepare for TEOTWAWKI there is a great deal we can do to prepare for the end of electricity/oil/food/water as we know it.

I have few axioms that I live by that have served me well.
* If you are not prepared to care for yourself, be prepared to rely on the generosity of others.
* I would rather have it and not need it. Than need it and not have it.
* You can never have too many knives or flashlights.
* Preparation is cheap insurance.
I love your site and have derived a great deal of information from it that I pass on to others. Thank you for all of your hard work that you share with others.

I guess many reasons, most likely though it was triggered when I was going through a hard time in 1998 and Y2K was coming. It just got me to thinking more about the future then the present. Then I happened to come upon "Patriots" and it started to motivate me to do more, then 9/11 hit and Like everyone else I got a bit excited and started doing all sorts of things for prepping. There are many other reasons too but those were my first ones. Namely now I do all I can to get my mom and myself ready, mainly for a Bugout as we cannot survive in the urban place were at. I also have taken up a bit of time with posting flyers with a small 3 day kits explained and priced, by just going down to the local Dollar store. Lastly, I want to die from old age not starvation or an injury or by [be killed by] a nut, post-SHTF.


Back when I first heard of survivalism, my first reaction was not "They must be crazy!" like most of my fellow liberals, but "That's a good idea." I realized that prepared people are our nation's life insurance: if America falls apart, the survivors will revive it. I still had faith in the government, but I admired independent people. After the Oklahoma City bombing, I realized that if the government can't even protect its own workers from a single man, it'll never be able to save us in a true disaster; I had to prepare for disaster myself. When I learned that McVeigh was a survivalist, I saw that thinking "the survivalists, whoever they are, will rebuild after I die in the collapse " was as naive as thinking "the government, wherever it is, won't let anything bad happen." Our nation is only as good as the people in it. If some evil people will survive a collapse, then I have to make sure that the good people who survive will outnumber them. I prepare because I want to be one of the good survivors. It's my God-given duty to be a part of this great nation, and if America breaks down it will be my duty to rebuild it as an even better nation.


Our founding fathers created this great Republic to be a beacon of hope for humanity. Every day that we exist we prove their point that when government is small people are big – then miracles happen.

When you see the rain coming, you take an umbrella. When it rains, you open it. How can I not prepare to survive with so many storm clouds clearly visible: economic maladjustment, hedonistic society, government growth into incompetency, and imminent crop failure, both in the US and abroad? Sticking my head in the sand is a death warrant. Period. Maybe not all of the storms will hit but all have the potential to be nasty...very nasty. I have a chance with a plan and some extra supplies. Without a plan, I would wander aimlessly or panic, becoming easy pickings for the predators that will certainly arise. With a plan I have fortitude of spirit and the knowledge that most of those I interact with in troubling times will not have a plan, leaving me with an advantage. Maybe a slim advantage, but that may be all I need to come out alive. I pity the countless souls that will come to a sad end because they didn't or wouldn't pay attention to the gathering storm clouds.

Through a minor power disruption event, I made some discoveries that I thought I would share. A laptop computer can be run by an inverter of proper size. A laptop can be powered by a jump pack with a 12 VDC power port. The jump box can be recharged by a hand crank 12 VDC generator. We were able to continue e-mail and business communications, since the wireless towers are generator backup powered. This is good to know in local or short term disasters. - JG

JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning that topic. In my experience, running a laptop (and/or charging a cell phone) from a 12VDC "car adapter" (DC-to-DC adapter) plugged into your jump pack is far more efficient than using an AC inverter and then a DC "power cube" transformer. That way you are just changing one DC voltage to another DC voltage--instead of a DC-to-AC-and-transformed-back-to-DC proposition. (Which is very inefficient.)

To keep your "jump pack" charged, a hand crank generator does indeed work--even one McGyvered from an electric drill motor. But I've found that is labor intensive and time consuming. I'm more of a fan of photovoltaic (PV) power panels, such as the small panels available from Northern Tool & Equipment--one of our Affiliate Advertisers. At Northern Tool's web site, search on Item # 339973. OBTW, jump pack variants are available with either110 VAC (US/Canada) and 220 VAC (UK) utility power charging cords.

Mr. Rawles:
I just wanted tell let you know how much I have enjoyed your "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course. It was very informative and is going to really help my family get prepared for whatever may be in our future. I recently purchased the "SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog - Volume 1" and the Rawles on Retreats and Relocation book also and those were equally wonderful. The amount of information in your course was outstanding and has really jump started our family's preparedness program. The covering of "A years supply of everything" angle was a unique approach and personally something I've wanted to accomplish for several years now. With this course I see that it is very attainable and also not as difficult as one might expect. My wife has been supportive of my new found hobby and her interest only grew as a result of reading your excellent publications with me. Thanks and God Bless, - J.D. in PRK

Holly Deyo's analysis of the 2007 U.S. tornado season. It's already a bad year! Meanwhile, we read Kansas tornado disaster renews National Guard debate

  o o o

All states except six: Allstate Insurance to stop insuring California homes. Allstate has also stopped writing new homeowners policies in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and New Jersey as well as in eight coastal New York counties. Perhaps they should rename the company "MostStates".

   o o o

Commentary from Recombinomics: Qinghai H5N1 Evolution Revolution

   o o o

Terror Close to Home: In oil-rich Venezuela, a volatile leader befriends bad actors from the Mideast, Colombia, and Cuba

"Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning" (Leviticus 19:13)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 $2,000.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I might 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 for Round 10, which ends May 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

But first, here is my commentary on the U.S. Government's recent gold seizure:

The recent seizure of eGold's gold bullion holdings by the U.S. Government may have some more far-reaching unintended consequences. I predict that it might trigger some panic selling of holdings at the various "virtual" precious metals institutions. And it might even spill over to the fairly new gold and silver ETFs.

This situation also illustrates a key point that I often emphasize with my consulting clients: There is no substitute for personally holding your precious metals in tangible form. Don't trust any individual outside of your immediate family or any institution to hold your precious metals for you--not even in your bank safe deposit box. History has shown again and again that A.) people and institutions can't be trusted and B.) Governments get grabby when they perceive a monetary crisis in the offing. It makes no sense to grant special trust and confidence to a third party. Store your precious metals at home. Yes, I realize that home storage comes with its own set of risks. But at least the responsibility will be yours alone. And yes, I realize that home invasion robberies are on the increase. So there is now a very small statistical chance that you will someday be held at gunpoint and forced to "hand over" your valuables. For this reason I recommend that you leave a fraction of your precious metals in your home vault. Put all of the rest in a well-hidden, well-sealed waterproof wall, floor, or underground cache.

I really enjoy sitting down and watching movies. What the radio once was to us as Americans, I believe the DVD player has become to us now. On any night of the week, people are gathered together watching movies together.
That being said, The Usual Suspects is one of the most interesting movies around. I should warn you before I go further that it is not for the squeamish, or the easily offended. The subject matter is coarse, and the movie is unapologetically rough. However, there is one particular exchange that sticks with me to this day, and it’s been a while since I sat down with a bowl of popcorn and watched the movie. I’ll elaborate here without divulging any plot entanglements or vital parts of the movie, so if you want to see the movie, I’m not spoiling it for you. (That ticks me off when people do it to me, so I’ll lead by example and keep the suspense for you!)
Kevin Spacey is one of the characters, and he is telling a story about an extremely tough villain. The villain is somewhat of a mythical figure, and Spacey is telling of the man’s beginnings. In telling the story, some men have perpetrated a horrendous evil upon this villain, but the villain (I don’t even want to give up the name) has a chance to respond. Spacey looks at the person with whom he is speaking, and with a steely gaze, says, “These men realized that you didn’t need guns, or money, or more men. You only needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t do. That’s what they thought they were doing. But then XXXX showed those men of will what will really was.”
This story loses something in the retelling, so I would encourage you to rent the movie just for that story alone. The story itself gets me thinking about my life, and my preparations. Do I really have the will to follow through? To back up the words, the plans, the stacks and piles of stuff I have amassed?
It’s easy to be an armchair commando when times are prosperous. We can easily back up our plans with bravado. “Of course we’ll get through. Look at the plans I have made.” Or, “Don’t worry, I’ve got it all covered.”
We as fallen humans, regardless of our current state of justification (whether we know Jesus or not), or sanctification (how we are being made more like Jesus), all too often rely on the “stuff” of life as our assurance of survival. Jesus addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount, specifically Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (English Standard Version)
Jesus’ words remind us that we struggle with priorities. His admonition is not one of relying on things or will in a survival situation, but his warning is relevant. We do try to serve two masters and rely on earthly things to save us. The big question from Jesus’ teaching as it applies to this particular context is this: When it comes to our long-term viability and stability, in what do we place our faith? Are we preoccupied with our inventory lists, or are we mindful of our inventory and making the effort to insure that we can walk the walk that we’ve talked for so long?
I have posed this question to myself for far longer than I’ve been acquiring things. I’ve done this because I have not had the resources to equip properly. I take this to be a blessing, because God has provided for me the ability to live on little. Of course it is not the ideal scenario, and I’ve been equipping as I have been blessed with resources. But what I want to encourage in others is an ability to ask this hard question, because if the balloon goes up and you have high-tech equipment, a great piece of land, a never-ending water supply, but you are scared to go outside to work your land, what do you really have? I’ll tell you: You have a really well stocked retreat for the first band of ne’er do wells that comes down the pike.
In the course of my equipping process, I came across this maxim: In a crisis you will not rise to your expectations, you will fall to your level of training. It is one of the cold, hard realities of life. If you have cool toys, but no experience with them, are you realistically going to have the will to get involved in a protracted exchange of gunfire with a band of hooligans? I would put my money on the answer being, “No,” as you will not have the mental tools to overcome the natural adrenaline dump of a stressful combat scenario.
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not telling you to go our and scrap your FN-FAL and use an atlatl. Technology is a good thing, and we should avail ourselves of it whenever it is possible. What I am saying is do not neglect an area of your training that is far more important than the size of the dog in the fight, namely the size of the fight in the dog. You must have the will to do that which your opponent will not. That opponent could be a roving band of prisoners, or the collected fury of a neighborhood mob just looking for their next meal. The real point is that we as survival minded people must be aware of the struggle we face over our priorities, just as Jesus said.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24a)
Please, in your preparations, consider what you are doing. When you make that firearm purchase, know the things for which you are purchasing it. Take courses taught by experienced people. They will know how to properly equip you with the mental skills, the will to properly use your weapons. Similarly, when we find that sweet deal on an old wood stove, we must practice with using it, so it doesn’t collect dust until an emergency. We cannot be armchair commandos. We must cultivate the will to survive, to acquire knowledge and skills as well as neat toys.
We are buying tools, and we must have the mental ability to use those tools to the best of our abilities, both to bring glory to God (see the Westminster Confession of Faith, Question 1) as well as to properly provide for our families and those who have looked to us for assistance or leadership.
Ultimately, it is God’s will that will prevail over all of our plans, whether they are adequate, amazing, or sub-par. That is important to realize, because it puts our own preparations in their proper perspective, and will cause us to acquiesce to His plans. This is what true survival preparedness should look like. Trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

Good morning. The heightened awareness on SurvivalBlog surrounding sourcing pure drinking water, especially for the survival community, reminded me of information on this topic that I had wanted to send to your attention. There's a bit of self-interest here, as the company is owned by my father-in-law, but the short story is that his entity is on the cutting edge of fresh water production from air. That's right... he sells atmospheric water generators. Water Pure International is his company, it trades on the stock market under [the stock symbol] WPUR.OB (about $0.50 per share currently.)

The machines are similar to the water coolers that take the five gallon water bottles, with some huge differences. The atmospheric water generator condenses the water from the air, has a filtration cartridge that lasts a year (several come with the initial purchase, and you could order more separately if desired), also utilizes high intensity UV light to eliminate viruses and bacteria, constantly recirculates the water for freshness and has varying size reservoirs (up to nine gallons) for the water. If plugged into the grid (as opposed to solar) the machine uses little electricity and results in pure drinking water for as little as $0.08 cents a gallon. However, the company will shortly (if not already) be offering a version that is entirely solar powered - off the grid. While the initial outlay of funds is high to purchase the machine ($1,000 range), it's ability to produce off grid pure drinking water even in the desert (water vapor exists in the desert wind, but the reduced level may result in a longer period for the reservoir to fill), may put it near the top of some folks survival supply list. Please check out the FAQ on the web site. As always, my best to you and yours. - Bill H.

The Mogambo Guru speaks: Elements of the Dollar's Death Knell

  o o o

Signs of the times? Fish die offs in the American southwest and in Idaho.

   o o o

From financial commentator Darryl Schoon: Depression, not a Recession, expected.

   o o o

A hospital emergency room in Atlanta, Georgia: "We're at the Breaking Point."

"Inflation has now been institutionalized at a fairly constant 5% per year. This has been determined to be the optimum level for generating the most revenue without causing public alarm. A 5% devaluation applies, not only to the money earned this year, but to all that is left over from previous years. At the end of the first year, a dollar is worth 95 cents. At the end of the second year, the 95 cents is reduced again by 5%, leaving its worth at 90 cents, and so on. By the time a person has worked 20 years, the government will have confiscated 64% of every dollar he saved over those years. By the time he has worked 45 years, the hidden tax will be 90%. The government will take virtually everything a person saves over a lifetime". - G. Edward Griffin, historian and author of "The Creature From Jekyll Island"

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction is now at $575. This auction is for a scarce pre-1899 Mauser that was arsenal converted to 7.62mm NATO. (It was converted by the Chilean national arsenal, using original Mauser tooling.) The auction ends at midnight EST on Tuesday, May 15th. Just e-mail me your bid. Thanks!

As a veteran cop and blog subscriber, I read FerFAL's posting with interest. He makes solid points but forgets some basics about the response of “law enforcement” in a SHTF time. Additionally, US law enforcement is a different culture than say, Argentina.

What kind of peace officers a particular jurisdiction has is based upon where there are. Rural towns and regions usually have a more dedicated cop that will stick around when things go bad (ala your Iowa example in [your novel] "Patriots"). They live in the area and are often either born and/or raised there. Even when the pay falters and the supplies to operate go, they will often still be available to assist their locale. Switch to a more urbanized region or to a larger city. Imagine the NYPD: what happens when the pay stops and the fuels to drive the patrol cars goes away? Will the cops be there? Some yes, most no. When the pay stops (like any other industry), cops will move to other things. Since many cops come from the trades (construction, electrical, etc), military or other businesses, they will gravitate there. [The aftermath of Hurricane] Katrina and the various agencies are an excellent example of this: a sizeable portion of New Orleans, Louisiana cops took off, either out of shirking duty or simply to care for family members. Most stayed on and did both good and very bad. Now, contrast that with cops from Mississippi. Most, if not all stayed there, even when their stations were devastated and their equipment drowned. As soon as the weather passed, they remained there. In the case of Katrina, there was a light at the end of a short tunnel: the knowledge of the feds being there to back the locals. No so true when you see your governments in long term collapse.

Let’s go long term and the pay is gone. What will cops do when there is no pay or support structure? As previously mentioned, some will go back to what they did before that will earn them money or goods. Some will probably stay on in some sort of capacity. Some will become armed security for enclaves that can pay and feed them and their families. Some will go feral become hired guns for thugs (it’s a reality of human nature in general).

In a “Patriots” type scenario, most cops will be gone, taking care of their needs and/or the needs of the family and neighborhood. When the time comes for a stand-up, many will return to do the bidding of the bosses (politicos, not the citizens, sadly). Many will not return to a job unless they feel like there is some sort of constitutional order (again, often seen in small town or rural cops and deputies). Many will likely just be done with cop work once and for all.

In reading things like “Patriots,” I asked myself what would be my response. I have to confess that once there is no hope of my career coming back or a complete breakdown of constitutional order, I would fall back to care for my family and neighborhood full-time. If I saw a return to a true constitutional system, then I would entertain the idea of coming back. I love being a cop and have been doing it for nearly 12 years. But I also see troubles coming quickly both in a practical/survivalist sense as well as serious constitutional crisis and agree with FerFAL that there will be “cockroaches” that remain, to prey on the weak and the sheep. Will we see a complete SHTF situation? I don’t think so. I do see something like the situation in Argentina, perhaps a bit worse as our economy is so entwined worldwide. - MP in Seattle


Dear Jim and Family,
Regarding the article written by FerFAL "Living in Times of Partial Law and Order" I agree with his statements. Post Peak may be abrupt enough to cause a temporary lapse in law and order, resulting in panic, hoarding, and riots, but things will settle down again. You really can't go around shooting people in the open, even if you're defending yourself. In the real world, you have to wait for the police and deal with the courts, most likely. If you have a very realistic and responsible sheriff in a pro-gun state, you'll still need to make a statement and be clearly in the right, and they might let you keep your guns. We've all read of cases like this in Texas and Florida where the police thanked the victim for defending themselves. From what I can tell, those are the exception, not the rule. In the real world, you'll have your life threatened frequently, especially if you aren't reasonably careful about exposing yourself to crime. And an act of self defense gets your gun seized for evidence in your trial, leaving you vulnerable for revenge by the criminal's friends.

1) Don't live in areas with rampant crime. If you can go somewhere safer, do so. Get another job. Even if you survive being shot, odds are good you'll lose something important, like your spleen or a kidney or feet of intestine, or use of a limb. You really don't want that. You'll need that stuff to survive the plagues already brewing for a comeback. Its always better to live somewhere safe than somewhere dangerous, regardless of pay rate.

2) Make friends with the sheriff and police. Make donations, go to the banquets and socialize with the cops so they know who you are. You're much more likely to be allowed a CCW in a non-CCW state. Make sure you come across as a good but not helpless citizen. You may want to help out with some community stuff first, so you can cite that as a sign of your stable good civic mindedness. And don't ever cheat people or lie about speeding etc. They track that. The first time you're caught lying to a cop is the last time you get any favors from them. Its better to be on the inside of the system when things get weird than the outside where you're expendable trash.

3) Consider carrying two concealed firearms. One legal for open-and-shut self defense. The other one should be considered carefully based on the state of the law's enforcement and conditions you face for self defense. Remember that in many states its illegal to shoot or even to threaten with a gun to protect your property. Yes, that's retarded. Police in those states say the risk for accidental shooting, as well as ambush by professional thieves' partners result in a lot of dead people that didn't have to happen over a simple car. You should decide this in advance whether you should call the police when you see someone messing with your vehicle or confront them directly with your firearm, knowing you'll almost certainly have to defend your actions in court and may lose everything (financially). This leads to the next point.

4) Shoot and scoot. This patently illegal option has been suggested by some survival authors as the appropriate direction in times of uncertain law enforcement. If you've been done wrong you can take them to court or you can let them get away with it or you can kill them illegally and run away, leaving no trace. If you're in the country the tried and true "shoot, bury deep, and silence" is the method preferred by ranchers and farmers everywhere. This is a grim and terrible option and should only be used if you're ready for the full consequences of the mess.

5) And remember: burglars are often heroin and meth addicted junkies so may be connected to the Mexican Mafia and Aryan Brotherhood (famous for drug dealing, organized crime, and extortion), not simply independent and operating alone as they appear. If you kill one, that may not be the end of it after all. Someone from those organizations may know they were at your place, and come after you. The paranoia involved in these cases makes bugout a good idea. You may end up going to the FBI for witness protection, for what little good that does.

6) In the real world, getting targeted by organized crime can be death sentence. Fighting against corruption, and general evil, will get your life ruined in a hurry if you get caught. In the collapse, the police may lose funding and officers and may start to get into and Us vs Them mindset, or become more open about their corruption. I have witnessed police ignore neighborhood drug dealers, presumably because they've taken a bribe to let them operate. A little "tax" if you like. No cop would ever admit to that, but its common as dirt. Be prepared to pay bribes and deal with corruption. If that's not to your taste, move somewhere there are no people because where there are people, there are taxes and corruption and death: the three eternals of life in the real world.

So: riots are temporary, the law is a cockroach that won't die, and oppression increases forever. We've had our 200 years of freedom. It was nice while it lasted. Best, - InyoKern

Hi Mr. Rawles,
I'm currently reading and enjoying your fine book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation as well as a few other publications (such a Boston's Gun Bible, by Boston T. Party), and actually have a rather simple question for you. At present, I am in the process of trying to prepare an urban retreat at our home in Orange County (in the PRK). Until we can early-retire and move to our newly acquired land in either Montana or Wyoming, we are stuck here because of our jobs. In any event, with regard to the subject of long-term ammo storage, I was wondering if you (1) favor placing your ammo into ammo cans, with the ammo still sitting inside the commercial manufacturer's paper/card stock boxes (in which the ammo was purchased) or (2) if you simply dump the cartridges straight from the manufacturer's box straight into the ammo can. I've heard both good and bad things said, from a number of friends, about both kinds of storage strategies. I am presently using (1) as my storage medium, but I wanted to go the The Mountain to get the final word. Thanks so much for your input. Regards, R.T. in Yorba Linda, Occupied PRK

JWR Replies: When storing ammo in military surplus ammo cans, I always leave ammo in the original boxes unless they are water-damaged. This aids recognition--not just of the maker and load/bullet weight, but right down to the lot number--which some makers print inside their box flaps. Recognition also plays significantly into the desirability of ammo for resale or barter. The original boxes also protect soft nose bullet tips from deformation, which can affect accuracy. OBTW, in case there is a trace of moisture left in the cardboard, and for moisture in the atmosphere, I always drop a small packet of silica gel in each ammo can before I snap it shut.

OBTW, I've also recently had a reader ask about re-packing plastic "battle packs" of military surplus ammo. There is no need to do so if the plastic sleeve is still sealed and intact. Just be sure to protect the battle packs from sunlight and vermin. (One little rat's nibble, and the pack will lose its seal.)

I’ve been perusing your site for a while now, and I must say I’m very impressed and quite grateful for such a fabulous resource. I just wanted to drop a line to address an issue that occurred to our small preparedness group. In a word: Honey. Or more importantly of course, the potential lack thereof. I don’t know if anyone else has addressed this potentially important issue, but if not, then allow me to be the first to do so. I am referring of course to the developing crisis with our nation’s bees and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). With such a sharp decline in bees, then a decline in honey production can’t be too far behind. We believe that now is the time to start considering stockpiling this important item. And why is Honey so important? I’m glad you asked that.
Honey is first, and foremost, a fabulous emergency storage food. If properly contained it will keep virtually forever. If it crystallizes, simply apply warmth to re-liquify. It has a number of uses: Primarily as a sweetener, of course, but when combined with Peanut Butter it is also a wonderful ‘comfort food’ that can make the seemingly endless monotony of the bread made from stockpiled flour much more bearable.
Second, it can be a valuable trade item for barter with those without the foresight to stock up themselves. One might be surprised how quickly some people with a ‘sweet tooth’ may become convinced that something as seemingly mundane as honey can be worth quite a bit.
However, while these things do indeed make honey an important commodity post TEOTWAWKI, that’s not the most important as far as I’m concerned. Anyone can make a sandwich with honey, but I believe that Honey as a higher purpose: Mead
Mead is among the simplest types of alcohol to produce. In its simplest form it requires little more than honey, hot water and a bit of yeast; and in just a few months can yield a smooth sweet honey-wine with between 10% and 15% alcohol content. Even if you yourself don’t wish to indulge such a commodity would have untold value in a post TEOTWAWKI scenario, especially after a few months, when all of the liquor stores have been looted, and there is little to drink besides water. There are a variety of sources on the net for the aspiring mead-maker. One of the best is .
The other side to this discussion, of course has to do with the bees themselves. For those who have the time, space and capability to do so, I highly recommend looking to keeping a hive or to yourself. It is theoretically within the realm of possibility, depending on how bad the CCD problem gets, that commercial bee keepers in this country could be virtually wiped out. If that occurs, bad things might start to happen. I need not remind the readers that a significant percentage of the plants in your garden are pollinated by bees. It would be a pity if all of the work and effort put into a couple of acre truck garden went to naught as a result of a lack of pollinators, especially if such a thing could be prevented by simply keeping hive of bees at the edge of you plot.
I have never kept bees myself, but I’m sure it would take a certain investment ion both time and money. However, it seems to me that if one does choose to keep bees, then not only would you have your own pollinators and a self renewing supply of honey, along with all of the above mentioned uses, but, as a bonus, you would also have a self renewing source of beeswax for candles all rolled into one! There are, of course a variety of bee keeping site on line, a simple search will turn up many results. Regards, - Krys in Idaho

From Steve Quayle's site: Additives Across Asia Feed Fears. In related news: Concerns raised on China's global health disclosures

  o o o

Calls for increased U.S. defense spending, as China’s defense budget rises 17.8%.

   o o o

Reader Luke F. recommended this commentary from David Kopel: A World Without Guns

"A survivalist attempts to avoid first, and defend second." - Rourke

Friday, May 11, 2007

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 $2,000.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I might 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 for Round 10, which ends May 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

A Quick Comparison of Vegetable Seeds to Silver Dollars
The small seed envelopes available for sale at hardware stores and supermarkets are generally priced between $0.97 to $1.69 per package. Each individual package usually contains somewhere between 100 mg to 3.5 g of seed, with an average of 900 mg of seeds per package. 1000 mg equals 1 gram and 1 gram equals 0.035 standard ounces. Therefore 900 mg equals approximately 0.0315 standard ounces or 0.0287 troy ounces. If the average seed package contains 900 mg of seeds and cost $0.97 then that is equivalent to $33.80 per troy ounce, which far exceeds the current market price of a one-ounce United States Silver Eagle. (Note: $0.97 / 0.0287 troy ounce = $33.80 per troy ounce.)
Therefore, in today’s normal global economy, seeds are more expensive per ounce than pure refined silver. And history has repeatedly demonstrated that during serious worldwide famine conditions, food and seeds eventually become more valuable than gold.
Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Available on the Internet
Heirloom vegetable seeds can be purchased at most hardware stores and supermarkets.
Or you can buy heirloom vegetable seeds over the internet. One advantage of buying seeds over the internet is that you can quickly compare the prices of different sellers. When you look at the seed prices also consider the net weight of the seed package the same way you would do if you were buying groceries. In other words, calculate the cost per gram or the cost per ounce of seeds.
Internet sellers usually have detailed information about each individual heirloom seed variety that they sell. If you purchase seeds over the internet, then you should print a hard copy of all the information the seller has available about the seed varieties you purchase and then keep those printed pages with your seeds when they arrive. The following heirloom seed companies would be happy to receive your business. And it would probably be wise to split your heirloom seed order between at least two or three of the following companies for a variety of good reasons.
[JWR Adds: I also highly recommend buying heirloom seeds from The Ark Institute, in Bandon, Oregon]
Basic Instructions for Saving Vegetable Seeds
1. SEED TYPES: When you first purchase seeds you should avoid “Hybrid Seeds.” Instead you should buy “Heirloom Seeds” or “Open Pollinated Seeds.” Hybrid seeds are “man-made seeds” and they are only good for one planting. (Note: If you plant hybrid seeds and then save the seeds from the hybrid plants that are produced, and then plant those seeds the following spring, the results will be unpredictable. The plant that grows will usually resemble one of its parents or grandparents or something in-between. It is also possible that it may produce no fruit at all.) Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, will produce crops that yield seeds that will reproduce the same plant year after year after year as God originally intended. (Genesis 1:11 - Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth;” and it was so.) When you purchase a package of seeds, you should not plant all the seeds from the original package the first year. Instead you should save some of them for planting in future years if the event your first year’s planting efforts are not successful. You should also clearly mark exactly where you plant each type of seed with the name and variety of that seed so you can keep track of which varieties of seed do best in your climate and in your soil.
2. DISEASE AVOIDANCE: After you have planted your seeds and the plants appear, do not collect seeds from a diseased plant because the disease will have infected that specific plant’s genes and all future plants grown from those seeds will be easily susceptible to that same disease.
3. SEED SELECTION: Use the very best looking, strongest, and most productive plants in your garden for seeds. Generally, you are not looking for that one special fruit on the vine. Instead the characteristics you should look for are: early bearing of fruit, total fruit yield, fruit size and flavor and aroma, and disease resistance. Also, if applicable, late bolting to seed. Resist the urge to eat your most delectable looking vegetables. Those are the ones you want to duplicate every year in the future. After you have selected the fruits you want to keep for seed, identify them with a special marker such as a wooden stake beside the plant, or a ribbon or string loosely tied to the plant or vine. In most cases (but not all) it is important to save seeds from at least three different plants of the same variety to provide good pollination opportunities the following spring.
4. SEED RIPENESS: Allow seeds to fully ripen before harvesting to achieve the best germination yield the following spring. The seed must be given time to store enough nourishment so it can germinate the following spring and grow into a healthy seedling.
5. DRYING: Seeds must be dried before they are stored (between 5% to 13% moisture content, with an average of 8%). Individual seeds should be separated from one another so they can dry more evenly. Larger seeds will require more time to air dry whereas smaller seeds will require less time. Do not try to dry the seeds too quickly or they may shrink and crack. And do not dry at a temperature higher than 100°F. Indoor air drying is usually the best. However, if you live in an extremely humid area, then you may dry your seeds by placing them in the sun in front of a southern facing window for about two days. Since there is no easy inexpensive method for measuring the exact moisture content of your seeds, you will need to use your own judgment based on your personal experience. Generally the drier the seed (but not below 5%), the longer the seed will remain alive in storage. Based on Dr. James Harrington’s research, each additional 1% decrease in the dryness of a vegetable seed from 13% down to 5% will double its storage life, However, below 5% will normally kill the seed and above 13% will usually result in the seed not surviving the first winter. Since the home gardener does not have the expensive equipment to accurately measure the exact moisture content of a batch of seeds, the home gardener may wish to use a trial and error approach. When you first suspect that your seeds are dry enough, put half of them into paper envelopes and label the envelopes with the variety of seed and indicate how many days the seeds were dried. Continue drying the remainder of the seeds for a few more days. Then put half of those seeds into paper envelopes and label them as your second drying with the total number of drying days. After a few more days of drying put the remainder of the seeds into a paper envelope and label them as your third drying with the total number of drying days. When you test each envelope of seeds in future years, you can use this trial and error method to estimate the optimal number of drying days for each type of seed based on your climate, and your humidity, and your average normal drying conditions.
6. STORAGE: AFTER your seeds are dry, store your seeds in a standard small paper envelope, or a paper bag, or a cloth bag in a dry, cool area. Do not allow the seeds to remain in direct contact with the air or they will gradually absorb moisture from the humidity in the air with the passage of time. After placing the seeds in a standard small paper envelope or cloth bag, you can store that envelope or bag inside a standard plastic freezer bag. Freezer bags are more expensive and of a higher quality than regular plastic bags. Do not seal your seeds inside a vacuum plastic bag without air because seeds are living organisms and they need a minimum amount of air to continue their life cycle. The best place to store seeds is in a plastic freezer bag inside a refrigerator at a temperature between 33°F to 40°F. This will more than double the storage life of your seeds.
7. LABELING: Clearly label each of your seed envelopes or bags using permanent ink to identify the exact variety of seed and the year the seed was harvested. Also include the number of days the seed was allowed to dry, along with any unusual weather conditions during the drying process, such as unusually humid weather or unusually warm or cold weather during the drying process.
8. SEED BANK: Most seeds can successfully germinate for three to five years after harvesting, even if they are not stored in a refrigerator. Therefore, it is prudent to have your own “Seed Bank” into which you deposit approximately 10% of the seeds you harvest each year. If an unexpected disease attacks your crops one year then you will not be able to harvest any seeds from that year’s crops, even though you may be able to eat some or most of that year’s poor quality marginal vegetables. In this type of situation your “Seed Bank” will permit the re-establishment of the quality of your crops in future years. The seeds in your “Seed Bank” are your insurance against unpredictable future diseases that may sweep through your geographical area. They are also good insurance against an unexpected cross-pollination that produces a seed that is different than you expected. In most cases you will not become aware of this type of problem until harvest time the following fall. Once again, your “Seed Bank” will allow you to re-establish this variety the following spring using seeds saved from previous years before the problem appeared.
9. EMERGENCY SEED RESERVE: Each spring you should gradually plant each variety of seed over an extended period of several weeks. You should not plant all your seeds of one variety at the same time. This reduces your risk of loss to late frosts and it provides a longer harvest period for fresh vegetables for the table. If you have seeds that are more than one year old which are not part of your “Seed Bank”, then your first planting the following spring should be one-half of those older seeds. If you do not have any two or three year old seeds, then do not plant more than half your previous year’s seed the following spring. Save at least half of the previous year’s seed as an “Emergency Seed Reserve” (in addition to your “Seed Bank”). Occasional late snows or an unexpected late frost can kill everything you plant at the beginning of spring. Your “Emergency Seed Reserve” will allow you to plant a second time that same year. Later during the spring or summer other problems may arise, such as heavy rains or no rains or insect damage or tornados or hurricanes, and these disasters could result in no crops to harvest in the fall. In disaster situations like these, it provides some comfort to know that you still have a reasonable amount of seed reserved for planting the following year. If you are forced to use your “Emergency Seed Reserve,” then only plant half of them and keep the rest of the seeds in reserve. Always keep at least half of your remaining seed as an “Emergency Seed Reserve” for really hard times. This means each future planting will be much smaller, but that is much better than having nothing to plant at all. Because of unpredictable situations such as the above, each year it would be wise to harvest at least twice the amount of seed you think you will need the following year. This strategy will also provide you with seed to share, sell, or trade and it will bring you one step closer to being an independent, resourceful human being in God’s natural order of things.
10. PREPARING SEEDS FOR PLANTING: (Note: These suggestions are optional.) Place the seeds you wish to plant in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator for three hours. When you remove the seed from the freezer the rush of warm air will help to break its winter dormancy. Then place the individual seeds between two damp paper towels for one day in a warm area. The seed is now in an optimal condition for immediate planting.
11. SPRING GERMINATION TEST: (Note: This step is optional.) You can test the viability of your seeds before you plant them in the ground in the spring. Use a medium-tip permanent marker to write the name of the seed and the year it was harvested on a dry paper towel. Then dampen the paper towel and place ten seeds on one-half of the towel. Fold the towel in half so the seeds are between the two halves of the damp paper towel. Place the damp paper towel inside a plastic trash bag and put it in a warm place. You can put several damp paper towels containing different seed varieties in the same plastic trash bag. Keep the paper towels slightly damp but not soaking wet. Periodically check the seeds based on the average germination time for each type of seed. You can determine the “approximate” germination rate by counting the number of seeds that sprout and dividing by the original number of seeds tested. For example, if you tested 10 seeds and 8 of them sprouted, then the germination rate is 80% (8/10 x 100). You can then plant these sprouted seeds in a peat pot indoors if the outdoor weather is too cold, or you can plant them in the ground if warm weather has arrived.
If you would like some additional seed information about a wide variety of different vegetables, then please visit my web site.

Dear Mr. Rawles:
I already had a diesel Ford tractor, so I took your advice and got a diesel pickup, and I'm shopping for a used [diesel] Mercedes. Those things run forever. And as my budget allows, I'll also plan to buy a diesel generator to replace my gasoline backup generator. So now I have logistics problem: I have two types of fuel to store, since my motorcycle, Polaris ATV, and my Husqvarna chainsaw all use gasoline. Diesel stores way longer than gas. But I guess that there is no way to avoid having some gas vehicles and tools.

JWR Replies: If you do some searching, you can find diesel-powered dirt bikes. Last year, Arctic Cat introduced a diesel ATV, and Roush Industries has developed an interesting variant of the diesel Arctic Cat. But I suppose that the jury is still out on reliability of these new diesel ATV models. (One of my grandfather's sage mottos was: "Never buy the first year of any new model car or truck." I suppose that the same caveat should apply to other vehicles and any other complex machinery.)

As for chainsaws, there were a few diesel saws made decades ago, but they never caught on, since diesels are inherently heavier than gas engines of the same displacement, and they typically have lower RPM. However, one possibility is the ethanol chainsaw variant made for the Brazilian market by Stihl. But I'm not sure where you could lay your hands on one in the U.S.

Two readers mentioned this article: National Guard May Be Needed to Enforce Quarantine in Flu Pandemic. This is more evidence that every family needs to have a three month supply of food and essentials on hand in case they have to "hunker down" in self-quarantine. A good start on this can be found in the family provisioning details included in my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course.

  o o o

Reader Jason in North Idaho sent us this story Supreme Global Warming Derangement: Having Large Families ‘Is an Eco-crime’ Jason's comment: "This is the same rubbish I have heard for years from the secular/socialists that have so much influence over young people. I heard this article quoted today on a couple of different talk shows and it really angers me. This reminds me of the tripe that was spoken of by Paul Erlich, 35 years ago. He wrote an alarmist book that said that the earth would cease to be able to feed its population back in the eighties

   o o o

Indiana will be the base for new military nuclear terror response exercises. OBTW, the anonymous reader that sent me this link also mentioned that he had heard that Aljazeera will be part of the press corps covering the exercises. His comment: "Why don't we just invite Osama Bin-Laden, to observe?"

   o o o

Reader SF in Hawaii notes that the recent European interest rates meeting is temporarily pushing up the US Dollar and pushing down the spot price of gold. On May 8th , New York spot gold closed at $685 per ounce. Yesterday (May 10th) it was $665. So SF notes that now is a good time to buy previous metals. As I often say, buy on these dips!

"There are those in America today who have come to depend absolutely on government for their security. And when government fails they seek to rectify that failure in the form of granting government more power. So, as government has failed to control crime and violence with the means given it by the Constitution, they seek to give it more power at the expense of the Constitution. But in doing so, in their willingness to give up their arms in the name of safety, they are really giving up their protection from what has always been the chief source of despotism—government. Lord Acton said 'power corrupts.' Surely then, if this is true, the more power we give the government the more corrupt it will become. And if we give it the power to confiscate our arms we also give up the ultimate means to combat that corrupt power. In doing so we can only assure that we will eventually be totally subject to it." - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This morning we counted 17 elk at our livestock salt lick blocks just 50 feet from our house, and another eight from the herd farther down the pasture, toward The Unnamed River. Oddly, they seemed less skittish than the deer that we see nearly every evening. (Since elk are generally more wary.) It is amazing how thick the wild game is at the Rawles Ranch. We certainly will never starve here!

We begin today's posts with the first round of results from our current poll that was recommended by SF in Hawaii.

Here is the first round of responses to this question: Those who are well educated enough to see a societal collapse of some sort or another in the making fall into two groups, the merrymakers and the preparers. The merrymakers don't see life worth living post-SHTF, so they live it up now. We on SurvivalBlog are the preparers and have chosen to survive, but why? Our children? To rebuild civilization? Because the collapse will only be temporary? Because we can and we're stubborn with a stronger than normal will to survive? The following is just the first batch of responses. I plan to post at least one more batch. Please send your responses (one paragraph or less) via e-mail, and I will post them anonymously.

The survivalist is an optimist -- not merely because he/she thinks he'll make it through the crisis, but because of the (possibly subconscious) hope that something good will emerge in the aftermath. It's the logic of any kind of apocalyptic thought... Theological systems that have a conception of a climactic struggle or an "end times" imagine that, after Armageddon, we'll see the dawning of a new age. Not surprisingly, a lot of Hollywood movies follow this script, too: After the aliens are defeated, for example, in "Independence Day", mankind stands united, having put aside their differences; After catastrophic weather changes in "The Day After Tomorrow," the planet begins to heal itself, etc. Heck, this theme can be seen, too, in your fine book, "Patriots". In the same way, I plan to live not only because I'm stubborn and have a finely-tuned sense of justice -- and thus hate the idea of turning over the planet to looters, thugs, and others who would prey on the innocent -- but also because I'm both curious and hopeful about what will emerge as society reconstitutes itself.

My modest preparation springs from the knowledge that I and the Lord are the protectors of my family (there are five of us). Our ultimate trust is in Him, but it is on me to do what I reasonably can do to protect my family from in the event of hardship and/or disaster. (After watching [Hurricane] Katrina, it seems apparent that the government cannot do that.) Anyone reading your web site thinks that there is at least a fathomable chance that our nation's run of blessing/luck will end (or be suspended) at some point in the future. Nothing lasts forever. If and when that time comes, I would never forgive myself if my family suffered unnecessarily because I did not take reasonable steps to prepare for such a time. In addition to that, it's just plain fun to learn about this stuff. (Anyone who says otherwise is lying!)

Because the alternative is inconceivable to me!

I’m currently going through some things in my life that are agonizing (but subject to change) and make things feel almost hopeless for me at times, yet every day I wake up again and thank God that he breathed the breath of life into me. I won’t waste that breath. I’m motivated to prepare to survive and overcome by many factors. Here are some examples:

I’m a 7th generation descendant of a settler in my current state and I’m motivated to survive by the risks my settler ancestors took, the struggles they went through, the multiple battles they fought in, the children they lost prematurely and the price they paid to be here. I recently visited some of their graves for the first time. I see it as my responsibility, honor and duty to live freely and survive. The stock I am from is cut out for it.

I prepare to survive because I’m ultra conservative, at times feeling like an endangered species or “minority” and I’m tenaciously defiant to those who would like to see my “kind” exterminated. I am equipped with a few trusted friends that are peers in regard my views (though mostly surrounded by sheeple) and have inspired some to begin to prepare. I discern a negative spiritual force is taking action to see my country’s sovereignty given away. I am motivated to be a hindrance to that spirit. My country is worth saving.

I prepare to survive because as a young man I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, despite the fact that there have been some truly sorry individuals working to undermine that Constitution since before I was born. I intend to see my oath fulfilled.

I prepare to survive because I read "Patriots", awoke to how fragile our economy really is and saw how foolishly I’d been behaving in the past (assuming life would always be normal) and am in the process of repenting of any residual foolish, sheeple-like attitudes and habits I have.

I prepare to survive because I’ve been in a city where gasoline was temporarily not available and walked through the local grocery store at 3:00 AM (less crowded) and have seen the store shelves stripped of food for a short period of time. It’s pretty convincing you need to prepare when the fuel in the tank of your vehicle and few 5 gallon cans (at the time) may be all you’ll have for a while.

I prepare to survive because if things ever Schumerize I have multiple skill sets that can help a number of people in a number of survival situations. I believe I was created to help people, when possible. I gather info, educate, discuss and leave food for thought for those who are unprepared, but willing to listen and consider my views on the subject.

Why an I preparing? For the simple reason that I live in the middle of the midwest. Bad winters, heavy snow, and ice storms. The rest of the year heavy rain , floods, tornados, et cetera. You can't depend on the government to come through when needed, so if you don't have what you need than you are SOL! You have to be able to get by on what you have or fabricate something to do the job needed. I haven't depended on the government to help and I really don't think they have the capacity any more if ever. It will be your self and friends and neighbors pulling together that will make the difference. I prepare for me and mine so that we may be able to help others if need be. I've traveled extensively in South America, off the beaten path, and if you don't have what you need or can fabricate it than you should not be there. The same goes for having all your ducks lined up at home.

I'm a Jesuit educated 38 year old Bachelor, Eagle Scout, USMC Gulf War Vet, working for a major aerospace company in Seattle. The reason I'm preparing is I inherited ~$500K from my grandfather, who sold the family farm in California to housing developers. He worked hard for all of us and I don't want that blessing of wealth to be squandered. I'm preparing because being prepared is what's been beat into my head since I was a kid. You can't play the "victim" card on the Four Horsemen.

Why do I prepare? Probably because I read too much science fiction as a child! Probably because surviving is so much more interesting than succumbing. Born in the late 1950s, I remember bomb shelter salesmen and diving under my desk during A-bomb drills. I always assumed something, a war, or a pandemic, could change life as I knew it. It never occurred to me not to want to survive. Both my parents were alive during the depression, and that contributed to not taking food/housing for granted. Perhaps my uncle, who survived Bataan, or my aunt, who was a prisoner of war in the Philippines, might also have had something to do with my mindset?

Because I believe that life is worth living, and I have no intention of simply "biting the dust" unless I give it the old college try. I believe that trying and ultimately failing is far better than not trying at all.

Bottom line: I owe it to my family to be prepared. I could not bear to look into their eyes as they look to me for help and have to say "Sorry."

I am a preparer. Not because I'm smarter than anyone else, but because from what I see, there just is no other choice. I do it for my family; my beloved husband who humors me but thinks I'm slightly nuts, my grown children who love me but roll their eyes whenever I speak about what is happening around us. look, I don't have any college degree or any fancy smarts, no one would call me well educated. But I can see what I can see. I read, study, research and from my angle, we are gonna be toast and I bet my surly one eyed cat that it will be ugly. so I plod along doing the best I can when can. I don't have a retreat, I don't have a bunker or fallout shelter, I don't have 10 acres or two years worth of food. But I've got God. I keep plodding on doing the best with what I have and I know He takes care of the rest.Will we survive the whatever that comes? Heck if I know. But I'm a fool if I do not give it my best shot.

As a man of firm Christian beliefs, I believe all our days are numbered and have value. In those number of days we are to protect and provide for our our own selves, our families and so on. Examples in scripture are numerous how people were commanded to defend their homes, their cities, their neighbors, and their land. Unless we (like some were) are destined to go into Babylonian captivity I see no other proper choice.

I am taking what steps I feel necessary to survive in a societal collapse of infrastructure because I realize that the more intricate a system of living becomes, the more possible facets of failure are therefore created. As the machine known as Society grows in scale and complexity, so do the required aspects of its function; increasing the number of things that can go wrong, thus eventually causing a critical failure of the system. With the statistical (and historical) inevitability staring one in the face, how can someone not do everything within your power to be prepared?

I feel its my duty to four fathers, kids, grand kids, friends, although they are getting harder to find these days, an it just feels like the right thing to do,also its interesting,fun, a great learning expense,i spend hours on your site an i want to really thank you for it. I'm sure you make money off of it an you should, but I'll bet you are the type of person that really believe in what you do. I love my guns an have about 25 [of them], I try to go to the range at least three times a week, its the most relaxing time in my life ,by myself or with someone, I'm sure a lot of people don't understand, I love the military weapons a lot, I have .303s, Mausers, and others. I'm proud of my beliefs, thanks.

I consider preparing my Christian duty. I'm also stocking up lots of extra food, clothing, and so forth for charity, which is also my Christian duty.

Myself, I am what would be called a "millennialist" based on my beliefs from the Bible. The majority of mankind is stupid and sinful. Thousands of years and we are still doing the same mistakes over and over. I do not believe in any Gene Roddenberry vision where mankind, by its own efforts, rises from the ashes and evolves into a benevolent a Star Trek society. Nothing sort of divine intervention will save us in the long run from permanent self-destruction----Now aren't I a cheerful one to invite to a social gathering?;)

Just for the record, I'm not one of those nuts that believe in trying to hasten or encourage the Second coming The world is dong a fine job all by itself.

While I had read about survivalism and planning for a couple of years, the importance of having some sort of plan didn't hit me hard until I was living in the South, had a new baby, and [Hurricane] Katrina hit. All of a sudden the importance of having an evacuation plan, supplies, and a known destination to retreat to were very important. I am not as prepared as many of the readers, but I know where to go and what I'll do when I get there. Also, thanks to some great books on small farming and some great advice on here I know how to avoid some real pitfalls.

I’m preparing to survive for my wife and my children, because I can and because it gives me a feeling of confidence. I say “because I can” since most of my acquaintances don’t have a clue of the probable upcoming changes in society, but of those that do have a clue they can’t prepare for survival. They can’t prepare for survival because they’re financially tapped out by having been brainwashed into living on credit today figuring somebody else will take care of them tomorrow, but it won’t be me.

And it drives me nuts. A 45 year old single female friend of my wife owns a boat, owns a camper, had two vehicles, bought a scooter and recently bought a house within the last two years. When I first started preparing for survival, my wife made a comment to her about it and her friend said when the SHTF “we’ll all be as snug as a bug in a rug.” I said“What do you mean we? I think you need to make your own preparations.”

I used to try and educate our acquaintances but have started taking more of an inquiring approach with regards to what they think are the possible upcoming changes in society. A couple we know refinanced their house to buy a travel trailer but they only camp within 45 minutes of their house because they can’t afford the gas and their tow vehicle is not reliable. I asked the husband what he thought was coming in the future, he said he figured things were going to get pretty bad. But then they just put down a deposit on a trip to Hawaii so I’ve got to figure you just can’t help people like this.

And it’s not that I wouldn’t help anybody, I saw value in a comment on your web site with regards to helping neighbors and I will. (Is it okay if I only help the ones I like?). We live in a conventional neighborhood and I wish we didn’t but at this point it would take too much of our resources to move to a property with more land. So our best defense is to bond with the good neighbors but I don’t want all our irresponsible acquaintances coming to live with us.

We have a good life and are lucky to be able to make preparations for what may come. And I am thankful for every additional day I have to get better prepared.

I am preparing to survive because I believe the threats to our way of life are manifold. We are in a global war. China strength's grows, our borders are not protected. Our government is shredding the constitution. Natural disasters, environmental concerns, the basic depravity and selfishness of man--its reason enough. I was a volunteer during [Hurricane] Katrina. Not one person who had preps, was sorry. Many other equivalent societies in this century have fallen, why is America better ? It is inevitable, one disaster will prove the wisdom of preparing.

1. Life is worth living.
2. I want to be around if there is any defending of this nation to be done.
3. Who said one can’t prepare and merrymake? (I guess it depends on one’s interpretation of ‘merrymake’).

It's something that was raised in me. Whether it was the Boy Scout's motto of always being prepared, or just the human instinct of survival, if I see something on the horizon, I won't back down. Not to mention I get to justify spending a lot of money on camping gear and guns, my two favorite hobbies.

We are trying to prepare because it is the right and responsible thing to do for our family, friends, neighbors, and country. If we all became part of the solution, then there would be no problem.

Jim, I grew up in the bomb shelter/Cold War era. A neighbor two houses down actually dug out their front yard to install a bomb shelter. My folks had a rudimentary bug-out bag and we always kept a month's worth of food on hand. Hey, for the 1950s, that was progressive thinking so I guess I come by being into preparedness naturally.

I hold advanced degrees but my education does not get in the way of exercising common sense. It is obvious that our complex society is too interdependent to survive major interruptions and we have numerous examples to look at (the L.A. riots, Hurricane Katrina, and such). To believe that a major interruption of services could not occur is delusional. The empirical evidence is right in front of us. The family which is prepared has far fewer worries.

Do I believe we are headed for TEOTWAWKI? Not particularly. Do I believe that we will see significant disruptions that will affect us for 10 days or so? Yes, definitely. Disruptions lasting to 30 days or beyond? Less likely, but I maintain a "year's supply" nonetheless. Also, my Church has preached being prepared for years. Our leaders have constantly cajoled us to have a year's supply of food and other necessities and my guess is they know something we haven't heard yet.

Most pundits state that human beings are constantly evolving. The point they have ignored or can't see is that the evolvement of the human race in the last 50 years has been a deterioration, not an advancement. We survivalists are, quite frankly, throwbacks to the pure genotype that got us to this point in time.

I prepare because the end is nigh (at least TEOTWAWKI), and there will be a lot of merry-makers who suddenly changed their minds, post-collapse. If you're prepared and you decide the going is too rough, you can always quit,but if you're not prepared, your options are zero. You're done. Besides, my family is Finnish, and we're stubborn SOBs. You can always tell a Finn, just not much...

I prepare to survive because I see it as part of the natural cycle of human civilization. Something in us wants to forget the lessons of what makes us a great society and start living on borrowed riches and capabilities. Eventually, that living beyond our means catches up with us via a natural disaster, economic collapse or societal conflict.

If we were not to prepare to survive then we are doomed to fail and live miserably under the dictates of someone else. If we prepare we are not guaranteed to have prepared for the right situation, or enough, but at least we have a much better than average chance. In the end, I am an optimist. No matter how bad things get they will eventually get better. We can speed up our own recovery and that of our community’s by preparing now. If we do not, then we may end up wallowing in misery and struggling for the barest necessities. Is that the kind of life God wants for us? I think not. I believe God wants us to live wisely and prepare to prosper under all conditions. That takes discipline and short-term sacrifice.

Jim, your blog rocks. I only hope that I can learn and earn fast enough to take advantage of the incredible information that your forum provides before TEOTWAWKI.

I have a beautiful 6 month old son who is totally innocent to the ways in which TPTB (the powers that be) are systematically destroying nature, American Democratic principles and threatening the survival of humanity. He deserves a chance in this life, regardless of whether or not he'll ever get to visit Sam's Club, get a college scholarship, drive a V-8 or own an iPod.

When things start to get dicey, and as the world as we know it begins to fall apart - most likely permanently- he will be just coming up in age and entering what should be the most wondrous years of a child's life.

For him, and for my future children, I will fill their youthful imaginations with nature, tools, projects, outdoor adventure and practical knowledge. Before I let the idiot-box and America's media-driven junk-culture destroy their understanding of their place in God's kingdom (and the animal kingdom), they will know what to eat and how to hunt it, how to garden, how to fix stuff and how to avoid trouble in a society that in the future will eventually fail entirely by trying to eliminate all risk of failure here in the present.

They will be encouraged to learn practical trades: veterinary sciences, engineering, construction, medicine and alternative medicine, martial arts, food production and off-the-grid technology solutions.

No bankers, real-estate agents, financial analysts, politicians or computer graphic designers in this family, Jim. No sireeee bubba.

I have always believed that those people who want to throw God's gift of life away through risk, recklessness, attempted suicide or plain old bad lifestyle habits are doomed to live longer.

I have also questioned since1987 when the U.S.S. Stark got hit by our"allies" escorting black gold in the Persian Gulf how long our cheeseburger-driven, cheap-oil, fiat-money, fake-friends and fear of loss-driven society can keep going.

Therefore I will survive this impending paradigm-shift in human existence in order to see my children prevail into adulthood, and for my morbid curiosity to see how all this B.S. I have put up with my entire life winds-up in the end of my days.

It won't be easy however. Here in Texas, not 1 in 1000 people has a clue what might be coming in the next few years. Even after [Hurricane] Katrina pushed a not-so-golden horde of 150,000 low income welfare dependents onto the greater Houston area. I guess that bad stuff only happens to others, right?

I'll be heading for the hills soon enough I hope, and taking my brood to a more austere, self-sufficient and remote lifestyle before Sugar Land Texas becomes a looter's paradise.

At first I prepared because it was an American act of self-reliance. Now, after all the weird looks and puzzled expressions, I get to have the biggest 'I told you so' in my lifetime.

Great question. Do I have an answer? Yeah a couple. Peace of mind in these troubled times is the main one. We buy insurance for everything except peace of mind. Our power goes off we start our transition to alternatives without a worry. Lights, power,shelter, water, communication ability goes on. Food is here to be eaten fuel to use without need to purchase, cash on hand no worries. Another reason we do what we do is because "I" feel it's my responsibility to my family. Part of my responsibility as a husband and a father is prepare to take care of them no matter what happens next I can't sleep knowing I could have, but I didn't. It's a philosophy of maintaining the status quo to then have the time and resources to help others. It's about being "ahead of the game." It's about life and meeting it's changes head on, never stopping head down and moving constantly on forward to whatever it is that is next in life.

My reason is: why give up? I have fought to hard in this life to just roll over and die.

Regarding the [recently mentioned] Peltor tactical 6S (sound trap) [electronic earmuffs]: While the battery power for these is somewhat of a concern, they are well worth what you might spend keeping a few extra sets of AAA rechargeables (two for each ear) around. I, too, have been running these muffs for a number of years and really like them, especially under a helmet. The radio part works well too. On the qualification range with all the M4s going off, you can hear a hammer fall.
So here is my quandary and request for advice. I've tried NiCd and NiMH batteries and have been really disappointed with the battery life of any rechargeable in these earmuffs. (You know me, only hi-cap rechargeables!) Next thing you know, the volume is down. I've ended up using only Duracell throwaways, or equivalents. I mean rechargeables work but they are about 1/3 of the operating time that a throwaway battery has. Of course, they are AAAs and those are pretty puny anyway. Any advice, guidance or comments for enlightenment?
Thanks, - The Army Aviator

JWR Replies: Sadly, I don't know of any rechargeable AAA batteries with decent mil-amp hour capacity. There just isn't the room in that tiny battery casing for much "oomph". Perhaps there is a SurvivalBlog reader out there that has a solution--either disposables or rechargeables. Oh! I just had one possible blinding flash of the obvious (BFO): As long as you already have a radio cable plugged in, how about running a co-axial power cable--modifying the earmuffs so that that they can "piggyback" from your radio's battery pack? It would be fairly simple to rig resistors to drop the voltage to 3 VDC That would allow the muffs to run for weeks. Just a thought--it might be too difficult to McGyver into practical implementation.

The Secret Squirrel mentioned this great gardening and woodworking tool supplier: Lee Valley Tools.He particularly recommended their U-bars for gardening. (These were also recommended by the late Carla Emery.)

  o o o

Floods and drought: Insurance giant Lloyd's of London assesses climate change. Meanwhile a study examining the national security consequences of climate change has been released by a senior U.S. military advisory board.

   o o o

RBS mentioned a fascinating book available for free download, The Upside of Down:Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, by Thomas Homer-Dixon

"Clearly, there remains to this day a horrible, condescending attitude toward armed American citizens. Haven’t the British yet gotten over the fact that a ragtag, often disorganized force of American colonials, wielding their own arms, was able to defeat what at the time was the most powerful armed force in the world? Our forefathers, armed with their own flintlock rifles and pistols, and an assortment of muskets—the ‘assault weapons’ of their era—threw off the yoke of oppression under which they were forced to live. When British broadcasters today demand to know just what it is about gun ownership that Americans defend so vigorously, the answer is too simple for them to comprehend. Simply put, we defend this individual civil right because without our own guns two centuries ago, we would still... likely be British subjects..." - Alan Gottlieb

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

SurvivalBlog is updated daily. We haven't missed a day yet, since the blog was launched in August of 2005. So that you don't miss each day's new posts and letters, please make your web browser's "home" page. Thanks.

Today we welcome out newest advertiser, Amaris Dobermans. Be sure to visit their web site!

I often have discussions with my friends and business associates concerning world events and how they will affect our future and I have also read countless statements from others with similar opinions. I have noticed that many people seem to be narrowly focused on only one aspect of possible future events and are not putting the whole picture into perspective. Many are unable to take the actions that are necessary to deal with the probable coming changes. I would like to offer some of my observations and hopefully contribute something that would help others to move in the right direction.
In the first place no one can predict the future but through analytical thought a person can come up with the most likely outcome of probable events and proceed in the appropriate direction. To do this a person should search out the most accurate information available, make a list of probable events, prioritize them as to the impact on their life, and decide how to best prepare for each event. During this process, answers to questions regarding your location, necessary supplies, personal protection, shelter, etc. will become very apparent. This is how most successful business, governments, military campaigns, et cetera are accomplished.
The following are generally accepted as the most likely problems that will cause immediate risk and substantially affect our lives:
1. Overpopulation
2. Peak Oil
3. Dollar Devaluation/Economic Breakdown
4. Large scale terrorist attack such as a nuclear weapon detonation
5. Potable water
6. Global warming
I've listed overpopulation first because it has compounded the severity of all the other problems. Anyone living in the fairy tale that we can continue to support and increase this world population is extremely naive. Look around us at resource depletion, pollution of our environment, deforestation, et cetera.
There have been many theories on how large of a human population the earth can support but most agree that we have exceeded that number by many times. We are now living in locations, at a huge cost to our resources, which could barely support human life just a century ago. Las Vegas, Nevada is a perfect example. The availability of cheap oil has been the main contributor to this tremendous increase in world population in the last century. We have the ability to produce an abundance of food through the use of oil burning farm implements and oil related chemicals and then transport that food all over the world, again using oil as the main source of fuel. This supply of this magical substance has given us the ability to support a far greater population on Earth than its natural boundaries would allow. That container is now half empty and there are a lot more people drinking from it.
Peak Oil is the most understated problem we face today and it is extremely important that everyone educate themselves about this issue. There are many books available and good articles on the internet. I truly believe that there is no viable solution to this problem and as a result a substantial portion of the population of the earth will suffer greatly in the not too distant future. The cost of maintaining our oil-based economy is increasing daily and this is promoting inflation and devaluing the dollar. Americans have become totally dependent on the abundance of products resulting from the availability of Cheap Oil. We find it hard to comprehend how life will change as the cost of oil related goods goes through the roof. Most of us think of oil only as the fuel that propels our automobiles but the cost and availability of oil will affect everything including food, water, shelter, and every item we use each day. Because of the complacency of the general public and dependence on the news media as the main source of information, this crisis will sneak up on most people before they realize the Schumer has hit the fan. They will complain about the continuing escalation of the cost of living but in most cases will not make attempts to prepare themselves for the coming hard times believing the government will handle the problem. These are the sheeple that will become wolves when times get tough. We cannot simply go back to the way we lived fifty to one hundred years ago. Those less oil-dependent technologies and ways of farming and producing products worked when the population was much smaller. In the early 1900s most of the population of the U.S. lived and worked on farms and in small rural communities with localized industries. There were large uninhabited and unpolluted areas of the country with and abundance of wild game and natural resources. A family could realistically live off the land. In order for our civilization to move back to a similar lifestyle today, without the assistance of oil related products, will require a substantial reduction in the human population. The worst scenarios of the oil crisis would bring unimaginable hardship to large populations. The pressure on natural ecosystems will be devastating. In many areas the wild game population will be completely wiped out, small lakes fished out and forests cut down for firewood. This is why your location and preparations will be paramount to your well being.
The devaluation of the US Dollar followed by an economic breakdown is probable. U. S. Government debt is the worst it's been in history and the weakening dollar is losing international support. We are a debt based society which purchases more foreign goods that it produces. In the 1950s the U.S. was a major world producer, exporting goods to the world and injecting the capital gained into our economy. When money runs low we simply print more paper which is backed only by the faith of other nations in our economy. That faith is rapidly coming to an end and we are seeing signs of foreign governments dumping the U.S. Dollar.
Another terrorist attack on the United States is inevitable.It's not if, but when. Knowledgeable government agencies accept this and so should we all. There is no doubt that if nuclear weapons become available to terrorist they will use them. It would be very naive to believe that this is not being planned by someone, somewhere at this time. Our country's economy and the lifestyle of its people have become so vulnerable that it could be easily disrupted by a few strategically placed highly destructive devices. I believe that at this time the chance of a major military nuclear strike from another country is very unlikely. The old military regime is again gaining strength in Russia again and this could become a threat sometime in the future but it is not immediate. Maintaining awareness of world events is important and this should be part of your ongoing research.
One of the major threats to the future of a quality life is the availability of good water. The shortage of potable water has become a major problem all over the world. A third of the people in China do not have enough water to drink and this same situation is repeated [in localized areas] worldwide. Here in the U.S. we are polluting our drinking water at an alarming rate. Many Southwestern cities are approaching emergency supply situations in the next few years. Most of the aquifers in the Midwest have been polluted with farm chemicals and rural residences are now dependent on centralized rural water systems for drinking water.
Global Warming is a given, no matter who or what caused it or how much it has been politicized. In itself it could be dealt with, but in combination with any of these other risks, the problems it creates will be substantially exaggerated. Barring any unpredictable "trigger effects", global warming will come as a gradual change in climate that will affect food production around the world. Combine this with the Oil Crisis and the variables become unpredictable. There is much good research material to be found on the Internet along with some computer models. It's still too early to completely understand as to how this will affect each of us in the near future, but it must be taken into consideration.
Everything I've talked about is already happening or is very likely going to happen in the predictable future. The wild card is number four; Large-scale terrorist attack such as a nuclear weapon detonation, and this is the one that could catch us off guard. If you prepare for the other events then you will have taken the right steps to survive civil breakdown after any disaster. There is a very good chance that we are facing a breakdown of civilization as we know it. To what degree is yet to be seen. It will depend very much on how our governments react and if they take the correct path. I personally don't have much faith in that. Each of us should research as much information on these issues as we are able. Knowledge is power and to simply "be aware" is the first step in preparedness. Overreacting can led to dissatisfaction and negative attitudes about the future which will become counterproductive. This can alienate friends and family as well. Incorporate your preparation plans into your daily life in a manner that does not dominate everything you do. Become a "quiet expert" and you will find that those who are interested in this subject will seek your advice or at least initiate communication. Keep in mind that the general public's knowledge that you have prepared yourself and your family for a major economic crisis can make you a target when necessities become scarce. Those that are aware of your preparations should be of the same mindset and pursuing a similar path to preparation.
Understand the timelines for likely changes. It's unlikely that a major devastating event will happen tomorrow but the chances increase each day. As I said before, we cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it and this can be done in small steps. Each and every thing that you do in the name of preparation will put you in a better position than you were the day before. Just the peace of mind and self confidence that is gained is of great value. Not all of us can move to the best locations and set ourselves up with the ideal survival retreat but with a little imagination, a lot of research and the initiative to move forward with your plan, you will learn how to "outrun the bear.". A very smart man once said, "Chance favors the prepared mind". Good hunting, - JR

Six Islamic ethnic Albanians have been arrested in a plot to attack Fort Dix, New Jersey.

  o o o

Michael Z. Williamson sent us this link to a site for a company that supplies parts for 6x6 and 8x8 amphibious all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)--the ones that you've seen advertised for 30+ years in the back of outdoors magazines. . (Such as ATTEX, ARGO, HUSTLER, MAX, AMPHICAT, SIERRA TRAIL BOSS, SCRAMBLER, COOT, CAMEL, JIGER, STARCRAFT, TERRA JET, TERRA TIGER, CUSHMAN TRACKSTER, CHAPPARAL, RIM, and SWAMP FOX. They have lots of parts for discontinued ATV models

   o o o

150,000 U.S. layoffs for IBM?

"In its proper constitutional sense, the term [militia] means all the able-bodied people who can be trained and disciplined to act in the community’s defense when it’s attacked. Since it encompasses every able-bodied person, it does not refer to those—such as the police, the military, or even the National Guard—who formally compose the official defense forces of the nation. Every citizen able and willing to act in an emergency becomes a potential defender against attacks aimed at the general population. Unfortunately, because of the anti-gun folly of the leftist media and politicians, we have lost sight of this vital element of our defense... The anti-gun crowd seeks to establish a modern version of [the medieval era], a kind of bureaucratic feudalism, in place of the republican self-government established by our Constitution... The answer is not gun control, but self-government, self-defense, and self-control. We must act to live as free people, else like sheep for the slaughter, we will die, and freedom with us." - Alan Keyes

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The latest update to our ClusrtrMap shows that there are now SurvivalBlog readers in at least 84 countries. Please keep spreading the word, especially to your friends or relatives that live in inimical and/or economically unstable countries such as Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Columbia, Cote D'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Philippines, The Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, or any of the "Stans." Also, consider mentioning this blog to anyone that lives in a severe climate, such as Greenland, Iceland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, or Tibet. We are actively seeking volunteer foreign correspondents in any of the aforementioned countries.

SF in Hawaii recommended the following topic for a SurvivalBlog reader poll: Those who are well educated enough to see a societal collapse of some sort or another in the making fall into two groups, the merrymakers and the preparers. The merrymakers don't see life worth living post-SHTF, so they live it up now. We on SurvivalBlog are the preparers and have chosen to survive, but why? Our children? To rebuild civilization? Because the collapse will only be temporary? Because we can and we're stubborn with a stronger than normal will to survive? Please send your responses (one paragraph or less) via e-mail, and I will post them anonymously.

Mr. Rawles,
I'm a long time reader of your blog. Thanks for keeping us prepared! I was wondering how you felt about underground housing; see . I've been doing some research on it and feel that it may be a great alternative to conventional housing, especially WTSHTF. Cheap, well insulated, and easily defendable. Thanks for your advice, - Tucker

JWR Replies: Underground construction.does indeed have some advantages. The cost of construction (per square foot) for underground houses is higher than conventional "stick built" houses, but their long term heating and maintenance costs are very low. I highly recommend them. However, if you live in an area with a high water table, they can be problematic. The recognized experts in underground construction are the folks at Davis Caves.They have been building underground homes for 30+ years and they have it down to a science.

Just a note on long term fuel storage. I have discovered that fuel both diesel and gasoline stored in 33 gallon plastic drums with the bungs tight has lasted in excess of five years without a stabilizer. The food grade blue drums have white gaskets in the bungs that have swollen slightly but have not deteriorated. The plastic drums were stored inside 55 gallon steel drums and shaded from direct sunlight. My observations are that the plastic drum expands and contracts (collapses) with the fuel. My assumption is that, with no air breathing, the problems of water condensation, evaporation, and other contaminants are avoided. My remaining fuel is treated as it is rotated, but I now have all of my fuel in the two drum configuration. May God bless you and I thank you for your service, - Tim S.

JWR Replies: Clever! The second drum is a great backup in case the plastic drum ruptures. You've just earned yourself a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO) award. Let me know your snail mail address, and I'll mail you a free book. OBTW, I wouldn't omit the stabilizer. With the current high price of gasoline, it is cheap insurance.

Very interesting discussion of storing motor oil and other lubricants here! Here is the burning question that perhaps yourself or the throngs of Survivalblog readers could answer.
Does detergent or synthetic motor oil degrade over time to be less effective than non detergent motor oil or does it just degrade enough that it might not meet the original American Petroleum Institute (API) rating?
It sounds like detergent and synthetic motor oils may only degrade compared to the original API rating and not actually become less effective than non-detergent oils. If someone plans on driving an Audi 1.8T post-TEOTWAWKI then they might have a serious problem. If they are planning on driving a 1979 Ford F-150 - then no problem. Turbo diesel trucks may have issues as well simply because the turbocharger is so hard on oil. Most vehicles would probably be fine and even the turbo-diesel truck would likely be okay if it wasn't pushed really hard.
It's also interesting to see that people are storing vehicle oil for TEOTWAWKI and yet we would likely be very lucky to have fuel of any kind beyond one or at most two oil changes. If it is a SHTF scenario gasoline will likely be available for quite some time and that means oil will be available too, although they will both be more expensive.
Lubricants for chain saws, generators, and other tools will be more critical as we'll likely be using fuel for those items. Again the good news is these will probably get by with a much lower API rating than that Audi 1.8T!
Since guarantees and recommended shelf life are likely a combination of CYA in this litigious society and product turnover for the manufacturer, I'll just stick with a good synthetic and shake the bottle to redistribute any settled additives until I see scientific data that says there is a better idea. God Bless! - A. Friendly

In the Coast Guard we used a single viscosity 40 weight high detergent oil for all of our engines. We had in place an oil testing system that tested viscosity every 4 hours of operation, pH daily and spectroanalysis monthly.
On my last unit we had four Detroit Diesel 6-71 engines and two EMD 645 main diesel engines.
The EMD 645's held 150 gallons of lube oil each at 11,000 hour we changed the lube oil purifiers for the first time at 22,000 hours the oil would be changed for the first time and the main and rod bearings would be inspected. Service life of that engine type was over 100,000 hours.
No those hour ratings are not typos.
First point: oil does not wear out it gets dirty and must be cleaned.
Second multi-viscosity oils and synthetics can suffer from molecular breakdown and return to their base oil viscosity. A lot of these base oils are just a little thicker than diesel fuel (not good for lubrication).
For long term you will need to compromise for your AO and climate.
For most temperature ranges 40 weight is ok but for temps below 32 F you will need a 20 or 30 weight and if you see extended temperatures in the minus numbers you will need a 10 weight. If you must operate below -50 F use 10 weight and do not shut down you engines as even 10 weight will "gel" and not pump.
As to filtration we used Racor products with out failure. Initial cost of components is high but it is a one time cost and well worth the expenditure.
The Parker filtration web site has a full line of filters for air, fuel, and oil. For gear heads like me, it's a candy store.
I hope this info is a help to you and will save some money for other thing like more beans and bullets. - Mike "Aim small, miss small"

I live in a world of reality. I think beyond normal events as its better to prepare now in order to care for the handgun that you will rely on for the protection of life and property.
The following are a list of my priorities I feel have become a necessity. No one should ever carry ammunition [in a "carry" firearm"] unless they first seal their primers. I like to use bright red nail polish.
Take a box of ammo and paint the entire primer and the lettering on the rear of the case, let it dry completely, when it is absolutely dry take a paper towel and wrap it around your index finger, put nail polish remover on the paper towel and wipe off the back of the case, removing all the red nail polish except what remains in and around the primer and in the lettering, so its easy to see. Put a printed label on the box of ammo or a permanent colored round dot so you can easily identify which box has sealed primers. Your ammunition is now protected from penetrating oil of any kind, from the primer area.
I always went a step further and cleaned each carry bullet with Flitz or Simichrome polish, and then I applied Flitz pure carnauba wax to each bullet that I would constantly carry. It will prevent corrosion and it will feed better. I have been doing this for many years.
People have died because when they needed their handgun, they had a dead primer because of oil penetrating their primer. A product like WD-40 will destroy your primer.
When you select your main semi auto carry handgun you will need to stock extra magazine, recoil, firing pin springs, etc, etc. It never hurts to have a second identical handgun so you could cannibalize it for parts in an emergency. I have started using Silicone wire recoil springs that are excellent. If you have selected a Government 1911 pistol then stay with the factory standard 16 lb. recoil spring. I only recommend conventional recoil springs. I do not like variable recoil springs.
You must keep your carry gun clean and lightly lubricated, I use Militec ( )
I clean all my guns with LPS Micro X cleaner ( ) this cleaner is safe on polymer, I have had no problems. Do not put lubrication on your extractor or breech face or in your magazines. You should have at least 5 magazines. You must have extra parts such as an extractor, firing pin, magazine followers ( )
etc. Prepare now so you do not have to worry later.
You will need a good carry holster. I use Alessi. Phone: (716) 691-5615. He also makes my Velcro belts.
All things mechanical can break at the worst time. Get extra supplies now while they are available.Do not wait--during hard times they may not be available.
Links for sources for springs are on the home page at my web site. - Teddy Jacobson, Pistolsmith

Frequent blog content contributor Michael Z. Williamson found this article: Vigilante squads impose their form of peace in Brazil. The article begins: "For as long as anyone can remember, the cracked asphalt soccer field in the Roquete Pinto slum was off-limits to children - "reserved" by gangs selling marijuana and cocaine. Then, a few months ago, a mysterious squad of beefy men with submachine guns started patrolling on foot, and the drug dealers disappeared." Mike's comment: "This is a disturbing trend, which Dr. Jerry Pournelle discussed in his CoDominium series."

   o o o

More troubling news on the "gun control" (civilian disarmament) front.The equivalent of the TSA's failed "no fly list", except it is for gun buyers.

  o o o

Brenda at Mountain Brook Foods e-mailed us to mention that they are exclusively offering the readers of Survival Blog a 50% off special, starting May 10th and ending May 26th.
The sale includes all of their grains and beans, white cabbage flakes, green and white cabbage flakes, potato granules, cheddar cheese powder, margarine powder, butter powder, parsley, sliced red bell peppers, sliced green beans, chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, shortening powder, tomato powder, TVP Ham, TVP Bacon, TVP Sausage, and Sugar.
They ship via UPS ground. All of these products come in double enameled #10 cans, all have been nitrogen flushed and packaged with oxygen and moisture absorber. These foods were packaged about a year ago but the shelf life on the dairy products is five years and the non-dairy 15 to 20+ years. The coupon code is simply "survival blog". Since this sale is only for members of the SurvivalBlog community, your initial savings will not be posted at the end of their order. An additional e-mail will be sent out to the customer letting you know of your savings. It is important that you type in the sale coupon "survival blog" in the coupon box provided them during check out.

   o o o

Have you noticed the recent jump in the spot prices of silver and gold? It appears that the precious metals bull is resuming his charge. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This bull market is just getting started. You haven't "missed the boat." You should shift at least 10% of your investments into precious metals as a hedge against the ongoing decline of the dollar. Buy on the dips!

"...Certainly, the intrinsic value of life and the duty to love oneself no less than others are the basis of a true right to self-defense ... legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another's life, the common good of the family or of the State. Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose actions brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason." - Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter from 1995, Evangelium Vitae

Monday, May 7, 2007

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 $2,000.) Second prize is a copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. I might 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 for Round 10, which ends May 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

The world runs on petroleum. Imagine a post-apocalyptic period when the local gas station is closed, and has been for two years. How will you carry out your daily activities? Generate electricity? Pump water? Plow your garden, or fields? All of these can be done by hand, and have been for thousands of years. Modern life has given us tools to help with these chores, and we can store the tools, and the food for them, for quite awhile. Gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, kerosene, Coleman® fuel, and other petroleum products – all can be stored.
For long term survival purposes, only one vehicle fuel is worth talking about: Diesel.
Why pick diesel fuel? Simply, because it stores so much better than gasoline. It offers better mileage in similar vehicles than gasoline would (so you get more bang for the storage volume).
Diesel engines are inherently more reliable and getting 200K miles or more from a diesel engine isn’t at all unusual. For example: our daily driver car is a 1982 Mercedes 300D Turbo, that has almost 400K miles on it. The only maintenance the engine has gotten (besides fuel and oil filters) is cleaning the fuel injectors (a simple, DIY job) and the injector pump has been rebuilt and timed. The transmission did have to be rebuilt at around 300K miles, I’m not sure why.
Diesel fuel is also far safer to store than gasoline is. It rarely forms explosive vapors like gasoline will, and it has a knack of finding any pinhole or loose fitting to leak out of, so you can find the leaks and stop them before they get bad.
It’s also possible to make your own diesel fuel from waste cooking oil (like from a restaurant), or oil from crops like soybeans, that you might be able to grow yourself. The process of making biodiesel isn’t hard, you just need some equipment and inexpensive chemicals on hand.
For those who live in areas where homes are still heated with heating oil, you can use that (or farm [untaxed off-road] diesel) in your vehicles in an emergency. Don’t use it in a road vehicle until it is an emergency, or you can get into tax troubles. If you’re planning on scavenging for heating oil, a 12 VDC electric pump, with a good filter (like another diesel engine fuel filter) on the discharge side into your storage containers. Water and fungus will grow in poorly maintained (heating oil) tanks and gum up your engine. Filters are relatively cheap now, get them and store them.
Unfortunately, diesel engines have to be heavy, so they don’t lend themselves to smaller engines like for chainsaws, or similar appliances. About the smallest sized diesel generator is 2Kva, too and it’s not easily portable. So, in addition to diesel, it may be necessary to store gasoline (and maybe kerosene) as well.
Storing fuel:
Whatever kind of fuel you want to store, it’s best to check and find out the local (town, county, state) laws on storing fuel. Environmental concerns these days make it hard to store legally, so it’s best to find out what you can legally do before the state moves in and does an ‘environmental cleanup’ that you will have to pay for. These cleanups routinely exceed 5 figures in cost, and unless you specifically have insurance for it, your insurance probably won’t cover it. For these reasons, storing fuel above ground is usually easier than in below ground tanks. When I decided to get a large tank for diesel, I purchased a surplus airport refueling vehicle with a 5,000 gallon tank, rather than try and get a permit for a 5,000 gallon tank. Also, you should check with your insurance carrier to see if there are any limitations on the quantity of fuel you can store.
Storing fuel in any quantity can be dangerous, and should be done safely. If you don’t have a detached structure to store fuel in, I’d recommend not storing any in the house – get a garden shed or something. We have a fenced-in area (about the size of a dog run) with a simple roof of corrugated metal, to keep the worst of the sun and weather off the cans. Paint your above ground tanks white to help keep them cool in the summer, and reduce evaporative loss. The tanks should also have seals that are in good condition, to avoid water from rainstorms getting in.
And since fuel is flammable, keep a couple of big fire extinguishers nearby (but not in) where you keep the fuel. I’d suggest at least two, 20 lb dry chemical extinguishers, with a rating of at least 60B:C. These are not the usual type of home fire extinguishers, which are too small for the quantities of fuel that might be involved.
Whatever you store, you need to make sure that it’s stabilized for long term use. There are at least two products to stabilize fuel, one called “Sta-bil” and another called “Pri-“, with different versions for gasoline and diesel fuel. Most people consider the Pri- products to be superior, [but] the Sta-bil is easier to find. I’d recommend getting a supply of Pri on hand. In addition to stabilizing diesel fuel for long term use, it works pretty well at restoring old, non-stabilized diesel fuel. See the PRI Products and Sta-Bil web sites.

All fuel (gas, diesel, jet, whatever) will collect water in the tanks, from condensation. The water will allow bacteria and fungus to grow, if not kept in check. Pri (and others) make a bactericide that you can use to keep the bacteria from growing. Stock up on it, too.
Whatever fuel you store, you should have different sizes of containers of them – I keep 2-1/2, and 5 gallon fuel cans, 55 gallon steel drums (filled only to 50 gallons), and larger tanks. The assortment of sizes lets me move fuel in the quantities I need, or to share. The steel containers need to be grounded while they’re in storage, to prevent a stray static electrical spark from causing an explosion. I also keep the smaller containers up off the ground by using wooden pallets, to help cut down on rust. I wind up cleaning and painting a few every year, to keep them from rusting too badly.
All of our vehicles are diesel powered. The only gasoline requirements we have are for things like chainsaws, and for ATVs and snowmobiles. We store liquid fuels in a variety of containers, including 55-gallon drums (filled to only 50 gallons for gas, 52 for diesel, because fuel will expand when it warms up, in a couple of farm tanks (medium sized tanks on stands), 5 gallon military fuel cans, plastic fuel cans, 5-gallon metal square cans (which store better than the round ones), almost any kind of container that’s intended for fuel will do. It’s easier to refill the chain saws and similar tools from smaller containers than the large ones, and it’s not too hard to refill the 2-1/2 gallon containers from the 5 gallon cans, or the large farm tank, or at the gas station. The stored fuel gets stabilized when we refill the big tank, and once a year, with Pri.
To move all that fuel around, I have two AC electrical pumps, two DC electrical pumps, and two hand pumps. The AC electrical pumps are explosion proof, and are connected to the farm tanks with a water separator/filter on the discharge hose. The hose has a nozzle just like at the gas station, and we have some drip pans (made out of the cut-off ends of steel drums) to catch anything that drips. We don’t have a meter, we keep track of about how much we pump on a log sheet. The DC pumps connect to the vehicle batteries, and can be used to move fuel from any source to any tank, and have strainers and filters on them. One is for gas, and one for diesel, of course.
For the fuel drums, you should get a legitimate bung wrench to safely remove and replace the bungs (hole caps). These aren’t too expensive, and handle both sizes (large and small). [They are available from Northern Tool & Equipment.] You can get by with regular hand tools but it’s harder, and you can damage the drum. You should either keep the drums stored on their sides (with the bungs horizontal), or at the very least keep a cover on top of the end of the drum (there are made from plastic specifically for this purpose) to keep water from pooling on the top from rain, which will get sucked into even a sealed drum (through the bung).
Once you have drums, or large tanks, how do you fill them? There are a couple of ways, you can buy fuel at the gas station in 5 gallon containers and transfer them, or you can put a drum in the back of your pickup truck and fill it at the gas station. I have found that if you can find a commercial fuel distributor they will deliver, if you order more than a few hundred gallons. They send out a smaller fuel truck (not a semi) and charge you about the going price for fuel. Once you have a very large tank (for the farm/ranch, you know) you can get a good discount. I paid about 20% less than the going price to fill my large diesel tank. In order to do this, however, you have to have a good enough driveway and access for the truck to get to the tanks.
Finally, there’s one more way to get fuel: If you have a large tank in your truck, you can fill it up at the gas station, and pump it out at home. Repeat as necessary. The advantage with this is that nobody will know that you have fuel storage at home, the downside is the cost, because you will be paying top dollar for the fuel. And, you have to switch around to different gas stations, going into the same station every day for a week and buying 75 or 100 gallons of fuel might make someone suspicious.
The farm tanks, explosion proof pumps, hoses, nozzles, fuel filters, bung wrenches, and all the rest of the specialty equipment I mention is commonly available from farm supply places, home centers, or industrial supply companies. One good company to deal with is Northern Tool & Equipment
How to ground large tanks:

First of all, you need a good ground point. The easiest way to ground is to buy a copper-clad steel grounding rod at the home center, they’re usually 8’ long. You pick a location (near your fuel storage area, which of course should be away from anything that might burn) and drive it into the ground, all the way (start on a ladder, obviously). All it takes is time and a big hammer.
The grounding cables can be made out of old welding cables, large gauge wire (at least 4 AWG, anything else will break pretty quickly, and won’t withstand a lightning strike), or what the military uses for grounding drums, 3/16” diameter, nylon or plastic coated stainless steel cable, available at the home center or farm supply.
Attach the grounding cable to the grounding rod with a permanent clamp, and then with alligator or battery clips, get clipped onto each metal container, on bare metal. It’s okay to have more than one clamp on a cable, just make sure (with an ohm meter, available for under $10 at Radio Shack) that you have less than a couple (3-4 ohms) resistance from the furthest end of the cable to the grounding rod. If your resistance is more than that, clean off the connections of all the wire pieces and try again.
NOTE: It’s not a good idea to use your home grounding point for the fuel ground, first of all it’s probably too close to the house, and secondly you can get into issues with ground loop currents and other violations of the National Electrical Code – not a law, just a good idea (usually) to follow.
If you have a fireplace, or wood burning stoves (either for cooking, or warmth), you’ll need wood. You can cut your own, or buy it, or both. By the way, I don’t recommend reliance on a pellet or corn stove. They require power, and pellets (or corn), and unless you can grow enough corn to feed them, they’re just unreliable. Even if you can grow enough corn, they still require power.
Buying wood (rather than cutting it yourself) has some advantages. You don’t have to do the work, for one. Cutting and splitting wood, then stacking it to dry, then stacking it again when dry, and moving it, all are a workout. When you buy it you can usually get it stacked where you want (perhaps for a small extra fee).
At any rate, you should store the wood under cover, to help keep it dry. A pile of wood with a blue plastic tarp over it isn’t going to stay dry long. The tarp will rip in the first breeze, and they don’t last long exposed to sunlight. If possible, build a wood shed or lean-to that’s near where you will need the wood so you don’t have to haul it too far. It doesn’t have to be completely weather-tight, but if possible it should have a concrete or rock foundation, and enough on the sides and top to keep the wood mostly dry. Your wood storage shouldn’t be attached to the house, insects will be in the stored wood, and you don’t want them attacking your house.
How much wood to store depends on how much you use a winter, how much room you have, and how much you want to store. The type of wood matters too, each type of wood has different energy values. Use what you can get. We have a very energy efficient house, and only use about two cords a year. A cord is a pile of split wood that’s 4 feet high and wide, and 8 feet long. The wood in the pile is supposed to be stacked "loose enough for a rat to run through, but not so loose that the cat chasing it can."
Oftentimes vendors will try and sell you a pile that’s 4x8’, but only of 16” (or smaller) pieces, this is not a real cord; sometimes it’s called a ‘face’ cord. Adjust the price accordingly, and shop around. I like to keep at least two years supply of wood on hand (to allow for an especially bad winter, and since we have a wood cook stove that we could use in the kitchen, to feed it). In reality, I have about 10 cords of wood on hand right now, in three sheds. Since the price doesn’t seem to go down much, it’s not a bad investment.
I actually cut some of the wood myself (check with your local forests to see if you can get a permit), it’s good exercise. It’s nice to know how to cut a tree with hand tools, then limb it (cut the limbs off), buck it (cut it into smaller sections), and finally cut and split it to length (usually less than 16” for the stoves, somewhat larger for fireplaces) but it’s a lot of work. I know how, and have the tools to do it put away, but once I learned, I decided to use power tools. Even so, cutting and splitting with power tools is still a pretty good workout.
Using powered or hand tools to cut wood are dangerous. You should get trained by a pro, and be careful. Be sure to get all the protective equipment, including Kevlar chaps, a hard hat with face and eye guards, and hearing protection, and gloves. Follow all the other safety recommendations as well. If you’re going to use powered cutting tools, stock up on spares like chainsaw chains, 2-stroke oil, bar grease, a sharpening guide (and files), etc. If you really want to get serious with crosscut timber saws, get a kerf setter, too (kerf is the degree that the saw teeth bend out from the saw, to prevent binding. It has to be reset from time to time).
If you live in an area where propane is used for cooking or heat, you will have (most likely) a white “sausage” tank outside. These come in different sizes, but 500 to maybe 1,000 gallons are common for homes. Larger tanks are available, you can buy them from individuals but the propane companies will want the tanks pressure tested and certified before they fill them, or they will sell you (or lease you) a tank. Shop around. Usually at least two companies that serve an area. Play them against each other to get the biggest tank you can, filled for as little as possible). By the way, the propane company will probably want the propane tanks grounded, or they may consider the pipe going to the house sufficient. Personally, I’d put in another grounding rod.
I have two tanks, one for each company in the area, both plumbed to the house with shutoff valves. This allows me to fill up the tank from the company that’s charging the least each year, and worked a deal where I lease the tank for $1 per year from them. My tanks are far enough away from everything that should they explode it’s not that risky, but I still have them surrounded by a chain link fence, and have a berm around them (to hide them, when they ask…the berm has grass and flowers on it). This provides a little protection should one ever blow, they’re also on opposite sides of my property so if one goes, the other won’t.
We also have a couple of travel trailers, which have their own propane bottles; and a number of smaller (20#) tanks. Propane will last forever, so storing it isn’t hard – just keep the bottles out of the way, and closed.
Other fuels and petroleum products
Since we have some kerosene lamps and a kerosene space heater, we store about 50 gallons of kerosene in 5-gallon cans. Our Coleman camping stoves are all white gas models (with propane conversions, a great thing to do, cheap, you can use bulk tanks or disposable canisters, and the conversion is cheap and lets you switch back and forth) so we also have around 25 gallons of Coleman-type fuel (naphtha).
It’s not strictly fuel, but of course I store engine oil and lubricants for the vehicles, paint thinner, solvents, gun lubes and cleaners, etc. They are kept in original containers until I move them to the garage, gun room, etc. The 3 trucks each use more than 3 gallons of oil (each) at each change so I try and buy larger (1-, or 5-gallon) containers of oil, rather than 1 qt containers. They get stored in the covered shed.
Finally, since I do some engine maintenance around the house, I sometimes have waste oil and fuel to dispose of. I have a 50-gallon drum that is dedicated to this waste fuel role, and some 5 gallon cans (the ones that have previously held kerosene or engine oil are great for this). I can fill up the 50 gallon waste drum and then pump out smaller quantities of waste oil to burn in a waste oil heater in the winter time, or to take to town to get rid of in an approved dump.

Ready Made Resources has introduced a "hot" new product: the Solar Spark Lighter--a pocket size solar lighter. It is a stainless steel parabolic mirror designed to focus the sun's radiant energy to a precise focal point that can reach hundreds of degrees. This great fire starter is perfect for backpacking, boating, hiking and as a survival tool. Measures about 4.5" diameter.

   o o o

Kara pointed out this news story: Air Conditioning Units Stolen For Copper

  o o o

Alfie Omega spotted this article: 20 million chickens now on farms may have had bad feed

   o o o

Bob Prechter's commentary on the unprecedented debt leverage ratio in the U.S.: Debt Bubble: Buying More with IOUs Than Money

"When it comes to ammunition for defense, you should start with your good stuff, rather than saving it for your next life." - Rourke

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Today's first letter is from "FerFAL", SurvivalBlog's newest volunteer correspondent, in Argentina. I find his observations cogent and credible. With the recent economic and social turmoil in Argentina he has certainly "been there and done that."

Many people tend to think about survival as if it where an on/off switch, black or white reality. You have a relatively nice, normal life, such as the world most first world citizens live in these days, and suddenly you have a SHTF event and you go into Post-SHTF mode all of a sudden, meaning people start carrying their load bearing vests full of mags, with their SHTF rifle of choice, scavenging around the ruins of the city, shooting trespassers and burying them in the back yard.
This is all very cool to talk about, its fascinating in a Hollywood kind of way, and I love to discuss possible scenarios until 4 AM but it bothers me to think that people are actually losing perspective of what may occur, others scenarios that are much more likely than what people fantasize about.
I’m a moderator over at the survival forums at, and I can tell you, If only I had a dime for every time I’ve read people writing stuff like “Now you can’t get away with it, but post-SHTF, I’ll put up “Trespassers will be Shot! “ signs and I’ll shoot trespassers as soon as I see them setting foot on my property.”
I simply have to ask: What on Earth makes you believe that you can get away with that?
The usual reply is that there will be no law or government to bring you to justice and judge you, every man for himself.
Now, I don’t want to urinate on anyone’s barbeque, but didn’t anyone consider that the government and police won't disappear as if by magic after TSHTF?
Instead of just disappearing as so many people hope, what if they just go corrupt and/or inefficient? Meaning, they wont be there to protect you, but they will be there to take you away if you shoot someone 100 yards away without a clear threat to your life, or even take away your guns, as seen after Hurricane Katrina.
My personal situation doesn’t apply to all possible scenarios, but it’s a text book economical collapse, pretty much typical and it applies to many type of medium-to-long term crises. From the great Depression to Russia after the fall of communism, there are many parallels.
I kept contact through a survival forum with a guy that moved to USA from Africa, and the parallelisms and similarities between my own country in South America and South Africa where more than I would have thought, specially concerning street smarts and crime. You can go into some of the worst parts of the country, where most people don’t have potable water or sewers and hook illegally to the main power line, and there are just a few business that are pretty much standard in most poor neighborhoods.
There’s the evangelist church or sometimes catholic church depending on where you are, some kind of school/community kitchen where most kids get they one and only meal, where maybe a small primitive emergency room operates nearby. There’s entertainment, meaning a Bingo or small casino and a brothel, an then you have the local commercial road or street, where a gray/black market operates in a warehouse or empty lot nearby, a Third World version of the upper neighborhood’s mall and shopping centers that can be found in the same country.
None of this goes on on the wealthier neighborhoods, but its pretty standard along the poorest parts of the country.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me, is that no matter how poor the neighborhood is, there’s always a “Lawyer” sign, hanging in a house near the market or commercial part of town, sometimes simply written by hand with paint.
No matter how Third Worldly the country gets, there’s always place for judges, cops, and lawyers. Those guys are like cockroaches after a nuke, they still survive.
Just think for a second, and consider the huge justice and government apparatus. Think about the millions of people that work there.
I’m not trying to preach to the choir here, just help people understand that in the huge spectrum of SHTF possibilities, from an isolated incident where to you just have to spend a day or two without water or power, to a full scale nuclear war, Armageddon-like earthquake or invasion from China, their favorite scenario where society goes down but governmental institutions, police force and justice system simply vanish in thin air, allowing you to step up and take charge of things in you area as you see fit.
Hope I provided a bit of food for thought. Take care, everyone.

For those looking to create stable and “passively” cool storage in a basement, the book "How and Why to Build a Wine Cellar" by Richard Gold is a well-thought, meticulously engineered solution to many of the same issues faced by those seeking to store food at stable, cool temperatures. Regards, - Ben

I have spent much of my adult life in the construction industry and through experience and educational seminars, etc. I have acquired a substantial amount of knowledge concerning moisture intrusion into structures.
Water is the main source of problems in construction. Keeping it in, keeping it out, and getting it out once it is in. The components of a building that are constructed of concrete such as basements, foundations and slabs on grade are very susceptible to moisture intrusion. Concrete acts as a wick and when dry will actually attract moisture and move it through out the structure under the right conditions. For example a twenty-inch concrete column sealed on its sides and standing in water will wick moisture hundreds of feet straight up. A concrete basement floor set over a wet subsurface will continuously wick that moisture up through the floor and allow it to evaporate into the basement atmosphere, i.e., damp basement. For several hundred years this condition has been referred to as "rising damp". The modern term for it is capillary action.
To construct a dry basement in damp ground conditions requires some planning and a little ingenuity. Choose as dry and well-drained location as possible to build the structure. Once the excavation of the basement is complete you should proceed with water management measures as dictated by the conditions of your location. If you have a substantial amount of groundwater or springs under the excavation you will need to install a drain system around the outside of the foundation and under the floor to move this water away from the basement. There is a lot of information available on how to do this. If located in a hillside it is easy to install a gravity flow system, dumping into a dry well down hill from the basement. The only other alternative is to dump into a sump pump installed in the floor of the basement and pump the water out away from the house.
Now comes the important part. Once the drain system is completed and the forms for the foundation and floor have been constructed you will want to lay down heavy-duty plastic vapor barrier on the ground under all areas where you will pour concrete. The barrier should cover the entire floor, pass under the foundation and up the outside wall as continuous as possible. Where you need to make seams, overlap the barrier at least five feet. Applying a sealant between the layers at the seams is advisable. The concrete will be poured over the vapor barrier only after it has been completely sealed from the outside of one wall to the outside of the opposite wall. Once the foundation and slab are poured and the outside walls are constructed, the vapor barrier protruding out from under the foundation is pulled up on the wall and adhered using the standard basement wall sealant. The entire outside of the wall is then coated with sealant. You should end up with basement that is totally encapsulated in a plastic vapor barrier. Most builders that attempt installation of vapor barriers ignore the foundation because it takes a little finesse to do this right. This leaves a path for capillary action to bring moisture into the basement.
Now that you have a dry basement don't forget to properly ventilate it. It should be tied in with the rest of the house ventilation system. If you construct a safe room in one corner it will still be necessary to supply some ventilation to that room or it will become very musty.
I am presently planning the construction of a small house for my wife and I and will construct a safe/storage room as an extension of the basement, which will extend out from under the house. It will basically be an underground concrete room next to the house joining the basement wall and will be totally sealed from moisture as I have described. I will be able to easily hide the entrance through the basement wall in the back of a utility room. Being outside of the house footprint will also protect it from fire in case the house would burn down or otherwise be destroyed.
Hope you find this useful, - JR

Dear Jim and Family,
The latest episode of [the US CBS network television series] Jericho has finally built up into something significant. A battle between towns, using mobility, rifles, mortars, and negotiation. It was actually pretty good. While my faith in the idea of the show is not exactly restored from its initial low opinion, this is a major improvement in direction of the story. CBS offers streaming viewing of the whole season via their web site. If you open the viewer in a proper player via right clicking on the window, you can stop, pause, and select scenes to view (which is more convenient as well as allows you to skip the commercials. One particular bit of dialogue I think everyone here will smile at is this line: "Every able-bodied person, that needs a gun, sixteen years of age or older, line up." Best, - InyoKern

JWR Replies: I was also pleased to see considerable improvement in the last three episodes ("Causus Belli", "One if By Land", and "Coalition of the Willing".) While they were still tactically pitiful--with a couple of scenes such as the truck-jacking via horseback downright laughable--the last three scripts were captivating and even thought-provoking. These episodes reminded me a bit of Machiavellian politics in the Roman city states of the early Renaissance. OBTW, the scene where Hawkins reveals his storage space full of guns and gear reminded me a bit of my JASBORR. But I was disappointed that the weapons and ammo that they gathered didn't even fill the back of a full-size pickup. (A lot of the SurvivalBlog readers could have filled several pickups.

There are rumors of cancellation. I hope that doesn't happen. Despite its considerable flaws, he show does have its merits. I t might even convince a few forward-thinking viewers to prepare.

OBTW, don't miss the lively discussion about the Jericho episodes at the Jericho Discussion Group moderated by Rourke--a frequent SurvivalBlog contributor.

A new low-cost firearms training organization is up and running: The Western Rifle Shooters Association. Check out their blog site. They have lots of free resources, such as downloadable rifle training videos, and training manuals in PDF.

   o o o

S.F. in Hawaii and RBS both sent us this one: Man dies of thirst during survival test

   o o o

RBS also mentioned these two articles US Housing Bubble Meltdown: "Is it too late to get out?", and Hedge fund risks worst since '98 crisis, Fed says

  o o o

When a reader sends me a link, I do my best to visit the site and check it out. When two readers send the same link, I give it even more attention. But when three readers all send the same link, I sit up and take serious notice. This is the case with For those of us that are accustomed to using ancient scythes that we picked up third or fourth-hand--usually filed so many times that they are getting quite thin--these freshly-made tools are a welcome change. They even build scythes with custom-length snaths to fit the user. At $170, their "Outfit" scythe package is not cheap, but they are certainly well-made and far more up to the task than a scythe scrounged from a junk shop.

"Calling an illegal alien an undocumented immigrant is equal to calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist." - Big John at the Forums

Saturday, May 5, 2007

I just got an update from Rob Ashton at Green Mountain Gear about the "SurvivalBlog Group Buy" for new-in-the-wrapper military contract C-Products M16/AR-15 30 round magazines that was announced in late March: The Group Buy orders should be shipping next week. This matches the original ETA that was given by the manufacturer. For any of you that have never been involved in a group buy before, be advised that it often takes two months before you will receive your merchandise, since all of the group buy orders must be paid for before the deal can be finalized. Thanks for your patience. Rest assured that you will get your magazines, and you are getting them at about one-half of the retail price. OBTW, Rob mentioned that if you have any question, do not call the number on your credit card statements. The processing bank made a typo on their records and the phone number is incorrect--some poor lady in Vermont has handled about 50+ phone calls for Rob. Instead, please use the e-mail address and phone number mentioned at the Green Mountain Gear web site.

The recent discussion on dental care started me thinking, and I had to again survey and inventory my supplies. My medical supplies are in good shape but my dental supplies were sadly lacking.
Consisting of only Eugenol, temporary filling material and dental wax. So I started by downloading "Where There is No Dentist" from this site:
It is on the right under free books. After reading a bit and seeing the book advises the same tools as the previous post. I started searching for dental tools. The auction sites, and supply houses have some high prices. $45-to-$90 per tool. The frugal side of me overrode those prices especially as I want to have multiple of each tool to outfit my kids equipment in the future,
provide for barter, and prevent infection spread. So I found several lower priced suppliers, [but] most in India or Russia, so shipping killed those buys. I found this site With much better prices and free shipping on orders over $80. They also carry medical and specialty instruments at good prices. all of us should have the tools and supplies to care for our families, we should have the knowledge, at least in a hard copy book and the will to do what needs doing to survive.
As an aside: With the kids getting older and us considering moving to the country full time, the long term stocking of supplies and equipment really scares me as far as having to move it from the exurbs to the boonies. I guess I shall have to buy several CONEX containers and move them to the middle of nowhere to get just my home supplies there. Oh well, live and learn. - Tip in Lost Wages

I was having a discussion tonight with a friend of mine who has his own plans. One of the things that came up is those other things we may be missing from our "duty equipment". It's great to have rifles, pistols, magazines, bullet proof vests, gas masks and all the other kit. But the one thing we were both missing was hearing protection. While some people may argue that the damage done to the ears during a gunfight is "minimal". If you are firing your MBR in indoor conditions, you will be in some very serious pain in a very short time. This can damage you for life, as well as severely compromise your combat effectiveness.
The other argument against is that hearing protection may compromise your ability to detect a hidden enemy. This is true, but it depends entirely on the technology you are using.
The answer we both agreed on is the use of electronic hearing protectors.
Personally, I've been using the Peltor tactical 6S (sound trap) for almost a year now, and am deeply in love with them. These muffs (or ones like them) give a moderate degree of protection against impulse damage (gunfire or explosions) typically on the order of 21dB. However, the advantage, is that these have electronics inside the earphones which will also amplify non-damaging sounds. In addition, the sound trap model has an optional cable that allows you to connect your headphones to your personal radio. (For example CB, MURS, FRS,GMRS, or Ham) which could make a lot of difference.
The best price I've found is here.
There is also a cheaper model which doesn't have the headset plug.
While the battery power for these is somewhat of a concern, they are well worth what you might spend keeping a few extra sets of AAA rechargeables (2 for each ear) around. Even without the batteries, they are still good at protecting your hearing. I don't know what your opinion is on these. But I've been very happy with mine, and wonder why I didn't make plans to keep these things around sooner. (I think I may even order an extra set) - Drew

Sid mentioned the Space Weather web site, which had been mentioned at least once before in SurvivalBlog. This site has great information on close-call asteroids, solar flare predictions, and so forth.

   o o o

Rookie found a link to an interesting story about firearms ownership in Switzerland: An Armory in Gun-Shy Europe. Rookie's comment: "It's good to know that in at least one country it's considered normal to keep a high power defensive rifle in your closet. And that the government gives it to you for free, for life! Of course, it's no surprise that the Washington Post spun the story to make it sound like the Swiss want to get rid of them."

  o o o

Reader Alfie Omega recommend the Backwoods Home Magazine e-newsletter. I've been a fan of Dave Duffy's writings ever since the first year that Backwoods Home was published. It is a great magazine, well worth a subscription.

   o o o

Aaron mentioned an article from MIT's Technology Review, with more on the U.S. Army's "Tactical Biorefinery", which was mentioned once before in SurvivalBlog.

"The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism, or foreign economic competition, or illegal immigration. The greatest threat facing America today is the disastrous fiscal policies of our own government, marked by shameless deficit spending and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. It is this one-two punch – Congress spending more than it can tax or borrow, and the Fed printing money to make up the difference – that threatens to impoverish us by further destroying the value of our dollars." Congressman Ron Paul

Friday, May 4, 2007

I run synthetic motor oils in all of my vehicles, it's barely any more expensive any more and it reduces engine wear, especially on tight-tolerance Japanese motors. Mobil (for example) recommends a
5-year shelf life for unopened quarts, but I wonder if any of your readers have any more info on whether this is CYA on Mobil's part or, failing that, a lead on long-shelf-life synthetics?
Also, speaking of oil, if you're looking for very high mileage on diesel trucks (and I know we all are), bypass oil filters are the holy grail. A quick explanation, they're very fine particulate filters that
are way too low-flow to be a normal oil filter, so the oil lines pass them by. Most of the oil for running the engine goes right past it, but a little bit goes through and gets filtered out back to
almost-new. This will eventually clean the entire circulating oil supply. OBTW, SurvivalBlog readers will find lots of oil info here. - PH


Dear Jim,
While facilities sometimes dictate needs, I'd be very leery of storing propellant, caps and explosives in the same building as flammable liquids. It's not just the decay of the explosives if exposed to vapor, it's the massive amount of fuel for a fire or vapor explosion if the explosive detonates.
My explosive experience isn't huge, but I have done some for the military and I'm aware of their storage requirements. A container of primers, propellant or caps will probably make a loud bang or series of them, with some damage and possible fragmentation. But if stored near a fuel that can vaporize and disperse, the risk of an impromptu FAE with a large overpressure wave is certainly much higher.
I recall a worker from an ammunition factory noting that the primer line was kept well-separated, so that "When, not if" it popped, the damage would be minimized.
At the very least, I'd consider a solid wall of sandbags with a vapor seal between the two types. - Mike


I suggest that you add to your list chain lube for the chain saw, as well as bearing grease. Thanx for all you work. God bless y'all - Monty


It is very likely the use of non-detergent motor oil will cause very early engine failure in modern high tech equipment.! Read the code on the top of the can (bottle). These ARE important and will save you a lot of trouble. It is OK to use a higher rated oil in a less demanding service. I would like to learn the source of the info about detergent oil going bad early. This is truly bad info that will cause grief. Take Care PS Do some research....the auto and oil companies are not your enemies here. Regards - Don C.

JWR Replies: From what I have read in manufacturer bulletins and web sites, detergent motor oil has a roughly three year shelf life. I recommend using detergent motor oil on a day-to-day basis, but storing a couple of cases of non-detergent motor oil, just in case of TEOTWAWKI. Yes, detergent motor oil does foster longer engine life, but is nice to know that there is still one sort of motor oil with an essentially indefinite shelf life. (The only limiting factor that I can foresee is UV degradation of the containers, and keeping your stored cases of oil in a dark place should prevent that.

Mr. Rawles:

I'd like your advice on gardening. What skills should I concentrate on, pre-Crunch? What crops should I plant to be ready for a major Crunch? (If it makes any difference, I live in the Midwest.) What is the best source of seeds? Thank you, - T.D.W.

JWR Replies: I recommend concentrating on organic gardening and composting. (This is in anticipation of a long term scenario where commercial chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not available.) Learn seed gathering and saving.

Concentrate on vegetable crops that grow well in your climate zone. Practice using all--or nearly all--non-hybrid ("heirloom") annual seed varieties. These will "breed true" and continue to produce well, year after year, from your saved seed. (Hybrids won't!) As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, I highly recommend the heirloom seed variety packs sold by The Ark Institute, in Bandon, Oregon. Practice using those seeds this gardening season to see which varieties do well in your microclimate, and again, practice saving seed for future crops. (The book "Seed to Seed" describes how to do this for many types of vegetables and grain crops.)

"The Wrench Spinner" sent us the link to a British government web site from "The Respect Task Force". Mike's comment: "How Orwellian can we get.?" My comment: The Brits are incredibly naive to think that their bureaucratic system of ASBOs will keep the yobs in check. Law and order is clearly breaking down n England. Disarming the citizenry, and making self defense a crime has been wholly counterproductive.

  o o o

Michael Z. Williamson pointed us to this "report card" web page from The Brady Bunch on state firearms laws. Note that California and New Jersey both have "A-" ratings, while Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming all got "F" ratings. They may not have intended it, but these state report cards are a useful tool in deciding on retreat locales. Hint: If you love your liberty, move to a state ranked "D" or "F" by the gun grabbers. Mike's comment: "Indiana is only a D. I'll have to work on that. We asked if they will correlate crime as well, but I suspect they won't."

  o o o

This news story was highlighted by Aljazeera: Venezuela exits IMF and World Bank. Both the news itself and who featured it, are noteworthy. Meanwhile: Venezuela takes operations from big oil companies. Moves like that don't go un-noticed in the international community. Look for an economic and/or military showdown with Venezuela in the near future.

"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows." - Doug Larson

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Because of a recent influx of book orders, I am TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK of copies of my novel "Patriots." Another 250 copies are due to arrive in mid-May. Please don't send me any orders for autographed copies until you see my catalog web page updated to show that the book is back in stock. Thanks!

Today we present another article for Round 10 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 might 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 for Round 10, which ends May 30th. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

A quick look back at developing nations during recent/modern history will be adequate to put the bicycle in a top priority as a must have post-TEOTWAWKI asset. This simple, self-powered, mode of transportation has been a common stepping stone of all culture’s, building and development, as I believe we will experience “after a collapse” of our current society. In Asia, for example, bikes are used as taxis, trucking, and commuters every day, by a majority of the population.
Before I moved to our retreat over a year ago, I practiced martial arts for my fitness. After moving to the semi-hinterboonies, and the nearest dojo is a serious drive away, I reluctantly had to give up my regular classes. I looked around for a replacement activity and could not find anything that filled the void. I noticed one of my employees would come to work with a mountain bike in the bed of his truck several days a week. He told me that he went for trail rides after work. He brought in a stack of back issues of Mountain Bike magazines and let my interest germinate. I had a basic, entry-level, Trek brand bike in one of my sheds and after reading a few back issues, I dusted my unused bike off and asked him to take me along on a ride. That was it, and I was hooked. Across the canyon from my house there is national forest for miles and miles. This has hundreds of miles of trails and fire break roads that are perfect for mountain biking. I can travel on my bike using these trails and get to five neighboring towns, in all directions, in less than an hour. And, I can do so, on quiet and beautiful back-wood trails. Remember when you were a kid and all you had was your bike. I grew up in rural Kansas and I knew the 20 to 30 miles around our farm in a way that the adults did not. You experience the territory differently from a bike than you do in a car. This knowledge and perspective on your surrounding area could be very valuable WTSHTF. With most retreats being secluded and rural, even animal trails can be transformed in to “bike highways” to transport your surplus garden vegetables to barter.
The Humvee version of this simple mode of transport is available to us now as “the full suspension mountain bike”. This is not one of those Wal-Mart, $100, so-called mountain bikes, but a real, good quality, piece of machinery that can go almost anywhere and can go places where other post-WTSHTF vehicles cannot. They have front and rear shocks, disc brakes, and 8-9 speeds.
Most good bike shops have demo bikes from the manufacturers that are meant to be ridden by potential buyers.
Try some out and find one that fits you and that is comfortable. Don’t be intimidated and take a lot of demos out before you buy. That is what they are for!
WHY? - Value Proposition:
A good bike will cost you. They start around $500 and go up to several thousand. I know this sounds like a lot for a bike but these are specialized pieces of machinery that can take you where only goats can run. Many people with a survival mind set will think nothing of dropping $1500 on a great rifle, and that much again or more, on a good stock of ammo and spare parts. Mountain bikes don’t need fuel storage, parts are cheap and easy to store, you will stay in great shape, they can go places that other vehicles cannot, they don’t eat hay, the view from a bike on the trail is great, the view from a bike on the top of a mountain you just climbed is priceless, you get to know the territory from the saddle of a bike, (like you did when you were a kid) plus, they are EMP proof! Bikes have a history, in developing nations, as a basic and first step in personal transportation. Take a look at Asia. Could billions of bike riding people be wrong?! Of course, bikes won’t plow your field for you, but that is why I have draft horses.

Some brands: (check out their web sites)
Santa Cruz
I have a Turner “5 Spot” bike. I like that they are built by hand here in the US and they have awesome customer support and customer satisfaction. Many of the high end bikes are built in Asia. Nothing inherently wrong with these bikes, and in some cases, but not most, they can be less expensive, but why not support the bike makers here in the US?!
Helmet – Get a good one, or two, believe me, you will fall off sometimes and your head is worth it!
Hydration = Camelback (you can use this all the time, as noted elsewhere on SurvivalBlog)
Riding shorts – These have padding built-in where you need it, and make long rides on the trail, much more comfortable
Jerseys – They are made of high tech materials that keep you warm or cool and wick away moisture. You will sweat climbing a 2500 foot uphill fire break and the right clothes make a huge difference.
Shoes – There are many types of mountain bike specific shoes. There are some with clips (that connect to the pedals) and some without.
Extra tubes – You will get flats on the trail, buy lots and lots of tubes. Or you can convert your tires to tubeless.
Tires – Kenda and Maxxis are two great brands; like tubes, buy spares.
Tool kit – Specifically for bikes. Includes tire changing tools, chain breaker, multi-tool with allen wrenches and screwdrivers, patches, air adaptors, etc… carry this in your camelback.
A couple of hand pumps – A large one for home and a small one for in your camelback on the trail.
Extra parts – Forks, shocks, brake pads, derailers, chains, shifters, cables, pedals, etc…
Sunglasses – Buy the ones made for bicycling. They have light sensitive lenses and are designed to not fog from your sweat.
If you are, as recommended by Jim Rawles, living at your retreat, planting your garden, pruning your orchard, tending your herd, and holding the high-ground, then just outside of your back door is where. You should be able to find trails all around your property and beyond. If you still live in the city, you too, can find trails nearby. Check the forums on the site for trails near you.

Recommendation and resources
Mountain Bike Action Magazine. There is an online version of this print-based magazine
(their reader’s average age is 30 something)
Mountain Bike Review (forums) great for FAQs and tons of opinions and information from around the world.
Get a mountain bike, get out there, and ride! - Anetprophet

Hi James,
I am a Ten Cent Challenge subscriber and an agricultural appraiser. Just thought I'd let you know that most areas of the US have been mapped and you can find your soil USDA classification on the web site. It takes some navigating through the site to find your soil characteristics, but most of the detail is there. Look for the Storie rating if available in your area, which will classify your soil type by its crop productivity, i.e., excellent, good, fair, et cetera. Will also tell you how many bushels of corn, alfalfa, etc, the soil can produce per acre if irrigated or un-irrigated. I really enjoy your site and keep up the good work. Best Regards, - Mike P.

I got two MURS radios from Rob [at $49 MURS Radios] and I am very pleased with these radios. They are in great shape and even though I live in the mountains of Western NC they have an excellent range, five times more than the GRMS radios that I have. Rob was excellent to deal with and answered all my questions. I would encourage anyone who is looking for short range communications s to consider Rob and the MURS radios. I will be trying the radios later on at my In-laws home because they live in the piedmont region and the radios should have even more range. - Randy in Asheville, North Carolina

“Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival.” - W. Edwards Deming

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I've caught up on my writing workload, so I have resumed sales through my Mail Order Catalog. (Which had been on hiatus for nearly a month) Note that I have added a number of new items to including the following full-capacity magazines, in limited quantities: Original Belgian FN-FAL, original CETME, original Imperial Defence SA-80 (AR-15) steel 30 round, original USGI contract M16 (AR-15) 30 round, original HK 91 / G3 alloy 20 rounders as well as HK 93 / 33 / 53--in the scarce 40 round "The Thing" capacity, original Beretta M9/M92, and Sterling 9mm SMG.

Hi Jim,
A late night espresso kept me from sleeping, so I dove into some analysis of my dental office [records] for 2006. I practice in northern Idaho, so you know the population base I serve. My numbers surprised me. On average, I pull four teeth per day, perform three root canals per day, and fill 11 teeth per day, four days per week.
So in my office I treated about 1,350 people in varying degrees of pain in 2006. Those cavities I filled if left untreated would eventually cause mild to severe pain. Combine those numbers with all the other offices in the area, and the odds are at best that any person has a 12% chance of being inconvenienced with dental problems. Perhaps painfully inconvenienced.
People take their teeth for granted. It drives me crazy. Imagine your post-civilization lifestyle: try doing hard physical labor sunup/sundown with severe pulpitis. Try staying focused while standing guard when you are so swollen you look like elephant man. Try to shoot straight when the rifle recoil smashes into that rotten molar. Try getting your sweetie to kiss you when your mouth smells like jungle rot.

Now I haven't read the book :"Where There Is No Dentist", but it would probably be a good thing to have on one's bookshelf. Laying on top of that book should be a #304 elevator, a 150 forcep, and 151 forcep. [Available from Zoll Dental and other Internet dental instrument suppliers.] I've pulled thousands of teeth with just these three instruments. Remember: elevate first and foremost! Get that tooth rocking, don't force it or it will just snap and then the novice oral surgeon is probably SOL (the patient even more so). Check YouTube and the web, there might be some close-up videos of extractions. Get the instruments from eBay.
As I told an acquaintance: Research it now, or you'll wish you had, later. Otherwise, you might be walking bare-a**ed and buck naked up my hill with nothing but a basket of eggs to hide your junk. That way I know you mean well and intend on bartering for my services. Alright, Alright, I'll let folks wear boots and skivvies.
One other thing. I know your opinion on fluoride is negative. But as I treat people from all over the world, I can tell you from experience that fluoridated teeth are harder and much more resistant to tooth decay that non-fluoridated. I would have you consider this: post-civilization human life expectancy is going to drop. Violence and effects from malnutrition will be the primary killers, I imagine. Lets say you are right and everything you believe about fluoride is true--something else is going to kill you long before the effects from that element. I'd keep some on hand. Just my most humble two cents (copper) worth. Regards, - J.

Sorry if you've covered this topic before. First off, I'd like to thank you for the information on your blog. I bought a gun safe yesterday, and thanks to Bruce H.'s question a few weeks ago about the effects of an EMP on a safe's electronic lock, I didn't make the mistake of buying one with such a lock. (I'm close to Nellis AFB and somewhat close to the Nevada [nuclear] test site)
After I got done putting in my guns, family heirlooms, coin collection, etc., I put 500 rounds of .223 in the safe, too. I figured that if there was a break-in, flood, fire, or whatever, I'd still have some ammo to roll with. After I closed the rather large, armor plated door, I thought, "Now let's see a burglar or inferno try and take our stuff away from us!"
Then the thought occurred to me: "What if it's not the fire that destroys our stuff? What if it's the 500 rounds inside that destroys our stuff after they cook off in there?" The manufacturer claims that the safe will withstand 1,275 degrees F for 90 minutes and writes about the safe, "Designed to maintain an interior temperature of less than 350 degrees."
My question is this - Will ammo inside a safe at or near 350 degrees F cook off inside there? Thanks, Bill in Las Vegas

JWR Replies:
Ammunition inside a vault will not "cook off" until temperatures reach very high levels--by that time your house will doubtless be totally engulfed in flames. And even then most ammunition is far less of a hazard than the house fire itself. (They essentially pop like firecrackers--their projectiles have very little velocity.)

Mr Rawles,
First off, I just wanted to thank you for having such a fantastic blog site, so much information and advice from one site is truly a time and hopefully life saver, thank you. Both me and my girlfriend have been rudely awakened by Peak Oil after watching [the documentary] "The End of Suburbia" on PBS last year, and after gathering as much information as possible from sites (,,, et cetera) with what little spare time we have had, we have come to the conclusion that this will be the opening salvo for TSHTF. Add in global climate change, a collapsing economy and we come to the possibility of the beginning of TEOTWAWKI. We hope not yet.
Our question to you is about Oregon, specifically the Eugene area. We think this area might do well, but would consider all advice from someone such as yourself. Again thank you for your time.
Keep safe, - Todd and Kaye

JWR Replies: I do not recommend living anywhere within 125 miles of Portland. I do recommend some portions of eastern Oregon, and southwestern and south-central Oregon (detailed in my recently-released nonfiction book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation), because of their relatively lower population density--much lower than Portland and the Willamette Valley that stretches to the south. Although it is a agricultural region with a mild climate, the Portland-Eugene corridor has far too much population to leave me with a confident "comfort level." The region might fare just fine in a 1930s-style depression, but in the event of something more severe--like a grid-down socioeconomic collapse, in my estimation there are about three or four times too many people than can be supported peaceably. (OBTW, if you'd like a glimpse of what the Willamette Valley might be like in a worst case economic collapse, read S.M. Stirling's science fiction novel "Dies The Fire".) Since you are concerned about a post-Peak Oil collapse, you might look particularly at the Grande Ronde Valley. Its population density is much more in line with sustainable self-sufficiency. And it gets a lot more sunshine than western Oregon, so it is more advantageous for photovoltaic (PV) alternative power systems. Just be sure to get a parcel that has plentiful water. And unless you have your heart set on Oregon, my personal recommendation for a much better Peak Oil retreat locale is the Palouse Hills region of north-central Idaho. It is a very good agricultural region with reliable rains, but it is far removed from the population centers of Portland and Seattle, as well as California's enormous Golden Horde. (Again, for details on the Palouse, see Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.)

Mr. Rawles,
I've talked to you a few times via e-mail and once in person. Recently you said you would like a photo of one of your hats being worn in Afghanistan or Iraq. I am headed back over again in a few weeks and would be glad to do that. I didn't see a link to your hats etc. on the web so I thought I'd drop you a line and see how to buy one. Take care. - W.

JWR Replies: May God grant you safety on you next trip to The Big Sandbox. In answer to your question, SurvivalBlog hats, T-shirts, bumper stickers, tote bags, mouse pads, mugs, and so forth are available from Cafe Press, which is also the print-on-demand publisher of several of my non-fiction books sw well as my "Pulling Through" screenplay.

Hello Jim,
I have purchased four SurvivalBlog shirts from Cafe Press and have had the same results in public. Once in awhile someone will ask what the [quote on the] back of the shirt means, or makes a positive comment,... however, no one has commented about your blog as the blog name is only printed on the front. Since 50% of the shirt [surface area] is on the back side, I think it would be a huge value to your readership if you would put "" on the rear. We wore ours out to Front Sight over the weekend and struck up some great conversations after going prone. Since we can't always engage conversation with everyone, I think the change would be monumental on expanded readership and hopefully sponsorship/donations.
One of the range masters commented on how it took him several times to "get" everything on the rear of the shirt, it may be important to use a different font, size of letters, color, (which obviously adds cost therefore not as productive), or location on the shirt. Since shirts get tucked in many times, I feel readership would be best just below the neck, (i.e.- above the current text). This may still be visible if one was to wear to a college class just above their backpack as well. Of course, longer hair may impair some readability, but FFTAGFFR.
We had a great time in some crazy "combat conditions", but an excellent result nonetheless.
Please do not consider this as chastising, rather desire to expand your success! Thanks Jim, - The Wanderer

Plant vault passes billion mark

   o o o

Readers Tom and "K". both mentioned that D.S. Arms is another great source for FN-FAL magazines. They even have some 30 rounders.

  o o o

Wheat prices rise on scares

   o o o

SurvivalBlog reader Cliff mentioned that he was in the Douglasville, Georgia WalMart and noticed that they have, on clearance, boxes of sandbags, 100 bags for $5, marked down from $14.95. He said that these are all tagged on the boxes "" You might check your local WalMart to see if they have the same product and price.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mr. Rawles:

We are building a new house with a basement. I am planning a food storage room in the corner of the basement that is the furthest underground. Can you guide me with details about how to plan that room, mainly about temperature. I know that cooler is better. The basement has poured cement walls. Should I insulate the [other] two walls [that are partitions] inside the basement? The rest of the basement will be heated, should I leave the vents out of that room all together? What about the vent that pulls air in for circulation? We are in Kentucky and have cold winters and hot summers. I am excited to finally have enough room to prepare my family for anything. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
Thanks, - Linda

JWR Replies: To take best advantage of the ambient ground temperature and isolate the food storage area from the heated portion of your basement, you should definitely construct well-insulated partition walls--preferably using 2x6s and two bats (two thicknesses) of insulation. The thickness of the door through the partition wall is not as crucial as it being relatively airtight--to keep the cool air from "spilling out" from under the door. In my experience you should omit any vents unless the humidity is high, but your mileage may vary (YMMV).

It is 4:00 PM and I have been out since 7:00 AM this morning repairing and running new barbed wire on my property. I ran about two miles worth today. While I was out enjoying the sun and spring air I got to thinking about some of the profiles in your database and how some of our friends say they X amount of Razor Wire ready to be installed when TSHTF. I would like to suggest that during or after TSHTF is the wrong time to be doing this kind of work. It is back breaking, dangerous work to be done by experienced people.

As I take inventory of the puncture wounds, the cuts, the scrapes and other sundry wounds I incurred today I wonder how in the world a city couple with little or no experience is going to manage putting up plain old barbed wire much less seriously more dangerous Razor Wire in a hurry after some event ends the world as we know it.

I have been doing fencing here for over 20 years and therefore have some degree of experience doing it. No matter how you try you will tear up your leather gloves, put holes in your t-shirt and your Blue Jeans. You have to stretch Barbed Wire and you need the proper tools to do that. Even if you wrap the wire around your hands and lean backwards to stretch it and have your wife run from post to post either nailing or wiring it up you will be dead tired and bleeding some multiple places. Oh, and by the way so will she.( I know this because the first time I did it I watched my wife running from post to post). Barbed Wire is heavy and uncooperative. It wants to roll back up onto the reel it just came off of.

So a word to the wise, if you really think you need to have that Barbed or Razor Wire consider putting it up now while you can do it leisurely or have the local Amish do it for you. - Carl in Wisconsin.

Your discussion about EMP effects from ground blast or a low altitude nuclear explosion [posted on April 23rd] was excellent. Apart from electromagnetic coupling to conductors, which would extend the destructive horizon, atmospheric nuclear explosion EMP effects are limited in range. This is due to several factors, first by the rapid absorption of gamma rays by molecules in the atmosphere (small absorption layer or boundary effect), and second by the line of sight radiation from the decay of the short lived Compton electrons (limited horizon effect). You correctly discount the likelihood of a high altitude EMP (HEMP) as an unlikely terrorist tactic since it would effectively require an intercontinental ballistic missile to position from outside the continental US (CONUS) or a clandestine ballistic missile launch from North America . There exist terrorist states (and likely terrorist organizations) with the capability to vertically launch a missile to the effective HEMP altitude of 300-450 km.

A little discussed effect of HEMP is that the EMP effect is “mirrored” by the earth’s magnetic lines of force to the opposite hemisphere, known as the magnetic conjugate (note Fig. 3 in the link). Thus a HEMP attack on the CONUS would also produce EMP effects in the southern hemisphere. It would be possible for a terrorist organization or state to launch a relatively unsophisticated nuclear armed missile straight up from a ship positioned in the southeast Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile . Properly positioned, this could theoretically blanket the entire CONUS with the “mirrored” EMP blast from the southern hemisphere.

Given your expertise and experience in military communications, do you know how efficient the magnetic conjugate coupling is, and whether this is a tactic we may need to consider? - NC Bluedog

JWR Replies: The Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) coupling factor is a great unknown, since there have beem no US atmospheric nuclear tests since the early 1960s. There is therefore a dearth of useful data. My advice is to just assume the worst case, and plan/design your countermeasures accordingly.


Reader JH e-mailed to comment that a road infrastructure weakness has been revealed in Oakland, California. He wrote: "Yesterday a tanker truck loaded with 8,600 gallons of gasoline overturned and burst into flames collapsing the approach to the Oakland Bay Bridge. This bridge handles some 75,000 vehicles per day. Traffic will be re-routed for weeks or months. Does this not increase the strain on the other bridges in the area? What if another bridge/overpass is disabled? Is this not another indication to the terrorists that we are vulnerable in this vital area?" My advice: Plan multiple alternate "Get out of Dodge" routes, folks!

   o o o

Marines Ban Use of Commercial Body Armor

  o o o

InyoKern sent us this link: Honeybee CCD cause parasite, fungus and virus

"We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something" - Tom Burnett, an airline passenger on 9/11/01, just before engaging the terrorists on Flight 93

All Content on This Web Site Copyright 2005-2013 All Rights Reserved - James Wesley, Rawles -

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2007 is the previous archive.

June 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Visitor Map



counter customisable
Unique visits since July 2005. More than 300,000 unique visits per week.